Cps CASE STUDY:
MIDLANDS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
Midlands Co-operative soCiety:
striving for the CoMpetitive edge by
inCreasing projeCt Maturity levels
Rising energy costs, dominance of the around other resource commitments such
big four supermarkets, soaring food costs, as holidays and training.
growth in online travel bookings and a
The objectives of the implementation for
decline in the death rate are just some of
Midlands Co-operative Society were to:
the diverse challenges facing Midlands
Co-operative Society on a daily basis. ◆◆ Produce a project portfolio that would
enable progress throughout the year to
Employing almost 8,000 people, the be tracked.
Midlands Co-operative Society is the
◆◆ Maximise the utilisation of resources.
largest regional Co-operative Society
in the UK. Trading mainly in Derbyshire, ◆◆ Enable the collective planning and
Leicestershire and the Greater Midlands, delivery of projects.
the organisation has recorded gross sales in ◆◆ Improve visibility to all on project
excess of £749 million. The principal areas of progress.
activity include Retail (food and non-food), ◆◆ Toincrease the number and quality of
Travel, Funeral Services (including Florists) projects being delivered.
and Transport. There is also a substantial
investment property portfolio. “CPS were chosen to implement the
EPM solution due to their response and
Midlands Co-operative Society stands understanding of the Midlands Co-
apart from other retailers as it is owned operative Society’s business requirements
by its members who share in trading and environment. They understood that
profits through the payment of a biannual the process of project management
dividend. Each member has one vote and and getting people on board are just
can exercise their democratic rights twice as important as the technology. They
a year at Members’ meetings and through also understood that a successful
elections. For Midlands Co-operative implementation would be the toolset fitting
Society, community involvement is the process and not changing the project
fundamental to its principles and drives the process to fit the tool. The advice Midlands
corporate vision of making a difference. Co-operative Society received on how to
The company’s Business Support Centre, get the most out of EPM one step at a time
located in Lichfield, Staffordshire provides was second to none.” comments Barry
management and support for operational Hodge, Project Manager at Midlands Co-
activities. Every year Midlands Co- operative Society
operative Society is audited by external
auditors, with project maturity being one the iMpleMentation
of the aspects continually re-evaluated.
Having started to develop their project The implementation of an EPM tool is
processes in 2005, the audit in 2006 completely organisation-dependent. It is
revealed a greatly improved score for important to understand the requirements
project methodology. However, it was of the organisation, the processes that
felt that there was a requirement for a the tool must support, the needs and
project tool to underpin this enhanced pain points of the people that will interact
methodology. with the system and the organisation’s
capacity for change. With this in mind, a
After a period of vendor selection it was phased implementation approach was
decided that the Microsoft Enterprise taken at Midlands Co-operative Society,
Project Management toolset offered rolling out functionality over a period of
Midlands Co-operative Society a flexible time, and only after suitable training and
solution that would grow, adapt and acceptance from the end user had been
underpin the evolving methodology. achieved.
Before the implementation, project
planning and resource management With this in mind, CPS set about ascertaining
were being conducted in isolation; Project functionality requirements through a series
Managers planned separately with stand of requirement gathering (discovery and
alone versions of Microsoft Project and it envisioning) meetings with representatives
was difficult to schedule projects particularly from the various internal departments,
when the timings of other projects changed. including finance, IT, infrastructure and
It was also difficult to schedule projects service desk. This approach facilitated
MIDLANDS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
a better understanding of what level of ◆◆ high level resource management (a The EPM implementation process took
functionality each area was willing, and more complete picture of who was two months from start to finish. In total the
had the capacity, to accept as part of working on what and when). final end users totalled six Executives, five
the first phase of the implementation ◆◆ a central resource pool with generic Project Managers and fifty Team Members.
and enabled CPS to help Midlands Co- (primary role-based) resources for Support for the rollout of phase one was
operative Society shape how the product building up a longer term picture of provided in the form of consultant time
would fit seamlessly within a culture that is resource requirement. spent on site working with the business,
over 100 years old. training of all interested parties and access
◆◆ reporting through the use of project
to specialised third-tier knowledge through
After these discovery and envisioning metadata displayed in various grouping
the CPS Support Helpdesk.
workshops, held in February 2007, a formats in the project centre, resource
prototype working system was put centre and data analysis. Reflecting on the change, Barry Hodge
together in order to demonstrate back ◆◆ project workspaces – a project-linked concludes that;
to the project stakeholders that CPS had SharePoint site for tracking and logging “Before implementing EPM Midlands Co-
correctly understood the requirements. of risks, issues, change requests and operative Society delivered 13 projects
This was further refined, with all project-specific documentation (Project per year, now with EPM and the same staff
unnecessary functionality turned off to Brief, Business Case, etc.). numbers, Midlands Co-operative Society
keep the interface as understandable
◆◆ reporting task progress and work remaining deliver 30 projects per year. However,
and unintimidating as possible. Included in
through the use of the task updates – team success with the product is a gradual
the functionality for first phase rollout was:
members updating tasks and approval process dependant on the culture of the
◆◆ acentral repository for all plans (both and acceptance by project managers organisation and the willingness of people
Project and business as usual/absence) into the project plan. at all levels within the organisation to
to enable project managers to plan adopt the toolset. It is equally about the
◆◆ SharePoint – To enable websites for each
together rather than separately. people and the product.”
project making it easier to share and find
◆◆ metadata tagging of projects and project documents with no ambiguity
resources in order to provide grouping, over use of the correct version.
sorting and tracking information for each.
Request for a
an online form
created by CPS
Every year Midlands Co-operative Society is audited on its IT controls. One important aspect of the
audit is project maturity which is scored on a scale of level 1 - level 4. Best Practice is set at level 3.
The implementation of EPM has ensured Midlands Co-operative Society continues to exceed
Best Practice standards and score high on its Project Management. Requester
Despite this immense progress, it was felt that one of the aspects that could still be improved Services or
upon was the ability to check that all projects were being delivered in accordance with
the Best Practice methodology. To improve and try to reach the highest
possible audit score, Midlands Co-operative Society implemented CPS’
Project Auditor which has enabled self audit and ensures that all projects IT Project Plan Property Services
follow the Midlands Co-operative Society project methodology. Template & Template &
SharePoint Site SharePoint Site
In 2008, another department within Midlands Co-operative Society noticed created
the success of EPM within the IT department and decided to also implement
the solution. Property Services and IT often work together on a number of Shared Resource
projects particularly around the build of new stores. Rather than putting in a pool. Project
separate EPM solution, both departments will now use the same system allowing between Property
IT and Property Services to work both independently on their project delivery by Services & IT.
having their own templates and methodology, but also have the ability to share
resources and link dependencies. (See diagram 1)
By streamlining projects and resources, increasing project maturity and
adhering to best practice methodologies, Midlands Co-operative Society
has more than doubled its project effectiveness and output. In a challenging
market place that requires Companies’ to be efficient and cost-effective, IT Project Portfolio Project Portfolio
Diagram 1. The combined IT &
Midlands Co-operative Society is a leading example of how collaboration Property Services EPM process.
and control can help achieve goals and maintain productivity.