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Contract management - Interview with Philippe Mauvieux, in charge of the Center for Development and Services and Jean-Marie Josset, Senior Consultant in Project Management at T-Systems.

About T-Systems

T-Systems produces and offers three kinds of services: system integration, outsourcing and telecommunication services. Aiming to strengthen its competitiveness and quality of services in software development and maintenance, T-Systems has been carrying out an industrialization campaign for this range of services. The creation of the Center for Development and Specialized Services, organized by platforms and/or skills is one illustration of this campaign. The Center’s ability to control projects is at the heart of this activity’s performance.

T-Systems is also a Sciforma Solution partner, a position in which they are in charge of mission roll-outs, assistance, and support.

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Under what circumstances did you make the decision to deploy a project management solution?

We were in the process of trying to obtain CMMI Level 2 certification for our company. Under these circumstances, we carried out a market study on tools that would enable us to control both project planning and management. It wasn’t long before Sciforma proved to be one of the most important solutions on the market.

The person in charge of this mission and the project director then carried out a study on the group’s specific needs (anticipated functional features, technical and financial restraints, particular aspects of projects, etc.) and then audited the market solutions. We also spoke with colleagues from T-Systems Spain, who had already tested two products. This feedback reinforced our choice.

Infrastructure was the key reason for our decision to use Sciforma: Sciforma’s 100% multi-site web access allowed for more flexible deployment in terms of security levels and was almost three times faster than its direct competitors.

Following this study at the end of 2004 and a test start up in Lyon in early 2005, deployment for all projects finally finished in August 2005.

What were the required functions you required in a new tool in order to improve project organization?

We were looking for a planning tool which would be accessible to all our project managers and enable us to manage numerous projects simultaneously. This solution also had to enable multi-user access with different levels of permission, allocation of non-specified resources to a task, and flexible planning management.

Thanks to this capacity to differentiate our employees’ jobs and skills, we have gained productivity. For example, a Java developer in the insurance sector could be allocated in two areas: as a Java specialist resource and also as an insurance expert resource. Thus, we were able to index our resources, organize our current projects better and above all, optimize the handling of new projects.

Using the Sciforma solution not only enables all Service Center staff to report their leave and activity but also allows them to view their upcoming work. These services make it possible to quickly see plan progress and speed up reporting times.

Likewise, we’ve gained efficiency thanks to the project document management function and the versioning tool. Until now, we used to file documents in the form of project folders, with manual indexing. With Sciforma, versioning is directly built into the tool, which creates a document history and progress in terms of versions. This is an important element of our Quality Control process.

How was Sciforma implemented by the team? In particular, how did Project Managers take it on?

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It was first used in our service center in Lyon, which consists of seven project managers and two project directors for a total of sixty staff. In Lyon, we had a group of project managers who easily switched to Sciforma after some quick in-house training. After two months, even the most reluctant members of staff had realized that this solution was indispensable for their daily work. Moreover, our T-Systems process unification and industrialization policy led us to integrate Sciforma into our development and service centers. This deployment model was an integral part of our CMMI Level 3 certification strategy and of the PMBOK process application of the Project Management Institute (PMI).

For us, Sciforma had to be a planning, tracking and reporting tool for all of our factories in which approximately 320 people are involved. We therefore opted for progressive deployment and established a one-day in-house training program for five project managers, including on-site exercises and tutorials specifically for each of their needs.

Was there more to Sciforma that met the eye? What other functions have you found are useful today?

The scheduling module has proved to be very flexible and has enabled us to better forecast our projects. Each week, we send a schedule in PDF format to our clients and we can even open a direct access route for them so that they can connect to and track projects in real-time. This information sharing especially allows us to reduce project management times.

Internally, our Project Planning and Management Center (PGP) has also been able to use Sciforma’s API to develop a specific tool for recording forthcoming staff holiday time and leaves of absence, which is automatically reflected on the timesheets. When interfaced with our company’s other management tools, such as the payroll, it is an easy way of reducing administrative tasks.

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