What it's like to implement a PPM software solution with Planisware (MSA Safety Interview)
Michael Oyler describes MSA Safety's experience with Planisware Enterprise's PPM best practice implementation process.

Michael Oyler is a project strategy and portfolio manager at MSA Safety, Mine Safety Appliances.


My name is Michael Oyler and I am a product strategy and portfolio manager at MSA, Mine Safety Appliances.


How did MSA Safety and Planisware approach the implementation?

With our initial implementation, we took on the project module, the portfolio module and the resource module. We wanted to start with this phase one approach because we think it gave us kind of the best initial use case for us in order to do portfolio management. So, it took us three sprints, each two-to-three weeks each, and they brought on kind of a module with every sprint, and we looked through it, made sure it met our needs.

With every sprint review, we had a chance to critique the work that had been done and talk about, maybe, what didn't align exactly with our expectations, and they would roll that into the next sprint. So, then when we reviewed two or three weeks later, we could see that feedback actually implemented in the software.

We did our implementation in a bit of a blitz effort. From blueprinting to go-live was only four months. The Planisware team did a series of builds that lasted two-to-three weeks that really gave us incremental usability every time. And then we had user testing and vetting of the development they'd done in the two-to-three weeks, and they were always on top of it. It did require us quite a bit of work to keep up with their fast pace, but it was really appreciated to hit our go-live schedule.


Were you satisfied with the Planisware implementation process?

Extremely satisfied. It didn't end up extending our timeline at all for go-live. We were able to get through all of our sprints and then kind of a clean-up phase, too, at the end without extending our deadline.


Are you satisfied with the resulting solution?

Planisware has met and exceeded our expectations for solving our problems within portfolio management. We wanted to be very realistic about how quickly we could adopt such a game-changing tool. So, really, we've been excited as we've finished out our portfolio planning -- our big portfolio planning after this year -- at how far we have come with the new tool.


Have you been able to tweak and configure the software, as needed?

Within the software, there's level one and level two configuration. As a business user, I've felt pretty comfortable doing the level one configuration and I think it's provided a lot of benefit to just do small tweaks, customizations to fit the MSA use case a lot better and provide us much more useful data.

The Planisware technical team sat with me and they did about a four-hour admin training, and I picked it up just solely from that, as well as the user interface is very intuitive.


How has your experience been working with the Planisware team?

Our customer success manager was extremely helpful in kind of defining this vision of what we wanted our software solution to look like. What modules we wanted to bring on in phase one, what we should maybe hold off until phase two … really defining that landscape was extremely important. And when we got into the implementation, that team was extremely responsive. They were much faster with the sprints and with the reviews than almost we could keep up with.

The team was always on top of any issues we had with discrepancies between what they built and what we expected to see. And, then, since we've launched, the support has been excellent, as well. The responses are always pretty quick, they're not so technical in nature that I can't understand them as a business user and the fixes are always as we expect them.


What are MSA Safety's future plans with Planisware?

We're trusting Planisware to really be the experts in this space -- portfolio management. Obviously, we've had this with internal resources, but we're looking to them to help guide us in best practices beyond the modules we've already brought on, with resource, project and portfolio. We look to do roadmapping, strategic buckets and investments, and we consider them, really, a partner in defining what those best practices are for our company.

We'll certainly bring on roadmapping and strategic buckets and investments. We think for the long-term vision of our R&D department, that those are going to be crucial additions.