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Setting Up a Centre of Excellence for PPM

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The PPSOSIG event took place on Friday 24th November 2006 at Aston University Business Centre.
Tuesday 27th June and Friday 29th September saw the bringing together of David Marsh and David Wilkin of MMP Consulting Ltd with John Elliott of OGC and Graham Hawkins of Serco Solutions in promoting the concepts of the Project and Programme Management Centre Of Excellence (PPM COE).

The event, previously held at the Institute of Directors in London, organised by Project Manager Today was an interactive workshop with delegates drawn from across the Public and Private sectors. This session replicated the London event for the benefit of PPSOSIG members.

The objective of the workshop was to re-invigorate the attention given by senior managers to the design and creation of a PPM COE for their organisation and to position the PPM COE right at the heart of strategic business management, not an adjunct to existing Project Support functions which, in many organisations, are seen as more administrational than guiding and shaping the business in its activities to secure competitive advantage or the implementation of Policy.

The concepts of the PPM COE, together with the the strategic positioning and methods for its effective business use are set out in a new book by Marsh & Wilkin entitled Designing Your PPM COE A Strategic Guide. This book will be followed up by a second volume Implementing Your PPM COE An Operational Guide.Additionally, there is a new course being developed, based on the books.

The morning sessions of the workshop were led by David Wilkin and David Marsh, setting out the case for the PPM COE and the means by which you should go about designing one. The conclusion to the morning was that the proper construction of the Business Case for your PPM COE will leave you in no doubt that your organisation cannot afford NOT to have one!

The morning sessions introduced some tasters from the book including:

What is a PPM COE and why do you need one?
Designing a PPM COE The Business Case and Terms of Reference
Doing the right Programmes and Projects
Assurance of Programmes and Projects
Effective development, deployment and operation of Programme Management

After lunch and an opportunity for delegates to network with each other and the presenters, the concepts introduced by Marsh and Wilkin were further discussed in the context of the work being done in Central Civil Government by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). John Elliott, a Better Projects Director from OGC, presented an excellent session explaining why PPM COEs are so important in the Public sector, together with an account of the successes enjoyed and challenges encountered to date. The session clearly illustrated the importance and benefits of the PPM COE work done by OGC to date and the need to embrace the concept to drive out further benefits in Government and for the Public at large.

To complement the OGC view, the supplier-side perspective was presented by Graham Hawkins, Deputy Director of Programme Quality and Standards with Serco Solutions. Serco is a major supplier to central and local Government and also to an array of commercial clients. Graham outlined why Serco Solutions had decided to implement a PPM COE and some examples of the services it provides to the business. Graham described the importance of good Programme Assurance on the suppier-side and gave an account of the interpretation of OGCs Gateway process in its application to supply-side projects. Graham illustrated the benefits that Serco Solutions had enjoyed from the creation of its PPM COE and some of the difficulties encountered in setting it up and funding it in the commercial marketplace.

In the end, it comes down to the Business Case for the PPM COE. Organisations needs to ensure two key things through its PPM COE
That it is doing the right Programmes and Projects
That those Programmes and Projects are done right.
Without the former, the latter means nothing. This is where the PPM COE justifies its existence.

To complete a well-rounded day, David Marsh proposed the structure and content of the knowledge management function of the PPM COE. This energetic session was a true example of the David Marsh blend of entertainment and professional championing.

Those who attended gave positive feedback. The event proved to be a catalyst for pushing forward the PPM COE. Indeed, the mood of the two events, has resulted in David Wilkin pulling together again the team from MMP, OGC and Serco Solutions to organise a re-run of the workshop especially for the PPSO SIG on Friday 24th November 2006.

So another opportunity to embrace the concepts of the PPM COE, described in the book by Marsh & Wilkin, and to set this in context of both government and commercial organisations took place.

Download (PDF) the Full Agenda

Copies of the book Designing your PPM COE A Strategic Guide by Marsh & Wilkin are now available from the Conference Organisers c/o Arras People at priced 28 +p&p


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