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ASML Realises the Value of Getting Everyone on the Same Project Page

The Background



HQ Location: Veldhoven, Netherlands

Employee Size: 6500+

Industry: Semiconductor

Activity: Design / fabrication

ASML is the world’s leading provider of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, manufacturing complex machines that are critical to the production of integrated circuits or microchips. Founded in 1984, ASML is publicly traded on the Euronext Amsterdam and NASDAQ. With more than 6,500 employees worldwide, it enjoys an approximate 65 percent market share.

ASML spends an average of €460 million annually on research and development and has more than 3,000 engineers in R&D. Working on five major products, along with other applications and products, ASML’s engineers can have more than 200 simultaneous projects occurring at any one time.

In 2005 ASML decided to assess its project capabilities. It determined that while the company had long enjoyed successive growth and strong profit margins, there were opportunities through improved project management to realise even greater results.

The assessment showed that while there was no agreed ASML project management methodology, many engineers applied a range of project management skills and tools to gather requirements, plan and track their projects.

However, since less than ten percent of project plans were “good” based on ASML’s criteria, this hampered company executives’ ability to evaluate and track projects against corporate goals and ensure effective resource allocation. The review also found that individuals fulfilling the role of project manager had often been selected for their technical expertise, rather than their project management skills, knowledge and experience.

It was determined that ASML could greatly benefit from:

The Strategy

In order to achieve its project management goals, ASML recognised it would need a partner that could help develop the methodology, design and deliver the learning programme as well as help ensure the project management practices became part of ASML’s corporate structure and culture.

In 2006, ASML selected Strategy Execution to help drive and support their programme.

Together ASML and Strategy Execution identified several core components for the programme:


The programme consisted of three completely integrated elements: the methodology, the training of the individual and the coaching of the integrated project teams. The first part of the programme focused on the development of the ASML-specific project management methodology. In order to be successful the methodology needed to follow best practices as set out in the PMBOK® Guide while taking into consideration what was already working at ASML and the specific project management needs of the business.

With the methodology well defined, Strategy Execution and delivered instructor-led courses designed around the tailored methodology. Once team members completed the courses they were given time to review their current projects and develop an understanding of how to apply the methodology.

After a few weeks, coaching workshops, as well as individual one-on-one coaching sessions, were made available to all project managers and their project teams, a potential audience of more than 200 people. They were asked to identify high-priority projects with a focus on R&D projects for this real-time learning component.

The coaching sessions and workshops were spread over several months and allowed project leaders and teams to agree upon working procedures for:


"Driving through this much change in such a short period of time was not an easy effort.

Strategy Execution has helped us identify the real need for project management and embed the change, quickly delivering results and benefit."

Bernardo Payet
EUV Programme Management Office, ASML

While many organisations struggle to see a significant impact early on from project management learning and develop programmes, the scope of ASML’s project portfolio combined with the comprehensive nature of the programme delivered clear, up-front benefits.

In addition to the knowledge and skills gained through the instructor-led courses, individual coaching and coaching workshops delivered to ASML team members, results to date include:

Next Steps

Despite its rapid progress, ASML recognises that project maturity is a long-term effort. The company continues to build upon its success by:

Need More Information?

Contact one of our Business Development Managers by calling +44 (0)20 3743 2910 or by sending an email to