Bavarian Nordic is a fully integrated vaccine company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing vital vaccines. The ambition of the current 2025 strategy aims for a growth scenario that will make Bavarian Nordic one of the largest pure play vaccine companies and in 2021 Bavarian Nordic realised a revenue of DKK 1,898M with 750+ employees globally.
Within task management and reporting of IT development projects and operation/maintenance of IT systems, Bavarian Nordic has so far handled this via regular IT project management. This means that the need for management and reporting has been covered by the framework set up by the individual project manager. This model works well as long as the number of projects and people is relatively manageable. But with Bavarian Nordic's growth and ambition, it was not possible to continue scaling with that model. At the same time, they wanted to start realising some of the benefits of streamlining towards common method use and process.
Benefits of common process andmethod use
A common project model for development tasks provides a common frame of reference. Without a project model, it's harder to build a common conceptual framework and have discussions about how the order and distribution of tasks and responsibilities should be and have significance.
Lacking a common method for managing daily tasks means that good communication across the project can be lost.
Without common method usage, collective progress reporting and manual distribution of work can be subject to interpretation. Especially if it happens across individual project models. It's time-consuming and accuracy can vary from one release to the next.
To best support the company's growth strategy, it was a priority to standardise reporting and tool usage across projects.
Novataris' contribution to the implementation consisted of a three-phase approach, providing expertise and facilitation in each phase.
The result of the first phase was a common project model. The challenge was to develop a model that is flexible enough to be applied to any project, yet clear enough for tasks across projects to be comparable. The analysis was bottom-up, which means that three ongoing and very diverse projects were selected as early adopters. The project workflow was broken down into activities, stakeholders and identification of gates (authorisation). In close collaboration with system and process owners at Bavarian Nordic, the partial results were generalised into a common project model.
In the second phase, Novataris managed the realisation of the joint project model in a concrete but flexible setup of Azure Boards, which is part of Azure DevOps. The challenge was to create a setup that can be descriptive of the entire project model but is also reproducible and easy to understand. The goal is for Bavarian Nordic to take ownership of the setup and develop it further.
The third phase was commissioning. Here, each early adopter’s project is created in Azure Boards, the ongoing backlog of tasks is migrated, and end users make the transition to the method on a daily basis. Novataris assisted in providing internal system and process documentation to support end-user commissioning. Bavarian Nordic conducted workshops for the transition, gathering early experiences with the system and customising the setup.
To facilitate better reporting across projects in Azure DevOps, Novataris assisted in setting up dashboards in Azure DevOps as well as in the technical tasks of data modelling and exporting data from Azure DevOps to Power BI. Power BI was chosen because it has better capabilities for storing and presenting historical data.
Subsequently, Bavarian Nordic has, with a minimum amount of sparring, onboarded the remaining IT projects from the portfolio in the same setup in Azure Boards.
As a result of the entire initiative, Bavarian Nordic now has a simple and common project model to offer new and ongoing IT projects. The distribution of responsibility for who performs the execution of a task from inception to commissioning are well-defined and the status of tasks is comparable across projects. This means that reporting can be done on an ongoing basis from individual projects or across projects in a way that is reproducible and comparable over time.
Bavarian Nordic has a strong heritage in vaccine development and continues to innovate to help fight existing and emerging diseases. They are also experts in the production of live virus vaccines and have established a commercial infrastructure with a presence in key markets in Europe and the US.
They are a global leader in smallpox vaccines and have been a long-time supplier of non-replicating smallpox vaccines to the US government. It is a vaccine that also protects against monkeypox, which is also authorised in Europe and Canada. Their commercial product portfolio also includes market-leading vaccines against rabies and tick-borne encephalitis.
Bavarian Nordic wanted to use one method to project manage the development and release management of their many applications. In the past, a series of different methods were used, leaving all stakeholders with a lack of transparency on tasks and progress.
The desire was to have roughly the same process per case across projects.
Bavarian Nordic wanted statistics across the projects so they have an overview of which cases are open, prioritisations, etc.
Novataris introduced Azure Boards from Azure DevOps. This included customising Azure Boards so that the process, task definitions and stakeholders for each application are accommodated and that Azure Boards are used as the primary method for development and release management by the current stakeholders.
Bavarian Nordic has been trained and advised in Azure DevOps by Novataris.
Reporting is done in Power BI. In these reports, Bavarian Nordic can look across DevOps projects and systems and get a good overview of everything.
Bavarian Nordic now has a common model, method and process for all projects and applications.
This project will enable Bavarian Nordic to adopt agile development methods (sprints, continuous integration/continuous delivery, automated testing, etc.) with Azure DevOps as the guiding method across projects.
"With the introduktion of Azure DevOps as a method in our technical area we have achieved improved transparency and prioritization in our work, which has started a journey towards better enterprise architecture with focus on design and development."
Jesper Kisling, IT Application and Data Manager