Planisware for Aerospace Programs at OHB

Ronny Wolf, Risk and Process Manager at OHB System AG, discusses the challenges of Project Management in the Aerospace industry, and how Planisware is helping OHB improve data quality and develop their processes.

Planisware for Aerospace Programs at OHB

An interview with Ronny Wolf, Risk and Process Manager at OHB System AG.


My name is Ronny Wolf. I work for OHB System AG as the Business Administrator for Planisware.

What does OHB, and your department within OHB, do?

OHB System AG is an aerospace company. We have a large portfolio ranging from manned space mission, where we deliver equipment for the international space station ISS, from smaller equipment, up to large cargo missions and complete aerospace systems.

Among the most famous products we are currently developing are the Galileo-navigation satellites. And next generation weather satellites which we are currently developing. Or other telecom or remote satellite sensing equipment. They are all made by OHB.

In your opinion, what are the specificities of project management in the Aerospace industry?

We have quite a large range of projects: from smaller studies with quite short runtimes and smaller scopes, to relatively large projects with average runtimes of ten years or more and with budgets that can reach a billion USD. So we have a relatively wide variety of projects and we have to deal with them accordingly.

In particular, for long term fixed price projects, we must be careful to stay in control of the budget and identify changes as early as possible so that we can react.

On the other hand, we serve institutional customers, who define specific requirements. However, these requirements can significantly vary from one project to another, so we have to be able to create a different setup for every single institutional project.

How does Planisware help with these challenges?

We chose Planisware through a selection process which started with a list of 29 vendors. Planisware was our final choice because it simply best met our requirements and also offered the flexibility to handle small projects and relatively large and complex projects in the same time. That is what we needed.

Which business areas and how many people currently use Planisware at OHB?

We have currently more than 260 active users in the system, beginning with classic roles such as project managers and project planners who use the system to plan schedules, cost and resources. At all times, they can include actual costs from SAP in their rolling forecast process.

Based on this planning information we then have our resource managers and team leaders who can analyse in real-time the workload of their resources within their respective business units.

Resource data in Planisware is used to justify any new hiring. A concrete resource demand is mandatory for recruitment.

We also use all the project data we collect in the system not only for corporate planning and reporting but also for reporting towards our board of directors.

You mentioned that Planisware has become a kind of approval authority. What does that mean?

We have integrated our Planisware instance with several SAP interfaces and other data sources and now consolidate these heterogeneous pieces of information in Planisware. As a result of this, our users have access to any project data. It also helps us cross-check the data. We rapidly obtain transparency and identify discrepancies in our project data. In general, these discrepancies appear as variations of cost or shifts in our schedules. Planisware helps us to rapidly identify these problems.

This has helped us in two ways: first, the data quality has improved significantly. Secondly, our whole processes have become more stable, and our people are more alert to these issues.

What do you like best about Planisware?

One of the biggest benefits of the software for us is its is remarkable flexibility. The end user has a lot of options to customize the Planisware interface to suit his needs. He can easily put together his own reports without any help from an administrator.

From an administrator's perspective, it is it is a great advantage to now be able to do a lot of adjustments and configurations on our own, without getting in touch with the software vendor. We now have the know-how in-house  to do these kind of things on our own.

Our journey with Planisware started with version 6.1. We are now in version 6.2. Improvements in the usability, and the new features, which can offer significant benefits, clearly shows that Planisware is dedicating a lot of resources to improving the software. As a result we get features that make our daily work easier. That is something you will not get in other products. Here you get elaborate features which make life easier.

Last year, you told us about your first year using Planisware. What has happened since, and what comes next?

We are currently running the initiative to automatize our whole corporate reporting, management reporting, price reporting and project reporting. Our aim is to be able to produce and distribute these reports automatically in the tool by the middle of this year.

Once we have finished the automatization of our reporting, we will take a closer look  at how we can deep dive in the agile world, how to use stage-gate models with deliverables to even better measure progress In our work packages, and give people additional tools that help them to become even better in their daily project work. We will check again some of our workflows in resource management, especially the supply-demand process, in order to better integrate resource managers and to help them to get more involvement in resource planning. That is something we do not really have today.

In the future we would like to give more responsibility to the people responsible. We will have more risk management and adapt the functionalities accordingly.
That is to say that we still have a lot of things to do.