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Effective project initiation ensures you have the right governance structure in place to oversee your project. The project scope and success criteria are clear, the right people are in place to influence the project direction and resource, and decisions and approvals are made at the appropriate level. It provides transparent reporting at appropriate intervals and provides advance warning of any forecast deviations, risks or issues.

Good project management recognises how your project impacts your BAU deliverables and manages resource conflicts by understanding interdependencies and key pressure points from the start. It ensures the project delivers an effective handover into BAU, so that you achieve the project benefits intended by the change

Muse AdvisoryStrategy Implementation

Muse AdvisoryProvider Transformation

Muse AdvisoryScheme Consolidation

Muse AdvisoryAdministrator Transition

Muse AdvisoryLarge Projects or Change Programmes

Case Studies

Programme Management: Benefits

Have you ever found yourself in the position of facing a forced change? How do you manage a complex project with tight deadlines at short notice? In this case study our client needed to select a new TPA within a limited time.

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It all starts with a crisis

Have you ever found yourself in the position of facing a forced change? How do you manage a complex project with tight deadlines at short notice? Well, our client needed to select a new TPA within a limited time, which was beyond their control. They not only had to complete this change, but manage a large data and pension over/ underpayments rectification project at the same time and across both incumbent and successor TPAs.

To help tackle this challenge the Trustees appointed Muse Advisory as Programme Manager to act alongside the Company pensions team. Together we oversaw all activity involving two TPAs, a specialist data firm, lawyers, actuaries and communication specialists ensuring the programme met its objectives whilst maintaining the buy-in of all stakeholders through a complex set of issues.

What does a good Programme Manager look like?

There are a number of popular project management methodologies, such as Prince 2. However, effective programme management requires skills beyond core project management techniques.

To start with, a Programme Manager needs to be pragmatic, able to apply common sense to a situation or a problem. They should be a facilitator; relationship manager; a negotiator; an effective communicator, a leader. The list could go on: knowledgeable, able to leverage relationships, a unifier able to encourage and maintain buy-in to objectives from all parties, including a departing incumbent - not an easy task!

Why did this client need a Programme Manager?

Given the scope of this project - TPA selection, implementation, transition, data and pensioner rectification - it was critical that the programme manager was able to commit to the time demands and to be available at all times. The pensions department was already stretched by a multitude of challenges, so it was important to have dedicated independent support with the appropriate skill, knowledge and capacity.

So, how did it turn out?

Through engendering effective relationships and securing commitment from all parties whilst keeping a focus on client objectives, programme goals and risks, the Programme Manager provided the necessary leadership to make certain all parties collaborated effectively in managing all workstreams and ensuring that both Trustee and Company objectives were successfully met.

The Programme Manager encouraged an open and honest dialogue between all parties and was accessible to all involved. She and her team proactively drove progress, anticipated issues and facilitated remedies.

Effective Programme Management is crucial in bringing together the strands of a complex project and those involved to deliver successful outcomes.

Key learnings

  • The programme manager needs to work very closely with the client team; openness, prompt communication, addressing issues as they arise and attention to detail are all key characteristics.
  • Programme Management is not about adhering to a specific methodology, but applying it practically and with common sense.
  • The demands on in-house pension resource often limit capacity to manage large change programmes at short notice.

What our Clients Say

"In the time we worked together Muse showed a genuine understanding of, and commitment to, our Plan's objectives that I have rarely, if ever, seen matched by other consultancies. A pleasure to work with."

Carol Young, Former Pensions Manager,
Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan

Our People

View Profile For Jo Fellowes
View Profile For Jo Fellowes

Jo Fellowes

My expertise spans project and change management, pensions governance, administrator and adviser reviews and data integrity.

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What do you do?

I joined Muse in 2015 as a Senior Associate and became part of the employee team as a Consultant in 2017. My responsibilities and role is varied, which I love. I can find myself supporting a client with an administration provider review at one moment and consulting on pension management effectiveness and Trustee governance the next.

What is your background?

I started my career in the Pensions and Reward industry in 2000, progressing through various roles in administration, project management and client service management. Simultaneously I gained my BSc in Economics and Mathematical Sciences, along with various other vocational qualifications including certificates in natural sciences, interior design and I also became an NVQ assessor.

I have also worked at British American Tobacco as a Pensions Project Manager, with responsibilities across provider management, risk reduction, data rectification, communications and governance. After covering maternity leave for the UK Pensions Manager, I also became involved in HR projects and was later promoted into HR as the UK Talent and Organisation Effectiveness Manager.

