What is the value in programme assurance?

With the transformation activity going on in the Energy and Utilities sector, including the energy transition, decarbonisation, digitisation, smart metering and increased focus from all stakeholders such as regulators and customers, it has never been more important to make sure your change activity is properly planned, resourced and managed. 



Is programme assurance an unnecessary expense? 


The headlines on delayed or failed projects are many and varied whether it be a new IT system implementation or an infrastructure development or upgrade. One way of supporting successful programme delivery and increasing the likelihood of meeting your milestones and goals, is to build in some programme assurance activity.  


Sometimes thought of as an unnecessary expense, it can prove to add substantial value saving or avoid substantial cost by identifying key issues or risks that may not be surfaced due to an optimism bias towards planning and delivery. As an independent management consultancy specialising in complex change and project and programme delivery, we are trusted by our customers to provide that objective, customer-side programme assurance oversight, and delivering transparent, honest and evidence-based insight that ensures delivery stays on track and delivers the outcomes and benefits expected.  


By engaging an independent party to provide change assurance, it gives an informed viewpoint and perspective that could deliver the valuable insight required to successfully move into the next phase or engage a wider stakeholder group and enhance the value of the initiative. 



The four steps to effective programme assurance  


We typically assess programmes using four key lenses to get a comprehensive view of the health of the programme: 


Does the programme have sound footing?  


  • Are the vision and key objectives for the programme defined and well understood and supported by all the Exec team?  
  • Is the business case clear, and approved? 
  • Is it really clear who is accountable for which elements of the programme, and are these people standing up to these accountabilities?  
  • Are all key stakeholders identified and supportive? 



Where does the programme sit within the wider business and transformation context?  


  • Is the priority clear compared to other change and BAU work?  
  • Is there a clear roadmap to show what is happening when at the highest level?
  • Are all the operational impacts understood, so that the business areas can be prepared for any changes. And is the wider end-to-end solution agreed?  
  • And lastly, is the right governance in place to direct and guide the programme through its lifecycle?



Are the delivery mechanics in place?  


  • Is there a strong and capable programme management team backed up with an effective delivery team?  
  • Are suitable programme delivery plans in place, risks and issues managed and finances under control?
  • Is the programme moving with sufficient pace? 



Are impacted business areas ready to take on the change and deliver the expected benefits?  


  • Check that the relevant business areas are accountable for benefits delivery  
  • Is the Target Operating Model clear and are employees bought into the change?  
  • Are customer and internal process changes being managed correctly?  
  • Make sure that change sponsorship is effective and that the right levels of excitement and recognition are in place. 



Project One partnership  


One of our Energy and Utilities customers engaged us to provide a change assurance review of their largest and most complex change programme covering infrastructure, operations, customer services and technology. Once assigned, we got to work reviewing all aspects of the programme, the business case, the mobilisation, early phase delivery and the roadmap to deliver.  


Getting involved at this early stage allowed us to assess the level of maturity of the programme and the progress made to date against the planned milestones. We reviewed the programme documentation and interviewed members of the steering committee, the programme sponsor and those business areas that were heavily impacted by the forthcoming changes. 


Our review of the customer’s programme identified a number of recommendations that were supported by evidence. These recommendations led to a number of actions that were prioritised and backed up by an assessment of the impact and outcome should these actions be realised. We left a comprehensive report with the customer that allowed them to make programme decisions on the way forward with confidence. 



Do you need change expertise?  


At Project One, we help and support our energy and utilities customers to assure the most critical change programmes. Our team of change experts have years of change and programme management experience and work with companies to provide independent change support through every step of their change journey. 


To discuss further, please contact David Knappett 

Mobile: 07973 152494  | email: david.knappett@projectone.com   

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