One version of the truth: a joined-up approach to programme management

3 min read
Successfully delivering major infrastructure projects and programmes isn’t easy. Infrastructure is, by its nature, complex, and once you start to consider multiple structures across multiple sites – as was the case with the Lima 2019 Games – things can become even more challenging. 

But that’s not a reason to shy away. At Mace, we look at complex projects and programmes as opportunities. They provide us with a chance to put our expertise to the test and prove why we are the industry leader in helping to shape cities and build sustainable communities. 

A commitment to this attitude has seen us deliver some of the world’s most complex programmes. Along the way we’ve developed management tools and techniques to drive consistency and we’re continuing to learn, bringing new and cutting-edge practice to our offering. 

One of our most effective management tools, and something we used on the Lima 2019 Games, is our Programme Management Office, or PMO. 

A good PMO is an enabler for integration. It facilitates data gathering, management and analytical processes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of a project or programme; through the communication of information in formats that assist effective governance, management and decision making. It provides mature solutions that encompass the governance, people, processes and tools required to plan, manage and mitigate cost and schedule issues, as well as any other risks that may impact delivery. 

By using a PMO, the project team, supply chain and client can ensure that they maintain ‘one version of the truth’ throughout the programme. This was crucial on the Lima 2019 Games and, as an overarching concept, has the potential to add a huge amount of value to future infrastructure schemes across South America. 

By using a single platform that coordinated and clearly reported every aspect of the Lima 2019 programme, we gave our client access to all the information it needed to become more dynamic in its decision making.

This helped the team to build the Games venues within challenging deadlines. 

The value of a good PMO extends beyond using good information to facilitate good decision making. Using a detailed planning schedule, the PMO in Lima enabled us to understand and align requirements across the entire programme, right through to the athlete and visitor experience. From a delivery perspective, it allowed us to coordinate activity across five distinct venue clusters, simplifying the management of everything from complex commercial arrangements to overlay requirements and health and safety reporting. 

The success we’ve had with the PMO framework in Peru has gained attention, becoming a hot topic within both the Peruvian construction sector and the Peruvian Government. We’ve been sharing our experience, knowledge and lessons learned across government departments who want to understand how the approach we’ve taken can be improved and translated onto future programmes and projects. 

We’re able to build that legacy because of the model’s flexibility. It’s entirely transferable and can scale to any programme, project or portfolio. Irrespective of the sector, location, or funding mechanism, it can be tailored to suit any client needs. That means that the model has significant potential in Peru and South America – where there is a growing pipeline of major infrastructure projects and an industry appetite to embrace new ways of working – and beyond. 

Successful implementation of a PMO can create a powerful framework for improved future infrastructure delivery by changing the way that programme and project management is viewed. Using our Legacy Learning and Knowledge Transfer Programme, we hope to grow awareness and usage of the PMO in South America and beyond to enable dynamic decision making through better provision and sharing of information and data. Our embedded and proactive training supports this by helping to transform ways of working among supply chains and client organisations. 

With every programme and project we deliver, we use the lessons learned to improve our PMO offering. The Lima 2019 programme was no different, helping us understand more about implementing a PMO in a new and uninitiated market. It has undoubtedly provided us with a basis on which to build our international PMO offering, and especially in South America as we continue to build collaborative and progressive relationships on new programmes and projects across the continent.