Development of standardized processes for product selection and creation in a fast-moving global publishing operation.

Video Case Study Zondervan


The Client

Zondervan is an international Christian media and publishing company with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers. Products sold worldwide in countries include bibles, inspirational books, gifts, videos, and digital media such as software, e-books, and music. It also publishes the New International Version of the Bible, with more than 215 million copies distributed worldwide.

The Challenge

New company management identified several challenges. Even though Zondervan was producing hundreds of new products a year, it lacked a standard process for developing a product (project). Executives had no way to determine what projects should be pursued. Nobody within the company had a complete understanding of project schedules for each new product, or how resources were allocated to each. Zondervan wanted to move from reactionary management to proactive, strategic management.

Along with that, Zondervan uses the talents and resourcefulness of creative people. Any system put into place for managing workflow had to take a different company culture into account. Also, it sought a means to integrate any new solution with other initiatives being developed internally to guide project prioritization.

The Pcubed Solution

Management identified Microsoft Project Server 2010 as the solution that could address its operational challenges with product development. Although Pcubed was initially brought in to confirm and deploy Zondervan's choice of toolset, the consultancy recommended pulling back on tool implementation in order to assess the processes used for product selection and development. Key elements of the solution included:

  • Defining and documenting the process for developing a product as well as the process for determining which projects to pursue.
  • Installing, configuring, and piloting Microsoft Project Server 2010 to align with these processes.
  • Developing reports to assist in managing projects and making decisions.
  • Delivering training and knowledge transfer to 100 plus individuals at all levels of the organization.

The Result

  • Produced immediate cost savings of $100,000 per year through automated online reporting and status updating, including reduction of 0.5 FTE and eliminating weekly updating and printing of status books.
  • Reduced time to market by 14% through proactive issue identification and resolution, thereby ensuring timely program delivery dates.