In February 2015, our new CIO Richard Corbridge asked me if I would take on the challenge of leading our drive to build Projects, Programme & Portfolio Management (PPPM) division, within what would become the new Operating Model for the freshly renamed Office of the CIO.

After our conversation, it took me all of 5 minutes to get into the mind-set of transformation, and before going home that evening, I’d already begun to jot down ideas – a lot of which are still current, although thankfully in a much more refined way (I like to think!) In fact I got into the new role so quickly, I’m not 100% sure that I ever properly got back to our CIO to say “Yes”!

Anyway, since then it’s been a spring and summer of increasingly frenetic – yet focussed – activity, as the Office of the CIO went through its transition to the new structures described within its Knowledge & Information plan. During that time, plans have been put in place, communicated, refined, and executed, all while keeping the show safely on the road.

For me it’s a time of great optimism, and I’ve been really impressed with the open-mindedness and enthusiasm which I’ve encountered during my engagements with our existing projects staff. That’s not to say there’s no scepticism within our organisation towards what we’re trying to achieve– but even that scepticism should be viewed as healthy and positive. We can’t all be wide-eyed optimists; there needs to be a balance of naivety and experience, and together those two traits can push us through the bigger challenges ahead – transforming how we work, how we ensure the benefits are fully realised, and how we measure ourselves.

I’ve used the corny phrase “the department of change” a couple of times to describe, in part, my vision of this new PPPM organisation; corny it might be, but it really is how I see it.

Our challenge is not only about ensuring that our projects are properly planned, scoped, resourced, and that they fit the strategic, tactical or operational needs of our organisation. Neither is it only that our programmes have a vision, a direction; an end state to reach. In fact, it’s all of those, and much more.

Above all else, for me, this challenge is about ensuring that the investment made by the Health Service in modern technology will deliver the value, the return – the Change – that we all know is necessary to transform the capability of the Irish Health services.