Projects
 

Approach   |   Examples
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Approach

Being proactive ensures that opportunities are recognised and acted upon at the earliest possible moment. It also ensures that issues are identified and dealt with in a similar fashion.
 
Looking at projects from the client perspective creates an understanding of the business context in which the project is taking place. This allows for a holistic approach to the project, and makes it easier to identify the opportunities and issues mentioned immediately above.
 
Different clients have different procedures and standards of documentation. It is advantageous to be able to adapt easily to each client's needs.
 
I see it as important to be able to recognise other people's strengths and to capitalise on those strengths. That enhances teamwork and results in much better outcomes for projects.
 
With projects involving legacy systems, it is almost always the case that corporate knowledge has been lost. The existing staff may know some aspects of each such system, and in some cases that knowledge may be erroneous. My role in such cases is to develop a full understanding of the legacy system, and then share that knowledge with everybody who is involved. Once that point has been reached it is then possible for fully informed, and effective, decisions to be made.


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Examples

I was part of a project to install electronic price signs at a petrol station. That installation involved six separate organisations. A date for installation had been agreed by two of the organisations, but the prime customer had not been involved. I took it upon myself to act as co-ordinator in this instance, and immediately informed all the other parties. As a result, the installation proceeded exactly as intended.

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One racing venue that I was involved with had trackside timing equipment that failed after 20 years. This was hardly surprising as it was out in all weathers. The replacement unit was incompatible with the software that ran the public information display, that software itself being 15 years old at the time. Initial investigations showed that the behaviour of the replacement unit was not fully understood, and that the legacy software was incompatible with the replacement unit. I informed everybody of my findings and presented a range of options for resolving the issue. The option chosen was a single-board computer running Linux with a program written in C to convert the timing information from the replacement unit into a form that is understood by the legacy software. This solution has worked exactly as required ever since.

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One year later, and with the same organisation, race meetings were about to be resumed after all the communications systems had been overhauled, which overhaul had left some components non-operational. I advised on what needed to be done to restore functionality, which advice was followed, and the communications system then returned to normal.

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I was called by one client to troubleshoot intermittent failures on some of their signs. The mean time between failure for each sign was two weeks. I produced test conditions which reduced this to two minutes. This enabled the third party to identify the underlying issue with their firmware, and they issued an update two weeks later. The signs have worked flawlessly ever since. My investigations required a thorough grasp of network protocols and the use of specialised network tools.

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