All posts by Merv Wyeth

Hugh Ivory

Hugh IvoryHugh Ivory is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Agilesphere, an Agile Transformation consultancy which provides tailored services and great people to help organisations embed agility and Digital by Default. Agilesphere is a DSDM and APMG ATO.

Hugh specialises in the use of Agile methods to deliver portfolios of change, and has worked with a number of organisations in UK and Ireland including AIB Group, Daiwa Capital Markets, EBS and Axa Insurance.  Recently, Hugh spent 18 months working in the Transformation Team at the UK’s Government Digital Service, the organisation responsible for implementing the Government Digital Strategy.

Whilst a director at DSDM Consortium (2005–2009), Hugh was a member of the core working group responsible for the development of DSDM Atern, the most radical upgrade to the DSDM method in over a decade and the foundation for the Agile Project Management Framework.  Hugh is certified as an Agile Leadership Practitioner, an Agile Project Management Practitioner, Scrum-master and Prince2 Practitioner.


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Reinhard Wagner

IPMA, President

Reinhard Wagner is President of the International Project Management Association [IPMA], Past President and Honorary Fellow of GPM the German Project Management Association], and founder and CEO of Projectivists, a PM Consultancy.

Reinhard’s Proven Record

Reinhard WagnerHe has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defence, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations.

As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts.

He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects.

P3M International Standards

For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”.

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Dr Mandy Walker

Mandy WalkerMandy is the founder of QiResults. She is a leading practitioner in understanding how people behave during change, and has demonstrated her expertise in how to raise and sustain workforce morale in difficult environments.

Her doctoral studies demonstrate that change is a shift of one thing to another, whereas transformation includes a shift of thinking. She is acknowledged as an expert in transformation and culture shift.

By profession Mandy is an applied psychologist and specialises in finding practical solutions to complex soft problems. She works to reduce and remove the waste caused by unhelpful behaviours and limiting cultural norms in the workplace. She has gained a reputation for measurably improving workplace effectiveness in complex projects in public, private, and third sectors, particularly where the tax payer is ultimately paying the bill for the service or goods being provided.

She leads a specialist consultancy team of engineers, strategists and psychologists, expert in helping organisations develop their internal practices and processes to deliver efficient, value for money output, with maximum behavioural impact.

She survives this complex world in which she operates because of strength drawn from steadfast friends, a passion for skiing, a wicked sense of humour, a firm faith in goodness, and the grounding that comes from being raised in a South Yorkshire coal mining family.

Additionally, Mandy has two adult children who are professionals she describes as “my anchor in stormy weather, and simply two wonderful people who enrich my life far more than they ever impoverished my bank account!”


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Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Professor Instituto de Empresa, Director Global Head of Global PMO

Antonio Nieto-RodriguezProf. Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez currently works as Director Head of PMO at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. Previously he worked in the banking sector, for BNP Paribas Fortis, where he implemented Project Portfolio Management practices to help the Executive Committee select, prioritize and execute 150+ projects and a budget of 100 mio euro yearly.

Prior to that he was Head of Post Merger Integration, leading the largest takeover in the financial service history: the acquisition of ABN AMRO.

During 1997 and 2007 he worked as senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, becoming the global lead practitioner for project management.

Chair of Project Management Institute [PMI] Board of Directors

In 2013 Antonio was elected as Chair of Project Management Institute Board of Directors, the largest project management association in the world. Currently he is the Chairman of the PMI Board.

Antonio authors articles in business magazines, including Strategy Business Review, Singapore Management Institute, PM Journal, PM Network® and The Economist.  In 2012 he published the book “The Focused Organization” to help organisations improve the way they manage their strategic initiatives and increase their focus.


Born in Madrid, undertook undergraduate studies in Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United States. He has a degree in economics and an MBA from London Business School.

Academic & Speaker

In parallel, Antonio has developed a career in academia: teaching and delivering executive programs to leaders of more than 30 multinationals. He is visiting professor at the #1 executive education school in the world, Duke CE, and other leading business schools such as Instituto de Empresa, Skolkova and Vlerick.

Antonio is also a seasoned keynote speaker (TeDx; London Speaker Bureau) at international events where he speaks on the strategic value of project management. This year he participated in the leading Strategy Conference in the Middle East together with Bob Kaplan, founder of the Balanced Scorecard.

Website & Book:
LinkedIn & Blog:
Twitter:                  @ANietoRodriguez
Think-tank:            StrateXecution –

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Chris Pond

Chris PondChris Pond is a Senior Solutions Specialist for PPM at Microsoft. He has over eighteen years of experience working with customers to help them understand the benefits and value of Project Portfolio Management.

