Global Technology Company

Nichols provided specialist transformation and programme controls expertise to enable our client to operate their multi £bn programmes in a resource efficient and sustainable way.

This global company required improvement in the way projects and programmes were controlled to provide predicable outcomes. To fully understand the client’s challenge, desired outcomes and unique working environment, we undertook an initial analysis. We discovered that the culture and ethos varied widely between different areas of the business. We found a strong collective pride amongst individual trades and although modern programme control technology solutions and processes were deployed, they were not being used consistently or effectively. To achieve the necessary enhancement in programme and project performance, three linked changes were needed: training and development of key individuals; a systems integration approach and processes; and cultural change to get best out of the improvements.

To create a roadmap to enhanced performance, we delivered two parallel and complementary work streams. A complexity assessment of current systems, processes and their use to identify issues and gaps against industry best practice, and a delivery capability assessment of their 800 project control staff.

A structured complexity assessment was undertaken using benchmarking against international comparators. This involved ranking key programmes on a worldwide scale, examining the technical gaps in knowledge and skills for personnel, addressing safety, supply chain and infrastructure needs. This provided a clear overall score, highlighted areas that would benefit most from investment in controls, and indicated how overall programme controls might be improved.

To drive the system and process change, Nichols provided interim Heads of Departments for the main Project Control functions of Cost, Schedule, Risk and Change. We developed a specialised method to undertake the capability assessment which assessed skills available and current plans. Based on findings from our initial analysis, we focused on the culture and ethos of the organisation. The assessment allowed clear, quantified messages to be given to management and clients about opportunities for improvement, and capability challenges that would need to be overcome. These two exercises combined to form a development roadmap focused on improving capability and achieving a more cohesive, positive culture, detailing proposed steps to achieve required outcomes.

Implementing the roadmap to enhanced performance enabled us to put in place a new education and training lead to provide staff and new recruits from the local area with opportunities to develop their programme controls and management skills. This allows staff the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised qualification from a professional awarding organisation with an Advanced Apprenticeship. We created a project Faculty to serve as the hub of education, learning and development for the client’s project community delivered by local colleges, creating social value. We established a local branch of the Association for Project Management around this group, to leave behind continued access to professional development.

We created new central project control functional departments with client staff and Nichols experts working as a fully integrated team. To support programme delivery while these were being established, we led the controls functions in one of the client’s largest multi £bn programmes.

Nichols led the redevelopment of the programme controls system and documentation to allow for standardisation across programmes, integration between controls disciplines, alignment with corporate guidance, and to provide the basis for governance. Working closely with the client’s teams, we rewrote the programme controls framework in line with best practice, tailoring it to the organisation and their corporate guidance.

Optimised bespoke technology

To improve performance for our client we reviewed and improved their software suite, ensuring stakeholders were fully engaged to secure successful deployment. We designed and implemented a new software system for change control of baseline management, significantly enhancing existing capability. Our improvements included standardising risk and planning software across the site, bringing it in line with the company’s major clients, and leading the migration of their planning software to a new version. The migrated system improved performance significantly.

Our team mentored the client’s core staff to enable them to take long term control of their project controls capability and transition into the leadership roles.

This global technology company now have a carefully designed and integrated programme controls approach with well structured documentation, enabling effective assurance and governance. This integrated programme controls approach, supported by an optimised technology suite, allows programme teams to plan, deliver, analyse, and report on performance more efficiently. They now have a clear organisational structure with centralised functions arranged by discipline to better support delivery teams, and a training capability supporting recognised career paths and the ongoing development of the programme teams.

Our work has enabled our client to operate in a resource efficient and sustainable way, providing predictable delivery. They benefit from increased capability, capacity and competence.


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