BNP Paribas Fortis

How internal teams at this leading European bank are using 10,000ft to prioritize projects, manage their people, and keep work aligned with the company strategy.

internal planning meeting at BNP Paribas
  • About

    BNP Paribas Fortis is a leading European bank based in Brussels, with locations in 74 countries and global teams of more than 192,000 employees. One of those teams is led by Performance Manager Koen Jacobs. At any one time, he and his employees have hundreds of projects in place to help deliver on the organization’s growth strategies. Keeping track of initiatives and team member workloads requires a high level of oversight and organization.

  • Challenge

    When Koen, who’s been with BNP Paribas Fortis for 22 years, moved to the internal marketing team from facilities management three years ago, he found it to be less structured than other departments. He wanted to implement a way to make sure that employees were properly prioritizing the right projects related to the company’s strategy. He needed a big picture on how the team was staffed on projects within the department.

    “There was a lot of misunderstanding between project managers and the production team,” Koen recalls. “It ended up that the one who screamed the loudest got the production team to realize his or her projects. But there was no one saying, ‘This project is perhaps the most important one for our bank.’”

    Part of the challenge was a lack of transparency on the total number of projects. Each project manager had his or her own method of tracking projects, as well as his or her own project management backlog of activities. Some teams were using Excel spreadsheets, which were hard to share with stakeholders and didn’t reflect real time information. Other teams had adopted tools such as Clarizen or Agile Central, but they existed in silos.

    BNP Paribas Fortis Marketing had no harmonized way to manage projects, interact with team members, split projects into manageable parts, and allocate work to people.

    “Our teams are under pressure for a lot of things, and we didn’t have any clear vision,” says Koen. “It’s fair enough to say you have too much work, but you have to create transparency so everyone knows what you’re working on today and tomorrow. That’s the value we needed to bring to the frustration of the moment.”

  • Results

    Koen sought a user-friendly, intuitive solution that could help his teams prioritize work and manage their capacity. After considering a variety of options, he chose 10,000ft, a high-level project and resource management software platform.

    “We assessed the basic functionalities of project management and resource planning, and 10,000ft scored the highest,” he says. “To me, its user interface, user intuition, and interactive platforms were really clear, which addressed the lack of project management competency within our marketing organization.”

    Koen was impressed most by 10,000ft’s resource scheduling. “Having a clear view of who's working on what, who's overbooked, or who still has capacity is vital,” he says. “We have people on one hand, and projects on the other hand. With 10,000ft, you immediately have a clear view of which projects are on track and which projects aren't, with project and portfolio levels.”

Benefits

After implementing 10,000ft in the marketing department in 2017, Koen introduced the resource management platform to more than 10 separate teams across the company. 10,000ft offers several unique and valuable benefits for BNP Paribas Fortis. 

1. Immediate Insights

One of the most important benefits that 10,000ft brings is transparency – especially around resource scheduling. At a glance, project managers have immediate insights about projects and portfolios. 

"At a high level, you can view your projects and plan your resources," says Koen. "You know if it’s possible to deliver something within three weeks, for example. You can answer questions such as, 'Do we have the resource capacity to do this or not?' Other solutions may have the same functionalities, but they don’t provide an immediate sense."

team brainstorm session at BNP Paribas


2. Actionable Reporting 

"Reports can give you all of the projects with work items at a certain stage, such as a delivery risk. This becomes a trigger to be able to intervene immediately."

From a management perspective, 10,000ft offers a wealth of information that can be filtered so it's easily digestible. In the past, managers would have to open individual projects to assess their status and health.

"Currently, we have about 250 projects running," says Koen. "We use project filters to see if a project requires management attention. You can refresh reports. You can look at the project portfolio to determine if everything is running okay. If there are issues, you can immediately contact the responsible project managers."

Managers also use reporting as a way to get informed about their project portfolios health status, says Koen. "For them, it's really critical to have immediate information," he says. "For example, reports can give you all of the projects with work items at a certain stage, such as a delivery risk. This becomes a trigger to be able to intervene immediately."

Reports in 10,000ft provide Koen with a sense of the projects where he’s spending the most time and talent. 

"You can ask yourself, 'Is it logical that we spend a hundred man days on a certain project? Is it linked to our strategy?'" says Koen. "You can go into the level of process and the level of precision, and steer activities in terms of process improvement, resource management, priority setting, and alignment with our strategy."

3. Accurate Time Tracking

10,000ft provides an easy way for employees to track their time. "No one likes to do this," admits Koen, "but this type of information helps you schedule better in the future. The accuracy related to scheduling helps you understand the available capacity of your resources."

Time is an increasingly important commodity. Companies are becoming more results-oriented due to the digitalization of markets, and the amount of time spent on every project needs to be a deliberate, strategic decision.

"It's about how you’re working with the scarce resources you have," says Koen. "Are they aligned with your strategy? Are you really focused on working the most efficient way that you can? You have to manage your organization’s resources as you would manage your own business."

BNP Paribas employee tracking time in 10,000ft


4. Skill Development + Team Building

"The fact that people are working and thinking more proactively about how long this activity will take them because of 10,000ft is very valuable."

Koen also uses 10,000ft as a human resources tool that helps him coach the different teams and grow their skill sets. 

"One of our objectives is to increase project management skills within our organization," he says. "From an HR perspective, 10,000ft is really an ideal solution to help your people grow their soft skills."

One of those skills is prioritization. 10,000ft helps team members assess their workloads for the day as well as in the upcoming weeks to make better decisions. 

"Someone who has difficulties coping with all the work items they have on their plate is able to prioritize them based on the insights from 10,000ft," says Koen. "The fact that people are working and thinking more proactively about how long this activity will take them because of 10,000ft is very valuable."

team working together at BNP Paribas


5. The Big Picture Comes Into View

"10,000ft is not a micromanagement solution. It's about gaining maturity in terms of your organizational behavior and responsibility in terms of your performance."

Koen has recommended 10,000ft to other departments within BNP Paribas Fortis and would recommend to other companies as well, calling it a "storytelling solution".

"I think being really transparent provides a storyline," he says. "What do we as an organization want to achieve? What is our common responsibility? Start from that point of view. It’s really about storytelling. It’s being really honest with people and what they want to achieve. 10,000ft is not a micromanagement solution. It's about gaining maturity in terms of your organizational behavior and responsibility in terms of your performance."

Two years after implementing 10,000ft, Koen is happy with his choice. "10,000ft has been an eye opener for management to see where there are issues and where they can continually improve," he says. "It's the ideal solution for this, and it's great that it's really focused towards non-IT users."

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