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Portfolio Planning Maturity Improvement

Project Overview

i3Works consultants involved in this project worked to understand the current maturity of the Project Planning function in the ITT department for our major government client.

The goal, in which we achieved over a year and a half, was to improve People, Processes and Technology to enable and embed improvements.

Our Client’s Challenges

  • There was a resistance to the PMO from the wider organisation
  • General lack of understanding of the value that strong Project Controls brings to Project Delivery
  • Lack of planning resource (Quantity and Quality) within the Organisation

i3Works' Solutions to Those Challenges

Resistance to the PMO.

  • Working with the Organisation to understand their concerns.
  • Allowing Planning Policy to be flexible to project circumstances as and when required and adapting best practise to the context of a highly regulated Public Sector environment.

Lack of Understanding of Project Controls Value.

  • Showing the Projects the value of What-if Scenario Modelling, Critical Path Analysis and Schedule Risk Analysis to improve their insight in to their own projects. This allowed for better decision making and higher project delivery success rates.

Lack of Planning Resource.

  • Developing role profiles, interview questions and evaluation criteria to improve the quality of planning recruitment.
  • Simplifying planning policies and building on the ‘why’ element rather than simply being prescriptive about ‘how’.
  • Training current planners in the use of EPM (the planning tool), the implementation of the policy, and general planning best practise.

Work Items & Responsibilities

The objective was to allow the PMO (Portfolio Management Office) to understand the maturity of Project Planning across the organisation and work to improve this maturity to a level where the organisation could have trust in the delivery dates and resources required for its projects.

Our key deliverables were as follows:

  • Implementing a schedule maturity check tool to assess the qualitative schedule quality of the portfolio (Tool signed off for use by the target date). 
  • Development of the planning policy to more closely align to industry best practice whilst acknowledging organisation specifics.
  • Defining plan ‘types’ to focus planning attention on ‘deliverable’ projects and reduce planning related ‘admin’, thus aligning the planning function with organisation priorities and ‘value adding’ planning. This increased the efficiency of the work we were carrying out (as well as the wider organisation) which allowed us to improve our estimated delivery times of subsequent activities.
  • Implementing and training the planning community on the use of standardised monthly ‘Highlight Reports’ direct from EPM (Microsoft Project). The agreed target of 90% of all projects using Highlight reports by contract end was completed ahead of schedule (Start of August 2016 versus end of September 2016).
  • Deploying directly on to Enterprise Critical Programmes to turn around their Planning and Risk functions and set them up for future success. Getting the plans for programmes out of ‘intensive care’ in to a baselined state that can then be trusted by the Portfolio Management Office. With Gate Reviews providing the required end date we worked tirelessly to complete on or before these Gates so that the Programmes could move forward unhindered.
  • Conducting Lessons Learnt reviews and developing recommendations for future improvements post Contract end. One of our key recommendations for the future was that the client PMO sets up ‘Planning as a Service’ – Providing planners to the projects rather than trying to manage the disparate resources from afar. This was taken up and went live in January 2017.

How i3Works can help your organisation

i3Works has a rich seam of P3M and business change expertise. We have delivered PMOs, led £billion mega projects and led programmes of up to 130 projects. We understand the need to ground P3M solutions in the practical reality of business; ensuring alignment with strategic intent whilst also championing a lean, pragmatic implementation of P3M methodologies. Our team are seasoned practitioners, including Registered Project Professionals, Chartered Engineers and underpinned by a wide range of P3M professional qualifications.

We have a passion for what we do and firmly believe in the value that a PMO can deliver. But we also appreciate that the industry is littered with process heavy, mechanistic PMO implementations that lose sight of their strategic purpose. By maintaining focus on the problems statements that the PMO is there to resolve, the PMO becomes an enabler for effective strategic and tactical decision making.


Contact us

For further information on how i3Works is able to support you in delivering business value, please contact us.