Even though, the consulting engineering company Arne Elkjær A/S has more than 60 years of experience, they are aware that it is important that the work approach is kept up to date and that is done by constantly developing themselves. As part of the development, business partner Jakob Byskov was hired two years ago and since then Stine Groth Bertsen has joined the company in a new position as project planner.
This development prompted a conversation with Jakob Byskov regarding project management and planning as essential tools in everyday life at Arne Elkjær A/S.
Big projects require competent project leaders
During the past year Arne Elkjær A/S has begun working more targeted with educating project leaders to manage the company’s bigger projects. The need to better equip the project leaders emerged in connection with the company winning bigger and bigger projects.
The project leaders are educated both professionally and with a focus on people management where cooperation and creation of relations between people is of the highest priority. Creating relations is one of the principal values of the culture at Arne Elkjær A/S and with the focus on developing precisely this in their project leaders, do they further the best in the company, as a whole.
Big projects also require detailed planning and this is where AutoPilot enters the picture. At Arne Elkjær A/S, AutoPilot is an essential tool which is used to provide an overview of the hours and resources available. It is just one of the tasks Stine Groth Berntsen performs, to make it easier for the project leaders to focus on cooperation and relations.
It’s about relations
Personally, to Jakob Byskov, good project management is about cooperation and relations between people. He thinks that 90% of the time you spend on managing a project is about people, whilst the last 10% is about professional competences:
“ To succeed as a project leader, you must be equipped as a human being for it, to get people to cooperate smoothly, and you only do that by looking at and understanding human beings. This is where we fail as engineers, because we are not very good at it. It is in the relationships we fail, not the professional skills. We are quite good at the last bit.”
Arne Elkjær A/S is trying to break with this tendency, by educating their project leaders internally, where there is a special emphasis on people and relations, and this initiative is making a difference, says Jakob Byskov.
The benefits are clear
Previously, Jakob Byskov, has had good experience of using AutoPilot in regards to planning and that means that Arne Elkjær A/S now has a tailored version of AutoPilot that fits their needs. It can be worth one’s while to work targeted with planning, thinks Jakob Byskov. Namely the benefits are easy to see:
“We earn more money, we get happier employees and we get a higher success rate for our projects to our clients, but also from our people. To prioritise planning thus relates to both job satisfaction and bottom line figures.”
The big projects that require a project leader also hold a bigger risk and therefore it is important to be acutely aware of such a project. If people are not thriving, then it spreads like rings in the water, he says.
“If we are well, then the project goes well. If we do not feel good, then the projects come to nothing. It is absolutely connected.”
If we keep track of planning, then we earn money
Even though Arne Elkjær A/S is in a period of growth where it takes time to stabilise the finances, he knows by intuition that it is also important to be in control of planning, so it does not hurt the bottom line:
“If we keep track of planning, then we can also earn money. Where we are vulnerable is if somebody doesn’t have anything to do, or if some have too much to do.”
On the basis of this realisation, Arne Elkjær A/S has hired Stine Groth Berntsen in a new position as project planner to manage the planning in AutoPilot. She ensures that all employees have work to do and ensures that there is something in the pipeline, which the two business partners Jakob Byskov and Michael Due also use to decide when a new project can be taken onboard:
“This way we can also use AutoPilot to look 2-3 months ahead. Believe me, 10% can easily be added to the bottom line by doing so.”