Government variations on a project management theme
Interesting how some key ideas around project management have resonated recently in a number of government-related strategies and action plans.
The Governments new Construction Strategy aims to reduce procurement costs by up to 20% by the end of this parliament. Central to its argument is that the public sector should act as the type of intelligent client advocated by APM Honorary Fellow Sir Peter Gershon, whether in writing or live at APMs 2010 Conference.
Infrastructure UK identified potential savings of 2 bn - 3 bn per annum from reducing the costs of delivery of the UKs economic infrastructure projects and programmes in its Cost Review. Amongst other elements, its subsequent Implementation Plan highlights the need for good practice in grouping projects into more efficient longer-term programmes with clear outcome based objectives, whilst repeating the refrain of developing intelligent commissioning capability.
By the same token, Sir Roy McNultys Report on Realising the potential of GB Rail identifies the opportunities available from implementing a whole system programme management framework which includes a portfolio of enhancement programmes aligned with a clear industry strategy; a clear problem statement and sponsor role; early evaluation of a comprehensive range of possible solutions; formalised stakeholder management; and so on.
And so the music goes on: for example, a number of the challenges identified by Sir Peter Gershon at the conference last year are explicitly recognised by the Governments ICT Strategy. Acknowledging that government projects tend to be too big, leading to greater risk and complexity, and limiting the range of suppliers who can compete, it states the expectation that from now on SROs will stay in post until an appropriate break in the life of a project / programme.
In terms of good practice, much of all this may sound familiar.
Perhaps whats different today is the clearly orchestrated intent to actually make it happen.
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Agile refuses to analyse requirements beforehand – and thus declines to provide an initial certainty. This will probably always scare any stakeholder trying to understand whether or not they can show results to the board with the budget that they are granted.
You have a choice. You can either muddle on, stand firm and fix it – or look elsewhere.