Phil Howe started in Honeywell Business Solutions (HBS) as an apprentice in 1983 before becoming an engineer, a senior engineer and eventually moving into the project management function. For the past 12 years, Phil is Project Management Excellence Leader for Europe which is effectively process excellence leader for the operations function (what is called a PMO in other organizations). Before taking up this role, Phil was heavily involved with a number of largescale projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5 and Wembley Stadium during his time as a project manager.
The Honeywell organization has $38 billion annual revenue with over 129,000 employees in 1,300 sites across 70 countries. Honeywell is a fortune 100 company with its corporate headquarters locates in Morris Plains, New Jersey. There are four main pillars that exist under the Honeywell corporate umbrella:
Honeywell Building Solutions takes equipment manufactured by other Honeywell divisions and uses that equipment to create solutions that solve a building requirement for example a new building being constructed may have a need for a security system or a fire safety system to be installed.
Honeywell Building Solutions are live in 47 countries across the globe and have up to 25,000 projects at any given stage. These consist of around 12,000 live projects currently being completed and around the same number in the opportunity stage in the pipeline. Projects at HBS can range in value from anything under €1,000 up to €300 million.
Honeywell have grown significantly through acquisition as well as organic growth which can make it difficult to have everyone working in the same way. Acquisition in its nature will bring in different systems and coupled with the multiple systems that HBS already had in place there was huge duplication of data, manual entry in different systems which effectively led to wasted time and missed opportunities to see early warning signs that a project is not progressing as planned. Phil explains how there was nothing in place to ensure that projects were carried out using the PMBOK methodology once training concluded.
Phil defined the three biggest headaches with regard to project management in Honeywell Building Solutions before implementing PPM software as:
HBS started their search for a project management solution in late 2014 with initial information being obtained through a Google search returning up on 650 different results for the phrase “project management software”. After this initial online research, the team in charge of sourcing a solution decided to look at what systems they were required to use for different projects they were running for customers, many of which focused on document management. With no resounding success here, an agreement was reached on the need for a full Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) solution which led the team to consider speaking to vendors at PPM conferences throughout the UK.
After attending a number of trade shows, a list of 25 potential candidates was initially compiled which was narrowed down to 10 based on those that suited how the Honeywell organization works. Through workshops and discussions these 10 were narrowed down to 3 who presented a proof of concept – 2 of which were presented to the global leadership team who then selected ProjectVision by Cora Systems.
Implementation of ProjectVision into HBS was first considered in May 2015. Honeywell had started to consider the importance of user experience in all their products and it was equally as important in the software they were using. Cora Systems were the only vendor that mentioned User Experience in their workshop or proof of concept which was a contributor to winning the contract as well as the configurability of the systems and the bespoke features that can be added by the internal development team. This development took place up to November 2015, with training starting in October before the official launch in January 2016. In terms of training, a “train the trainer” approach was considered the best option where the training team at Cora Systems attended sessions in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney and Morris Plains to train power-users who then distributed it throughout their geographical districts.
Every project is now managed in a way that is aligned with the PMBOK methodology set out by the PMI as ProjectVision is set up for HBS in such a way that a project manager must follow the stages set out in PMBOK. Leadership have the ability to see their full portfolio of projects rolled up to show the information that they require while a project manager is only able to see projects that relate to them. There is also now an ability to see early warning signs through a RAG status which connects risks to costs to change. This has drastically reduced deviation throughout the entire portfolio of projects at Honeywell Building Solutions.
The Project Management Paradise podcast host Johnny Beirne asked Phil for three benefits that Honeywell Building Solutions have realized since the implementation of ProjectVision.
Between 1,500 and 1,600 employees use ProjectVision on a daily basis as part of their normal business activities. It is now the cornerstone of project delivery within Honeywell Building Solutions and more users will be added in line with new functionality, for example Phase 3 of development is focusing on project forecasting within the system.
Phil suggests that the good working relationship HBS have with Cora Systems is down to their personal approach such as direct access to developers and joint workshops both in Cora’s offices and Honeywell’s operations in the UK and Germany.
Sign up here to receive the quarterly Cora Newsletter. Receive tips on project and portfolio management and be first to find out about upcoming events and product enhancements.