Telco Project Management – The importance of being agile

Project Management, as a whole, covers specific standards necessary for its success. However, it might require many different approaches for each industry. In the telecom industry, a good project manager will have both knowledge and experience to efficiently and prosperously manage short and long-term critical projects.

They should be able to manage and control the execution of work while preparing planning projects, analyzing constraints and requirements, and calculating time and costs. And what are they facing?

In Project management for telecom, managers often encounter many team management challenges, so they must ensure efficient communication among distributed stakeholders.

How Are Telecom Projects Different From Other Industries?

As we all know, telecom falls into information and communication technology. This means that all internet service providers, telecommunications, and telephone companies are crucial players when it comes to society’s evolution of communications and access to information. Rather important industry, wouldn’t you say?

All these types of telecom companies have different needs for successful project management. And what kinds of projects a service provider might work on?

  • Developing a new service,
  • Adding new features to an existing service,
  • Making competitor analysis,
  • Setting up customized networks,
  • Working with a large national client to implement its network at significant savings,
  • Moving all customer service to a common national call center etc., for midsize business customers.

And while agile methodologies have gained popularity in the past few years, formal project management techniques have kept their relevance in telco for a few key reasons:

  • Long planning and execution cycles, 
  • Major changes are rarely made mid-project, 
  • Involvement from other significant stakeholders,
  • High-value projects mean a high cost of slip-ups,
  • End users’ dependence on the provided service.

However, agile is getting there. How?


We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, a whole new stage of development. Products and services in the Telecommunications industry change very quickly, so internal processes and technologies are at the core of these changes.

For that reason, it is only fair to say that a telco organization’s success in such a dynamically developing external environment is determined by its team’s ability to adapt rapidly to changing market needs.

This is where agile gets on stage.

It is an approach that allows forming the most effectively functioning business model in the modern telecommunications industry. The agile promising methodology could lead the development of the telecommunications sector to be one of the priorities of the national economy.

No wonder agile, previously only used in the software industry, is quickly growing in global popularity. All thanks to adaptive planning and flexibility that companies are getting through agile. 

According to a 2019 study of the performance of European Telecommunications Companies, software development teams within telcos have been increasing their agile workers by 207%! Imagine now, after three years!

At the beginning of agile implementation, it was limited to R&D departments, starting to expand agile to other business units. That switch is very much connected with a larger digital transformation initiative.

It wasn’t long before companies realized that agile methodologies could deliver projects two to four times faster than before, at a lower cost. 

The essence of the agile system is planted on the following vital principles:

  • Technical units are always in tight cooperation with the business department
  • Test scripts are developed before the programming stage
  • Daily morning meetings with a brief discussion of the problems encountered;
  • The development process consists of “sprints” (work cycles lasting from one to four weeks). The output of each cycle is the working code. The widely-known Deming Cycle (PDCA) (Deming, 1982) underlies the algorithm’s logic of this process.

The five stages of agile project management:

  1. Envision (determining the product vision, the project objectives and constraints, the project community, and how the team works together);
  2. Speculate (developing ability or feature-based release plan to deliver on all aspects of the vision);
  3. Explore (planning and delivery project running tested stories in a short iteration while seeking to reduce the risk and uncertainty of the project);
  4. Adapt (reviewing the obtained results, the situation, and the teams’ performance and adapting as necessary);
  5. Close (concluding the project and passing on the key learning’).

How can agile be defined, then?

Most definitely – as short product development cycles, rapidly delivering incremental product updates based on the consumer’s changing needs. Some of you might conclude that it is quite the opposite of the well-known waterfall project management, which values extensive planning and preproduction.


The high technological advancement in the telecommunications industry saw the value of agile project management, especially in software development. However, the broader parts of telco enterprises are yet to discover this methodology fully. When applied to all elements of the business, this uniquely effective set of approaches will enable the improvement of customer satisfaction, finishing products faster, and while at it – it will save money. 

And that is precisely what is happening. The core characteristics of agile project management are meeting requirements for project management in the contemporary telecommunications industry, making them capable of reaching the target operational performance. Today, agile is considered a rational project management methodology in the telecommunications industry during its global transformation.

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