A Microsoft Project for the Web Upgrade Driving IT PMO Maturity for the UK Government’s Nuclear Restoration Services

Nuclear Restoration Services (NRS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It is responsible for safely decommissioning first-generation nuclear and research sites across the UK. NRS manages sites through their lifecycles, overseeing all aspects of operation, defueling, decommissioning, and moving sites into a passive state of care and management. Sitting within NRS is the IT PMO, established in 2020 and charged with delivering improved IT and digital working methods to the broader business. In 2022, Louise Allcock joined the team as IT PMO Manager. After embedding an initial iteration of Project for the Web, the decision was made to upgrade the configuration to support the PMO’s maturity roadmap and project and portfolio management (PPM) capabilities. A formal procurement identified Wellingtone as the Microsoft Partner best qualified to deliver the configuration, which began in March 2023. Louise recalls the journey and describes the early benefits of the upgrade.

Nuclear Restoration Service - Microsoft Project for the web Upgrade Case Study

Overview

Customer

Nuclear Restoration Services

Products and Services

Microsoft Project for the web

PMO Maturity Assessment

Country

United Kingdom

Industry

Utilities

Upgrade Highlights

  • Establishing a baseline of ‘what good looks like’ to kick start the roadmap to PMO maturity.
  • The deployment of Accelerator+ will provide a gold-standard reporting framework.
  • Configuration, rollout, and training in a highly secure IT environment.
  • A flexible approach to ongoing service and support.

Adding Specialist PPM Technology Expertise to Internal IT PMO Capabilities

Louise explains: “When I joined the IT PMO, a major transition was already in flight. Of course, we comply with NRS’s overall governance and working methods. But, within IT, we needed to build our maturity to support two portfolios. Our IT portfolio takes a Waterfall approach to decommissioning technical debt and building a future-fit IT infrastructure. Our M365 portfolio adopts a more agile approach, spinning out improved digital capabilities to support the efficiency and effectiveness of the wider organisation. We had already made strides in that direction. We produced a PMO service catalogue, established IT governance and processes compatible with overarching organisational standards, and introduced important IT PMO functions – scheduling, risk, document management, etc.  However, there was still a heavy element of the manual process via Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint lists. Even before I joined, Project for the Web was on the table. We were attracted by its capacity to integrate with our 365 tenant and its potential to quickly generate efficiency, standardisation, and a single source of data visibility.”

“Initially, the PMO managed the implementation internally. Our fantastic in-house developers configured the first iteration. It was a successful rollout. User adoption was good, and we eliminated many legacy spreadsheets. However, we lacked an integrated picture of how Project for the Web’s full capabilities could support our projects and portfolios more sophisticatedly. We were keen to understand what good looks like. That drove the decision to contract a Microsoft Partner who could bring those additional layers of value to the system from a specialist PPM perspective.”

“Wellingtone have the right combination of technical expertise and PPM knowledge. They know what good looks like and how to keep you focused on reaching that point. They strike a great balance between being professional and flexible. Most importantly, they have equipped us to make significant strides in our PMO maturity.”

Building on the Existing Configuration with Wellingtone Accelerator+

With a business case approved, the PMO conducted a procurement which identified Wellingtone as the right consultancy to support a new configuration. Louise recalls: “During initial discussions, Wellingtone were not pushy. They didn’t try to sell up. They were genuinely interested in what we needed and how they could help.”

Wellingtone began by performing a PMO maturity assessment to benchmark current capabilities and inform the work moving forwards. Louise adds: “We had conducted a similar assessment internally, and it was reassuring that our findings matched Wellingtone’s. It provided a useful baseline to understand how to use Project for the Web to springboard our capabilities and improve our maturity.”

Configuration was delivered using Accelerator+, Wellingtone’s proprietary Microsoft Power App, that extends Project for the Web’s out-of-the-box capabilities in a secure and scalable way. The priorities were integrating business workflows for the Waterfall and Agile portfolios, introducing gold-standard reporting templates, and supporting resource and financial management.  Louise adds: “Wellingtone ensured that we focused on the main priorities. We were excited by the scope and depth of what Project for the Web can do. Still, they encouraged us to keep our eye on the primary objectives, knowing that we could further develop the functionality moving forward once we had established a best practice baseline.”

Driving Portfolio Visibility and Process across Agile and Waterfall Workflows

The nature of NRS’s work required configuration and training to operate within highly secure IT protocols. Having undergone clearance, Wellingtone maintained security by configuring locally, then moving to NRS’s live environment and migrating data. Louise explains: “The training, in particular, was a great experience. It was detailed and left us feeling comfortable. User adoption has been very encouraging. The central repository of real-time data saves our project managers significant time as they no longer have to update siloed spreadsheets manually. For the PMO, we can now generate relevant, visually impactful reports at the touch of a button. Having visibility across requests, gateways, risks, issues, assumptions, and lessons learned is powerful in establishing a baseline to help us manage our portfolios. The resourcing function is especially useful. We anticipate a lot of demand in the months ahead, so providing leadership with full visibility across our resourcing effort will be valuable in managing that pipeline. We have just gone live with financials, eliminating another legacy spreadsheet. As a PMO, we spend less time manually collating data and more time supporting leadership to make data-driven decisions. It is early days, but the new configuration has already achieved a significant impact.”

With the initial rollout complete, Wellingtone has continued its flexible approach by aligning support services with the PMO’s internal capabilities. Louise says: “We have a lot of talent and knowledge within our development team, and we are keen to continue harnessing that. Unlike some suppliers, Wellingtone has adapted its approach to accommodate that, so we have the best of both worlds. We can deploy our internal capability, but we know that if we’re struggling with anything, Wellingtone will step in. I would recommend them to any PMO in a similar position. They have the right combination of technical expertise and PPM knowledge. They know what good looks like and how to keep you focused on reaching that point. They strike a great balance between being professional and flexible. Most importantly, they have equipped us to make significant strides in our PMO maturity.”