Building a solid foundation to maximise the chance of success

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Success is built on a clear vision, a sound operating model, high quality resources and a carefully devised road-map. These things do not come into place spontaneously. The first priority of a programme should be to shape itself.

The planning paradox

Too often planning is equated with plan like artefacts. Timelines, project management schedules, plan documents and alike. Great weight is placed on getting these in place. Too little weight is placed on their intellectual content. Planning becomes the act of producing documents to meet a progress deadline. Planning should be about understanding the journey that has to be made and mapping out how this journey can be tackled.

Unstructured and misorganised

It is amazing how many programmes have fig leaf operational and reporting structures and processes defined. The documentation is simplistic and says one thing, the reality is different. Often neither the documented model nor the reality on the ground are fit for purpose. Where an organisation is in-place there is often a misalignment between the way the organisation is setup and what should be there given the work to be done. Complex activities require a well thought out operating model. One tailored to the task at hand.

To shape a programme

To shape a programme involves spending time and effort in thinking through what must happen and how it can be done. Not just for the here and now but as layers of complexity build up over time. It involves thinking about the road map to be enacted but also about how at each stage a fully functional organisation will be in place to deal with the diverse demands and activities that will occur at that point in the journey.


Naturally teams tend to focus on what they have to deliver more than how they will deliver it. Our recognition of the need to look ahead and be prepared for the full journey, not just for the here and now, can help your teams prepare better. We can work with your teams to ensure they understand and prepare for the future state rather than tackling each obstacle as its impact emerges. This can also ensure the true level of investment required is recognised from the start.