Headlines: March 15th, 2002

The Ministry of Defence wants to recruit managers from the defence industry to lead integrated project teams. So far the jobs have proved unattractive and only 3 of the 130 teams are led by former private sector managers. A report from the National Audit Office is critical of the way the MoD is approaching the problem. It urges the Department to work with the private sector to overcome obstacles to recruitment.Integrated project teams were introduced to stem the flow of over time and over budget procurment projects reported annually by the National Audit Office. The creation of project teams with a responsibility for managing an equipment throughout its lifecycle allowed the Department to move away from a functional based organizational structure. With billions of pounds at stake the new structure was seen as the way to eliminate waste and get the necessary equipment faster, cheaper and more efficiently. The report com mends the Department for making the organizational changes quickly, but further work by the auditors is needed to find out how successful the teams have been.

Empowered leadership is identified as the key to the success of the changes and there is a particular need for strong leadership at the integrated project team level. The move to integrated teams was much more than a structural change because it has involved major changes in culture, processes and relationships for the MoD and those doing business with it. The challenge for the MoD now is to maintain the momentum, particularly with the culture change, and make the job of team leader more attractive to managers from the private sector.

Link: http://www.nao.gov.uk