The thesaurus

A day in the life of... NOC CIAS Project

Call To Letters — Feb 2019 by Teresa Onofre

Our colleague Teresa Onofre (Marketing team) spent time with the NOC CIAS project to find out what happens behind the scenes.

What (for), when, where and how long

In September 2017, Celfocus was awarded by Vodafone Group with a project to deliver a Cognitive Intelligence and Automation solution for its Network Operations Centres (NOCs), aimed at reducing 80% of the human effort allocated to first-line support activities, as part of a long-term strategy for the OSS transformation.

This 3-year project covers 13 OpCos from NOCs in Portugal and Romania, including these two geographies, and involves 80 people from our Lisbon and Oporto office, from many different Business Units and Domains – namely OSS, Online & CST, Analytics, Agile & DevOps, Managed Services – forming a multidisciplinary project team.

As a result, the Vodafone Group’s upgraded NOCs will become more efficient and effective, contributing to lower operating costs and improved customer experience, based on an increase of network and service availability and SLA compliance.


The project was initially divided into two streams:

  • Project Development, which consists of the Automation & Cognitive Suite setup and is composed of 3 Drops. This setup involves the implementation of three building blocks acting as an integrated system: Analytics & Cognitive; Automation; and Unified Operations Portal, based on CELFOCUS Omnichannel. Drop 1 had a major goal of automating 25% of the tickets’ effort in Portugal and Romania and of proving the contribution of Artificial Intelligence, particularly Machine Learning.
  • DevOps, in which Celfocus’ DevOps team started working side-by-side, when the previous stream’s Drop 1 ended, with a dedicated Vodafone team in the creation of an Agile Centre of Excellence aimed at automation improvement.

Recently, a third stream was added:

  • Project Development II, whose goal is to promote the onboarding of other OpCos that fall within the project scope.

The project’s day-by-day

“It’s a long day”, they say. To get a better understanding of the meaning of this sentence, I spoke to people from two different teams: Analytics and DevOps – the first is cross-functional among streams, while the second oversees the homonymous stream that is held in partnership with Vodafone.

In short, that’s what I learned from the work dynamics and how people get along:

Early in the morning

As you know, the Agile methodology implies a specific rhythm and timeframe. The DevOps team at NOC CIAS project is no different. Every morning they meet at 9.30 am in order to plan the day and fulfil the current sprint and the 3-week delivery. As for the Analytics team, their morning coffee is a crucial starting engine and always wait for everyone to arrive so that they are all together before “getting their hands dirty”.


The sense of help and support among peers is unanimous between the two teams and the environment around pushes that sense forward. In the Analytics team, for example, there are two elements that split managing duties but when it comes to core technological tasks they sit together and discuss. After all, two heads think better than one.

Dealing with leadership

From one’s point of view, there is freedom and confidence to work autonomously, which promotes a sense of accountability and empowerment at the same time. From another, there’s a horizontal structure that blurs such formal boundaries on the regular day-by-day.

From client to colleague

The DevOps team faces a not-so-usual condition: having the client in the same room, working closely day-by-day, as a single team. When asked about the relationship, the quick and assertive answer was “We’re family. There’s no such thing as client and vendor. We’re one team”, which I found absolutely amazing.

Besides work

Both teams find friendliness and social interaction very important for the well-being and fun at work and so they have lunch together very often. On Fridays it’s actually a must.

End of day

When asked about the feeling at the end of the day, the teams had a similar answer with a smile: “there’s still room for tomorrow” and “more to come”.

The feeling they transmitted, as a whole, was of a very motivated and solid team that finds the project truly challenging and exciting. Besides, of course, being very connected and committed to each other, looking forward to solving any blocks or issues someone might have, as a team.

Calling the shots | The role of Program Manager

NOC CIAS project is composed of 4 layers in terms of management:

As the Program Manager, Miguel Graça Oliveira promotes alignment with Operational layer in terms of messages and project requirements, overlooking the three project streams. Additionally, Miguel watches over budgets and makes sure everything and everyone is on track, at the same time he keeps people outside the project up to speed.

Behind a great project, there’s always a great team.