Delivery Health Check, Maturity Assessment and Capability Improvement

Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL)

CNWL is one of the largest trusts in the UK, caring for people with a wide range of physical and mental health needs.


The Challenge

Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) commenced an ambitious 5 year ICT Strategy to overhaul the ICT across the Trust. The portfolio of work was valued at ca. £30m+, with more than 5,000 Trust users and over 90 ICT staff. CNWL wanted to:

  • Verify that the processes to deliver the Strategy were fit for purpose and flexible enough to use for managing both in-house and outsourced projects and programmes;
  • Understand and address delivery issues that were affecting a number of projects and programmes – these threatened to have a knock on impact on later initiatives if left unresolved.

Our Approach

Phase 1 – Healthcheck
The Trust ICT Strategy identified a series of dependencies on existing projects, three of which had fallen significantly behind schedule. ASE conducted a delivery health check of each of these projects and programmes assessing areas such as feasibility, technical challenges, stakeholder engagement and the delivery capability of the project teams. The output was a remedial action plan for each project that was agreed with the Trust IT Director and IT Programme Board. ASE worked closely with the Trust during implementation of the plans to ensure remedial actions were followed through and effective.

Phase 2 – Maturity Assessment
ASE undertook an objective, evidence-based assessment of the Trust’s portfolio, programme and project delivery capability using a number of information sources and bespoke ASE assessment tools. This provided a clear and comprehensive view of the ‘as-is’ ICT delivery capability and formed an essential baseline for the organisation to track improvements.
Critically, the assessment identified a need to increase delivery maturity in order to successfully control and oversee delivery of the ICT Strategy. A target maturity level was identified and recommendations outlined the enhancements needed to meet the target. This assessment enabled the management team to fully understand the target state for their ICT delivery capability.

Phase 3 – Capability Improvement
ASE delivered a project to implement the recommendations identified in the Maturity Assessment. This included:

  • Developing Frameworks aligned to “best of breed” practices. These defined the policies and processes for all areas of portfolio, programme and project management.
  • Producing templates to standardise project, programme and portfolio management activities and documents.
  • Developing training materials and delivering face to face training sessions

Throughout the project we worked in collaboration with CNWL to develop a tailored set of standards that would work practically and integrate fully with established processes and teams.

Phase 4 – Portfolio Office Support

During Phase 3 ASE provided direct support to the Head of the Portfolio Management Office to support uptake of the new materials. This included working with project and programme teams to help them adopt the changes, providing direction and guidance as required. Our support also provided additional capacity within the PMO to oversee project and programme delivery and help manage suppliers.

The Results

  • Phase 1: Action plans completed and projects/ programmes back to “green” health status.
  • Phase 2: Maturity Assessment with a clear “as-is” picture and a definition of the target state and actions required.
  • Phase 3: Delivery of integrated delivery standards and templates to govern all work in the ICT Portfolio.
  • Phase 4: Phased implementation of new processes and templates across multiple projects and programmes.

These results had the benefit of:

  1. Providing enhanced delivery confidence and reducing project slippage and cost overruns.
  2. Bringing efficiency, consistency, standardisation, a common language and clearly defined methodologies. These optimised staff induction, training and development.
  3. Allowing key decision makers to get a panoramic view of the portfolio, its progress, interactions, conflicts, risks and benefits against investments.
  4. Providing the complete structure of functions and services necessary to enable portfolio delivery and launch the business change that will be introduced.
  5. Ensuring key information such as schedule, budget and benefit information is both baselined and maintained. This enabled the continued progress of, and business justification for, each project or programme to be regularly reviewed.
  6. Fostering a climate of responsibility and accountability amongst all staff.
  7. Enabling early intervention by the right people when issues do arise.