Author Archives: aspireeurope

Case study – Thameslink

In late 2016 and early 2017 we were commissioned to write a lessons learned report on the Network Rail Thameslink programme to enable other organisations to learn from their experiences.

Once we started work it became clear that there had been extensive documentation of lessons throughout the lifecycle, the problem was that people weren’t listening.

The challenge therefore was 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 enabled key individuals to share their passion, their pains and gain through the use of videos and workshops to ensure their story wont be lost.

Rather than a formal report, we have created a case study and 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 and approach that has become the second generation of programme management within Network Rail.

Thameslink review case study

In addition to this report, we also produced a paper on the challenges in general around lessons learned and knowledge sharing, based on our experiences on this assignment.

https://aspireeurope.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/lessons-learned-new-thinking/

 

 

 

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Fresh Look: Planning

Fresh Look – Is a series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

In a world of information overload it is very easy to lose sight of what matters, so this is the first in a series of posts that revisit to remind about some core  concepts so what could be more important than planning

One of the great mysteries of our profession is planning. For most of our clients, project and programme management is all about  having a plan, and yet most of our  professional qualifications don’t actually involve much planning, in fact some of them go out of their way to avoid it like PRINCE2.

So we shouldn’t really be surprised that so many projects run late or go wrong. There is a sequence to events that are needed to bring a good plan together.  In this article we have set out this sequence for you to consider – Planning – back to basics 

Now, if you are really interested in finding out more about planning and how you can improve your performance, check out our book.

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Fresh Look: Vision Statements

Fresh Look – A series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

In a world of information overload, it is very easy to lose sight of what matters, and that makes the  vision even more  important. In this post, we visit the old vision statement chestnut. Everyone loves talking about visions and leadership but when the opportunity comes to put them into practice within a programme environment, quite frankly most of them are about as much use as an umbrella in a wind tunnel. mountain top

In this article, we briefly reflect on a topic that is at the source of most programme failures due to not establishing a vision that people understand and genuinely commit to, is a core source of programme failure.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Change Management, Knowledge Nugget, Magnificent Seven, Programme Management

Blast from the Past – Tag Rugby Trust

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2 years ago the Aspire Europe team were involved in the APM Challenge, an initiative for young project managers to use their skills to benefit the community.

We chose a community rather a long way away in Uganda and to support a charity that used rugby as a way of raising a range of skills needed to help their community on top of providing sport and direction for young people.

Today, two of the amazing success stories from the Tag Rugby Trust dropped into the office to see us again, Lucky (the little one) had won a competition to deliver the match ball on to the pitch for one of England 6 Nations games at Twickenham along with her mum, Fortunate – for the full story of our APM Challenge Project – click here

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Implementing effective change management

Getting change management to  “bite” is really tough, all the training in the world will not make it happen without providing the energy to gain momentum.  This is an area that we have specialised in and delivered on a number of occasions for clients.

In this case study, we gained one of the prestigious TJ Awards awards for the management training and development programme at Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The Aspire Academy team who delivered the assignment were Robert Cole and David King.

We designed and implemented an approach that pulled together a disparate group of change people across a number of sites into a coherent and functioning organisation.

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Is democracy killing our infrastructure?

I had always thought of the Victorian era as our golden age. I was disappointed to find out that most of the investment was by entrepreneurs rather than our government, and most of them ended up broke as a result of the altruism.  Therefore, the only people making money out of infrastructure appeared to be the builders.

The golden age of UK infrastructure investment was the 50’s and 60’s – an era pre-dawn of Thatcherism.  That was when big decisions and actions were taken on  motorways, power stations, schools  and infrastructure. It is the period we remember for the demise of railways and not much else, so history has been very unkind to that generation.

It was also an era of nationalised industries and high levels of government controlled investment. Apparently, the countries that have the highest levels of infrastructure investment tend to be a little light on the democracy side of things, hence the conclusion that democracy is killing our infrastructure.

By chance, I have come across this excellent YouTube video which looks at mega project failure and provides an interesting insight by Michael Hobbs into a major tunnel project in Seattle.

 

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SRO Survival Guides extract – Vision and Blueprint

MSP Survival Guide for Senior Responsible Owners has been written specifically for the SRO, full of helpful advice to make your hectic life easier

There are many reasons why programmes fail, but failure to grasp the scale of the change being delivered and weak leadership of the programme teams are often contributing factors.

As they are unlikely to have time to read the MSP guide or to go on courses, we have covered the main things that you will need to know in a format that can be easily referenced.

In this series of extracts we are publishing a summary of the key points from each of the chapter of the MSP Survival Guide for SROs. If you would like to buy a copy, please follow this link and quote the discount code of SG15 for a 10% discount.

“If we don’t know where we are going, how will we know when we have arrived let alone how we are going to get there?”  – Yendor Nedwos

You need to grab the vision for the programme. The vision is the guiding star that should inspire those working on the programme on what may be a long and  challenging journey. People expect the leader to have a vision for a better future that they can follow, if you don’t believe in the vision, you will find it very difficult to be an effective and successful SRO

 Creating a blueprint challenges people to think through the consequences of the vision, which may identify issues and decisions that people would rather not have to make. Those decisions will fall to you to make, or you will need to present them to the sponsoring group or other senior people for them to make decisions. Without a blueprint it is not possible to effectively estimate benefits or what capability you will need delivered by the projects

Follow this link for a fuller extract – MSP Survival Guide for SROs tasters – Programme Vision and Blueprint

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