In control of the project portfolio

GVB manages the public transportation in and around Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. In addition, the management and maintenance of the resources and track infrastructure in the city is taken care of by GVB. Securing public safety in and around public transportation is also a GVB responsibility.

With 200 busses, 216 trams and 120 metros travelling millions of kilometers, vehicle maintenance is essential to the business for which a reliable planning is key.

To get more control over these maintenance projects, GVB wanted to implement a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool. After some market research they selected Microsoft Project Online.

“What convinced us to move to Project Online? Well it is an incredible flexible system which offers us the overview of all projects and underlying activities. You can say we are back in control again and that brings me great pleasure.”

Joep Pothuizen Planner at GVB

Excel sheets

The Department of Technical Management Rail Equipment of the GVB is responsible for maintenance and safety of all vehicles operating in the Amsterdam area. Joep Pothuizen, senior planner at GVB explains; “For many years we worked with a planning system based on information coming from different channels; phone, a talk at the coffee machine, an e-mail and anything in between. All this information was registered in Excel. As a starting point it worked quite well, but soon we were losing the big picture.”

Things needed to change, that was totally clear. “Projects were executed perfectly but lacked ownership at task level”, explains Pothuizen. “We registered everything but it became a system of its own. Hundreds of tasks were never closed in the system while the actual work was already completed. 

Market research

The GVB Amsterdam did a short survey of the market and concluded that Microsoft Project Online was the way to go. Together with JSR we looked at the different possibilities. “Within the system you can easily assign team members to the project. This way everyone gets their own to-do list”, explains Van Zonneveld, managing consultant for JSR. He also adds the reporting power of Microsoft, “Reports are easily configured, generating up to date management information with only a few clicks. It offers GVB fast and accurate insight on all running projects, including progress.“ All these possibilities were exactly what Pothuizen needed. “This meant a new way of working, but it delivers a lot of benefits in return.”

Overview & Structure

In the day to day business the Department of Technical Management Rail Equipment of the GVB had a lot of complex and long-term projects. With this in mind it is vital to have an accurate overview. “The project information was scattered over different servers. Our employees are real hard working men, who do not care where the information is stored as long as the job gets done”, Pothuizen says smiling. “For us there were two important requirements; more overview of what was going on and a more structured process. The management finally decided that we needed to implement a new system for this. JSR worked out our requirements, translating them into a new system and together we made it work. I can really say I am happy with the results.” 

On our intranet we created a standard form for problems and incidents which any employee can fill in and it is directly pushed into our planning workflow. According to Pothuizen a main benefit is that more relevant information is registered and that it is more standardized.

A time saver

“All information is now centrally stored”, explains Pothuizen. He states that the new planning tool saves a lot of time. “Every two weeks we have team meetings to discuss progress. The great thing now is we have a complete overview and we can focus on actual bottlenecks.”

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