John Heathcote

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John's corporate experience saw him involved in the establishing of supplier frameworks/partnerships at Tier 1, 2 & 3 of the contracting chain. Since being at university he has employed those skills and knowledge in applying theory to practical application to enhance SMEs competitive positions. "There's enormous potential amongst many SMEs to dramatically improve their competitive position if they are able to achieve a greater market-focussed approach supported by changes in the business. The team have been able to dramatically assist some SMEs in improving turnover and winning more regular work; where there's an open minded management team and a will to innovate a little."

Regarding his work on Project Management Maturity, and PMOs: John runs the MScs in [Strategic] Project Management. Many requests he receives about PM involve an aspiration to bring the PM performance of the whole project department up. To meet these challenges (in the three organisations, where interventions have been made), the team found reducing the amount of formal methodology and improving governance, together with light, but on-going training support, has allowed the development of team learning cultures and dramatically improves project performance. It is the principles that matter, not reams of process!

Part of that Project Maturity development involved planning and contract management training.

Of particular use to teaching is the facilitation of project and programme reviews. Most of the organisations the team works with seek to create interventions to lock-in to new projects the learning from preceding ones.

Closely aligned with reviews, is the facilitation of value management/engineering workshops. These can lead to innovation in the design of project solutions.

John is Chair of the APM Specific interest Group; Value Management.

Current Teaching

Undergraduate and post graduate Project management and Construction management courses.

  • L7 Contemporary issues & Project futures
  • L7 Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • L7 Programme & Portfolio management with Supply Chain management
  • L7 Post Graduate Research Methods L7 Leadership & Team development
  • L7 Contract management for PFI/Public Private partnerships
  • L7 Project Development & Implementation
  • L4 Contemporary projects
  • L5 Risk & Value
  • L6 & L7 Undergraduate and Postgraduate Dissertation supervision
  • PhD supervision

Research Interests

John is researching in topics related to the better management of projects, topics include:

  • What project managers can learn from Entrepreneurs
  • Measuring (and analysing) the impact of project management modelling, for competitive advantage
  • Approaches to problem solving (and creative option generation) for projects
  • Analysing supply chains for optimisation and to create competitive advantage
  • Experimental work on the team working tenets of project management: use of visualisation modelling; team decision making, addressing cognitive errors;
  • Deductive experimental work that tests the assumptions behind normative project management
  • The design of successful partnering frameworks for programmes of work
  • The design of portfolio and programme management approaches to avoid observable problems of ‘governance paralysis’ and ‘the funnel flow problem’
  • The use of Interest Based Negotiation in Stakeholder Engagement

Selected Publications