May 2014

Planzone User Story: Industry 2


ATB: An Internationally Operating

Screenshot_1ATB Austria Antriebstechnik AG, based in Vienna, Austria, ranks among the leading global suppliers of electric drive systems for industrial applications and home appliances. The company employs more than 3,500 people, with a turnover of around 336 million Euros.

The fact that ATB Austria Antriebstechnik AG operates on a global level, with subsidiaries in various countries, also has an impact on the company’s project landscape. The project teams are composed of members from different locations. Thus, the success of their work highly depends on how efficiently they can collaborate across borders. It goes without saying that Planzone, a SaaS-solution which provides an online collaborative workspace in the cloud, has become an indispensable tool for the ATB Group.

Use of Planzone‏

Likewise, Planzone is the ideal tool for ATB Austria Antriebstechnik AG in terms of project management. At the moment, 16 R&D projects are managed through Planzone. These are primarily internal projects for the establishment of a platform. For reasons of clarity, there are merely three administrators in the ATB-Planzone. One of the key users is at the same time the main administrator and is responsible for opening all new projects. The detailed planning of the project phases is then carried out individually by each project manager, who may refer to templates which were created together with the Planzone consulting-team during an ATB-specific workshop (see below). Once a month, each project manager has a meeting with the head of development (in person or via phone) which is dedicated to the project follow-up. Together, they check the project schedule in Planzone, the number of completed and open tasks, as well as the milestones. Hence, during this project review, Planzone allows the project manager and the head of development to immediately become aware of any problems in the project’s progression. For example, Planzone points out any deadline that was not met, as well as the impact of such an event on the following due-dates and finally on the entire project.


Implementation of Planzone‏‏

Planzone was introduced into the company by Thomas Simonis, Head of Group R&D. With the help of Planzone, he made project management methodology come alive and be applied by the entire ATB Group. He raised awareness for working in projects in a structured manner – and according to him, these two aspects are the main advantages of the solution.

Thereby, according to Mr. Simonis, the support of the Planzone consulting-team plays an especially significant role. The training they delivered, as well as the individualized workshop on ATB-specific methods of approaching the structuring of projects significantly supported Mr Simonis’s theoretical introduction to project management terminology and the processes implied. These combined efforts enabled him to take a further essential step in the introduction of project management in the company, which he designates with the following phrase: “An education in structured approach.”

The training helps to overcome any qualms.

All in all, the combination of a theoretical instruction in project management methodology through Mr. Simonis and a practical training offered by Planzone laid the foundations for successful project management at ATB. The greatest advantage of the Planzone training, according to Mr. Simonis, is that it allowed participants to apply their theoretical knowledge directly to the tool itself, making project management concrete and reducing the participants’ inhibition level, especially with novices.

Learning Best-Practices during the Training

During the training, the Planzone consulting-team first of all conveys first-hand “best practices” and second helps develop a consistent procedure for the set-up and management of projects. Especially in big companies it is indispensable to approach the planning and implementation of a project in a similar manner and to proceed unitarily in the various project teams.

« Planzone helps build awareness and acceptance for using a project management tool and for managing projects in general »


Benefits of the Workshop‏

Right after the training, participants had the possibility to benefit from a workshop in which they, together with the Planzone consulting-team, created a project template which is still used to structure projects in the ATB-Planzone today. Based on a concrete project, the consultants helped create a work breakdown structure which strongly resembles that of common work breakdown structures of the company’s R&D-department. The biggest advantage is that this plan can be used immediately for new projects, which has already lead to a huge gain in time for the creation of the 16 R&D-projects currently managed in the ATB-Planzone
Hence, during the workshop, this newly designed work breakdown structure was integrated as a project template into the ATB-Planzone, providing participants with the possibility to immediately ask questions concerning, among others, the best use of the tool. They were thus able to comprehend more precisely how to set up and manage a project in Planzone.

Acceptance of Planzone‏‏

By now, Planzone is an established tool in the ATB Group and has helped create awareness for a structured approach to project management. At the same time, all levels of management are just as well actively using the tool. Even the COO often takes a detailed look at the projects in Planzone and sometimes discovers problems which no one else had recognized before.

“I like Planzone”

Given the large amount of advantages which Planzone has for the ATB Group, as well as the rapid establishment of the tool within the company, Mr. Simonis can easily draw a positive conclusion from the use of Planzone.“The tool is easy to use and relatively self-explanatory.” This is the primary and also the main benefit for him, which in turn entails various other advantages. Due to its user-friendliness, Planzone quickly gains acceptance and is thus easy to implement.” “Planzone is available at a good price and offers a lot for a small budget,” Simonis continues. It helps introduce project management in a company and manage projects efficiently.”Concerning the question, whether he would recommend Planzone, Simonis responds: “Yes, absolutely”. He has already successfully passed this recommendation on in his own company. In the near future, the ATB Group wants to further expand its use of Planzone with more departments using it.

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