I am a globally experienced programme manager, having successfully managed a number of massive multi million pound programmes with internationally distributed staff. I have a military engineering and technology background from fifteen years in Aerospace and Defence, complimented by the commercial understanding from working in banking and financial services for ten years.
Intuitive programme management and leadership skills are demonstrated in my ability to ensure that every single project and programme has been delivered on time, budget and quality. This is achieved by three core principles:
·Staff motivation – by taking the time to provide individual support to each member of the team it is possible to obtain dedication and loyalty that ensures successful delivery in the face of any number of challenges.
·Communication – ensuring that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities as well as the impact of changes ensures that the entire project team from business sponsors to third party vendors work together.
·Risk management and planning – Carefully monitored project schedules together with a real world approach to identifying risks and assigning meaningful values to their impact. This has ensured that none of my programmes have ever suffered a major failure; they have always been predicted and avoided.
One of my greatest strengths is in leadership; I have an ability to motivate people and get the best out of them. I do this by identifying the different characteristics in each person and finding possibilities for their growth in areas that even they may not have been aware of; encouraging them to seize opportunities and work at their own development such that they attain levels of achievement far higher than they could ever have imagined. In return this breeds great loyalty where the staff will unquestioningly put in massive effort on a project; on a number of occasions my teams have delivered what many observers considered to be impossible (e.g. delivery of US banking Email compliance system for 17,000 users in just 4 months, design build and test of IT infrastructure for a hedge fund in less than three weeks).
The proposals that I am currently presenting to the MOD cover many areas and issues across UK defence procurement boundaries for a number of years into the future. These plans would save the UK government many billions of pounds and at the same time provide an extremely capable basis for national defence.
·Operational cost reductions and military performance improvements on the Eurofighter Typhoon
·The effective reuse of Tranche 1 & 2 Typhoons by identifying means to refit useful capability at a low cost and avoid the need for storage or sell off.
·Reducing the cost of acquisition of Tranche 3 Typhoons.
·Propose a solution mutually acceptable to all partner nation governments to reduce the immediate budget pressure from Tranche 3 Typhoon purchase.
·Identify a low cost solution to make the proposed Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers highly effective weapons platforms.
·Cater for possible performance limitations with the F35B JSF aircraft.
I have a breadth of experience in negotiating and managing multi million pound contracts with vendors. At ABN Amro, for the EUR 33 million for global email retention system I pioneered a technique for vendor management to ensure that they were legally obliged to deliver the services claimed within their proposals.
At Investec bank with responsibility for IT project office budget for northern hemisphere, I introduced processes and an intranet based system to track and provide visibility of spend. One of the heads of the member banks commented that I had “changed the way people think” with respect to controlling spend. I am currently studying turning this portfolio management system into a commercial product.
At ABN Amro, a programme had been running for just under one year to deliver outsourcing of group functions IT (HR, Finance, Risk, Compliance & Legal, etc) to India. An aspect of this was the operational processes, documents and tools to be used for operation of the organisation in the new outsourced environment. Despite the presence of a top tier consultancy and large numbers of internal staff working on the project, very few processes had been developed and no training had been delivered. The process development work that had been carried out was not suitable for the relatively unstructured environment as it was overly complex and not realistic. This was costing a large amount of money at the time when the object of the programme was to drastically slash operating costs.
When appointed I discharged the consultancy, the project manager, the training expert, and a number of the process development experts. I worked with a core team from my previous role in ABN AMRO in the UK to develop simple and effective processes that users would actually want and be able to understand. I identified representatives for my customers in the business areas and the outsource suppliers to work closely with them to develop a “back to basics” approach based on Prince 2 and CMMi, which very quickly and cheaply allowed the delivery of processes and training to the staff which they found useful. Furthermore, this provided the structured foundation for the organisation to increase its sophistication and move towards CMMi level 2.
Not only did I succeed in delivering the processes and training where others had previously failed, but I was able to significantly reduce the costs in the process, in line with significant cutbacks in operating costs sought by the bank at that time. As a result the organisation was able to work considerably more cost effectively, with improved processes for cross department communication, decision making and cost control.
I am constantly looking for ways to help staff improve themselves, both from the point of the satisfaction of helping people as well as improving their abilities to support the companies needs. At investec, I encouraged four members of staff to move from their technical roles into project management as they showed aptitude for this task. By providing coaching and training in Prince 2, they successfully made the change and were valuable members of the team. At Crosby Forsyth I encouraged a server engineer to develop in a number of areas and eventually to replace me as head of IT in effective manner.
I am a great believer in the use of structured methodologies and processes where they assist the staff in carrying out their job functions. Similarly I object to bureaucratic procedures where they hinder the ability of an organisation to work effectively. I have worked on six separate organisation wide programmes to deploy processes based on CMMi and / or Prince 2.
