Enterprise portfolio management for a global manufacturer

Our customer is one of the world’s leading manufacturing organisations, delivering transport power solutions across the globe. Customer support, manufacturing and business support are distributed globally, and the company invests £100m’s annually in technology, delivering transformation and continuous improvement for customers, staff and suppliers.  


Whilst in the process of making a significant improvement to their IT Portfolio Management capability, they faced one of their greatest challenges ever, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Customer demand dropped beyond any reasonable expectation and the strategic outlook turned from growth to protecting the business for the years ahead. 


Following a number of new initiatives, aimed at reducing IT costs, the organisation had lost experience and capability. Despite multi-year IT investment being a critical factor in its long-term plans, there was little faith in the process and information used to prioritise and monitor hundreds of investments a year, totalling billions of pounds over a five-year planning cycle.  


Investment was often mis-directed, with the business complaining that not enough was delivered and regular re-prioritisations meant work was often stopped in-flight.  


Faced with an impending restart to the financial year, they looked to Project One to support in the mobilisation, operationalising and scaling of a new portfolio management service. 


Within just 35 days, a joint team of staff and our Project One consultants:


  • Launched a set of services tailored to an improved governance model
  • Migrated and cleansed data from existing systems
  • Configured and implemented an enterprise-wide programme management tool and trained over 100 staff globally for the start of the new financial year.


Everything was in place for the end of the first accounting period and project delivery information and investment plans, against portfolio investment objectives, were available to Programme Managers, Delivery Directors, Business Partners and the IT Executive. There was clear line of sight through one single source of reporting truth, the enterprise tool, up and down the organisation and across delivery teams.


The original plan had been to launch the new portfolio management capability, operationalise the services across the organisation, then scale up the offering as the organisation grew its own team and capability over 15 months. In March 2020, with the service in its second reporting cycle, the Coronavirus pandemic hit.


Almost overnight, the team had to: run portfolio selection processes that planned to last months, in days; reduce the team by over 75% (without compromising critical selection, reporting and forecasting activity); and continue to deliver enhancements to services to improve programme and project planning and delivery across the organisation.


Despite this once in a lifetime disruption, the team was able to train a smaller than expected staff team and continue to improve services in accordance with our 15-month plan.


“Yesterday was the best portfolio review ever for my nine+ years in this organisation; it was meaningful, useful and right level.” Head of programme delivery



Project One partnership


What made this engagement a success was Project One’s ability to bring a small team of consultants with vast programme management expertise, and change management experience across the change lifecycle. This enabled us to shape change and coach stakeholders, ranging from Finance and IT Directors, through to HQ analysts and support staff, to Project Delivery Directors and teams across the globe.


What made the real difference, when things got really tough, was the diligence and can-do attitude the team applied. Trust was never lost in the financial and delivery view across hundreds of projects and £100m’s of spend.


This really goes to show Project One’s ability to enable business change, from the top team down, even under the most unusual circumstances, with very limited resources, on a global scale.



Project One adding value 


  • Introduced Agile ways of working; the ability to do things quickly, making sound, reasoned judgments, based on pragmatic experience and underpinned by best practice models
  • People and relationships were key, as was a deep understanding of their financial planning process. This enabled us to build a service that matched the organisation’s needs, that could be operated by the internal team in the long-term
  • A flexible ‘roll your sleeves up’ attitude; coaching, reconciling data and facilitating leadership meetings to reach critical decisions Internal change capability improvement.
  • The organisation has established a scalable Enterprise Portfolio Office capability, with a clear operating model, based on best practice portfolio management services  
  • Delivering better, faster, longer-term decisions relating to IT investments and providing clearer, quicker insight to delivery risks and issues  
  • Quicker intervention, mitigation and resolution  
  • Investments are more focussed on future end-customer needs, staff have an improved experience in identifying, selecting, managing and delivering investments, and the operating businesses throughout the globe have a clearer, up to the minute picture on progress on their individual investments. 

“The Project One team have been absolute superstars and life savers. I can chuck stuff at them that just gets done, they are my sounding board on everything and the only people I feel really “get it” like I do.


Feeling the pain, understanding the challenge and helping in more ways than could ever be expected.” 

Head of IT Portfolio 

Are you looking for critical business transformation?

Let’s talk real change
Sign up to our eNewsletter

Get the latest news, relevant insights and expertise from our change experts