HiveRank (1824)

Paul Hookham

Principal HiveMind Expert


Everything is possible. Nothing is sacred.

In a nutshell

Delivery of Business Simulations to launch High Performing Teams and Transformational Change


Partly Available Immediately


Norwich, United Kingdom





project management

programme management

delivery lead


Business Development

people strategy

delivery assurance

process improvement

project office management

legacy systems migration

change management

HM Expert since

Monday August 20, 2018


A highly experienced Head of IT Delivery (Project and Programme Management) with a successful track record across multiple sectors but mainly Financial Services.

I am a certified coach, NLP Master Practitioner, Conference speaker and published author.

Current role details

I am a Project Management associate at Business Simulations, a software product company specialising in Game -Based and Experiential Learning.

Paul's STAR Stories

Escaping from Legacy Systems (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

A major UK Financial Services company had undertaken an in-depth study into its legacy systems. The estate had grown significantly as a result of acquisitions and mergers and had become costly from both an operational and administrative perspective. A decision was made to outsource over 2.8m closed book policies to a third party administration system via a series of data migrations and process changes over a 3-year period..


My role was to head up the planning and execution of all the I.T-related tasks. This involved recruiting a specialist team, ensuring subject matter experts were available when required, managing the third party supplier as well as ensuring all the security and infrastructure changes were planned and implemented. I also had to ensure that all source-to-target data mapping was completed on schedule, cutover and migration plans were in place, any new software was developed as required and the management of two major offshore suppliers.


I ensured that all plans were synchronised and complete, negotiated the availability of the expert resource from a matrix organisation, kept the existing show on the road by managing all mandatory changes to the to be migrated systems as well as the day to day management of 6 programme managers who were responsible for Finance, Customer Experience, Mainframe Systems, Configuration Management, Capability Management and On-Line. I also had to contact ex-employees and ask them to come back on a contract basis as all the old systems knowledge had been either let go or retired – remarkably everyone agreed. I was also a member of the Executive Steering Committee to assure the board that all technology changes were in hand.


–Value was delivered by;

  • Enabling competitive differentiation and increasing market share
  • Improved business agility and ability to rapidly respond to change and opportunity
  • Effective delivery against financial targets
  • Viable, scalable and actionable roadmap to deliver innovation and change


Pains relieved included;

  • Inefficient or misaligned operating model and lack of business agility
  • Unclear business strategy and requirements
  • Misaligned goals across business and silos
  • Poor data strategy resulting in siloed, incomplete and poor quality data

The pension admin. costs to customers was halved as a result of the many data migrations and we were given an award by the Aviva Life global enterprise for the contribution made to business strategy for closed-book products.

The programme acted as a launchpad for decommissioning 300 systems, removing the reliance on experts in old technology, multi-million pound saving in licencing costs and a more focused customer service for the migrated products.

Operational Acceptance Made Simple (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

“Why is implementing change in this place like wading through treacle?” – Business Change Director FTSE-250 company


To review the current state of operational readiness activities and produce a set of prioritised improvements for a board presentation.


An ongoing project was selected that impacted a wide cross-section of functions and a series of one-to-one interviews and cross-functional workshops were held. The outputs formed input to a comprehensive report of the findings and highlighted in the presentation. Approx 80% of the impacted stakeholders were engaged. The assignment was to be completed over 10 working days.


Improvements were identified in the timeliness and relevance of all engagements; proposed the development of incremental operational acceptance criteria; addressed skill gaps and capacity to embrace change; knowledge transfer and training; timeliness of security involvement; risk management; Cutover and Go Live planning gaps; issues with disaster recovery plans; external supplier needs.

All recommendations were accepted and I was asked to implement them over a 3-month period and subsequently handover to the business as usual organisation. .

It was not possible to quantify the precise improvements as in most cases, there was no baseline measure but the general consensus was that there were vast improvements in communication, engagement activity as well as a considerable reduction in late rework. The operational acceptance matrix has now been adopted as the de facto standard for all major projects.

As a value-add, I also produced a confidential report for the sponsor, detailing some other improvements that I picked up on as a by-product of this assignment. These centred on single points of failure, testing and organisational silos. It was well received and not charged for.

The Road to Operational Acceptance (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

The business units needed confidence that a critical project could be delivered by an offshore supplier following a contractual agreement. To date, the supplier had only been given non-urgent tasks as part of the knowledge transfer, but to achieve the projected ROI documented within the business case, it became necessary to significantly increase the amount of development being transferred offshore.


My role was to ensure that the onshore company had the relevant ‘acceptance’ and ‘integration skills and tools to reduce the risks of failure and the offshore company had full exposure to the processes to be adopted and were given an acceptable level of training and knowledge transfer to effect a successful delivery.


In order to overcome the cultural differences between the 2 companies, I arranged for a ‘Tour of Duty’ rota to be established for the duration of the project so the offshore guys had a subject matter expert working along side them who could not only train them in the processes but also overcome the initial communication issues in order to create an open risks culture with both parties. This was additional cost but I argued that the cost of rework and loss of confidence would be significantly reduced with this approach.

i personally focused on the operational acceptance aspects of the project as neither company were strong in this area, and many key activities would have started far too late and caused overruns, if the existing ‘light’ processes were not improved from the start of the project.


Following a series of workshops involving all impacted parties, a comprehensive set of operational acceptance criteria was developed, in conjunction with subject matter experts from both companies, This was quickly embedded on the project to become part of the standard gating process as the business units realised the benefits of operational readiness kicking in at the start of the project and then incrementally built upon. The deliverable matrix informed the implementation and cutover planning as opposed to being an outcome of it. It was also taken up by other internal projects as the organisation realised they were quite weak in this area.

Since its adoption and incorporation within both the gating process and Project Steering Group agendas, the following value was accrued: –
-Higher proportion of projects fit for purpose, on time and on budget
-Improved credibility with and confidence from across the business and support functions
-Improved influence with suppliers and higher quality of delivery from them
-Improving customer and colleague service and satisfaction
-Greater acceptance of change and quicker to implement new changes
-Improved delivery efficiency and effectiveness from clarity around process performance
-Creation of automated testware, increasing quality and reducing cycle time by 50%

Pains relieved included;
-Lack of subject matter expertise and experience
-Lack of clarity or understanding on operational readiness requirements
-Reduction in rework due to misunderstandings and process non-compliance

Services Paul Manages

Service Icon Operational Readiness for Change Projects and Programmes (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

Accelerating Operational Readiness by the adoption of best practice

Services Paul Delivers

Service Icon Project Diagnostic and Tune-up to ensure Predictability in delivery (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

Lift the bonnet on one project to tune its engine and optimise the entire fleet of projects through the behaviours and methods applied.

Service Icon PMO Accelerator: stop it being a brake on projects (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

A PMO injection of energy and TLC to put it at the heart of your project delivery engine pumping on all cylinders

Service Icon HiveExec for Digital Delivery Leaders (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

This service focuses on accelerating success for Delivery Focused Leaders

Service Icon The Digital Delivery Accelerator (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

The Digital Delivery Accelerator is a data-driven approach for diagnosing and capitalising upon systemic and tactical opportunities to improve delivery capabilities; enabling you to more effectively align investment in time and effort to directly improve performance and drive increased value from technology for the business and key stakeholders groups. We utilise a collaborative, structured approach with rapid reflection and challenge across six perspectives of high-performance digital delivery.

Industry Experience

Banking and Capital Markets

Asset and Wealth Management

Financial Services


Retail and Consumer

regional Experience