A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bestoutcome's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bestoutcome is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
David Walton, managing
director, Bestoutcome
Too many change programmes fail to deliver to time, budget
and expected outcomes. Bestoutcome alleviates this issue
by creating innovative programme management software,
including their PM3 toolkit, that helps deliver successful change
programmes. In a world that is becoming more complex they strive
for simplicity. As founder and managing director David Walton
elaborates here, one must always focus on the outcomes – the
clue, of course, is in their name.
Based in Gerrards Cross, we began life in 2000 in the bedroom of a residential home
– we now operate from an office complex in leafy Buckinghamshire. As the founder
of Bestoutcome, I have run many large-scale transformation programmes and have
reviewed numerous projects of varying scale. There is a huge amount of wasted
economic resources in programmes that are either late, over-budget or not delivering
their expected outcomes. Our mission at Bestoutcome is to help organisations deliver
programme success with the right people, the right processes, and the right tools.
There are many programme management toolsets in the market and when I was
running a large transformation programme for an iconic UK retailer, I was frustrated by
the fact that all these tools seemed to focus on planning a myriad of detailed activities,
not focusing on ensuring the programme outcomes were on track to be delivered. In
2007, we decided to develop our own methodology and toolset called PM3, which
enabled programme managers to always focus on the programme outcomes.
Invisible targets are hard to hit?
One of the causes of programme failure is that the original goals and outcomes
are defined at the start of the programme but over time tend to be forgotten, the
programme veering away from the target. PM3 always highlights and focuses on the
outcomes, asking the question “Are we still on track to deliver these outcomes?” It is
surprising how this seemingly simple philosophy has brought countless programmes
back on track when the original outcomes have been identified as being at risk of
not being delivered. In some extreme cases the use of PM3 has highlighted to the
organisation that a certain programme is so far away from delivering the expected
outcomes that it must be terminated. This is drastic, but it saves wasting valuable and
scarce economic resources which could be better deployed elsewhere. Stopping failing
programmes is never an easy thing to do because of the sunk investment, but it can be
the right course of action for the organisation. Having empirical data in PM3 highlighting
why the programme needs to be ended helps stakeholders make the right decision.
Who uses PM3?
Virtually every sector, private and public, undertakes projects and programmes. PM3
is used by a range of sectors including health, retail, local councils, financial services,
legal and hospitality.
Our biggest client base within the health sector has been the NHS. The NHS is
constantly endeavouring to deliver better value services for its patients and to use its
resources more efficiently. We have over 15 NHS organisations that use PM3.
»Managing director: David
»Established in 2000
»Based in Buckinghamshire
»Services: Development of
innovative programme
management software that
helps deliver successful change
»No. of employees: 15
»Turnover: £1.5 million
»ISO 27001 accreditation
Our software, which is accessible
by iPad, PC or any mobile device,
has helped the NHS deliver truly
transformational programmes. The
access to real-time data on project
and programme progression allows
programme managers in the NHS to
“take the temperature” of critical
change programmes, including Quality,
Innovation, Productivity and Prevention
(QIPP). QIPPs are large-scale programmes
that aim to transform the NHS through
quality care improvements.
Through automation PM3 improves the
productivity of programme managers
in the NHS and the access to real-time
data on programmes enables early
intervention on failing programmes,
bringing these important initiatives back
on track. The later the intervention on a
failing programme the greater the cost
that is incurred. In some cases, if the
intervention is too late, the programme
cannot be brought back in line.
What’s different about our
At Bestoutcome we strive to keep it
simple. Complexity and confusion is
ruthlessly eliminated from our software.
Programme managers and executives
are very time-poor so it is important
to present information in a simple
and uncluttered way. We employ user
experience experts to ensure that the use
of our software is as simple as possible. In
our experience, complexity usually leads
to the poor uptake of any software.
Different types of people with varied
roles use our software and each role
is presented with a specialised set of
screens and information which are
specific to that role – one-size-fits-all
does not work. Users of PM3 appreciate
this personalisation of the tool.
There are many things that can go wrong
with a change programme, and often it is
the people-change aspects that have not
been properly addressed. Our software
prompts the project and programme
managers to consider the change aspects
of delivering successful programmes.
Too often it is only the technical aspects
of these types of programmes that
are considered. In reality it is both the
technical – software and hardware –
change – training, engagement
with stakeholders and communication
– aspects that need to be managed for
change programmes to be successful.
What’s different about
We are not just a technology company.
Our consultants have delivered large-scale
transformation programmes and this
experience makes us different from many
other tool vendors in the marketplace.
This knowledge helps us build practical
programme management solutions
which work the way programme
managers work. Our extensive experience
with change programmes also helps
when implementing our solutions for our
clients. Our software implementation is a
project in its own right and we manage
it accordingly. Clients are receptive to the
fact that we are not just tool vendors but
can also advise on programme delivery.
The future – predicting
programme failure
Our PM3 software captures current
and historical programme information
in an industrial-strength database.
We can then use leading-edge
business intelligence (BI) and artificial
intelligence (AI) software to analyse the
historical programme information of an
organisation. Using BI and AI tools, we
can predict the future; that is, which
programmes are likely to fail. Instead
of using our software to highlight
programmes that are failing and
therefore need early intervention to be
brought back on track, we can deliver
even more economic benefit by using
our tools to predict which programmes
are likely to fail before they are failing
and why. Armed with this information
an organisation can intervene and
address reasons for future failure
before they happen. This is exciting
and has the potential to deliver massive
economic benefit to organisations that
must deliver change programmes –
which is nearly all of them.
Europa House,
Bestoutcome head
With PM3 we
always focus
on the
targets are
hard to hit!

This article was sponsored by Bestoutcome. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister