Do people who commission change get what they want?

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Posted by APM on 2nd May 2015

Where shall I start? What an amazing event by our good friends at PWC. As I introduced the evening I knew that we were in for some fun as Karl Reilly @karl_reilly_pwc, our host and speaker for the evening, let it be known that he would ‘ask the audience’ to send in their votes using software called Poll Everywhere. You only have to look at the website of this tool to realise just how engaging this can be for a live audience!

The event was co-organised by the APM Programme Management and Governance SIGs and I shared the privilege, with Miles Dixon, of introducing the evening. Besides making reference to the breadth of Karl’s experience, including the ‘hard knocks’ of programme management, I threw in a couple of challenges … the famous saying there is “lies, damned lies and statistics’ so why should we trust what we would be hearing! 

Also, concerning the exam question “Do people who commission change get what they want?” isn’t it shocking that out of more than 3,000 respondents from more than 100 countries only half [50%] agreed that ‘an appropriate baseline exists to measure all benefits for their organisation.’ If this is the case how on earth could the change commissioners possibly know whether they have got what they wanted in the first place? 


The 4th PwC Global PPM Survey, conducted in 2014 looked at; trends, challenges, opportunities and opinions relating to the management of portfolios, programmes and projects.

During the evening we were invited to vote by text and web on our smartphones [one of those don’t switch your phones off evenings] on various survey questions. The results and opinions of ‘we happy few’ were compared to those of the much larger global population. 

So for example. On the question of “Where benefits are set, are they realised?” 

The slide illustrates the fact that audience [yellow] opinion was broadly aligned with the global view [orange] this certainly wasn’t the same in every case and led to some interesting debate.

Sandie Grimshaw, who led the survey team, joined us part way through the session - after a long day at work. She says “The results are both interesting and enlightening, especially when considered with the findings of previous surveys, and also with the results that we find when PWC undertakes maturity assessments around the world on client programmes.

I believe our survey findings have provided a fresh perspective for executive teams, as well as giving PPM professionals evidence from which to re-evaluate their priorities and approach to delivering successful change programmes.” 

Not being one to miss an opportunity, Alan Macklin, ProgM committee member and Deputy Chair of APM Board, stated APM’s desire to be involved in the next survey round 2015/16 as he sees it as an opportunity to extend our own work on Conditions for Project Success.

In addition, in a short infomercial, the audience were invited to join us for our inaugural APM Benefits Summit [23-25th June] - partially in response to the survey’s findings on Benefits Management uptake!

So, with the post-event feedback still coming in, and respondents rating this as one of the most popular events ever - extremely high Net Promoter Score - all that remains for me to do is to give a final vote of thanks to the good folks at PWC. Excellent #eventroi.

Merv Wyeth
Chair, APM Programme Management SIG

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