About De Beers
Founded in 1888, the De Beers Group of Companies is the world’s leading diamond company, with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of rough diamonds.
De Beers Technologies, the research and development division of the De Beers Group of Companies (“De Beers”), conducted a review of its project management processes and systems, and identified that a large amount of data and documentation lived in a variety of disparate tools, such as MS-Project (project tracking), Word (scope documents), Excel (resource management), Outlook (collaboration), SharePoint (document storage), Innate (resource reporting). This setup was triggering key challenges, including:
- Switching back-and-forth between tools was time consuming and inefficient
- It was difficult to see next steps and make fast, informed project management decisions
- Documents for capturing plans or scope were not always up-to-date, which led to version control problems
The company also faced time tracking challenges, since timesheets were not linked to tasks, and it was extremely complex to make this happen with tools and systems in the environment.
Communication and collaboration between project management and product development were not aligned on stage-gates and other project-related controls.
Finally, resource leveling was also difficult with limited visibility into team member availability and bandwidth.
In addition to improving collaboration and communication, De Beers was looking for a way to consolidate project data and requirements in a single, centralized project management system. It needed a single source of truth: a real-time project master document to drive planning, reporting, resource management and progress tracking.
The Use Case
To address their challenges, De Beers explored a shortlist of project management solutions, including Hydra Management, a tool that was integrated with the company’s mechanical CAD system, and Clarizen, which was highly recommended by a consultant.
Based largely on the recommendation, De Beers evaluated Clarizen, and ultimately concluded that it was the best-fit solution based on several factors, including:
- Strong high-level integration that link resources, schedules and other project aspects together
- Automatic updates that ensure plans and other documents are always accurate and updated
- Robust and configurable reporting, which was particularly important to project leaders who could use templates to automatically populate and create reports (on-demand or per scheduled frequency)
De Beers Technologies also valued the in-context collaboration tools that connect communications and documents with work objects along with automated linking of timesheets to tasks with no compatibility or configuration problems.
They are also now relying on Clarizen’s built-in resource management and resource leveling tools to fully utilize resources, along with reporting their time for scheduling and planning purposes.
De Beers established a cut-off deadline for its previous system, and a launch date for Clarizen. Just prior to implementation, all projects in Microsoft Project were imported into Clarizen, and training workshops were held for all project leaders. As noted by John Bowe, Program Manager at De Beers: “During the implementation process, whenever we had questions or didn’t know how to do something, Clarizen was there for us and made sure that we understood what to do and could jump on things straight away.”
Product development and project management teams are now collaborating and communicating more effectively, with accelerated planning through the use of standardized templates, repeatable processes and consistent governance. The R&D team at De Beers is also experiencing numerous system and operational benefits, including:
- Consolidated and replaced several disparate tools in the environment (such as MS-Project and Innate)
- Improved data hygiene as project information and data now lives in Clarizen
- Improved resource leveling increased the likelihood of delivering project to schedule
“We’re at a state now where we have pretty much all of what we wanted in terms of project management within Clarizen.” - John Bowe Program Manager De Beers Group of Companies