Project Management for Banks and Financial Institutions: A 2-day Workshop

By: Richard Barr, Operational Risk & Back Office Specialist
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Course Description:

Businesses and Organisations whose main business is not project-based still need to undertake projects. However, their management culture is familiar with managing everyday business activities and operations – not projects. This is especially true for banks and financial institutions.

The people asked to manage projects in such process-based organisations like a bank or financial institution may be accountants, financial specialists, IT professionals, operations professionals, managers, or just about any profession. However, they are not first and foremost project managers. Yet they are expected to manage projects as if they are. Often these large projects will play a major part in determining the business/organisation’s future success.

Project management methodologies start from the presumption that a project team is available and all team members will work full time on the project. The reality is that this is not true.

In process-based environments, such as a bank, this assumption is almost never correct. This assumption overlooks many of the major challenges that project managers face. Some of these are;

  • For many team members projects are not their “proper job”,
  • Team members may be assigned to a project only part of their time,
  • Often being assigned to a project may be viewed as a career limiting move,
  • Senior managers may not always give projects and project managers the support they need.

Frequently too, non-IT people find themselves involved in “IT” projects. “IT” being in quotes because there is no such thing as a pure IT project, but rather business projects, which involve IT, to lesser or greater extent.

This course is designed to address both the professional project-manager who is seeking to expand his knowledge of the subject as well as management and staff of banks and financial institutions that need training in the practicality of project management.


To facilitate the understanding of practical Project Management, use is made of a blended instructional approach, using instructor-led training with PowerPoint presentations, bank/financial institution case studies, interactive exercises and multidirectional discussions. This comprehensive approach provides participants with social interaction, solid instruction, and a simulating environment, which allows them to observe and understand the entire ambit of practical Project Management.

Who Should Attend:

  • This course is aimed anybody in any bank/financial institution or other organisations who has ever heard those dreaded words “I have this small project for you to do”.
  • Managers, supervisors, senior and junior staff and even those with project experience will all benefit from this easy to follow, practical course on project management taught by experienced practitioners with actual project management experience under their belts.
  • This course applies equally to staff of banks, financial institutions, insurance companies operating at the corporate level, as well as in retail banking.
  • This training course will give participants an overview of the entire project management process, as well as key project management tools that they can use every day.
  • The course is designed specifically for bank/financial institution projects.

Teaching Method:

This is a highly interactive course is comprised of a combination of prepared tuition, presentations, case studies, multidirectional discussions and comprehensive exercises.

Most importantly it will offer participants, opportunities to plan such work within small working groups, providing practice in the application of the techniques and tools generating active participation.

Course Outline

Day One (8:30 AM - 4:30 PM)

  • Registration Process: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM
  • Session Start Time: 9:00 AM
    We set out some key principles and introduce several themes that will be expanded upon later in the course.
    • Definition of a project
    • The characteristics of projects
    • Process vs Project
    • Common factors that cause project problems.
    • Methods of implementing a project are examined covering pros and cons of each
    • IT Resource Plan – Case Study
    • Defining what we need and how when and where we can do it – The Project
      • Project definition
      • Requirements analysis
      • User functions design
      • IT Technical design
      • Build and test
      • User acceptance
      • The Project Life Cycle
    • Analogy – Transferring the project phases to a non-IT Environment
    • Manageable project components
      • Project phases
      • Understanding business needs
    • Project organisational chart
    • Project participants and their roles
      • Project sponsor
      • Role of Project Steering Committee
      • Role of Project Manager
      • Defining and getting agreement to roles
      • Securing resources and fashioning into a team
    • Planning the project
    • Design project control mechanisms
    • Managing project scope
    • Reporting progress
    • Accounting for quality
    • Characteristics of a Project Manager
    • Creating the Project Budget
    • Breaking the project down into its major phases and their component activities
    • Direct & indirect costs
    • Estimating costs
    • Monitoring Project Costs
    • Handling cost variances
    • Definition of the project, phase plan and agreement
    • Evaluating business needs
    • Finding the best solution
    • Investigate costs and benefits
    • Define the project
    • Estimate and plan first phase
    • Decide “go or no go”
    • Project sizes
    • Things can go wrong - How we manage risk in our private lives
    • Managing Project Risk
      • Measure - understanding what risks are faced, their probability and impact.
      • Minimise - identify what can be done to remove or reduce risks.
      • Mention - speak to the sponsor. Don't keep risks secret.
      • Monitor - keep risks under review, monitor and reduce as you go.
      • Modify - share experience, update your organisation's risk checklists.
    • Monte Carlo simulations
    • Good project definition – understanding the scope
    • Handling costs
    • Analyze estimates
    • Rules of thumb
    • User effort
    • Realism
    • Bottom up estimating
    • Mandatory review
    • Inherited estimates
    • Why we get estimates wrong
    • Suggestions for getting it right
    • Phase planning and task size
    • Tools
    • Part time participants
    • Critical Path
    • How long does it take to plan a project phase?
    • Changes and contingency

