Programme Assurance – Manage Risk and Increase the Chance of Successful Delivery

by | 24 Aug 2019

There are many high-profile examples of programmes failing to deliver. No two programmes are the same, there are plenty of different aspects that can and do go wrong. Even with best practice programme management and controls within the programme team environment things can and do go off-piste.

How often, as a Programme Sponsor or Programme Board Member, do you receive status reports and periodic updates from a dedicated and committed programme team yet feel exposed as unable (due to available time, information or experience) to really get behind or effectively challenge the view presented upwards? How often do you receive reports from Internal Audit or External Audit which are limited in scope and at a point in time only, and feel underwhelmed as they simply provide a list of low-level areas to be improved?

There have been many occasions in my Consulting career where I have been asked to leverage my Transformation, Programme & Change Management experience to provide robust assurance to Programme Sponsors / Boards in a way that helps manage risk whilst contributing to the success of the programme.

In addition to providing hands-on Transformation, Programme & Change Management support and ad-hoc advisory reviews as a ‘critical friend’, Merlin provides Programme Assurance at either the second line (to the Programme Sponsor / Board) or third line (to the Audit & Risk Committee) as depicted below:​

Merlin’s methodology aligns with the Three Lines of Defence Model above to help ensure a robust and balanced mix of assurance over the management of programme risk, avoiding unnecessary gaps or overlaps between the various sources of assurance that may exist.

Our approach, and proven PM Scorecard tool, can be tailored to provide assurance continuously over the life of a programme (periodic health checks with ‘deep dives’ around key milestones / areas of concern); at a specific point in time (gateway reviews); or retrospectively (lessons learned review). Our approach can be narrowed to individual projects or extended to portfolios of programmes.

Working closely with the programme team and key stakeholders, we help Programme Sponsors / Boards and the team by providing:

  • Constructive challenge, leveraging many years practical experience across a range of disciplines, for increased confidence that the programme is aligned to good practice
  • An objective and timely view of current or potential concerns to address and bring the programme in line including added value recommendations to enhance performance
  • Independent insight to improve future programmes and avoid similar issues

If you would like to understand in more detail the benefits of our Programme Assurance service offering, we would be delighted to organise a presentation or video conference to talk through a case study with you.