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What’s it like to work in project management at the Houses of Commons and the House of Lords? Algy Ayson is Head of Project Delivery, Centre of Excellence and Profession at UK Parliament, working in both chambers on projects that stretch across digital transformation, capital works and change initiatives. Working in the shadow of Big Ben, APM wanted to find out more about his role and projects, especially as a general election is closely anticipated.

What makes Parliament a unique place to work is, as Ayson describes it, “the quirkiness and the community that is constantly faced with exciting and challenging things to deal with. You’ll meet people from all walks of life who genuinely want to make a difference.”

Q Could you give a brief outline of your career? How did you get into project management?

A. I began my career as a customer service and travel advisor at a US-based online travel company, then moved to local government where my project management journey started when I was working as a customer service manager involved in delivering customer service and digital transformation projects.

I moved to the civil service, and social housing managing contact centres and customer service teams and then ended up in Parliament following a career break where I was involved in several transformation initiatives managing change and engagement, project delivery and leading and developing PMO and portfolio delivery teams.

Q. What does your current role and responsibilities entail?

A. As the head of the project delivery centre of excellence and profession, my role provides leadership in building a community of engaged project delivery professionals who are passionate about learning, networking and growing professionally. I also support our senior leaders to help them prepare for effective project leadership through training, community building and development opportunities.

My role involves a lot of collaborating and connecting with internal and external partners to bring out the best in our project delivery profession and to help deliver successful initiatives through standards, professional development, service enhancement, change and engagement.

Q. What kind of projects fall under your remit?

A. Mostly capital works and construction, estate management and digital transformation. We also have people, safety and other exciting change initiatives – all being delivered to make Parliament happen.

Q. What ambition do you have for project management delivery at Parliament?

A. A happy, engaged and thriving project-delivery community celebrating their achievements with qualifications, accreditations and personal successes; consistent delivery of successful projects in Parliament as a centre of excellence; that people are attracted to work in Parliament as one of the best places to deliver projects; and that people make successful projects. My ambition is to create and embed a supportive, collaborative and inclusive project delivery environment.

Q. What makes the House of Commons and the House of Lords a unique place to work (particularly in a possible general election year)?

A. I think the uniqueness stems from a number of factors – there is the culture, the values, the opportunities, the quirkiness and the community that is constantly faced with exciting and challenging things to deal with. You’ll meet people from all walks of life who genuinely want to make a difference.

Q. What are the biggest project management challenges at the House of Commons and the House of Lords?

A. Resourcing (capacity and capability), complex stakeholder landscape with varying needs and demands, managing scope and requirements and also navigating some of changes in market conditions to aid us in delivery. I think the challenges demand us to build the structure, culture and the organisational will to enable project success.

Q. How do you measure success or excellence on the projects you are responsible for? And what approach do you take to projects?

A. Success can be measured via a number of factors and indicators depending on the project and the goals and objectives we’re trying to achieve – budget, schedule, quality but also benefits, stakeholder satisfaction, environmental, social and governance outcomes, and team performance.

Q. What are the most important project management lessons you have learnt?

A. There are several. First, take people along the journey with you from the very start. Second, ask for help when needed and make use of the experts – they want you to succeed. And third, future-proof your projects by learning lessons that exploit the triad of hindsight, insight and foresight.

Q. Finally, what do you enjoy about your work?

A. I enjoy helping teams and individuals and seeing them succeed in their endeavours. I thrive in learning from others and connecting with like-minded individuals and organisations. Bringing people together to solve some of our common challenges and to raise the profile of our profession with passion and enthusiasm is something that I genuinely enjoy and would like to imbibe with colleagues.


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