Our IT Director was brought in to help a multinational investment bank combine its reporting functionality whist improving communication across different departments within the organisation.
This major investment bank operated in multiple countries – each with its own set of regulatory requirements.
Before the Director’s involvement, governance and reporting lacked cohesion across locations. The Programme Management Office (PMO) mostly had inexperienced junior members for such a large program.
Monthly reports, viewed by high-level officials, were of inconsistent quality. They came from global sources with varied systems and designs. Time zone differences affected UK receipt times, causing missed deadlines. Meetings often focused on report delivery issues rather than the content.
This project involved implementing a package solution to handle the custody business functions. The package was provided by a third-party vendor who performed the customisation and implementation. The bank, with the help of one of the Big 4, conducted User Testing and managed the programme. The Head of Custody, a permanent bank resource, served as the overall Programme Director.
What Our Director Did
The IT Director took over the running of the Programme Office at the bank. The first task undertaken was to sort out the important and highly visible Monthly Report. This report took inputs from 15 different sources which included two vendors, three business areas and three continents.
The Director created a Delivery Diary and a template for each area. They standardized the report’s presentation to match the business style. This included consistent fonts, colors, and correct page numbering. Final reviews typically occurred around 10pm on Thursdays.
The updated report was praised business-wide. Both the Programme Office team and the Director received commendations for their meticulous improvements.
After sorting out the key documents, the Director concentrated on the aspects of governance that should be in place on any programme. These included:
- Proper and regular Stakeholder and Programme Board Meetings
- Recording control of risks and issues in a RAID Log – regularly reviewed and updated
- Dependency management – specifically across the bank itself and two vendors
- Detailed programme and project plans with key milestones and delivery dates
- Budget and cost control, including external spend and invoicing
- Daily PMO Skype catch-up calls across continents to ensure governance was being followed across the board
Resources were allocated or procured to cover each of these activities in all locations, with the Director leading the project and taking ownership of organisation.
Communication with Investment Bank
Prior to the Director’s arrival, communication across the teams in the investment bank (development and business) was lacking. Announcements would be made when key items were to be shared, but these were quite often only company-related and not programme-related, which led to crucial information being missed by certain teams.
The Director instituted a process whereby the overall Programme Director spoke to the assembled programme staff on a regular basis. The Director emphasised and showed the value of consistent communication, even with minimal new information. This approach prevented team members from feeling excluded and significantly improved team and company morale.As well as diffusing important work information, it became a space for singling out achievers, and announcing events like birthdays, new births and personal news – this made the workplace a more cohesive and productive environment.
Even the seemingly simple steps of making the Monthly Report’s style uniform and increasing cross-company communication saw a huge improvement to the bank’s efficiency, and made it much easier for the Director to ensure successful delivery of the custody system. More visible and actional governance plus a greater understanding of the lines of communication and stakeholder responsibility greatly improved the bank’s way of working and streamlined efficiency.