His role at Microsoft focuses on leading Microsoft Office 365 Project Online cloud sales engagements in enterprise organisations across industries, while supporting the wider sales community with good practice when discussing Portfolio and Project Management (PPM).

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Can you see the real me?

Do the actions and behaviour of your project stakeholders ever inspire you to:

  1. Question the value logic and rational thinking
  2. Tear your hair out
  3. Despair for sanity of the human race
  4. All of the above?


Do your stakeholders ever struggle to understand your decisions and your way of thinking?

Can you see the real me
If so, join Jack Pinter and two professional actors as they reveal and enact the layers of motivational drivers that inform and influence human behaviour, and show you how to see the ‘real me’ in others, and share your own ‘real me’ in service of better and smoother interpersonal relationships.

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Tim Banfield

Growing Project Delivery Capability and Capacity in Government

Tim Banfield - Major Projects Authority

  • Tim Banfield, Director Strategy
  • Infrastructure and Projects Authority
  • Cabinet Office


Tim took up his current role in the Infrastructure &  Projects Authority [IPA], part of the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, in November 2013. Tim has a critical leadership role developing the project delivery profession in government including the development and advancement of the Major Projects Leadership Academy.

Working closely with the Chief Executive of the IPA, Treasury, departments and others, Tim is responsible for ensuring a consistent, high quality, approach is adopted to prioritising and managing portfolios and for developing a refined and updated approach Project Initiation.

Tim has an Honours degree in History obtained at the University of London, is an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management, a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and, in 2013, was one of the first cohort to successfully pass through the government Major Projects Leadership Academy.

He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Royal United Services Institute and has had a wide variety of articles published in project management and defence journals and lectures on a range of courses. He was previously a Director at the National Audit Office which he joined in 1988 having previously worked in local government.

At the NAO Tim specialised in the examination of complex project delivery and defence acquisition issues and, at various times, was also responsible for its work on DEFRA, the Millennium Dome and foreign affairs. Tim is married to Kay, has two daughters and two dogs and is an avid West Ham United supporter.

Infrastructure & Projects Authority

IPA has responsibility to assure, support and report on the Government Major Projects Portfolio [GMPP], which covers around 200 major projects with a total whole life cost approaching £500 billion.

Major projects are defined as those which:

  • require spending over and above departmental expenditure limits
  • require primary legislation
  • are innovative or contentious

The IPA has a clear and enforceable mandate from the Prime Minister to:

  • draw up the Government Major Projects Portfolio
  • request, review and approve integrated assurance and approval plans for each major project or programme
  • carry out assurance reviews where there is cause for concern
  • intervene directly, where appropriate, in the delivery of major projects that are failing by providing commercial and operational support
  • work with departments to build skills and expertise in projects and programme management
  • publish an annual report on major projects

The mandate also outlines action to be taken be departments.

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Emma Cater

Emma Cater PhotoEmma Cater’s acting career began as a child, performing in BBC’s The Doctors and The Harry H Corbett Show alongside her parents. She went on to train in Dance Theatre and performed with various dance and theatre companies in USA, Japan, the Far East, China and Europe, playing the lead opening production at the new Saddler’s Wells in London.

She has played a variety of roles from Hermia in Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Night’s Dream on London’s South Bank, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel at The Young Vic and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Recent work includes The Girl Who Never Looked Up at the National Theatre, Beauty and the Beast at Polka Theatre London, the feature film Loulou and various TV commercials. Emma a learning associate at the National Theatre and Barbican, and also has done training and role-play work for many large organisations across Europe.
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Michael Mears

Michael-Mears-colour-02-webMichael, who trained at the Drama Centre, London between 1975 and 1978, has since had a long and distinguished career in Theatre, Television and Film Productions and radio.

His skills include:

Accents and Dialects:  American-Standard, Cockney, French, Irish-Southern, Italian, Liverpool, London, Northern, RP, Suffolk

Languages: English, German and Italian.

