Even: Aligning Project Life Cycles Across a Diversified Cooperative Group

Corporate Identity Card

A cooperative food industry group founded in Brittany around dairy, Even is one of the major players in the French food industry. The group is divided into four complementary business units: the upstream agricultural sector; milk and dairy products; food product distribution (home delivery and food service sector); and a value-added diversification unit (prepared meals and curing). Its products, distributed under well-known national brands such as Paysan Breton, Régilait, and Mamie Nova, are found on one million plates in France and abroad each day.

  • Industry: Agribusiness
  • Founded: 1930
  • Headquarters: Ploudaniel, France
  • Revenue 2022: €2.5 billion   
  • Headcount: A membership of 1,400 farmers, over 6,000 employees
  • Website: www.even.fr/en

The Need to Standardize Practices

Even cannot be accused of lacking dynamism. With its four business divisions, each with its own project portfolio and several IT departments managing innovation and digitalization projects, the cooperative is advancing on all fronts.

But then, how to juggle management-driven cross-functional projects with business projects launched at the behest of divisions? How to align the work of teams pursuing different objectives and using different methods and tools? How to assess overall capacity?

These were the key challenges that Bleiz Kerjean, IT PMO at the Group level, was facing. Hence the launch of a program aimed at fostering cross-functional collaboration at IT level, enhancing communication across divisions, streamlining interactions, gaining a big-picture view of projects to avoid duplication of efforts, and pooling infrastructures.

Bringing Together People and Data with Sciforma

This alignment program made it indispensable for Even to adopt a project portfolio management platform. Chosen for its intuitive user experience and its ability to interface with other systems, the Sciforma solution was deployed in early 2022. The tool was first rolled out at the level of the Systems and Networks department, which manages cross-functional coordination.

But even the best PPM platform is no substitute for a human resources system and a financial management tool. Having all teams manage their data within a shared group-wide repository required implementing interfaces between Sciforma, Jira (a go-to for development teams), and various functional information systems.

We needed an intuitive, high-performance tool that would enable us to manage business cases as well as coordinate and prioritize large-scale portfolios, while providing a cross-functional view of capacity.”

Bleiz Kerjean, IT PMO

Deploying a Cohesive Process

While deploying Sciforma and creating interfaces, Bleiz Kerjean and his team were also implementing a project lifecycle process to systemize project management methods, clarify sequencing and responsibilities, and ensure project alignment with the corporate master plan. The creation of templates in Sciforma has facilitated best practice adoption and enforcement.

Even now needs to build on this foundation by extending the new system to the whole Group and all its project portfolios. Bleiz Kerjean is already hard at work getting IT departments on board and helping them embrace the tool. Change management initiatives include awareness and communication programs, but also workshops co-constructed with consulting firm ASI (with guidance on how to use the tool to meet specific needs, case studies, and more).

Compelling Initial Results

Implementing Sciforma and the project lifecycle has already provided visibility into overall capacity, making it possible to deploy the right people at the right time and improving resource utilization by 10%.

The clarity and structure provided by the process and the tool enable Even to better anticipate business needs, and therefore boost productivity. What’s more, by alleviating administrative burdens for teams, Even has reduced the time spent producing reports by 20%!

The quality of these reports has also improved, making communication with teams and leadership easier and more objective. Decision-makers can now base approval, prioritization, and go-ahead decisions on reliable metrics and real-time information.

Finally, the ability to identify at-risk projects (e.g. those that “never end”) improves overall performance and portfolio quality.

A 10% improvement in resource utilization and a 20% decrease in time spent on administrative tasks in just a few months!

Next Steps

After re-implementing all projects into Sciforma and completing the change management process, Even plans to deploy budget and cost management capabilities to further consolidate project portfolio management and justify hiring decisions.

Share the article