Programme Management Uncovered – Part 1

So why do organisations need to change?

The drivers and changes in the business landscape typically come from one or many of the following external factors:

  • New or increased Competition, leading to pressure on sales and margins;
  • New  and more demanding Customers;
  • Emerging markets and changes in Demographics;
  • New Products and Services;
  • New Technology;
  • Increased Legislation and Regulation;
  • City and market pressure.

Also typically the challenges and problems which organisations face will include:

  • The drive for growth and  profitability;
  • The need to improve customer service or customer perception;
  • Introduction of new products and services;
  • The drive for Operational Excellence through efficiency, effectiveness and productivity;
  • The development of new Operating models;
  • The need for innovation and improving “time to market”;
  • The need to develop leadership skills and the organisation’s capability;
  • And many, many more.

The overriding driver normally is the need to “Improve Business Performance” and this often coincides with a new owner or CEO.

A sub set of the more micro-level challenges will typically include:

  • Too much fire-fighting;
  • Teams working in silos;
  • The inadequacy of management information;
  • Insufficient leadership and people development plans and budgets;
  • The proliferation of (un-integrated) legacy systems;
  • Diverse, fragmented processes and systems;
  • Too many projects – with poor portfolio management;
  • Too many processing centres;
  • Poor workforce planning procedures;
  • Overheads costs are too high;
  • Poor service levels;
  • Poor PR and communications/messaging;
  • Poor governance and internal controls.

This piece of analysis work has often been carried out by senior executives before it is “made public” to the market/City, customers/suppliers, employees, or consultants/change agents.  And require only validation/challenge or articulation – or building into a “compelling case for change” which can be shared.

This is one of the most critical components of any change programme and an example of elements of a “Case for change” setting out “why you are doing this” will likely include:
Strategic goal A compelling one line summary e.g. growth, the key goal or target(s)
Performance The need to assist the business meet its performance targets
Customer service The need for improved customer service levels and interactions
Financial The departmental budgets are under pressure so there is a need to cut costs and headcount
Technological There is a need to leverage the investment in the technology and strive for systems which are more integrated, easier to use, and more supportive of our business processes.
Processes Understand, eliminate, standardise, simplify, automate, integrate, control with appropriate checks and balances.
Cultural The new model must drive towards Customer Service, One team, Single version of the truth, greater creativity, innovation and empowerment.  Do we live the organisation’s values?
People Our staff expect this on the journey to becoming more professional – recruit, retain, relocate, motivate, reward and celebrate.
Organisational Developing a new delivery model which is easier to manage and navigate by both front line and back office staff.
The Future To build a Platform which would be able to grow and support activities better in the future.

It is essential that a change programme follows the business vision and strategy – and if these are not well articulated, then something must be done or the programme will not have the clarity required for it to be a success.  There is great merit in the process of producing the vision and strategy including the people who have to drive its implementation, as this will lead to much great understanding and ownership of the direction and the logic.   Examples of good elements of Vision statements include:

  • Growth – £x billion by 2020;
  • Highly profitable;
  • 100% customer focused;
  • Strive to be World Class in whatever you do;
  • Be pre-eminent and respected in our chosen fields/markets;
  • Build a scalable business;
  • Delivery quality solutions and products/services;
  • Aim for superb operational effectiveness;
  • Build brand awareness;
  • Continue to differentiate;
  • Care for our people;
  • Drive towards a more collaborative set of relationships;
  • Be continually innovative and entrepreneurial;
  • Move towards a more effective Business Partnering model.

Again another set of micro vision statements (which I have grouped into themes) could include:

  • Market – Total Customer Service focus;
  • Capability;
  • High quality, integrated Systems and other Tools;
  • Professional, with a learning culture and continuously improving;
  • First class, well-appointed premises.
  • An effective organisational design;
  • Best practice business processes;
  • Good governance;
  • High compliance;
  • Strong shared values;
  • Two way Service Level Agreements;
  • Relevant and agreed metrics and measures;
  • Highly trained, capable workforce;
  • Management;

Focus on added value activities.

Transformational LeadersHave a look at the attachment (Vision example) which shows how a method of creating a compelling vision consisting of Purpose, Values, Goals and Description (from Milestone seminars).

The final element of this section is the Business Case.  Typically an outline business case would be built at this “strategic” stage – with estimated figures for costs and benefits, showing the return on investment.  The detailed business case would then be developed during the programme once more accurate costs are understood.


The costs and benefits can be broken down into Tangible and Intangible items, e.g.:
Examples Tangibles Intangibles
Benefits Increased sales (volumes)Increased marginIncreased profitabilityReduced headcountReduced costs – suppliers products, labour, property, transport, overheads, etc Increased customer satisfactionIncreased sales effectivenessIncreased brand awarenessBetter management informationProcess efficiencyImproved reputationReduced staff turnoverImproved accountability

Improved governance & controls

Platform for the future

Costs – one off or initial costs Investment costs – Property/facilities, IT, people (hiring, relocation, training, redundancy, etc)Change costs – e.g. consultants, professional fees, Management timeChange fatigue
Ongoing/ recurring costs Property/facilitiesIT and supportPeopleThird partiesEtc

These tangible figures are normally captured in a spreadsheet model and shown over a timescale.  Various calculations and ratios can we worked on e.g.: Payback period, Return on Investment, discount rates, NPV (net present value), etc.

Sometimes, teams try to put a value on the intangibles.  If the benefit is, for example, “improved call centre morale”, then this may lead to reduced staff turnover rates, and by applying certain assumptions/algorithms, you can determine a (hypothetical) tangible benefit.