Mark Hickmore

Mark Hickmore

Lymm, United Kingdom
Member since October 13, 2018
Mark is a highly dynamic, customer-focused project/program manager with technical prowess, strategic vision, and an exceptional track record leading complex, large-scale change projects across the full lifecycle. In his decades-long career, he's facilitated positive change, turned around failing projects, and saved millions of pounds (£) for high-profile financial institutions in pressure-filled settings
Mark is now available for hire
Project Highlights
Expertise
Education
Select Certifications
Employment
  • Project Management Consultant
    2011 - PRESENT
    Whirling Limited
    • Developed a successful business as a contract project manager—generating a consistent demand and repeat business.
    • Made a name as an incisive troubleshooter—helping financial service companies fix long-running, failing projects by use of Agile approaches.
    • Led teams from the front to successfully deliver major projects for financial institutions and consistently reaching objectives.
    • Planned work sustainably—ensuring stakeholder satisfaction and enabling it to be passed to more junior staff.
    • Introduced Agile development methods to improve the time to market for new business products.
    • Managed introduction of software & services to live in ITIL environments.
    • Delivered design and pilot stages for introduction of HP Service Manager (ITSM toolset).
  • Project Manager
    2008 - 2011
    Cognizant UK Limited
    • Managed the delivery of five software and infrastructure projects for a global financial services client undergoing a major transformational change following a merger.
    • Led a team of 20 software engineers spread across different countries and delivered 250 test environments for the integration program.
  • Senior Project Manager
    2006 - 2007
    Ramesys Limited
    • Led and managed a project dealing with infrastructure streams to deliver quality learning applications for 20,000 users.
    • Introduced project methods to improve the consistency and speed of delivery for both software configuration and infrastructure projects.
  • Senior Project Manager
    1999 - 2006
    Computacenter
    • Delivered complex IT infrastructure and integration projects for a variety of clients.
    • Recruited, built, and mentored a team of eight top-rate project managers based at multiple locations in the UK.
    • Introduced management and audit approaches to improve the consistency of client services and to speed up mobilization once the contracts were agreed upon.
    • Gave project delivery input on bids for major contracts.
    • Led the project delivery office for a major UK government client.
  • Developer to Project Manager
    1983 - 1999
    Early Career (Various Companies)
    • Led software development teams in creating complex mainframe-based transaction systems for internal and external business users.
    • Managed software projects for clients as a consultant.
    • Built and managed teams of specialist programmers.
    • Developed complex software for statistical and economic modeling for UK government organizations.
    • Provided specialist input on design and build approaches for contract bids and tenders.
Project History
  • Insurance Regulation Change for MoneySuperMarket
    Led the delivery of the program to update 10 channels—making it compliant with the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).

    MoneySuperMarket is a UK-based price comparison company with multiple insurance channels covering motor vehicles, household, travel, and other products. New regulations within the insurance market were required for October 2018 so multiple channels needed to be updated in order to be compliant. This involved teams from MoneySuperMarket as well as multiple third parties.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Was brought in as the program manager and lead scrum master to ensure the delivery was completed in the short time available.
    • While reporting to the insurance director, I also led the impact analysis and prioritization to ensure that the commercial impact was minimized while achieving full compliance by the 1st of October.
    • Worked with the IT and business teams to deliver necessary change in an Agile way while ensuring that the risks were managed.
    • Ran weekly scrum meetings.
    • Oversaw the steering group with executives for prioritization and high-level decision making.
    • Led a program retrospective to capture lessons learned and improve cross-channel changes in the future.
    • Acted as scrum master for implementing a change in the business process workstream.

  • Current Account Debt Management System
    Led a project—for a UK bank—to turn around the faltering build of a management system for customers in financial difficulty.

