The UK Government’s Guide to Setting up for Project Delivery Success – the Project Routemap

Introduction

As this article was being drafted, the Tokyo Olympics were in full swing. The peerless athletes competing with strength, valour, vigour and humility often brought tears to my eyes, and I hope you got to watch at least a little. But the amazing performances did not happen by accident – what we saw was the fruition of years of training and conditioning and doing the right things in the right way, long before the day of delivery. And that is a segue to introducing the Project Routemap, a hugely effective tool predicated on the belief that ensuring a good start to a Project (that word also includes Programmes in this context) helps organisations to deliver effectively throughout the lifecycle. Developed by the UK Government in conjunction with partners from industry and academia, its focus has been to distil and then build on good practice.

We all know that Projects that pay enough attention to the early stages are much more likely to achieve their intended outcomes later on and display excellent delivery standards. As Lord Browne noted, in one of the many reports on this subject over the decades, ‘the lowest standards that are set at the start of a project are the highest standards that can be expected for the rest of the project. Investment of time and resource in a rigorous process at the outset is essential for success, and deficiencies cannot be recovered later.’

 

What is the Project Routemap?

The Project Routemap is the Infrastructure and Project Authority’s support tool to drive a good start. It helps clients understand the capabilities needed to set projects up for success, incorporating learning from other major projects and programmes.

Let me carry on the athlete analogy a little further! Achieving success needs careful attention to training, yes, but also nutrition, sleep, mental preparation, equipment – a whole range of activities. In the same way, the Routemap covers a number of elements critical to success –  RequirementsOrganisational Design and Development, GovernanceRisk Management (all recently refreshed), Execution StrategyAsset Management, Procurement and the Routemap Handbook (to be refreshed imminently). A new module will cover the mysterious art of Systems Integration – am looking forward to that! The Routemap does not provide answers but goes into each of the issues in sufficient detail to allow the user to have a rich conversation on the way forward – it asks all the right questions.

 

Who should use the Routemap and how can I get access to it?

The Routemap began life in infrastructure. However, it is applicable to all types of projects and can be used in a scaleable away according to your needs – applying it across the full scope or to explore a particular area. Its development requires engagement with the sponsor, delivery team members at all levels, client and user managers, the supply chain and it builds a rich picture of strengths to retain and gaps to plug.

I have used it for a major programme, which involved multiple interviews and led to a formal, monitored action plan to provide confidence to senior management – leading to the next tranche of significant funding. I also used it when taking over a faltering programme – using a half-day workshop for the team of 40 – to develop a true picture of the state of play to the Sponsor who was suffering from unrealistic ambitions. The Routemap is as much a tool for collaboration as it is for developing action.

In terms of access, it is available to everyone from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-infrastructure-delivery-project-initiation-routemap and has been deployed across the UK and internationally.

The Routemap is a really useful tool – have a look,  have fun and use it as one of the levers to deliver your project in a manner befitting to the Olympians – citius, altius, fortius!!

 

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Arnab Banerjee (51) is an experienced professional who has worked in core business functions - strategy, sales, delivery - at both operational and corporate levels. He has worked internationally, including expatriate positions, and led virtual global as well as direct teams. Common themes throughout his life have been stakeholder management and change – developing the story, building consensus and delivering to agreed objectives. His focus is on appropriate engagement, effective embedment and doing the basics well. Arnab is currently an independent consultant working in the areas of change, assurance, governance and programme management. He is an accredited P3M3 Assessor, P30 Practitioner, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, MBA (Warwick) and, in the dim, distant past, holds a Masters in Engineering from Imperial College, London.

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