Australian Open extends digital innovation partnership with Infosys

Continuing on from their recent success, Tennis Australia has extended its partnership with ICT consultancy Infosys to 2026, which will deliver new digital innovations for the Australian Open.

With the 2022 Australian Open now just the one month away, Tennis Australia and ICT consulting firm Infosys have announced a five-year extension to their ground-breaking digital innovation partnership which commenced in 2018.

Infosys and Tennis Australia will continue to leverage advanced technologies such as data & analytics, AI, virtual reality and the cloud to further enhance stakeholder engagement. “We are excited to extend our partnership with Infosys until 2026 as part of our ongoing journey of innovation,” said Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, who has served as the Australian Open tournament director since 2006.

Australian Open extends digital innovation partnership with Infosys

“We look forward to working together to continue to change the way fans, players, coaches and audiences around the world engage with the Australian Open and our sport.”

Having already introduced a slew of new features over the past couple of years, the next step in the collaboration will see a focus on four keys areas, starting with enhanced broadcast statistics for the upcoming event. Fans around the world can expect a number of fresh data points providing for deeper match and player insights, such as pressure point metrics and how well players capitalise on early breaks in sets.

Match centre features for the fans will also be available on the Australian Open mobile app, where viewers can take a virtual seat on court, while some of the most breathtaking moments from multiple matches will be published using ‘AI Shot of the Day’. Coaches and players too will be able to tap into AI videos to improve match strategies, while the partnership will continue to identify opportunities to drive the 360 digital vision.

In addition to an immersive fan experience and coaching tools, there will also be a focus on tapping into technology for greater inclusivity through the Infosys Springboard digital learning platform, which enables students and communities of all ages to work together on various skills and inclusivity initiatives to help under-represented communities. This, the partners say, will have a positive impact on grassroots tennis.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Tennis Australia for a further five years, and to continue reimagining the Australian Open’s world-class digital offerings,” said Andrew Groth, who heads Infosys in Australia and New Zealand. “For us, this collaboration is about digital innovation providing greater access to the wonderful sport of tennis and helping to build it into a truly global and inclusive game.”


Deloitte establishes academy in partnership with Adelaide University

Australia’s third oldest university – the University of Adelaide – has partnered with professional services firm Deloitte to establish a new academy focused on education in future growth industries.

The move is Deloitte’s latest push in the state after earlier this year selecting South Australia as the site for its first Centre for Innovation and Technology, and follows a recent trend of consulting firms and universities coming together on curriculum. The new centre will create up to 200 internships per year for both undergraduate and post-grad students.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Adelaide to make graduates more ‘work-ready’ than ever before by providing internship opportunities, a unique educational experience, and creating long-term employment pathways,” said Deloitte’s Adelaide managing partner Hendri Mentz. “This is about harnessing the university’s pool of strong student talent and offering students invaluable work experience at Deloitte.”

With enrolments to commence from the middle of next year, the Deloitte Academy will offer a digital and technology-focused curriculum incorporating elements of business, engineering and commerce, with the aim of preparing students for opportunities in future-focused growth industries such as defence, agriculture, and the health sciences – areas, Deloitte notes, in which the University of Adelaide has national and global expertise.

Indeed, Adelaide University has a long reputation as an international research and innovation powerhouse, its professors over time accounting for around a third of Australia’s Nobel Laureates, including Howard Florey, who was instrumental in the development of penicillin. Currently, the uni has more than 20,000 students, and hovers on the edge of the world’s top 100 leading universities according to the latest QS World University rankings.

“The University is excited to be partnering with an industry leader, Deloitte, to enhance our outstanding educational experience – with relevant, work-ready skills that will help to propel students into meaningful careers,” said its vice chancellor Peter Hoj. “This partnership is a great demonstration of the University of Adelaide’s collaboration with industry to provide graduates with the skills needed for the workforce of the future.”

The Deloitte Academy is the firm’s latest push in South Australia – which in addition to the Centre for Innovation and Technology has also seen it beef up its consulting division – and follows more broadly big tech’s descent on the state’s capital with a slew of new innovation and delivery centres and thousands of jobs on offer.

One of those firms, Accenture, has already partnered with the University of South Australia to establish a similar academy as to that of Deloitte’s.

The South Australian premier Steven Marshall recently met with leaders from Deloitte, Accenture, AWS, Microsoft, PwC, and MTX Group (among others) on the subject of building career pathways into the technology sector. “There are so many jobs available to South Australians across high-tech and high-growth sectors,” he said. “We want to see our young people grasp these opportunities to build a career right here in our state and boost the economy.”


