The Story of Meisterplan
In the late 90s, while they were still students, Johannes Koppenhoefer and Joerg Leute started a business called itdesign, and by 2011, despite a few bumps along the way, that business was thriving and continuing to expand. Johannes and Joerg realized from a young age that a key element to success is the ability to adapt and keep up with the ever-changing world of business. They were ready to come up with the next great idea.
So, they talked to numerous clients and people managing multiple projects to find out what was missing. After many discussions, many walks around picturesque Tuebingen and a few beers (hey, we are in Germany after all), they realized that there was a need for a tool specializing in strategic project portfolio management and resource planning. So, they got to work with their team of developers.
By 2013, Meisterplan was born. Originally, Meisterplan was meant to be a strategic resourcing and analytics add-on to other PPM software like CA PPM, and many people really liked it. We felt like we were on the right track. After a short time, we started being approached by other people who were interested in using Meisterplan as a stand-alone tool. That is when it clicked. We realized that there is a much bigger group of people who experience pain related to managing multiple projects, and Meisterplan is the solution. It can be used with other PM and PPM solutions, but it can work all on its own as well.
In 2015, Christoph Hirnle joined the Meisterplan team. He led the way to our discovery of what people really need, which is to make plans that work. So, we made that our mission, to help everyone involved in projects make plans that work. So, together, let’s make a Meisterplan.
“I love being part of the Meisterplan team. It’s more than just a company or a product. Meisterplan is a team, a method, and a solution. Everyone puts the customer first, and we challenge each other to improve all the time.”
“Meisterplan is more than just software. It’s the method and tool to plans that work. The whole team is here to help you make a Meisterplan – a plan that really works.”
“There are so many burned-out and unhappy people in companies, because their plans just don’t work. I want to help change that with Meisterplan.”
Our Mission: What If Our Plans Actually Worked?
The problem isn’t delivering a single project. No, the problem begins as soon as we start working on more than one project at a time. That’s when everything goes crazy. We’ve heard it again and again. The plans just don’t work. But what if it were different. What if our plans did work?
Everyone in the company places value to the customer above everything else.
Team members get credit and are appreciated for the insights they provide, not just the hours they put in.
Project managers get credit for delivering great projects, not simply for flawless status reports.
PMOs get credit for putting together a set of projects that brings the company forward, not for controlling budgets.
Senior management gets credit for making the tough calls to do what is best for the company.
To make this vision a reality, we need a method and a tool that works. After getting feedback from 1,000+ professionals and applying that to our own experiences, we have developed our first version of a simple, lean and dynamic method. We call it Lean PPM. And this method together with our tool is Meisterplan. We are already helping more than 150 companies worldwide, but now, we are on a quest to constantly improve Meisterplan, the method and the tool. We invite you to join us on this quest, where you can ask questions, give your opinions and interact with other professionals, so that together we can help people and organizations worldwide make plans that work.
What Is Important to Us
Our Customers Always Come First
Our goal at Meisterplan is to help the people who coordinate projects and plan staff. We are only happy when we’re reaching that goal. That’s why we take the time to help our customers with the revolution or evolution of their project portfolio management (PPM). We do not develop new features just because they look cool or because we like them. We develop the functions that our customers need and love. To accomplish this, we cover our walls with post-it notes and pay attention to all feedback. We have a Customer Success Team whose focus is not on making money through consulting services, but to truly help the customers find a good process and use the tool optimally. We strive to interact and co-innovate with our customers. And, it goes without saying that part of putting our customers first includes protecting their data, which is something we take very seriously.
Meisterplan Is More Than Just Software
We’ve always had a hunch that software alone is not the solution to overcoming structural issues in project portfolio management. Software is a tool in the hands of people who are part of a team and a company. We took that to heart. The result was a realization that a tool is only as good as the method it supports.The method we recommend is lean project portfolio management. We are always working to improve that method, and with every update, our software gets better at supporting that lean and dynamic method. We are proud that more than 1,000 professionals from all industries are already supporting us in our quest to develop the Lean PPM method into the best method to make plans that work.
We Are an Awesome Team
We don’t have a “leave me alone, so I can do my work” attitude. We are a team, and we think we’re a pretty awesome team at that. We care about each other. We ask questions and challenge our actions to push each other to peak performance. We go all out, even when playing Foosball together. Each Meisterplanner contributes to our culture, and we have already achieved a lot together. We have developed a new PPM method. We have developed software that we love and that gets better all the time, and we have over 150 happy customers who have chosen our software. That’s no coincidence! Our management team cares about and treats all employees equally, and together we do everything we can to further strengthen our current 30-person team of top people.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
Our management team is not just concerned with the development and growth of our software. They recognize that Meisterplan is the method and the tool, and they focus on learning what is most important to people involved in making plans and managing project portfolios. They are using what they learn from people around to the world to develop a new way to do project portfolio management: Lean PPM. Their openness to learn and work together with people worldwide to find the solution paired with their decades of experience at renowned technology and consulting companies make them leaders we are proud of.
Christoph Hirnle – CEO
The only way to bribe Christoph is through food. He also loves good music, but thinks good music is hard to find. He hates when situations become unnecessarily hectic because people didn’t put enough thought into it beforehand. Or worse, because they didn’t share the information in a timely manner. He truly cares about others. In fact, he gets the most satisfaction out of his job when something goes really great that he didn’t have anything to do with, when he can give all credit to the team. He thinks the greatest thing about being human is that we have the opportunity to open our minds to completely different ideas, and points of view, which brings richness to our lives. This is why he makes it his mission to work together with you to make plans that work. He invented the Lean PPM method, and he wants to hear from you to continually improve that method. Christoph also has a PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, and 15 years of professional experience. His experience includes working for 7 years as a Management Consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, where he learned the benefits of looking at the big picture, solving the root cause of a problem as well as driving innovation. He also served as the Managing Director at 3C Deutschland, where he was able to add invaluable productization processes to the organization as well as introduce agile project management and Jira to improve productivity.
Johannes Koppenhoefer – CEO
The only way to bribe Johannes is through food. Oh wait, you just read that about Christoph, but seriously Johannes is an even bigger foodie than Christoph. He is also a brilliant pianist. He has said that you don’t have to start off as an expert piano player, but you should strive to improve your playing every day. He applies that same principle to Meisterplan. He doesn’t think that our method and tool should be perfect from day one, but we should do our best, listen to our customers and make improvements every day. Johannes really cares about our customers. If someone from the Meisterplan team has recently talked to a customer, Johannes wants to hear about it. He takes time out of his busy schedule to hear what the customer had to say, addressing any concerns, connecting them with the right Meisterplanner or even calling them back himself. Johannes loves building a solution that really helps solve customers’ problems, and the best reward is the smiles on their faces when their plans really work. As you read in the Meisterplan story, Johannes has nearly 20 years’ experience in CRM and PPM software as one of the founders and owners of itdesign GmbH, and CEO at Meisterplan.
The Meisterplan Team
Meisterplan Fun Facts
Locations: Tuebingen, Germany and Toronto, Canada
Customers: 160 and counting
Coffee: Average of 2.6 cups per day
Current Foosball Champion: Joachim Schittenhelm