Your project team runs through the entire company as all areas are affected. What magnitude are we talking here?
SM: It varies. The core team is made up of ten sub-project managers and around ten people from IT. Sometimes around ten process experts are called in and in peak periods, in which mass tests are performed, there are sometimes 50 to 60 people working on the project at the same time.
What is the biggest challenge for you personally?
SM: There are two things. First, the complexity of the entire system. Just-in-time production poses huge challenges for the SAP system, for example with regard to troubleshooting. Getting people on board is another huge challenge. I consider this to be one of the most important steps of all. There is a really a lot of anxiety in the room, which we have to get rid of.
How do you deal with that?
SM: We have developed a very extensive training concept and set up various training rooms. First of all, the so-called in-house multipliers learn how to use the system, they then pass on their knowledge. We also work with a special software tool, which records different processes that can later be called up again at the workplace as a reminder.
How do you manage to keep people together in this huge project and not miss anything?
SM: We have regular meetings with the sub-project managers and have set up project rooms near to the areas in question so that the employees don't have to go very far to meet up. To this end, we always seek close contact to the works council so that we can keep an eye on the concerns of the employees involved. The situation we have here is very good. We meet up every two weeks and speak to each other openly.
Do you sometimes have to work overtime?
SM: Time demands made by the project are certainly very high. In peak periods, when showing full commitment to Gira, you have to take care not to overdo it. At Gira, colleagues are sometimes so enthusiastic about a topic that they forget about a lot of what is going on around them. There is a certain element of risk here, and that's why it is important to hear the employer say: We will look after you. We can talk about these things openly here.
Didn't you have a healthy respect for this project at the beginning? You most certainly guessed that you would be given a lot of work, and yet you were also still in the midst of final-year project stress.