NextGen Project Management Tooling

Hürliman, Pascal and Steiger, Lukas (2019) NextGen Project Management Tooling. Student Research Project thesis, HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil.

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Monitoring projects is a challenging task for a global company like Siemens. Project leaders, quality & product management, business administration and top management all have different needs regarding project insights. There is an entire ecosystem of tools and utilities to fulfil a majority of these needs. A central aspect of today’s landscape is an internal tool called VCR (Visualizing Controlling & Reporting), which holds all project management related information like schedules, key figures, risks, progress and various other metadata. Although there is a tool, some central aspects like approvals or change requests are partially handled outside of it. This set of tools has grown for more than ten years, and Siemens has identified the need for someone to reconsider the big picture and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the current ecosystem.

In this research thesis, the main objective handed to the students was divided into two tasks. The first was to gain an understanding of customer needs by analysing the current project management work flows in the context of progress and cost tracking in a large enterprise setting. With their outsiders perspective, they were able to independently evaluate the existing project management environment in order to design a progressive vision for an improved solution. As a second integral task of the thesis, they were asked to implement a prototype application that addresses some pain points of the current ecosystem to showcase how a future landscape could look like and what the benefits of such an evolution would be.

Procedure / Result:
First, the students familiarized themselves with the current landscape. To enable this, they were given access to the involved tools in order to analyse the prevailing solution. For asking questions that come up while performing such an analysis, they met with the customer on a weekly basis in the first half of the thesis. Soon, they concluded that for getting the best possible overview, they would need more insights from different people with distinct views on and use cases for the tools available today. Therefore, they conducted in-depth interviews with users who hold a variety of roles within the organization. These interviews helped to gain a more detailed understanding of the different use cases and workflows of users without losing track of the requirements that represent fundamental needs. One important result of these was the context diagram that visualizes the key data and information flows that are supported by the current solution. Due to the company's own process and the variety of interfaces, it was clear that a custom solution would fit the needs much better than commercially available solutions. The students went on to build a data model that now acts as a solid foundation of the new application which they have begun to develop in the second part of the research thesis. This new application is as a smart, lightweight project cockpit for large enterprises like Siemens, addressing the needs expressed by the interviewed people, improving workflows and integration while maintaining the positive aspects of the existing tool chain. They have taken into consideration aspects like usability, maintainability, performance and integration. The resulting prototype is process aware, capable of tracking projects, maintaining roles, and offers a tool assisted milestone approval process.

Item Type: Thesis (Student Research Project)
Subjects: Topics > Internet Technologies and Applications > Monitoring
Topics > Internet Technologies and Applications > Visualization
Area of Application > Business oriented
Divisions: Bachelor of Science FHO in Informatik > Student Research Project
Depositing User: OST Deposit User
Thesis advisor
Keller, Daniel
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2019 06:48
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2019 06:48

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