Steve Messenger

Steve Messenger

Chairman, Agile Business Consortium

Agile Portfolios

Synopsis / Abstract




In this presentation, we will explore how to create and run portfolios of projects, programmes and business as usual initiatives in an agile way. 


Some of the themes explored will be:


          The Agile Organisation and how it can help CEOs and other senior executives reach their goals, do more for less and be competitive and responsive in an a constantly changing world.

          What is Agile Portfolio Management, how it contributes to the agile business, how it differs from traditional portfolio management .

          Key tips on how to make  Agile Portfolio Management work in your organisations

Target Audience


Portfolio and PMO Managers, Senior executives, anyone else involved in portfolios

What will the delegate take away from this session:


An understanding of what Agile Portfolio Management is and how to make it successful in their organisations

Agile Business Consortium
Agile Business Consortium

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Jurgen De Jonghe

Jurgen De JongheJurgen started off his career in automation of business processes and administrative workflow. The tools developed by him and his team are currently still in use by over 10,000 users.

Since 2000, he has been in charge of providing project management consultancy and tools for internal use at CERN. These tools have been used in a variety of projects ranging from the ATLAS detector (the largest particle physics collaboration ever), the LHC accelerator, the European grid project and for planning all strategic activities at CERN.

Jurgen has over 15 years of experience leading a software development team for medium to large software development projects.  He also managed a group in charge of the Supply Chain and Facility Management at CERN.

He is currently part of the management of the group providing overarching project coordination for the accelerator complex (including layout management, integration, scheduling and work & safety coordination), providing support and expertise in matter of project, risk and quality management as well as organizational process as well as developing and supporting the Organization’s PLM, maintenance management tools and mechanical CAD systems.


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Shining a light on Major Projects

Geraldine BarkerInterview by Jason Hesse, Project Magazine [Summer 2016 edition] with National Audit Office’s Geraldine Barker, whose role is to shine a light on how major projects are delivered by government. Geraldine will be speaking at Bringing Projects to Life conference #eVa21 on 16 June

Delivering large-scale infrastructure and transformation projects is a struggle for any organisation, whether public or private. A report from the National Audit Office (NAO), published earlier in 2016, took a deep dive into the government’s delivery of major projects.

Delivering Major Projects in Government was published by NAO director Geraldine Barker and her team, following a comprehensive review of the government’s Major Projects Portfolio. The report was a wake-up call for government, highlighting that project delivery must improve.

There are currently 149 projects in the Major Projects Portfolio, and these have a combined whole-life cost of £511bn, of which £25bn is expected to be spent in 2015–2016. Getting these projects wrong would be disastrous for the public purse. The role of Barker’s team is to identify what the systemic issues affecting the projects may be, and to ensure that public money allocated to major projects is well spent.

“Parliament votes large sums of money for projects. Our role is to make sure the money is spent in the way that parliament intends, and it delivers value.”


The public sector has improved at delivering projects successfully, but further enhancements are needed. While the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) – formerly the Major Projects Authority – and government departments have taken steps to develop capability and provide assurance on improving project delivery, it is vital to improve the consistency and reliability of data surrounding project success.

One third of projects that are due to be delivered in the next five years are rated as ‘in doubt’ or ‘unachievable’ if action is not taken to improve delivery.

The success of these projects is paramount if government is to become more efficient at delivering services. Indeed, nearly 80 per cent of the major projects due to be delivered by 2019–2020 have a transformation or change agenda for how services are delivered or accessed.

Barker, who has spent the past 16 years at the NAO, knows that the key to improving these projects is better data, which, in turn, can help identify weak areas that need to be addressed.

“With the start of the new parliament, we thought that it would be useful to get some context on projects, given how integral project delivery is to the activities of government, as well as highlighting the issues and weaknesses,” she explains.

While positive steps have been taken around accountability, the changes have not gone far enough.

“The IPA has done a lot to try to address issues around accountability – establishing the owners for projects – and there has been a lot more assurance than there was at the start of the last parliament,” Barker  says. “But the data provided by departments isn’t transparent enough.”

