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Going forward - Tim Banfield - Major Projects Authority


Published on EVA19, the established Earned Value conference, took place again this year towards the end of May. The venue again was the magnificent Armourer’s Hall; steeped in tradition and just a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral. This year the plan was to explore the ‘ABC’ of project management – Agile, Benefits and Complex.

The backdrop proved to be as poignant as ever, as Steven Carver regaled the audience with the story of Alfred the Great, using real-life actors and Jonathan Crone provided Lessons from WW1, and the heroic battle of Vimy Ridge.

The military theme culminated with Lt. Colonel Tom de La Rue explaining what Leadership means in the context of an Apache Helicopter squadron on active service, and as the commanding officer of Prince Harry, in Afghanistan.

The two days, which included a banquet in the impressive livery dining hall, were engaging and intimate with the emphasis on personal development and learning together. The speakers were practitioners and professionals of the highest calibre, with many having taken time out from their day-jobs as managers and directors of mega-projects and programmes, to share their considerable knowledge and experience.

Steve says “The emergent themes from the conference this year were the importance of people and culture. Organisations need to move beyond slavishly following process and create an environment where project managers can really thrive. It is vital in any project that stakeholders are properly engaged which underlines the fundamental need for project professionals to Listen, Learn and Lead.”

Steve’s events have a reputation for being innovative and edgy – and this year was no exception. Peter Taylor, the project manager who smiles, entertained the audience with anecdotes and stories, including a personal favourite about a genie, a project manager and the task of building a bridge over the Atlantic. Jack Pinter was masterful in teaching members of the audience how to write the project management blues, which he went on to perform with his band throughout the day.

The feedback from the audience was extremely positive including this example. “The strength of the conference for me is the thread between the sessions that allows me to join the dots to meet my needs. I can create my own landscape from the wealth of knowledge and experience shared [maybe not the one I was expecting] and, perhaps most importantly, gets that mental recharge for the next set of challenges. Roll on next year!”

Steve says “The ‘eVa in the UK’ series has a reputation for giving something back to the profession. One way it does this is by creating a rich learning legacy. With the help of its many speakers, supporters and generous sponsors, most notably PM Channel, it has been able to accrue an impressive archive of presentations, video programmes and podcasts which can all be accessed from the archive section of this web site”

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Going forward - Tim Banfield - Major Projects Authority

