From the Trenches: Q&A with Ken Feyder, Director, Information Services PMO for Coach

Daptiv recently sat down with Coach’s Ken Feyder about how the company’s PMO is using Daptiv PPM to support its enterprise IT initiatives.

Q: Ken, tell us a little bit about Coach and your role at the company.

A: Coach designs and produces fine accessories and gifts for women and men, including handbags, small leather goods, business cases, weekend and travel accessories, footwear, watches, outerwear, scarves, sunwear, jewelry, fragrance and related accessories. The company was founded in 1941 as a family-run workshop. We’ve expanded quite a bit since then, but our team remains committed to upholding our founding principles of quality and integrity that define the company. My job is to oversee Coach’s Information Services’ (IS) PMO Center of Excellence (COE).

Q:  What type of activity does the PMO oversee?  

A: The primary goal of PMO COE is to enhance and support Project Management practice and discipline at Coach IS. We have established and are now reinforcing Coach’s Global IS Project Management methodology. The PMO monitors every project and service request, including global enterprise initiatives, albeit in various capacities. It also supports change management, as well as executive reporting and auditing. Additionally, PMO is the system owner of our PPM solution, Daptiv.

Q: How has the PMO evolved through the years?

A: These days the PMO runs fairly smoothly, which can be attributed to a combination of improved process maturity, project portfolio management (PPM) software, as well as the team’s expertise. In the beginning, however, we didn’t have a dedicated system or team associated with project management. As a result, we had relatively little structure around the process.

Getting a PMO not only off the ground, but tightly integrated into an organization’s culture, was a significant undertaking. For us, it was a three step process. It was the methodology first, the Coach practice second, and then the tools.

Q: How did you introduce PPM software like Daptiv into the mix?

A: We implemented Daptiv PPM in 2008, and knew that gradual adoption of the technology would be a significant factor to success. The PMO team took the approach of training the staff on both the overall project management practice and specific tools like Daptiv. 

First there was a basic introduction, followed by a more intensive five-day project management training for every manager and above in the department, globally. Our organization takes project management very seriously, and the PMO’s mission is supported from the CIO down. Our goal is to educate staff so they understand the importance of this investment and the value of the process and tools.  Recently, we have kicked off the next phase of our PM training initiative, extending PM education options to team members below manager level.

Q: Who uses Daptiv PPM at Coach?

Q: Today, every project at Coach – big or small – is tracked within Daptiv PPM. Every IS employee and every consultant is registered in the software, where they track their time, projects and activities.  This helps us monitor work performed by employees and consultants, and gives us the insight we need to analyze internal versus external labor distribution.

Documents and project plans are also managed through Daptiv PPM.  We’ve leveraged Daptiv PPM to standardize all reports with the same look and feel. Our reports drive the whole process while providing visibility into project work in the department.

Q: Can you discuss the ROI that Coach has achieved after deploying Daptiv PPM?

A:  We don’t look at the ROI strictly in terms of dollars, but rather how Daptiv PPM has enabled us to better communicate within the organization. For example, a member of the PMO runs a bi-weekly Demand Management report in Daptiv PPM, which gets reviewed in meetings with every area in the IS organization. This ensures that new projects and service requests originating in any area of IS are communicated to, and reviewed with all other areas. It helps all departments gain a more holistic perspective on how work is prioritized and resource allocated throughout IS teams and across geographies.

Q: How has that level of communication and collaboration helped Coach?

A: By communicating potential resource needs early on, we can discover interdependencies between systems and teams closer to the project Initiation phase. We’re able to identify and plan resources for projects in advance, instead of discovering them during the execution process. A planned approach to work not only saves time, but also ensures more linear resource utilization –which means fewer “fires” to fight for our teams and better planning on any given project.

Q: How does Coach use Daptiv’s reporting capabilities?

A: Coach relies very heavily on Daptiv reporting. Our reports range from executive portfolio reports and project status reporting, to data anytics, audits, and trending. Among other things, Daptiv PPM helps us gain better insight into what our staff is working on, which in turn helps from an executive standpoint via quarterly trend analysis. The reports, for example, can show how much time is being dedicated to new product development versus production support, and allows us to spot trends.

Q: Coach is a global organization – is Daptiv being used worldwide?
A: Yes. We currently have Daptiv users throughout North America and Asia. Having a single repository of projects gives us visibility to all IS work globally, and ensures that North American projects don’t conflict with other regional initiatives. Additionally, as our projects become more and more international in nature, Daptiv PPM helps us to facilitate communication and collaboration between our global teams.


Q: What has your experience been with Daptiv’s customer support?
A: The level of personal support we get has been critical in keeping Daptiv PPM running smoothly for us. We have a dedicated support person at Daptiv that helps with any technical issues or customization we may need. It’s a very personal connection, which helps quite a bit. I compare that to my previous life with another vendor where I would open a ticket and deal with someone across the world that didn’t understand my business. Daptiv is small enough to treat us as individuals with unique requirements, which positions us well for success.


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