Almost all government policy is delivered through a project or programme of one form or another. Good project delivery is vital to turn policy into practice and deliver world-class public services that help improve the lives of citizens.
Over the past decade or so, across government, we have made huge strides in our ability to deliver major projects and programmes, on time and on budget. From major infrastructure projects such as Thames Tideway Tunnel, through to ICT systems and transformation programmes like Digital Courts Reform, we are successfully delivering some of the most complex projects in the world.
Part of our progress is having built the key components of a mature and coherent project ecosystem in government.
We monitor and support the most significant projects through the Government Major Project Portfolio (GMPP) and provide high levels of openness and transparency through annual publication of this data. We established the formal Gateway assurance process and sound project evaluation methodologies in the Treasury Green Book.
All of this is encapsulated in the Project Delivery Function, created to drive standards and best practice and to build a world-class project delivery profession. To date, we have trained more than a thousand senior managers via the Major Projects Leadership Academy so that they have the skills and capability to deliver excellence.
Perhaps of even more significance, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of good project delivery.
There is now the understanding that excellent project management is not just about Gantt charts, risk registers and progress reports (important though these are). It is about building and leading multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish extraordinary outcomes for the public, in a defined period of time, for a defined cost. And failure to deliver projects means failure to deliver policy.
Moving from good to great
Yet, there is more we should be striving to achieve.
We should aspire to deliver excellence in every single project and fulfil the promises made in our business cases. No benefits should ever ‘melt and move’ as projects progress, or shrink in size or move further into the future. The majority of projects on the GMPP should leave with a green or amber/green delivery confidence rating.
Now we have the essential building blocks in place, it is time to aim for the next level of performance. We must tackle some of the most intransigent problems that bedevil our system and that prevent us moving from good to great.
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