Today the Wienerberger Group employs more than 17,000 people and has 201 production sites in 30 countries. The head office is in Vienna, Austria. Founded 200 years ago and based on a strong industrial foundation, Wienerberger has consistently developed its own products and system solutions under ecological, social and economic aspects ever since. Ensuring uniform standards, but also increasing productivity and reducing costs are clearly the focus of the company. This also includes the “Shift from Projects to Products” approach: Tasks and projects are to be “correctly” presented in a new form of collaboration, transparency is to be created and processes are to be standardized and mapped centrally, the latter in particular with regard to the overall relationship between portfolio, project and product owner.
Finding the right tools and the right operating environment
What was needed was a tool that would allow the concept to be mapped transparently. The company was already working with Jira software, centrally in small teams. However, the tool has so far only been used in software development. This made coordination, planning and reporting difficult. “The transformation can only work if the right IT system is selected in addition to the organization and processes,” says Manfred Heger. Wienerberger opted for the extended use of Jira software in combination with Confluence for the realization of the project.
“The solution was discussed in detail. The requirements were high: The solution should function like a cloud system, but still be very flexible. An on-premises server was out of the question, as Wienerberger was unable and unwilling to take on server maintenance due to a lack of resources. So the choice between a public cloud and catworkx’s hybrid solution was on the table. Since we didn’t know what we wanted from the product at the beginning, we finally decided on the hybrid variant of catworkx: The Teamworkx Cloud Hosted,” says Manfred Heger.
The advantages of Teamworkx Cloud Hosted
Teamworkx Cloud Hosted offers on-premises as a service. This means that the on-premises installation is hosted and operated by catworkx (including support, maintenance, etc.) and thus offers users the flexibility of a cloud environment. “By deploying this solution, we were able to significantly reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) – simply by being able to outsource operations and risk. We now have a one-stop shop for operations and stakeholder interaction,” says Heger.
Establishment of a standardized concept for the planning, execution and control of projects
After the decision was made to set up a central service offering with Jira software, Confluence and the Teamworkx Cloud Hosted, the project implementation with catworkx began immediately. First of all, the development of a standardized concept for planning, handling and controlling of projects incl. the creation of standardized task structures, from demand planning to project planning, project coordination (work package planning) and product implementation based on agile configurations and conventions. catworkx took over the support (hosting and service contracts) with connection to the Active Directory (AD) via Azure AD and SAML-based SSO.
They started to set up the PPM process for new ideas, products and MVP’s (Minimum Viable Product). After that, the focus was on mapping the PO process (product owner). Here the requirement was the decision to develop all activity structures in Jira software. Agile boards were used for the different levels of consideration (“flight levels”) and process sections for planning, coordination, implementation and reporting. There was also a hierarchical overall representation incl. Gantt Charts on the “wish” plan, because one wanted to realize also a reporting about progress, efforts and costs over the levels.
The rollout first took place on the demand and project planning levels (levels -> project and work package planning), then in the product development area (levels -> planning of epics and stories). Throughout the process, a lot of data was entered; the setup was constantly optimized by the end of 2019 through enhancements and automations: e.g. the setup of a complex rule system to ensure data consistency in terms of workflow status and dependencies (all four dependency types Finish-Start, FF, SF, SS were considered) between operations. In February 2020, the system-related optimization was added by connecting the Teamworkx system to Wienerberger Azure AD (Active Directory) for user management and SAML-based SSO.
“In the meantime – Manfred Heger concludes – we are on our way to implement the onboarding for 1,000 users in Jira and Confluence and I can say that we are very satisfied with the cooperation with the “Teamworkx team”.”