https://insideDIO.blog.gov.uk/2014/01/29/exciting-times-major-projects-and-unusual-benefits/

Exciting times, major projects and unusual benefits

I joined DIO because, very simply, it offered wider opportunity and more scope to try different things in my career.

It’s also presented me with some unusual benefits – I have been very close to some amazing aircraft and military kit; driven many strange vehicles, fired SA80 assault rifles, route marched across the Peak District and been behind the scenes with the Red Arrows.

The Red Arrows take part in a display over London in 2006. [Photo by Cpl Andy Benson, Crown Copyright]
Getting to see behind the scenes of the Red Arrows is one of the highlights of Margaret's DIO career. Here, the Red Arrows take part in a display over London in 2006. [Photo by Cpl Andy Benson, Crown Copyright]

Delivering a Project

I work in DIO’s Programme and Project Management team. The team takes a list of wants and needs from organisations within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and identifies a solution which meets those needs.

It’s not just about large scale construction projects - the team can be involved in quite detailed studies concerning unit moves, infrastructure support to new military equipment and selling surplus estate and buildings.

My job is in the Major Projects Team. We work on construction projects valued at over £50 million. We support all aspects of MOD business including new equipment capability, bulk unit moves and relocations and replacement of estate and property that is no longer serviceable.

I am a Principal Manager  and have sole responsibility for delivery of a single major construction project. I set the strategic direction for the project, ensure that the wants and needs of our customer are capable of being achieved, and where they are not, to identify viable alternatives. Plus, of course, delivering this new capability with due regard for public money. Whatever I do and whatever I achieve, it must offer demonstrable value for money.

I establish the project boundary in which stakeholders, specialists, external agencies and the customer operate in order to establish the most effective solution.

The Programme and Project Management team oversee construction and renovation projects, such as these new Single Living Accomodation blocks at Richmondshire Lines, Catterick Garrison. [Photo by Cpl Ian Forsyth; Crown Copyright]
The Programme and Project Management team oversee construction and renovation projects, such as these new Single Living Accommodation blocks at Richmondshire Lines, Catterick Garrison. [Photo by Cpl Ian Forsyth; Crown Copyright]

 A life more interesting

I came to Programme and Project Management by a circuitous route. I enjoyed Technical Drawing at school and so became a draughtsman. This in turn led to studying building and construction, which then led me to become a Facilities Manager. Following that I became an Estate Advisor and then a Project Manager. I was always following the path that looked the most interesting!

Completing a project and having the customer be very satisfied with the completed building is my favourite part of the job. I also enjoy working through a quite challenging problem or issue and coming up with a solution. The downside is that there is never a clear in-tray and the plans for the day can be changed by the first email. There is a need to be adaptable to changing situations and business demands.

It is a bit of a cliché to say that there is no such thing as a typical day, but in my case it is true. My time is divided between various locations up and down the country, covering a lot of miles by road and rail. The pace of the work can be quite challenging whilst at all times maintaining a quality output. Routine stuff includes developing, implementing and maintaining project plans and programmes and preparing monthly project reports.

Without doubt my career highlight was a six-month operational tour to Iraq. It was an amazing experience, scary and exhilarating in equal measure and I can honestly say that I am proud to have achieved it. I experienced at first hand what my Service colleagues experience and that experience gives me a keener understanding of their needs.

One of the highlight's of Margaret's career was a deployment to Iraq, using her project management skills to help British forces. [Crown Copyright]
One of the highlight's of Margaret's career was a deployment to Iraq, using her project management skills to help British forces. Here a soldier uses his skills - in stark contrast to Margaret's expertise! [Crown Copyright]

1 comment

  1. Comment by Robert Balcombe posted on

    A great read Margaret, it was always a pleasure to work with you.

    Robert

    Reply

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