Heathrow airport digital controls, UK

Transforming Heathrow’s project management office system to drive performance

In 2019 Heathrow appointed us to develop an integrated digital solution to manage its multibillion-pound capital delivery programme. Today this groundbreaking project is reaping major dividends for the UK’s largest airport - and the journey has only just begun.

Key information

London, United Kingdom
Date started:
Completion date:
Client type:
Main services:
controls and performance, programme management, programme strategy and setup, project management, digital

Meeting Heathrow’s needs through turbulent times

Five years ago, Heathrow understood that its traditional project management office (PMO) would not be able to meet the scale and complexity of its vast capital investment plans. To effectively manage its hundreds of ongoing projects it needed access to fast, accurate and integrated data - to drive performance, create confidence in investment outcomes and maximise resource efficiency. We set out to reimagine and add extra capability to Heathrow’s PMO - to make it more efficient, to ensure a better user experience, and for it to deliver a new level of integration and automation.

Following the critical research and development (R&D) phase, which identified the client’s detailed requirements, we delivered the new PMO as a Platform (PMOaaP) system in six months. It has been operating since July 2021.

For the past two years the focus has been to roll out the platform across the airport’s operations. The work continues, integrating Heathrow’s supply chain and external stakeholders into the system. Three hundred of our team are currently based at Heathrow, working alongside the airport’s project teams to expand the PMO’s reach and capability.

Delivering solutions with a single platform

Heathrow now benefits from a scalable, automated, secure, accurate and easy to use integrated digital portfolio controls solution. This PMO as a Platform (PMOaaP) gives management unprecedented insights into every aspect of their capital delivery programme, reducing costs and reporting times, and increasing efficiency and performance. The benefits include:

  • A 25 percent reduction in the time taken at period-end to produce cost management and other financial reports.
  • 40 percent of Heathrow’s project controls teams’ work has changed from data manipulation to data analysis.
  • The replacement of time-consuming manual reporting by the use of a single management information hub.
  • A step-change in how risk is managed across the organisation.

Project legacy: demonstrating value

Through precise monitoring and management of its capital works portfolio, Heathrow is now able to demonstrate value to stakeholders more effectively, cut period reporting times, and enhance its ability to meet regulatory requirements.

As well as transforming Heathrow’s performance, the project is having industry-wide impact. It redefines how programme and portfolio controls are delivered. Having successfully developed the project for a complex and multi-faceted aviation hub, the solution used is scalable and appropriate to many other industries.

Ben Jones, Head of Capital PMO, Heathrow Airports Limited, said:

The Turner & Townsend team demonstrated a strong understanding of not only Heathrow processes, but also industry best practices. It was mixing those two things together which has really ensured Heathrow has the best tools available.

For further information contact:

Turner Townsend Portraits 7

Adam Bywater