Assisting a complex project remotely in Covid times

Assisting a complex project remotely in Covid times

For an international manufacturer of baby food, quality and safety assurance and compliance with legislation worldwide are essential. Therefore, a few years ago, the company formed a strategic partnership with an external laboratory services provider to have its products tested worldwide. However, organising the transfer of lab analyses to the external provider’s laboratories turned out to be a huge and complex process. P2 helped to bring structure and overview in this project.

Onze experts
Onze experts

Beforehand, the company’s project team had already done a lot of groundwork: what are the analysis methods used by the different laboratories for which food products? Are the analysis results identical? Which operational processes must be set up with the new service provider?  What is the most logical planning for the step-by-step transfer of the analyses to the new laboratory, and how to include the company’s production divisions and other departments in this process?

Joining the project halfway

When P2 joined, the project was already in full swing. However, due to the growing complexity, the many variables, the widening stakeholder base and the high time pressure, the company’s existing project structures were no longer effective. Moreover, face-to-face consultation had become impossible due to the Covid-19 restrictions. To solve these challenges, Bart Bankers and Mariska Vos of P2 thoroughly reviewed the project plan and project structure together with the company and project manager. They identified points for improvement and outlined the steps needed to more effectively streamline the transition and guide the project through the complex arena of the many internal and external stakeholders involved.

The right mandate

The goal was to build a solid foundation for effective collaboration between the more than 40 managers and executives involved across the world, such that the project team could take over the reins again.

To achieve this goal, Bart and Mariska first helped the internal project leader and his team to set up a new project structure, including a core team for coordination, four well-defined work streams, and a steering group with the right mandate for decision making.

Next, they created an innovative toolbox with online applications to ensure effective collaboration – also in Covid times – by combining existing tools such as WebEx (for online meetings) and SharePoint (for file sharing) with additional tools such as Miro (online whiteboard for workshops) and Smartsheet (dashboard for project planning and tracking progress).

Finally, Bart and Mariska helped to draw up a communication plan, including tools such as newsletters and dashboards, to inform, prepare and involve the rest of the organisation in the transition process.

Thanks to everyone’s efforts, less than three months later a solid new project structure had been put in place, with the work streams achieving progress, and the steering group making transparent and informed decisions.

Sensitivity, creativity, and collaboration

In our collaboration, the main contribution of P2 was to provide clarity and structure while carefully navigating the Covid circumstances. With know-how, sensitivity, creativity and intensive collaboration between the project team, laboratory partners and P2, we managed to put the project back on track in a very short period of time, such that the project team could take over the reins again. Despite the Covid restrictions and the challenge of having many stakeholders involved, all parties delivered excellent teamwork. The project back on track, the client happy: a result to be proud of.