Sep 19, 2012

T-Mobile USA’s EPO Drives Business under Unusual Circumstances

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Culture & Change Management, Project & Program Management, Portfolio Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Site News | 0 Comments

The EPO continues to help T-Mobile navigate the unpredictable and dynamic wireless industry.

Few of the organizations in the PMO of the Year Award competition had as tumultuous a year in 2011 as T-Mobile. In March of 2011, its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, entered into a proposed agreement with AT&T to sell its T-Mobile USA subsidiary, which celebrated its 10th year in the US market this month. This agreement resulted in a number of unique and challenging opportunities for the company’s Enterprise Program Office (EPO), and the company at large. On one hand, the company needed to prepare for the regulatory review related to the pending acquisition. On the other hand, the company needed to continue to operate independently and meet the financial and operational targets it had set. The fact that the EPO was called upon to play a leading role in coordinating such activity speaks to the invaluable and principal role the team plays in managing change within the company.

In parallel to the acquisition-related activities, there was a need to maintain focus on all ongoing business initiatives in order to remain competitive in the turbulent and aggressive wireless marketplace.   After nine months of simultaneously delivering innovative products and services in addition to enterprise-wide support of acquisition project activities, it was announced in December 2011 that the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile USA had been terminated. This news created a need to re-evaluate and refocus the enterprise toward the vital business initiatives which would allow the company to re-emerge as a challenger in the wireless industry. The job of creating a cohesive enterprise delivery plan was entrusted to the EPO, and the EPO answered the call.

Immediately following this pivotal announcement, the EPO gathered business leaders to prioritize work for the 2012 calendar year. Again leveraging existing structures and data, the EPO enabled the creation of an initial list of project priorities to pursue. In many cases, only hig- level scope, business benefit and resource capacity information was available for these proposed initiatives. The EPO quickly shifted its resources and laser focus, in addition to the focus of the enterprise, and began organizing a portfolio of projects scheduled for completion in March … a mere three months away.

Award-winning Service

With over 200 full-time staff members, the T-Mobile Enterprise Program Office is one of the larger organizations in the competition. They leverage staff and budget to provide governance, portfolio management, business analysis, and program/project management services across the company. The EPO, consolidated in 2009 from five disparate project management teams, reports to the Chief Operations Officer. Vice President Beth O’Reilly is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the team, serving as a champion for every EPO employee and operating as the liaison between the team and executive leadership.  The EPO core team, pictured below, includes (top row – l. to r.) Matthew Western, Leo Reoyo, Sarah Williams, Alex Manoni, Don Kelly, Denice Bearly, Matt Howe, Bill Sanbeg; and (bottom row – l. to r.) Yvette Smith, Beth O’Reilly, Denise Montoya, Marinda Graham, Not pictured, says director Leo Reoyo, are “the over 200 Managers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Support Services team members who make the T-Mobile EPO one of the best places to perform and grow.”

The T-Mobile EPO was scarcely a year old when they applied for the PMO of the Year Award the first time – and their rapid progress and enterprise reach secured them a spot in 2010’s top three finalists. Since then, the EPO team has enabled the company to make significant progress while improving the company’s ability to effectively manage its project portfolio, understand key information, and realize the portfolios impact to the bottom line. Says EPO Director Leo Reoyo, “We’ve achieved these results by introducing portfolio and project management and business analysis best practices and reinforcing governance and accountability throughout the project lifecycle.”

The team introduced and continues to evolve scalable processes to effectively gather and leverage data rendered during the project intake, resource capacity planning, and release management functions.  Continuous delivery of training focused on professional development has increased employee and team morale and productivity. The EPO also routinely leverages “focus groups” to collaboratively evolve processes utilizing feedback from the user community, promoting a functional yet flexible environment.

The EPO continues to help T-Mobile navigate the unpredictable and dynamic wireless industry. Industry analysts have stated that only approximately 20% of companies meet their established goals and financial commitments in parallel to merger and acquisition activities. With support from the EPO, T-Mobile not only met, but exceeded targets in concert with merger and acquisition activity.

Demand for resources from the EPO continues to grow at a relentless pace. It is common place for organizations across the company to request EPO resources to help drive a diverse mixture of internal improvement efforts, operational projects or large scale reorganization initiatives, all in addition to the chartered work within the enterprise technology project portfolio. EPO VP O’Reilly believes that the EPO embodies the company’s core cultural value expressed in the statement “I am T-Mobile…Count on Me.” Not simply a slogan, this value statement guides how employees treat one another and customers. Says O’Reilly, “It is the people within the EPO team who deliver not just successful projects, but also a positive experience along the way. Our relentless pursuit of success, balanced with the delivery of a positive experience, make for an undeniably compelling combination. And it is that experience of uniting people, and together, as a team, achieving extraordinary feats that demonstrates the impact of The T-Mobile Enterprise Program Office.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Next week’s profile: Transamerica Life Canada


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