One example is costs. “Quite rightly, the IPA wants major risky projects to go into the portfolio at an early stage, but the costings are uncertain,” she explains. “They might know how much money is required to prepare and plan the project, but the detailed whole-life cost will not have been entirely worked out, as the data is incomplete.”

The assessment of costs is an important mandate for the NAO, so understanding how much projects will cost – and how the money will be spent – is important.

“Parliament votes large sums of money for projects. Our role is to make sure that those delivering the projects are spending the money in the way that parliament intends it to be spent, and that it is delivering value to the taxpayer,” says Barker.

She has identified planning as a key lesson for this, and says that project managers ought to spend more time planning: “Do not start making early announcements about projects before having had the chance to plan them through properly. We need to see more emphasis on what it is that the project is trying to solve, instead of just jumping to a solution.

“Have a good, long think about why the project is necessary, and the different ways that you could meet those objectives.”

Having a good challenge function in place can help with this. Taking a little more time at the early stages of the project to challenge your thinking can pay dividends.

“We saw this with Crossrail,” Barker explains. “[Project managers] spent a long time on planning, and they got a lot of challenges back from the Major Projects Review Group. Despite it being a painful process for them at the time, the project ended up benefiting from this.”


Accurate, reliable data is at the heart of successful project delivery, and the complications of collating this data in the Major Projects Portfolio is one of the root causes for the NAO’s challenging assessment in the recent report.

“There are still many gaps in the information that the IPA holds,” Barker explains. “It is doing a lot to try to improve how benefits are articulated, but we feel that there is still a lot that needs to happen around the data more generally.”

When asked why there are such weaknesses in the data, Barker is unable to give a full answer. “I’m not really sure that we’ve got to the bottom of it,” she says. “Whenever we do deep dives into projects – HS2 or Crossrail, for example – getting good data is consistently an issue. Sometimes there are time lags, which are entirely understandable, but we need to take a much closer look at how data is collected and reported.”

“Whenever we do deep dives into projects, getting good data is consistently an issue. We need to take a much closer look at how data is collected.”

The standardisation of data is an issue. Project managers are always able to answer specific questions posed by portfolio managers and government departments, but the questions – and the data that is requested – are often posted in different ways, which makes it hard to compare data sets.


This all leads to the most important issue: cost. The challenge of improving portfolio management at departmental and governmental level has often led to difficulties in assessing, in the planning stages, what will be the project’s full cost.

The general point, says Barker, is how this affects transparency.

“How can we ensure that decision – makers know what the cost will be of what they are agreeing to? How can parliament better understand what it is voting for when allocating money to projects?”

This does not mean having to come up with one final figure for any given project, she adds. There is currently a lot of pressure on the public sector to come up with figures, and taxpayers rightfully want to know how much a project is costing them, but coming up with one specific figure is unrealistic in major projects.

Instead, says Barker, why not encourage departments to educate and explain the uncertainty that surrounds major projects, and come up with a range of costs? “That would be a much healthier discussion, as it would help everyone understand the variables and risk involved,” she says.

The NAO’s role in assessing projects – by uncovering how money is being spent and looking at how waste can be avoided – is not easy. The lack of data and the difficulty in accurately determining a project’s likelihood of being delivered successfully, on time and on budget, is a challenge. Yet, clearly, improvements are required for success rates to rise.

But, for Barker, the job of shining a light is done. “Given the scale and length of major projects, it is important to review them periodically, instead of just waiting to the end, when it is too late to fix them.”

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Iain Morton

Iain Morton

BMT Hi-Q Sigma

How to ensure effective project performance reporting

Synopsis: Every project needs an appropriate framework in place to manage its performance effectively. Utilising our experience of improving performance management of multi-billion pound programmes within a major government organisation, we discuss some of the key challenges and pitfalls that we have witnessed and how to overcome them.

Iain Morton

Iain Morton
Iain Morton

Iain joined BMT Hi-Q Sigma in 2014 with 5 years’ experience working for major defence organisations Thales and AgustaWestland. He has strong project management, change management, project controls, risk management and performance management expertise gained through leading and supporting teams both within Government and industry. More recently, Iain has been implementing consistent performance management practices across a multi-billion portfolio of work within a major Government organisation.

