Regulatory, mandated changes to financial systems and processes are common. Rarely popular with internal stakeholders, these projects struggle without strong political support. In 2003, Dale was working with a UK asset management group (referred to here as UK-AMG) faced with a mandatory change which was neither popular nor, as it turned out, simple to implement.
In project management, you can never underestimate the value of good estimation, especially when it comes to managing expectations with respect to timing and the completion of projects. Take for example the process of electrifying a railway line.
The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is an electrified, high-speed railway line that runs between London in the United Kingdom and Edinburgh in Scotland. The line is 632 kilometres long and runs through several districts.
The ECML was not always electrified, however, and in 1985 the UK government sponsored a massive electrification project. This project impacted on signal systems along all 632 kilometres of railway track. The project managers working on this project had never had to test that many signals, going through so many different districts.
When Remploy was set up more than 60 years ago, the only way for it to fulfil its mission of providing employment for disabled people was through its own factories – which had grown by 2007 to a network of 83 sites, in every area of the country.
The latest thinking among disability groups and leading charities is that many disabled people will have better prospects working in mainstream employment, rather than on specialist sites.
Jo Williams, Chief Executive of Mencap (the leading UK charity for people with a learning disability and their families), has said: “When the factories were started 60 years ago they were making an important contribution. Those days have gone really. We’re looking forward to seeing people with disabilities fully integrated into society.” Bob Warner, Remploy’s Chief Executive, shares Mencap’s views.
As he says, “Remploy have a great opportunity to help more disabled people find jobs, but we have to change how we work in all areas of Remploy. There is now an acceptance that disabled people would prefer to work in mainstream employment alongside non-disabled people rather than in sheltered workshops from which they do not progress and develop. Therefore the company had to change.”
Remploy realised that, with the changing dynamics of employment today, for the cost of employing one person in a Remploy factory it could place four people in jobs with mainstream employers. Furthermore, some of the businesses that had been set up in the post war years were in urgent need of refocusing to ensure that they were meeting current market needs.
At a UK bank, customer’s complaints were rising and the number of people in arrears on payments was spiralling out of control. The problems had reached board level in the bank and a solution just had to be found.
What was going wrong? From all accounts the bank processes and policies were being executed effectively – but they just were not having the right effect.
With tight timescales and the need to make rapid changes it was decided to appoint a project team. Bakr was to advice the team from a knowledge management perspective and to provide support and guidance to the new project manager who was business knowledgeable but relatively inexperienced in projects.