Analysing project management practices in OFC laying

Critical areas and challenges delaying OFC laying for a government monitored project in Kashmir

Technical Report, 2013

15 Pages



In OFC laying, execution approach for risk management using set of practices are normally insufficient which limit the success of on time project delivery. This paper describes the approach for managing execution and provides set of practices for completing an OFC laying project on time within budget.

In developing countries like India, project management for developing OFC infrastructure is still not mature and there is lack of coordination between various OFC deployment agencies. This paper provides insight for proper planning of OFC deployment and analysing the case study of project delay in a critical OFC deployment project.

The study concluded that there is a good opportunity for implementing best project management and improving execution practices, for deploying OFC in the toughest terrain of India, where all kind of challenges are encountered.


Project management as we know it today, or conventional project management, emerged in the 1950s in the defense and aerospace sectors. These sectors in this timeframe can be characterized as little flexible and complex (Morris, 1997). Starting in the 1990s and still growing is the awareness of the changing and dynamic project environment (Bosch-Rekveldt, 2011). It is recognized that the complex and changing context of a project makes it impossible to make reliable predictions, and instead of predicting and correspondingly avoiding changes, changes need to be incorporated in the project (Priemus, Bosch-Rekveldt & Giezen, 2013).

Project management for OFC laying involves coordination between numerous agencies particularly in a government funded project. Planning, risk mitigation, documentation, contract management and execution strategies are very critical for project delivery and needs to be prepared beforehand with proper brainstorming, with various subject matter experts and selected people from the local region.

OFC laying is a complicated project wherein every end user need the services without having any inconvenience during the OFC deployment. OFC laying generally involves following steps

1. Route survey and approval by customer.
2. Identification of various right of way authorities.
3. Allocation of sub con and awarding contract to carry out the work.
4. Application for right of way and subsequent payment of right of way charges for getting formal permission.
5. Planning for resource deployment and mobilisation of resources to the site.
6. Trenching and ducting using different type of machines like HDD, JCB, and rock breaker etc.
7. Installation of Manholes and Hand-holes at proper locations depending upon customer requirement.
8. Duct integrity/Duct clearance test to ensure duct is free from kinks and obstructions.
9. Cable blowing through the duct.
10. Splicing and termination of open ends of cable.
11. Link testing and rectification of losses at joints and other bends.
12. Link commissioning to customer with proper documentation.

Studies show that causes of poor performance of a project can be divided into external causes and internal causes (Meng, 2012). External causes, which are usually beyond the control of project teams, may include adverse weather conditions, unforeseen site conditions, market fluctuation, and regularly changes while internal causes of poor performance may be generated by the client, the designer, the contractor, the consultant and various suppliers who provide labour, materials and equipment (Assaf & Al-Hejji, 2006).

Project delivery has recently started to require a flexible approach. This need results from the fact that projects are delivered in a changing, and therefore more unpredictable, environment, which translates directly to the way a project is conducted and the interested parties’ expectations towards its outcome. Such a situation makes it complicated to plan the course a project might take as well as subsequently deliver the project according to the accepted flow.

Project management methodology guidelines can play a critical role in reaching to project success of a complex project like OFC laying and needs to be tailored in certain conditions. PMBOK® Guide (2013), model of project delivery is quoted. It consists of the following stages:

Initiation (defining); Planning;

Performance (the actual delivery); Progress monitoring and control; Closing the project.

Kashmir is altogether a different challenge, wherein, on an average 6-10 days per month are lost in various disturbances strikes, curfew and rainfall. In the current case study few more challenges like laying OFC in areas where insurgency activities were a normal routines were encountered. Terrain in higher altitudes is very hard wherein specified depth cannot be achieved and even in some places there are non-motorable routes posing a hurdle to laying of OFC in such areas. Softer soil is mainly found in lower regions of Srinagar and Anantnag districts and few areas of Baramulla where HDD methodology can be implemented. Regions like Uri, Kupwara, Bandipura, Dawar purely consist of hard rock where HDD methodology is hardly impossible.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1. Distribution of HDD&OT methodology based on survey in different districts of Kashmir

Executing an OFC laying project for a government funded organisation is itself a complex situation which requires specific actions to avoid delay and failures. The purpose of this study is to explore all challenges in OFC laying and possible solutions to complete project on time within budget.


In OFC laying for a region with multiple challenges, project management knowledge is a must. Critical areas for focus to deliver the OFC project in a region with all kind of challenges can be categorised as

1. Planning.
2. Resource management.
3. Contract management.
4. Human resource management.
5. Risk management.
6. Documentation management
7. Execution monitoring and control.
8. Strategy management.
9. Customer relationship management.
10. Closing of Project.

In this case study, all focus areas mentioned and challenges in each area will be analysed. Possible solutions to each challenge are discussed and have been proposed for implementation.

a. Planning

a.1 Pre-bid planning

It’s a normal practice in India to plan things in a very limited group of people to keep secrecy of project. The pressure from top management to get more business sometimes skips some key aspects in planning while bidding a government funded project. In current case study, planning was done without involving expert people from local region to know about challenges and preparing a risk management plan according to the ground conditions. Key factors impacting project delivery plan were not considered and such impacted project delivery. Current project required deployment of OFC network for more than 9000km in a limited span of 18 months with an altogether different challenges in a most disturbed area of India. It’s evident that we cannot use general calculations for project delivery in scenario which is completely different. There have been general macro-models used for calculating timeline of project in OFC like Time for project delivery={ Scope of work (in ‘km’)/{(No of machines which can be deployed * Average output from one machines in ‘km’} + Contingency days.

e.g for 9000km of execution with 100 resources(JCB/HDD)/day, and an average output of 0.15km/day with 100 contingency days,700 days(~2 years) are required to complete the trenching& ducting of project.

Usually trenching and ducting constitute 40% of weightage for project completion, therefore additional 1050 days will be required for other activities like right of way, cable blowing, splicing & termination and link testing/ commissioning. Thus for executing 9000km of OFC in a normal region, around 4.8 years are required.

Even for above example if resources are doubled to 200, around 2.8 years are required. Such kind of calculations doesn’t hold well for a region like Kashmir and other similar regions. There are regions in Kashmir where only 6 months are available for execution and are under snow for rest of the year with more than 8-10 feet of snow. Such regions are even very difficult to execute where sheet rock mountains itself create a challenge for digging. While planning of the project this part was not considered properly which led to delay project delay. This is only an example and may or may not be part of every OFC laying project.

While planning for OFC bidding, for the sake of development of country, a common meeting must be held between key telecom operators to know about their OFC deployment plan and lay additional duct wherever there is OFC requirement. This will ensure that money is not wasted in digging trenches for OFC laying again and again. Also OFC highways should be planned in a country like a India which is having developing OFC infrastructure.

Solution to pre-bidding problem

While bidding for OFC laying project, local expert’s feedback, topography, political situation and cultural variance must be studied properly before rushing for bidding for new business. Local expert opinion must involve all regions of the particular location. All risks which are pointed at pre bidding phase should be taken seriously and mitigation plan must be prepared in advance. Normally risks are listed during pre-bidding but mitigation plans are never reviewed with a focussed and separate agenda. Proper review mechanism should be in place for only risk management.

A practice of finalisation of bid document before one week of last date of bidding should be inculcated in organisation so that no important aspect is skipped during rush for last date and management pressure.


Excerpt out of 15 pages


Analysing project management practices in OFC laying
Critical areas and challenges delaying OFC laying for a government monitored project in Kashmir
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
460 KB
OFC laying, project management, OFC
Quote paper
Mudasir Dar (Author), 2013, Analysing project management practices in OFC laying, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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