Quarkside

12/12/2010

Structural Reform Plan: No Control, all at risk

Filed under: Objectives,Politics,Risk,Standards — lenand @ 10:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Assuming the No 10 Implementation Unit can update the Structural Reform Plan to the UK Prince2 Standard, then the next step is to follow up with a monitoring and control process that ensures proper transparency. Putting it simply, it only needs the application methods of that are at least half a century old. The Polaris project, the Boeing 747 development, oil exploration projects and new car developments have all relied on sound programme management experience.

Programmes allow for interdependencies between projects. They allow for levels of uncertainty and risk. They have strategies in place for corrections when targets are missed. Political programmes are no different. The Structural Reform programme (sic) is so important that it should be controlled with equivalent quality control mechanisms.

A To Do list for a plan and an excuse list for monitoring and control are simply not fit for purpose. At best it is a waste of effort; at worst it misleads the Prime Minister and the Government that they are in control. Very soon there will be so many red lines that they will have to forget it or start again.

In fact they may as well bite the bullet and re-plan now. The current progress headings are only:

  • Status: A limited set of obscuring phrase
  • Deadline missed: Just a repeat of the action from the flawed plan
  • Reason: An excuse for missing a target

OGC guidance should have told the Implementation Unit to create a baseline plan for calibrating the control process. The baseline plan needs the baseline dates for starting work on products and the baseline dates for completion. The monitoring document needs additional columns for:

  • Current estimated date of starting work on product (EDS)
  • Variance from baseline plan (Weeks)
  • Red Amber Green traffic light to indicate level of corrective action required (SRAG)
  • Date Started (DS)
  • Current estimated date of product completion (EDC)
  • Variance from baseline plan (Weeks)
  • Red Amber Green traffic light to indicate level of corrective action required (CRAG)
  • Date completed (DC)
  • Comments on deviation from baseline. If everything is going to plan, there is no need to comment.

Fixing individual Departmental SRPs to produce reasonable progress reports should not be too difficult to achieve.

The next stage feels like telling Grandma in No 10 how to suck eggs. There’s no Risk Register. There’s no Risk Register. There’s no Risk Register.

Not only should every Department have a risk register; there should be an overall risk register that consolidates and ranks the programme risks. The nature of a risk register is forward looking; it would tell the PM what the Departments are doing to avoid the worst outcomes.

An overall risk register will help to break down the Departmental silos; they will have to talk if there are any interdependencies. That’s enough for this blog.

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