'New Model Army'? The case for direct entry at SO1 level...

Probably a lot less than with a new boss every two years who has to make changes to prove 'his input was key' so that he can get promotion. If nothing else that would avoid the time/cost overruns that such changes always cause because the contracting companies, not unreasonably, demand more time and money for each change.
In principle, if we were to have a direct entry scheme at SO1 and above, I'd anticipate that it wouldn't be on the same TCOS as those that commissioned through a conventional route. When we're talking about these large, complex, programmes then one of the main sources of instability is leadership churn. That means that you'd anticipate these individuals to be expecting to be in post for longer, with clear deliverables at the end of their tenure.

I'd also anticipate that their future path profile will be quite different. Not the same box ticking exercise that we have now.

The police fast track Supt scheme, once you get below the surface, is probably a fair parallel. I looked into it, but when I saw the types of jobs that fast track were in the frame for I figured I wouldn't take the piss poor salary; Borough Commander and largely support functions. There was little prospect of ever being an SIO for example.
 
But Guys, thats seven OJAR moments, come on SEVEN. That's got to be more important than delivering the bloody project has it not!
I want to give you a funny, but sadly we both know it's true, we need need a new emoticon for 'depressing reality'
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The police fast track Supt scheme, once you get below the surface, is probably a fair parallel. I looked into it, but when I saw the types of jobs that fast track were in the frame for I figured I wouldn't take the piss poor salary; Borough Commander and largely support functions. There was little prospect of ever being an SIO for example.
I think this is probably a fair comparison, but only because the scheme has been a pretty dismal failure.

It hasn't attracted anything like the talent that was hoped for and a large proportion of the few who completed the scheme have left in very short order.
 
I think this is probably a fair comparison, but only because the scheme has been a pretty dismal failure.

It hasn't attracted anything like the talent that was hoped for and a large proportion of the few who completed the scheme have left in very short order.
f think Its fair to say that the training programme wasn't really designed to give them what they were after. It seems to have been designed to give the m replacements, not complementary capabilities.

And the salary was significantly less than I'd get as an SO1.

Of course I'd expect MoD to come up with a similarly half baked implementation.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Actually, in my experience of a vast company in the afterlife, the managers at all levels moved on every roughly 2-3 years (and many of them had no real concept of what the people 'working' for them actually did). I (not a manager) had eight totally different jobs in 22 years.
 
I think this is probably a fair comparison, but only because the scheme has been a pretty dismal failure.

It hasn't attracted anything like the talent that was hoped for and a large proportion of the few who completed the scheme have left in very short order.
Spot on, no high flyers from industry, just other middle managers from the public sector who talk the talk and are generally quite uninspiring. Nobody leaves a £250 K job for £70 K and the shit that goes with the territory.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Spot on, no high flyers from industry, just other middle managers from the public sector who talk the talk and are generally quite uninspiring. Nobody leaves a £250 K job for £70 K and the shit that goes with the territory.
Yeah, I've got a few friends in the met and they've been pretty damning about the whole thing.
 
Spot on, no high flyers from industry, just other middle managers from the public sector who talk the talk and are generally quite uninspiring. Nobody leaves a £250 K job for £70 K and the shit that goes with the territory.
TBH managers in the private sector earning £250k are few and far between and pretty much non existent outside London. Plenty of public servants and “leaders” in QUANGOs and the like have managed to award themselves that sort of salary.

To follow this route, IMHO the Army would need to attract people in the £100-120k zone, in the sort of space it already pays PQOs.

I can’t see what would attract someone to don a uniform in their late 30s or early 40s unless they’d been there before.
 
I can’t see what would attract someone to don a uniform in their late 30s or early 40s unless they’d been there before.
I think that's the real problem, your average civilian perception of the forces is a place he just wouldn't go. To get the right private sector people and not just other public sector types you'd need to do a very specific search for a very specific post so you could sell the interest in the job to the candidate. A generic, come and join the Army/MoD and do projects makes it far too non-specific and raises the likelihood you'll get pissed about doing something totally unsuitable for a few years before you quit in boredom and find you've wasted your time.
 
I think that's the real problem, your average civilian perception of the forces is a place he just wouldn't go. To get the right private sector people and not just other public sector types you'd need to do a very specific search for a very specific post so you could sell the interest in the job to the candidate. A generic, come and join the Army/MoD and do projects makes it far too non-specific and raises the likelihood you'll get pissed about doing something totally unsuitable for a few years before you quit in boredom and find you've wasted your time.
I think the hardest challenge would providing the freedom of action that experienced PMs require.

