International Investment Bank
This major investment bank operated in multiple countries – each with its own set of regulatory requirements.
Before the Associate joined this project, the control of governance, reporting, costs and delivery were not properly joined up across the business’ various locations. In addition, resources in the Programme Management Office (PMO) were, in most cases, very junior and had little experience in controlling information for a programme this size (over 100 people).
In addition, the monthly reports had a wide, high-level audience – including treasury officials from two countries – and the quality of these reports was often poor, mainly due to the fact that they were collated from all over the world and created using different systems, fonts, colours etc. Different time zones meant receipt time in the UK varied, and sometimes certain areas did not provide data in time for publication, which was typically on a tight deadline. This meant that meeting time was often taken up with criticising the actual delivery of the reports, rather than assessing the information contained within.
This project involved implementing a package solution to handle the custody business functions. The package was provided by a third-party vendor who performed the customisation and implementation. User Testing and management of the programme was conducted by the bank with the assistance of one of the Big 4. The overall Programme Director role was filled by a permanent bank resource – Head of Custody.
What Our Associate Did
The Associate took over the running of the Programme Office at the bank. The first task undertaken was to sort out the important and highly visible Monthly Report. This report took inputs from 15 different sources which included two vendors, three business areas and three continents.
Most of the work involved creating a formal Delivery Diary that was published to each area, as well as producing a template for completing the information. The Associate also worked to make the presentation of the report more uniform and in line with the business’ house style; cosmetic changes involved making sure all the fonts and colours used were the same, and checking details such as page numbering were correct. This seemingly simple task could only be done as a last review after all the constituent parts of the report had been collated – normally around 10pm on a Thursday night!
The revamped report was extremely well received across the business, with the Programme Office team and the Associate receiving glowing reviews for their attention to detail in improving this important report.
After sorting out the key documents, the Associate concentrated on the aspects of governance that should be in place on any programme. These included:
- Proper and regular Stakeholder and Programme Board Meetings
- Recording control of risks and issues in a RAID Log – regularly reviewed and updated
- Dependency management – specifically across the bank itself and two vendors
- Detailed programme and project plans with key milestones and delivery dates
- Budget and cost control, including external spend and invoicing
- Daily PMO Skype catch-up calls across continents to ensure governance was being followed across the board
Resources were allocated or procured to cover each of these activities in all locations, with the Associate leading the project and taking ownership of organisation.
Prior to the Associate’s arrival, communication across the bank’s various teams (development and business) was lacking. Announcements would be made when key items were to be shared, but these were quite often only company-related and not programme-related, which led to crucial information being missed by certain teams.
The Associate instituted a process whereby the overall Programme Director spoke to the assembled programme staff on a regular basis. The Associate explained and demonstrated the importance of regular communication, even if there was little new information to be shared. This stopped team members feeling they were being left out of the loop, and greatly boosted team and company morale. As well as diffusing important work information, it became a space for singling out achievers, and announcing events like birthdays, new births and personal news – this made the workplace a more cohesive and productive environment.
Even the seemingly simple steps of making the Monthly Report’s style uniform and increasing cross-company communication saw a huge improvement to the bank’s efficiency, and made it much easier for the Associate to ensure successful delivery of the custody system. More visible and actional governance plus a greater understanding of the lines of communication and stakeholder responsibility greatly improved the bank’s way of working and streamlined efficiency.