Improving the Deployment Toolkit

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Notes from 2010 about creating a process to perpetually improve the Deployment Guide and deployment toolkit.

See also (instead!?) Deployment Guide 2011.

If you are not a member of the project team that created this page please add your comments to the Discussion page.

Pencil.png NOTE: The contents of this page are not set in stone, and are subject to change!

This page is a draft in active flux ...
Please leave suggestions on the talk page.


Primary Goal

To create a revised version of the Deployment Guide document that incorporates lessons learned since the last release and provides more guidance for large scale deployments at the country, state and region level, incorporating guidance in the following areas:

  • Provide a clearly articulated process for country scale deployments detailing each step in the process in terms of activities, inputs, outputs and lessons learned
  • Economic Template for budget planning
  • Integrating with national and regional eduction policy
  • Team setup and deployment management
  • Planning the deployment as a phased rollout covering piloting in a single school through to rolling out to many cities in parallel
  • Related documents that may be of use
  • Teachers perspective & Teacher training

(Updated material for the document will be placed in this wiki for community review and contribution)


  1. Content
    1. Improvements will be based on real experiences
    2. Improvements in documents and process will not depend on individuals but will stand alone and naturally support a changing OLPC team
    3. Documents should be self explanatory (documents should be as easy to pick up and use as possible with no prior experience or training)
  2. Process
    1. Improvements will be made in a sustainable way (the process by which the improvements are achieved will be documented so as to enable repeated improvement)
    2. Ideas and plans for improvements will be raised in the discussion pages of the relevant wiki pages at the earliest opportunity to encourage collaboration and sharing of ideas during the development of the content
  3. Editing
    1. Changes will first be made in the wiki version of the deployment guide, in collaboration with the existing deployment teams and other members of the wiki community
    2. A new version of the google doc deployment guide will be created from the wiki once updates are completed


  1. The people involved in each deployment may be different and have never completed a deployment before
  2. The technology being deployed evolves with time, ahead of the changes to the deployment guide
  3. Each location to which laptops are deployed will have different challenges


  1. Resources developed to support this activity
    1. Interview scripts
  2. Class Acts: Approaching Deployments of All Size (community-curated resources)
  3. External resources
    1. What can we learn from Sugar Labs, e.g. via their wiki
  4. Boston pilots - a model for setting up local support teams
  5. OLPC UK Community Effort
  6. Plug N Pray - guide written re assessing educational need and achieving impact on the basis of experience in Afghanistan


  1. "Deployment Meetings"
    1. This wiki's deployment meetings page
    2. Pipka deployment meeting page

The external website resources that were in this section have been moved to the new page Deployment Guide/Links to related websites


This section shows the deliverables as described in the statement of work for this improvement activity. You can see how far we have got by looking through the Draft Deployment Guide and the #Plan.

