Project Governance – Competent project management

At eye4improve we have extensive experience in project governance to create successful quality improvement and implementation projects. Across the roles of project manager, program leader and steering group member we have learned what is most important when a project needs to be executed well.

 

Our approach to project management is based on a non-authoritarian management style, strong relationships with employees, clearly defined structures and factual decisions. These are the values and methods we uphold in all projects. In short, we carefully consider three key aspects when we work in project management: structure, people and information.

 

Get structure on the roles

In every project it is essential to know who does what and to ensure that everyone has a common understanding. Therefore, the structural part of our work is about defining roles from the start and coming up with a project design. In this regard, we can train project managers, establish steering groups and implement standards that ensure the project’s terminology is understood by everyone involved. If desired, we can also take on the role of project manager for the duration of the project.

 

Get employees involved

If a project has no clear purpose and your already-busy employees do not feel involved, they will lose interest and the time and skills they can invest into it will be lost. We help you to ensure that all participants in your project experience a strong sense that they are contributing and feel motivated and challenged, but also enjoy themselves at the same time. In doing so, employees take ownership of both the project and project delivery.

 

Make good decisions

The information aspect of our work involves the regular delivery of reports to the steering committee and management, with updates on the current status of a project. This is where the factual basis for decisions is created. It ensures that a project’s progress and decisions are based on hard data, and provides the opportunity to monitor areas for improvement and any imminent challenges.

Implemented and unfolded in the right way, the three aspects described above will help you to achieve success in your projects.

Case

The case deals with a company where I challenged its employees’ thinking, and where the cause and data analysis had a decisive impact on the success of the project.

 

”Optimization of Documentation Process”

– From gut feeling to facts

 
This optimization project is interesting because it is a problem that occurs in many organizations, where a focus is put on fixing a problem based on existing knowledge and experience, and where time is not spent on understanding and verifying the causes of the problem. This is partly because an organization may not have the knowledge and culture to do it, and partly because resources and tight deadlines set the limitations.

 

The company

An international company that produced advanced production facilities for its customers worldwide. It was very good at delivering its plants at right quality and at the agreed time.

 

The problem

The accompanying documentation for the company’s plants could be delayed by up to 180 days. The customers had previously accepted the delay, because the plants could be used without documentation – thought it wasn’t ideal to do so.

Given that the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) would soon come into force, such a delay on paperwork was no longer acceptable. According to the PED, customers would no longer be able to use a plant before the proper documentation was available.

In addition, the company began to outsource the production of sub-items to Ukraine. Outsourcing of production parts increased complexity in the documentation process and worsened delivery time.

There was therefore a need to fix the documentation process so that it could be delivered at the same time as the plant. If not, there was a risk of losing customers.

 

How the optimization project was solved

In the project, we needed to find out and understand the reasons for the variation in delivery times before we could optimize the process. As a result, the project’s structure took the lead in the DMAIC project model from the Six Sigma method.

 

Cross-organizational team secured necessary insight and anchorage

In charge of the assignment, I assembled a cross-organizational team of employees who represented the whole process, from sale to shipment. This, to ensure insight into the whole process and to bring all important stakeholders to the table; people who had the power to affect the process in some way. With the team assembled, we mapped the process from start to finish and developed a good understanding of the complexity of the entire process.

 

Collection of data to understand the variation in delivery time

To understand the causes for variation in delivery time, measurements and data were collected in a structured manner – a process that challenged the entire organization’s patience, as it had previously worked in a solution and action-oriented manner towards solving such problems.

 

From data frustration to data enthusiasm

The project had previously been focused on attempting to solve the problem based on experience and gut feelings. As the organization had tried this method, without success, it was willing to continue data collection until we, with statistical significance in data, could both confirm and reject hypotheses as to what was causing delivery time variation; a strong inclination for project workers to adopt, who could then convincingly argue for causes and solutions amongst colleagues and management. The management was able to keep the project within their sphere of priorities.

 

Identified reasons

Through mapping of the process and from data analysis, we were able to detect several causes for variation in delivery time:

  • ❗ The customer ordered a complete documentation package when it was not required
  • ❗ The requirement for documentation was ordered too late
  • ❗ Delivery time varied greatly from:
    • country to country
    • customer to customer
    • seller to seller
  • ❗ A big backlog of documentation, so no documentation could be delivered on time
  • ❗ On smaller standard packages, lead time was faster and with less variation

 

The improvement

With a new and improved understanding of the process and the problem, where the causes were known and verified, the solution was almost laying at our feet. The process was re-designed and streamlined. All non-value-creating (NVA) process steps were removed.

Establishing item no. on the documentation packages. This enabled the customer to order the required documentation at the same time as the plant itself. Additional documentation could be obtained at an additional cost. This meant that the customer began to actively consider what documentation they needed delivered.

Extra effort was put in to remove the backlog, so that the documentation process could start without delay.

 

Deliveries and results in the optimization project

  • ✅  The company could now provide documentation on time – along with the plant itself!
  • ✅ The company began to make money on the delivery of the documentation because additional documentation was now an extra service that could be billed.
  • ✅ The documentation department could start their work at the same time as the production of the plant.
  • ✅ VWhen ordering for delivery, both the company and the customer knew exactly which items should be delivered: product, documentation, government approvals, insurance and certificates, etc.

 

My project manager roles

I had several roles as project manager during the execution of the project. The most important were:

 

Employee involvement, commitment and progress

The success of the project was largely dependent on employee engagement. Through weekly scheduling / status meetings and individual follow-up, I made sure that employees could see that their contribution was crucial, and that their efforts were recognized. At the meetings, I ensured that they could see and sense the project’s ongoing progression, so that motivation remained intact.

 

Data processing, analysis and presentation

I was responsible for data collection and statistical analysis. The results were presented in an simple-to-understand and action-oriented way, so management could easily draw conclusions and make decisions. The simple presentation of data and facts made it easy for project participants to communicate the findings and knowledge throughout the organization, thus ensuring organizational anchorage.

 

Management anchoring and decision-making steering group meetings

I made sure that members of the steering committee and stakeholders were well informed before the steering committee meetings. This ensured that the leaders were well prepared for the meetings, so decisions about the project’s resources and progress could be effectively taken.

 ***

REFERENCES

We work under strict confidentiality (NDA) because we help customers with quality challenges they may not want to appear in the public domain.

Below you will find some of the feedback we have received from previous customers.

I had the pleasure to train and coach Michael in his Black Belt role at Johnson Controls. Michael is a real pleasure to work with and has become a very good friend. He has developed excellent process improvement skills and experience in both manufacturing and transactional process areas. A true professional that cares about people and is passionate about process improvement.

Frank Stewart

Master Black Belt , Johnson Controls INC

I will higly recommend Michael for his approach to set the right scope and quality in projects we have done together. Michael is able to keep a high momentum in his projects because of the strength of establishing a team spirit in the project teams and willingness to deliver on time.

Thanks a lot Michael.

Gert Jensen

Project engineer LEGO R&D Processing Technology, LEGO

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