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 Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy