Many of you will know that I am a big advocate of the leakage point checklist of the TM Forum, largely developed under the supervision of Stephen Tebbett, who now earns his keep as a consultant at Ernst & Young. The main reason for recommending the checklist is so obvious you would have to be quite brain-dead not to appreciate it: the checklist provides a comprehensive and authoritative breakdown of where leakage can take place. It is common sense to use an existing checklist rather than develop one of your own. If you develop your own checklist, you might omit something that someone else would have included. I mean, why start with a blank piece of paper when you can start with a catalogue of where other telcos have previously found leakages? My impression is that many companies are using the checklist, but without wanting to openly recommend its use to others. There may be a few reasons for that. Pride or secrecy may be a factor. Wanting to use the checklist does not mean wanting to add to the checklist, especially if that means the telco admits to specific problems that nobody else has ever admitted to having. Some individuals will just want to delete the TM Forum logo and claim they invented the checklist for themselves. And a large minority will be worried that the checklist may send out the wrong image – by highlighting all the areas that have not yet been covered by their assurance efforts.
Thankfully, Dr. Lee Scargall, formerly of Cable & Wireless, is one of those individuals who sees more to gain by sharing ideas and knowledge than from being secretive. Being secretive can work well if you want to hide your ignorance, but spending a lot of time hiding your ignorance is ultimately a lot less productive than just getting on with the job of learning and hence reducing your ignorance. Like they say, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people afraid to ask them. Like all the contributors to the checklist, Dr. Scargall saw the advantages of putting pride to one side and following the best practice guide on where to look for leakages, in order to fairly and honestly determine what C&W was doing well in its international operations, and where it needed to improve. Recently we co-authored a new case study for the TM Forum based on the experience of using the leakage checklist across C&W’s international operations. You can see the case study here.
C&W was able to rapidly deploy a fair and comprehensive reporting framework by constructing both tools and processes based around the TMF’s leakage inventory. I recommend that you take a look at the case study, and consider how you would do something similar in your own business. There is nothing wrong with copying a technique that works well, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just remember, if you intend to take credit as if you invented it yourself, that you had better change the logos ;) However, the TMF team would all be happier if you dropped us a line to let us know if you are using the checklist, and where you think it can be improved. In the end, the checklist, and our understanding in general, improves if we work together and share information, instead of being secretive. Then we can all be winners at revenue assurance.