Category Archives: Programme Management

Thameslink – an incredible journey of programme management

ThameslinkLate 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

Thameslink 2

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.

 

 

 

 

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Seven Deadly Sins: Programme Management

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

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12 October, 2017 · 13:59

MSP® Business Case in a Nutshell

Rod Sowden the Aspire Europe Managing Director (and lead author of the current versions of MSP® and P3M3®) talks about the Business Case chapter of the MSP manual.

Hope you enjoy!

Visit and Subscribe to our NEW YouTube Channel here

MSP® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, Programme Management, Vodcast/Video

10% discount on our Planning guide!

Is it time your organisation improved its planning?

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but how many people put themselves ‘out there’ and go into print as authors securing the backing of one of the world’s leading publishing companies like the TSO?

This book was written by Rod Sowden (Aspire Europe MD). It started life as a guidance for one of Aspire Europe’s customers, but later developed into a course and finally evolved into a book. It evolved as a result of P3M3® assessments and spotting a systemic problem in most organisations with their planning, which we found to be a global issue. The book helps to pull all the threads and concepts together into one practical guide that extracts the best from many of the bodies of knowledge around the world.

We are convinced and confident this book will make a difference to the success of your projects so why not take a look inside! We are able to offer a 10% discount if bought through us. Contact us to find out more

P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Stakeholder Engagement and Communications [podcast]

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others” – Anthony Robbins

So many projects and programmes snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by failing to communicate effectively or misjudging the mood of the stakeholder base.

In this podcast Rod Sowden talks about the approach to Stakeholder Management defined  in Managing Successful Programmes and gives an overview of the key areas to focus on and how the stakeholder management can be deployed effectively.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, MSP®, Stakeholder Management, Training

Our books – Practical guides to getting things done – 10% off!

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but how many people put themselves ‘out there’ and go into print as authors securing the backing of one the world’s leading publishing companies like TSO?

As evidence of our unique position, we have listed below where we have contributed to the development of the programme and project management profession through leading the development and authorship of the following publications. For all of the below publications, we are able to offer a 10% discount (off the listed price) if bought through us. Contact us to find out more

MSP® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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A better way of showing Programme Lifecycles [video]

In this video, Rod Sowden the Aspire Europe Managing Director talks about Programme Lifecycles.

Hope you enjoy!

Visit and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel here

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, MSP®, Vodcast/Video