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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
February 23, 2008


It should of been a slam dunk, it is a good endeavor. It isn't technically challenging, operationally challenging, and has a lot of benefits. Everyone was well-intentioned. But we collaborated as silos and not as a team, and the project was never setup for success. Organizationally, all IT resources were over committed to bringing up the new hospital. However, in order to improve physician communications, the CMO was eager to listen, to what the vendor had to say. Honestly, it is just another reason to have a vendor management policy with all vendors, preferably included in the MSA. Or just having demand management discussions with the senior execs would of helped. At the project kickoff, our outsourced telecom manager sat in the meeting, and escalated it back to IT.

I got the project in late January, very late to the party. Project documentation was a listing of 80 phone numbers, most of which were call centers. Needless to say it is hard to identify which phone needs the quick push button, when there is 20 to choose from. We needed to dig down and clearly mark the phones. The other component was we needed VOIP phones, about 80. We only have infrastructure support for another 30, before we are at capacity. Our plan was to request the remaining infrastructure in the capital planning process this year, since the pilot was so successful. We decided to regroup.

We regrouped about a week later beginning of February, our phone listing has now gone up to 235 quick dial locations. Our communicated process for VOIP phone turn in had a total of 7 phones, all from the IS staff. Current discovery was we need to do the assessment, but with commitments to the new hospital, moves/relocations, and break/fix. The telecom consumption rate was already above what was contracted for monthly allotment. We looked to contracting the solution from our outsource partner. The labor for programming the phones/ plus needed phone upgrades and replacements was plus $100,000. Of course, this physician's communication service was paid with risk contingency monies from last year, so there is no budget.

We regrouped again a week later, the first the calendars would allow. Concern about meeting the live date arose. (February 27) I tried to consider, where my communications faltered surround the scope needing to be identified, so we would know what work needed to be completed. Additionally, we didn't have any resources to do the work, so we would need to wait. Of course, if there was a work around. We had a pre-meeting to the vendor call with the project sponsor, so we would have a plan. Really wasn't much of a plan to be had. If we stopped all moves for the institution (doesn't work bringing up a new place), we gain an extra 4 hours a week. This would leave a 22 week duration. Of course, the nurses could dial the number and then mimicking a page, place the call back number. However, apparently our technology constraints had never been communicated to the vendor. One can hear in the voice and tone the frustrations. Especially the nice comments, well back in December we said. Spilled Milk doesn't help in project rescue. The executive sponsor, really clearly portrayed, the behemoth of the new hospital coming on line, and consuming all the resources. A desire to build a successful partnership with the service, the weighing of the decision of making sense to use the manual solution versus doing it right the first time. It was a great executive sponsor speech. The vendor was getting back to the sponsors; again our IT role of collaborator was not included. Fair though, since we haven't collaborated. Next day afternoon, we decided to walk the floors to come up with the phones to be identified. The team walking the floors, identified 7 of the 235 phones, before they all decided it was too tedious. No one from a nursing stance new which phones. Deployed Phones, where not tagged, so we needed to call telecom and use magic to get the id number. The project was delayed, but communications needed to go out to the physicians. CMO wanted a new date to set expectations for the physicians who had been promised the new system. The additional telecom resource for the new hospital resigned. We still didn't even have scope for the telecom guys or resources to walk around to get the new scope. Again the voip phone turn-in project still has the 7 from IT.

I'm working on crafting an email to clearly depict the risks, and steps needed to get a schedule together. (Preferably including the vendor, the sponsor, IT, telecom as the project team)

Lesson Learned are quite a few:


  • We need to do a better job at demand management and conveying the plate for information services to our senior management.

  • We should also leave capacity or at least have agility to assess a new vendor solution.

  • Senior management should be aligned on the goals.

  • We also have to determine the project plan through benefit realization.

  • We have to identify ownership and the risks for implementation on the timeline.

  • We need to understand our resource availability at planning.

  • We shouldn't have project kickoffs for technology with only our outsourced vendor.

  • We should have had weekly project status meetings across the team.

What is really sad is we all know better, but just didn't have the time to dedicate to the politicking to convey the point.

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