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Case Study – University of Surrey – The Smart way to implement PPM.

In 2012, we started working with the University of Surrey’s IT Services department to implement PM3, Bestoutcome’s light-touch PPM tool. The University is recognised as one of the UK’s top higher education institutions, with nearly 2,500 staff and more than 15,700 students.In our experience the approach that the University took to implement PM3 was the smart one that delivered the outcomes required.

The Problem

Although Surrey knew that they needed a new PPM tool (the existing one was bespoked using SharePoint), they decided to get their project and portfolio processes right before loading data into any shiny new tool.

The current processes were disjointed with a number of different variants that led to inconsistency especially in terms of status reporting. Management therefore had poor visibility across their project portfolio of projects, and defined their required business outcome as “When all projects are managed in a consistent way using mechanisms that give visibility of progress, achievements and resource needs”.

Their Approach

University of Surrey engaged Bestoutcome to develop a consistent Project Delivery Framework and to implement a planning technique called, Outcome-Driven Planning or ODP

This simple but powerful approach develops plans in a collaborative way, starting with the end-goal and working backwards.

Once the Framework and processes were agreed by the University project teams, they were launched together with a set of quality gates and governance boards.

The PM3 toolset was then configured and the usual training and mentoring took place to ensure that the new Framework, processes, toolset and behaviours were embedded in the organisation. To really embed PM3 in the fabric of the project community the team established a reporting drumbeat that was really successful in making the implementation stick. This approach featured in an earlier blog.

The University identified this critical success factor in getting the process and tool change to work:

“The successful delivery of major IT projects required our project organisation to grow and to address frustrations with the project delivery methodology,”  said Roger Stickland, Director of IT. “Clarification of processes, roles and responsibilities was much needed. Working with Bestoutcome, we have achieved this by introducing an outcome-driven approach and toolset, improving the consistency, visibility and manageability of our project portfolio.”

For more information on how the University of Surrey approached their PPM implementation, please view their infographic or watch the video.

For more information on PM3 please contact and view our website at

David Walton

About the author

The author - David Walton

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 PM3NHS, the only PMO tools designed by practitioners for practitioners.

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