- Driving the journey towards portfolio management maturity.
- Providing a single source of truth to inform project pipeline decisions.
- quipping Project Managers and Project Leads to access, manage and analyse data at the touch of a button.
- Delivering a simple, intuitive toolkit for experienced and new project team members alike.
Dechra Transforms Portfolio Management Maturity with Microsoft Project Server
Dechra is an international specialist in veterinary pharmaceutical products. In recent years, the company has significantly expanded across Europe and North America for acquisition purposes, driving the need to balance an entrepreneurial culture with a robust project and portfolio management (PPM) model to ensure competitive product development. Having internally formalised its PPM governing processes, Dechra identified Microsoft Project Server as the right solution to support the transformation to full portfolio maturity moving forward. Wellingtone was selected as the PPM specialist to guide Dechra though this vital organisational development, says Nicole Wirtherle, Head of Global Portfolio Management and EU Clinical for Dechra.
“From the start, I was impressed by the structure and quality Wellingtone brought to the process. They were very honest about what they thought we needed, how their project management experience could help us, and exactly what we could expect from them." Nicole Wirtherle, Head of Global Portfolio Management and EU Clinical for Dechra
A Strategic Step Change to Support Rapid Expansion
“As a company, we have grown massively and made several significant acquisitions over the past few years,” Nicole explains. “Our Product Development Team now consists of 55 fantastic people distributed across 6 sites in the US and Europe. As you might expect, the experience and culture of those teams vary by site, and formal project management is a new discipline for most of our people. Different teams were handling projects using different tools – from Word to Excel to SharePoint – located across various local or shared drives. We lacked full visibility over crucial project information such as pipelines, status, risks, timelines, critical paths, budgets and resources. Reporting was also a cumbersome manual affair. When our new Group Product Development Director joined Dechra in 2016, he quickly identified the need to establish standardised PPM processes across the department, to inform our decisions going forward.”
During 2016 to 2017, Dechra had already implemented a new process guide and Pipeline Review Committee to oversee decision-making on Research and Development projects. The next step was to seek out a specialist company to manage the configuration and rollout of Microsoft Project Server. Wellingtone immediately stood out, Nicole says, due to their high quality, specialised approach. “From the start, I was impressed by the structure Wellingtone brought to the process. They were very honest about what they thought we needed, how their project management experience could help us, and exactly what we could expect from them.”
“Wellingtone went beyond simple introducing the tool’s functionality. They also shared their project management expertise with our people, ensuring that Project Server was introduced in the right context and alongside useful wider project management knowledge." Nicole Wirtherle, Head of Global Portfolio Management and EU Clinical for Dechra
A Transparent Process Map for Smooth System Implementation
The After conducting some initial scoping meetings, Wellingtone facilitated a requirements workshop in November 2017. “They provided us with a guidance document and process map, which was extremely useful,” says Nicole. “They then sat down with our PPM team and the Group Director of Product Development to work through our pain points and how Microsoft Project Server might be configured to help us manage these. Wellingtone advised us to keep the solution as simple as possible, to ensure quality and usability from the start but at the same time helped us to stick closely to our internal processes rather than just offering out of the box solutions. They engaged us in a dialogue on what might be helpful for us, before producing a configuration document that we signed off in January 2018.”
The next step was for Wellingtone to build the solution on their own local servers, before reviewing and then migrating the solution to Dechra’s environment. “By March 2018, we had entered a test phase using our own data, and we went live at the end of June,” Nicole recalls. “Wellingtone conducted initial training for our Project Managers and Administrators. We have the capacity to train internally but, given Wellingtone’s expertise, we wanted them to initiate the process as a baseline for future activities.” Having initially trained the core project management team, Wellingtone delivered a further training course for Dechra’s Scientific Project Leads in the US in July 2018. “It was the first time these teams had seen the tool in action,” says Nicole.
“Our people are very aware of the project management challenges they face and they’re eager for solutions, so we came into this process with a real sense of momentum around the change. Wellingtone did a great job of reinforcing that excitement around what’s possible using Project Server. Wellingtone went beyond simply introducing the tool’s functionality. They also shared their project management expertise with our people, ensuring that Project Server was introduced in the right context and alongside useful wider project management knowledge. We talked a lot about how the company will support our people during the change. I think everyone appreciated that. It’s early days, but so far I have only heard positive feedback from our teams.”
“Wellingtone have been instrumental in helping us get there. They were very pragmatic about making sure that the solution is just right for us, at our level of maturity. With their guidance, we were able to introduce the process and visibility we needed whilst keeping the solution very straightforward and usable." Nicole Wirtherle, Head of Global Portfolio Management and EU Clinical for Dechra
Achieving Early Cultural Buy-In for Immediate Business Benefits
As well as configuring enterprise projects with attached forms and workflows, Wellingtone also implemented a PMO portal for tracking and scrutinising the projects pipeline, plus a new reporting system using SSRS. Even in the early days of rollout, the benefits are clear, Nicole confirms. “The clearest benefit is the level of visibility over our portfolio. We can access every schedule and budget from one central location, and the budget report that Wellingtone created is especially significant. We can pull that report straight from the schedules, saving huge amounts of time and mitigating the possibility of human error. It gives us immediate transparency over budgets and milestones. Our next priorities are to implement capacity and demand planning, risk and issue management and an automated monthly project management report.”
Indeed, the move to Project Server represents the first stage of a transformational shift for DECHRA, according to Nicole. “I’m confident that having all that data at our fingertips will impact significantly on our strategic prioritisation process. That’s crucial for us at this stage of active growth and investment. Culturally, it was critical for us to gain management buy-in for this investment. For me, it’s a great achievement for a company with an entrepreneurial, agile mindset to think ahead by investing in building our processes in this way. Wellingtone have been instrumental in helping us get there. They were very pragmatic about making sure that the solution is just right for us, at our level of maturity. With their guidance, we were able to introduce the process and visibility we needed whilst keeping the solution very straightforward and usable. People are pleasantly surprised at how intuitive and clean it is. Now, other departments are seeing the benefits of what we’re doing and starting to get interested in what they could similarly achieve. I can certainly see us rolling Project Server out to other parts of the organisation in the future.”
To learn more about Dechra visit https://www.dechra.com/