How PRINCE2 Changed Business Operations for the Better at ZANASI – interview with Ivan Ferri

Date: 05/03/2024| Category: Tips and interviews| Tags:

Can you briefly describe your role as a project manager at ZANASI and how PRINCE2 Certification has impacted on your daily activities?

At ZANASI I coordinate a project aimed at the development of a new industrial encoder.

ZANASI produces industrial inkjet printing systems, with more than 20 years of experience in this industry. When we started the development of a new machine, the company decided to take this opportunity to begin a process that resulted in two different levels of growth: one aimed at developing a product that could introduce a new concept of system modularity, and the other focused on a methodological change in the production process.

In this specific phase I was given the role of project manager in order to follow this ambitious and important project.

The decision of the company to opt for PRINCE2 Certification can be traced back to a company-wide objective, that started a few years ago. This objective was about internalising international processes to increase competitiveness in the market.

The PRINCE2 method had a direct impact on our company by increasing our organisational capacity. Before this time, in the company nobody had a project management certificate. We followed approved methods that were known because of training courses carried out internally, however those courses did not lead to official certifications. All of this resulted in time being wasted and resources used inefficiently.

The PRINCE2 Certification allowed us to organise activities between departments in a more cohesive manner, because a printing system requires many different expertises.

We are a company that needs to align competences from various departments: among which are mechanical, electronical, chemical and software. These are different worlds that can connect with each other and work together as a result of a method that is objectively flexible.  That is the main strength of the PRINCE2 method.

What are the main objectives of your projects in ZANASI?

The main objectives are the development of new projects with time and budget limitations. These objectives are quite common in all facets of industrial development.

In our specific case, as I mentioned before, our objectives have a medium to long term duration and they require a new technological revolution. Inevitably, a new form of management for development projects is needed. This certainly is an important challenge that constantly stimulates us to  grow.

How has PRINCE2 contributed towards the improvement in how the company has been able to manage its projects? Can you give us some examples on how the method has been applied to previous projects?

I can give you a real example. The way in which PRINCE2 allowed us to tackle project management effectively has been by focusing on the business case. Today, each resource involved in the project knows that every choice, action and deviation from what has been planned must have a strong reason. Only in this way can it be justified by the company from an economical standpoint . That is what we have been able to apply successfully from the PRINCE2 project management methodology.

How do you handle balance sheets and resources in your projects and which tools do you use to assure that they are delivered on time and within budget?

I think that one of the most important skills is people management. For me, this skill is essential. If technical skills are considered a given,  people management is a skill that you need to practise every day and that creates an added value.

That is why at ZANASI I decided to embark on another collegiate project personally followed by a business coach, alongside another PM of the company. We are trying to place hard- and soft skills next to each other.

Other than technical skills, which soft skills do you believe are essential for a project manager at ZANASI and how did you develop them in your career?

The first lesson is that by being a project manager you get white hair. Joking aside, my first recommendation for those that want to embark on this professional career is to not do it “self-made”.

Certification and courses are important because they provide the opportunity to analyse a topic in detail, and to exchange opinions with other professionals that are in your same situation in different companies. That is a huge array of knowledge that cannot be underestimated.

Difficulties are always miscalculated. If I had to give someone advice: when there is a problem, act immediately. Do not wait for it to come down on you. In the beginning we always believe the problem to be smaller than it really is. And if you do not solve it from the start, it will become unmanageable. That is the primary advice that I would like to give, as we found out the hard way. This is our “lesson learned“.

Since ZANASI operates in a very specific technical field, which challenges has the company faced while managing its problems and how has it used PRINCE2 to overcome them?

The biggest challenge that we face every day is to try and do something that we are uncertain about.

Operating in Research and Development, sometimes you hit a wall and cannot proceed further. Our biggest challenge is to manage this uncertainty in our projects. How has PRINCE2 helped? Through  risk management: surely, one of the PRINCE2 topics that we use the most.

Ivan Ferri

Ivan Ferri is responsible for ink designing at ZANASI and he is an R&D Project Manager with a PRINCE2 Practitioner certification. His company’s objective are to make him the contact person to manage development projects, by coordinating the team with the Project Management tools that he has learned.

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