Nick Buckles (G4S Chief Executive) would definitely win Gold. Keith Vaz, the Home Affairs Committee Chairman refer to G4S as “unacceptable”, “incompetent” and “amateurish”…but what’s more annoying than putting a black smudge on the Olympics before it even starts is Mr Buckles made me late for a meeting today because I couldn’t pull myself away from the live broadcast of his grilling.
It’s actually annoying that I feel the need to write about this on my blog, as I know a few people working on the Olympics and I know how hard they are working. However, the reason I have to give this issue the air time is Mr Buckles said a couple of things in the interview that I found totally and utterly brilliant as an example of how to atrociously lead any kind of project, programme, portfolio or organisation for that matter.
Top of the pops was the comment stating that he only found out about the problem on 1 July (during his holiday). The problem in this case being that G4S were 10,000 people short of their recruitment target, this is for a project that goes live 2 weeks later, and one that the whole world is looking at… Whoopsie Daisies.
Mr Buckles then went onto say that it is not possible to understand the progress of this process until you are near the end. This actually made me laugh, Mr Buckles obviously hasn’t heard of portfolio status reporting, or Agile, or Earned Value, or Portfolio Dashboards.
I then thought of a contrasting situation in the form of the Census 2011, which is potentially one of the most successful public programmes in living memory (yes I am a bit bias with my new found love of statistics). But never the less, the Office of National Statistics published the first Census 2011 findings yesterday to great acclaim. This is a programme that had to recruit 35,000 people to gather and process Census data from everyone in England and Wales…I cant imagine what would have happened if 20 days before the event the Census Director turned around and said “Soz, we just found out we don’t have enough people”… he certainly wouldn’t have got paid £57M (which is what G4S will still get despite the cock up)
Anyway, I’m going to wrap this blog post up now but before I do listen up Chief Executives. Unless you want to make me late for another meeting because I’m watching you get grilled on TV…go get yourself an organisational wide portfolio office, get someone to lead it that will provide you with objective and real views of portfolio status, make sure you have your projects planned and targets incorporated into portfolio dashboard reporting and make double sure the reporting focuses on status, delivery risks, major issues and killer dependencies.
To all the people working their socks off at Locog, have a great Games.