What is the project community’s role in successful infrastructure programme delivery post-Brexit?
In my previous blog, I highlighted important challenges public sector programmes will experience post-Brexit. Project professionals will play a vital role in addressing the issues of programme delay, cost efficiencies and quality in public sector organisations. And, the project community will be the nucleus for successful programme delivery. Project professionals in public sector organisations should think about the complexity of post-Brexit scenarios; what strategic steps should be taken to future proof programme delivery and achieve critical success factors? Under COVID-19 situation, although the Brexit Transition talks are delayed, the British Government is determined to complete the transition as per the agreed timetable. We must prepare to adopt and incorporate the changes; there is a great need to prepare and engage with thought provoking project management leaders who have social engineering expertise. Below are the key areas which our community should prioritise for successful implementation of transformational change across programme delivery.
This will be key in successful delivery of programmes in public sector organisations where there is red tape during the whole cycle of the programme delivery. The national audit office has revealed in their recent report that governance in local authorities has declined in recent years. Other research shows that effective delivery of public services has weakened in recent years too. This suggests immediate action on the project community to implement and follow governance processes. Robust and efficient governance will help smooth the transition of programme delivery in post-Brexit scenarios. So how do we do this? By working together. Collaborating through knowledge sharing and lessons learned about adhering to governance is necessary to enable successful change
Learning from successes and failures
A major gap in public sector programme delivery is that less attention is given to sharing knowledge, sharing lessons learnt and learning from similar or other organisations and projects. Many institutions are unable to develop effective future strategies and policies or upskill their project management community. There is a great need for us to concentrate on developing the short-term wins and long-term wins for the entire programme, so that realistic goals are set, and all stakeholders can be brought into the programme loop. By engaging stakeholders and other project professionals, we can ensure accessible friendly governance processes. As project professionals, we must therefore be clear, honest, brave and enable innovative approaches to deliver the programmes through managing dependencies and implementing the lessons learnt.
Better resilience to implement change
The project community can also play a major role by developing resilience in their programme delivery whilst engaging their teams and stakeholders to define the programme and benefits associated with the programme. Our community has to ensure that team members are truly aligned to their skill set; they understand their role and responsibility, and career progression is in place and updated on regular intervals to help achieve success. This will encourage collaboration, reinforce programme resilience, and lead to successful programme delivery.
Respond to major trends and challenges
The climate emergency is a hot topic in today’s world and public sector organisations have to lead in driving this agenda by integrating the United Nations SDG’s agenda into programmes. The priority should be to focus on engaging stakeholders. We can respond by engaging with communities at all levels and with team members to explain the benefits of integration. This includes encouragement, innovative thinking and doing some things differently, i.e. integrating circular economy into your project charter or set aside some budget for the innovation.
In summary, there is still a lot of effort required from our community to make programmes successful in public sector organisations especially in post-Brexit scenarios. The steps needed for successful delivery of programmes in public sector organisations is collaboration and engagement, which currently is not up to the mark. This has already resulted in delays to our key infrastructure and construction projects resulting dramatic budget increase, increase in public taxes e.g.; increase in council taxes etc. However, in recent months and years, there has been a positive change: taking ownership of the programmes, extensive collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, up skilling competencies and more. Additionally, the Association for Project Management has played a vital role by providing a robust platform for us to develop, engage and upskill ourselves.
What do you think we can do to enable successful delivery?
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About the Author
Muhammed Naeem has twenty-three (23) years of programme and project management experience with strong innovative drive. Muhammad has delivered and supported major projects and programmes delivery in transport, energy and built asset in public and private sector in Middle East, Asia and Europe.
MBA from Management School, University of Bradford with specialising in Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Project Management, Muhammad is a Chartered Engineer, seasoned PM Professional and is a Fellow of APM. Currently he is providing PM consultancy services to a local public sector organisation. Muhammad specialise in helping organisations to maximise the strategic impact of their investment programmes. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the APM Programme Management SIG and Y&NL APM Branch.
Muhammad is a winner of MBA Scholarship from UoB and has served as Chairman-Joint Institution Group-NW (Joint Forum for Seven Engineering Institutions) during 2013-15. He has also served as Judge for Young PM 2019 and IET Talent Awards. He has been a Senate Member-University of Bradford during 2014-15 and a STEM Ambassador.
You can READ PART ONE of this blog
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- The white paper (February 2017). www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-united-kingdoms-exitfrom-and-new-partnership-with-the-european-union-white-paper
- Institute of Government paper – Legislating Brexit (March 2017).
- National Audit Office (March 2017) Capability in the Civil Service (HC: 919)
- 'Cut the red tape: Ministers must use Brexit opportunity to 'free' councils by slashing bureaucracy, LGA says', The Telegraph, 17 August 2017
- Across Europe, only 1.6 per cent of public contracts are awarded to companies in other member states. See page 3 of Cabinet Office Impact Assessment (2012) of EU Public Procurement Directives.