Ever been in the need to get grip on a running program? To get a good understanding of the reasons for underperformance? But you're not willing to start a whole new project or wait too long? Whether it is due to a regulatory requirement, your gut feeling that tells you your program could be improved, or you just want a periodic review of how things are going, the proven BearingPoint program assessment allows for rapid assessment of the performance of your program. Additionally, it will provide you with a root-cause analysis, in case of any performance issues. In just a matter of weeks your program gets assessed on 23 key program elements. Based on the assessment you are provided with clear advice on how to get your program back in shape!

When programs are struggling to deliver the intended results, there are often multiple contributing factors to this. To further complicate things, these factors often influence each other, and root-causes are not apparent and lead to frustrations for everyone involved. Focusing on one or two observable improvement areas is therefore not enough to get back on track. Instead, a thorough analysis is needed that goes beyond what is observed.

BearingPoint’s Assessment Framework

Figure 1 - the Transformation Bridge

The BearingPoint program assessment is based on the BearingPoint methodology for setting up large-scale successful programs; the Transformation Bridge. This comprehensive methodology encompasses all elements that should be present and thought through when planning and running transformations. On the highest level it focuses on five areas: strategic foundation, the program structure, the program governance, the execution, and change management.

Figure 2 - the Transformation Bridge, in detail

On a more detailed level, 23 key building blocks are analyzed to create a complete overview of the state the program. This includes looking back at the way the program was initiated, how the change impact was assessed, and how the overall governance of the program is organized and executed. Additionally, the internal processes, team performance, and delivery methodologies are also assessed.

The assessment evaluates each building block individually but also the relation between the key elements to provide a broad perspective. As a result, both people working in the program as well as those leading it gain insights on specific elements that can be improved. To get a fair assessment, the organizational and transformational context of the program is considered. As a result, the assessment goes beyond mere observations and includes underlying problems that cause the underperformance of the program. These root-causes then form the foundation for recommended improvement actions. Program leadership and sponsors can use these to not only improve the current program, but also to use it to learn for future ones.

Key assessment principles

The BearingPoint program assessment uses 5 key principles to ensure quality and transparency of the results.

  1. Confidentiality
    Information gathered during the assessment will be anonymous, and not traceable to individuals. This creates an open interview atmosphere where people feel free to express themselves. Secondly, the report will only be shared with a selected number of people from the client.
  2. Holistic
    The assessment looks at all elements of the BearingPoint Transformation Bridge from multiple perspectives and takes the organizational and transformational context into account. It does so by collecting information from many different sources (e.g. program documentation, stakeholder interviews, observations during meetings, etc.).
  3. Evidence & Fact based
    Information gathered during the assessment will be checked for factual accuracy. This means that there needs to be proof of interview findings in program documentation and vice versa. In case some items cannot be confirmed this will be clearly stated.
  4. Fair hearing
    Information gathered during the assessment will be checked with multiple parties to hear all sides of the story. This provides a complete picture of the situation with informed conclusion of the program status and can shed light on how the program is perceived by different stakeholders.
  5. Focus on program design and management
    The primary focus of the assessment is on the way the program is set-up and managed. The actual quality of the deliverables produced is not being assessed as this would require different assessment methodologies. The focus on process rather than content makes the assessment relevant for everybody involved.

Assessment outcomes

Each program assessment has several standard deliverables.

  1. Program state
    A snapshot of the current state of the program. Per element an evaluation is given on the presence and performance relative to the objectives of the program, the context and common practice of the organization.
  2. Root causes
    To identify underlying problems that hinder the program, a root cause analysis will be delivered that identifies things that need to be solved that might be not be observable to the program.
  3. Recommendations
    Based on the assessment and the identified root causes, a recommendation of how to move to program back on track will be delivered. This includes actions needed as well as a planning estimate.

Client reference case

An international NGO had concerns whether one of its large international programs would realize its objectives within the agreed timelines. The program had been running for 2 years, with roughly 40 people located in 5 countries and a total investment budget of around €20 million. Different stakeholders were unhappy with the way the program ran but they could not agree on the causes. BearingPoint was asked to perform a program assessment to:

  • Gain insight in current program status
  • Assess the robustness and viability of the program
  • Determine next steps to improve program structure and decide on budget allocations

In a period of 5 weeks, BearingPoint interviewed a wide variety of stakeholders, analyzed program documentation and identified root-causes to problems that led to the underperformance of the program. This helped the NGO to:

  • Understand the shape the program was in.
    This helped people working on the program with direct improvement actions and program leadership to address more fundamental problems.
  • Get alignment amongst stakeholders on the root-causes and solutions.
    This helped to re-direct the focus of the program and align the various stakeholders towards the common goal and the way to move the program forward.
  • Make decisions on the continuation of the program.
    Program leadership & -sponsors were able to determine the conditions for and the future of the program.
  • Take clear actions to get the program back on track.


David Bergsma