The “Iceberg” of Programme Success Factors

by Paul Slater

Are you responsible for programmes for which you do not have full control? Are you certain your current controls would warn you before it failed?
Oakland’s Discovery™ approach will rapidly give you confidence that your non-financial controls are working, your key programmes are on track, and your keys risks have appropriate mitigation.

It is not easy to determine the true status of a major programme. Effective controls are essential but they need to be designed properly and effectively monitored.iceberg

Often these controls focus on a narrow, if visible, subset of the available success factors. How many times has a programme reported ‘green’ right up to the point when it suddenly goes ‘red’ as hidden issues emerge?

These issues are rarely a surprise after the event but they often relate to the hidden factors that traditional control frameworks struggle with. Even if they are being measured, can they really be really trusted and are key risks being appropriately escalated?

What would be the real consequences of a programme going wrong? Who is ultimately accountable for these consequences?

Discovery™ is an established process to quickly get under the skin of major change programmes and evaluate the overall risk.
After 4 weeks you will have:

  • A deep understanding of the all the key risks associated with the programme
  • A process to raise the key issues amongst the management team, build consensus and resolve the most important issues
  • An outline plan on how the major issues can be addressed

By the time we leave after 8 weeks you will have:

  • Developed solutions for the major issues
  • Implemented mitigating actions in the programme, where practical
  • A framework to reassess this programme and apply to other critical programmes

Oakland’s Discovery™ will become your eyes and ears – helping you keep control of your biggest and most vital programmes

The assessment approach has been designed to identify both current issues and more structural issues in the control approach.

Oakland’s approach does not attempt to ‘box off’ the programme – it actively seeks to assess it in the context of both the underlying business and other change activity.

Using a simple set of agreed principles the assessment activity then focuses on both the hard ‘process’ elements and the softer ‘people’ and cultural elements that are critical to larger programmes.

This approach has been successfully applied to both product and service based programmes at a national and global level.

The results substantially reduce risk and often enable significant savings
This focused approach to control has been applied to large, often global programmes. Examples include:

  • A global insurer is using the Discovery Assurance Framework to assess their change portfolio and to move from ‘Reactive’ to ‘Proactive’ assurance practices. Our ability to navigate through a complex stakeholder picture has resulted in expected annualised benefits of £20 million.
  • We investigated a joint MoD-MBDA change programme that was focused on enhancing the development of products into the MoD. Programme governance was simplified, reducing the reporting overhead and increasing the key controls.
  • Conducted a review within BBC Resources – supporting a major cost reduction programme realising £15M in savings whilst maintaining customer satisfaction and leading new ways of working in to their business.

Oakland will be your eyes and ears, will provide assurance for you, and will give your board confidence that your programmes are well managed and under control

  • We deliver results – our clients achieve an average ROI exceeding 15 to 1
  • We bring leading edge thinking continually updated via our research and education division
  • We leverage our 25 years’ experience working with our clients, not consulting to them, so that you are positioned to carry on the work when we move on.

A ‘standard’ 8-week project using two of our consultants will cost approximately £50,000. To find out more about this offer please contact Oakland Consulting on +44 (0) 113 234 1944 or and one of our experts can explain how we this approach could transform the control of your major programmes.