Sports: Golf [highly skilled]

Recent roles include:

Theatre Productions

2016 Vicar-General Barnabus Goche, THE HERBAL BED, ETT and tour, d. James Dacre

2015 Lord Lamprey, Canon St. John, THE MAGNA CARTA PLAYS, Salisbury Playhouse, d. Gareth Machin

2014 Monsieur Grivet, THERESE RAQUIN, Theatre Royal, Bath, d. Jonathan Munby

2014 War Correspondent, WAR CORRESPONDENTS, Helen Chadwick Songtheatre, national tour, co-directed by Steven Hoggett, Helen Chadwick

2014 Stryver, Mr. Lorry, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Royal Theatre, Northampton, d. James Dacre

2013 Inspector Boucard, A LITTLE HOTEL ON THE SIDE (Feydeau), Theatre Royal, Bath
director, Lindsay Posner

2012 Pied Piper and other roles, RATS’ TALES, Royal Exchange, Manchester- director, Melly Still

2012 Antonio, THE TEMPEST, Theatre Royal, Bath director, Adrian Noble

2011 The Archbishop of York, and Bardolph, HENRY IVTH PARTS 1 AND 2, Theatre Royal, Bath director, Peter Hall

2010 Arthur Kipps, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, Fortune Theatre, London director, Robin Herford

2009 Foxlip, NATION, (Terry Pratchett/ Mark Ravenhill), National Theatre director, Melly Still

2009 Rynaldo, ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, National Theatre director, Marianne Elliott

2008 Boyet, LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST, Rose Theatre, Kingston director, Peter Hall

2008 Yao Yel and Ki Leh, TURANDOT, (Brecht) Hampstead Theatre director,Tony Clark

2008 Elwood Barnes, HARPER REGAN, (Stephens) National Theatre director, Marianne Elliott

2007 Neil Hamilton/James Herring/Menaji, LIFE AFTER SCANDAL, (Soans) Hampstead Theatre
director, Tony Clark

2007 Michael, SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME, (McGuinness) Manchester Library Theatre, director, Chris Honer

2007 Prospero, THE TEMPEST, Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch director, Bob Carlton

2006 Lucio, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Theatre Royal Bath and Stratford director, Peter Hall

Television and Film Productions

2014 Mathematics Professor – LONDONGRAD – Ep.7 – Windcatcher Productions

2011 Curate Horsley, (episode 1), PARADE’S END, (Stoppard/Ford Madox Ford) BBC/HBO
director, Susanna White

2011 Mr. Goodpasture, HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS, History Channel director, Kevin Reynolds

2011 The Vicar, PRIVATE PEACEFUL, (Morpurgo/Reade), Fluidity Films director, Pat O’Connor

2011 ‘Creepy Colin’ Grimshaw (3 episodes), HOLLYOAKS, Lime Pictures director, Steve Brett

2010 Mr. Jessup, the undertaker, ACTS OF GODFREY, feature film director, Johnny Daukes

2008 Michael Gygess, INVISIBLE EYES, Hide Films director, Olivier Cohen

2007 Jiglad Wert-Hoodwinkers, THE COLOUR OF MAGIC, (Pratchett) Mob Films/SKY One
director, Vadim Jean

2007 Mathematician, THE OXFORD MURDERS, Tornasol Films director, Alex De La Iglesia

2007 The Vigilance Councillor, MARIE LLOYD – QUEEN OF THE MUSIC HALL, Hat Trick for BBC 4 director, James Hawes

Solo and Radio Work

2009, Radio, The English Officer, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, BBC Radio 3, David Hunter

2009, Radio, Tommy Benson, INCIDENT AT BOULONVILLIERS, BBC Radio 4, David Hunter

2005, Radio, All parts, ARNOLD DARWIN’S FEELING BETTER, Own solo play/BBC Radio 4, Enyd Williams


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ITER: Mankind’s Most Significant Megaproject?

The ITER Project Context

With environmental experts expressing serious fears that fossil fuels are in increasingly short supply, it seems that mankind is facing a potential energy crisis. But since the late 1950s, visionary scientists have been exploring fusion energy as a valid alternative. In Europe, the world’s most powerful fusion experiment, JET [based at Culham in the UK], is the only device currently capable of producing large amounts of fusion energy.

Now, that wealth of knowledge is playing a crucial role in the development of the ITER Tokamak – a global collaboration designed to bring this massive energy experiment to fruition.

Project Manager Today’s Editor, Amy Hatton, spoke to two leading experts from JET and ITER to get the latest on a megaproject that, if successful, will go down in the history books as a turning point for us all.

Steven Cowley and Joe Onstott
Professor Steven Cowley, Head of Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. CEO, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and Joseph Onstott, Budget Manager, International ITER Project for Fusion

Fusion Energy: The Story So Far

The construction of JET (the Joint European Torus) began as a response to the oil crisis of the 1970s and has grown to become the world’s most powerful fusion experiment, according to Cowley.