I have excellent communication skills for working with staff at all levels. In many positions I have dealt with senior management; at Reuters and Radianz I reported directly to the directors on the progress of global network upgrades and Business Continuity deployments. Within Crosby Forsyth Hedge fund I reported directly to the COO, CTO and the board. In all cases I was able to provide sufficiently detailed information on activities to inspire confidence in the successful direction of the programmes. Within Radianz I successfully negotiated directly with the directors to secure funding for my global business continuity programme against a backdrop of major cost cutting for other programmes.
At the other end of the scale I am a great believer in communicating to all staff, both via techniques such as email and building intranet sites, but also by talking directly to everyone. Staff that feel involved will provide much better levels of support to initiatives as they feel more involved.
Whilst establishing the project office at Investec, it became apparent that vast amounts of data were being collected on projects (status, dates, finances, etc) and communicated in different forms to different authorities. This represented a significant overhead in the workload of project managers. I realised that if all of the data could be collected in a single database, it would be possible to extract it in multiple formats to provide the required Management Information. Therefore I taught myself the ASP.Net programming language and wrote a database and a web based tool as a front end. I then connected this to timesheet and order purchasing systems. The result was a stunning success, making the lives of project managers easier as well as providing up to the second status data visibility for senior management and customers. A time and motion study compared working patterns of PM’s before and after the implementation and showed a saving of £25,000 per year. On top of this there were gains in effectiveness by all involved parties with more accurate information being available, a major improvement to communication throughout the organisation.
Reuters IDN data network comprises a number of data centres carrying financial and news data to 40 different countries. Ever since it was built in the 1980’s, upgrades have struggled to keep up with increasing demands on performance, with each upgrade being obsolete by the time it was delivered. At the time I w as appointed, the US Options Price Reporting Authority was decimalising its prices. This meant the largest step increase in traffic with a fixed deadline a year away that the IDN developers had ever faced.
By developing relationships and working closely with the development teams and data centre staff in each country, through a delegated management structure, the efforts of around 1000 staff were effectively coordinated for successful delivery by the deadline. It is understood that the result was so successful that the upgrades put in place were still effective many years after they were delivered and so broke the need for a perpetual update cycle.
On a number of assignments I have managed large portfolios of separate projects, in all cases ensuring that whilst individual project goals were met, they were aligned with the overall commercial, financial and structural needs of the organisation. At Investec 200 separate projects were managed, contributing to the increased cost effectiveness of the organisation through selected use of improved technologies. At ABN Amro five separate programmes contributed to more effective IT services being delivered throughout the organisation, using local staff, outsourced vendors and also with international collaboration and outsourced suppliers.
I have the ability to quickly solve difficult technical problems in complex systems, often very quickly and simply where others have struggled to separate the detail from the large scale of the systems. Examples of this include:
·Eurofighter gun - The original development team had struggled for five years to make it fire more than the first round without jamming. I took over the team as Architect and Project Manager and straight away saw that the gun had a natural mechanical rhythm which the old software tried to control. By using software interrupts as monitors of the gun state, the software could work with the gun, not against it.
·Reuters IDN data network - for around fifteen years Reuters had been upgrading their global financial data networks performance, with each upgrade cycle starting before the previous one had completed due to both the small performance gains being added and the continually increasing external demands. When appointed as programme manager, I found the approach of the architecture department to be inadequate as they focussed on the details of each of the systems. I worked with the managers and engineers in each of the teams responsible for developing the systems and looked at the way the systems worked together. By considering such issues as duplication of system function, message structure and contents, collaboration of systems to provide composite information and the way in which external parties provide and consume data from the network, it was possible to provide an order of magnitude of performance improvement and finally break the perpetual development cycle.
·Eurofighter flight control system - At an early stage in my career I found myself as the only engineer able to comprehend the interwoven signal paths and complex processing required to operate this ground breaking unstable fly by wire flight control system. Accordingly, I was appointed as system architect to partition the software across six processors and design the time critical inter processor communications and synchronisation. This was in the mid 1980's before multi processor systems were commonplace on a bespoke operating system with no support for this type of operation in hardware or software. I therefore conceived changes to the hardware design to support the software model. Detailed knowledge of this system later enabled me to design an extremely innovative approach to high speed emergency in air restarts of the flight control system. To date this is the achievement of which I am most proud.
IT infrastructure management skills
I am used to managing the development and operation of IT infrastructure. I have worked as head of IT and was programme manager for the development and deployment of Reuters global IDN data network covering data centres in 40 countries. I maintain a hands on approach to the specification and procurement of IT systems and keep my hand in by building my own server network at home. As a Microsoft registered partner I test deploy a number of their software products. I have recently build windows server 2008, SBS 2008 and am currently beta testing Windows 7 desktop. I have recently been working on the development of virtual servers to increase resiliency, providing instant failover. I have developed a number of internet and intranet sites, for personal, small business and corporate uses. I have managed the hosting of web enabled business critical applications.