Program Management – what can we learn from US Defence?

Tuesday 24 November 2015

6.00pm - 9.00pm

Free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members

BCS London, Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

Joint Event between BCS Project Management Specialist Group (PROMSG) and BCS Effective Leadership in IT Group (ELITE)

Speakers Sir Jeremy Blackham, John Taylor, Chris Davies, Condor PM


The concept of Program Management has roots in the complex technological projects - such as the development of the first electronic computers - needed in the Second World War to ensure Allied victory and then to face up to the threats of the Cold War. These developments demanded intense co-operation between governments, industry and academia and Program Management was seen as enabling this.

Since those days, the escalating complexity of defence equipment in the United States has contributed to a corresponding growth in defence budgets  - the 2015 budget is currently forecast at a staggering $559 billion.

With this enormous expenditure, Program Management has been formalised and encapsulated into Federal Legislation to ensure traceability and proper governance. The seriousness of this approach is reflected in the establishment by US Department of Defense (DoD) of a purpose-built program management academy, the Defense Systems Management College (DSMC), which is now part of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).

This presentation will provide an overview of the DoD approach to Program Management. Its history, its focus on client and suppliers and the structure of its training will be explored. It will be compared and contrasted with the UK government-sponsored PPM family of standards and with the approach adopted by the Major Projects Authority (MPA).


5.30pm - 6.00pm Tea/Coffee
6.00pm - 8.30pm


  1. Introduction to the DoD approach - Chris Davies
  2. Walkthrough their most popular curriculum - John Taylor
  3. The MPA and the current position of Central Government programmes  - Sir Jeremy Blackham
  4. Questions and answers
8.30pm - 9.00pm Refreshments and networking

About the speakers:

Sir Jeremy Blackham served for over 40 years in the Royal Navy, latterly holding several key very senior posts in both operational command and in HR and Acquisition policy, budget and planning. He has much experience of setting up new organisations and of managing change, most notably he established a completely new culture and structure whilst creating the new Equipment Central Customer. Leaving the Service in 2002, he joined EADS to set up its new UK Headquarters company and helped in the winning of key business. He was also appointed a director and an associate of several smaller companies providing advice on Change Management and customer relations and is currently a director of Eurocopter UK. He has advised the NHS, Police, Fire Services and the Borders and Immigration Agency, whilst also advising the Indian, Swedish and Singaporean MoDs.

John Taylor is a Program Management professional with more than 20 years’ experience delivering transformational change programmes across organisations of all sizes in both the public and private sectors. He is a graduate of the Defence Systems Management College. Previously, he had a technical career in the United States Air Force.

Chris Davies has many years of experience of successful program management in transport, financial services, banking, insurance, government, commercial FTSE-250 corporate sectors - some of these programs being award winning. Chris is one of the Founders of Condor.


PDF Icon The origins of Programme Management - Chris Davies

PDF Icon DSMC Training

PDF Icon The MPA and some thoughts about managing large programmes - Sir Jeremy Blackham