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06.08.2020 | The use of lean management at EDR

Interview with Harald Grund

THE URBAN ROAD NETWORK IN MUNICH, WHICH IS ALREADY USED TO CAPACITY TODAY, WILL NOT BE ADAPTA-BLE TO THE MOBILITY NEEDS OF A GROWING NUMBER OF RESIDENTS AND EMPLOYEES. WHAT MEASURES DOES THE CITY OF MUNICH TAKE TO COMBAT THESE DEVELOPMENTS?

Harald Grund: A cable car along the Frankfurter Ring in the north of Munich is to improve the local transport services. The City of Munich commissioned a feasibility study for this purpose. It is to show a route of the cable car with the great-est traffic impact and a high added value. Moreover, its technical feasibility is to be proven.

The feasibility study will be carried out by an interdisciplinary team of highly experienced engineers. In this way we ensure that all aspects, such as architecture and urban development, nature and environmental planning, traffic planning, cable car technology, construction technology and legal licensing issues are adequately elabo-rated in the feasibility study. In order to master the complexity of this task, EDR has initiated the use of Lean Management.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE AN AGILE WORKING METHOD IN PARTICULAR FOR THIS PROJECT?

Harald Grund: Due to my background in the software industry, where methods like Scrum have been used for a long time, I quickly recognized the potential of an agile approach in this project. In conventional construction projects you have planning processes with a starting point and a given goal - in between there is a defined process. In con-trast, Scrum is an agile development process. You only have one goal in terms of content, i.e. you know the what but not the how. In our case we know that we will have a feasibility study at the end of the year, but we don't know the results yet.

So the conditions in this project were ideal for the use of Scrum. As project manager I decided to use this meth-od in order to be able to react quickly and make decisions based on the situation. In the Scrum process we pro-ceed in small steps and coordinate ourselves in short intervals. If there are many given dependencies, such as in a cable car project, Scrum is therefore the ideal approach.

HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY USE SCRUM IN THE FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE ROPEWAY PROJECT?

Harald Grund: Prior to the feasibility study we first carried out a quick check on the ropeway technology and the traffic impact. This already ruled out a possible route that did not need to be considered in the further course of the project. This led to cost savings, which we benefited from elsewhere in the project. This is a further advantage of agile projects.

Furthermore, we first defined and prioritized the requirements within the Scrum team. The team members work through this list in a jointly determined order. At weekly team meetings we discuss and visualize the status of the individual work packages. Once a month a review with our client takes place, where we present and dis-cuss the results of the requirements worked on until then. In this way, processes are presented transparently for all parties involved and critical dependencies are identified at an early stage. Together with the client, we have the possibility to redefine the direction again and again.

UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS SCRUM SUITABLE FOR A PROJECT?

Harald Grund: Scrum is especially suitable for projects where the path to the result is not known at the beginning. The Scrum method can unfold its advantages in uncertain, complex projects where you want to be able to react quickly to new findings and adapt the procedure accordingly.

An important premise for the successful use of Scrum is also the drafting of contracts. The use of Scrum has to be contractually defined in advance. Since constant adjustments of goals are an essential part of agile manage-ment, you run the risk of having to renegotiate when changes occur.
And above all there is mutual trust - both within the team and between the client and the Scrum team. Only with comprehensive trust Scrum projects can succeed.


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