Jump to content

What does it mean to be a Capable Owner? - Watch here!

Amy Morrison

Project 13 has launched a series of events around each of its five pillars: capable ownership, organisation, governance, integration, and digital transformation. The first event: ‘What does it mean to be a capable owner?’ saw industry adopters discuss their experiences and some of the challenges they encountered when implementing the six capable owner principles. From articulating the voice of the customer, and of operations; to being value-driven in mindset, relating to the supply chain, creating complex systems, and finally, recruiting, building, and retaining talent. Each facet is integral to maximise the opportunities of infrastructure projects to effectively deliver better outcomes.

On behalf of the Project 13 development group, Lucy Howard welcomed Andrew Page, Head of Commercial Services at Anglian Water, and co-chair of the Project 13 Capable Owner Group; Richard Lennard, Head of Clients, Programme and Project Partners (PPP) at Sellafield; and Paul Sexton, General Manager of Alliance Management at Scottish Water.


A capable owner “develops sustainable enterprises built on long term business to business relationships.” This sentiment was echoed across each of the leaders’ presentations. After 17 years at Anglian Water, Andrew Page stressed the importance of alignment, how commitment must start from the top, and the benefits of choosing the right partners: “Enterprises are made up of large companies and small companies… each business is just as important as the other. When sourcing and scoring tenders, less than 30 per cent of marks were associated with costings. Most marks were based on an organisation’s ability to demonstrate the right approach, i.e., collaboration, having the right people with the right attitude and way of thinking, and finally, the right environment that nurtures possibility.”


Anglian Water’s adoption of Project 13 principles has enabled them to delivery differently by creating higher performing teams that have clarity of purpose. This theme of clarity was continued by Richard Lennard as he discussed Sellafield’s six-year journey towards an integrated enterprise model. “We started by looking at how we delivered projects and realised we weren’t where we wanted to be. We had a fragmented supply chain that was very traditional and struggled to leverage the collective value of our portfolio of work.”


Richard explained how culture and clarity is at the front and centre of running a successful enterprise: “We had to be honest with ourselves to allow us to do something differently. Led from the very top of the business, this level of humility was important in driving us down a different path to improved behaviours, frameworks, and measurement protocols. To bring the rest of the business along with us, we had to hold a mirror up and acknowledge our faults and commit to driving forward with integrity.”


Finally, Paul Sexton discussed Scottish Water’s first year adopting Project 13’s capable owner principles. Resounding Andrew’s and Richard’s focus on culture and behaviours, Paul recognised early on that a widespread change in behaviour would be the biggest impact on improved efficiencies. To do this, Scottish Water developed a behavioural charter and undertook a maturity assessment to review internal practices, and those of their partners and organisations. By undertaking a thorough review, Paul explained how the outcomes were then captured in an alliancing charter to fuel the collective strategy. “We believe in the Project 13 framework and the pivotal role that owners and major clients play. Although Scottish Water has only been involved for the short-term, we have learned a lot and cannot recommend it enough.”


Following each leader’s discussion, the Q&A segment commenced. One recurring question from the many viewers was around how internal behaviours are transformed. Andrew Page said: “There is no easy route. It’s not enough to simply do a big splash of communications at the beginning, you will of course get some initial enthusiasm, but it will wane quickly. You’ve got to attack it at all levels, consistently, to change behaviours. We undertook many workshops and created a coaching program. By working closely with teams across our partnership organisations, we ensured that each of the leaders focused on remaining consistent in how they worked and shared information. We consistently reiterated the desired behaviours and reviewed individuals that were not performing or adopting the principles. Through the coaching programme, we were able to support and equip every individual with the tools, skills, and knowledge they needed to thrive.”


This was a fascinating discussion from three leaders at various stages of the capable owner journey.  If you would like to learn more about Project 13 and how we’re supporting change in infrastructure, sign up to the Project 13 Network.


  • Like 3

User Feedback

Recommended Comments

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.