Case Study – Recruitment

Improving project execution and governance in the STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) specialist recruitment sector

£700K

Cost savings

Over £700K of cost savings realised in 3 years

70%

Efficiency increase

Project delivery efficiency increased by 70%

2x

Project portfolio increase

Reduced by 50% whilst project portfolio doubled in size

How our strategic project management office (PMO) solution helped a global recruitment company’s IT and project delivery functions deliver tangible and measurable business value.

Client overview

Our client is an international specialist staffing organisation that has been operating since 1986. With more than 2,600 employees in 15 countries across 45 offices, and an annual revenue of £1.2 billion, they source and place STEM talent across four major sectors: life sciences, technology, engineering and banking & finance.

Challenge

With a lack of project and change management standards, governance, data reporting, cross-functional engagement and spend visibility, our client was struggling to deliver tangible and measurable value to the business. 

The project delivery team was focused on the challenges of day-to-day project delivery. But had lost sight of the overall company vision, mission and objectives. Without a strong connection to the business, or meaningful metrics, decisions were being made in silo. As a result, trust and support from key stakeholders across the business was slowly eroding. Left with an undervalued project delivery function, not fit for purpose, and struggling to prove its business value, our client decided to seek additional support from an outside source. 

Approach

With an urgent need for professional PMO advice and support, we were asked to form a partnership with our client—which involved integrating seamlessly within their organisation. Tasked with identifying the root causes of their under-performing project delivery function, we immediately initiated conversations around the company’s business culture, challenges and history. This gave us an insight into their people and strategy. As a result, we were able to identify the business needs and desired outcome. And began setting-up a specialist PMO. One that would help to establish the services the business needed, collect meaningful data and provide the foundation for a tailor-made PMO solution. This involved an in-depth business analysis—which included root cause, benchmarking and gap analysis, focus groups and other collaborative activities.

Deployed in phases, we designed a people-focused PMO solution that was long-lasting and easy to measure. And fostered buy-in from key stakeholders—gradually building back trust and support. Our solution also included the delivery of specialised tools–increasing efficiency, streamlining delivery, control and monitoring, and reducing costs.

Included in approach

Governance: 

  • Formalised the project delivery function, defining roles and responsibilities and setting metrics for success
  • Introduced business case reviews for projects over a certain threshold of spend and risk
  • Mobilised timesheet reporting to support more accurate forecasting of the work involved in delivering business change 
  • Designed a fully trackable benefit realisation process and established ownership and accountabilities
  • Delivered an annual roadmap planning process to ensure alignment of projects to business strategy

Business intelligence: 

  • Introduced granular financial reporting helping to maximise spend efficiency, increase transparency and support senior leadership in making more informed decisions

Continuous improvement: 

  • Developed key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the impact of the PMO solution on achievement of business objectives, enabling continuous evolution of the function alongside the changing needs of the business

Communications and change management:

  • Developed a clear change and communication strategy, in-line with the overall business strategy
  • Led people-focused activities with a focus on resistance management—workshops, events, etc.
  • Developed methods to assess adoption to new processes and tools
  • Improved engagement between departments by taking a one-team approach—connecting, involving and collaborating across functions
  • Fostered greater transparency
  • Produced meaningful metrics around speed of adoption, utilisation, proficiency and final outcomes
  • Introduced a project portfolio management (PPM) tool to better manage the complex portfolio of business projects, supporting prioritisation, increasing transparency and ensuring the right work happened at the right time.

Results

  • Over £700K of cost savings realised in 3 years
  • Project delivery efficiency increased by 70% against time, scope and budget targets
  • Project management team reduced by 50% whilst project portfolio doubled in size
  • PMO solution adopted as a blueprint for organisation’s first ever enterprise project management office (EPMO)

Conclusion

With a clear PMO strategy in place, and a project delivery function able to prove tangible and measurable business value, our client was now in a strong position to provide on-going PMO support—delivering successful projects on time, on budget, meeting technical requirements and organisational goals.

We’re pleased that our tailor-made solution was delivered successfully—increasing project management function efficiency by 70% and doubling the project portfolio, whilst reducing the team size by over 50%. Our solution was later introduced at an enterprise level, becoming the organisations first project management office (EPMO).

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