Airport Business

MAY 2017

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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TECHNOLOGY 30 airportbusiness May 2017 picking up passengers traveling to Jacksonville and included signage in the courtesy waiting lot to tell them when flights had arrived so they would know to drive to the arrivals area. Having the right people at the table allowed us to move beyond just being "functional" into a more holistic thought process. The next key area to consider is risk analy- sis. Risk analysis actually falls into two broad categories: Project risk, meaning a risk that will affect scope, cost, or schedule of the project, and deployment (or operational) risk, meaning the risk to the organization and its operations when the new technology comes on-line. Project risk management is often included as part of a project process, but deployment risk often gets less attention. Because of the public nature of JIA's digital signage, the project team felt that deployment risk was extremely high. If things did not go well, the various airlines would not be able to communicate at which gates flights were located and if the flights were on time. Clearly, the inability to do so would create a very chaotic and confusing environ- ment for both the airlines as well as the trav- elling public. To mitigate this risk, the project took two specific steps. First, a lab environment was built and all content was run in the lab environment to ensure correctness of data as well as stabil- ity of the solution. The lab environment also provided the means for the stakeholders to review the final content and sign off on the solution prior to production migration. Taking this extra step ensured a level of ownership from the business side. Second, the deployment to production was staged over several months, allowing those items with less risk to migrate first. Initially, this also meant that the old media players and servers were left in place in the event there was a deployment problem, which would have allowed us to put the old system back into production. Because the advertising layouts were the simplest and perceived to be less of a business threat than negatively affecting flight informa- tion displays, that content migrated first. With regards to project risk, JIA follows a formal sys- tems development life cycle. When the RFP was issued to select an integrator, the RFP speci- fied that this project deployment methodology would be followed. What resulted was a fixed- price bid, with milestone deliverables tied to the payments. If milestones were not reached, or not reached in a timely fashion, then payment would be held until that milestone was satisfac- torily completed. The process also demanded that the stakeholders sign-off on the designs, perform pre-production testing and sign-off that the product was production ready. Any scope that was not included in the original RFP was considered only through a formal project scope change control document that analyzed the impact of the requested change. The third critical factor of success is com- munication. This sounds easy and everyone thinks they do it well, but the reality is that it is exceedingly hard to do well organizationally. A project of this type is particularly vulnerable to the opinions of upper management who may not be part of the core project team. Imagine spending weeks or months developing content with the project team in perfect concert and at go-live the CEO says something like "I don't like it, and I don't think that is the right passenger experience." If that happens, the project basi- cally dies at that point. To head off this type of problem project information and visuals that were being developed were communicated in several different ways: • Project status reports were sent out period- ically to executive management and other business stakeholders including samples of what the project team was thinking.

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