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25 Most Promising Project Management Solution Providers

451 Consulting: Delivering Client Strategy through Innovative Project Management Solutions

Gerard O' Hara,Founder & Managing Director

The age old project management question is how can an organisation consistently deliver programs and projects to scope, time, cost, quality and realise benefits. Furthermore, how can you be confident the portfolio of programs, projects and other initiatives will collectively deliver strategy?

451 Consulting is a boutique management and technology consulting firm who best represent a new breed of advisory and delivery specialists that offer highly insightful and innovative solutions to provide much better value-for-money and high confidence that your programs and projects will deliver to agreed parameters.

Servicing Australia and the broader region from offices in Brisbane and Sydney, 451 Consulting has a proven reputation in assisting clients to convert Strategy Into Action through the delivery of complex projects, program and portfolios and their associated benefits. A focus on strategy, benefits realisation and organisational change management, as well as their holistic under standing of transformation and performance improvement, underpins 451 Consulting’s difference as a true market leader across the project advisory and delivery realm.

Gerard O’Hara, 451 Consulting Managing Director, says “Before we began our journey 15 years ago, we undertook market research with leading executives to gain an appreciation of market opinions and requirements. 451 Consulting was subsequently founded on this research which suggested organisations would highly value a strategic relationship with an independent Trusted Advisor and Capability Partner they can access from time to time, assisting them to deliver strategic and operational goals through the realisation of strategic projects and programs.”

451 Consulting has since developed a proven track record in defining, prioritising and delivering individual projects, integrated programs and Client’s full portfolios. With their strong Client Centric business philosophy and scalable insightful services, it’s little wonder that 451 Consulting has more client testimonials than many organisations ten times their size, and that they maintain an industry leading 7 to 1 return business ratio, having delivered 750 engagements to more than 108 Clients since 2001.

Project Intelligence-Scalable Project Insight

We all know programs and projects can go wrong for hundreds of different reasons. However, many firms do not appreciate that portfolio, program and project reporting is your fail-safe to quickly identify if action is needed before it becomes costly to rectify. The paradox is that there are numerous so called best-practice ways to track projects/programs but these rarely give executives clear information as to what should be done until it is too late.These reports can be akin to piloting a plane through fog with the wrong set of gauges!

Reporting that lacks genuine insight can cost organisation millions of dollars each year through program/project cost overruns as too little is done too late. Anecdotal evidence from discussions with hundreds of project managers suggest that when a project fails it can be convenient to blame the project manager even when the problem may be traced back to poor systemic controls (such as ineffective reporting). Metaphorically “shooting the project manager” can quickly change the dynamic for all project managers in the organisation as they perceive they will be personally blamed for anything that goes wrong, eroding confidence and decreasing their willingness to provide transparent updates orraise issues. This culminates in a vicious cycle of mis-trust and obscurity.

This common, market-wide issue led 451 Consulting to create their unique Project Intelligence service early in 2016. Project Intelligence provides Executives, Sponsors and Project Managers advanced insights and high visibility into the status of their portfolio, program or group of projects via a simple and integrated set of reporting tools and high quality independent monthly advice. Delivered via a cost-effective managed service, Clients can also access a broad range of scalable project planning, delivery, capability development and project analysis services to further underpin project confidence and lower risk.

O’Hara explains, “Project Intelligence was developed through 451’s accumulative learning across 15 years and through the delivery of more than 400 Client engagements in portfolio, program and project management, assurance, health checks, post implementation reviews and PMO capability development programs. Project Intelligence offers traditional project reporting combined with the analytical capability of Business Intelligence which, when conducted by some of Australia’s most experienced Program and PMO Managers, results in a highly insightful service. The Client outcome from our Project Intelligence service is phenomenal; supporting much more reliable project delivery to time, cost, scope, quality and benefits, as well as far more effective realisation of strategic goals with lowered risk across the portfolio.”

Project Intelligence was created on the premise that early project intervention is far more cost effective for Clients than late stage recovery. By informing Clients earlier of looming issues and risks with in individual projects, as well high lighting systemic trends and opportunities across programs and portfolios, executives can make informed decisions earlier, and with confidence, to ensure project outcomes can be achieved.

While being highly unique in its approach, elements of the Project Intelligence solution competes with some of the large-scale PPPM system solutions. 451 Consulting’s approach, however, favours the experience and insight of specialist consultants over pure algorithmic or technology based solutions. Aaron Schneider, 451 Consulting Director Consulting Solutions, states, “Our research across available PPPM solutions determined that there needs to be a strong human element within project analysis to maximise client insight. Technology alone cannot properly understand components such as organisational culture, business engagement and change readiness which are all fundamental to project success. While technology plays a vital role in the Project Intelligence solution, our strong belief is that you simply can’t beat hands-on experience when it comes to delivering Clients with true project insight.” Where clients have existing PPPM solutions in place, 451 Consulting can augment this previous investment as part of the Project Intelligence solution to maximise value for money.
Project Intelligence provides a monthly executive insight report covering individual project statuses with a high level of transparency, as well as portfolio and program level insight at the consolidated level. Uniquely, a gauge of benefits confidence, business engagement, organisational change readiness and scope completeness against original baseline functionality forms part of the analysis. Through their participation in governance group meetings, the 451 Consulting team advises executives and project leaders of key issues and opportunities for improvement, while a brief fortnightly review of project status is also delivered to identify any exceptional issues requiring more urgent escalation.

