City of Ravensburg uses OpenProject

Workload transparency for the City of Ravensburg

Tiempo estimado de lectura: 7 minutos

OpenProject enables us to plan long-term and reliably without creating an overload for our people.” Eric Fischer, City of Ravensburg, Germany

Most people who work in the public sector in Germany are familiar with the problem: a pile of work, too few employees, and a great need for good organization. Without clear structures and a sensible distribution of tasks, employees run the risk of having too much on their plate, which ultimately benefits no one and may even be dangerous to their health. With OpenProject, the City of Ravensburg has found a way to clearly assign tasks and thus make workloads visible for the first time. A milestone in digitization and the simplification of processes!

Read in this article how exactly the City of Ravensburg has achieved this - and how they use OpenProject for their waterfall project management.

About: Ravensburg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, south of Germany, with a population of over 50,000. Around 600 people currently work in the city’s core administration.

Daily challenges in the German public sector

The work of qualified staff in local authorities is important, but at the same time there are enormous challenges in the public sector in Germany. Particularly the following three:

  • Dealing with complex regulations and lengthy administrative processes
  • Digital transformation – Integrating new technologies while ensuring data security and privacy
  • Handling staff shortages and budget constraints

The City of Ravensburg knows about these challenges and started several big digitization projects – which need to be managed as well. Numerous projects and a clear need to digitize analogue processes: To significantly simplify and speed up day-to-day work and finally take the pressure off employees. This is why in 2023, they decided to use OpenProject to help to overcome some of these challenges.

Interview: How OpenProject helps overcome these challenges for the City of Ravensburg

Eric Fischer

Eric Fischer is a process- and project manager in the field of digitization at the City of Ravensburg. Together with a colleague from IT, he introduced OpenProject as a project management tool for the City of Ravensburg in 2023. “For us as a local authority, OpenProject has given us the chance to do proper resource planning. OpenProject offers us a high level of reliability and transparency of task loads”, he says in an interview with OpenProject.

We asked Eric Fischer more questions about how the City of Ravensburg uses OpenProject:

Which and how many employees of the City of Ravensburg use OpenProject?

Eric Fischer: We are currently offering project management training courses, also linked to OpenProject. There is a lot of interest in this, which is why the number of users is set to rise sharply from around 80 to probably over the 250 mark. We started with the areas of organization and IT and originally purchased OpenProject for digitalization projects. Due to the great interest, we are now making it available to everyone.

Which and how many projects do you work on with OpenProject?

Eric Fischer: We currently have 180 active projects. The fact that there are so many is mainly because we are creating all the digitization projects in OpenProject. One specific project is very large and ambitious, involving the relocation of the entire technical department. We have many individual projects for this alone: The move requires digitization, for which we need a service provider, which first had to be put out to tender… I think you can see what I mean.

Which roles do you have configured in OpenProject?

Eric Fischer: Basically, we have project managers, project members and viewers. Every role we have does reflect the role the person has in the project and grants the therefore necessary permissions. Project managers are able to administer the OpenProject project, project members are able to work in the project. Viewers cannot be an assignee, but get access to e.g. booked work times and news. This role is primarily used for primarily supervisors. Additionally, we are using a project portfolio manager role – which is my primary role – for people who create and set up projects for the project managers and keep an eye on the overall progress.

What types of work packages do you use at the City of Ravensburg?

Eric Fischer: We usually use the work packages milestone, phase and task. Relatively simple. What we have also created is a work package of the type Overall Duration, because we need a Gantt chart view of various projects. We need to see all our projects at once in a Gantt to assess who can take on which project. We only show the total duration type in the filters, then sort all our tasks under it, and can thus create multi-project management.

Top OpenProject features for the City of Ravensburg

Here are the top four features that the City of Ravensburg uses in OpenProject:

Relations for multiple project management

The ability to create quick links between work packages is crucial for the City of Ravensburg. This is key for project and portfolio managers to maintain an overview of the large number of projects. Using the ‘Relations’ feature in OpenProject simplifies this process and enables work packages that are linked to each other to be identified quickly and efficiently.

work packages relations - Demo project City of Ravensburg

Kanban boards for staff discussions

Most employees of the City of Ravensburg appreciate the board view of work packages, especially when it comes to internal meetings. For this purpose, they have created a work package of the type “meeting item” and present all topics in the form of a Kanban board: First, all work packages end up in the “new” column. If required, they can then simply be moved to another column using drag and drop. This creates a kind of permanent, living pin board for team discussions.

work packages of the type agenda item displayed in board view - Demo project City of Ravensburg

Gantt charts for project managers

At the City of Ravensburg, Gantt charts in OpenProject are central to long-term project planning. The clear presentation of the entire project planning, including dependencies in the Gantt chart, is crucial for both project- and portfolio managers as it ensures a structured and transparent view of project schedules and responsibilities.

work packages with Gantt view - Demo project City of Ravensburg

Time and Costs module to make workload transparent

The OpenProject module “Time and Costs” is crucial for making the workload of the City of Ravensburg’s employees visible. This visibility, for instance, highlights when someone has too many tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, it greatly assists in quickly finding suitable replacements for tasks during employee absences.

Software de gestión de proyectos para el sector público

Especially in Germany, but also worldwide, public institutions already rely on OpenProject. In addition to the City of Ravensburg, customers include for example the Brandenburg state parliament, the German Museum in Munich and the City of Cologne. Find out more about OpenProject for the public sector and read more case studies here: https://www.openproject.org/project-management-public-sector/