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How COTESA optimizes project management with Stackfield

6 min read

Highlights

  • The combination of intuitivity and functionality facilitates a quick and effective onboarding
  • Task and communication module enable a centralized project management
  • The applicant management is ideally solved with the Kanban board

About COTESA GmbH

The core competence of COTESA GmbH is the production of high-quality fiber composite components for the aerospace and automotive industries. Since the company was founded in 2002, it has successfully developed into a leading manufacturer of customized solutions for components and assemblies through long-term involvement in aviation programs. Meanwhile, COTESA also specializes in the production of lightweight carbon and fiberglass products for air taxis and drones. "Anything that goes into the air has to be lightweight, of course, so it uses less energy," explains Jerome Rossol, Head of Innovation at COTESA. And that is where the company brings its many years of experience and expertise to bear.


Jerome Rossol – Head of Innovation at COTESA

The initial situation

At COTESA, large-scale project management is part of the everyday business. This includes, for instance, long-term customer projects in which components are developed from concept to series and many employees from different areas are involved. And especially here, it is important to maintain an overview of the development of individual projects, to clearly assign tasks, and to make information accessible to everyone involved. Before Stackfield, collaboration and communication at COTESA mainly took place via email. The problem: Often, not everyone was involved because distribution lists were not used, or when colleagues were absent, others did not have access to important information in their inboxes. A fundamental issue was also task management via email or in meetings, which was anything but optimal.

"Of course, project plans change, everything is very dynamic and it often comes to an email ping-pong. Feedback on certain tasks was missing and so the question was: How can we handle our task management better?"

Especially in the area of sales and engineering, the calls for change were loud – a tool for better project control was needed.

Why Stackfield?

It was clear to the company that more transparency needed to be created. Projects should be mapped better, with a focus on task management and internal communication. COTESA was looking for a user-friendly tool that would keep the learning curve to a minimum. From a project controlling perspective, it should offer as many functions as possible, but at the same time keep its intuitive character. For the company, Stackfield was a perfect hybrid of intuitivity and functionality. Functions can be customized and the complexity of the tool remains manageable.

"The main requirement was: It should not overwhelm users and everyone should be able to work with it intuitively. [...] That's what sets Stackfield apart for me and ultimately led us to the decision to integrate the tool."

In addition to functionality, internal IT guidelines also played a major role. For COTESA, a tool that is available as an on-premise version was absolutely necessary, and that is exactly where many other providers dropped out, according to Rossol. In the end, however, it was Stackfield's high security standards that convinced them – the company was enthusiastic about the fact that the tool runs on German servers.

The provision of many features necessary for collaboration, coupled with the platform's ease of use and security, were key factors in COTESA's decision to choose Stackfield.

First steps with Stackfield

The plan was to first familiarize a smaller user group with Stackfield. Said user group consisted mainly of the management and those who control the project work. The next cycle was to introduce the tool to employees who receive and complete tasks. Rossol was aware that it might be more difficult in some areas to introduce a tool that represented such a significant change in the day-to-day work of employees. "It was also important to us to make them aware of personal benefits, such as the fact that individual topics from projects and their own to-dos can be bundled together to create an overview. So that everyone can see: This is where I have my tasks, can work through my topics, and prioritize them. That's a great benefit for everyone," says Rossol.

Stackfield's ease of use in particular was a big success factor in onboarding – even with regard to less tech-savvy employees. "When you introduce the tool, you don't have to worry about employees shying away at first as they are able to quickly and intuitively recognize the most important functions," Rossol says. Moreover, he was also aware that some might find it difficult to completely switch communication to a new tool.

"You can't underestimate the fact that emails, in particular, are very much integrated into everyday working life – many log in in the morning and immediately click through their inbox, or don't even have time for two days after a vacation because they have to work through their emails first. These automatisms have to be solved in the first place."

But Rossol was optimistic. In addition to the training provided by Stackfield, there was also in-house training to help users understand the respective features and their added value for collaboration. And this is how the onboarding went smoothly. On the platform, the structure was provided, rooms were created and customized for each department. Everything was predefined and explained, and then it was: "Let's just see how it goes." And that has proven to be successful. The tool was very well received and employees immediately contributed their own ideas for using the individual functions.

More transparency and optimized project planning

For COTESA, it was important to create more transparency in all areas and to optimize project management. Thanks to the various room groups and rooms on Stackfield, the individual processes and projects, whether internal or customer-specific, can now be planned and carried out optimally. The use of room templates has also proven to be extremely helpful. Recurring processes can be mapped quickly since standard tasks exist or it is specified who must be included in the room – the structure is already set up and you can get started right away.

In addition, a central solution for task management was finally found with Stackfield. By assigning tasks, responsibilities are clearly defined and misunderstandings can be prevented. From both an employee and management perspective, being able to see at a glance who is included in a room and where responsibilities lie is a huge benefit. The days of communicating tasks via email or in meetings are clearly over. Rossol is particularly excited about how flexibly individual functions can be adapted to specific processes. From "lessons learned" to ticket systems in the Kanban board: This is where the most potential lies and the possibilities are endless.

Besides the task module, the Gantt chart in the timeline module is also a great support when planning and implementing projects. "We really like to use the Gantt chart, especially for large projects, and we're always happy to see that the functionality continues to grow and that we're getting better and better in our project planning," says Rossol.

Applicant management with the Kanban board

At COTESA, the individual departments are also constantly finding new ways to use Stackfield for their purposes and optimize processes. Inspired by Stackfield's use cases, the HR department recently implemented an applicant management using the Kanban function. While the original plan was to introduce a new tool for this, it has proven to be a good idea to include this process in Stackfield as well. Apart from the HR department, this system also gives the management level an overview of appointments, application documents, and the current status of applications. Other colleagues who are to participate in interviews can easily be invited into the room.

Stronger team spirit due to Stackfield

It is precisely because of the physical separation caused by working from home that Rossol particularly appreciates the communication via Stackfield. He notices that the individual rooms create a great basis and have strengthened the sense of togetherness in the teams. "Stackfield brings employees closer together again in the rooms despite the physical separation. You actually sometimes feel like you're walking into a room and meeting your colleagues, and I think that's really, really nice." The chat function also creates a more personal relationship – it is easy to exchange ideas with colleagues quickly and directly without having to take a detour via email.

Intuitive and functional – This is what sets Stackfield apart

For Rossol, one thing is certain: Stackfield has taken collaboration at COTESA to a new level. The balance between intuitivity and functionality has led to the desired success and he is very pleased. Project controlling is finally mapped centrally and employees are using Stackfield with enthusiasm. But Rossol has more plans. For the future, the focus is on creating even more use cases in the departments and making the most of the functions. And the production division is also to be integrated as a closed team on Stackfield in order to gather all interfaces and contact persons in one place.

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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