  1. 1. Going forward…… MPA: what we’re doing to help departments improve project execution
  2. 2. Right projects, Done right 2
  3. 3. I will cover: • The challenge; • The Major Projects Authority; • Four priority buckets: • Project based controls; • Strategic prioritisation and front-end loading; • Building long-term capability; • Building the profession. • Upping our game. 3 Doing well - consistently
  4. 4. The challenge “A project that starts poorly never improves”1 • Two thirds of Government projects failed pre 2010; • The Major Projects Review 2010 highlighted: • A lack of central oversight. • No understanding of the scale of the undertaking – the number, size or complexity of Government projects. • Little accountability or responsibility for underperformance. • Little collaboration between the departments and the centre. • Lack of effective senior project leadership capability. • Previous performance no longer acceptable. The Prime Minister’s mandate means that MPA now has much greater control, influence and oversight of major projects 4 Doing well - consistently 1 – Getting a Grip: how to improve major project execution and control in government (Lord Browne)
  5. 5. Project Diversity 5 Transformation Capability Infrastructure Transaction ICT 23.6% 20.5% 21.5% 17.4% 17% Total : 195 Projects * Policy Delivery Doing well - consistently
  6. 6. Moving from pure “challenge” model to one that offers bespoke, specialist support todepartments tohelp them deliver their projects 6 Doing well - consistently
  7. 7. Project lifecycle lens 7 Doing well - consistently
  8. 8. Create Project Based Controls throughAlignment Departments and Project Teams get: • The space to “get on and do” in a project environment through projects receiving packaged approval for each phase covering multiple types of spend • Ensures front end load commercial and technical strategies so there are no last minute surprises • A more predictable set of processes with clear authority to act between key decision points in the project (subject to tolerances). MPA helps through: • Providing leadership for projects to navigate the Centre and ERG in the commercial and digital space • Understanding the fuller operating environment of projects so that funding approval stages, assurance and milestone checkpoints are completed in as smooth a process as possible • Providing leadership on the 6 projects based controls projects: Borders (HO), ESMCP (HO), HS2 (DfT) , Rail Franchising (DfT), DCNS (MoD) and Health Informatics (DH) 8
  9. 9. Strategic Prioritisation and Front End Loading 9 Departments have the tools to: • Make the right decisions about the projects portfolio based on a holistic understanding of resourcing, constraints, risk and interdependencies. • Ensure that only the right projects are started, in terms of project alignment with the department’s strategic priorities and the overall ability of the department to implement the portfolio of projects. • Identify underperforming projects early and intervene where necessary to turnaround, disaggregate or cancel these projects. • Inform transition discussions around the department’s project portfolio in advance of, and following, the 2015 election. MPA helps this by: • Working with project teams to staff the right conversations at the Executive Board level • Working with 6 key departments to ensure that the capability to do this is embedded. They are: DWP, MoJ, HO, HMRC, DECC and DH
  10. 10. 10 Doing well - consistently
  11. 11. Strategic Prioritisation and Front End loading Executive Boards are able to have conversations about the issues which underpin the Department’s strategic decision making:  What is the landscape (number, characteristics, status and level of aggregation of each project) of the department’s current projects portfolio?  How does the projects portfolio, and each individual project, align with and support the delivery of the department’s strategic objectives?  What is the through-life cost, funding, and resourcing profile of the department’s projects portfolio?  What are the constraints to delivering the department’s projects portfolio, and what are we doing to address these constraints?  What are the interdependencies within the department’s projects portfolio, and how are we managing the impact of these interdependencies?  What are the major risks against the department’s projects, at both the project and cumulative portfolio level, and how are we managing these risks?  What is the department’s future pipeline of projects, and how will those projects be integrated into the portfolio?  What is the department’s prioritisation of projects, and how have we prioritised these projects?  How effective is the existing governance structure for both individual projects and the portfolio as a whole, and what mechanisms exist for ongoing review and management of the portfolio?  Does the department have a culture that encourages openness about issues facing both individual projects and the portfolio as a whole, and action on the basis of any concerns? 11 DRAFT
  12. 12. Building Long Term Capability 12 Departments can: • Enrol their project leaders and delivery experts onto the MPLA and Project Leadership Programme as appropriate to ensure project teams have the skills and capabilities they need to successfully deliver projects • Coach and train the GMPP project leaders of the future by enrolling them onto the Project Leadership Programme which will fill the training gap that currently exists below the MPLA and will help ensure that project leadership capability is increased across Government MPA will: • Continue to build the project delivery profession by ensuring that 350 project leaders are enrolled onto the MPLA by the end of 2014 • Work with departments to fill the gap between the MPLA and department-led training schemes by creating the Project Leadership Programme which will train over 1,000 project professionals and other interested experts • Provide access to a pool of MPLA graduates that can be called upon to lead the most high profile and challenging projects across government as well as emerging, talented individuals who can be deployed to build delivery expertise within departments
  13. 13. Building the Profession Departments build a project delivery profession which has: • A clear career path that rewards excellence in project execution • A cadre of project leaders who learn by delivering projects in increasing levels of challenge, complexity and scale • The ability to identify and nurture talent from within, creating a world class project delivery capability • Project leaders with greater personal accountability (including to parliament) to the successful delivery of projects balanced with greater freedom and autonomy to decide how best to deliver agreed objectives and benefits. MPA helps do this by: • Defining the structure of the profession, including the head of profession role in depts. • Developing cross govt proposals for appointment, retention and reward of SROs • Developing a competency framework for the profession and a management strategy for emerging talent • Acting as a “broker” to match skills and people to posts, including short term support 13
  14. 14. Upping our Game We will become: • The centre of expertise for internal and external resource • The trusted source for constructive challenge and support for projects • Source of the truth on performance data and MI • Centre of the Profession for Project Leaders By continuing to up the game through: • Maintaining a searing focus on our 5 priorities • Making a positive difference every day • Having no tolerance for mediocrity or waste • Working at pace and being impatient for successful outcomes • Tightening the MPRG/TAP processes • Acting in response to project RAG ratings • Improving the quality of external reviewers and resources 14
  15. 15. An underpinning - applying knowledge •Gathering knowledge: • Data; • Government project catalogue; • Linking up with the outside world; •Applying it: • Getting people to talk; • Opportunity; • Culture. 15 Doing well - consistently
  16. 16. Right projects, Done right 16 Doing well - consistently
  17. 17. Tim Banfield Director, Strategy Major Projects Authority e-mail: Telephone: 020 72716912 Mobile: 07779 143 761 17 Doing well - consistently