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KIWI STORY: The right way to project management

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Feb. 11, 2014
Eight-year old Lexel Project Services (LPS) is a 120-strong project management (PM) firm that is proudly Kiwi-owned, with operations and clients across Auckland, Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.

Jones points to the firm's value-based remuneration system (VBRS) as an example of that effort.

"VBRS allows us to electronically capture time from our people, on any device at any time. More importantly, you cannot submit time inside Lexel unless you give an indication of how you are feeling. Every second of every week, I see that stuff flow through. And that's just another way for me to remain connected to 120 people," he says.

Ultimately, LPS wants happy employees to connect and work with customers in a true partnership format.

"VBRS can also be applied to client organisations. When you reach a critical mass you can set up KPIs for our team. So we agree those with the client. The client gets the chance to see how our people are rating themselves and they can rate them. Where we see this very successfully implemented is when we put our risks on billing. So if it is not right by the end of the month, then we will put our risks on money. We will go and fix it too. So it is a real trust proposition with clients. We put profit at risk if we haven't done exactly what we promised to do. We are pretty proud of that system," says Jones.

"We are very careful about that word - partnership. We tend to lean towards our clients being partners. We are conscious of that independent agnostic label.

"It is hard to partner with big vendors when we might be running a project for Air NZ, and they might be putting in big vendor hardware, and we might have to have some hard conversations with the vendor because they are stuck on a plan that lets us down. We tend to make friends among clients, and not too many in the wider IT world," says Alexander.

The company enables its people and clients with tools and processes that it has developed on its own, with an investment upwards of $300,000 over the last few years.

"Our preference is our own ideas, capabilities and tool sets. We favour them. Where we use other tools and other tool sets is when it makes logical sense for the customer, or if they have a commercial agreement for a certain number of licences. That is where we need to be effective, and roll in from day one and work with the solution. But our preference is our own processes, tools and our own concepts.

"Our exercise in our preferences is an exercise in trust and growth. As you mature with a client then you move towards a partnership relationship and then it makes sense to approach some potentially good business case savings. We can look to turning off hundreds-of-thousands dollars worth of licencing costs and replace it with something that we can grow with overtime and with the clients," says Alexander.


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