Have you ever had that sinking feeling when somebody points out your flaws? The best way to respond is to take a deep breath and get to work on improving.
Large financial institutions are reviewed by regulatory authorities such as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) regularly. In the course of those reviews, the regulators identify problems that demand solutions. When that happens, firms call on the deep expertise of Deloitte and similar firms.
Today’s interview guest on Project Management Hacks is Steven Peck, PMP, PMI-RMP. He is Senior Manager at the Enterprise Risk practice of Deloitte Canada. In addition to his work at Deloitte, Steven also volunteers as the Secretary-Treasurer of the PMI Southern Ontario Chapter.
Deloitte At A Glance (source: Deloitte in Canada)
- Deloitte Canada has over 8,000 staff (including 800+ partners with a wide range of experience)
- Deloitte Canada’s revenues in Fiscal 2012 were: $1.8 Billion Dollars
- Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk practice offers professional advice and consulting in several areas including IT security, environmental regulations, and technology governance.
- Deloitte is Canada’s largest professional services providing audit services, consulting, tax advice and other services.
- The Deloitte Learning Academy is a professional education resource that provides articles on enteprise risk and regulations.
1) What are your favourite kind of projects and why?
Regulatory projects are some of the most interesting that I’ve ever worked on. They are large and have impacts across the entire firm. I also find that regulatory projects drive change in an organization that has an impact beyond the project itself.
Regulatory projects bring people together from many units because regulators tend to view a bank as a single entity. In many cases, employees are used to a silo perspective – “I’m interested in only Capital Markets and no other part of the organization.” Successful regulatory projects have a unifying effect on the organization.
2)How did you get started in project management?
I started out as a business systems analyst at Hewlett-Packard (HP). In that role, I worked on administration, financial process and system implementations. At first, I was most interested in the developing integrated business and technology solutions. Over time, I realized I was actually driving change through projects I was working on. I started to assume more of a leadership role which led me to project management. HP was a great training ground – to this day, I continue leverage what I learned at HP in my present work.
3) What’s the largest project you’ve ever run?
My current project is the largest project I’ve ever worked on. The project is addressing gaps at a bank recently reviewed by a Canadian regulator. The project has a budget over $60 million, involves more than 150 people and is a two year program. I have seen larger projects in the financial industry.
4) What frustrates you the most on projects?
There are two frustrations: communicating requirements and perceptions of regulatory projects.
- Determining project requirements to the right level of detail is absolutely essential. Otherwise, the business and technology professionals will struggle to build the right solutions.
- In terms of perception, there is a view that regulatory projects are simply a necessary evil. This viewpoint suggests that regulatory projects simply add cost to the organization. In my opinion, regulatory projects provide significant opportunities for growth. For example, regulatory projects bring together people from across a company and can lead to a better understanding of the customer.
5) What did you study at university and how does that fit into your project management career?
I studied business administration at Wilfrid Laurier University. During my studies, I was most interested in management accounting, administration and consulting. I didn’t look into project management during my studies but discovered it afterwards in my professional career.
On the topic of growth and learning, my early work at Deloitte focused on project risk management and has evolved into providing complex program risk and delivery services for my clients. I found those assignments very educational in learning more about projects.
6) In your work, what regulations have triggered the need for project work?
Recently, implementing projects to respond to regulatory reviews (Remediation projects) has been a major source of regulatory projects. Regulator reviews occur on a repeating schedule and often point out gaps to be solved.
In terms of legislation, FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) and CASL (Canada’s anti-spam legislation) have both required substantial projects. From time to time, new guidance from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision also generates project work.
7) How do you plan for ongoing maintenance after a project has been completed?
That’s a good question! The quality and depth of ongoing maintenance varies substantially. The gold standard for successful ongoing maintenance is Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance – most organizations with an internal audit function manage took over the maintenance of SOX very well.
8) How has the importance and maturity of project management at your organization evolved over the past five years?
Ten years ago, there was a very limited understanding of project management vs regular operational work. Today, project management is very well understood in the Canadian banking industry, especially in technology intensive projects.
Executives who sponsor projects have a much greater understanding of projects today. There is an understanding that significant compliance projects cannot be run off the side of someone’s desk.
The greatest challenge today is that compliance departments do not have a strong project management history. These departments are in the process of developing that capability.
9) What resources do you use to stay informed on project management and related topics?
I rely on two resources for the majority of my project management news and insight. The Project Management Institute publishes a variety of helpful resources.
I am also an active volunteer at the PMI-Southern Ontario Chapter. The Southern Ontario chapter is the largest in Canada with over 4900 members. The chapter offers a wealth of professional development resources and meetings to its members.
10) When somebody says project management to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Driving change and getting things done.
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