Industrial R&D Projects Simplified
Improvement of resource pool utilization efficiency and project throughput predictability using project- and portfolio metrics in product development.
Danfoss Drives develops and manufactures AC drives for motor control with 5,000 employees worldwide. With production and R&D units located in China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Italy and the USA and over 1,000 R&D engineers, they are a real technology trendsetter.
Two main challenges had been identified by the company. At the time of the study start, significant delays were common in new product development projects and product launches were frequently affected. The company needed also to understand the improvement potential in resource usage efficiency.
The work was started with a cause-effect analysis, which led to four main areas for more detailed studies.
Among these areas were project planning related topics: quality of created project plans, accuracy of effort estimates and availability of competent resources to execute plans. The conclusion from this initial analysis was the need to create a dashboard containing metrics and indicators to help to understand current status and after
that the effect of improvement actions to measured efficiency.
Further constraints and guidelines for the metrics
- There needs to be a transparent way of working describing how the metrics are calculated, analyzed, published and especially how actions are defined and managed.
- In order to be able to compare metrics between various kinds of projects, the measurements should rather be relative than absolute, e.g. one should measure the actuals vs. the plans instead of comparing plain actual values between different project
- Each metric needs to include a definition of positive and negative indication for both the actual metric value and its trend.
- Avoid metrics that require specific data input tasks for the calculation and use as much as possible data already available in various IT-applications, like time stamps of events.
- Avoid any additional calculation and reporting tasks, especially for project team members and project managers
- Especially the last constraints strongly point out the need for an integrated planning environment, instead of separate documents in various formats resulting inevitable manual work.
Study of potential metric types quickly led the work towards commonly known Earned Value Analysis and variety of indexes available. The analysis would be possible based on the data easily available during project planning and execution in Keto® project and portfolio management application.
To address the main issues of planning accuracy and resource availability two simple indexes were selected:
- CPI, Cost Performance Index describes the accuracy of the project plan, as it is calculated by dividing the value of actual performed work with planned value of the wok completed: CPI = AC/ PV. CPI values less than 1 indicate that more work than planned has been required to produce the outcome, while values greater than 1 indicate that the results were available with less work than planned. The natural target performance for this
indicator is 1.0 resulting optimal reservation of resources for the work to be performed.
- SPI, Schedule Performance Index describes the capability to execute the tasks and obtain expected value as planned. This index is calculated by dividing the current realized value of tasks with the planned value at this time, SPI = EV/PV. As above,the target value is 1, with smaller values indicating slower availability of results and higher value faster performance.
Both graphical and numerical presentations for these indices were prepared in Keto environment to support the communication of the status. Additional analysis results were also prepared using process capability analysis, which provided more insight into the effectiveness of actions initiated. The indications of these metrics were complemented and verified by additional data from project manager reports and reports related to resource pool
The main achievements during the follow-up period were:
- Predictability of the projects in the portfolio improved significantly. For example, the target tolerance
of accuracy indicators could be tightened from initial +/- 0.2 to 0.1 as projects started to meet their plans.
- The projects started to actively utilize the metrics and initiate actions based on their findings
- The written project reports showed correlation with the metrics, for example indications of increased
resource needs were less common
- Further ideas for improvement of project and portfolio dashboards started to appear
- Metrics are useful when they are defined to give objective information on the identified success factors
- A transparent process from measurements to executed actions is needed to ensure the improvement
- Availability of an integrated management application, like Keto® PPMT, is a key factor in realizing a truly working solution
About Danfoss drives segment: ”Driven By Drives”
“We are driven by drives and passionate about providing a competitive edge in key applications across various industries. Danfoss Drives is unique in that it is 100% focused on developing, manufacturing and supplying AC drives. Our portfolio of high-quality, application-optimized products maximizes process performance, saves the most energy and minimizes emissions.
With two giants in the drives industry – Danfoss and Vacon – now successfully merged, we can offer 68 years of combined experience and 5,000 people specialized in motor control related to all industries and applications situated around the world. Our production and R&D units are located in China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Italy and the USA. And, with around 1,000 research and development engineers, we are a technology trendsetter; able to push the boundaries of innovation to strengthen our customers’ competitive edge, and to enable the
world of tomorrow to do more with less. With centers of excellence in key regions, sales companies and service centers in more than 50 countries and an overall presence in more than 100 countries
Improving Processes for New Product Development
Serres provides reliable single-use medical devices for the international healthcare community, with significant operations in Europe, USA and China. A continuous focus on product development enables them to set the standard in ease of use and user experience. Their products and known and trusted for their innovation, design, user-friendliness and superior quality.
The main challenges faced by Serres related to resource management and slow timelines for projects. They needed to have more focus on resource management and project timelines in the future, with a global aim to improve portfolio management across the organisation, especially within R&D and New Product Development teams.
Serres chose the Keto Agile PPM solution with ideas management, portfolio management, resource management and project management. As part of a wider change programme, this allowed for more automation of key project tasks and to benchmark different projects in a way so that they are clearly visible across all users of the system. Decisions are now based on real time data and insights.
Together with Keto Software, all the project models in place have been integrated in to the new platform. We have been able to get rid of vast amounts of Word and Excel documents. These have been replaced by a single source of truth for project plans, Gantt-charts, business case calculations, resource management, hourly reporting, progress reports. This has clarified and standardised the project processes and the time-to-market for new
products is much shorter than before. Post mortem and Post audit reports, together with all the project data, are now in the same place. All the information is easy to find and manage, with Gate decisions and minutes also included within the system. This means that the management team and board of directors can easily follow and manage online the progress of projects in the portfolio in real-time.
Keto has proven to be flexible and efficient supplier in fulfilling our needs. We use the software from idea management all the way through the whole project management process, including resource management, cost follow up and portfolio management and reporting.
