Establishing an OSS from scratch

I was recently asked how I would go about building up an OSS from scratch. To be honest, I didn’t do a great job of explaining it at the time despite having done it at four tier-1 carriers in the past. Well, not exactly from scratch, as each of these carriers had operated from NMS for years but had never had OSS. They had existing organisation structures and processes so organisational change management was an important factor.

As described in earlier posts, most consultancies can be broken into the following three steps:

  1. Current Situation
  2. Desired Future State
  3. Gaps (including recommendations and / or implementation steps)

That’s a pretty broad starting point, so let’s look deeper.

The next step is to overlay some well known frameworks:

  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) for the OSS technology component
  • TM Forum’s eTOM for the OSS business process and people framework
  • Dr John Kotter’s eight steps of change management

Then l aim to bring it together in a Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) to turn it into implementation activities, responsibilities and timelines.

The following sections provide a little extra detail about each framework.


The TOGAF Architectural Development Method (ADM) is shown below.


  • PRELIM, A, B, C and D can guide the development of current state
  • A, B, C and D can guide the development of desired future state as well
  • E, F, G and H can guide the gap analysis and implementation

TOGAF is based on four interrelated areas of specialization called architecture domains:

  • Business architecture which defines the business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes of the organization
  • Applications architecture which provides a blueprint for the individual systems to be deployed, the interactions between the application systems, and their relationships to the core business processes of the organization with the frameworks for services to be exposed as business functions for integration
  • Data architecture which describes the structure of an organization’s logical and physical data assets and the associated data management resources
  • Technical architecture, or technology architecture, which describes the hardware, software, and network infrastructure needed to support the deployment of core, mission-critical applications
  • [as described on wikipedia]

TM Forum Frameworx

Where eTOM (Business Process Framework) guides process development (see below) and in turn guides the organisational structure (or re-structure):
TM Forum eTOM
And where TAM (The Application Framework) can help overlay onto TOGAF’s Applications, Data and Technical architectures.

OSS Change Management (Dr John Kotter’s Model)

Described in more detail on my OSS Change Management page.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A WBS is then used to bring all these pieces above together (and many other pieces such as PMO) into something that can be implemented. Described in more detail on my Planning an OSS Project with WBS page

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