When a company lacks a sufficient view of IT projects, how to reorganize entire project management and modernize development processes?
Sofigate helped HSL to modernize their development processes, defined HSL’s overall architecture and created a solid base for new project management processes. Sofigate utilized HSL’s best existing practices and together built models in workshops so that every employee could easily relate to them.
Projects are now easier to manage and control because everybody is on board about how the process is supposed to proceed. With the help of the project office, HSL is better aware of what the current situation is in all projects: their scale, schedule and resources.
Sofigate really succeeded in involving our employees in the process. We feel confident this change is truly making a difference in how projects are managed and run at HSL.
HSL, Helsinki Region Transport, develops and provides transport solutions to customers’ needs. Sofigate helped HSL to reorganize their project management and modernize development processes, starting from IT projects. The goal of the entire renewal process was to make projects transparent and to provide the management and employees with a general view of what is going on in projects from the operative and cost points of view. The most significant outcome has been that projects are now easier to manage and control because everybody is on board about how the process is supposed to proceed.
PLENTY OF PROJECTS – BUT NO SUFFICIENT GENERAL VIEW
HSL, Helsinki Region Transport, is a joint local authority that plans and organizes public transport in the region and improves its operating conditions. Its operational environment is changing rapidly, and for example digital processes need to be organized properly so that IT can support and advance HSL’s strategic goals.
HSL has functioned as a line organization for a long time. This had led to a situation where no one had a clear view of all the ongoing projects.
”We had a lot of important projects going on in IT department but lacked a general view of them. Their schedules and costs were hard to keep track of. We realized that we needed a proper project portfolio and management model,” says Hannu Heikkinen, HSL’s Head of Technology Solutions.
HSL’s vision is that public transport is the number one choice for travel and that the Helsinki region is a bellwether for intelligent, sustainable and safe mobility. Some 370 million journeys are conducted with HSL’s transport services annually.
PROJECT OFFICE BRINGS TRANSPARENCY FOR MANAGEMENT
Sofigate and HSL’s collaboration started already in 2016 when Sofigate helped HSL to modernize their development processes, defined HSL’s overall architecture and created a solid base for new project management processes. In order to improve the management of IT projects, Sofigate helped HSL to build a model that enables agile software production.
Together they created a new project model and a project office. The office is responsible for organizing projects and developing project models constantly. Its goal is to develop project management and maintain transparency and competence for project managers. HSL’s Technology Solutions was the first department to utilize the new project model and project office.
”It can be challenging for companies to make big changes on their own because people are busy with their daily work and there is little time to allocate on developing new work practices. We utilized HSL’s existing best practices and built models together in workshops so that every employee can easily relate to them,” says Sanna Suomela, Business Design and Innovation Management Practice Owner at Sofigate.
HSL now utilizes two different models for projects. The waterfall model is used when the end result and schedule are specified accurately in advance and the project requires strong control. The agile model is used when the end result can be developed iteratively. HSL’s project portfolio consists of all projects that are planned or running at the same time.
”With the help of the project office we are better aware of what the current situation is in all projects: their scale, schedule and resources. The project office also gives advice to projects so that projects can minimize their risks and achieve business benefits”, says Päivi Vartia, Group Manager, Technology Solutions at HSL.
Sofigate was the obvious choice of partner for HSL for improving their IT management.
”Sofigate is a very professional and reliable partner. We knew that we could count on them,” says Heikkinen.
PROJECTS CAN NOW LEARN FROM EACH OTHER
The project office was built in three months. A project portfolio has already been deployed in the IT department and project managers have added their projects into the portfolio. All projects now go through a steering group. Every project gets its own steering group and resources to proceed with. The results of the new project office can already be seen in practice.
”A few new projects were introduced to us and we immediately recognized how they could be combined and help each other,” Vartia says.
HSL’s CEO Suvi Rihtniemi sees that with new project office the organization finally has a common tool to manage projects, resources, schedules, investments and documents.
“Now we have common frames to manage projects, and all units have common rules. HSL is now more open and transparent,” says Rihtniemi.
HSL also wants to brand itself as a desirable place to work in and support the development of its employees.
”A new project culture has been born with the project office. Our employees have learned a lot of new skills and the competence of our employees and project managers has grown radically. It’s great that we have also received support from HSL’s top management,” Heikkilä says.
”People have been really eager to develop new models and practices together. HSL’s employees have been open to new career opportunities and personal development and they are now enthusiastically talking about the new project office and its achievements. This is truly changing the organisation’s culture. The buzz around this has been enjoyable to watch,” says Suomela.
In the future the plan is to use the project model in all HSL’s projects, not just in IT management.