  1. Improved Deployment Guide; this is available in two forms: The Deployment Guide in this Wiki and The Google Docs version of the Deployment Guide)
    1. Clearer structure
    2. Clearer reference to the official Deployment Guide, Deployment Toolkit and Contacts List
    3. Links to all useful information for Deployments (e.g. sample training guides) (Alan Smith)
    4. Additional content to include:
      1. How to address national & regional education policy (including sponsorship)
      2. Funding scenarios decision tree
      3. NGO v Gov v Philanthropist v Charity
      4. Team set up and deployment management
      5. Links to related documents such as training guides (Alan Smith)
      6. Templates, e.g. training & deployment timetables (Alan Smith)
      7. Lessons learned, e.g. Don’t rely on solar power, ...
      8. A teachers perspective / how to facilitate learning with the XO
  2. Improved Deployment Guide (Google Docs "official release" version)
    1. Achieved by following the process in (1) above
    2. Official ‘release’ of the improved Deployment Wiki suitable for printing. The purpose of this is to provide a reference document containing a cleansed and structured form of the content of the wiki.
  3. Process for creating a new release of the Google doc version of the Deployment Guide - to allow OLPC to continue updating new releases of the Deployment Guide from the wiki, as the information on the wiki is continually updated
    1. Refined through delivery of 2,3, & 4 below
    2. How to create a new release of the Deployment Guide Google Doc from the Deployment Wiki
    3. How to cleanse and restructure the Deployment Wiki to aid continued collaboration and maintain consistency with the Deployment Guide
    4. How to update the Deployment Toolkit from the updated Deployment Guide
      1. To maintain consistency
      2. To incorporate any new configurations, technologies or services into the cost model from new developments identified in the Deployment Wiki
  4. Improved Deployment Toolkit (Currently an Excel Spreadsheet; Convert to Google Docs spreadsheet?)
    1. Achieved by following the process in (1) above
    2. Contains a parameterized estimating model for building a laptop and infrastructure order suitable for a specific deployment, including financials and the Economic Template
    3. Purpose is to encapsulate the knowledge of what is required to deploy one laptop per child in a form suitable for determining the infrastructure and budget requirements for a deployment
    4. Additional content to include:
      1. Make consistent with updated deployment guide
      2. Include further examples of templates filled in by various deployment type (large, medium, small etc.)
      3. Embed Economic template into same toolkit, and update to deliver a tool for showing the split of costs over time, to allow for incremental budgeting, and a tool to allow for budgeting for ongoing maintenance and laptop replacement
      4. Include links to useful information on topics covering tax, import, replacing parts etc.
  5. Guideline and Process for Customising Deployment Guide (Google Doc) for creating a Deployment Plan for a specific deployment. The official deployment guide contains all guidance for all kinds of deployment to all kinds of environment. Only certain parts of this guide will be relevant to each specific deployment. The official guide also becomes out of date as new lessons from new deployments are captured in the wiki. This process provides guidance on how to create a specific deployment plan by taking just the relevant material out of the official deployment guide and updating this with any new material from the deployment wiki. The purpose of this activity is to simplify things for the deployment team and make sure they have the latest information.
    1. Guidance document about how to create a customised Deployment Guide that will be appropriate for YOUR deployment.
    2. This is to ensure that those preparing for a Deployment complete all necessary documentation to procure the necessary laptops and associated infrastructure and complete all necessary documentation for the deployment team to commence deployment
    3. It will include major deployment milestones, as well as collaboration and knowledge sharing activities
    4. Outputs of using this process include:
      1. A budget plan and order sheet created using the Deployment Toolkit
      2. A Deployment Plan that has been tailored for this deployment by taking relevant parts of the Deployment Guide, Contacts Database and Deployment Wiki
      3. Updated deployment tracking wiki
  6. Deployment Tracker (within the Deployment Wiki)
    1. Who is at what phase (team contact details, location, nature of deployment)
    2. What open questions they have
    3. What problems they've solved
    4. A copy of their deployment plan
  7. Contacts list (Google Docs Spreadsheet) - people involved in OLPC deployments across the globe, as well as their role (where known)
  8. Report containing lessons learned, observations & recommendations
    1. The report will summarise the changes and provide additional observations and recommendations made during the course of the work
    2. The purpose of the report is to provide OLPC with additional insights into how people are thinking and how to improve communication, knowledge management, and effectiveness of the deployment process
    3. To enable this activity to be repeated in the future
    4. To identify additional improvement areas outside the scope of this piece of work
    5. The report will include:
      1. Summary of work done to create the deliverables to enable this activity to be repeated at a future date
      2. Observations on potential issues that should be addressed or opportunities that could be exploited
      3. Recommendations for how to increase the use and effectiveness of the deployment guide


