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Restore Failing Project Case Study


The client is a major UK consumer finance provider based in South East England.

A project, with around 45 staff, was performing the analysis, specification and execution of application changes. The project was part of a combined systems migration and “Y2K” programme. The migration was of legacy applications from Amdahl to CMOS hardware. Most coding activity was outsourced to a company based in India with the local resources focusing on analysis and specification.

Despite reports and claims to the contrary, an Earned Value analysis of the project indicated that it was behind schedule and threatening the overall programme schedule and a £300,000 cost overrun on a budget of £4 million.

What We Did

Close analysis of the schedule indicated that the project was indeed in danger of significant overrun. The challenge was identifying the cause of the delays because individual activities and deliverables generally appeared to be progressing well.

We held a series of interviews with individual workstream leaders and other influential members of the project team, including the outsourced resources provider.

In order to obtain the views of all project staff we also undertook a wide ranging survey. The survey covered the whole of the project and environment (from rating the project manager to the quality of the lavatory facilities) in order to obtain an open and comprehensive view of the project. The survey sought both the current (“as is”) and desirable or recommended (“future”) state views of the participants.

Combining the interview findings and survey results we identified a number of failings that were impacting the success of the project.

Analysis revealed that the root cause of many of the problems lay in the fact that workstream (team) leaders were not experienced in the role, despite having been provided to the project in this capacity.

We agreed an action plan with the Programme Director to address both the current issues and the way forward for the project in order for it to meet its original schedule and budget. The plan included:


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