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How to get 57 percent more value from your capital programme.

capital programme

A tall order?

Maybe, but we’ve recently completed work for a major UK Government agency and improved outcomes by 57% within the existing budget.

The issue.

The organisation was under pressure to deliver more from its capital programme despite severe financial constaints and a need to demonstrate that it was delivering the best value for money that it possibly could.

The programme we were given is very complex; 3,500 projects and £1.8b spend. The question was which schemes to fund to delivery maximum value? As most people do, the current approach was to include the schemes that contribute most to the goals first and then keep adding more projects until all the resources are fully allocated.

This is the ‘Big First’ strategy and it’s a good one. For simple programmes it can often achieve up to 70% of what is possible. But is there a better way?

Imagine a list of 10 possible projects. Big First, says start with the two largest. But if these consume all the available resources then the remaining eight are left unfunded.

But what if taking out one of the two largest projects frees up capacity to undertake three or four of the slightly smaller ones. And what if this was a better overall result? Or what if there were others ways to select schemes? With only 30 potential projects on the ‘to do’ list this becomes impossible ‘by hand’. If you tried a dozen options a minute, every minute since the Big Bang you would still not have scratched the surface. Without doubt the programme will be under achieving.

Enter our algorithm

With the government agency’s programme our solution found what is guaranteed to be the best value for money programme that it is possible to produce. And it runs in under two minutes. The result? 57% better outcomes for the same money, or if preferred the same outcome for less money.

Applying this to your programme

We recommend this solution for any significant programme of work, most especially capital programmes and corporate improvement programmes. We will provide a solution on a risk and reward basis. If we can’t find a way to deliver greater value there is no charge.

For an initial chat and free review of your data, contact

Interesting. What else can it do?

I have some projects which are ‘must dos’ and need to be included no matter what.

That’s ok, we can cope with that, just tell the system to fit them in in the best way possible.

A senior stakeholder has just been in touch to say that a particular project needs to be in the programme?

Ok, just make this project a ‘must do’ and re-run the analysis. If the overall portfolio is now less effective then it may be an informed decision can more easily be made.

Some of my projects are pre-requisites of other projects

Not a problem, the analysis will make the projects that are enablers completed first.

Some of my projects must complete before a certain time or can’t start until a certain time

Again, no problem. The analysis will accommodate your exact requirements.

We only have capacity to do a certain number of projects at any one time

Then we’ll find the best solution that can be accommodated within this limitation.

I’m still looking at options for one of my projects

Here’s something interesting. Maybe Option A is demonstrably the best option for this particular project. But what if option A precludes doing another project because it competes for the same resources? It could easily be that Option B, while less good for this project, is a better bet overall because it frees up capacity for something even more valuable. This is options appraisal at the portfolio level.

As well as budgets I also have staffing limitations

Fine, include the staffing requirements in to the analysis and see if budgets or staffing are what is holding you back from achieving more. It could also be interesting to see if adding more staff would represent an invest to save opportunity to generate far more benefits.

I want to run this on our own computers

You can do this in standard Excel for small programmes. For larger ones you may need to buy some additional software. Or we can do the legwork for you. We recommend this as we can then make sure that everything is as it needs to be. We will carefully check the data, run the model and then advise on the best way forward. We provide this service at no additional cost to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Contact: for additional advice and support enquires.

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