BMT Hi-Q Sigma

BMT Hi-Q Sigma
BMT Hi-Q Sigma

BMT Hi-Q Sigma is a Management Consultancy providing services across Government, Defence, Energy and Transport sectors to improve Portfolio, Programme and Project performance.

We provide pragmatic advice from strategy to delivery, tailoring best practice to your specific needs. Working within your teams we build successful, effective relationships, transferring skills and knowledge to create sustainable change.

BMT Hi-Q Sigma is an operating company of BMT Group and an Employee Benefit Trust, which guarantees our independence and ensures we act in the long term benefit of all our staff.

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Shane Forth Costain

Blazing the Project Controls Skills Trail

Summary: This talk will explain the long standing Project Controls Skills shortage that persists to this day and the ‘wake-up call’ to the engineering and construction industry that has led to the collaborative actions of senior project controls practitioners, sector and professional bodies and training organisations to raise the profile of project controls; including most recently the development of the newly launched Project Controls Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship.

Shane Forth, Costain, ECITB

Shane Forth
Shane Forth

Shane Forth is Director of PMO for Costain Natural Resources, a Fellow of both APM and ACostE and an MSP Registered Practitioner, Shane has 41 years’ experience in Oil & Gas, Nuclear and Power & Process industries and is recognised externally by customers, peers and professional bodies as a project controls expert, sitting on national professional, technical and academic working groups. He has an MSc in Project Management awarded in 2013 from University of Manchester, and won the Stephen Wearne award for best overall performance followed by national acclaim, winning the APM Geoffrey Trimble award for best Master’s post-graduate dissertation. For the last 25 years, Shane has provided strategic and functional leadership in Project Management and Controls as a member of .senior leadership team at both global and divisional level including responsibility for the development and continuous improvement of project management assurance and project controls processes and systems. In the development of project controls people resource and competency to meet business needs, Shane has specified and delivered training through company Project Management Academies and been a driving force in the implementation of national project controls apprenticeship and graduate programmes, for which he has been honoured twice by the ECITB including winner of a national award for individual leadership and significant contribution to training and development. Shane is currently Chair of the employer-led group developing the Project Controls Technician Trailblazer apprenticeship programme.

Catherine Lambert, ECITB

Catherine Lambert
Catherine Lambert

Catherine Lambert is an experienced manager with product development, project management and stakeholder engagement expertise. In the last four years she has brought company project controls experts and training organisations together to create a successful, pro-active Industry-wide Project Controls Working Group. This Working Group has developed: quality Vocational Qualifications that meet the needs of industry; comprehensive training standards that specify the correct discipline-specific technical knowledge and techniques essential for the continued successful delivery of project control, cost engineering, estimating and planning by UK-based companies; and a new Project Controls Technician Apprentice Standard that is ideal for those embarking on a career in this field. There is now a range of qualifications, apprenticeships, training products and a career path that together are increasing the attractiveness of Project Controls as a place to start and develop a successful career. Catherine continues to support the Working Group in ensuring its important contribution to the project controls profession is recognised industry and UK-wide.



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Simon Addyman

Simon Addyman –

Project & Programme Manager Visiting Lecturer UCL

Turning experience into knowledge for Project Controls

Summary: Simon will talk about his experience of managing and controlling London Undergrounds’ Bank Station Capacity Upgrade project as it transitioned from design to construction. Simon also studied the transition as a part of his PhD and will draw on the benefits of undertaking research both in practice and for practice. Simon’s PhD research investigates how ‘time’ influences construction project organisations as they move from the early ‘development’ phase of design and statutory planning, through to the ‘delivery’ phase of construction. Specifically looking at how the ‘temporary’ nature of projects, their pre-defined dates and resulting critical paths, influences the capability of project organisations through the (re)creation of patterns of interdependent working.

