6 minute read 17 Sep 2019
How does putting purpose at the centre transform programme delivery?

How does putting purpose at the centre transform programme delivery?

By

Florian Plass

Ernst & Young – Ireland (EY Ireland) Director

Head of EY Ireland’s Programme Management competency. Programme Director with significant experience delivering regulatory and complex transformation programmes in the Financial Services sector.

6 minute read 17 Sep 2019

Welcome to this inaugural Irish Project and Programme Management Guide.

To deliver effective change or reform, a programme needs to be rooted in a common goal or purpose, with all stakeholders committed to the desired outcome. 

Throughout the journey, clear and effective governance is needed to support timely decision making. This, coupled with a relentless focus on what the transformation will deliver helps to ensure the delivery of real outcomes and benefits. 

As a firm, EY is constantly researching the linkages between project performance, people and process. One key theme that is evident is ‘purpose’ and how crucial it is to the success of projects. 

This research identifies the key concerns and challenges facing our clients and other businesses operating in Ireland.
Marcus Gageby
Partner, Advisory Services

This guide captures some of the practical steps that you can take as leaders to implement purpose successfully. Real business transformation means delivering rapid change and accelerating a business in a new direction to take advantage of new market opportunities, so I invite you to read this guide and consider how this research could impact your business, your employees and your customers.

The guide is based on our Project and Programme Management Survey (issued in late 2018) of the Irish Market which focused on four key areas: 

• Purpose

• Project management methodologies 

• Leadership and governance 

• Outcome delivery

To achieve different perspectives, we invited a broad selection of respondents to complete the survey – from project and programme managers, to PMO and business analysts, to business directors and C-suite executives. 

Special thanks to over 50 organisations across a variety of sectors that participated in the survey, and particular gratitude to the clients that have shared their insights and experiences with us as we compiled this guide. 

How does putting purpose at the centre transform programme delivery
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1

Chapter 1

Snapshot of key results

The survey identified a set of key challenges in delivering transformation projects.

Purpose

While 67% of project teams are aware of the purpose of the project only 54% of the project leadership teams are using purpose as a tool to drive delivery.  

When deciding whether to take on a project the actual purpose and outcome ranks low in the selection process with cost, complexity and regulatory obligation all ranking higher. As a result, many organisations are engaged in projects that are not aligned to achieving the strategic plan.

Project teams

67%

were aware of the project’s purpose

Project leadership teams

54%

use purpose to drive delivery

Organisations

19%

describe the methodology used as ‘repeatable’ or ‘optimised’

Purposeful companies create value across all dimensions of their organisation meaning that they are better at linking values, strategy and decision making, driving innovation, and delivering transformation. 91% of purposeful companies believe that their well-integrated purpose helps them remain focused on what matters in a disrupted world.
Julie Browne,
Director, Advisory Services

Project management methodologies

The most common approaches used are Agile at 37% and PRINCE2 at 42%.Only 19% describe the methodology used as ‘repeatable’ or ‘optimised’, showing that while a methodology may be in place it is at a low level of maturity in most organisations. Only 40% of organisations use formal training to develop project management skills and maturity.

32% of organisations are not implementing change management or business readiness activities as part of their project. This can lead to ineffective delivery of project outcomes because key stakeholders are not brought along the journey of the project resulting in difficult and lengthy transitions to business as usual when the project is completed.

Leadership and governance

52% of projects are managed through loose, informal controls with heavy dependence on informal relationships which seems to provide flexibility – however, it often leads to unrecorded decisions, siloed decision making and poor project governance. 

The most common concern identified in governance is a change in leadership and the broader organisational impact. However, an organisation-wide standard and methodology for project management should mitigate this by providing consistent ways of working, coupled with a clear purpose which any changes should align to.

Projects

52%

do not have a structured governance model

Governance is at the heart of decision making and organisations that create effective governance structures see measurable results in obtaining and keeping the best employees, build trust with stakeholders, maintain delivery timelines and continue to attract, retain and engage customers.
Katie Flood,
Director

Outcome delivery

Only 50% of projects deliver the expected outcomes

The key factors that influence a more positive outcome are:

  • Projects that are based on a clear business case and clear benefits are 12% more likely to deliver the desired outcomes 
  • Projects with stronger risk management frameworks are 12% more likely to deliver the desired outcomes
  • Organisations that engage in ongoing project management training are 14% more likely to deliver the desired outcomes
Putting purpose at the centre transform programme delivery
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3

Chapter 3

Delivering successful outcomes during uncertain times

Structured approaches to delivery with strong leadership, all underpinned by purpose.

  • Consider purpose as a reason to take on a project

     If a new purpose isn’t the primary reason for the change, ensure the delivery team are all aware of the ‘why’. For larger scale purpose-led transformations, EY’s Purpose Activation Framework is used alongside our Purpose-led Transformation methodology to help clients to structure their purpose-focused objectives, and to plan an implementation accordingly. 

    Many programmes, especially regulatory or compliance-driven programmes, are often seen as tick box exercises. Unearthing and communicating the purpose of the regulation for both customers, businesses and employees alike helps organisations take advantage of regulatory obligations and drive additional benefits and value
    Florian Plass, Director
  • Prioritise implementation of a standard project management methodology across the change portfolio

    Projects are more likely to deliver on their planned outcomes with a consistent way of working. EY have supported a number of large organisations across utilities and financial services to implement standard methodologies frameworks at scale, and those organisations have reported to have seen a step-change in delivery capability and resulting outcomes.

  • A PMO adds huge value

    Think about automating some of the repeatable aspects to provide additional capacity for the team to work on other things if required. EY’s PMO toolkit is a good place to start to see what aspects of your PMO can be optimised with minimal investment. 

  • Don’t forget about change management and the people involved

    Change management needs to be woven it into your delivery plan from the outset. Our Performance Improvement and People Advisory Services practices often work together to support clients in the end-to-end journey on their transformation programmes.

    Transformation requires a focus on multiple key areas, including preparing leaders for their role in change, identifying and understanding end-user behaviours and any potential behavioural changes, preparing the workforce through effective enablement, managing knowledge transfer, and consistently measuring readiness and adoption
    Mean Conway, Senior Manager
  • Controls within project or programme governance shouldn’t feel restrictive

    Governance is there to help decision making, resolve conflicts and support achievement of outcomes. Embrace programme and project assurance. Having an independent viewpoint on your delivery can ensure gaps are highlighted and the relevant plans are put in place to address missed items. Our Programme Risk Management practice supports our Advisory clients to ensure their delivery models and plans are up to scratch, and work with our broader Advisory teams to recommend changes to programme delivery where needed.

  • Celebrate successes

    Reward and recognition really do matter, and your people will thank you for thanking them.

Summary

To deliver effective change or reform, a programme needs to be rooted in a common goal or purpose, with all stakeholders committed to the desired outcome. EY Ireland Project and Programme Management Guide captures practical steps can take to implement purpose successfully.

About this article

By

Florian Plass

Ernst & Young – Ireland (EY Ireland) Director

Head of EY Ireland’s Programme Management competency. Programme Director with significant experience delivering regulatory and complex transformation programmes in the Financial Services sector.