This allows us to have a single clear view on our entire portfolio and all the projects contained within.
International collaboration between teams has also been simplified since we moved away from using
Excel spreadsheets for running projects. Going forward, we are planning to expand the use even further
to other departments across the group.
Our users appreciate the ease of use of the Keto platform and internal processes have become clearer and faster. The documentation is more coherent, project management has been simplified and reaching the targets has become much easier than before.
We can now recognise all deviations earlier and then take faster corrective actions thanks to the system.
We are very happy with the support we get from Keto on an ongoing basis.
Agile PPM for Complex IoT Projects
Kone is a global leader in the lift and escalator industry with a strategic objective to make people's journeys safe, convenient and reliable in taller, smarter buildings. Kone is listed as one of the World’s Most innovative Companies by Forbes.
As a leader in smart buildings, Kone wanted to develop a new range of products using the IBM Watson IoT platform. By connecting their lifts to the cloud, listening closely to the data and then analysing their messages, they would be able to tailor the perfect maintenance to each individual lift. However, with increasingly complex projects that can involve hundreds of employees in diverse locations, Kone soon realised that they would need to radically improve both their project portfolio tools and their methodologies to accommodate the IoT element of projects alongside their existing manufacturing and installation project teams.
The Keto Agile PPM solution was implemented over a period of 8 weeks. For Kone, the end goal was for the project director of a new IoT project implementation to have a clear picture on exactly what is happening on a project with a Gantt chart that incorporates both Waterfall and Agile project methodologies. The platform was tailored to exactly mirror the project structure already in place by replicating the different programmes, portfolios and the workflows in operation. The flexibility of the Keto solution allows Kone R&D directors the choice of using different project methodologies for different parts of the portfolio. The Keto Agile PPM resource allocation tools were also implemented at the same time to optimise resources across the portfolios and standardise routines for hundreds of staff members and contractors. Several integrations with HR systems, ERP and financial systems were also required.
Kone have been using Keto Agile PPM since 2009 and during that time they have seen more and more internal teams using the platform. As the roll out took shape, the R&D director and the group PMO have managed to create a single true view to manage a portfolio of increasingly complex IoT projects that often include elements of both Agile and Waterfall. Standardised resource management workflows have significantly reduced the amount of time spent on this activity and improved the visibility and transparency across the project portfolio. This has also lead to a better allocation of resources across different projects.
The system is compact and very easy to use. There are not huge amounts of irrelevant buttons which mean that it can be used for many kinds of projects and the teams are not distracted by having too many unwanted options. We have had a very positive experience of using Keto Software and they are very responsive to our many requests and willing to develop bespoke tools. For the future, we want to move on to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and the Keto platform will help us to achieve this. Over the next few years, we will continue to expand the usage of the platform in more and more countries.
Updating Innovation Best Practices
Tata Steel Colorcoat, based in North Wales, are experts in the design and manufacture of pre-finished steel products for building envelope, metal roofing and steel cladding.
With over 500 employees base across a huge site, Tata Steel were keen to improve the performance and reliability of their “All Improvements Matter” ideas scheme. In 2011, they wanted to move away from a paper based system and started to explore options for creating an online ideas system.
The Keto Ideas Management module was selected to provide the online ‘All Improvements Matters’ scheme to all of the employees at the site. The platform was tailored to suit the organisation structure in place by exactly replicating the different divisions and the required idea workflow. In this case, an idea is submitted by any employee would be sent to review, assessed by line managers then either implemented or rejected. The solution automatically generates email reminders and to-do lists to facilitate the smooth running of the scheme. For the assessors, the system will automatically identify duplicates and group similar ideas together. A personalised range of dashboards was also created for the management to monitor the performance.
Tata Steel have been using Keto Ideas Management module since 2011 and during that time they have seen increased employee engagement through an improved pipeline of ideas. Several of the ideas submitted through the new system have resulted in significant cost savings for Tata Steel, with the employees involved benefitting from the maximum financial reward available under the scheme. When the site underwent a change of management recently and a different option was proposed by the new owners, it was soon evident that the Keto Solution offered a more robust and dependable option and was retained.
The website is user friendly and allows employees from all around the site to enter their ideas. The status of each idea is clearly visible and people who entered the idea can check for themselves to see what is happening about their idea. The website also produces statistics which allow the management of the scheme to be reviewed. As a company, Keto Software have been able to sort out any issues promptly to ensure that the system runs all the time.
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Keto Platform for Innovation and Development
The Keto Platform for Innovation and Development is designed to give you clarity on your programme management blending both Agile/WBS methodologies. Visualisations of the resource load, status reporting, phases/tasks, risk management, task dependencies and GANTT presentations are simplified. Stakeholders can use forecasting/realised expenses and hour reporting to increase efficiency and make better decisions.
- Oversee and prioritise programmes and projects
- Efficient and structured use of your resources
- Easy visualisation of “What If” scenarios
- Insights on project costs, deliverables and benefits
- Real-time status of the project portfolio
- Combine WBS and Agile methodologies within the same project
- Complete audit and project transparency
- Real-time management reporting
- Programme Management
- Portfolio Management for projects
- Resource, Competency, Work-load Management and Approval Workflows
- Work Breakdown Structure/GANTT Presentation
- Agile Methodology (Backlogs, Sprints and Kanban boards)
- Project Manager Status Reporting
- Dashboard Reporting with multiple reports available
- Budgets, Forecasting and Realised Expenses
- Hour Reporting
- Easy integration with other systems
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We would love to show you how Keto can help you with your own PPM challenges. Our Keto Platform for Innovation and Development has been developed has been developed over 10 years with unique tools that can revolutionise project and portfolio management activities inside your organisation.