Do you wonder why we share our implementation experience with you?
First of all, because we believe that together we can do much more than if we isolate ourselves and limit access to knowledge. We really don’t have to make the same mistakes. We do think so, but more and more often we see ® sign appearing almost everywhere. It’s neither an embellishment, nor it adds prestige - it informs us about a strong connection with law.
This is one approach, but what we want is to create the community, that will for sure be able to deal with the issue of project portfolio management. In practice, of course, not in theory. For this reason, let’s move on to another example of implementation and our experience.
Spring 2018 - you can still remember what you were doing at that time. We surely do. We started cooperation with INOUTIC then.
Do you wonder why we share our implementation experience with you?
First of all, because
believe that together we can do much more
than if we isolate ourselves and limit
to knowledge. We really don’t have to make the same mistakes. We do think so, bu
t more and
more often we see
® sign appearing almost everywhere. It’s neither an embellishment, nor it
it informs us about a strong connection with law.
This is one approach, but what we w
ant is to create the community
, that will for sure be able
to deal with the issue
of project portfolio management
. In practice, of course, not in
For this reason, let’s move on to another example of implementatio
n and our
As they write about themselves, they are one of the leading European producers of high quality PCV profiles systems. (We’ve checked, we confirm). And here we have the key word to remember: “producers”.
But our relationship is not that new at all. Looking a little bit more back, it started over two years ago. We were doing trainings for this company in Munich, Poznan and Prague at that time. We have trained ca. 70 people and we showed the line of action for the project management process development, project management tool selection, establishing the responsibility structure in projects (PMO, PM, Steering Group). After those trainings the company started on its own the implementation of everything we were talking about.
More less a year after that the telephone rings. I pick up the phone and hear INOUTIC President (by the way, the person I value very much for his perseverance and the vision of making changes in such a big organisation). He made me an offer to start supporting the company in implementing project management, because the results they have achieved themselves were interesting, but not satisfactory enough. We’re in.
At the beginning, I started mentor’s job with a person who functioned as PMO. And here comes the first conclusion:
In the companies with production profile that develop into production- project the best PMO is a person who has much production experience.
Exactly, PMO who is the former chief production manager is the bull’s eye! He has the full technological knowledge, so nobody will lull him into a false sense of security or prevent from clear thinking. And there are always some prospective candidates to do both. People with many PM certificates, don’t know technology, and often don’t have enough factual knowledge to estimate the current operational advancement of a project. Duh! What’s more, and I’m sorry to admit that, engineers hold them in low esteem. You know, “these people from tables”.
Anyway, it turned out quite fast that mentoring model of cooperation with this company is not enough (yes, this is also the conclusion, but for us;)) There was so much work that we switched on to a close cooperation model, and what’s more important, often. Every week one of our Art Strategy team members was in INOUTIC, which means in Poznan or Munich.
We started projects overview, classification, designing the proper flow, implementation of rules and responsibilities. So far so good, we were accelerating, but it turned out that there is not enough capacity to simultaneously manage not a few but tens of projects, and, in addition, with a big scope.
So stop again. What are we going to do? Slow down? Let go part of the issues? Of course, not! We traced two basic paths:
- investment projects, having a different project flow,
- development projects (including the ones concerning the introduction of new products and IT projects).
In this way we created a totally separate management process for CAPEX projects and the remaining ones. It’s time for the next conclusion.
In production companies CAPEX projects have a totally different project flow than development projects and need a separate management process.
The former, “remaining projects” never were and won’t be homogeneous. So the line of challenges didn’t get shorter.
We had to create 3 project subcategories according to the type of their execution:
- “Stream”* type projects - consisting on the need to deliver all agreed implementation products.
- Stage projects type “Waterflow”* - planned as a whole and managed by stages.
- Agile type projects - projects managed incrementally (in Inoutic this category holds mainly IT projects and IT systems development projects).
(*Stream and Waterflow are names invented by the Art Strategy Group team).
