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Project Delivery Maturity Assessment

“United Outcomes give you a fresh, external perspective.”

The unique challenge

In the past 24 months, 90% of projects run by the client have not been delivered on time, and most do not meet their projected delivery date. There has been a lack of alignment of in-flight projects to strategic priorities, an inability to deliver change against various strategic priorities, to deliver benefits in a timely manner, and for projects to remain on-budget.

This insurance company engaged United Outcomes to undertake a six-week engagement to baseline project delivery maturity against the challenges listed. The engagement was in two parts: an initial diagnosis phase reviewed the current project delivery practices; the second phase, an advisory phase, provided recommendations, an EPMO Target Operating Model and revised project delivery framework.

Tools & thinking

UO used a bespoke diagnostic framework to baseline the maturity of project delivery. Using this framework allowed the client to review the causes, help to set direction, prioritise actions and set cultural change required for successful project delivery.

The framework focussed on fifteen project delivery areas within six main project delivery categories.

An online questionnaire was distributed to the client's Project Sponsors, Project Managers, Senior Users and Suppliers to gain their views on the project delivery maturity of the organisation. Twenty nine responses were received. 

The client was keen UO provided an independent assessment of the maturity of project delivery. In essence they wanted to see if their view of project delivery matched an external review. They nominated four in-flight projects for UO to review and feedback how well these projects were delivering against the fifteen project delivery areas. 

To undertake the “deep dive” reviews, UO interviewed the project managers, sponsors, Senior Users, Suppliers and vendors for each of the four projects. In addition, UO reviewed all project documentation as well as observed the governance in place at project boards and Portfolio Steering Committee meetings. By collating this evidence, UO produced a “Harvey Ball” schematic to demonstrate the differing views of the questionnaire responses to the deep dive evidence.

With the data and evidence collated during the Diagnostic phase of the engagement, UO were able to deliver the following:

  • UO worked with the EPMO to align and document the existing project delivery, software development and project accounting delivery processes.
  • UO produced a set of standard PMO processes to enable the client's EPMO to set up its target operating model.
  • UO produced a twelve month recommendations roadmap highlighting quick wins which could be achieved in the first three months.  Focus was given to what leadership and culture changes were required. 

Success is never a straight line

Although there were no key issues during the engagement, it was clear that successful implementation of the UO recommendations would require both EPMO and C-Suite Project sponsor support. 

It was felt important to include a review of the client's leadership and culture as key determinants to project delivery success. Discussions were held with the Head of the client's EPMO to review leadership styles and governance forums.

Although the EPMO was satisfied with the engagement recommendations, there was some resistance in sharing the specific findings from each of the “deep dive” reviews with the project sponsors. UO ensured the findings were provided in the detailed report. However, these were removed from presentation materials.

Legacy

Demonstrated the importance of projects having a strong alignment to achieving strategic business benefits.  To support this, UO provided the client with a list of strategic criteria that can be used to prioritise their projects.  UO have also offered potential tools for portfolio prioritisation.  

Throughout this engagement, UO built strong relationships with key stakeholder levels across the organisation.

UO supported the EPMO Governance and Reporting team through the provision of new project delivery templates – these will standardise project delivery across the organisation.