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Almost half the leaders of the UK’s largest projects and programmes say their teams don’t have the sufficient skills required to do their jobs successfully, a new survey has revealed.

The senior responsible owners (SROs) interviewed also admitted they lacked clarity around what they were accountable for and required more support in their roles; indeed, only 10% felt there was an adequate understanding of the benefits these high-profile, costly programmes would bring.

This new information comes from a survey commissioned by programme management specialists Moorhouse Consulting, who along with sponsors BT, the Home Office, Association of Project Management (APM) and The APM Group, interviewed over eighty SROs in the UK - who together are accountable for the delivery of programmes across the private and public sectors worth a collective £24BN.

“The survey highlights the fact that SROs are in an incredibly difficult position right now,” said Paul Mansell of Moorhouse Consulting. “Many are new to their roles and feel they are not getting the right training and support needed to do the job, and there is a clear question mark over whether their respective programme teams have the required capability to deliver. Add in to the mix that it is the most difficult economic and political climate that many of us have known and it is little wonder that the majority of SROs predict that their roles will get even tougher over the next twelve months.”

The survey, conducted to help SROs identify common problem areas and mutual support mechanisms, also looked at their general attitudes to programme leadership, governance, and stakeholder engagement.

It revealed concerns in relation to major programme governance (specifically, in terms of getting this optimally designed into corporate governance constructs) and a lack of understanding generally, from multiple programme stakeholders, as to the role of the SRO.

It was agreed that there was often insufficient clarity on accountabilities and authorities to ensure that organisations knew ‘where the buck stops’ when things get difficult and clear leadership and decisions are required. It was also acknowledged that this aspect becomes increasingly critical to UK PLC when these mega-programmes are such a key means of driving out from the current economic gloom.

Following the survey’s completion, Moorhouse gathered over forty SROs from the private and public sector at BT Tower, London for a ‘live’ debate to discover how they could better collectively support one another, build their capability and learn ‘best practice’ tools and techniques. Leaders from the Department for Transport, the 2012 Olympics Delivery Authority, Siemens and the Metropolitan Police Service were among those who contributed and heard keynote speakers from the Home Office and Office of Government Commerce.

Paul said: “Many SROs are caught between a ‘rock and a hard place’ – new to the job, criticised for not having the vision, leadership or experience for the role, but in reality not truly enabled by their organisations due to wider systemic misunderstanding of programme governance and immature delivery capability. The survey results and presentations led to some thought provoking debate and important cross fertilisation of ideas between leaders – which is a great starting place for helping SROs perform better in the future.”

For a full copy of the SRO Survey Results please visit SROsurveyresults or e-mail paulamansell@moorhouseconsulting.com

Ends

Media enquiries: For a full copy of the SRO Survey Results or more information please contact Esther Harris on 0773 990 1832 or estherharris@moorhouseconsulting.com

Additional Information

The survey of SROs was conducted in March and April 2009. Responses were captured from over 80 SROs representing a broadly equal number of programmes from the public and private sectors. The questions covered the following areas:

• Programme leadership
• Team skills and capability
• Business case and benefits realisation
• Programme governance
• Training and development

The Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) is often referred to as ‘Programme Sponsor’ or ‘Programme Executive’ across the public and private sectors.

About Moorhouse Consulting

Moorhouse Consulting is a management consultancy firm that specialises in programme and project management (PPM) advisory services. We are programme performance leaders who work closely with clients, to deliver or assure business transformation through well-organised programme delivery.

Moorhouse Consulting was named ‘Project Management Company of the Year’ 2008 by the Association of Project Management, and won the Institute of Business Consulting’s prize for ‘Most Outstanding Practice in Building a Sustainable Client/Consultant Relationship’ for their partnership with Transport for London. The team was also awarded the London Excellence Award for ‘Best Management Systems’ earlier in 2008.

Clients include Transport for London, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, National

College for School Leadership, Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport, Crossrail,

CAA, BT and the NHS.





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