How PwC helped the ABS deliver Australia’s 2021 Census

While the public will have to wait until next year for Census data to be released, at least one figure has now been revealed – the staggering number of cyber attacks blocked by the online system.

The 2021 Australian Census online digital system blocked in the order of 130,000 malicious IP addresses across its lifetime, according to its builders PwC. Selected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as official Census IT provider in 2019 after the serious failings of the previous survey (with IBM having shouldered most of the blame), PwC has now provided a run-down of the processes involved in delivering the successful project.

PwC was tasked with helping to achieve three key objectives for the 2021 Census Digital Service (which aimed for a 75 percent uptake, or to cater to more than 18 million people, and gained even greater importance in the build-up with respect to social distancing); that the operation would run smoothly and be secure with a simple UX; that the data would be of the highest quality; and that the government, business community, and public had confidence in the system.

Altogether, almost 150 staff-members from the various divisions of PwC have worked on the Census project, including management consultants, front end developers, accessibility and content management specialists, DevSecOps cloud engineers, and cybersecurity architects among others, who joined together with the technical teams from the ABS and AWS.

PwC cites this broad, collegial collaboration as one of the major factors for the project’s ultimate success. “It was incredibly important to see a strong working relationship with the ABS develop,” said PwC partner and the project’s cyber lead Robert Di Pietro.

“Trust doesn’t happen by accident – it is earned and developed through collaboration, respect for diverse views and inputs and brought to life through commitments to a joint and shared outcome. All parties committed to a strong spirit of working together to support the ABS.”

Usability and other factors aside, the underlying focus for the 2021 Census would always be on cyber resilience and incident response readiness following the Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) disruption of 2016, and PwC made sure the system was well prepared and tested prior to launch. This included regular security awareness sessions and threat briefings conducted by PwC’s cyber team for the project’s other participants, sharing the responsibility.

“We had a number of simulation events, and rehearsed cyber incidents to test processes and ensure we had the muscle memory developed for the main event,” said Scott Evans, PwC’s Census Lead Partner for Digital Innovation & Cloud Engineering, on a live Census test held in October of last year. This was in addition to multiple rounds of security code reviews as well as penetration tests designed to emulate the tactics of a real attacker.”

As it transpired, Census night saw an uninterrupted service with system volumes peaking at 270 logins and 142 form submissions per second, with 2.8 million submitted in total, while the solution was successful in blocking around 130,000 malicious IP addresses over its lifetime. “When it came to the solution, we did everything we said we would,” said Evans. “As a cloud native solution, available to anyone online, we built it for maximum security from the start.”


Advisors are increasingly becoming counsellors to their clients

According to Coco Hou, CEO of Platinum Professional Training, being a consultant is no longer just about working with businesses to provide advice and crunch the numbers to get the best outcome, it’s also about providing moral support. “During the pandemic, the consultant role has evolved to take on a much more compassionate and human counselling aspect.”

“Consultants have over the past years also become ‘counsellors’,” said Hou. This process has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions for businesses.

“The past two years have been hard. People are under unprecedented amounts of stress. Businesses have gone to the wall due to forced closures, people have been laid off work, others are on the brink of financial ruin. It’s not just the stress of financial loss that people are dealing with, it’s also the loss of their livelihoods, their identities and their self-worth.

“As consultants, we are not only assisting business owners to find a way through all of this, we are also having to provide emotional support as well. This is tough.”

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that in response to the impact of Covid-19, around 30 percent of people said they were feeling financially stressed in terms of paying for essential goods and services. The biggest proportion of those reporting feelings of stress belonged in the 18-44 age group, with 44 percent of them experiencing high to moderate levels of financial stress.

“There is a link between financial stress and mental health. It’s a vicious cycle because financial stress takes a toll on your mental health, which then takes a toll on your ability to protect your financial health,” Hou said.

“Advisory is seen as a trustworthy profession. It’s no wonder then, that when people are thrown into circumstances of great financial stress, they turn to people they can trust with finding them financial solutions, and end up offloading their personal stresses too. It’s an additional role that’s evolved out of sheer necessity.”

“The challenge is that advisors are just regular people. Without the necessary professional training, they lack the required knowledge, skills and professional ability to cope with this added role. It can become very emotionally draining. Despite this they want to help clients find the best strategy to get through the financial challenges of Covd-19 because they realise that their lives and mental wellbeing are all intertwined.”

