»We were won over not only by the functions and configuration options, but above all by the professional support.«
As part of the B·A·D Group with more than 4,300 experts in Germany and Europe, B·A·D GmbH manages over 280,000 branches with over four million employees. This makes B·A·D one of Europe’s largest occupational health and safety management providers.
We spoke with Armin Fiedler, head of the project management office at B·A·D GmbH, about the introduction of Blue Ant.
Mr. Fiedler, what is your position at B·A·D GmbH?
I am head of the Project Management Office (PMO), which was founded at the beginning of 2018. Since 2016, I have been working to professionalize project management at B·A·D GmbH.
What is the core business of B·A·D GmbH?
With our experts (occupational physicians, occupational safety specialists, health management consultants, medical assistants), we have been supporting companies in all sectors of industry throughout Europe in occupational health and safety and health management for over 40 years. Our core business is therefore not necessarily project management.
B·A·D GmbH Headquarters in Bonn
Which topics are typically dealt with in your projects?
My subject area is concerned exclusively with internal projects aimed at helping the company develop in the market with a view to the future. We currently have 20 ongoing projects in our portfolio. The majority of these are IT projects that renew or expand our platform and infrastructure services and replace or introduce existing business applications. In addition, there are other projects in which organizational changes are being implemented. For example, we are currently working on positioning B·A·D in the market as an integrated system provider and, in doing so, on integrating the three divisions of Medicine, Technology and Health Management more closely for the benefit of our customers.
How many people work on projects?
We employ about 15 internal and external project managers. In the beginning we valued external know-how, but we are increasingly focusing on internal development with further training and certifications. Two to three people work on smaller projects and more than 50 on larger projects. Two other PMO employees are responsible for supervising the projects and designing the necessary project management framework. They provide support with order clarification, layout planning and controlling. The PMO also has project managers, who can take on the management of large and strategically important projects.
What led you to Blue Ant?
In the past, our project management was carried out without clear structures and specifications. The project managers themselves decided how to plan, document and control their projects using a variety of methods: local installations, project management applications, Excel, even planning in their heads. This was very time-consuming and quality also suffered. In 2016, management decided that something had to change. What was important to us during the professionalization process was a uniform, transparent overview of our project portfolio. In principle, this could only work with central project management software. We then looked around for various solutions.
Why did you choose Blue Ant?
Blue Ant was already in use at our real estate department and attracted our interest. Ultimately, it was the functions and configuration options that impressed us the most. The cost framework was also a good fit. It was particularly important to us that proventis could also support us in the design, implementation and rollout of the project management process. We made our decision quickly.
How did the introduction of the software go?
The setting up of the project management process was actually the biggest part, directly followed by the training and qualification of potential project managers. proventis' training concept resolved this well. First of all, we trained all managers at headquarters in the basics in a one-day workshop: What does project management actually mean, what is the role of the client and the project manager? For the prospective project managers, we set up a two-day methodical and then a one-day tool training course. Here, the theoretical knowledge was put back into practice. To date, we have trained around 80 employees in their various roles. The software, on the other hand, was set up really quickly.
How do you assess the plan quality of the projects today?
When we started with project management, we were able to report at best a semi-valid actual percent complete. Today, all projects in the portfolio have a project plan with which it is possible to make a valid statement about the planned and actual stage of completion. And we have milestones that we can check. So, we can always react adequately.
What do you intend to do in the field of project management in the future?
Resource management is a key focus here. We are just beginning to record the planned work for realistic periods of time. In the future, we would also like to use Blue Ant to record actual working hours to ensure that the service that has been planned is performed. The long-term goal is also to integrate the actual costs from our SAP system into Blue Ant so that we can provide all the relevant data for project management in one system.
Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr. Fiedler!