The Article 50 Conundrum

Following the UK’s referendum resulting in an overall majority to leave the EU, it occurs to me that there is an opportunity here for our elected politicians and the supporting law making administration to drag this whole thing out whilst they line their pockets with our hard earned taxes. Already I am hearing legal advisors saying it will take at least two or three years to get to the point where they actually can trigger article 50. Someone could argue that they are simply guaranteeing their roles for the next couple of years.

That said, my point is that we, as the majority stakeholders, need to tell our administrators that they need to stop bickering and posturing about which department is more important and get on with the job at hand!

It’s a Change Programme!

Firstly, we need to recognise that this is a large Change Programme – which clearly it is! This can then be broken down into more manageable sub-programmes, possibly aligned with the forty-six various government departments. Essentially, each sub-programme will comprise a number of projects meaning we will end up with several hundred projects.

As a seasoned Project and Change manager, I will be amongst the first to advocate the production of a plan and recommend the need to conduct a comprehensive stakeholder analysis in order to best understand the requirements and to determine the prioritisation factors that will need to be applied.

The major problem is the unknown

For the past forty years our government administration has adopted various Brussels imposed statutes and decisions that have been woven into the fabric of our countries legislation. So any exit will mean that we have to re-write our legislation to replicate the existing legislation whilst directing it to the appropriate UK legislative department. The alternative is to completely re-write the legislation – and perhaps that’s some very attractive job security that the politicians and administrators are looking at? In addition, some departments will need to create new and additional legislation in order to deal with the European body as a separate entity – which raises the question, “Is the management in place to sustain this change?”

I propose that this need not preclude us from getting on with the job of addressing the Article 50 requirements. Standard project management practice is to adopt a progressive elaboration approach to the development of the project management plan and to apply progressive elaboration when requirements are initially unclear.

Progressive elaboration is the practice of continuously improving and detailing a plan as more detailed information becomes available. This in turn allows the project management team to better define the scope of work and to manage any emerging requirements as they arise. As the project evolves, which it most certainly will, this enables more accurate estimating that will allow better planning and tracking of related tasks.

Repeatable processes and lessons learned

Another recommended project management technique is to identify repeatable processes and seek to learn from them. A significant element of any project is the lessons learned outputs. These carried forwards to subsequent projects provide essential learning and can help project managers approach their new projects in an entirely different but more efficient way. The question here must be, “Will our politicians know this golden rule of Project Management? And, “Will it take them at least three years to work it out?”

Conclusion

I genuinely believe that this is a great opportunity for us to create some new legislation that will take us forwards into the twenty first century unencumbered. To do that, we the British majority who voted for this change, must be willing to provide support and direction to our elected representatives – we are their stakeholders, so let’s tell them what we want!

What do I want? – I would like to see much less rhetoric, attention seeking and bluster and a more collective action to get on with the job at hand.

We are British… we can do this!