5 min read

The beginning and the end – technical documentation

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A critical part of full turn-key solutions for telecom work is technical documentation: planning documents, guidelines, instructions and manuals, as well as recap documentation and reports. We spoke to two of our team leads, Jovana Spasić, TSSR Coordinator for Telenor Projects, and Nataša Mitić, Program Manager for Ousland, one of our Telia Projects, about the importance of proper documentation and of having the right expertise in the office, as well as in the field.

The installation manualJovana Spasic

-The first step in the whole process is creating a TSSR (Technical Site Survey Report), or a technical solution and installation instructions, complete with an equipment list, 3rd party services required and explanations on how to install all the necessary parts, explains Jovana. - Designers (TSSR engineers) are responsible for making compliant and detailed technical solutions (in accordance with technical standards and customer requirements), as well as for choosing the ones that are the most efficient when it comes to field implementation.

-A TSSR is made based on inputs given by our customers, as well as on a site survey we conduct after having received them, which is taken to get accurate data about the location and to judge whether the initial installation plan is feasible or not. The quality of the TSS (technical site survey) and the competence of our TSS engineers to provide our TSSR Engineers with relevant inputs are one of the key preconditions for good performance in this stage.

-TSSRs are used by almost all actors in the process: customers use it to estimate the budget needed, Project Managers use it to plan and organize the job, field technicians use it as an installation manual, As Built documentation uses it to do quality control… Quite simply, any mistake made in the TSSR impacts the entire operation and could lead to a delay in production – that’s why it’s key to have competent, detail-oriented people working on them.

Showing your workNatasa Mitic

No less pedantic is the As Built documentation.

-It’s a pack of documents showing what we’ve done on a site, says Nataša. -It includes various photos, reports, measurements etc.

-Each operator has their own standard, i.e. the way they require sites to be done, which must be precisely followed; in addition to that, the site must have been installed in accordance with what was specified in the approved TSSR.

-To make sure everything is done appropriately, our As Built engineers keep an eye on our teams and look for any deviations from the standard and relay them to Project Management so that they can be immediately corrected. After a site is finished, [the engineers] pack the necessary documents and, after going through our Internal Control, send them to the customer for approval. Engineers engaged in As Built and Quality Control are the last filter before handing the job over to the customer, and the last trigger for invoicing. With that, our work is finished.

Sharing the load

Jovana Spasic and Natasa Mitic sitting in their office

-Having the installers themselves do this kind of documentation… it might be possible, but we’ve never tried it, says Nataša.

-We have so many field teams right now, many of them new, so to train them in what are basically two different roles – installer and As Built Documentation Engineer – would be extremely difficult, adds Jovana. -In addition to that, the standard we base our quality checks on changes constantly, sometimes on a weekly basis, and if you’re not on top of it, it can be very easy to make a mistake.

-That’s why it’s important to have the kind of ‘back-end’ support we have right now, with our office engineers. It takes a load off the installers so that they can focus on more pressing issues, such as their own safety in the field, all while knowing that other people got their back.

It’s all connected

-Our office engineers usually start by working in As Built documentation, says Nataša. -This gives them the chance to learn the standard, get to know the equipment and the company as a whole. Jovana adds: -Yes, we’ve chosen this principle because most people have never seen some of this equipment in real life, so even though they’re viewing them through photos, it can give them a better sense of size and weight, something that is crucial to know if you’re the one planning a site [and making a TSSR].Online_connection_Blue

-It also gives them a chance to get to know what each customer wants, Nataša continues. -That’s why they start in As Built documentation, looking at technical solutions made by someone else. Once they’ve mastered that, they can move onto making TSSRs themselves, if that’s what they want. That position takes a little bit more expertise and experience, as well as concentration. It’s less dynamic than As Built, where you work with teams in real time, so it might not appeal to everyone, but each position has its own rewards.

Customer-recognized quality

Dejan Čakarević, COO of UBConnect, stated:

-For a company specialized in turn-key services for mobile operators, such as UBConnect, the quality of technical documentation is of the highest importance.

CEO of UBConnect Group, Lasse B. Bjørgan (pictured below), agrees: -Good design and documentation for large rollouts of mobile networks and swaps like 5G are the key to success. They are a very important part of the whole process and have been a mark of pride for UBConnect, as our customers highly value the quality that we provide.

-I am happy that customers recognized the high grade of our Technical Documentation as one of UBConnect’s competitive advantages, continues Dejan. -In all our active projects, UBConnect is the best graded company across the board in terms of design quality. Furthermore, in almost every project we had, we were the most efficient supplier in terms of As Built documentation delivery.

-Within our Tech. Doc. team, we have developed processes and competence superior to our competition and have proven to have a skilled, dedicated, and reliable team.

Looking to the futureLasse Bjorgan, CEO

-In times to come, technical documentation will evolve to encompass new areas (specialized projects, innovative indoor coverage solutions, etc.) and we will keep developing our skills and competence accordingly, said Dejan.

-We have fully digitized our operations process to ensure we deliver results of the highest quality, to be scalable and able to handle large rollouts and a large number of sites every week, in multiple projects, in multiple countries. Combining this digitization with our highly skilled personnel will propel UBConnect into the European market, whit our high-quality design and AS Built documentation adding value that our customers appreciate, concludes Lasse.

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