In production companies we deal with 3 types of projects: stream, waterflow and agile. Knowing just one methodology is not enough - we have to be flexible in the way we manage.
What exactly are these projects? What are their characteristics, how to recognize them? Why so many types? Is one not enough? A simple answer - no, it’s not. Unfortunately not, and, being serious, we do appreciate the simplicity. Using imagery - you won’t eat soup with sushi sticks.
We ourselves are not the ones who select the methodology which is the best for us. These are projects that choose instead of us how to run them successfully to the end.
Anyway, if you want a detailed description of the following project types, subscribe to our database via www.artstrategygroup.com, or send a request to join the newsletter to email@example.com. In return you will get the projects characteristics and find out yourself why it is worth to distinguish the types. Of course, if there’s such need.
Going back to projects overview now. Unfortunately, the company’s capacity and high expectations concerning the simultaneous running of many projects didn’t go hand in hand. Managing the amount of work in progress is one of the basic challenges on the way to effectiveness. What does it mean in practice? How to face this challenge?
Mindfulness of the board in terms of the necessity to prioritize and say we can’t do everything at one time. We have to freeze part of it and defrost it later on. In case of INOUTIC this process was radical. Only 14 project initiatives were left out of the dozens run simultaneously in many places.
What happened with the other ones? They were frozen. Did we let go?
Of course, not! They were frozen to be finished earlier than in case of running them all simultaneously.
It looks like this from one hand, but it doesn’t always mean faster execution. To achieve that, a great management maturity is needed, and the vision, to agree upon such a solution. INOUTIC plucked up the courage. I also encourage you to do this, if you see that projects are taking too long. I know it’s not easy; we fight with the internal will to start yet another project, even when WIP (Work in Progress) is already at 100% level. Luckily, we still have the Process Owner (PMO takes care about the level of WIP), who knows that all the projects will be delayed if there are too many of them in full swing. At what level will the effectiveness be, then? There you are...
Managing the adequate level of WIP (the number of projects run) is the condition of projects being due in a company.
There will be some more issues appearing soon. They are as much worth looking at them as this one. I’m planning to elaborate on these:
- Why in production companies is there such misunderstanding of the difference between the goal and the scope of a project? How does it influence the managed projects? How to cope with that?
- Why do introduction and successful implementation of the Project Sponsor function accelerate the execution?
- Why is it worth planning at the strategic, tactic and operational level?
- What is the difference between managing the availability of people in projects and managing the availability of people in projects portfolio? Why is it important?
- Why finding the real constraints in projects portfolio is so important? What is the influence of constraints on the project management effectiveness?
There is much behind us and still much ahead in case of the successful project management implementation in Inoutic. I’m willing to praise the company for the following:
- Sponsors and PM can well define the basics of the projects (goals, scope, deliverables, stages).
- Project sponsors actively support PM in project management, at the same time not taking over the steering wheel while driving (we have monthly projects approvals by the Steering Group and cyclical meetings and videos of Sponsors, PM and PMO).
- The quality and update of the schedules is correct.
- The attitude of looking for excuse (why it is not going as we planned) was changed into active search of solutions.
So far, apart from the current management of projects run (among others: building of a new warehouse, introducing two ranges of products that are very promising and well received on the market, implementing the modern system for production and distribution management) the bulk of our energy is devoted to cope with the existing constraints. If we are successful (and I see and believe that we will), we can talk about the real breakthrough, and we will share the news with you. Keep your fingers crossed.
The INOUTIC board has the same attitude towards sharing knowledge and experience as we do. They agreed upon what happened above, that is the description of what we were able to achieve and what is still ahead of us. Thank you.
Remember that if you want to receive an extra, detailed characteristics of project types that are worth learning to recognize, subscribe to our database via www.artstrategygroup.com, or send a request to join the newsletter to firstname.lastname@example.org If you have already done that, wait for your extras.
Till next time.