It’s Your Data: Look After It.

‘Can you name a city that doesn’t have a Y in it?’ ‘Can you spell your mother’s maiden name with no vowels.’ Continue reading “It’s Your Data: Look After It.”

Reviews and Reputation

It’s as old as the hills – from market stalls in ancient Greece to online shops, the technique of drumming up business by getting people to pretend to buy goods in order to encourage others to buy these goods. Or paying people to bad mouth the competition and to rave about certain products. Continue reading “Reviews and Reputation”

Ignorance is not a recognised risk mitigation

Risk, the possibility of something happening or not which will affect your business, infrastructure, data, security, work force etc, either negatively or positively. That’s not a classical definition, by any stretch of the imagination from any Risk Management Manuals I’ve ever read, but it’s a definition that holds water in my opinion. It can be shortened further to ‘something that may happen, that will affect your business’.
Continue reading “Ignorance is not a recognised risk mitigation”

GDPR -The New Millennium Bug?

I was recently told, after running through the offerings of Regency to a colleague on my client’s site, “Oh, you offer GDPR? Isn’t that just making shed loads of money like all the new computer consultancy companies did in 1999, leading up to the biggest fraud of the century, selling patches for the ‘didn’t happen’ Millennium Bug?” Continue reading GDPR -The New Millennium Bug?”

Are you ready for change?

“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralisation.”

Attributed to Gaius Petronius Arbiter, Roman Satirist, 210 BC (though never proven!)

Death, taxes and change – they are all certain.  Research conducted by the Charted Management Institute (CMI) has revealed that almost every manager in the UK went through some kind of organisational change over a one year period (2014-2015) but that only a third of them believe that it was handled well by their senior managers.  Stand still and you will lose advantage but to be effective a change management programme must identify areas of potential conflict, address the needs of everyone in the organisation and crucially, bridge the gap between the aspirations of executives, technical project teams and the people affected by the change.

Case Study: Shell’s tough love

In 2004 Shell was facing an oil reserves crisis that hammered its share price. The situation was compounded by the abrupt departure of the oil group’s chairman, Sir Philip Watts. The new group chairman, Jeroen van der Veer, believed that in order to survive, the corporation had to transform its structure and processes.

A series of global, standardised processes were identified. These, if introduced, would impact more than 80 Shell operating units. While the changes were vital to survival, they proved unpopular in the short term as some countries stood to lose market share.

The message was a tough one, and many operating units balked.

However, for a change programme of this scale to be successful, everyone had to adhere to the new systems and processes. The leadership of Shell Downstream-One, as the transformation was known, needed unflinching determination and to focus on gaining adoption from everyone involved.

Those leading the change had to ensure that the major players in all their markets knew what was required and why. They needed to be aligned with the change requirement. From the start, it was recognised that mandating the changes was the only way for them to drive the transformational growth they aimed for. This wasn’t an opt-in situation.

The main message of the change team, led by van der Veer, was that simpler, standard processes across all countries and regions that benefited Shell globally trumped local, individual needs. That meant everything from common invoicing and finance systems to bigger more centralised distribution networks. By identifying and rapidly addressing the many areas of resistance that emerged – such as that some influential stakeholders stood to lose control or market share – adoption was accelerated.

The team of experts – made of senior leaders, in-house subject matter experts, implementation consultants and external change experts – who delivered the change programme were crucial in this phase.

They’d been picked because they had both technical understanding and could provide change leadership. They both modelled and drove the new behaviours needed for the change to succeed. They briefed the people who would be impacted by the change; risks and potential problem areas were discussed and mitigated – before any real change was even delivered.  In all major change programmes, there’s always the danger that change management gets delegated; leaders distance themselves from the challenge of implementing the priorities they once championed. That can cause the initiatives to fail. In Shell’s case, however, the change leadership started and finished with Jeroen van der Veer, who never drew back from emphasising how important full implementation of Downstream-One would be.

Shell is in a significantly healthier position than when the transformation started, and by that measure the programme has been deemed a success. And the ramifications of Downstream-One continue to result in ongoing change.

In this case study, we see that one of the crucial elements to success is the driving force of their group chairman in continually promoting why the change was necessary.  This coupled with employing the right resources for the role and ensuring that everyone understood and fulfilled their role made for success.  It’s not easy.

