In a world of increasing digitalization and connected mobility, technology company Continental is setting the course for a systematic changeover to agile methods and culture to cope with rising complexity of large-scale projects. For this purpose, Continental has set up a Center of Competence for project management, so-called “VNI Key Projects”, in the Vehicle Networking and Information (VNI) business area. It combines expertise, increases the overarching knowledge transfer and increases efficiency in project management. In addition, it not only gains knowledge about best practices, but also ensures that they can be used universally. This ultimately simplifies the provision of seamless, effective and comprehensive integration of functionalities. VNI Key Projects was founded on July 1, 2020 and has since taken over five key projects from various car manufacturers. An experienced team of employees, consisting of the project managers and managers of these projects as well as other senior experts, was gradually integrated into the project organizations. Since October 1, 2020, the competence center is fully operational. Werner Köstler is heading the new organization. Ralf Lenninger has taken over his previous position as Head of Strategy and Business Development in addition to his previous duties as Head of Future Solutions at VNI.
“With the rising connectivity of vehicles and the introduction of high-performance computers into vehicle electronics, our projects are becoming increasingly larger, software-centric, complex and global. It is therefore time for a new project management organization designed to meet the challenges in the market and better meet customer requirements,” says Helmut Matschi, Head of the Vehicle Networking and Information business area and member of the Executive Board of Continental. “With Werner Köstler as head of this organization, we will be even more agile and efficient in developing our key projects, thereby raising the performance and quality of our project management to the next level. In addition, we create the basis for continuous functional enhancements throughout the entire product life cycle.”
Competence center pools project management expertise
Continental is collaborating with a variety of internal and external parties on several large and complex projects. The software proportion of such projects is growing rapidly and the responsibility for system architecture is shifting further and further from customer to supplier. In addition, project development times are becoming shorter and customer requirements are changing along the entire development phase. This makes it crucial for suppliers such as Continental to react quickly, agilely, and efficiently. In order to set the course in this environment, Continental has established the central project organization “VNI Key Projects” in the Vehicle Networking and Information business area, which is now fully operational. VNI Key Projects has a project office infrastructure and provides a pool of experts for each key project selected. In this context, the rapid and simple reuse of modules and platforms and the extensive transfer of knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices become essential. The implementation facilitates the introduction of technology in all VNI business units and masters the increasing complexity of the projects through shorter planning periods.