You can watch the replay of Bodo Ferber’s full presentation, “Using Tempus for Transparency in Projects,” below:
Bodo Ferber of Siemens Healthineers presented at the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference on October 8, 2020
Based in Marburg, Germany, Bobo Ferber is a Project Lead in Multi-project Management at Siemens Healthineers. With over 500 projects, 2,000 R&D resources, and data spread across 1,000 different Excel files, Siemens was rated at an RMO maturity level of 1 in 2016. In his presentation at the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference, Ferber described the journey Siemens took toward resource management maturity, using Tempus Resource as their single source of truth, data, reporting, and What-If planning.
With Tempus, Siemens’ project planning process begins with resource modeling. Part of their RM maturity has revolved around not adding any new projects without fully understanding the project scope, required resources, capacity, skills, and start dates. When you know all of these factors, you can have “proper prioritization,” Ferber explains, and ensure the organization can execute “without impacting other projects or initiatives.”
Along their “Innovation Path,” one new project planning checkpoint is the “Quick Kill.” Being more selective and careful with which projects to initiate means Siemens’ portfolio is better aligned with their business goals. Finally, a potential project gets loaded into the Tempus What-If planning tool, providing an overview of how a generic new project would fit into the portfolio. It’s here that Ferber is able to spot potential bottlenecks, which he sees as the most problematic issue that delay or derail projects.
In terms of process, Siemens now uses a Quarterly Planning Cycle, in which they look at projects for the upcoming quarter, along with a look at the next six months, the next year, and then a snapshot of the next three years. While Ferber knows that the further out you plan, the lower your accuracy, Siemens sticks with this planning cycle for a few reasons. With over 350 people in development, the organization knows it is impossible to account for everyone without a robust tool like Tempus, and without careful proactive planning. Also, planning ahead ensures looks into resource overload and conflicts.
Next in the cycle are demand planning, resource approval, conflict resolution, scenario modeling, and forecasting. Again, the project goes through the What-If tool to check for resource overloads. From that point, Ferber splits the planning processes into one for projects with resource conflicts, and one for projects without such conflicts.
The future of Siemens’ resource management includes plans to use Tempus in place of their current cost planning tool; implementing a Skills Matrix; consolidating all resources and financials into Tempus for ease and visibility; and increasing automations and integrations for optimal productivity.
To learn more about how Resource Portfolio Management can help your organization grow in RMO maturity, contact ProSymmetry, makers of Tempus Resource. And be sure to check out all of our speakers from the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference.
As was already said by Greg, my name is Bodo Feber and I am working for the PMO office at Siemens Healthineers in Marburg. I’m really happy to share our experience at Siemens Healthineers with the Tempus Resource tool with you.
First of all, I’d like to start with who we are and where we are, and next I will go over to our project planning process, our planning approach, quarterly planning cycle, allocation and time sheets, and finally I’d like to share some dashboards with you that we developed for our management to put all information in a very compressed form together.
Siemens Healthineers is a very big company in the IVD market. We have over 50,000 employees in more than 70 countries all over the world and we are one of the biggest companies in this business, as you can see on this slide. The Marburg company is just one small part of it. We have around about 1,200 employees over here and in total we cover all major segments of the IVD market. Besides IVD or laboratory diagnostics, we are also one of the largest companies in imaging and with the upcoming merge with Varian we will expand our business also in cancer therapies. In Marburg, as you can see on this slide on the bottom, we are developing hemostasis and plasma protein assays for diagnosis and in Schwalbach, which is about 100 kilometers away near Frankfurt, we are doing the development of our analysis and software.
Just to see it on a slide for those of you have never heard about Marburg, which would not surprise me. Marburg is lying nearly in the middle of Germany and Schwalbach is not far away, just about 100 kilometers near Frankfurt. Just to give you an impression about Marburg, which is a really, really nice town in a beautiful city lying at the Riverland. It’s not very big, only about 70,000 people live here. It was founded in 1222, so it’s more than 8,000 years old. Wikipedia said, and this is really funny, the old city, which has always been famous for the holy Elizabeth who is buried in Marburg, lies crooked and humped near the old castle down the mountain. This was the judgement of a Marburg professor called Johann Heinrich more than 200 years ago. Being honest, it’s still a little bit like this. The overall architecture, especially in the town, didn’t change too much. So if you go through Marburg you will feel like being set up a thousand years ago. At the moment, Marburg got its place in the German news due to the fact that one of the most promising companies for the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, BioNTech has just bought a former facility of Novartis and will produce the vaccines there.
