MDBA | Enhancing Transformational Change


MBDA is a world-leading aerospace company specialising in missiles and missile systems. It is an integrated company operating out of a number of European countries, with an order book of €10bn.

Working with the armed forces of 90 countries, MBDA delivers a range of 45 products to meet the needs of all three armed services. Its UK capability is centred on three sites employing 2700 highly skilled staff and supporting some 400 specialist subcontractors.

Faced with shrinking defence budgets, MBDA has an ambitious strategy for change with a just in time approach to missile supply and stockholding, ambitious targets for export sales and ongoing efficiency improvements. With substantial investments in transformational change, MBDA needed assurance that the programme had the best chance of success


To assess the work of the Joint Transformation Programme to enhance the development of new products through joint working with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) customer. The main objectives were to:

  • Complete an in-house baseline assessment and hence evaluate the strategy and likely effectiveness of the programme
  • Compare MBDA’s approach to managing change programmes with those of other organisations.
  • Identify changes in governance models, programme management, resourcing and behaviour of MBDA and MoD personnel to deliver improvements


Care was taken to avoid an audit style approach with the work being carried out by a joint Oakland/MBDA team. An assessment framework ensured agreement on the basis of the review which spanned all staff levels. Work areas included:

Governance Model: The documented model and actual operations were examined, an alternative model was proposed, tested and refined with the governance group.

Customer/Supplier Alignment: Structured stakeholder interviews on customer and supplier sides to identify strengths and weaknesses in the partnership approach.

Change Project Capability: A jointly developed model assessing 10 key dimensions of change project success was applied to each project.

Management Information: Detailed analysis to define the essential level of detail needed.

Benchmarking: Comparison with typical programmes in other organisations on the key dimensions of Processes, People, Customer & Suppliers and Improvements & Benefits.


Improvements were introduced as assessment progressed such that findings were partly or largely implemented by the time of the final report. Key achievements included:

  • A simplified governance structure based on a portfolio model, promoting the flow of new ideas for improvement and requiring less management
  • Streamlined oversight with a smaller governing group, simpler and clearer responsibilities and fewer meetings
  • Management reports reduced in size by 60% with a clear focus on tracking/managing results and benefits
  • More accessible project-specific governance groups where needed to support the most challenging projects
  • Clearer customer/supplier relationships recognising equal commitment did not mean equal inputs on every project and a reduction in load on highly stretched MoD inputs
  • A change project assessment tool used by all projects to improve change management capability, with all projects achieving at least one initial assessment and two improvement cycles

MBDA assessment

  • Benchmarked comparison results to bring MBDA into line with other organisations, specifically, the introduction of clear project road maps, plans and benefits analysis.
  • Enhanced staff capabilities through coaching and joint working throughout the assessment.

The end result was a significant step-change in capability across the programme which MBDA were fully equipped to sustain and take forward.