“We were struggling with getting a consistent governance structure and approach and wanted to give the business enough visibility about what was going on. We’re very keen as an organization that all our colleagues can see and collaborate as much as possible on projects. A lot of our employees rarely go into offices, but we want them to be part of it. We want our approach to be as flexible and transparent as possible.”
- Derek Wilkes, assistant director of PMO at Aster Group.
Transforming Project Management
With an employee base of more than 1,500 people spread across the region, many of whom would rarely head into an office, Aster wanted to prioritize project transparency for all their teams. Having had a PMO system in place for six years that had previously resided with the IT team, they needed to find a way to demystify project management and make it accessible to all.
As they began examining their overall project management processes, they came to the realization that the way they handled business cases had similar issues, particularly from a governance perspective. Going through this overall evaluation of the end-to-end approach to business transformation also gave them the opportunity to take a fresh look at how they collected ideas. They realized they could do more to make this process accessible for their employees.
Rethinking the innovation process
“We had a very traditional approach to innovation. We pulled people into the office and asked their opinions on challenges facing the business. It worked to a degree, but we tended to get the same people coming in,” said assistant director of PMO, Derek Wilkes.
Furthermore, Aster found that, while these sessions gave them great ideas, there was less follow-through on the suggestions that came from employees.
Aster wanted to completely transform its innovation process from start to finish; to do this they needed to find technology that could underpin their new approach.
The story so far
Aster has been using edison365’s business case and project management software for over a year and is currently in the process of rolling out edison365ideas.
The team found edison365projects easy to configure, which means that they can now make changes to templates themselves, rather than relying on consultants. The teams use Power BI for reporting, and can now easily add new information into reports, thanks to the platform’s integration.
Projects come in all different shapes and sizes at Aster, and users outside the PMO love the ease of use of edison365projects and are engaging more in the project management process. This means there’s greater control and governance across every project type.
Derek said: “There are teams within Aster that used Project Online and found it overly complicated for their needs. These teams just wanted to manage their own mini projects within a sophisticated but simple-to-use tool. edison365projects makes it so much easier for them.”
The organization has already run a successful pilot of edison365ideas for 300 users and has begun introducing it to wider internal teams. Aster are using the solution to capture innovative ideas to enhance the business and deliver the core values of the organization.
With the ability to easily evaluate these ideas in a structured and centralized manner, Aster has seen improvements in the way workload decisions are made and, in turn, the approval and prioritization to the delivery portfolio.
“Engagement with our user community and the clarity of information for business decisions are just two of the key benefits we are seeing from the edison365 suite.”
The team will continue to roll out edison365’s idea management software to the rest of the organization over the next year with a key focus on reaching the 400 non office-based workers who do not always use their Microsoft accounts. Engaging the whole of the Aster workforce will enable all employees to be part of the drive to be at the forefront of housing providers in the UK.
The next challenge will be to engage a wider external community, including suppliers and customers, in order to embrace innovative thinking from an even wider audience.