The Programme Management Office (PMO) manage some of the major transformational change projects critical to the successful future of NFU Mutual. Their work spans many areas of the business - from how we interact with our customers to projects affecting underwriting and pricing. From projects valued at just over a £1million to approaching £150 million, the team is responsible for guiding and supporting a wide portfolio of work. We talk to the PMO team about their projects, the scope and value - and how this involves them with senior management at NFU Mutual.

Many touchpoints across the business
So, what does being in the PMO team look like when it comes to the work they deliver? Senior Change Analyst, Cristiana Popa, enjoys the variety involved, as she explains. “Because I work at the portfolio level, I work gathering information across all the projects, not just one in particular. We have some really big programmes at the moment, especially in the digital space. We have programs that are going to change the way we do business and the way we make our information available to clients.” Senior PMO Analyst Rosie Watson-Walsh describes the mix as “everything from a very small change project, all the way up through to enormous transformational change. It obviously depends on the kind of project you're working on, but there’s the potential to touch literally every department across the business.”

Our projects
Due to the scope and complexity of our projects, delivery times can take years, not months. In fact, as Rosie explains, the very biggest projects have a long-time span. “I’m on the Bridge programme, focused on implementing the Policy Center. It’s the biggest programme that we've ever undertaken at NFU Mutual. It’s c.150 million pounds and is expected to last up to eight years. Other small projects can last six or twelve months, so the cost and resources in the project team is scaled down proportionally.

As Rosie adds, the sheer size and scale of the Bridge programme means there are lots of different opportunities to work across the business. “The tagline for the programme is, 'Making our products easier to buy, easier to sell, easier to manage.' So, it touches literally every single department. That's a lot of change, from IT, marketing and the way we sell insurance, to changes in underwriting and pricing. It’s basically everything around how we interact with customers and how they interact with us.”

Cristiana also works on Bridge and agrees with Rosie on the scope it offers. “It’s a massive programme pulling on all the resources. We also have another project, called Customer Portal, that will enable our clients to access their policy information online, which is not available at the moment. The company is very much focused on face-to-face interaction, but we're also progressing more into the online space.”

Senior Project Analyst, Louise Hadley, is working on the Finance Modernisation Programme, which she describes as a big programme. “We’re replacing our general ledger and purchasing systems. As we're a financial services business, replacing our financial system is a significant change for our finance division. It's high profile, and at completion will have spanned several years of project delivery. We've just successfully completed Phase 1, which is launching the purchase-to-pay system.”

And despite only joining the Mutual a year ago, PMO Analyst David Askill feels he’s been involved with an already good scope of projects, as he explains. “I've been involved in the Annual General Meeting project, which involves all the accounts and returns. It's a key project within NFU Mutual. I’ve also worked on a counter-fraud project and an ideological project which is the group change strategy. There’s a lot going on and I absolutely love it.”

Exposure to senior management
Projects that cost £millions and span several years naturally involve working with senior management teams across NFU Mutual. Katie explains that the monthly steering group she’s a part of involves several of the directors and Cristiana collates reports that go direct to CEO Nick Turner. Similarly, Rosie’s work can involve the directors and also, Nick Turner, as she explains. “He does drop into our department meetings and there's plenty of opportunity to ask him questions. So, in terms of when you think of a CEO of a big insurance company, he is very visible and there’s the opportunity to have that interaction with him if you want it.”

And Louise’s Finance Modernisation Programme is sponsored by Head of Finance, Nigel Bryan. As Louise explains, the sponsors take a keen interest in how the projects are running. “Nigel is really involved in team meetings, and he's interested in how the Programme is progressing and is supportive of our governance requirements. What’s more, you're often in forums with steering groups and board members. So, you get a good, strategic view of what the business is trying to do. It's given me good insight over the years of which areas I might like to try and develop into.”

Join us on our journey
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