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Case Study Video Game Delivery Project Manager

Scope, time, and cost management are at the heart of successful project management. This course will give you the tools to develop a project scope, schedule and budget and then status them to predict project performance. Throughout the course, you will learn about change management and techniques to implement it. By the end of this course you will be able to: • Create a requirements document • Create a Project Scope Statement • Identify ways to control the scope of the project • Decompose the work and develop work packages • Create a Work Breakdown Structure • Develop a Critical Path Schedule • Review types of cost estimates and identify whether they are “top down or bottom up” • Review budgets, contingencies and reserves • Calculate planned and earned values to compare with actual cost • Perform a cost and schedule analysis Each week you will prepare a key deliverable for the project plan based on a provided Case Study. These deliverables include: • Project Scope Statement • Project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary • Critical Path schedule sequence diagram • Bar Chart Schedule (Gantt Chart) • Project Cost Estimate • Project Status using an Earned Value Calculation All of this will position you to set up a plan to control your next assignment or your next project whether this is as the project manager or as an area leader. Rice Center for Engineering Leadership is a Registered Education Provider through the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. Learners who complete this course on the Certificate track will be awarded 14 hours of Profession Development Units. These are recognized by PMI for continuing education or can be applied toward the 35 hours of education required for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. PMI and PMP are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

SOLUTION

Build a Private Cloud Environment, Create Master Management Console
To meet all these needs, the company partnered with Prosum to help it create a cloud strategy and reconfigure its internal data center to be cloud-capable. It used Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012 to construct a private cloud environment in its own data center and moved many other workloads to Windows Azure. To fashion its on-premises infrastructure into a private cloud environment, they deployed Microsoft System Center 2012 with Service Pack 2 (SP2). System Center would serve as the central control panel for managing all resources, whether they ran on-premises, in Windows Azure, or in both. This hybrid cloud design helps enable the company’s goal to elevate its IT staff above day-to-day management of IT ‘plumbing’ by offloading as much infrastructure as possible to Windows Azure infrastructure as a service.

The company uses System Center 2012 SP2 to automate nearly every step of the virtual machine provisioning and deprovisioning processes – work that is cumbersome and time-consuming in a physical-server world. The IT team also uses System Center 2012 to perform dynamic game management: it can monitor the health of its games in real time, see how many users are playing at any given time, monitor game response times, and gather all kinds of metrics to help the IT staff make intelligent decisions about optimizing performance. It uses the Windows PowerShell command-line interface and scripting language to augment System Center with scripts that enhance and extend IT workflow automation.

“With remote studios all over the world, we need a monitoring and reporting tool, orchestration component, and governance tool that allows us to monitor our workloads across the globe, deploy updates and configure workloads, and run automation and reporting,” says Manager of Business and Process Engineering. “System Center gives us this end-to-end governance and monitoring tool.”

Augment On-Premises Infrastructure with Public Cloud Resources
At the same time that it was setting up its private cloud environment in-house, they began to migrate applications to Windows Azure. First to go were file backups, which they transferred to Windows Azure Storage. Next came conventional IT workloads such as email messaging, which they accomplished by subscribing to Microsoft Office 365, an online service that provides cloud-based email messaging, document sharing, collaboration, videoconferencing, and instant messaging. “By using Office 365, we don’t have to manage these core IT workloads, nor do we have to maintain the infrastructure,” Executive Director of IT says. “But the real win is the flexibility of being able to easily deploy these services to studios around the globe.”

The company also moved all of its development and test workloads into Windows Azure, which gives it the flexibility to create fully functional “dev” environments within a few hours. “Each member of our team has his or her own development environment in Windows Azure where they can work on applications without disrupting our production environment,” says Director of Technical Projects.

The most exciting Windows Azure scenario for the company is hosting games in the cloud. And since 2014 the company has launched multiple game platforms that run completely from Windows Azure.

Gain Ultimate Flexibility with Hybrid Cloud Computing
By using Microsoft cloud software in its own data center and shifting other workloads to Windows Azure, the company has the ability to adopt a true hybrid cloud model – running applications wherever it makes the most business sense and moving applications from one data center to another to suit business needs.