At Regency IT Consulting all our Project and Programme Managers have many years of practical change management experience.  They don’t just hold a certificate, they work ‘it’ every day.  Regency’s Project and Programme Management consultants can support you with all aspects of your change programme whether you simply don’t have a particular skill set at your disposal or you need someone to matrix manage your change team.

If you would like to discuss your change management requirements or indeed any element of Project and Programme Management, then please give us a call; we’ll be happy to help you achieve your goals.

Charted Management Institute – The 5 Greatest Examples of Change Management in Business History (Sept 2015)


PMOs – A Parallel Universe

PMOs – A Parallel Universe

As a Project Manager I have worked both with various PMOs (Project Management Offices) and within a PMO. In my experience, PMOs are often seen as a place where processes procreate, where bureaucratic, ‘jobs worths’ police the processes regardless of ‘fit’ and insist on endless reporting but with little guidance or assistance; they are the problem, not the solution. Continue reading “PMOs – A Parallel Universe”

Global State of the Project Management Office (PMO) – Report for 2015

Project-focused training providers, ESI International, supported by the PMO Conference London 2015, have just issued their fourth annual survey on the global state of the PMO.

Respondents to the survey were asked about their main challenges for the coming year. Whilst resource management was the most cited problem affecting PMOs, the survey captured other challenges PMOs are facing this year:


For some respondents it feels as though everything is a challenge at the moment. These ranged from insufficient or inappropriate resources, to not having the right leader of the PMO in the role throughout, to budgetary pressures and changes at a senior management level.

Although the report highlighted that many PMOs were gaining recognition and support, it also showed that PMO effectiveness had levelled off and that senior management were still challenging the value of the PMO; paradoxically, senior management also view the PMO as an essential body for the organisation, and therefore one that it is prepared to fund.

Adapting to Strategic Needs

23% of PMOs surveyed were enterprise-wide and 26% were strategic e.g. responsible for the alignment of project and programme work to corporate strategy. In other words, some PMOs are becoming increasingly more portfolio focused and are being given the remit of a Portfolio Office by default.

Challenges in this area included: “maturity of the processes to ensure consistency on how to identify, prioritise and execute projects that align with the strategic goals”; “maintaining an effective strategic forecast” and “improving the PMO strategic role in the organisation and building stronger support with senior management”.

Improvement Work

As the business changes, so should the PMO. Once processes were improved, the challenge of integrating these new ways of working with current processes was highlighted as a problem.

Alongside process improvements was the need to change the way that the PMO operates. A number of responses said there was a need to become: more streamlined; innovative; show agility; adopt ‘start up’ thinking and introduce scalability of services. The challenge comes when making the changes to PMO operations whilst still delivering a good level of service.

The report concluded that, “Even though only five percent of PMOs currently rate themselves as ‘excellent’ in fulfilling their role and being viewed as a core service to the business, 70 percent are feeling very optimistic and continue to evolve and mature. The PMO is a staple entity in organisations that strive to improve their programme and project performance and one that has proven its well-deserved place in the business landscape.”


If you are looking to develop the operational capability of your PMO or to put in place business changes, then give Regency IT Consulting a call. Our Project and Programme Management team have a proven record of delivering business change at local to enterprise level and will be happy to discuss your goals and assist you in reaching them. – The Global State of the PMO: An Analysis for 2015 (ESI International)

The Ministry of Defence: Housekeeper

Regency provided a dedicated Programme Management and Subject Matter Expert to support the complex deployed infrastructure known as HOUSEKEEPER on operational service in Afghanistan and across other deployments worldwide. Based solely at the MOD Corsham site, embedded within the ISS Operations Team, our Regency resource provided complex programme management to an ever changing requirement.

Continue reading “The Ministry of Defence: Housekeeper”

Agile – The death of PRINCE2®?

The Sunday Telegraph, Business Reporter recently published a Special Report on Project Management in which a contributor stated “Agile is just common sense. You don’t try to control all the variables at the same time. It’s difficult for Project Managers who’ve learned PRINCE2® to let go but we’ve moved on. We used to have the horse and buggy (cart) and now we have the car”. – I bristled. I’m a PRINCE2® practitioner.


So, who are the contenders?

PRINCE2® is a formal, structured approach to project management. It is process based and provides an easily tailored and scalable method for the management of all types of projects. Agile project management focuses on continuous improvement, scope flexibility, team input, and delivering essential quality products; ‘Agile’ is focused on both people and the product.

