Success factors for improved project management at SKF
In this podcast, Johan Human, Manager Global Project Management SKF, gives some highlights of the building blocks and principles that makes the new project management within SKF so powerful.
Could you give some highlights of the building blocks and principles that makes the new project management within SKF so powerful? You said earlier for example the sizing scorecard.
Yes, but maybe before we get to the sizing scorecard it’s good to mention that the method and this new way of working is based on best practice, and because it’s based it’s best practice you have something that is principle-based, not something that is based on people’s own initiatives. That makes it something very powerful. Because in most instances you find people trying to come up with own initiatives and own interpretations. Whereas this is based on best practice and a bigger community and a broader community so therefore you gain that experience for very little cost in the organisation by using a best practice approach. Using a best practice approach is then containing principles and control themes and management products for your product management areas.And within that you can say how should the project look like, so defining it what kind of size of project should you have. And we came up with a very simple way of working That’s always the interesting part: Do you have a project, yes or no? Is it defined according to our definition? And then when you’ve defined it, how do you start? Is it work package? Is it typical, simple or a complex project which is the four areas that we use to project complexity and SKF, and for us the assessing score card is a starting point.which kind of directs you with a nine-point questionnaire. So if you’re not sure, start with that; it’s a very simple exercise.That’s the starting point. Then the next step is to go into more detail and you can read up about that within our area online and I can show you what you should do.
Why is that so important to grade your project and label at what level the project or initiative is at?
It’s important to classify your projects because that will eliminate a lot of waste from a cost and time perspective, but also we spoke earlier is the load. So you have to know what activities is to be performed, by an individual or by a team, so you can actually forecast and be better at predictability. So from that perspective, if you know you’re going to do a certain type of project or a certain work package, you know what kind of resources, you know what kind people need to be added to make it successful.
Interesting. You also mentioned earlier that you have to be very specific when separating business processes and project processes. Could you elaborate a bit on that?
Yes, that is an interesting point, because what we tend to do, and we’ve seen that in the past not only in our organisation, but we’ve seen that from companies that we benchmarked is that a lot of people have done in early-on stages is to take project management to embed them into the business process. It can be done, but then it has to be very experienced people to work in that are to understand what is the project process, or the project life cycle, and what is the business process. Otherwise it becomes very cumbersome, very complex, and it can take very long time to get anything done in that process.
Interesting. You also said you have to be less prescriptive and by being that you will get more output.
Yes, because if you think about it logically — if I’m gonna give you a list and say ‘please take this list, tick the boxes’ and then you’ve done that but you feel why should I do it, what is the reason for filling in this template. But if you get taught in a fashion to say ‘fine, if I require all these templates or require certain documents to fulfill a certain function then I know ah, this is the reason I’m doing this, there’s a benefit to doing it’. Because I can reuse it. But if it’s just a long list of stuff I have to check, and you don’t actually apply to use it, what’s the benefit of doing it.
Then motivation goes down.
And motivation goes down, so yes from that perspective you shouldn’t be to prescriptive, and get people to think, because then you interact with your activities and the task you have to do.
On that thing you said, “don’t make it complicated”, I heard you say it before several times. “Don’t make it complicated!”
Yeah, you want to make it as simple as possible. And we always say in our world within SKF project management: “Don’t assume you have a complex project if you don’t go through the right classifications”. Rather start at the lower end so you have a simple project you can then scale up. Always start on the other side. And then we see that people have a tendency to always complicate things, make it more difficult. And why? Why do you have to do that?and the end of the day you have to focus on what you have to deliver, and if you can do it in a few simple steps, then why not do it in a few simple steps.
Another interesting thing from the discussion before was you have often allocation of resources towards the individual, allocation of resources towards the project, but not som much against the organisation that should support the project or be aware of what the project is doing at the moment. And you’re doing that a bit differently.
Yeah, because once again, we’re focusing on the deliverable. What is it that we’re trying to deliver? We’re not focusing on how loaded is the people, because load can be deceiving sometimes. You can be fully loaded but you can’t deliver anythungat the end of the day. We’d rather want to say that the product has to be delivered and then we want to say that you can have less load. That it’s up to you to decide. Hence the reason we want you to understand how do you classify what you’re going to do. Classification is important, from that perspective.
I want to get back to that you said earlier that you’re using Best Practice. Isn’t that, if you say Best practice, could you really apply best practice from one part of the organisation to another. Or is this something you’d have to think about when applying best practice?
Well, if you look at… we’ve had another initiative within SKF recently we call Business and that’s also principle-based , also best practice. And if you have something like that project management is also best practice-based. Then it becomes very easy for the individual to think how will i apply this when I go back to the organisation . And yes it is done, and it’s also a lot more easier for people in faraway places from the head office to take on principles or the best practice approach. And then applied to that area and trying to rethink something and start it up on their own.
So finally a question — how would you advice a company that’s starting to work with a training partner. What’s the best practice in working with a partner such as Wenell?
Besides choosing Wenell as a first point. That is the most logical step, I would say. But it’s also the way that they approach training the curriculum that we have in place. You know our content and our structure. And that message is brought across to our people that is being trained. Hence the reason I must also admit that the project management training within SKF is one of the most popular trainings that we have. in our academy. So if I’d had to be really non-biased I’d say that Wenell has the capability, they have the experience, and they also have the knowledge. And if you combine all of those elements, in what you’re trying to do within an organisation, whether it is trying to embed or trying to implement, you’d really get the benefit if you use a company such as Wenell.