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Turning projects around from red to black

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Phil Cresswell, Programme Director at Arcadis UK, delivered an interactive session on how to act when programmes show signs of going off-track to members of the Midlands Branch at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Birmingham, introduced by Hazel Herbert.

Using the scenario of a technology roll-out project with ‘challenging timescales’, Phil asked attendees to discuss how they would approach the issue in the initiation phase and then furthermore throughout the project lifecycle. Answers included ensuring governance of the project is agreed, reviewing ‘lessons learned’ and gaining commitment by using a Project Charter document.

Phil introduced the ‘Inheritance Review’ technique which allows the mapping of ‘where you are’ and ‘where you need to be’ to deliver what is deemed ‘good’ in-line with the sponsor’s expectations. The same mapping techniques can also be used to report on a snapshot of the status of the project – a ‘health-check’.

Phil went on to describe the ‘100-day Plan’ – a ‘single version of the truth’ focusing on productivity in the early stages of the project. Some of the benefits the plan provides include quickly building confidence, opening-up conversations and identifying areas of concern. 

One of the main ‘take-aways’ from the evening was shared in the last discussion on the topic of project communications and the art of building trust. It was agreed that Plans are essential including ‘ownership’, understanding the sponsor’s communication style and the use of RACI tools.

After the event, attendee Rob Heaton said ‘It was useful to discuss the scenarios, likely challenges, issues and the range of tools & techniques that might be applied. It was good to share my knowledge with the other attendees.’ Also attending, Christopher Purves remarked that the event had ‘exceeded my expectations’. 

Phil's presentation can be seen below and on the APM Resources page.

Adrian Turner, Midlands branch volunteer



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