    The project had aimed to replace an out-of-date support system with more modern software that would provide better customer interactions. When I was brought on, it had been running for a year without producing any significant results.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Revitalized the delivery using scrum methodology and incorporating smaller teams to replace a legacy waterfall approach.
    • Prioritized the delivery to bring about early benefits by managing the product backlog and getting the teams to focus on these rather than on the details of complex exceptions.
    • Acted as the project's overall lead scrum master by coaching others to be scrum masters for four other teams so that work could progress quickly.
    • Moved focus from back-office process to customer journey through the use of stories.
    • Won executive level stakeholder approval for a revised project scope, finances, and plans that were also aligned with the group's strategy.
    • Managed a staff of 50 and led across the full lifecycle to deliver radically improved IT systems and business processes.
    • Transitioned the delivery to the in-house staff after a knowledge transfer.
    • Improved the morale of delivery teams and confidence of stakeholders (as measured by surveys).

  • Customer Complaints System
    Led the introduction and integration of a new web-based customer complaint system for a large insurance company.

    This project aimed to replace multiple legacy complaint systems with a web-based platform which would enable better customer visibility and tracking. Historical complaints were required to still be available on the new system—necessitating a data cleanup and migration alongside the new system.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Acted as a scrum master for a multidisciplinary team from customer areas as well as technology.
    • Ran RFP for the selection of a third-party vendor using user stories developed in the discovery phase.
    • Carried out retrospectives for each sprint with the third party and internal team.
    • Delivered in multiple increments: firstly with live, new complaints, then migrating the historical data, followed finally, by integrating the central customer relationship system.

  • Robotic Process Automation Service
    Led a project for a major insurance company in creating a robotic automation service which aimed to deliver quick returns.

    The project was to set up as a reusable service that could be used across different business areas and legacy systems to automate cumbersome manual processes such as customers' changes of address and requests for information packs.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Acted as scrum master from the initial concept through to delivery of the pilot process automation.
    • Ran RFP for the selection of the software development platform.
    • Headed workshops concerning the business areas to identify candidate processes for automation.
    • Led a delivery team of internal and third-party resources to develop the pilot processes.
    • Ran retrospectives on pilots and implemented recommendations into the approach for future development.
    • Mentored team members on the use of agile methods.

  • Demerger of Mortgage Sales and Servicing
    Led a team of IT specialists in creating mortgage sales and servicing applications as part of a major UK bank demerger.

    I led a major workstream focused on building mortgage sales and servicing systems in preparation for a demerger. The systems were cloned from the parent company but also required significant updates to enable them to work in the newly separated company.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Project managed the design/build and testing of a mortgages sales platform including a web-based partner system.
    • Project managed the design/build/test of the mainframe-based mortgage servicing system.
    • Presented to the executive level steering group monthly.
    • Managed the project plan, finances, risks, and issues using the company's standard waterfall approach.
    • Led a team of over 100 people, based in multiple countries and time zones.
    • Completed the development and testing within an aggressive timescale and handed it over to the live trials team.
    • Acted as the lead for defect resolution during the live trials.

  • Natural Language Recognition for Banking Telephony
    Managed the project—the development and integration of natural language recognition for a retail banking telephony.

    This project meant to enhance the customer experience of those calling into a call center by recognizing—from natural language sentences—the reason why they were calling and route them to the correct handling team the first time.

    PROJECT DETAILS:
    • Ran workshops for requirements capturing and story creation.
    • Led the team developing the pilot to chose appropriate software and integrate it with the telephony platform.
    • Managed the trails and tuning enhancements following the trials to increase recognition by 50%.
    • Led the technology team creating user journies through the system and engaging with business areas to understand the best rules to use for different scenarios.

  • ITSM Toolset Introduction
    Led the delivery of design and pilot stages for the introduction of HP Service Manager.

    A medium-size UK retail bank wanted to modernize the way that IT service management was done and to have an integrated toolset for use across the organization. The role was to get this vision progressed to pilot implementation.

    WORK DONE:
    • Ran the discovery stage using scrum to capture key stories and business drivers/vision.
    • Planned and delivered the design stage for management processes (incident, problem, change, and asset).
    • Delivered a live pilot for asset management, incident, and change processes and configured the toolset.
    • Delivered the training material and introductory sessions for the stakeholders.
    • Acted as the scrum master for multiple scrum teams.

Education
  • Bachelor's degree (1st class) in Computer Science
    1979 - 1983
    Teesside University - Middlesbrough, England
Certifications
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner
    SEPTEMBER 1997 - PRESENT
    AXELOS

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