Project Management and Hospitals performance. Interview with Serge Schiltz
Organizational change has always been Serge’s main topic of interest.
- How do people perform as teams in their daily work?
- How can management sustain excellence and performance in the long term?
- How can change be implemented efficiently and without disrupting current performance?
Business process management and project management are the two key disciplines enabling organizational change.
When in the early 2000s, project management started to gain more attention, Serge helped establish this discipline in large multinational corporations and foster professional exchange by co-founding and volunteering in local project management associations like the PMI Switzerland Chapter and eco-HERMES.
Five years ago, Serge started his consulting and training company “processCentric GmbH” with a clear focus on business process management, which is the area where he sees a lot of potential for organizations in the coming years.
Project management has not lost any of its importance to him, but it has changed from being his area of focus to simply being one of the key means for implementing business process change. Besides offering training in business, rules and case management (sometimes grouped under the term “business analysis”), he shares his knowledge and experience of project management in training courses and university lectures.
Who is Serge and how did he get to where he now stands? Read his responses to our interview below.
What’s your current job title? What do you actually do?
I am working as a consultant (and CEO) for processCentric GmbH, a consulting company specialized in business process, rules and case management, which I founded 5 years ago.
As part of my job, I also offer training related to my consulting both as an instructor in continuous development courses and as a lecturer at the University of Fribourg and the Berne University of Applied Sciences.
How did you end up as a project management trainer and consultant for the hospital sector?
I don’t think that I “ended up” in anything; with every client, I learn new things and continue to develop my skills.
I love working with people who want to improve in they are doing in their job, which is what business process management is about. Very often, a key enabler for implementing change is project management.
This is why, even though my main interest is in business process management, project management has always got a large share of my attention. The hospital sector is particularly interesting in this respect because here, both daily work and project outcomes demand zero defects which in parallel, technical progress and pressure on costs are continually increasing.
What makes projects in the hospital environment exceptional?
The hospital environment is very interdisciplinary. As I mentioned in the previous question, errors or defects cannot be accepted in many areas of work. At the same time, staff size is limited, technological progress is breath-taking and politics continue to squeeze on the cost side.
When it comes to project management, this makes it important to pay particular attention to risk and quality management, which for me are the key disciplines in project management anyway.
How can Project Management best practice standards improve performance in hospitals?
It’s all about focus! When I analyse business processes, one of the most detrimental factors to performance is a distraction. Hospital staff have very important duties which they must focus on in order to assure the functioning of the organization as a whole for the good of patients’ health.
They must be able to rely on infrastructure and processes put in place by projects. We must not bother them with projects running into difficulties. Professionally managed projects should run like a well-oiled machine so that nobody directly involved in them will not even take notice.
What’s your advice on how to deal with these challenges?
Be aware that project management is a discipline on its own and requires attention. It is not something that can be done well by anybody, without proper training and with the lowest possible priority besides having dozens of other responsibilities.
Allocate appropriate resources to project management to improve bottom-line performance. Hospitals are continuously changing systems and the means for assuring smooth implementation of change is project management. This makes it a key discipline for you!
Serge completed his studies of mathematics (dipl. math.) and computer science (dipl. Inf.), with a doctorate in computer science (Dr. sc. Inf.).
In parallel to his professional activities, he continued his education in business management (MBA in Business Administration), project management (MSc in Project Management, PMI PMP), process management (OMG OCEB Business Advanced, IASSC Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) and service management (ITIL v4 Foundation).
He founded processCentric GmbH in 2015.