  1. Technical Research
    1. Is there a way to generate a document from a wiki? (AlexP - Manual method: )
    2. Create a wiki editing quick reference
      1. Technical reference for wiki notation for numbered lists, references etc.
      2. Organisational standards
        1. Place one of the following text snippets at the top of the page as appropriate:
          1. This page is work in progress as part of the Improving the Deployment Toolkit project. Please only edit if you are part of that team otherwise you can contribute ideas or review comments via the discussion page
          2. This page is work in progress as part of the Improving the Deployment Toolkit project. Please feel free to contribute to this page to improve its content or leave ideas and review comments in the discussion page
      3. Collect references to other relevant pages like the Style guide and ensure consistency
        1. Prefix each page of the Deployment Guide with Deployment Guide/
        2. Capitalise words in short phrases for page and section titles
    3. Is there a way to automatically count the number of pages below a given page like the Deployment Guide
  2. Create a plan
    1. Assess the size of the guide (number of pages linked from the Deployment Guide)
    2. Identify key sections
    3. Identify candidate pages for merging or differentiating (e.g. similar title/content)
    4. Prioritise update activity
    5. Allocate update tasks
  3. Identify people to contribute or review
    1. Identify people to interview
    2. Identify members of the Wiki gang who could advise or review
    3. Use the wiki history pages to:
      1. Identify frequently active users
      2. Identify main authors/experts for key pages
  4. Setup interviews and meetings for status updates and reviews
  5. Create a copy of the Deployment Guide page as a Draft Deployment Guide
  6. Update the Draft Deployment Guide and Deployment Toolkit using the process for creating a new release
  7. Create Guidelines and Process for Customising the Deployment Guide
  8. Create Deployment Tracker
    1. Leverage existing resources such as the google map showing deployments


  • The activities we plan to undertake are described in our Approach section above.
  • All work will be created in the wiki to enable collaboration with others in the wiki community.
  • We need to get the input from those with experience of deployments and welcome contributions in the pages.
  • We will also be reaching out to various people to interview them over wiki talk pages, email or skype.
  • Please do get in touch on my talk page or send me an email if you have ideas or problems you wish to share.
  • See the talk page of the Deployment Guide for a list of new sections we are planning and any comments left by other users of the wiki.
  • We are aiming to complete this work by the end of November 2010.
  • We are currently compiling a Knowledge Tree structured according to the steps described in the Deployment Guide to collect together a list of all knowledge out there that could be useful in creating the next release of the deployment guide. Please contribute pages in the appropriate section of the Knowledge Tree if you are aware of information that could be useful during a deployment we have not yet incorporated or leave comments on that page's talk page.
  • We will update this section as we evolve the plan!

Work In Progress


As Ideas emerge and are discussed they will be added into the deliverables below

  1. Identify and document the major Processes in simple to follow steps
  2. Get a non consultant, non technical author to review our deliverables from a readability perspective
    1. Early on to help ensure write in simple non consultant English
    2. Near the end to review the final deliverables
  3. Include an orientation and induction process
  4. Find other initiatives similar to OLPC that we can learn from
  5. Find other kinds of deployment guide that we can learn from
  6. Who else can we learn from?
  7. Include a map of the various different resources / web sites and their purposes - list forming under the Resources section
  8. There seem to be a lot of people enthusiastically sharing their experiences via all sorts of different wikis, and the way some of the entries are written is more like a personal blog - i.e. a stream of consciousness of their lessons learned and experiences. This is no doubt effortless for the individuals by comparison to attempting to edit a wiki by finding the right place to update information. So something to think about is how can we increase the ease of updating the wiki or how can we more effectively harvest the personal experiences without having a team to do it
  9. Consider how children can pass on knowledge from one generation to the next, so as younger children come into a school and are given a laptop they learn from older children and the older children are challenged to put their knowledge into practice through the questions of the younger children
  10. Create a facebook page for children with an XO so they can communicate and share ideas with each other
  11. Create different views of the deployment guide
    1. Potential approaches
      1. Document a process for taking the complete deployment guide and converting it into a specific deployment plan (this will be one of the deliverables in any case)
      2. Have a landing page where you can select different views of the deployment guide depending on what your role is and what kind of deployment you are doing. This could be shown as a table with links you could click to take you to different table of content pages that just show the relevant sections
      3. Provide a way of categorising pages in the wiki so you can search for them or have pages that dynamically select content based on category.
    2. Views (there are two dimensions to the view - the kind of deployment, and the role of the person reading the guide)
      1. Deployment type
        1. Large scale Government deployment
        2. Small scale individual school deployment
      2. Consumer
        1. Politician
        2. Teacher
        3. Deployment manager
        4. Philanthropist
        5. Technician


