[Case Study] How I helped improve construction projects

Last year, I helped a construction company improve the efficiency of their projects, and their IT team become a true business partner. The company does a broad range of construction projects, from roadwork to office buildings, hospitals, museums, and much more. In this complex organisation, the IT team wanted to raise the value of their services. They asked me to help them achieve this.

To start, we invited two project managers to a workshop to identify ways IT could be more valuable to them. Our original intent had been to focus on the availability of IT information. But as the discussion continued, their greater challenge became visible. Construction projects have many contributing teams. They all used different systems, and communication usually happened via email. This fragmented way-of-working made needs and expectations unclear, and keeping track of things was very time-consuming. We saw an opportunity to improve this situation.

The company's onboarding process was already centralized in the central service platform. When a new employee joins the company, HR fills in a single form with the necessary information. The system then sends the necessary tasks and information to the right people. This automated much of the process, and HR could see the status of each task at a glance. The same setup could be applied to the project initiation process. The different teams (health & safety, logistics, finance...) were interviewed about their information needs and dependencies. Based on these we build a comprehensive form, and set up the end-to-end flow. Moreover, our efforts revealed several more opportunities to further improve cross-team collaboration and efficiency. We also improved the lifecycle and format of IT information, making it easier to find and use. Some tweaking and training later, the teams enthusiastically adopted the new way-of-working. What were the results?

First of all, project startup became much more transparent and efficient. Communication became more structured, and information centralized. The needs and responsibilities of each team are clear, and it's much easier for PM's to track progress. Second, we improved the profile of the IT team as a value enabler and business partner. Third, we raised awareness of the practical value of dedicated process management. Once we identified the opportunity, the project was pretty straightforward. Yet the value it delivered was significant. And all because we took the time to step back and look at what we do, and how we do it. For many people, this feels like something that distracts from the real work. Even when they think they should, there never seems to be enough time for it.

But process management isn't about making charts and enforcing compliance. It's about making what's in people's heads visible and reusable. It's about identifying assumptions and useful experience. Simply bringing the two project managers together on a common topic yielded valuable insights and practical improvements. Lack of clarity is the biggest bottleneck of productivity and efficiency. It creates confusion and frustration, and prevents people from building on each other’s' experience. But a small effort and a few good practices can make all the difference.

The Do's and Dont's of IT projects

What should we do to (and not do) to ensure the project runs smoothly, and delivers the best results? I asked a few experienced IT project managers what they've learned.

[Podcast] It Took A Lot Of Jelly Beans

Peter Maeseele is an expert in design and business analysis, and a lead in a number of IT knowledge management initiatives. In this talk he shared some of his experiences and insights - and why jelly beans proved a key component of their change management.

The Lazy Man's Way Of Working

Lazy smart people leverage experience to their benefit. They take the time to save time.

Three Tricks I Learned, And You Should Too

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[Case Study] Better IT knowledge sharing = happier customers

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[Podcast] Not Everything German Is All German

Marianne Rutz shares some great insights and practical advice on how to account for local culture in global service teams, and how teams can leverage cultural diversity to improve their services.

A tool to optimize your team's learning and knowledge sharing

In this video I introduce a free tool that 1) helps you quickly identify the knowledge sharing opportunities in your organisation, 2) indicates where such an investment would yield the greatest return, and 3) helps you build the optimal learning strategy.

[Podcast] Breaking Silos in the Virtual Workplace

In this talk, Stefano Leone (IT communications and people strategy at Euroclear) sin improving collaboration and breaking down silo's in a tech-focused environment.

[Podcast] How to make the IT department redundant!

I recently appeared on the podcast of Marianne Rutz, a leading operational excellence consultant in the contact center industry. We talked about the future of IT services, and how to deliver real value to customers.

The three kinds of knowledge management

So you want to improve your IT team’s knowledge management. Where do you begin?

Nobody cares about the ServiceDesk

Traditionally, the ServiceDesk offers a safety net for IT users. But here's the thing: nobody wants a good safety net. They want to not need a safety net.

Shift-Left: getting started the right way

Many IT organisations are working to implement a shift-left of knowledge and capabilities. However, many of these initiatives don't deliver the expected results. To prevent this from happening to you, I’d like to share three pieces of advice to get started the right way.

[Case Study] 45% increased customer satisfaction at IT service company

We helped an IT company improve their service delivery. Within 6 months, the company saw 30% fewer complaints and incidents, 35% less rework, 45% higher customer satisfaction, and overall lower operating costs.

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