Review of 2012 London Olympics

Olympics' success built on getting basics right

How the project teams got it right
Olympics success built on getting basics right

"Preparation, preparation, preparation", was the message from the second London 2012 Learning Legacy event, hosted by official legacy partner APM.

Keynote speakers from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and delivery partner CLM stressed the importance of planning at the front end in the successful completion of venues ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

In the second of a series of learning events, Kenna Kintrea, head of venues and infrastructure at ODA, said it had taken 12 months to set up the project properly, looking at people and processes across the delivery programme. 

“Organisation and governance may seem mundane subjects but on any programme, particularly one as big as the Olympics, they’re absolutely critical,” she said.

The application of rigorous project management was identified as a hallmark of the construction programme, which was handed over to the organising committee one year ahead of the Games.

Kintrea added that getting the basics right was “critical” but stressed that regular reporting and monitoring should constantly be used to refine and adapt the approach.

Work at the front end was also key when it came to creating buy-in among the 10 000 workers deployed on the Olympic Park.

Caroline Blackman, head of organisational management at CLM, talked about the implementation of “behavioural rigour”, a process of setting clear guidelines on issues such as safety and sustainability through the use of chartering.

Charters were drawn up to establish a clear baseline plan and promote engagement with the workforce.

“Once you get some level of engagement, then you can drive action plans,” said Mrs Blackman. 

She added that all too often people go straight into action mode without really thinking through what it was they want to achieve.

Strong leadership and “ownership of the key messages is absolutely critical”, she said.

 John Fernau, head of procurement at the ODA, talked about engaging with senior management to understand the procurement process and how it fits with the wider objectives.

He said: “You can never know your market too well and anything you can do to promote that learning is immensely valuable.”

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