A structured approach to the project was undertaken, following the principles of PRINCE2 project management. A detailed project plan was developed to map out the timeline against all of the products the GPIT CCG Practice agreement Project was to deliver. The project was split into four short stages. Each stage had a clear start and end point which allowed the project to effectively track progress throughout the project lifecycle. The most vital part of the GP IT Agreement Project was communications. The communication plan detailed the minutiae of the communications assessed to be required to achieve the intended outcomes and timescale.
Clients need outcomes - focussed delivery to achieve a clear purpose. Project Management is for us a way of life - delivering decisively, keeping you informed at every stage and ensuring there are no surprises. We excel in complex environments where you need us to innovate - so we deliver the 'known' requirements but support you in defining the 'unknown' as we go...
The project was managed using PRINCE2 methodology. The pragmatic application of PRINCE2 tailored appropriately for the project allowed the team to proceed rapidly into delivery avoiding unnecessary ‘bureaucracy’ that can often accompany projects. Our tailored approach ensured that appropriate controls, reporting and governance were in place to ensure the project remained focused on the agreed objectives and outcomes.
Whilst it was important that the new methodology was understood and championed by senior managers, service managers and other key members of staff also needed to adopt the new methodology and practices as part of all their projects and delivery of business as usual. Many members of staff did not recognise themselves as ‘project managers’ but in fact many were managing projects by another name and indeed more still were contributing to activities that would benefit from structured project management tools and techniques. The key to engaging these staff was to ensure that the methodology was not heavy or overly bureaucratic but to encourage useful project management behaviours that were supported by simple tools and templates creating an enabling, well governed project culture.
This commission was managed as a PRINCE2 project within each council. It was important to have corporate sponsorship for this service review given the nature of the service and the need to align it to wider work to develop a new target operating model for the council. Trusted relationships were built with the Deputy Chief Executive in East Renfrewshire Council and The Director for Corporate Services within Renfrewshire Council as Project Executives and regular briefings, supported by highlight reporting were provided to identify opportunities and seek on-going direction and clarify the commitment to the review findings and recommendations at each stage.
We ensured that briefings were tailored, focused and had clear outcomes to maximise the Project Executives’ valuable time. By building these trusted relationships with the Project Executives it allowed us the access and gave us the ability to promptly raise and resolve any issues faced in delivery whilst maintaining the agreed timeline for the commission.
Castlerigg supported the councils to undertake a project to review current access to services for customers in order to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness. In order to achieve the objectives of the project Castlerigg worked with officers from both councils to carefully plan the scope of the work required. The scope included:
- A baseline assessment of the ‘as is’ customer access model in each council. The assessment was to consider the ‘end to end’ customer transaction
- A breakdown of performance levels in the Customer Service Units and rationale for current figures
- Understand the current web access available across the councils and the utilisation including whether these processes were end to end electronic or what level of manual input was required
- Identification of all technology currently used to support customer services (Websites, Customer Relationship Management Systems etc.)
The outcome of this project was a number of opportunity areas that were identified informing the development of the Customer Strategy, these included:
- Joint procurement of customer access systems
- Sharing of expertise and resource to make improvements to existing customer access systems e.g. CRM, websites
- Authentication approach to online and wider service delivery
- Provision of information to improve efficiency of customer services
- Changes to working practices
We have provided tactical project management where required to undertake complex change - particularly around consultant led services and interoperability proof of concept work. This enabled NHS Cumbria to blend our deep experience and skills alongside internal project managers to fast track delivery and reduce the risk of embarking on an ambitious change programme.
Part of this commission centred on how ICT projects were commissioned, understood, implemented and benefits realised. We worked with the management team, members and the ICT service to look at this process providing guidance and practical tools to ensure ICT operates as a true business partner to services within the two authorities - from identifying services' needs through to successful implementation of new systems/capabilities - taking a holistic approach to project delivery.
Due to resource constraints and some wider strategic issues Castlerigg provided the project management resource to all work streams and projects. Due to the extent and nature of the programme and the limited resource this required a pragmatic and direct hands on approach that maximised limited resource but achieved successful and quality outcomes. The approach to project management and the continuous delivery of successful outcomes came as a welcome surprise to health colleagues.