“451 Consulting’s approach is highly consultative,” Schneider continues. “We participate with Clients in their governance group meetings as part of our standard service, educating and building Client capability in determining the early warning signs and implementing alternate intervention options such as Project Health Checks, additional PM capability development or rapid Executive escalation. Implementing principles such as Single Point Accountability at all points in time transform the way some Clients deliver projects.” This focus on up skilling and maturity development delivers Client benefits which extend far beyond the scope of the core Project Intelligence service.

Another key to the success of Project Intelligence is 451 Consulting’s support for behavioural change, as they build trust and transparency between Project Managers and their steering committees. “If the governance group is not supportive of PMs who have provided truly open and honest information on their projects, trust will quickly be eroded and visibility will be lost. 451 Consulting supports Client transition to a new, transparent way of governing projects by advising the steering committee on how they also need to change their ongoing PM interactions to maximise project success.”

Client driven engagement models

In addition to the core Project Intelligence service, 451 Consulting provides a broad range of supporting project advisory and delivery services which Clients can engage directly as stand-alone services, or as an integrated component within their Project Intelligence solution. These can be obtained via a number of flexible engagement options which support the full gambit of Client requirements.

Carolyn Bell, 451 Consulting Director Service Delivery, highlights, “Clients are increasingly seeking innovative delivery models from their consulting partners which can be adapted to meet a broad range of business requirements. By maintaining focus on our Clients’ needs, 451 Consulting ensures our flexible engagement approaches all offer strong value for money.”

451 Consulting has developed a number of innovative delivery models to complement traditional service offerings in order to meet Client needs. Within the Project Management discipline, for example, engagement options include functional services (such as Business Case Development as a service), solutions for project work streams (such as end-to-end Organisational Change management), full outsourcing services (such as outsourced ICT or enterprise PMO solutions) and more traditional turn-key consulting services (such as fix-priced end-to-end project delivery, or scalable project delivery teams). 451 Consulting further underpins their Clients’ success through structured and unstructured capability and skills development of their Clients’ employees, embedded as part of their assignment delivery methodology.

Multidisciplinary Consulting Partners

Understanding the benefits of aligning ICT strategy and services with business goals, 451 Consulting leverages best practice ICT frame works to develop fit-for-purpose solutions for private and public sector Clients. “The assistance we provide creates value for the business, delivering productivity across the organisation and creating a technology environment that is flexible and responsive to business needs, while minimizing the total cost of ownership,” explains Bell.

451 Consulting supports Clients to clarify their objectives and implement sustained performance improvement through the successful delivery of their portfolio of projects

451 Consulting provides expertise across the full ICT realm, including ICT Strategy, Performance Improvement, Systems Selection and Implementation, Digital Transformation, Vendor Management, ITIL, ITSM, COBIT, Six Sigma, Enterprise Architecture, Solution Design, SDLC, Prince2, PMBoK, Agile and ICT Infrastructure. Rather than providing single-focused specialists, such as a Project Manager solely possessing 15 years project experience, 451 Consulting’s team offers equivalent experience as well as additional industry skills with more holistic organisation perspectives. Our experienced consultants include MBAs, AICD memberships and CIO, CFO or General Manager backgrounds. This approach consistently delivers client project outcomes more reliably by maintaining strong alignment with business needs, but also allows 451 Consulting to provide additional parallel insight which maximises Client value for money.

“Our consultants also stream from both project advisory and delivery backgrounds, ensuring we truly understand the full life cycle and have sufficient battle-scars from experience to help clients avoid potential future pitfalls,” O’Hara says. “It’s the orchestration of all our services which ultimately allows 451 Consulting’s approach to reliably deliver such high quality client outcomes. Through our multi disciplinary consulting approach, Clients gain deep project subject matter expertise in conjunction with holistic end-to-end insight which links strategy down to operations. This allows us to be highly effective in linking strategic goals and the realisation of project benefits through the engagement of stakeholders and staff.”

451 Consulting supports Clients to clarify their objectives and implement sustained performance improvement through the successful delivery of their portfolio of projects. This is the essence of what 451 Consulting is all about: assisting organisations to realise their goals sooner. 451 Consulting’s insightful Project Management advisory and delivery services are key to helping clients achieve their strategic goals and with the inclusion of their highly innovative Project Intelligence service this year, they offer great promise to continue leading their Clients’ to success well into the fore see able future.