Case study: When PMO goes Viral - Crisis Management Applied to A&E in Mulhouse

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Starting in March 2020, MIGSO-PCUBED were honoured to begin engaging with the Accident & Emergency (A&E) team at the GHR-MSA (Groupe Hospitalier de la région de Mulhouse Sud-Alsace) to provide targeted PMO support to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

What happened

The GHR-MSA emergency service is composed of emergency medical and paramedical staff, a call center, and a fleet of ambulances, totaling approximately 300 people. MIGSO-PCUBED were initially asked to provide a rather academic approach of crisis and change management, without any operational involvement whatsoever. 

However, convinced by the necessity to provide an operational and immediate PMO support to help fight the worst sanitary crisis we ever imagined, MIGSO-PCUBED’s top management reached out to 1,000 of our PMO professionals in France.

The potential volunteers had to be willing to put themselves into a challenging position of supporting this unique project and potentially be deployed on the front line alongside the healthcare workers and patients.

Our PMO team

It took less than a week to mobilise and deploy a team of 10, equipped with a broad set of experience and skills, including humanitarian and industrial crisis management, Change Management, Agility and visual management.

First, the team structured a plan similar to a traditional project initiation phase. The level of uncertainty, however, had nothing “traditional”, and we established a set of scenarios based on trajectories created with Dr Marc Noizet, who is Head of A&E at the GHR-MSA. This situation demanded to be hyper-flexible and rethink our scenarios almost daily.

At that stage, we were able to deploy half of our PMO team onsite to deliver this engagement from the frontline, right in the peak of the crisis.


Our methodology

Convinced by the universal application of Project Management principles, we deployed our proven engineering methodologies on several streams within the A&E unit. Our consultants worked restlessly to transpose best practices, designed to bring immediate and pragmatic added value.

The first stream we tackled was about communication and KPIs. We know that what cannot be measured, cannot be managed, and we urgently needed to provide an overview of the situation to the medical and paramedical staffs in place. 

To do this, we created a visual management room with KPIs on the walls. We addressed direct communication challenges to work around the unavailability of phones and emails and established a dedicated daily staff meeting. In this meeting, information was handed over between shift teams, COVID-19 KPIs were shared (number of entries, patient releases, number of calls, and much more), and priorities were agreed upon. As of today, those stand up meetings are still in place and well attended every day.

The second stream consisted of capturing and structuring lessons learned to improve future crisis management readiness. We covered a large spectrum of areas to provide the most efficient crisis management toolbox. In a very short period of time, we conducted 24 individual interviews and 4 workshops, which included more than 40 hospital staff members from 6 different lines of expertise, and 3 different sites.

We have been able to witness the benefits of the resulting dialogue on the morale of the team in these difficult times, and thanks to their contribution, we have captured pre-existing weaknesses that were becoming more impacting during the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result, we have been able to assemble an A&E unit transformation roadmap, with a portfolio of improvement initiatives and a delivery plan adapted to the hospital, using its own language and codes.

Hospital Group of the Mulhouse Sud-Alsace region
Hospital Group of the Mulhouse Sud-Alsace region

The Benefits / Results

3 months into this engagement, we have reached a stage where we can leave the hospital, after having assembled, presented, and handed over this transformation plan: a robust implementation roadmap to enable the changes we could not implement ourselves during the crisis.

A transformation roadmap

The presentation of this roadmap during the general assembly closes the COVID-19 chapter, as it is now treated as any other disease within the hospital and has been the opportunity to generate important transformation initiatives.

A ready-to-use guide

The human dynamics have evolved and the GHR-MSA emergency unit staff is looking forward to building a new future. We leave them with an operational ready-to-use guide on crisis management – based on their own experience, so they feel ownership of it. 

A monitoring improved

The daily staff meeting is expanding, and new indicators are about to be created to allow them to continuously improve the monitoring of their activities.

Ready for the future

Projects have been launched and will be deployed using our plan and our methodologies. They are eager to be better equipped (in terms of real-time data) to anticipate for the future and never have to endure a similar learning curve in the future.

What comes next?

It appeared relatively immediately that a hospital is not too dissimilar to an industrial factory; similar size of operation (6000 people at the GHR-MSA), similar normative obligations and constraints, and similar need to steer and monitor the performance. Our industrial experience was therefore not a disadvantage but an asset.

We are proud to have been able to help during this dramatic episode, but the prevailing feeling across the team is how humbling it is to work alongside people who are dedicating and risking their lives for the wellbeing of others. It has been a lesson of courage for us and truly brings into perspective that PMO can be a catalyst to better serve those who deserve it most.

We take this opportunity to thank Dr Marc Noizet for his trust and vision, and all the medical staff we had the chance to work with. Their work and relentless dedication to saving their patients’ lives is truly amazing.

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