Late last year, we were commissioned to write a Lessons Learned report on the Network Rail Thameslink programme to enable other organisations to learn from their experiences.
When we commenced work, it became clear that there had been extensive documentation of lessons throughout the lifecycle, but the problem was people weren’t listening.
The challenge therefore was to find a way to communicate the lessons that this amazing programme had faced and how they overcame them and the lessons that others can learn from this experience in a format that could be consumed.
The scale of the assignment has led us to invoke a number of new techniques beyond this case study that enable key individuals to share their passion, pains and gains through the use of videos and workshops to ensure their story would not be lost.
Rather than a formal report, we have created a case study together with supporting videos to communicate the message. This Thameslink case study provides an insight into workings off a major infrastructure programme, and how they in effect developed an approach that has become the second generation of programme management within Network Rail.
Thameslink review case study
In addition to this Case study, we also produced a paper on the challenges in general around lessons learned and knowledge sharing, based on our experiences during this assignment.
Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, and we have seen many in our time.
In the early stages of maturity, there are many common errors that people make when delivering programmes, so we thought we would jot a few down for you.
- Thinking like a project: if you fill a programme with project people, guess what happens, they behave like project people and it gets run like a project. Programme management professionals have a different skill set, don’t mistake qualifications for skills.
- Forgetting the vision: at the start it is all about the vision. Once it starts rolling and people get busy it is easy to forget why the programme exists, it loses direction, scope drifts and before you know it, all people are talking about is what the projects are doing and not what the programme is doing.
- Forgetting there is a lifecycle: programmes have a start and an end, if your programme doesn’t have an end then it is probably a portfolio. They go through very distinct stages of evolution. In the programmes that fail or lose direction, it is because these stages (tranches) are indistinct and the whole delivery becomes a blur.
- Not having a blueprint: this one is simple, if you don’t have a blueprint to describe the end game for the programme, you will not know where you are going. This is a fatal error for most programmes, not thinking enough about the outcomes which means there will be no benefits.
- Leaving change till later: programmes deliver change, whether it’s major infrastructure build or internal business transformation, failing to plan and cost the change from the outset will lead to failure in the future. Benefits come from change, so without change there will be no benefits.
- Looking in the wrong places for risks: programme risks are not pumped up project risks. The risks that kill programmes rarely come from projects, they are normally linked to strategic changes of direction, underestimation of the cost and impact of change to the environment they are impacting, business or social.
- Getting the governance wrong: you may not be in a position to affect this, but the people on a programme board should have very clear terms of reference and authority. Programme boards are full of important people with big egos not making the important decisions.
Now you can do a quick health check on your own programme and judge whether it is likely to succeed.
If you need any more help, our services may be able to help. Why not check out our brochure to see the services we offer, or visit our website at www.aspireeurope.com
Aspire Europe are pleased to announce that Eileen Roden has accepted a non executive director role at the Aspire Academy.
Rod Sowden, Managing Director, Aspire Europe said “We are very pleased that Eileen has accepted the non executive role on our board. We have had a close relationship with Eileen since her PMP days and she is already our P3O® lead trainer, one of our P3M3® assessors and looks after a number of key clients. Eileen has a massive reputation in the P3M industry with a huge depth of knowledge around PMOs and is a fellow lead author as well, so always has an eye on developing trends but most of all, she is also great fun to have around !”
For more information on Eileen, please check out his LinkedIn profile
P3O® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.
We are very pleased to announce that Aspire Europe Ltd complies with the requirements of the Cyber Essentials PLUS scheme, and we have been re-certified as part of the government certification scheme.
Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously. The scheme is available at two levels:
- Cyber Essentials – an independently verified self-assessment. Organisations assess themselves against five basic security controls and a qualified assessor verifies the information provided.
- Cyber Essentials PLUS – a higher level of assurance. A qualified and independent assessor examines the same five controls, testing that they work in practice by simulating basic hacking and phishing attacks.
Thanks to everyone internally for their work on this, including our IT suppliers, Nortech Computers and Wolfberry in their help with the certification process.
Rod Sowden; Managing Director; Aspire Europe Ltd.
One of the great mysteries is why is it we keep making the same mistakes or doing blindingly stupid things. The P3M industry is just a reflection of wider society, as programmes and projects fail repeatedly for the same reasons, yet each time it seems to come as a complete surprise.
TSO asked Aspire Europe to write the guest article for their website, so we decided to focus on this topic and share our insights. We hope you find the article useful
If just one word from this article triggers a thought or an idea that improves your performance at any time in the future, then it will have been worthwhile.
As part of the continuing development of Aspire Europe, we are very pleased to announce that Paul Mansell has accepted the offer to take on the role of Chairman in a non executive capacity.
Rod Sowden, founder and Managing Director said “I am so please that Paul has accepted this role. He has a fantastic track record in our industry with numerous major assignments during his career that our team can benefit from; he was one of the driving forces behind the growth of Moorhouse and we hope we can benefit from that insight. He has been great support over the last few years in an informal capacity so I am really pleased that we have found a way to formalise this”
For more information on Paul, please check out his LinkedIn profile
Both APMG Change Management and Prosci offer certification programmes for people seeking to know more about change management. In the recent times, these are increasingly seen as alternatives or competitors and many potential candidates want to know how these offers differ. This white paper written by Chris Moore (Aspire Accelerate Director) and Robert Cole (Managing Director for C4CM), should help you decide which one is right for you.
If you find the article useful – please let us know