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Where does success start?

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Earlier this year, Lord Browne of Madingley produced an excellent report entitled: Getting a Grip: How to improve major project execution and control in Government.

In it, he stated that a deep seated change in culture is required in order to make organisations and the outcomes they produce more successful.

Lord Browne makes six recommendations to the Major Projects Authority in the report, which he believes reduce risk and hence improve the execution of major Government projects.

These are: control of project initiation; ongoing project assurance and intervention; post-project audits; appointment of major project leaders and certain critical project management posts; design of pay and incentives to create high performance; and wider development of skills and capability across Government.

Reading the report I found many similarities between Lord Brownes philosophy and that of Network Rails chief executive David Higgins, who told me that he is a huge believer in performance-related pay. He is also renowned for his extensive focus on planning.

Having operated for the majority of his career in the private sector, David Higgins work makes it clear that Lord Brownes messages are easily transferable to practitioners operating in any sector and, in my opinion, on any size project.

Clearly on some projects resources are limited and, at times, practitioners lack the power to influence all of these areas. But success starts with project management and by considering the six areas highlighted by Lord Browne, we give ourselves a better chance of achieving our outcomes.

For those who are yet to read Lord Brownes report, you can find it onlinehere.

It is a delightfully clear and concise nine pages of project management logic.

I would like to hear from readers and get your tips on how you are getting a grip on projects and working to improve your project execution and control. Please do get in touch.


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  1. James Dale
    James Dale 26 August 2013, 11:02 PM

    Thanks AndrewYou are right the report is clear and concise.  But I cant help thinking that something is badly amiss with communications in Government.  Many many years ago when I was a real project manager I was told about the NAO / OGC's Common Causes of Project Failure: very few people I meet appear to know of their existance.Why is there no consistency or continuity with Government communications?  Why not use the common causes of failure as a benchmark and report on progress year on year.   That way sponsors and others might realise that they are important and actively seek to avoid them.Whether it is the OGC or Major Projects Authority the  fact is that 80% of Government projects apparently fail to deliver the benefits they were set up to achieve.  What is so sad is that we knew the reasons why many years ago.  So next time someone produces a report paid for by tax payers lets go back to basics, focus on the common causes of failure and then hopefully we might make some progress!Having bemoaned project delivery in Government all is not doom and gloom.  We will be showcasing some outstanding programmes at ProgMs annual conference on 26 November 2013.  Please see:  Jim

  2. John Gordon
    John Gordon 10 August 2013, 10:41 AM

    Thanks for that AndrewA great 9 page report that cuts the **** and gets to the heart of the issues and solution outline. I have added it to my reading pile as I type this. Wait for further comment here.Johncontact card