With over 16,000 employees across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, Agilent’s project management system in 2015 left managers with too many unanswered questions. As a leading electronic equipment supplier for major laboratories across the globe, Agilent’s project portfolio was complex, to say the least.
Gary Powers, Agilent’s R&D Systems Manager, recounts the company’s journey to optimized resource management in his presentation at the Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference, which began with a methodical and well-researched approach to finding a solution.
That same year, Agilent sought more clarity into their project portfolio. At the time, they didn’t have answers to what projects were in plan vs. in flight; what project risks existed; when the next project could start; who was working where and on what; or what resources and skills were needed and when were they available.
“We thought the problem was project management,” Mr. Powers recalls. “We had projects that were stalled and had indefinite schedules, that were not aligned with our strategy or roadmaps, projects with insufficient oversight, and little or no visibility into current or future project staffing.”
What plagued Agilent the most was its “fragmented, inconsistent enterprise standards, processes, and tools.” That’s what was inhibiting the organization’s ability to prioritize, select, initiate, staff, execute, review, and deliver projects.
After implementing an online project management system in 2015, Agilent came away with multiple insights. Most crucially, they learned that while demonstrating a core competency in project management, they needed to grow in the area of portfolio management.
Their new enterprise roadmap set a goal of being able to prioritize and execute the right projects. It also established three different management groups, one of which was specifically dedicated to Resource Management—recruitment, retention, development, and management.
In 2017, Agilent realized the final phase of their solution once they adopted Tempus Resource. With Tempus’s stable on-premise system as well as its intuitive and responsive interface that was easy to learn for non-IT employees across multiple languages and cultures, the organization began to fully leverage its new abilities in resource management.
The unified Tempus system quickly provided end-to-end data integrity and served as Agilent’s single source of truth, eliminating the various scattered data sources requiring constant verification. “Now we know, if it’s not in Tempus, it doesn’t exist,” states Mr. Powers.
For security reasons, not every person at Agilent can login to Tempus, so Mr. Powers relies on the easy reporting functions to extract data and generate monthly reports for distribution. Most beneficial has been gaining clarity and transparency into project owners and supporting owners while using a minimal data set to maintain simplicity and prevent information overwhelm.
Reflecting on Agilent’s journey, Mr. Powers names their “enterprise-wide view of the complete project and resource landscape” as one of their biggest gains. “We used to assume that project approval meant automatic resource staffing,” he recalls. Today, however, Agilent’s key to success is “prioritizing the right resources on the right projects at the right time.”
We are grateful to Gary Powers for sharing Agilent’s narrative of success and invite you to watch his full presentation below: