PMO and Assurance: Skills Funding Agency

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Information about PMO and Assurance: Skills Funding Agency
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: assocpm



Presentation by Gary Perkins and Caitlin Davidson, at the APM PMO SIG conference Assurance and its relationship with the PMO on 5th March 2014.

PMO & Assurance Wednesday 5 March 2014 Presented by: Gary Perkins & Caitlin Davidson Welcome

Introduction & Agenda

Introduction Caitlin Davidson: PMO PSO Manager Gary Perkins: PMO Assurance Manager

Agenda ● Background ● PMO Function ● Assurance Approach ● Challenges (Existing and New) ● Discussion and Questions


Skills Funding Agency ● Established in 2009 following the demise of the Learning & Skills Council, and prior to that the Further Education Funding Council; ● Partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS); ● Agency role is to fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England, including Traineeships and Apprenticeships, in a way that supports economic growth.

Skills Funding Agency ● Deliver £4.1 billion of skills training through contracts with over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations and employers; ● Within the Skills Funding Agency, there are two customer-facing services: National Apprenticeship Service, and; National Careers Service; ● Host the Information Authority.

Programme Delivery ● Responsible for delivery of IT Programmes and Projects within the Skills Funding Agency; ● Annual delivery value circa £60M; ● Typically around 6 Programmes and 30 Projects at any point in time; ● Internal team circa 90; ● Main development supplier Capgemini.

Programme Delivery ● Increasingly delivering sector-wide public-facing systems

Programme Management Office ● PMO Team comprises 8 in the Central PMO function which delivers: Portfolio Management Programme & Project Management QMS Guidance & Training Assurance Central Support Functions ● Typically 15 Project Support Officers who are embedded within Programmes & Projects; ● This is NOT a corporate function within the Agency.

PMO Function

PMO Functions ● Portfolio Management; ● Developing and Maintaining our Quality Management System; ● Training & Support; ● Assurance; ● Central Support Function; ● Programme and Project Support.

Portfolio Management ● Manages portfolio of Programmes and Projects; ● Manages ICT Moratorium Process; ● Ensures the strategic alignment of Projects; ● Supports business case development; ● Services Corporate Governance Boards.

Quality Management System ● Based on MSP and PRINCE2; ● Guidance, templates and checklists; ● Reviewed on an annual cycle; ● Amended to reflect „learning from experience‟; ● Branded as the „Programme Delivery Governance Framework‟; ● Available from the Programme Delivery PMO Knowledge Store Teamsite.

Quality Management System



Best Practice

Delivery Models

Delivery Models


Training & Support ● Drop-in sessions and mentoring; ● Briefings and Masterclasses; ● Information Notes and Newsletters; ● Available to Programme and Project Managers; ● Available to SROs and Project Executives.

Assurance ● Focus on Governance and Controls; ● Varied range of approaches; ● Internal team of 3 supplemented by additional resource as required; ● Internal Assurance for Director of Programme Delivery; ● Increasingly External Assurance for SROs; ● Assurance Function subject to bi-annual Internal Audit, reviewing standards and application.

Central Support Functions ● Consolidating Programme and Project information; ● Supporting Corporate Governance Boards; ● Supporting the financial investment process; ● Managing and supporting the new Programme & Project Management Tool.

Programme and Project Support ● Project Support Officers (PSOs); ● Centrally managed service; ● Flexible supply chain; ● Standard approach; ● Supporting the Assurance function.

Assurance Approach

Internal Assurance ● For Director of Programme Delivery; ● Focus on assuring that standards defined in the Programme Delivery PMO QMS are applied; ● Greater reliance on process driven assurance: Gated Reviews Monthly Operational Reviews Checklists. ● Healthchecks and Post-Project Reviews; ● Supported by embedded PSOs.

External Assurance ● Increasingly working more closely with SROs; ● Raising the Profile of the SRO Role; ● SRO Support Initiative. This includes: Initial Briefings Training (APM PPM Sponsorship) Established Network SRO Guidance & Support Teamsite Regular Newsletter; „SRO Brief‟. ● Offering Independent Assurance directly to SROs; ● Formal Executive Sponsorship.

Role of the SRO and Governance is Currently a Hot Topic

SRO Guidance & Support

External Assurance ● Starting to utilise the MPA Integrated Assurance and Approvals (IAA) approach; ● Developing IAA Strategies & Plans for all major Programme Delivery Programmes; ● Developing Assurance Statements for minor Programme Delivery Programmes. .

External Assurance ● Fully engage with MPA OGC Gateway Review process via BIS Departmental Assurance Co-ordinator; ● RPAs completed and returned for EVERY Programme and Project within the Programme Delivery Portfolio; ● 45 OGC Gateway Reviews conducted in last 5 years; ● Approach now welcomed and trusted by (most) SROs.

External Assurance ● Independent Programme and Project Healthchecks conducted by: PMO Assurance Team Broader Programme Delivery Team Independent Contractors Atkins – PMO Supply Partner; ● Governance Board Reviews and Assessments; ● Process Spot-checks (internal and external).


As Johnny Nash observed……. There are More Questions than Answers

Existing Challenges ● ● Not a Corporate PMO; ● Lack of separation between Guidance & Support and Assurance roles; ● Lack of clarity around escalation of issues; ● Conflict of interest when working with SROs; ● Credibility and independence.

It can sometimes feel like this……… …….though we have made progress.

New Challenges Organisational Restructure ● ● Reducing headcount from 1,357 to 925; ● Significant changes to organisation structure; ● Loss of many experienced staff; ● Uncertainty about the new role, scale and location of the PMO moving forward.

New Challenges Changing Supplier Model ● ● ● Currently one tier 1 supplier (Capgemini); box once read: Delete this • This is a “general” slide • Each “page title” should have Currently re-letting this contract for October 2014; as the the same colour scheme preceding “section divider” slide • Use “promote” and “demote” buttons to automatically change In line with Government policy, multiple contracts will text levels be let to SMEs; • Go Format > Slide Layout to choose another auto layout ● Moving towards cloud based hosting; ● Significant implications for PMO functions.

New Challenges Changing Development Approaches Delete this box once read: • This is a “general” slide • Each “page title” should have the same colour scheme as the preceding “section divider” Government Digital slide • Use “promote” and “demote” buttons to automatically change text levels • Go Format > Slide Layout to choose another auto layout ● Currently largely Waterfall; ● Move towards Agile in line with Strategy; ● Currently developing skills within Programme Delivery and the Agency; ● What is the impact on the PMO and Assurance?

Discussion & Questions

● Benefits of a PMO in supporting organisational change? ● Impact of multi-supplier model on a PMO? ● What does Agile mean to a PMO?

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