“Fusion is the power source of stars” he says. “We’re trying to tame that energy source to make power stations, with the hope of bringing the first fusion electricity to the grid by 2050. It’s a global effort but, at the moment, JET is the only fusion device capable of using the right fuel mix (two types of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium) and producing megawatt-scale fusion power. That places us at the cutting edge of modern science.”

Whilst JET was in its infancy, a group of industrial nations was discussing the importance of developing a new, sustainable source of energy. Following the Geneva Superpower Summit in 1985, the official ITER Organisation launched in 2007. JET is the most advanced fusion experiment today, the larger ITER device will take over this mantle and test the technology on an industrial scale, according to Onstott. “Essentially ITER is a collaboration between countries that are the leaders in fusion science, including the EU, China, Japan, Korea, India, Russia and the US” he explains.

“Our goal is to pool the resources and knowledge that have been accumulated over the past decades to develop the largest fusion device in the world. Right now, we’re coming to a crisis situation with fossil fuels. Renewable energy is advancing, but it only represents about 2% of the total energy landscape.

Fusion is very clean, the waste is negligible and we can theoretically produce an energy output from the Tokamak that equals ten times what we put in. Plus, deuterium and tritium are abundant and will last thousands of years. So we really believe that fusion is the energy source of the future.”

A Megaproject Defying Normal Parameters

JETWhilst the two megaprojects (which essentially function as components of one even larger megaproject) are in different stages of maturity, they carry strikingly similar challenges in terms of complexity.

In the case of JET, a megaproject that spans such an unusually long period of time provides a unique opportunity for lessons learned. Unlike many modern megaprojects, says Cowley, “JET never adopted a formal ‘off the shelf’ methodology en masse, although we do use standard industry tools like Primavera. Over the years, our people have brought expertise from their own highly skilled specialisms, introducing different industry standards to the project. Because JET has evolved over three decades, we have to adapt what was done at that beginning to modern practices.

But that’s not to say that we don’t engage in meticulous project planning. When we’re upgrading we can have 800 people working on the device. We have to bring together skills in electrical engineering, power engineering, IT, control engineering, mechanical engineering, health and safety…not to mention the implications of handling radioactive gas; we’re the world experts in handling tritium. An outstanding project culture is essential to deliver a facility in which the scientific community can operate.”

Onstott points out that this is an equally significant consideration for ITER. “The project management discipline is vitally important for us. As a result we’re seeing a developing focus within ITER on project management best practice, and growing numbers of our officers are becoming certified PM professionals. For ITER, the real complexity comes from our unique governance structure.

A Global Collaboration with Shared Goals

One of our key goals is to “ITER has been called a ‘social experiment that’s occasionally interrupted by technical difficulties’. Working with so many cultures, nationalities and governance structures is really an experiment in how to collaborate globally, and it poses a unique challenge for ITER.”

Tokamak - Small“We’re about to enter a phase where we conduct fusion power tests again and break our own world records. At that point we won’t be able to access the machine any other way but robotically. Unless we’re prepared for that we could face a scenario that puts us back two or three years.”

That’s why ITER was structured as a collaboration. Instead of holding the funding centrally, the different member states self-fund and contribute in kind. We’re guided by the ITER Council and various advisory bodies, but ultimately the decisions must be taken unanimously.

If one member objects that will block the decision. We’re starting to tackle that by introducing much more integrated project teams. In the future, instead of every ITER component being project managed locally, we will have international project teams responsible for that component.

We’ve also set up the ITER Cabinet, which comprises the Director General and all of the global leaders. That will facilitate collective and fast decision making. We’ve learned that we have to adapt the organisation to suit the model we’ve chosen for this project and work in a highly collaborative way.”

transfo_arrival_1_webCowley agrees that cultural challenges and project hierarchy have been key nuts for ITER to crack. “ITER is an enormously challenging piece of engineering. Every piece of it pushes the limits. One of the issues is that the design is the responsibility of the team on the site at Cadarache in France, but the procurement is the responsibility of seven domestic agencies of the global partners.

That separation of design and budget is a very difficult thing in a project – the design team naturally wants to perfect everything, whereas the procurement team’s priority is cost. You really want that tension to lie in one place. Through its efforts to bring more project management responsibility to Cadarache, ITER will place that tension between cost and performance more centrally so that it can be better managed.”

Lessons Learned: A Culture of Efficiency

ITER - PeriscopeNaturally we all strive for efficiency in projects – so what lessons can the PM community absorb from these massive endeavours? For Cowley, one of the key messages is the importance of planning. “As an example, we maintain JET largely through ‘remote handling’, and over the years we’ve developed a culture around doing that efficiently.

It’s not so much about the robotic systems themselves, it’s more about how you design the object you need to maintain so that it’s easy to do via remote handling.

