Sanitec Group designs, manufactures and markets innovative and environmentally responsible designs and products across several major bathroom brands. It has 20 production plants across Europe and employs around 8,000 people, with net sales in 2010 of EUR 777 million.
In 2008, a new Chief Information Officer aligned Sanitec's IT operations along functional lines. Traditionally, each country had its own IT department, implementing IT projects in its own way. The new structure meant that teams in different countries needed to work together more closely to implement common projects, but the lack of a common approach to project management meant there were inefficiencies that impeded project success.
A new Project Office Manager role was created as part of the restructuring process to help address those issues. Paula Hall, who was appointed to the position, realised that wholescale change was needed. She had to address three issues. First, to identify a project management methodology that best suited the organisation's needs. Second, to identify a structure for project management that would facilitate improvements and encourage staff to buy into this new approach. Third, to encourage colleagues to change their working practices to use a common project management methodology, no matter where they were based.
Ms Hall was aware of PRINCE2® and thought it would be a good fit for Sanitec. She initially attended an ILX public training course and, impressed with the course content and expertise of the trainers, asked whether ILX might be able to help Sanitec implement a tailored version of PRINCE2 and establish a Project Management Office. ILX worked with Ms Hall to define the project and its objectives and map out a project plan. Together, they held workshops with key stakeholders to agree the service levels expected from the Project Office and devised a methodology based on PRINCE2 that suited Sanitec's existing structure, culture and processes. Once their plans had been approved, they commenced rollout of the new methodology. Initially, ILX trained IT project board members and project managers using a combination of e-learning and workshops to reinforce how the tailored version of PRINCE2 should be used on a daily basis. ILX also acted as a mentor for Paula and Sanitec project team members until they were comfortable with using their version of the PRINCE2 methodology.
The consulting and training support from ILX helped Sanitec adopt a tailored version of PRINCE2 that strikes just the right balance with appropriate levels of control and formality. Care was taken to engage stakeholders and staff and provide high-quality training and support to embed the methodology. Of the 65+ people in Sanitec's IT function almost everyone has undertaken training commensurate with their job role, whether an introduction to the methodology or full PRINCE2 Practitioner accreditation. A project office workshop is held annually, providing refresher training for project managers focusing on any aspects of project management that seem less effective. During the initial consulting period, ILX empowered Ms Hall and her team so they now take the lead in training and coaching others, but ILX continues to provide training, mentoring and advice when needed.
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