Case Studies

Bestoutcome Ltd Implements PM3 for UCL

The Challenge

UCL needed to relocate their main IT data centre near their Bloomsbury campus in London to make way for a major national infrastructure project. Because of physical constraints in central London, a new out-of-town data centre was established but this required major changes to the IT service architecture. Some services could be readily migrated to the new architecture but others required complex conversion or could not be migrated and needed to be moved to a replacement local data centre. Construction of the replacement local data centre was impacted by the discovery of unexpected building constraints, delaying completion by around 6 months.

The result was a challenging programme of construction work, infrastructure changes, application migrations and system relocations which had to be completed before the fixed compulsory acquisition date.

What we did

UCL had plans for individual streams of work in varying formats but no integrated programme plan. As a result they had no visibility of the programmes complex interdependencies and a low confidence in achieving the fixed end date. Bestoutcome’s work covered two main steps.

Firstly we provided an experienced programme planning specialist to create a high-level programme plan, top-down, capturing major dependencies. The plan was then implemented using PM3, Bestoutcome’s PPM tool, to model and validate inter-dependencies. The integrated plan spanned approximately 20 discrete workstreams. PM3 allowed each workstream manager to own and manage their own plan, whilst integrating them together in a common repository for reporting and control.

We went on to enhance the planning and progress controls to make them appropriate for the business criticality and challenge this programme represented. This included planning, reporting, scope management, change control, resource demand/control. A key element of this work was embedding changes in the existing ways of working and doing this without impacting delivery leaving UCL able to sustain the improvements on an ongoing basis. A simple set of KPIs was introduced to evidence control and drive improvement.


Senior management’s confidence in delivery was hugely improved by a clear plan which was supported by multiple levels of detail and a plan that was actually being used. Moving away from day to day fire-fighting allowed them to address longer term delivery decisions, clearing the path for projects to deliver. Positive feedback was also received following scrutiny by HS2 who needed confidence that the relocation would deliver on time. Areas of risk remained, but these were now contained and could be selectively targeted with focussed improvement or contingency plans.

At the working level, project/workstream manager stress levels were reduced with progress meetings being shorter and more effective, moving from a dialogue around the last few days work to a focussed review of future milestones. Project Managers valued having stable realisable plans, such that when changes were proposed it was natural to create a change request and implement change in a controlled manner.

At the working level, individual staff were no longer faced with a multiple competing work requests. Instead they had a understandable pipeline of tasks and could so how they contributed to overall programme objectives.

David Walton
About the author
David Walton

I am David Walton, Programme,Project and Portfolio Management specialist and director of Bestoutcome here in the UK. We make the PMO tools PM3, PM3time and PM3change, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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