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The Agile Blues Band

We are not American. Upping your persona without playing the trump card.
Jack Pinter


Jack Pinter
Jack Pinter

Jack Pinter runs Square One Partnership, which creates and delivers innovative learning initiatives designed to transform and revitalise the world of work. Following his commitment to eradicate desperately dull and pointless communication, Jack shared his course ‘Alternatives to Powerpoint,’ with clients across a range of industries. Jack uses a panoply of interactive experiential techniques and paradigms designed to people build trust, better engage audiences and create memorable messages.

Jack’s has enjoyed a polymorphous career as a jazz musician, journalist, storyteller, playwright, composer, facilitator and coach. Along the way he’s appeared in or with Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Waits, Yoko Ono, The Grand Ole Opry, The Boston Globe, The National Theatre, The Orange Tree Theatre. Channel Four Television Cisco Systems, McKinsey Consulting and Accenture.

His work has and non-fiction writing at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA. He worked as a journalist for The Middletown Press, and was a regular contributor to Advocate Newspapers. His work has also appeared in Northeast Magazine, Connecticut Magazine and The Boston Globe. As a playwright, his work has been staged by The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond (UK) and The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury (UK). He’s also received commissions from Channel 4 Television, PBS Television in the USA, and The English Shakespeare Company. Jack has shown leaders at Price-Waterhouse Coopers, Skandia Wealth Management and Motorola how to improve their writing, and has devised a business writing skills course for PNC Bank in the USA.

He has featured as a storyteller in projects for The Royal National Theatre, The Lyric Hammersmith and. He has contributed songs and music for film, television and theatre productions, and has performed with Tom Waits, Anastacia, Marianne Faithfull, Dizzy Gillespie, and most recently, actor-turned-singer Tim Robbins.

Jack’s passion for experiential learning inspires him to use interactive exercises, tools and techniques to create lively, stimulating and engaging learning programs. Jack’s expertise in persuasive communication was developed during a wide-ranging early career in the arts, as an improviser, journalist, playwright and theatre director. As a storyteller, Jack has featured in projects for The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and The Royal National Theatre, where he has also devised and directed over fifty educational theatre projects. As a playwright, his work has been staged by The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond and The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. Jack began his career as a jazz musician, and has appeared with Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Waits, Marianne Faithfull and, most recently, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Boy George.

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eVa22 – Brexibility

The best independent event for the project professionals who like to think about what they do!

Conference: 17-18 May 2017

Armourers’ Hall 81 Coleman Street, Moorgate, London, EC2R 5BJ

eVa 22: Brexibility
eVa 22: Brexibility

Brexibility: This year EVA focuses on the New Normal. A fantastic place for a kick-start and a reboot of Project Controls in your career, your projects and your life.

There is nothing better than a perceived crisis to make people get serious. In times of prosperity many of you will have seen how slack and undervalued Project Controls and Governance can be. But we have entered a window of opportunity to have another go at getting things right.

Governance that really does join projects to portfolios. In an agile flexible way.
Project Controls central to the PMO toolset, properly managed and executed. A proper career path with some qualifications!
Performance Management which is understood implemented and used.

Getting your voice heard, your input sought and valued. There has never been a better time to prove your worth, to get the attention of the people at the top. Or you might be at the top wondering whether to jump. Come along talk listen learn discuss and see where it leads you.

As ever, #eVa22 will be different, entertaining and informative. Dinner will be served in the Hall by candlelight.

Attendees are middle to very senior professionals with interests in project management generally, project controls, earned value and wanting to learn more about wider issues of transformation, successful change and benefits-driven portfolios.

They will also be very keen to set Project Controls onto a formal career path this year and are looking for like minds who will lobby for and champion this, as well as networking and business leads.

Government Defence Aerospace Construction Utilities Transport Power Generation and IT sectors are represented.

All eVa conferences are filmed for web broadcast by the PM Channel as well as support from the trade press and social media.

Sponsors will each be allocated a clear space, power supply and either a table or stand space on the networking area where delegates network between sessions in the pre-conference, mid morning, lunch and afternoon breaks and during the break out sessions.

Main and Gold sponsors may erect suitable stands. Sponsors will be able to distribute brochures to all delegates. Erection of stands will be early morning on the day of the event or previous day by arrangement.

Every sponsor’s logo will appear on all marketing and event documentation produced by the organisers.

Book now