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Stadco is one of the UK’s biggest providers of automotive ‘body-in-white’ products and services and produces pressed steel and aluminium car parts and panels for Jaguar Land Rover, among others. It employs over 1,000 people in five locations across the country, though it has other operations all over the world.
Chas Parker, Stadco’s head of IT, is based at the company’s Shrewsbury headquarters and is responsible for managing up to ten projects simultaneously. In a manufacturing environment, there is a constant pressure on Chas and his team to deliver completed projects on time, every time.
As soon as Chas started in his role at Stadco, he set out to introduce an IT project management framework that would guarantee data transparency and visibility across all his projects and give him proper risk management.
“In previous lives I have used a lot of the bigger project management tools,” said Chas. “The problem with many of them is that you spend all your time inputting information rather than managing the project. For example, having to fill out all the screens and then subsequently search for the data you want becomes very frustrating, as well as being very slow and backward looking.”
But his team had just started to use PM3 from Bestoutcome when he arrived in the job and he was immediately impressed. “PM3 is extremely elegant and easy to use but it’s also functionally rich. It allows me to focus on exactly what I want, very quickly, being structured around project outcomes and benefits rather than task management.
“This is precisely what my senior management team want. They want to understand about the risk of lost opportunities and missed benefits because that’s the world they live in. There are some very useful dashboards within PM3 with all the milestone information on one screen. This enables me to produce single reports in terms that make perfect sense to senior management and to me.”
Chas is now broadening his use of PM3, populating more of the tools covering issues such as resource management, enabling him to anticipate shortfalls within projects and reallocate or add people exactly when they are needed.
Meanwhile, he is deploying Bestoutcome’s Outcome Driven Project Management (ODPM) framework to bring proper governance around every project rather than getting sucked into a seamless flow of end-to-end work. “Using the framework and PM3 together to introduce the concept of gates between project elements ensures that we have proper business cases and the right resources available to use before we start.
“This is where ODPM and PM3 are especially good: they map together to enable you to relate project resourcing, governance and reporting. You get total visibility and proper risk management.”
Chas is keenly aware that project managers are sometimes guilty of being more centred on their frameworks and toolsets than they are on actually delivering their projects.
“The beauty of PM3 and ODPM is that they start with the outcome. They enable you to focus on what you want to achieve and then go through everything in the right order: planning, requirements gathering, monitoring and then closure. All these elements are built into the toolset, not in a proscriptive way but one that offers maximum flexibility,” said Chas.
“It’s very contemporary, logical way of looking at project management. You sense that a lot of experience and thinking has gone into producing something that fits with management needs of today. It really is the antithesis of the old approach: big systems, big consultancy and tired methodologies that have had their day.”
“In our industry there is a pressing need to connect project management with short and medium term business goals. Bestoutcome’s toolset and framework enable complete transparency between the day-to-day work of the project teams and the planned outcomes in a rigorous but flexible way.”
Within the automotive industry, flexibility is crucial and Chas and his team need the ability to upscale quickly in response to demand. “With Bestoutcome and PM3 as a hosted product I don’t have to worry about infrastructure or anything like that. I can just add additional licences as I need them without any headaches and keep focused on the job of project management.”
Bestoutcome specialises in complex change management for large organisations operating in sectors such as retail, finance, manufacturing and the public sector. Its approach is based on delivering specific business outcomes within a uniquely transparent, risk managed and open framework. This is achieved by using highly experienced consultants combined with PM3 - an elegant, flexible, toolset - and ODPM, an outcome-driven methodology. Bestoutcome’s starting point is always the same: the client’s ultimate business goal. And it never loses sight of this.