“When consultants help a business come up with an idea to move forward, there’s a positive outcome in their overall wellbeing and that makes them happy and satisfied that they’ve done their jobs well.”

According to Hou, 2022 will only become more intense for the consulting sector and many other areas of advisory. She has outlined some tips for advisors to help them get through the year ahead.

Take care of yourself
“Take care of yourself. As an advisor it is important to ensure you are able to deliver the best advice and services possible to your clients and the only way you can do this is if you are on top of your game – feeling well, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy foods,” Hou said.

Connect with colleagues
“Working with stressed clients can increase your own stress levels. Connect with colleagues and friends and family to ensure you are getting the right amount of support at work and at home,” Hou added. “If you have genuine concerns about the wellbeing of a client, tell someone. This way you can work out an approach to assist them.”

Practical outcomes
“When working with distressed clients, try and focus on providing practical outcomes. While the circumstances may be difficult, ensure they understand what steps need to be taken and when by,” Hou added. “If there are options available to them, ensure these are clearly outlined and where possible involve other professionals in the process such as their financial advisor.”

Balance your time
“Consultants usually bill their time on an hourly or project basis. It is important to manage your time carefully so you are able to focus on delivering the best possible services,” Hou explained. “When working with stressed and emotional clients a lot of time can be consumed providing support. Try and find a way to balance this as time is billable and the last thing we need to be doing is absorbing costs or passing on more costs to the client.”

Seek out someone who can help
“When working with a client that is facing difficult circumstances, take the time to encourage them to seek help and support. This is essential for the health and wellbeing of clients,” Hou said.

According to Hou, the easing of restrictions will make life easier for many people. “Hopefully because we are coming out of lockdowns and restrictions are easing, and lives are getting back on track, we will see a turnaround in people’s mental wellbeing and outlook,” Hou emphasised.


Cyber expert Joss Howard joins McGrathNicol as a partner

McGrathNicol has strengthened its leadership team with cybersecurity expert Joss Howard.

Appointed a partner in the Sydney office, Joss Howard brings over 25 years of international IT security experience to the homegrown consulting firm, gained in professional services, industry and military. She joins McGrathNicol after six years with cyber consultancy NCC Group, where she most recently served as the global practice lead for cybersecurity controls and governance.

During this period , Howard led cybersecurity, information governance and IT resilience projects, and advised companies across sectors including in the aerospace, defence, finance, government, healthcare, leisure and retail, transport, telecommunication and utilities sectors.

Howard specialises in assessing security posture, developing strategies, and identifying investments, resources and initiatives to achieve optimal cyber security growth for her clients. Further, she advises boards and senior management on initiatives to improve their business resiliency against cyber threats, reduce risks and protect profitability.

Before that, Howard was a regional cybersecurity lead for PwC in Wales, spent close to four years at Barclays, and worked as an information security expert for EADS Defence and Security Systems, following a sixteen career with the UK’s Royal Air Force.

Founded in 2004, McGrathNicol is a specialist advisory and restructuring firm that work across all industry sectors. The privately-held firm is led by a 50+ partner team.


Tennis Australia re-elects Diane Grady and Mark Da Silva

The Tennis Australia board will continue to benefit from the expertise of ex-management consultants, with the re-election of Diane Grady and Mark Da Silva as directors for another term.  

The board of Tennis Australia has re-elected three of its directors – Greg Hutchinson, Mark Da Silva, and Diane Grady, the latter pair who have a background in the consulting industry. Led by former Bain & Company senior partner and current Virgin Australia boss Jayne Hrdlicka since 2017, the Tennis Australia board has a wealth of management consulting experience it can tap into.

“Through hard work, creative problem solving and sheer determination, our sport has not merely survived the uncertainty and lock-down challenges of the pandemic but emerged in a position of renewed strength,” Hrdlicka said at Tennis Australia’s recent annual general meeting. “During one of the most difficult times at a grassroots level in sport generally, tennis emerged as the fastest growing sport in the country, in spite of the many disruptions created by the pandemic.”

Diane Grady, who is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), is also currently a non-executive member on the board of Grant Thornton. Previously, she was a partner at McKinsey & Company, the first female to be elected to its global partnership outside of the US. Over a 15-year stint at the firm, she led McKinsey’s global Organisation & Change Management group and headed up the management consultancy’s consumer goods, retailing, and marketing practice in Australia.