It’s very hard to pin down who is responsible for delivering MoD projects and it certainly isn’t officers at SO1 level. Stakeholder management (upwards, sideways and down) is a challenge in all complex projects but it’s especially so in the MoD environment where nailing the stakeholder matrix is a massive challenge particularly where rank enters the equation.

IMHO defence project fail (and most do to some degree) because of poor stakeholder management ratther than churn.
 
I think the hardest challenge would providing the freedom of action that experienced PMs require.

It’s very hard to pin down who is responsible for delivering MoD projects and it certainly isn’t officers at SO1 level. Stakeholder management (upwards, sideways and down) is a challenge in all complex projects but it’s especially so in the MoD environment where nailing the stakeholder matrix is a massive challenge particularly where rank enters the equation.

IMHO defence project fail (and most do to some degree) because of poor stakeholder management rather than churn.
That's your problem then, the PM is responsible for meeting the URS on time and within budget. Until that simple principle is 'how it works' you're F***ed. It's amazing that a force with a clear linear command structure can miss this simple principle. 'Stakeholder matrix' is bullshit for 'power to interfere without responsibility for failure' and needs to be deleted from the lexicon.
 
I think the hardest challenge would providing the freedom of action that experienced PMs require.

It’s very hard to pin down who is responsible for delivering MoD projects and it certainly isn’t officers at SO1 level. Stakeholder management (upwards, sideways and down) is a challenge in all complex projects but it’s especially so in the MoD environment where nailing the stakeholder matrix is a massive challenge particularly where rank enters the equation.

IMHO defence project fail (and most do to some degree) because of poor stakeholder management ratther than churn.
This. Need one mention the seismic impact of a change of 1- or 2-star sponsor mid-project when the inbound luminary suddenly decides it's all crap and needs a ground-up reversal of direction? Over the lifetime of a typical major programme, that can occur several times, to say nothing of political interference.
 
This. Need one mention the seismic impact of a change of 1- or 2-star sponsor mid-project when the inbound luminary suddenly decides it's all crap and needs a ground-up reversal of direction? Over the lifetime of a typical major programme, that can occur several times, to say nothing of political interference.
Well, if that ain't "churn", then I don't know the meaning of the word.

And if it is happening at multiple levels, in interlocking components of the total programme delivery structure, as a matter of routine, then right from the get-go you're looking at a recipe for anything but success.
 
Well, if that ain't "churn", then I don't know the meaning of the word.

And if it is happening at multiple levels, in interlocking components of the total programme delivery structure, as a matter of routine, then right from the get-go you're looking at a recipe for anything but success.
One could make a good case that the sort of chaps who get to be 2* and higher pride themselves on their incisive insight and ability to make quick decisions and are therefore minded and predisposed to do just that in every new post. That's a decided asset on the battlefield, mainly, but less so, perhaps, when dealing with a multi-year, multi-partner complex technical programme.
 
One could make a good case that the sort of chaps who get to be 2* and higher pride themselves on their incisive insight and ability to make quick decisions and are therefore minded and predisposed to do just that in every new post. That's a decided asset on the battlefield, mainly, but less so, perhaps, when dealing with a multi-year, multi-partner complex technical programme.
Compare and contrast:

"This officer has spent two years in post, during which time he has kept a highly functional team in place and overseen the orderly and predictable flow of deliverables towards the eventual completion of the programme on time and within budget".

"This officer identifed weaknesses in process and personnel and equipment risks in the programme on appointment, moved swiftly to address them and is now handing over a programme fully on track with only minor delays and cost overruns".


...and we all know who got promoted, right?
 
That's your problem then, the PM is responsible for meeting the URS on time and within budget. Until that simple principle is 'how it works' you're F***ed. It's amazing that a force with a clear linear command structure can miss this simple principle. 'Stakeholder matrix' is bullshit for 'power to interfere without responsibility for failure' and needs to be deleted from the lexicon.
Agreed, the army is currently suffering this with the project management and oversight of a contractor in Capita.
For logical changes to be made (either at client request, or as a result of problems identified), the level of stars the sign off is held at is depressing.
Most often because like all good Stakeholders, they have to have an "unique" perspective or comment when doing the box ticking
 

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