Program execution success

How to deliver business-critical
programs successfully.

We know that only 10% of business-critical programs are successfully executed on-time and within budget. So what would you do if you just had to make your next strategic program work?

Working with many organisations over the years we’ve discovered 6 critical success factors you need to have in place to get your strategic program over the line.

On this page, we share our latest thinking and insight on what you need to have in place to ensure your business-critical program succeeds.

Bookmark this page to stay up to date on how to manage your programs and sign up for our regular blogs on the subject.

Do you want to know how to get it right?

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Battle-tested: Executing business-critical strategy with unshakeable confidence and certainty

Consider this: 90% of the 131 programs we’ve rescued in the last 30 years hit a major showstopper within a year. Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, the renowned expert from Oxford University, backs our findings. *

Why? Human behaviour is the culprit.

Our three decades of hands-on experience have provided distinctive insights into how organisations behave under prolonged pressure.

We’ve packed this wisdom into our latest guide – “Battle-tested: Executing business-critical strategy with unshakeable confidence and certainty.”

It’s packed with actionable tips to

Tackle challenges head-on

Challenge assumptions

Minimise risks during crucial program execution

Tap into our expertise and enjoy the personal and professional satisfaction you’ll get by successfully transforming your business – without blowing your budget.

* Flyvbjerg, Bent, 2021, “Top Ten Behavioural Biases in Project Management: An Overview,” Project Management Journal, vol. 52, no. 6, pp. 531–546

Don’t drop the ball! A must-read guide to program execution success.

For any strategic program to succeed, we found that businesses cannot afford to drop 6 critical balls.

We’ve applied the learnings, from decades of experience in strategic program management, to pinpoint what guarantees success – today.

Read on and you’ll discover:

Why the pressure is on to deliver more – better and faster

Why programs miss the mark over-and-over again – with shocking ease

The 6 balls you just can’t afford to drop when running any program

How you can rapidly get relief from firefighting and crisis management

Read our insight guide and let us know if you recognise any – or all 6 balls.

Ideas have no intrinsic value until they are executed successfully

In this Insight Guide, David Hilliard, Mentor Europe’s CEO, reflects on a lifetime in strategy execution, sharing insights and observations gained from nearly 40 years’ experience.

Some things never change

The last forty years has witnessed a digital revolution, the advent of social media, a global pandemic – to name but a few.

Generally, these have improved the way we work, conduct business, and communicate.

Yet, industry still struggles to execute ideas and strategies.

In my nearly 40 years in this business, I’ve witnessed a lot of talk and activity about how to improve strategic program execution. Yet, these fads just tinker with the execution process – they haven’t done much to move the needle.

Research by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner in their excellent book “How Big Things Get Done”, highlights that only 8.5% of all strategic programs come in on time and on budget.

That’s because none of these cosmetic changes get to the crux of the issue – how people think, act and behave under pressure.

In this Insight Guide, I’ll share with you my thoughts and observations as to why this is the case. And how determined professionals can sidestep the most glaring errors of judgment and achieve genuine strategic execution success.



Stepping up to deliver commercial success

Why Program Management must re-imagine its traditional approach

We help companies successfully deliver strategic transformation programs. Yet, many have failure “designed-in.”

That’s why we’ve spent the past 30 years helping companies to put misfiring programs back on track.

The breakdowns are almost always down to human behaviour…

Lack of alignment between the executive team, and those doing the work

 Unrealistic objectives and plans – targets plucked out of the air, with no realistic chance of being met

Poor supplier management, with an “us and them” attitude

Crucial interdependencies completely overlooked

Not enough confidence in people working in other functions

Here’s just a few of the findings

We’ve known this for a long time – but we’ve never been able to measure it accurately.

Up until now…

We’ve developed a program assurance tool – based on research done at UC Berkeley. Using data science and AI, we can now precisely measure the cumulative impact human behaviour has on a programs’ success.

We call it the Mentor Execution Index.

We’ve been running this with clients for some time now – and the results should concern Boards everywhere.

Small wonder so many programs misfire.

Discover how MEI can predict and intercept program failure patterns before they occur – helping to make sure your program succeeds. Something we are prepared to guarantee.

Our Insight Guide has the full set of data and insights.

Too many organisations underestimate operational requirements and execution. They look at massive strategic programs, critical to their success and just assume their organisation can deliver them. That is a massive gap in most organisations.

Jeff Dodds, COO, Virgin Media (former CEO, Tele2 Netherlands)

Hear what other clients say
Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media

How to get business-critical programs right

We’ve created a series of short videos on how to make Program Execution a core capability for your organisation.

Find out:

How business-critical programs are different to BAU and why it’s important to understand their complexity and unique characteristics

How to bridge the gap between strategy and execution

How to recognise the first signs that your program is in trouble, maybe a critical milestone has failed to come about, or a key supplier has objected to extra work

The importance of having a separate program organisation and why not to use the BAU formula

Why a program healthcheck can help scale the problem, highlight areas for change and proposes new answers

To watch more Mentor videos on how to make sure your program delivers

Visit our YouTube page

Program management featured articles

Read our latest thinking on program management. Find out more about why program set up is key to success and the 5 critical factors that must be in place if a business-critical program is to succeed.

Trending insights on program management

Read more on our latest findings and watch the video to find out more about how The MentorBlueprint has helped companies successfully recover off-track programs.

Guaranteeing strategic program execution success

VIDEO: Guarantee Program Success

Watch the video and find out more about how Mentor can help you guarantee your program success.

Failure is not an Option

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Successful program execution – guaranteed

Watch my interview with Total Telecom on why so many business-critical programs miss the mark.

6 barriers to program execution opinion

6 barriers to successful program execution.

Read the opinion article to find out how to identify and remove the 6 barriers that can delay program delivery.

Senior executive reviewing Mentor Europe

VIDEO: Mentor guarantee execution results.

Watch the video and find out why Telco executives give a “thumbs up” to Mentor’s unrivaled program execution approach, and are their partner of choice.

Prefer to watch videos?

Explore our YouTube channel to learn more about Mentor, our approach to program execution, and how we can work with you to guarantee your program succeeds.

Watch now