Lights, Camera, Action: Project Management at the SIGNAL IDUNA Group

Project management takes place in the 4th semester. Our students learn the theory at HSBA and then have the opportunity to apply what they have learned directly in the company. At our partner company, the SIGNAL IDUNA Group, they have developed a digital advent calendar under the motto: "Lights, Camera, Action". We asked Oliwia Karpierz, Lena Radmacher & Tobias Pape a few questions about it.

How did you come up with the idea of the motto "Lights, Camera, Action" for the Advent calendar at SIGNAL IDUNA?
The motto came about through a brainstorming session. We were looking for a motto for all 24 doors of the Advent calendar that would ideally fit in with the Christmas season or Advent.
Our first ideas were: Historical events, Christmas songs, motivational words of wisdom, book titles or superheroes. As the three of us also have very different personalities, the initial ideas were correspondingly different. Over time, the "superheroes" became "film characters" and, in conjunction with our goal within the company to offer more insights into training and dual studies, our motto was born: "Lights, Camera, Action!"

What did the process look like? How exactly did you proceed?
From HSBA, we had learned how project management works in theory and we were now supposed to apply this in the company. As part of the project, we prepared various analyses, including a financial analysis, a project environment analysis and a stakeholder analysis. We also set ourselves goals and drew up a timetable.  We had a total of three weeks to develop a concept for SIGNAL IDUNA's 2023 digital Advent calendar. After developing the concept, we had to present our concept to SIGNAL IDUNA's junior staff, as they were to create the content of the Advent calendar in collaboration with a specialist department. The idea was that employees would be able to open an Advent calendar door digitally every day, behind which a short video, a movie recommendation and a competition with a quiz question would be hidden. The content of the video should be created by one or two junior employees per calendar door. This should give the junior employees an opportunity to present their perspective.  In addition, as many different departments and areas of the company as possible were to be presented to SIGNAL IDUNA employees. 

What was the result?
The result was the digital advent calendar, which gave employees the opportunity to look at the company from the perspective of junior employees. All employees were offered the chance to acquire new knowledge, gain insights into areas of the company that were unknown to them, receive exciting film tips and take advantage of a horizon-broadening alternative in their everyday working lives. No two doors were the same.
A total of 53,566 people took part in the Advent calendar and 499 prizes were raffled off. The prizes were as varied as the individual doors of the Advent calendar. The prizes included books, cinema vouchers, pasta machines, travel vouchers, apple sponsorships and VIP tickets for Signal Iduna Park. Part of the budget was also donated to SOS Kinderdorf e.V., an aid organization for children.

Are you and SIGNAL IDUNA satisfied with your result?
Yes, definitely! We are very happy with the project. We are delighted with the creativity of the junior staff and how diverse the project results and the individual door contents turned out to be. We also took part in the competitions ourselves and were able to generate new knowledge about our colleagues and their activities in the company through the video content. It was also a good opportunity for the junior staff to network across locations. 
SIGNAL IDUNA also received a lot of positive feedback and the Advent calendar was very well received by the workforce. The employees have even asked for a follow-up calendar for the coming year.

What did you learn from this?

Above all, we have learned that a complex project involving many different people requires precise planning and that it is essential to allow sufficient buffer time. The more people involved, the more buffer time. You should also always try to look at the goal or the end product from the perspective of the target group. In other words, from the perspective of the employees who can participate in the Advent calendar, as well as from the perspective of our second target group, the junior employees who should carry out the project. This is important in order to develop a holistic, customer-centric product and to pick up every person involved, regardless of their existing level of knowledge. 
In addition, the areas of responsibility within the team should be divided up precisely so that there is clear accountability for each task and to prevent conflicts in the event of differences of opinion.