Nov 4, 2013

Finalist Profile: Beyond 2018, Bentley Motors’ Strategy is in Capable Hands

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Project Management Office (PMO), Site News | 1 Comment

"We stress engagement, not compliance."

The top three finalists have been named in the 2013 PMO of the Year Award! We will be profiling these finalists (in alpha order) this week. Come to the PMO Symposium to attend the award ceremony and discover the winner and runners-up. Or stay tuned for the news to be released the week of Nov. 11th.

Emma Haslam, Head of Bentley Motors’ Beyond 18 PMO, laughed when I told her I had had trouble coming up with questions for our interview, because her application for the PMO of the Year Award was so thorough. “That’s part of our approach,” she said. “We do a lot of progress reporting and internal case studies and we had already thought a good deal about how to measure our accomplishments.”

Haslam said the four-member staff of the PMO is “over the moon” about being named a finalist in the 2013 PMO of the Year Award competition, jointly sponsored by the Project Management Institute and PM Solutions. The PMO team, along with two PMO staff members who have recently made horizontal moves within the company, are shown below.

Shown left to right, former PMO Manager Mike Hegarty, PMO Manager Sebastian Ritter, former PMO manager Angela Hodgson, PMO Head Emma Haslam, PMO Analyst Graeme Pringle and PMO manager Benn Jones.

Even luxury car companies like Bentley are constantly on a quest for improvement. In the automotive industry, improvements in the design and engineering of the vehicles are the primary concern, and the industry is not short of awards for automotive design, quality, and performance.  But underlying award-winning products are the business processes that make it all happen.

In Bentley’s case, the journey to process improvement began in 2011 with an assessment of the “pain points” in the value chain that begins at vehicle concept and goes through manufacturing to after-sales services. This “health check” of the business processes included the Executive Board and the majority of executives in the company, and identified the main business issues. “We had to address the biggest pain points” says Haslam, “so we identified a programme with 11 strategic projects where boosting project management capabilities would make the biggest difference to achieving our strategic goals.” Working together with the strategic project leaders, the PMO helped bring best-practice tools, PM methodology and coaching to the projects.

Bentley uses a scorecard framework that balances Employee Satisfaction, ROI, Car Sales Volume, and Customer Satisfaction. Together with the Bentley Board and leadership team, the PMO identified gaps in each area and set targets for improvement, each one of which was surpassed in 2012. For example, the 2012 target for ROI was to contribute additional cost savings over and above the plan due to the Beyond 18 Programme. Thanks to significant productivity improvements in Manufacturing, among other factors, the savings were over delivered. Car sales were also boosted  and end-customer satisfaction improved significantly over the sought-after target.

And, although the Award submission deadline precluded its inclusion in the application, Haslam was happy to bring me up to date on the increase in Employee Satisfaction: this metric improved above the overall yearly target, in addition to the company being included in the list of Britain’s top employers.

The Beyond 18 Strategy and strategic projects were rolled out to all (approx. 3400) Bentley employees during a cross-functional event with a mountain climbing theme, dubbed “Basecamp.”  Over eight weeks, 17 one-day events brought the strategic projects and goals to live through interactive games. Employees participated in designing their future work culture and committed personally to change work behaviours in order to contribute to strategic goals.  Haslam says the Basecamp was “a fundamental turning point” which illustrates the PMO’s “creative approach to bringing strategy to life. A lot of people think of PM as being boring and stale. The games helped dispel that.” She added that one of the unique aspects of the Beyond 18 PMO is that “we stress engagement, not compliance, because engagement is sustainable.”

Speaking of sustainability …  Beyond 18 is the business strategy to get to 2018. So what does 2019 hold for the Beyond 2018 PMO?

“We are currently looking at what 2020 will hold and will work out the pipeline for new projects to be managed by the PMO,” says Haslam. “We will have a top-down and bottom-up approach. The PMO looks after top-down (big cross-functional) improvements whilst we build up a long-term strategy of bottom-up continuous improvement as well. We are very excited about what the future holds for Bentley."

Next: A government-funded non-profit rolls out a major software implementation nationwide, on time and under budget, in just three months. Check back Wednesday to read an interview with PMO of the Year finalist Canada Health Infoway.



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1 Comment on Presenting ... the 2013 PMO of the Year Finalist Lineup

Debbie Bigelow Crawford says:

It is so exciting for me to see how organizations are really beginning to quantify the value of bringing project management tools, methodology, and coaching to their critical projects.  I also liked how they looked at their scorecard that balanced Employee Satisfaction, ROI, Car Sales Volume, and Customer Satisfaction…and were able to exceed their targets.  What a testimonial!!

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 8:48 am

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