The tasks were solved - and the future assured
Standardized task descriptions, estimating and allocating paved the way for priority and efficiency in task fulfillment, so business critical changes could be handled efficiently, and management obtained a quick overview.
A large Danish production company experienced a lot of challenges in prioritizing, distributing, and handling tasks in the function that takes care of change requests for the many different products that the company produces, installs, and services. The problems were pervasive and meant that the work was not efficient, the tasks cycled between different departments and employees, and that the change requestors were not presented with satisfactory solutions in the right quality and on time. The situation was drastically improved through a redesign of the work processes, development and anchoring of clear roles and responsibilities in the organization and implementation of Jira as a tool to support the workflows that take place across locations and time zones.
Task solution takes place everywhere in all companies and requires management and overview if the efficiency is to be top notch - read the entire case below and get an insight into how the company improved the situation.
One of kaastrup|andersen's customers produces machines where there is an ongoing need for change, either based on wishes from the market or due to internal opportunities for improvement. The customer therefore has a function to handle the large number of tasks in connection with the change requests, and there is an urgent need for effective structuring and task management.
The management saw a clear potential in rethinking processes and the use of tools with an overall goal of being able to sharpen the business further by making even clearer priorities and thus ensuring that the management focus is also reflected in the task solution itself. At the same time, it would be of great value to monitor and measure the validity of the estimates of time consumption for the individual tasks. Collection and use of this data mean that in the future it will be possible to accurately predict how long a task takes to be solved. Transparency and efficiency will increase continuously, and employees will also experience a better flow in and management of the task assignment.
The existing processes were largely based on an Excel sheet, where the employees tried to keep track of the many tasks - with all the pitfalls this entails: The sheet was so large that it occasionally crashed and at the same time there were several different versions in circulation, which made it difficult to keep track and made (re)prioritization virtually impossible. It was clear that part of the new solution would be to use an IT system that was more tailored to the task. The system choice had already been made, as the central management of the company had already decided that Jira should be introduced widely in the company.
The first step was to draw up the process for how tasks would flow through the system - and decide how the views of the flow should be. A person was given the role of 'Lead' with the responsibility to ensure the process flow, and that everyone working with the processes, also in future had access to the right tools and the views of the relevant tasks. Another task of the Lead throughout the implementation process was to adjust the process design to reflect the experiences made along the way.
In relation to the practical implementation of Jira the employees already had the basic knowledge and understood the principles of Jira, and the application had already been installed as one of their standard IT tools. The project put an extra amount of work into using recognizable examples from the daily tasks when the employees were introduced to the flow and system, so that the users had a real hands-on experience with their own tasks. It provided a good motivation and clear understanding of how the system is best used. The practical approach also meant that the project quickly got experience with the coming use situations and was able to adjust the new work processes accordingly during the implementation.
|Fact about the project
Process and IT system are in place, and there are clear improvements in relation to both lead time and quality in the task solution. At the same time, the customer has achieved transparency in task prioritization, assignment, and management.
The throughput time if a task is reduced from 3 to 2 months on average - and that is only the beginning. The system and processes support a lead time of 2 weeks; this can be achieved if the processes of the surrounding organization are made more efficient. In the part of the process where the engineer is performing the work to actually solve the task, the number of working hours is reduced from one month to two weeks, thus halving the time spent in a costly (and scarce) employee group.
|The backlog: from 250 to 0
The implementation sped up the task solutions. At the same time, it created transparency, giving management a solid foundation for cleaning out obsolete tasks.
Transparency and overview are powerful management tools, as it is now easy to see who is working on what, when and how much time was spent on each task. This means that the management can ensure that the priorities made are met and that the desired overall focus in the task solution is maintained.
The employees have quickly seen the benefits of transparency in the system: it is easy to collaborate and spar with each other on tasks and forward tasks across time zones and geography, because all information and history on the tasks is easily accessible in Jira.
A side benefit is that the project has contributed with valuable learnings in relation to when it makes sense to implement new processes and/or IT systems. Depending on the nature of the tasks and projects, the implementation has been adapted so that it most effectively supports and facilitates the daily work. An efficient workflow presupposes that the process, system, and organization support each other, so that the overall result is a help for the employees.
The good results from the project have facilitated that other departments and functions in the company have now started implementing similar processes and using Jira. The vision is that interaction across departments and tasks can contribute to additional efficiency, overview, and motivation.
kaastrup|andersen was responsible for the design and implementation of the solution in the company and the project management of the initiative. kaastrup|andersen also took on the role of Lead in the area to ensure that the actual implementation went as efficiently as possible and that the new processes and roles were anchored enabling the company to realize the benefits.
How is the task solution in your company? Is it effective - and do you have an overview of whether the priorities make sense and value for your business? Are you aware of the potentials in your company? We provide you with the basis for deciding whether to realize the potential benefits.
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