The company has connected all of its development studios to Windows Azure using a hub-and-spoke design, which enables it to deliver Windows Azure resources to individual studios around the world using basic virtual private network tunnels. “We evaluate every workload that comes in to see if it makes sense to host it in the cloud or on-premises,” Executive Director of IT says. “With the flexibility that Microsoft cloud software gives us, we can deliver enterprise workloads across our entire global footprint without concern about where it’s running.”

For example, the company built a SharePoint Server farm and a System Center farm in Windows Azure and can move workloads easily between these farms and the corresponding SharePoint and System Center farms on-premises.

The company also uses Windows Azure Active Directory, which provides identity management and access control capabilities for cloud applications, to link its Office 365, on-premises Active Directory Domain Services, and Windows Azure environments. “With cloud-compatible versions of Active Directory, we can manage our entire identity footprint across the cloud and on-premises,” Manager of Business and Process Engineering says.

BENEFITS

Increased Business Agility and Innovation
This major Entertainment and Video Game company has gained greater agility by switching to a Microsoft hybrid cloud infrastructure model, enabling it to deploy server resources in hours versus weeks. “Our management has frankly been astonished at the resource delivery speedup,” Executive Director of IT says. “We’ve been able to create a 20-server environment in an hour. That’s unheard of in our world.” Infrastructure delivery speed also makes a big difference in how innovative the company can be. The faster it can deliver development resources and try out new technologies and ideas, the faster it can identify the next big thing.

The ability to deliver robust IT resources globally is another huge benefit. “We have studios and partners all over the world,” Executive Director of IT says. “We have to be able to connect easily and rapidly with these companies and share large amounts of data with them and collaborate in real time. “To deliver IT services to all our global studios, we can either build dozens of data centers around the world or use Microsoft hybrid cloud software to deliver IT services anywhere they’re needed.”

Reduced Data Center Costs
The company has reduced data center costs by shifting more workloads to the “pay as you consume” Windows Azure cloud. This gives the company a built-in insurance policy against the unpredictable nature of the gaming market, letting the company cost-effectively scale resources up or down as play demands. The “pay as you consume” model is a boon to financial forecasting. By using a hybrid cloud infrastructure, the company can gain a very accurate forecast of the overhead cost of games by monitoring usage statistics. “We can tell our management exactly what it costs to run a game per player per minute,” Executive Director of IT says. “This is a massive win for us and revolutionary in the gaming business.”

More Strategic Use of IT Talent
From a “soft dollars,” or operating cost, perspective, the company’s IT staff members now work almost full time on hosting games in the cloud, whereas in the past they were inundated with infrastructure engineering work.

By using Microsoft cloud software, the company’s IT organization is moving from being a support group and cost center to being a strategic advisor to the business. “We want to be a partner with our internal business units,” Executive Director of IT says. “When there is something that they’re thinking about – acquiring a studio, building a new game, entering a new market – we want a seat at the table, and you can’t get that seat if you’re a glorified tape backup operator. Moving workloads into Windows Azure enables us to deliver big wins to the business and also frees up time for us to do strategic thinking that adds real value to the business.”

Always-Great Game Performance
The days of your video game freezing at a nail-biting moment are gone with Windows Azure. This major Entertainment and Video Game company can create a baseline of computer resources in the cloud and scale them automatically and dynamically based on resource consumption, i.e., amount of play. It can also scale back resources if game popularity wanes. This infrastructure elasticity improves player experience, long-term game success and the company’s bottom line.

Plus, with System Center 2012 SP2, the company has performance metrics on games that it never had before, which it can use to identify and resolve problems before players bang into them. “Running our business is similar to flying a jumbo jet or piloting a nuclear submarine,” Vice President of Business Systems says. “System Center is our jumbo jet control panel. It gives us the real-time metrics that we need to know what’s going on with our infrastructure and thus with our business. Suddenly, IT metrics become business metrics. Players are abandoning a game at a certain point; why? Should we change a component within the game? Do we need to adjust a line of code somewhere? With System Center, we can pinpoint performance problems and fix them quickly before they affect a game’s market success.”

Questions? Contact Mark.Maruyama@prosum.com