Setting up for a Long Range Win

Case Study

  • Industry — Telecommunications
  • Expertise — Program Management
  • Timeline — 6 months
  • Value Delivered — $3,500,000

We were brought in with eight months remaining in the year; the customer was already in deep trouble, trying to deliver $18M of project value to start off a multi-year program of work. Without a successful beginning, they were not going to be able to release the next year’s funding, bringing the whole program to a grinding halt.

We immediately realised that a delivery team needed to be identified, hired and brought up to speed ASAP in order to deliver the Enterprise Mobility program by the end of the financial year. But time was already leeching away.

Triage and deployment

Stepping into the building, the Project Lab project manager jumped into action; First he started working with the Client to engage stakeholders and set-up an Executive Steering Committee. He started the recruitment process and realised the project could be divided into four streams to provide greater clarity. The final kick off point was to create “steering committee packs,” to help the Steering Committee visualise the program activities and feel confident they knew what was taking place every step of the way.

Three issues quickly became apparent:

  • The project team and business stakeholders lacked a common understanding of the project’s current state
  • Project priorities were misdirected, objectives weren’t focused, and deliverables were behind schedule
  • Project financials were not kept up-to-date and ad-hoc reports did not provide actual spend. Three different systems were used to extract financial data, making things even more confusing

Setting expectations and driving action

Now having a full understanding of where everything was at, we set a new baseline for the project including all streams, a schedule and budget, clearly documenting what issues and risks the project was now facing, and developing the action plans to deal with and mitigate them.  Due to the ever-tightening timelines on this project, fortnightly Steering Committee meetings were implemented to ensure that executive management and team members remained well informed of the current state. We saw the benefits clearly, as Steering Committee members' were now universally across all decisions that needed to be made, providing confidence of alignment and control.

Building the right team, defining the right path

We undertook a recruitment drive to hire a project director and 3 ‘End-to-End’ project managers, setup a Project Management Office (PMO) and allowed for uplift capability of the entire team.

To provide a better line of sight towards our objectives, we recommended the project be split into four streams, and requested prioritisation which led to a reduction of projects in the critical path from 54 to 29. We set up project financials via an analyst and aligned them to the new program delivery model.

As part of the PMO uplift we worked on a funding-release model to allow initiatives to seek iterative approval for funds which reduced approval times by two weeks. Finally, our project manager was able to initiate several of the project streams and lead their delivery while simultaneously setting up the delivery structure for the other project streams AND overseeing program governance while working on vendor management and handover activities.

As a result of all this furious work, the client’s PMO is now running like clockwork and they are on track to hit their targets. They have been able to reduce their dependency on senior and more qualified program and project managers, and can now engage less experienced people allowing them success with cost savings. The client is on the path to achieving their financial targets, and ultimately their 5-year program, worth more than $100 million in total.


  1. Manage your quality with stage gate control

    Many organisations we work with have a tendency to bite off more than is necessary at the same time. We recommend looking for common themes, deliverables and benefits across a program (or projects) and separating them into streams of work. This not only allows project teams to hyper-focus on their core deliverables, it also allows the organisation to ensure project managers with the right skills and experience are leading each stream of work. Get in touch with us if you would like to know more about our process and approach. 

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When Time is Tight