Where We Started
On the bigger picture you can see our facility, which is lying in the middle of a forest. Sean has been there several times and he knows already how it looks there. The red circle in the middle describes the building we are sitting in, the PMO office is sitting in. We share this place with two other big companies that work in pharma business. They are called CSL and GlaxoSmithKline.
After this short introduction I will come to the moment when we started with Tempus in 2016. We had more than 500 projects in Germany and the United States and Terrytown and Glasgow. We had seven steering boards and honestly we had no real resource management. We had around a thousand Excel files and some home view database for resource management and budgeting. This was more or less finance driven and not project driven. In 2016 we decided to introduce Tempus as a single source of truths, as we already heard this day, as the base of our way to bring the development and activity on a mature level. This time we had a maturity level of one, meanwhile I think we are far beyond.
Where We Are
This is where we are now. We introduced Tempus and this is really widely accepted by our people. We have a stable resource planning. We have introduced the Tempus timesheet system to check plan versus actuals. We already do data analysis and data consolidation. We have developed a dashboard with all relevant information in one or two sheets just to show this to our management to give them a quick overview with all the relevant data. We will soon start project scheduling and introduce external costs because this is always a plan. Within Tempus we have only one tool people can look in and check where their projects are. For the future, we already started but we are not at a state of releasing this yet, we will start automation for reporting and we will try to introduce the skills management. But at the moment we are discussing this with our workers’ council and they have to be always involved in every change we do inside Tempus, we do inside our developing processes.
Project Planning Processes
What do we do or how do we use Tempus in our project planning process? After this short introduction, let’s pass over to this and I will try to show you our process and just try to transport something we established to have transparency within our project processes.
Resource Modeling and Project Portfolio
First of all, what did we learn during the past years? The biggest thing was, before we even think about adding a project into our project portfolio, we really need to understand what is the exact project scope. This sounds silly, but once we had a discussion with one of our managers, in which we tried to compare developing a car with our job. He said if you develop a car, everybody knows a car needs to have four wheels. That’s easy, but being honest, write it in the requirements list. If you develop an analyzer or an assay for a laboratory and you do a test customer driven development and you ask a customer what do you need and the customer will say the assay must be reliable, it must be good, and it must be cheap. An analyzer must be easy to use and it must be reliable and it must be stable and it must be cheap. If you try to transform this into requirement or into a project, you will soon realize that there’s a lot of open questions and beside this, you have a world going forward with like Covid-19. Covid-19 was coming last year in November and December and nobody knew anything about this until today. So what we are doing is we are watching the market and we fill in new ideas, project ideas, coming from everywhere and we discuss those ideas. Some of them will be quickly killed because they do not fit to our portfolio if it does not fit to our company. After this first scoring, we decide about the other possible projects and finally those projects will go into a funnel list and at that moment PMO or multi-project management will come into this deal. We list all those projects in what we call a funnel list and finally check out what resources are needed, how much money is needed and how it fits to our portfolio and so on and so on. At the end of the day we do an analysis using Tempus how this project can be realized into our organization. Within this timeframe we decide what type of resources are needed, when they are needed, with what capacity they are needed and, as mentioned by Donna, what skills do we need.
Since we are doing this process we are selecting projects more carefully and they are better aligned with our portfolio. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t do this before, but now we have some transparency to show everybody why we decided this way or that way. Only if you really understand you can do a proper prioritization within your organization and you able to execute those projects without impacting others, and that’s something that really helped us.
What if: New Projects – When Can We Start?
The first thing we do is we enter what we call a generic project into the Tempus What-If analyzer, and we check where we can put in this project into our portfolio or into our timeline. Therefore, we use Tempus, as I already said, a project that we have already developed that more or less build up the process of developing an assay or changing an assay of developing an analyzer or developing a software. Those model projects are based only on roles and what we realize is, and this was already mentioned a couple of times today, was that bottlenecks are the most problematic things within a project, so we really check here very carefully where we can place a project into our portfolio into our planning just based first of all on generic resources. Those generic resources will, after the decision is done, when those projects can be executed, replaced by named resources with real colleagues.
Quarterly Planning Cycle
If this process is done, we have decided to go on with a quarterly planning cycle because as our development times are typically between half a year or a couple of years, it doesn’t make any sense to do this replanning on a monthly basis. This is too atomic. Having a quarterly planning cycle is absolutely sufficient for us. It might be another thing for other companies, but for our business, for our company it’s absolutely sufficient.
