It’s tough at the top. You get handed a poisoned chalice

Who has overall responsibility for the successful outcomes of major projects? Here in the UK the role of Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) was created to take on such a role. The role holder is: 

…..responsible for ensuring that the project or programme meets its overall objectives and delivers its projected benefits 

There is a definitive role on the OGC website here  

A recent review of the role by OGC found a number of lessons to be learned: 

  • the role was described as a solitary one and not always recognised by the Sponsoring Group leading some SROs to suggest that the role is something of a poisoned chalice. The report suggests that ideally the role should be sought after and that Departments should incorporate performance in the SRO role in individual performance targets 
  • the SRO should be selected using open and consistent criteria which includes project and programme management and often procurement and IT 
  • the average duration in post for an SRO is 18 months whereas most projects last between 3 and 10 years. There is a clear correlation between continuity of SRO and high delivery confidence of projects 
  • a structured approach to personal development is suggested including gaining experience of Gateway Reviews

 I wonder how the role of SRO (or equivalent) is created and how it works. Talking to participants on courses, networking at various events and discussing this with other colleagues it seems apparent that the senior role(s) in project and programme management need to be thought through more carefully and development programmes as described in this report created.

The report is well worth reading and you can find it here

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