Active Oversight (AO) is a cloud-based application that drives quality management through guided project completion and automated reporting and notification. AO drives a fundamental shift in how projects are managed and documented.
Meet the Mountain Wireless Team
Mountain Wireless works on telecom projects of all shapes and sizes.
The typical field team is made up of two to five field workers and subject matter experts who are guided by a Team Leader that is responsible for the output and productivity of the team.
Recently, the team was contracted to terminate, test, and connect a neutral host DAS at Mile High Stadium, the home of the Denver Broncos. The project included 32 cell sites that collect service and send it back to the stadium where it is broadcasted from 390 nodes to provide more than 76,000 fans with service on Game Day.
A project of this size could create a data nightmare. The team needed to capture photographs all of the equipment as it is installed, including fiber interconnects, coax connectors, antennas, and passive devices to create a comprehensive closeout package.
Each of the 390 nodes is uniquely designed, and every piece of equipment is serialized. To further complicate things, the project is completed incrementally. Meaning that one worker may visit the node on the first day, install the radio and then not visit again for several weeks – in fact, when the next stage is installed, it might not even be the same worker completing the task. In short, there were no one-size-fits-all solutions to streamlining data capture for this project.
The Old Way Doesn't Cut It
In previous projects, the team did not have the tools it needed to efficiently capture data and create a cohesive picture of the project. To compensate, the Team Leader took every picture personally – even if someone else completed the work. This meant special trips to sites just to take photographs. It also meant that the Team Leader had to check with the team to ensure the right aspects were captured.
Since the Team Leader had no way to annotate the photographs, he or she would try to capture other details in the photo to act as clues and tell a story of the location, project, and phase.
When the project was complete, the Team Leader met with a preparer at the office who transferred all of the images from the Leader's phone to a USB and then began the long and arduous task of parsing together the story of the project. This often meant several phone calls to the Team Leader to "pick their brains" on the origin of a photograph.
Since there was so little data with each photograph, the only solution was to organize the randomly numbered photos into a cascading folder structured and send it to the client as the closeout package.
It was up to the viewer to figure out the story.
There is a Better Way
Part of the secret of Mountain Wireless' success is that they have a robust set of documented standards. These standards are meant to act as a guide for each project, but since they could not be accessed in the field, workers often did not apply the standards consistently.
Active Oversight provides the perfect solution for marrying standards with tasks and making both accessible in the field.
To start, a Mountain Wireless engineer spent three days preparing a unique script for each node. Using the plumbing diagram and the company standards, a task for every remote location was created, from terminating the fiber to taking photographs, every task at every node was captured in Active Oversight.
With the job scripts in-place, the teams entered the stadium and began their work. Active Oversight told each worker what needed to be done at the site and what had already been done. Eric Hudson, the Chief RF Engineer, recalls that "In the past, field workers were forced to take off their hard hats and put on their documentation hats to think about which pictures to take and when to take them – all day they would switch between these roles."
To take the guesswork out of projects, Active Oversight prompts workers to capture photographs as the work is being done. Ready to install a coax connector at site 156? AO prompts the worker to enter the serial number of the device and capture photos when the install is complete. The serial number and photographs are automatically associated with the site, and the project status is immediately updated.
Transparent and Efficient
Since implementing AO on this project, the team has virtually eliminated revisits to sites to capture data. This has made a significant difference since some sites are very cumbersome to visit. In fact, it could take weeks to access the site just to capture a single, missed photograph. In some cases, if the data is not captured while the work is being performed, it cannot be recovered.
With a project of this size, every node is at varying levels of completion. Active Oversight allows leaders to quickly check the status of any node without checking with individual workers. Additionally, any worker completing the task can capture photographs and add evidence to the site's data.
When it is time to prepare the closeout package, all of the photographs, serial numbers, and site data are organized and ready to share with the client without any guesswork or file transfers.
Hudson reports that Active Oversight "allows teams to create documentation as a matter of course in their work – it has provided a depth of documentation to our work that was previously unachievable."
With such incredible results, Mountain Wireless plans to continue using Active Oversight to guide and support their projects with scripted tasks and efficient and accurate data capture.
The Bronco's ownership needs to be commended for taking this important step insuring their customer's wireless experience is as good as it can possibly be.