»The introduction of project management is more cultural than technical. You have to win your colleagues over!«
The Gerresheimer Group, with its headquarters in Düsseldorf, is one of the world's leading partners to the pharma and healthcare industry,contributing to health and well-being with speciality glass and plasticproducts. Gerresheimer employs around 10,000 people in production, organization and IT in Europe, North and South America and Asia.
We spoke to Carsten Rieck, Group Director IT-Applications, about the introduction of Blue Ant.
Mr. Rieck, why did Gerresheimer decide to professionalize its project management with Blue Ant?
We wanted to increase the visibility of work and resource bottlenecks. The commercial processes, i.e. the billing and the determination of the expenses that flow into company projects, were also important to us.
What are classic company projects?
In my area, the focus is on SAP's global activities. These include, for example, the harmonization and standardization of business processes in the various divisions. So, company projects can be SAP migration projects and new implementations for SAP ERP or Manufacturing Execution systems.
The aim of the migration projects is to consolidate the previous old clients into one system. Our day-to-day business also
includes the global provision of application services and the implementation of global SAP rollouts or optimization projects.
What exactly does "global projects" mean?
Blue Ant is used in global IT worldwide. It is therefore used in the USA and in Europe, primarily in Germany. The participants are spread all over the world.
How many resources do these projects tie up?
As a rule, we plan projects in Blue Ant from a volume of 50 man-days and about ten to twelve project members from IT and specialist departments. A project usually hasa duration of between nine and twelve months.
And how has this been managed so far?
Before Blue Ant was introduced, projects were always managed and monitored locally in Excel. Instead of using one system, project plans were created individually in an Excel sheet and then schedules were created from them.
Project management is also a question of methods, competencies and processes. How does this work at Gerresheimer?
We are currently still in a state of change - above all with regard to the acceptance of the new procedure. Although we had a technical implementation project at the outset, many employees simply got used to Excel. In order to initiate another change of attitude and company culture, we worked with proventis and initiated additional basic and system training courses. We want to show the team what the sense and purpose of professional project management is and how they benefit personally from planning in Blue Ant.
What are the benefits in your view?
They are very complex. In our case, we would like to continuously improve IT performance. This is achieved, among other things, by making financially and personally planned resources and their utilization transparent and documenting progress, milestones, intermediate results, final results, tasks and risks. Project managers and teams should be able to record work effort and completion themselves. We also want to document projects for follow-up work, risk assessments and lessons learned. Blue Ant will also be used for cost allocation. Everyone can benefit from this.
You mentioned the training courses. Was there a great deal of effort involved?
I quickly familiarized myself with the system, but after the training I knew how to do some things better and faster. Anyone who knows the pain from the individual Excel world really appreciates it! With two to three days of training, you can master Blue Ant very well. When it comes to methodology, it's certainly a question of who the users are. For us, this is more time-consuming because we deal with consultants, rather than classic project managers.
Have you created a central office for project management that assumes responsibility in the form of a PMO?
This central office does not yet exist, but we are planning to use it in both the infrastructure and applications teams. This will unburden staff, who are currently doing this work themselves, in addition to the projects.
What tips would you give to others who are planning to introduce project management?
You should be clear what you want to use the system for later. And you have to win people over. In most cases, the technical aspect is not that decisive.
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Rieck.