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 Objectivity Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
17OBJECTIVITY LTD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Peter Brookes-Smith, managing
Quality of client
Objectivity are a values-driven IT outsourcing partner.
Headquartered in Coventry and founded in 1991, they
create win-win solutions for all stakeholders by designing,
delivering and supporting IT solutions that help their clients grow.
They are a mature, ethical organisation who hold innovation at the
heart of all they do. Having accumulated knowledge from a broad
swathe of professional sectors, from retail and engineering to
finance and real estate, Peter Brookes-Smith, managing director,
here discusses the philosophies that underpin their operations.
Achieving outstanding value for money cuts across every part of operations, from
procurement to HR and everything in between. The optimal use of every resource
at our disposal to achieve strategic goals is fundamental to success. Whether you’re
in the public sector, lowering your costs and creating better citizen outcomes, or in
the private sector, maximising returns – however defined – value for money (VFM)
is our common goal. I’m not just referring to cash; “money” is a catch-all proxy to
include hard-to-quantify resources like attention of senior management or capacity
of an organisation to change.
So, how can we get more VFM?
My business is Objectivity, and for more than 25 years, we’ve been helping
large organisations generate more VFM with their digital transformations. We’re
passionate about VFM because rare resources are needlessly squandered every
day. At a macro level, it saps our economy. In our own organisations, it’s a drag on
what we can achieve. Let’s explore some of the factors that cause transformations
to deliver better or worse VFM.
»Established in 1991
»Based in Coventry, with a fully
owned subsidiary in Poland
»Services: Values-driven digital
»Over 600 people on board
with innovative transformation
engineers across many
disciplines, including consulting,
user experience, user interface,
artificial intelligence, software
development and integration
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
18 | OBJECTIVITY LTD
where we are,
»Awarded a European
Great Place to Work
title in 2017 and 2018
Win-win for all our
stakeholders leading to
with our clients
For transformations that actually
make it over the line, “quality of client
strategy” is usually by far the greatest
determinant of VFM. Being correct in
the underlying belief that “if we do
this, we’ll get that” is critical. All roads
lead back to here. We should test and
prove or disprove that hypothesis as
early as we can.
Early and sustained delivery of
the most important benefits
With complex projects, it’s common
that the requirements contain
elements that don’t strictly lead to
the quantified benefits. Rather, those
elements are “obviously good things
to do”. In our experience, it’s often far
from obvious those elements bring a
The bigger a project is, the more
likely it is to fail. We believe the
best approach is to ruthlessly cut
everything that doesn’t directly
influence the quantified benefits.
Often, we can go even further and
phase work so that the biggest
benefits are delivered much earlier.
Those early benefits can often change
the situation such that later phases
are removed altogether or reduced
If it’s important to deliver the benefits
early, it’s also critical that we can
keep delivering them. We measure
sustainability in many ways. If the
solution is dependent on a small
number of engineers with rare
legacy experience, then it’s not
sustainable. If the solution is of such
poor quality that “business as usual”
maintenance takes too long, then
it’s not sustainable. If your supplier
owns the intellectual property and
can hold you to ransom, then it’s not
sustainable. If your supplier is “loss
leading” the implementation and
planning to generate profit in changes
and support, then it’s not sustainable.
Of course, there are many more pitfalls
on the journey towards sustainable
delivery of value. Take time to consider
what they are in yourworld.
Transformations are expensive.
Those that deliver no value because
they’re cancelled before completion
are embarrassing and a waste. If
there’s one thing more wasteful than
abandoned projects, it’s projects that
should be killed but are kept alive
for misguided reasons. If it’s going
to fail, then we must make it fail as
quickly as we can by doing the hardest
The same problem exists at the feature
level: the development of systems,
processes and training for functions
that will never or hardly ever be used
is wasteful. Get the proposed solution
in front of our real users as quickly as
we can and use what they say to kill
Early and sustained
19OBJECTIVITY LTD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
It really hurts to go over the same
ground twice but we can’t minimise
rework to zero. Sometimes, our users
won’t react in the way we anticipate
and situations won’t be understood
correctly by our stakeholders. However,
when we delay showing our progress,
surprise our users with big changes
and fail to keep all our stakeholders
engaged, the amount of avoidable
We must be careful what we ask for
and reward. Sometimes misguided
helpers move heaven and Earth to
deliver it in the most inappropriate way.
Mankind’s endeavours are littered with
examples of complex reward systems
that led to unintended consequences.
Some are so obvious, such as paying
developers on the number of lines of
code created, and we can avoid them
easily. Others are so subtle, they can
only be seen after a long period when
the damage is irreversibly done.
Keep all engagements as simple as
possible, but no simpler, and check
regularly to be certain they’re working
When many stakeholders need to play
a part in a transformation, it’s critically
important that everyone understands
where we are, where we’re going,
what needs to happen next and, above
all else, why. When things go wrong,
which they will, it’s essential that
all our stakeholders work effectively
together on the new plan.
If everything else is equal, it’s always
best to pick the cheapest option.
However, when we wish to create
value by introducing new systems,
processes and cultural changes, our
work becomes enormously complex.
The path to riches we imagine at the
start looks very different from the
longand winding road we actually
take. The partners who will stand by
our side, shoulder to shoulder, and
then keep step through the highs and
lows aren’t a commodity to be chosen
on a day rate. If we take our time and
dig deeper during partner selection,
then we maximise our chances
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
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.