    BankMuscat was founded in 1993 by the merger of two established banks - Bank of Muscat and Al Bank Al Ahli - which have been operating in the Sultanate since 1976. In 2000, BankMuscat merged with Commercial Bank of Oman creating the largest bank in the Sultanate of Oman. The bank has more than 90 branches spread across Oman, with 127 ATMs and an estimated market share of 35%.

    In this Case Study, we explore how BankMuscat implement an integrated channel banking solution incorporating upgraded ATM services.

Day TWo (8:30 AM – 4:00 PM)

    • Creating a project phase agreement
    • Contents of a phase agreement
    • Outlook for later project phases
    • Benchmark, foresight, relationship to Project Definition Document
    • Monitoring commitments
    • Why phase agreements are important

    The State Bank of India (SBI), the largest and oldest bank in India, had computerized its branches in the 1990s. In this Case Study we examine how, in order to remain competitive with its private-sector counterparts, SBI began the largest implementation of a centralized core system ever undertaken in the banking industry involving more than 14,600 SBI and affiliate bank branches.

    • Start of each phase
    • During the phase
    • Health checks - which projects and when
    • Doing a health check
    • Health checks - what is checked?
    • Health checks - reporting
    • Following up
    • Informal reviews
    • Compliance monitoring
    • Technical Reviews
    • Other things project support should do
    • Who fills the project support role
    • Tracking, controlling and reporting activities
      • team leaders
      • project managers
      • project sponsors
    • Project office
    • Weekly status meetings
    • Full team meetings
    • Monthly status meeting
    • Project Monthly Report (PMR)
    • Defining an “Issue”
    • Potential issues in the project environment
    • Other events requiring a change
    • Project change requests (PCR)

    Allianz bank is the tenth largest bank in Bulgaria, by assets, and sixth by number of branches. It has a large coverage nationwide and has attracted some of the largest corporate clients (Allianz Holding – the largest financial institution in Bulgaria) as well as over 150000 retail clients.

    In this Case Study we examine how the bank modernized its business model and processes to provide efficient, less time and resource consuming, banking products and services

    • Quality planning
    • Quality in all projects
    • Error cost in the business case
    • Team quality briefing
    • Inspections
    • Simulations
    • Expected results
    • System testing
    • Quality Measurements
    • Cause analysis
    • Quality lessons learned review
    • Team members' quality objectives
    • Objective quality and subjective quality
    • Reviewing at the end of each project phase;
      • Lessons learned
      • Shared experience
      • Phase end report
    • At the end of the project
    • Final phase end report
    • User satisfaction survey
    • Post implementation review (PIR)

    We wrap up the course by exploring the major themes we have covered and see how they might come together and wrap around a full project.

    In this closing case study participants are taken through a model project designed to illustrate the art of project management within a banking/financial institution environment. All the guidelines and process covered in this course are applied.

Meet Your Instructor

Richard Barr
Richard Barr
Operational Risk & Back Office Specialist

Richard Barr , holds a B.S. in International Business Administration from San Jose State University in California. His professional experience spans over 23 years, 5 of which were spent with Wells Fargo Bank. Another 5 were spent honing his global banking skills, when Richard was intimately involved with International Trade Finance, Real Time Gross Settlement and Cross Border Banking. The past 14 years have been in the private and high-tech sectors providing high-level consulting services, business analysis, project management and training to a wide range of banking clientele across the globe.

Richard has also filled the role of advisor to central banks on payment systems and technical payments issues. Furthermore, key staff members from the Bank of England, South African Reserve Bank, Central Bank of Ireland, Bank Indonesia, European Central Bank and Bank of Portugal have attended training sessions presented by Richard.

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Dubai, UAE, Local Attractions

Burj Khalifa
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Palm Island
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Dubai Mall
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The Dubai Fountain
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Dubai Museum
Visit the Dubai Museum to learn about the Dubai of yesteryear. Located in the Al Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai, it is the oldest building in the city. The museum provides guests.

Desert Safari
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Dubai Gold and Spice Souks
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Dubai Creek
This creek has served as the life's blood of Dubai throughout its history, and as such offers much in the way of history and culture. In the evening guests can enjoy a delightful “Dhow” dinner cruise.