Whether you like it or not, PRINCE2® is the preferred methodology for project management in the UK and has been adopted around the globe. Most significantly, it is the methodology of the Public Sector in the UK. However, ‘Agile’ is increasing in popularity as organisations and individuals crave better ‘buy in’ for change from users through collaboration, flexibility in managing change and early delivery of business benefits?.

How do they differ?

There are several key differences:

  • Solution – In PRINCE2® the solution is defined at the beginning. In Agile working, whilst the vison is defined, the actual solution evolves.
  • Features – In PRINCE2® all elements are promised from the start. These are what the project teams will work to deliver at a given point. In Agile the features are prioritised. This way high priority features, regardless of complexity, are developed early.
  • Time and budget – In PRINCE2® these can be flexed. In Agile these are fixed; if you cannot complete the activity within the agreed limits then the activity is parked.
  • Planning – In PRINCE2® the PM will plan in detail and will delegate and monitor. Agile working relies on a self-directed team. The PM’s role is to remove barriers to the team’s progress and to monitor the environment. There is no definitive end to end plan.
  • Structure – PRINCE2® structure is ‘command and control’. Agile working is ‘collaborative’

In practice, the most visible difference lies in the development element (Releases & Integrations/ Managing Stages) of the project. Agile working trades the traditional phases of ‘waterfall’ development for the ability to develop a sub-set of elements early on. This has high-business value and incorporates user feedback sooner. Business change is therefore delivered in multiple manageable chunks, realising benefits early and making change ‘normal’. There is also the ‘advantage’ of failing earlier so if something doesn’t work, you know about it quickly.


Can PRINCE2® and ‘Agile’ work together?

Absolutely! PRINCE2® is about running the project. It is the project manager’s tool kit which provides a framework to track the construction and delivery of products against a plan. Agile working is used to create the product in a responsive, customer focused way; learning and evaluating all along the way.

PMs will quickly discover that no matter how enthusiastically the Management Team has been in “buying into” the idea of working in an Agile way, they will still want to know what they are going to get, when they are going to get it and how much it will cost; they will want a plan.

Even here PRINCE2® and Agile can complement each other. An approach might be to identify the main ‘Story Board’ for the project stage (element outline for the project from a user perspective) up front, probably in the Requirements Workshop/Project Start Up phase, with anticipated prioritisation. The number of iterations for each Story Board can be estimated based on experience. The risks can also be attributed and managed by the PM ‘as usual’ or in Agile speak, by ‘managing the environment’ – Voila! The Plan. The plan WILL change but there is visibility of anticipated activity and the associated consequences.

The future

Writing for the Software Sustainability Institute, Rob Baxter says of PRINCE2® and Agile working, “Both methodologies share the same fundamental tenet: they’re not plucked from thin air, they’re based on common sense and practical experience of how human beings organise to get stuff done, and how much detail anyone can reasonably be expected to keep in their head at any one time.”

Today’s customers want their projects to be responsive with quality-led development but within a structured well managed project framework. Thus the future of Project Management is not the ‘death’ of PRINCE2® or the takeover of Agile working but a productive integration of the two. PRINCE2® practitioners and Agile working advocates will be interested to hear that PRINCE2® Agile methodology is due to be launched in July 2015; I, for one, look forward to the hybrid. – Sunday Telegraph, Business Reporter – Special Report (Apr 2015), Project Management

References: – Melanie Franklin, Maven Training – Rob Baxter (Apr 2015)

Case Study – The Ministry of Defence: Project KARDS

Regency provided dedicated Project Management and Subject Matter Expert support to a complex deployed project for the Ministry of Defence with the Kandahar Airfield RTTS DLAN System (KARDS) Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) on Op HERRICK. Continue reading “Case Study – The Ministry of Defence: Project KARDS”

Regency win contract to provide technical support services for UK MOD HOUSEKEEPER system

Regency ITC are pleased to announce that they have been successful in winning a further contract, continuing to provide UK MOD with Technical Project Contractor Support Services for the HOUSEKEEPER system operating in the deployed Operational environment. Continue reading “Regency win contract to provide technical support services for UK MOD HOUSEKEEPER system”

Case Study – Ministry of Defence Project BLANC

Regency IT Consulting provides consulting services to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to investigate Battlefield Legacy and New Capabilities (BLANC) on behalf of the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) Integration Project Team (IPT).

Case Study - Ministry of Defence - Project BLANC (263 downloads)