Unless you think about potential problems at the beginning of the project you won’t get the desired result. So we’ve developed a culture where the design of the machine is reviewed and understood by the maintenance specialists in a very detailed way, right from the start. We rehearse the maintenance of that component – not just virtually but physically in a practice facility – to understand whether we’re planning the right design and  way forward.

Design something that can be easily fixed

We’re about to enter a phase where we conduct fusion power tests again and break our own world records. At that point we won’t be able to access the machine any other way but robotically. Unless we’re prepared for that we could face a scenario that puts us back two or three years. That lesson is even more crucial now because ITER’s construction is massively complex and it will be too radioactive to get close to any other way but remotely. It’s not just about designing a megaproject that will work, it’s also crucial to design something that will be fixable in a short amount of time.”

From Onstott’s perspective, project controls also present a major challenge, but one that is crucial to the success of ITER. “One of the difficulties for us is the hand-off point. You might have a certain component being manufactured in one country before it’s transported to another country for the next stage of development – and then shipped to another for final manufacturing. Managing those handovers is a real challenge.

We firstly have to define a realistic schedule incorporating realistic dates from the suppliers and underpinned by manufacturing schedules. That must then propagate upwards to our global members who integrate it into their organisations to give us full visibility, so that we can incorporate and assess all of the different opportunities.

Complex Stakeholder Management

ITER - ScientistsThat’s a big challenge because there are so many social, political, environmental and financial things happening – not always expected – in all the countries at any given time. Sometimes, before the contract has even been issued to the manufacturer, we find out that they can’t supply to the agreed timeframe for unforeseen reasons.

That triggers a change request that has to be approved and integrated into all the different schedules. Funnily enough, we’re a lot more confident in meeting our technical targets. ITER has been called a ‘social experiment that’s occasionally interrupted by technical difficulties’. Working with so many cultures, nationalities and governance structures is really an experiment in how to collaborate globally, and it poses a unique challenge for ITER.

In project management we usually talk about the three sided triangle: cost, scope and schedule. ITER is more of a parallelogram. The fourth side of that is stakeholder management. We’re accountable to so many stakeholders – from the French nuclear regulatory authorities to US Congress and numerous governments across the world. So there’s widespread communication and accountability that’s crucial to ensure that we continue our coalition. Managing that is a highly complex business.”

Cowley adds that JET has paved the way in this area through early project experiences. “JET is an easier machine to deal with than ITER because it’s not going to be as radioactive or use as much power. But it’s still a massively challenging project.

We’ve been instrumental in designing the radio frequency systems that will beam enormous amounts of power into the highly hostile environment inside ITER. That was a trans-European design effort, with the UK playing a leading role. The initial consortium for the design of ITER itself involved multiple contracts, headed up by Fusion for Energy in Barcelona. Even by the time the design got to ITER itself there had been multiple international collaborations to bring together the design and planning requirements.

Our role at CCFE is to deliver £140 million of contracts for ITER. We’re bringing our technology to them – not just the remote handling equipment but the whole way in which that interfaces with the machine and the restrictions that places on the design of the machine itself. It becomes a technology transfer exercise and that’s very much in keeping with the spirit and the goals of ITER.”

Potential and Perseverance: The Future of Fusion

Steven Cowley and Joe OnstottDespite the seemingly endless challenges presented by both JET and ITER, there is no doubt that the collective potential inspires not only these two project leaders, but everyone involved in these most ambitious of ventures.

As Onstott says: “We really do believe that fusion has the potential to solve the world’s energy problems. We believe in the project and its potential to change the world if it comes to fruition. It truly is a megaproject in all senses of the word.”

Cowley shares his conviction. “One day the world will be powered by fusion. There will be a time when ITER reaches the point of producing its first self-sustained fusion burn. I want to be there because that will be the culmination of my life’s work. Just like the first chain reaction in the middle of the second world war when nuclear energy was launched, the first time a controlled fusion burn is done in ITER will be written in the history books, and remembered as a turning point not just for science, but for mankind as a whole.”

Your Chance to See ITER in Action

Fusing the Project World – 4th September 2015

The organisers of eVaintheUK have announced that they will be hosting a project management conference at ITER’s Headquarters. The itinerary includes a Tour of the ITER Project Construction Site of the ITER site and networking dinner at the nearby Le Relais du Grand Logis hotel , as well as a packed line-up of speakers and themes for project management practitioners and stakeholders.

For more information, visit and Conference Registration – Book your place for just 99 Euros.

Fusing the Project World - Book now