Surwayne Used at University: Business Students Manage Project Tasks With the Intelligent Project Assistant

Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla, Hochschule Emden/Leer
Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla, Hochschule Emden/Leer

Not practising what you preach? Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla of the Hochschule Emden/Leer is not very fond of this idea. Anyone studying Business who is interested in agile working methods and efficiency should ideally set their hands to and practically implement what is taught on the course. Florian Dorozalla is a Professor of Corporate Management with a focus on Human Resource Management, and his sector is counting on Surwayne to help better organise practice projects that are part and parcel of Business Studies.

Experience Challenges from Everyday Company Life on the Course

His Bachelor and Masters students from the Faculty of Business Studies at the Hochschule Emden/Leer carry out practical work, which sometimes extends over many months, in which they deal with red-hot topics which are discussed numerous times during everyday company life: How can teamwork be better organised? What aspects of employer branding are relevant? How do companies integrate older employees into digital transformation? What solutions are there for the perennial issue of a lack of specialists?

Florian Dorozalla is a man with hands-on experience. Before doing his doctorate at the Technical University of Darmstadt and finally becoming Professor at the Hochschule Emden/Leer, he was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked on reorganisation projects in the energy industry amongst others. The challenges he faced during his time as a management consultant are as up-to-date as ever, and his students continue to deal with them in their semester projects. We spoke to Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla about the first experiences of his chair with Surwayne and current trends in the area of agile management.


Professor Dorozalla, you connect teaching and practice at your University. What does this look like and does Surwayne help you?

Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla: During their research papers, students at my chair deal with current questions from corporate management and how companies should deal with these issues in practice. In the summer semester 2017, for example, our teams created an HR concept for a fictional company with 800 employees – from personnel requirements planning to recruitment and further training, as well as follow-up management. These are complex projects and with Surwayne we can retrieve the project status at the push of a button. Our students doing a Masters degree often work as consultants in real companies for several months. The company’s expectations for the students are just as high as for professional external consultants. We thus want to make sure that our projects are at least as successful in the end.


From your point of view, what are the major challenges in project work, especially for major change projects?

Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla: We still do not have a truly satisfactory answer to the question of how teamwork can function perfectly. However, we know very well where teamwork often fails. One topic we are dealing with intensively is the free-rider syndrome. In our practice projects, we observe that an average of up to five percent of project staff members are not actively involved in the team and do not provide any added value for the project. This is a problem, since, on one hand, resources are tied up here without creating added value. On the other hand, free-riders have a negative influence on team morale, because non-performance is assumed to be accepted and free-riders continue to benefit from the entire team’s success.


How do you deal with this problem?

Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla: We regularly survey project participants. Anonymous surveys lead to fewer communication hurdles. The negative aspects of teamwork, such as the above-mentioned free-rider syndrome, delays in the project process or unforeseen risks that suddenly jeopardize the project result, are almost always down to a lack of communication. By using Surwayne, we communicate faster and better. Communication actually works. This allows us to respond to plan deviations much more quickly than if were to discuss these topics solely in time-consuming project meetings.


How can your project experience at the University be transferred to everyday business challenges?

Prof. Dr. Florian Dorozalla: What we observe in our student projects and what characterises everyday company life is often identical. Companies of all industries and sizes want and need to be increasingly agile in their way of working. This requires clarity and openness in communication, in the distribution of tasks and responsibilities, as well as in dealing with new ideas and suggestions for improvement. Anyone who desires to master challenging projects with a committed team needs transparency and the possibility that all parties involved, irrespective of company hierarchy, can chip in with their proposals and ideas. Significant change processes are often met by rejection, yet with openness, this can quickly lead to acceptance.


Summary: For students of the Faculty of Business Studies at the Hochschule Emden/Leer, practical relevance is part of their daily lives as students. Whether doing a Bachelor or Master Degree, the students develop concepts in the area of corporate management and HR management, and even implement these in real companies. As an intelligent project assistant, Surwayne supports project teams and creates transparency and open communication. How do you make your projects successful? Write to us or sign up for a free trial of Surwayne today!

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