Of course during this time I continued to study, completing my MBA and CIPD. I left BAT in 2014 and travelled and volunteered overseas as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, before joining Muse early in 2015.

What do you bring to Muse?

My experience has spanned both provider and in-house management on behalf of Trustee and the employer, giving me insight of the different agendas and challenges facing each. As a life-long learner, I am also adept at assimilating and analysing information quickly. But my real passion lies in helping clients identify, design and implement project and change management solutions.

What do you do for fun?

I absolutely love to travel, explore new places and try new and adventurous activities. My most extreme adventures were tornado chasing in the USA, and a skeleton bob in Lillehammer, although my most recent pursuits are a little less risky and include glider lessons, art classes and cake decorating. I am a runner, albeit perhaps a little too prone to injury, and when I’m fit I also enjoy hiking and generally being outdoors. And of course, I’m still planning on more study!

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View Profile For Mark Dallaway
View Profile For Mark Dallaway

Mark Dallaway

I specialise in administration effectiveness and strategy reviews, provider and technology selection, contract negotiation, implementation project facilitation and management.

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What do you do?

I specialise in advising clients on pension administration effectiveness, strategy and governance. As part of this I help clients to assess administration issues and options, select providers, review pension operational capabilities and technology options, and in the management and oversight of implementing change.

What is your background?

I spent about 12 years in in-house pension management; initially in administration but broadening into technology, trustee secretarial and scheme management. Part of my time in this area was spent specifying and implementing highly automated internally developed pension systems including solutions for the early days of DC - I still bear the scars!

This experience led me to a role with a pension software house with responsibility for client and implementation management and product development. It was my first commercial role which was a shock to the system but from which I learnt a great deal.

The combination of my earlier roles gave me the skills and experience to work in the areas I now specialise in. I have worked as a senior consultant with Mercer, as Director of PWC’s pension management consulting practice and in client management at Hewitt with responsibility for the commercial relationships and service delivery for some of their largest outsourcing clients.

What do you bring to Muse?

I would like to think I bring a bit of humour (!), alongside broad experience and a pragmatic approach. I have a good understanding of both client and supplier perspectives from my ‘game-keeper, turned poacher’ background and I am analytical in my approach, using this to focus on what really matters in any project or administration-related issue.

What do you do for fun?

I am regularly pulled around the countryside by a very energetic chocolate Labrador, often grasping my camera and attempting to improve my photography. I am a keen follower of a number of sports including rugby union, motor sport and football (though some would say Birmingham City FC don’t really fit this description!).

I have a wide taste in music, love to read, mainly espionage and British history, and I also play a bit of chess now and again, but since one of my oldest friends is a Grand Master I am all too aware of my woeful capabilities at the board! To ensure I do have fun, I avoid anything to do with DIY, much to my wife’s relief!

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View Profile For Karen Cadman
View Profile For Karen Cadman

Karen Cadman

My specialities are pension scheme management, administration reviews and managing change projects.

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What do you do?

I joined Muse as a Senior Associate since 2012, and have focused on administration-related projects, supporting Trustees through important change. Specifically I have project managed administration selection and transition projects as well as supporting a large data rectification exercise.

In addition to managing a range of stakeholders (and personalities!) and work-streams, my role has been to provide challenge and guidance throughout the projects.

What is your background?

I started my pensions life as an administrator in the pre-Maxwell, pre-computerised 1980s. Since then, I have worked as a Pensions Manager supporting schemes through significant change, including in-sourcing, changing administration systems and introducing new schemes.

Before joining Muse I was working in the Cabinet Office as Head of Civil Service Pensions, setting up new governance arrangements and then leading the client side of the move to a mutual joint venture for administration.

What do you bring to Muse?

I've been a client, and I worked with consultants. I bring the different view from that side of the fence, and can see things from the client's perspective.

I also bring a combination of calm common sense and humour to my work. Well, at least, I like to think so! Anyway, there's always my love of spreadsheets, which comes in handy.

What do you do for fun?

I love to be outdoors which is lucky as my dog is also a fan of fresh air. We are currently being trained in agility, although I think he is mastering it more quickly than I am. We also like to go geocaching; a combination of rambling and treasure hunting. And my husband and I are attempting to tame our allotment and grow our own vegetables.

When I find myself stuck indoors I enjoy cooking (and eating!), knitting and learning French although not necessarily all at the same time.

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