How we helped Sanquin to discover successful project delivery is in their blood

Sanquin is responsible for safe and efficient blood supply in the Netherlands on a non-for-profit basis. The organization develops and produces pharmaceutical products, conducts high-quality scientific research and develops and performs a multitude of diagnostic services. Over 300,000 patients are depending on their success. With this serious responsibility on their shoulders, effective project management is crucial for implementing complex projects to keep up with the pace of change. Especially with continuously increasing legal and pharmaceutical requirements.


In 2017, after a first well received session with Sanquin’s project management staff, Threon came on board. Together with their PMO, we focused on establishing ‘one project management language’ within the project organization. Secondly, we supported Sanquin in setting up a better-oiled project portfolio management process, responding to a large variety of running projects and project proposals.


Based on interviews and observations, we pointed out the aspects Sanquin needed to focus on more to further evolve its project management culture in regard to obtain a clear structure and consistency. This way requirements became clearer, specifically in the areas of project governance, transparency, project prioritization, project management approach and resource planning. An additional challenge consisted of the creation of a realistically achievable project portfolio, which allowed the project resources to have a normal workload and consistently deliver projects on time.


One project management language

In a first stage, our consultants helped establishing ‘one project management language’ and shared organizational best practices within the project organization. They used an educational program, with PMI’s PMBOK® Guide as shared key-reference, to improve the project management competencies of more than 100 staff members. This way, our consultants reinforced the practice of focused teamwork by all staff members working in projects.


In the second stage, we have set up a better-oiled project portfolio management process, with ‘simplification of the project categorization’. This allowed Sanquin to make decisions at the appropriate levels and as a result the organization achieved a more realistic and feasible project portfolio. Interested in bringing Simplicity into your project organization? Read our white paper about Simplicity and get inspired!


Currently, Sanquin has gained much more control over the selection, progress, turnaround time and management of their project portfolio; projects having a well-defined high-level project scope, which leads to better integrated and strategically aligned project planning (resources, budget, schedule and risks). The project portfolio is also delivered by better educated project teams. This way, the organization is realizing more business value by delivering the right projects, better, faster and with less effort.

Next steps

Sanquin’s current focus is on reinforcing its ongoing portfolio and project management organizational best practices. These embedded routines will be their stepping-stone for next improvements and innovations. To support Sanquin’s ambition to raise the bar even higher in realizing continuous business and process changes, (which will provide a better life for 300,000 patients each year), our Threon consultants will maintain a close relationship with Sanquin.

About Sanquin

Sanquin provides blood services in the Netherlands on a not-for-profit basis. Sanquin is the knowledge institute in the field of blood and conducts scientific research in the fields of blood transfusion medicine and immunology, applying this knowledge to the development and production of a range of pharmaceutical and diagnostic services. Sanquin’s mission: ‘Together with the donor, we ensure a better life for patients’