What does it mean and how do we do that? Within the next quarter, that means from today on until Christmas, I think most of the people have a very clear idea what they will do within this time. The next we say is plan the next six months and we know exactly that this will probably represent 75 percent of accuracy. I know today, next March or April will be Easter, but what I will do. And I do not really know today. And this is going on for the next 12 months until the end of the project. Nobody knows what will be in six months, if there will be another Covid, if there will be nothing, if there will be whatever. But it’s better to know what will be in three years or it’s better to know that there will still be a project ongoing and we need some resources in three years, but to not know that and that’s why we plan projects over very long time periods even with the knowledge that this is just a snapshot at least. But it’s better to know than not to know.
The function within these quarterly planning cycles is broken down in different steps. We do the demand planning which is done by the project. We do the resource approval which is done by the resource managers. We do a conflict resolution. Finally, we do a model scenario and a forecast. Everything is driven here by finance because they need to check the forecast and they need to check against the budget. It is always possible to change within the demand planning, the project, or the requirements for a project. The only time when we stop or ask the project, to stop their planning or the changes is during the conflict resolution and the model scenario.
What-If: Check Resource Overload
We finalize this process using again the Tempus What-If analyzer because you very clearly and very fast can see if you have a resource overload, and this is necessary because we have 350 people within our department and it’s impossible to really check within the different projects if there is a resource overload or not. This is very easy for people working in the laboratories because they typically have only one or two projects. This is impossible by all supporting organizations like marketing, like finance, like quality, like regulatory affairs, or even like people who are doing the manuals because they sometimes have just a two or three-day job within a project, but they have all the projects. And so you really need to ensure that those resources are not completely overbooked or overloaded. And here is What-If analysis, a really helpful tool, to ensure that you will really be able to go on with your project.
Tempus Planning Process
This piece is summarizing the process again and what I want to point out is planning freeze on the one side and I would like to talk about the process if there are no resource conflicts. Typically, we have resource conflicts. Here we go again in the cycle. We try to solve those conflicts. We try to prioritize and we really check each quarter again. Are we able to solve the conflicts to go on in a process or do we have to postpone and put some tasks on another timeline, rearrange things and so on and so on. If this process is finalized, we release the planning cycle and go on with our project. We do not stop the projects during this time. We just stop the planning.
Another really helpful and main part of this process is the timesheets within Tempus. The timesheets process. The timesheet is filled out by every employee, and this is also part of transparency because if the employee does this by himself and submits this to his timesheet approval, it can be the resource manager, it must not be the resource manager. There’s a double check in this process. After these timesheets are released to go, we control them, we check the to see if they are completed and we open in closed period and finally from the MPM office and finally all this data evaluation goes to the finance people to check the forecast we have versus actuals.
At the end we have developed some dashboards that, as I already mentioned, are shown to our management. Here is an example where we have a completed overview for the project. We are using Power BI for that and here you can check resource allocation and planned FTE versus actuals, you can see the top 10 projects, you can see the bottom 10 projects, you can see the differences and you have an overview over all projects that are running and how the different departments are involved in each project. This can be done on a yearly basis, on a monthly basis, on a quarterly basis. All this data is coming from Tempus as a single source and all the data used by finance is also coming from Tempus, also other things.
If you break this down to the project details, you can exactly see how much budget is used, how we share the labor cost versus budget. On the bottom right you see actual versus planned, and you see how many resources are planned or used on each row. In the middle you can see the used as a total budget used for this project.
We have a couple of those dashboards. These are only those examples that are related to the Tempus resource management. We have others related to budget, to finance details, to projects within the portfolio and so on and so on. This is just an example.
Finally, I would end up with our future options. We are currently developing or training people in using the Tempus scheduling function option. This is really to have everything in one tool and, as far as I have seen it now, it’s absolutely sufficient and everybody can enter it. MS project as we use currently is nothing you can easily share. The Tempus scheduling tool can be shared very easily.
On the financial side, at the moment we are using cost sheet, which are in Excel and this is also nothing you can easily share. But if you bring all those costs into Tempus, we can again develop dashboards and we have a quick and easy overview if all the projects are within their financial budget or if possibly they run out of it.
Skills matrix I’ve already mentioned. It’s a very interesting thing but it needs a lot of work to develop this. It needs a lot of information and a lot of people who insert their skills and this is not very easy due to our general situation with workers’ councils. We have to clearly define this process and follow it up. This is also something where transparency is one of the things definitely needed.
Finally, as some of the other speakers have already shown, we are developing more automated processes to insert all the information coming from Tempus and other sources inside our dashboard. This is something ongoing we will use. We are developing something with the API just to ensure that in the future we will have less work with this process.
This was so far, sorry for the late beginning, the presentation from my side. If there are any questions, feel free to ask. I think we still have some time, so I’m open to answer anything.