Are you great enough for my job?

This is a very special blog, I must warn you now it’s longer than my other posts. It’s a blog written because I want you to have my job, it’s a great job which means you need to be great too …so this takes some explaining. I’ve been working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the last 6 months as interim Deputy Director: Head of Portfolio Management & Portfolio Delivery Unit.

My objectives: within 100 days introduce portfolio management across the organisation, design and implement a value add Portfolio Office (we called it a Portfolio Delivery Unit) and find someone great to permanently lead the further portfolio management developments.

Before I go on, you may not have heard of the Office for National Statistics, plus you may have seen the word ‘statistics’ back then and thought ‘booooooring’. Truth be known, I thought the same. It wasn’t until I read about ONS and talked to the now Director General, that I realised just how sexy it was …(yes I did just say sexy and statistics in the same sentence).

For those of you that are as ignorant now as I was 6 months ago.  I view ONS as the UK’s socio-economic stethoscope. By that I mean, we own the systems that enable us to listen and analyse the UK’s heartbeat.  Then we share that information with people like the Bank of England, EU and Government who then use it to make serious decisions that affect you and everyone in the UK…you’ve probably heard of GDP, Census, Retail Price Index …well that’s all ONS, that’s sexy stuff.

Back to the job, I’ve been here 6 months and we’ve achieved loads. We set up a portfolio delivery unit reporting to the executive leadership team, implemented portfolio governance, developed portfolio dashboard reporting for Executive Directors, Non-Executive Directors and the Permanent Secretary. We’ve created a portfolio delivery plan that we refresh every quarter, put in place a project investment appraisal process, undertaken strategic contribution analysis and then prioritized the portfolio. We’ve put plans in place for development centres for PPM skills and from a people perspective we’ve really started to build that energised change culture and collaborative one-team’ness which feel great.

But don’t worry, there is still a lot to do.  This was very much the first giant first step and now you will be focusing on…

  1. 1) Continuing to develop all the above
  2. 2) Building professional career paths for the portfolio delivery team
  3. 3) Designing and implementing a business change life cycle
  4. 4) Fully embedding benefits management across the organisation
  5. 5) Embedding planning standards across the portfolio, tracking all milestones and getting to a position where we understand the details of resource requirements
  6. 6) Enhancing further the information and decision-making processes.
  7. 7) and lots more…

Finally, I can honestly say that working with ONS has been one of the brightest highlights of my career for the following reasons.

  1. 1) There is an exciting energy around the place because the stuff we do is absolutely critical to the UK and everyone is dedicated to that. I haven’t felt such dedication since I worked in the Ambulance service on a portfolio that literally had life and death implications.
  2. 2) The Executive Leadership Team, Perm Secretary and ONS Board are fully engaged, totally committed and extremely helpful with the ongoing development of portfolio management across ONS
  3. 3) My Portfolio delivery unit team are a really great bunch as are all the project and programme managers…and my peers in Business Areas, Finance, IT, HR, Procurement & property
  4. 4) ONS is now a real player in portfolio management, so much so that we’ve been asked to provide a case study to the Cabinet Office describing how we boosted our organisational portfolio management capability in 100 days
  5. 5) The Permanent Secretary / National Statistician and I are talking on this subject at a major conference in November (I will blog about that nearer the time)


So to wrap up, ONS is a great place to work, the people are great, what we’ve achieved and the amount of effort that has gone into this work has been great …and this is why you will need to be great too!


Click here to apply for my job (application deadline is 19 Oct)

Oh and this is the whole page advert for the job in the APM Project Magazine…(who were awesome to work with by the way).  Anyway I love the ad, but then I’m bias because I designed it.  It’s actually inspired by the work of George Lois and his book Damn Good Advice (for People with talent) which is one of my all time favorite books.

Note: all views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not official ONS views…although i am sure officially ONS would agree with me that it is a great place to work.

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