From the Frontline: Lessons from the pandemic for better programme management

In ‘From the Frontline’, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is meeting project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques.

In this episode, we meet Emma Willson, who leads the National Audit Office’s Major Projects Delivery area of focus. She has worked at the NAO for almost 20 years, auditing a wide range of government programmes, from welfare reform to large-scale defence equipment projects.

The NAO audits every government department and some arm’s length bodies, like the BBC, and a large part of its work is looking at major government projects, like Crossrail, HS2, Test and Trace and the government’s vaccine roll-out scheme, to consider whether they represent good value for money.

The NAO also seeks to share lessons in how programmes can be better managed. Its reports include initial learning from the government’s response to the pandemic, and a report on learning from projects done at speed.

We spoke to Emma to find out more about the valuable lessons for project management that the NAO’s unique position affords, in particular to reflect on the successes and failures of the pandemic when it comes to project delivery.

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