Overview

In the Summer of 2017, I worked at AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto,CA as a UX Research Intern. During this internship, I had the opportunity to work on 2 different projects

Project 1 - Requirements for 5G network planning tools


Process

I consulted with Subject Matter Experts to understand 5G cellular networks. With the understanding, I performed a competitive analysis with existing tools on the market. I interviewed capacity engineers responsible for network planning within Ericsson, to identify requirements for a proposed in-house tool. At the end of the internship, I documented the findings and presented it to upper level management.

Project 2 - Knowledge Management tool for Capacity Engineers within AT&T


Background & Context

This project came about when I was simply trying to gain some domain knowledge about network planning process by talking to many subject matter experts. For a little bit of context, the role of a network planning engineer primarily include monitoring and managing network resources to ensure optimum performance of the network. The responsibilities may include te following:
   Manage and monitor capacities, resolve capacity shortage and optimize the network.
   Analyzing network performance data.
   Planning designs for various circuit types.
I interviewed a few planning engineers within different teams responsible within AT&T. I found what I heard extremely intriguing and decided to dig deeper.

User Characteristics

Through my initial research, what I found about network planning engineers was

  1. This group was in fact an extreme set of users, in terms of their experience and expertise gathered over the years.
    • They do challenging tasks and have to use a lot of different tools.
    • Most of the tools they use are AT&T proprietary and they had to learn them all on the job
    • Their team members are usually not co-located.
    • In their role, they are usually responsible for network resources spanning more than one geographical region.
    • These engineers often have to interface closely with many other work groups within the organization.

  2. There are a lot of opportunities to improve their current process of documenting their knowledge
    User Quote
  3. The intervention needed to happen right away, as this segment of the workforce is mostly at a retiring age.

Process

My Takeaways

When I was tasked with researching 5G networ planning tools, I was not sure about how the project was going to turn out, due to my lack of knowledge in telecom network domain. But I kept an open mind to learning new topics. I spoke to a lot of network planning engineers and other subject matter experts, before I could start uncovering challenges which lead to a more interesting project. I would not have found the second project if I had closed myself to learning just as much as I needed to proceed in the first project. I wouldlike to acknowledge and thank my Mentors at the Foundry, for providing me with all the resources and support during my time there.

When and Where Summer 2017, UX Research internship at AT&T Foundry Mentors Research Methods Deliverables Research Document - Knowledge Management