Guideline and Process for Customising Deployment Guide

  1. Update the Deployment Tracking Wiki to indicate you are preparing a deployment
  2. Follow the Readiness Assessment Process to check you have everything you need to start a deployment and understand the main areas of challenge for your particular location
  3. Make a copy of the Deployment Guide and call it "Location Deployment Plan" (replacing the word "Location" with the name of the location you are deploying to
  4. Remove sections from the document that do not apply to you
  5. Update the Team section with roles and responsibilities and contact details for your team
  6. Update the Support Team section with roles, areas of expertise and contact details of any people in other teams that have agreed to support your team
  7. Follow the Deployment Plan

Solve Problem Process

Part of the Deployment Process

  1. Check to see if the Deployment Guide says how to solve the problem
  2. Check to see if the Deployment Wiki says how to solve the problem
  3. Check to see if there are any Open Questions in the Deployment Wiki that are similar to yours; If there are, contact the teams that created those questions to see if they have made progress and work together to solve the problem
  4. If no solutions can be found, create an Open Question page so that others can see you are trying to solve this problem
  5. Check the Deployment Tracker to see what other teams are currently working who are at the same or later stage in the Deployment Process as you and consult with them
  6. Update the Open Question page when you find a solution

Readiness Assessment Process

This process helps you determine whether you are ready to start a deployment by providing a checklist. It also includes a questionnaire to help you determine the major areas of challenge you may have to point you in the right direction for how to overcome these challenges, such as

  • by providing links to specific collaboration areas in the Deployment Wiki that may be more up to date than the guide as it is used by those involved in deployments right now to collaborate and share ideas
  • by pointing you at the most relevant areas in the Dealing with exceptions section of the Deployment Guide


Deployment Guide

Notes: As well as containing a refinement of the current Deployment Guide, this revised document will also contain the following:

  1. A process for requesting improvements to the guide
  2. A process for requesting help when the guide does not contain the expected information (the Solve Problem Process)
  3. A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section
  4. The Anatomy of an OLPC deployment
    1. A high level overview of the deployment process
    2. The typical roles and responsibilities of deployment team members
    3. A list and description of all the typical parts (e.g. laptops, power, connectivity) and associated deployment activities
    4. A list of alternative parts, pros and cons of each and when you would usually choose one over another (e.g. forms of power)
  5. Glossary of terms
  6. A Dealing with exceptions section listing the circumstances that are not dealt with by the standard deployment process either because they are problem situations or exceptional or rare circumstances that would otherwise clutter the process and make it difficult to follow


Dealing with Exceptions

Contacts List

Containing the following details for each contact:

  • Name
  • Role
  • Location
  • Areas of expertise
  • Email
  • Mobile
  • Land line
  • Address
  • Deployment experience (which locations have they been involved in deploying)


Containing the following sections:

  1. Summary of work done to create the deliverables to enable this activity to be repeated at a future date
  2. Observations on potential issues that should be addressed or opportunities that could be exploited
  3. Recommendations for how to increase the use and effectiveness of the deployment guide

Location Deployment Plan

The Location Deployment Plan provides a plan for a specific deployment. It is created by the Guideline and Process for Customising Deployment Guide from the Deployment Guide.

Templates for Deployment Wiki Pages

Open Question


  1. Question title
  2. Description of the problem
  3. Solutions considered and discarded and why
  4. Ideas for how to solve the problem that are currently being explored
  5. Contact details for the team