Aubert & Duval: Improving the Management of Product Development Cycles Starting with a Hands-on PMO

Company Overview

Aubert & Duval is the alloy division of the world-leading mining and metallurgy group Eramet. The company specializes in designing, developing and processing superalloys and high performance metal solutions.

“The PMO now has a consolidated overview of capacity requirements over 18 months, categorized by team and by role, for ongoing and upcoming projects.”

PMO Manager

Initiative Overview

Aubert & Duval supplies critical parts to clients in high-tech industries such as aerospace or defense, where on-time delivery is crucial to success. To make sure they will meet their commitments to their clients, the company wanted to:

  • Have better control over their operational and product design teams’ capacity in order to better assign resources to projects
  • Leverage milestones as gates in order to improve operational tracking of product development projects
  • Centralize project portfolio management through the creation of a Project Management Office (PMO), which would be responsible for the configuration of Sciforma and the execution and adoption of the tool.

Business Drivers and Requirements

Centralize all Project Data: Demand, Resource Requirements, and Availability

Without a database to centralize all the company’s product development projects, each team individually tracked its own projects using Excel, with limited visibility into the project pipeline.

Aubert & Duval also needed a system to collect and consolidate project demand in order to anticipate resource needs and adjustments of in-flight and upcoming projects.

Improve Visibility for Resource Utilization

Product development projects are just half of the design teams’ role.

The other half is dedicated to internal projects (industrial, organizational) and to recurrent activities, such as production support, driving continuous improvement, or team management. So it was important to identify and forecast each type of activity’s resource requirements.

Aubert & Duval also needed to collect the time spent by each person on these various types of projects in order to improve and to refine its forecasting models.

Empower an Integrated Project Management Office (PMO)

Aubert & Duval’s created PMO is a part of the Industrial Development department. It was created as a crossfunctional organization, bridging the gaps between the various product design teams and other management teams (sales management, plant management). The PMO manages implementation and execution of Sciforma, supports continuous improvement, and is responsible for the ‘freshness’ of the data and, therefore, for the quality of reporting and decision-making.

Another key requirement for the company was to enable collaboration across multiple facilities, as the design teams and their internal clients (about 200 people) are spread across multiple production sites, 4 of them in France, and 1 in India.

Sciforma Solution

Software Critical Capabilities

  • Resource management: identifying each resource by name, role, dates of arrival and departure, changes in availability, type (internal/external) and status (active, idle, planned).
  • Multi-project reporting (milestone monitoring, capacity management by team and by role): identifying key milestones in each development project made it possible to build milestone performance indicators, as well as a shared, consolidated phase-gate schedule.
  • Time tracking: Sciforma-based time tracking and analysis has improved measurement of resource requirements for various activities, making it possible to adjust the estimates of project models and to fine-tune the process for project managers and product designers.

Technical Choices

Aubert & Duval chose the cloud-based version of Sciforma after making sure that the required level of information security was guaranteed.


After a preliminary integration phase performed by Sciforma’s teams, Aubert & Duval contracted ASI (one of Sciforma’s certified business partners) to:

  • Provide support before the deployment of a default feature or the development of a specific screen.
  • Perform Third-Party Application Maintenance through a yearly contract signed with Aubert & Duval’s CIO. This includes tool support, bug fixing, and minor developments.
  • Support the PMO Manager’s mission (process support, guidance, data quality control, etc.).

“The PMO’s function reaches far beyond tool implementation and rule enforcement. It should also act as a coach and provide guidance. The PMO should understand the needs of the various stakeholders in order to adjust the tool and the process. Lastly, the PMO’s goal is also to translate the company’s strategy into PPM, and be able to clearly report crucial information to the executive leadership.”

PMO Manager

Realized Benefits

Increased Predictability of Capacity Requirements

Sciforma’s implementation, in early 2018, immediately improved visibility of resource availability by team and by activity. Much of the credit goes to a library of pre-set project models used to standardize product development lifecycles.

From the start of a project, a model based on similar projects is used to assign default resource requirements, broken down by role and by phase. The estimates and projections of the models are continuously refined as actual data from in-flight projects are fed into Sciforma.

The PMO now has a consolidated overview of the capacity requirements over 18 months, categorized by team and by role, for ongoing and upcoming projects

Improved Resource Alignment

Features like a multicriteria resource plan, which makes it possible to filter projects by type, by client, by project manager and by portfolio, are enabling the company to conduct granular, real-time analyses of the resource requirements/availability balance.

The PMO is now able to document resource requirements and report on capacity analysis, which will now demonstrate over-allocation of resources. This made the case for hiring 22 more FTE, which was decided at the very first steering committee in October 2018.

A Solution Fit for the Whole Team

Pursuing continuous improvement, the PMO has engaged in long-term collaboration with ASI, one of Sciforma’s certified partners. After integrating the tool and configuring custom screens and metrics to meet the organization’s specific needs and user expectations, ASI’s consultants keep supporting Aubert & Duval’s PMO. Their contributions range from managing training sessions and workshops to integrating new features that will support the evolution of the company’s needs and processes.

This change management effort was instrumental in driving adoption of the tool. For example, the development of a “My Projects” screen which provided each project manager with a snapshot of their projects has been a huge time-saver for these busy resources and has helped them realize Sciforma’s value.

Share the article