Another of the returned Tennis Australia directors is Mark Da Silva, who currently serves as a senior director of corporate governance with the ACT government, before which he was the director of strategic development and operational programs for WorkSafe Victoria. Earlier in his career, Da Silva was the management consulting business unit manager for Melbourne-headquartered risk management, OHS, and sustainability consultancy Greencap.

In addition to Tennis Australia chair Hrdlicka’s more than a decade and a half at Bain, several members of the organisation’s executive team also boast a background in management consulting. Appointed last year, Chief Strategy & Performance Officer Tim Jolley spent over a decade with Bain between the UK and Sydney, while Cedric Cornelis, recently installed as Chief Commercial Officer, worked as a consultant at both Bain and Ernst & Young in Brussels.

“Our teams continue to work tirelessly to deliver better outcomes for coaches, clubs, players and officials nationwide,” concluded Hrdlicka. “Creating a playful world through tennis is at the heart of everything we do and while the past year has challenged, it also supported the development of strength and unity – a winning combination as we focus on a future in which more people experience the many benefits of our sport.”

The appointments come within a month of the start of the Australia Open, Australia’s flagship tennis tournament and one of the four Grand Slams. At the time of writing, it is still unknown if defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic will participate in the 2022 Australia Open, with long-time arch-rival Roger Federer ruled out due to injury. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal’s entry has been thrown into fresh doubt following a positive Covid-19 test.

Tennis Australia is far from alone in recruiting former consultants to high-level leadership positions, with Australia’s two other most popular sports likewise stacked with advisory experience. Until recently, three of the AFL’s traditional powerhouses were chaired by consultants, including ex-PwC boss Luke Sayers at Carlton, while Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley, a former assistant director at PwC, is joined by a number of other Big Four alumni on the board.


PwC follows suit in offering its staff remote overseas working

Following similar moves from its rivals, PwC has announced its Australian staff will be able to work for up to eight weeks from one of eight overseas countries, with more to be added in time.

The professional services firm has followed in the footsteps of Big Four rivals Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young to offer its Australian staff the opportunity to work from overseas for up to eight weeks. Employees will also be able to choose to work from any of PwC’s Australian offices for a month, with the firm even developing an app to help facilitate accommodation swaps and local city knowledge between staff.

The idea is to allow for extended overseas trips.“This is a significant shift in our policy, introducing the opportunity for our people to extend breaks by blending short-term remote working with annual leave, both within Australia and overseas,” PwC Australia boss Tom Seymour told the AFR.

“This will allow team members to spend time with loved ones and extended families missed during the pandemic,” the chief executive officer added.

As it stands, approval has been granted for eight countries; the US, UK, Ireland and South Africa, and, closer to home, India, New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, the scheme will be extended to more countries over time.

In launching a similar program last month, Deloitte CEO Adam Powick noted the ongoing challenges in clearing various destinations due to the current travel and visa complexities.

Deloitte was yet to finalise the full details of the scheme at the time, while KPMG’s People & Inclusion national managing partner Dorothy Hisgrove said its policy would see overseas working arrangements approved for six consecutive weeks on average. Since then, EY has also introduced an overseas remote working scheme, with eligible employees able to work from overseas for up to three months.

EY recruitment director Alison McLeod outlined to the AFR that the amount of time a staff-member could spend in a particular location would depend on a range of factors, including the ability to work lawfully in a given location and the role being performed, as well as country-specific issues such as tax and social security considerations, including tax treaty status, and both personal and cyber security status.

Commenting on PwC’s remote-working policy shift on LinkedIn, an “incredibly excited” Seymour said: “If the pandemic has taught us anything about the future of work at PwC, it’s that you don’t need to be physically in the same place as your colleagues to do your job. If that’s true, why should our travels to visit friends, family, and see the world be confined to the few weeks of leave we can get in a year?”


Coras managing director Phil Cutts recognised for leadership skills

The annual Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment awards have lauded Phil Cutts, the managing director of defence sector consultancy Coras, for his business leadership skills.

Phil Cutts – who co-founded Coras – was one of three nominees for the Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2021, alongside Darren Schuback and Ryan Carmichael of watercraft safety outfit Whisky Project Group and category winner Chris de Bono, founder of miso supplier Meru Foods.

The Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program was established in 2016 to help raise public awareness of the skills and experience that the some 6,000 former personnel departing the Australian Defence Force each year can bring to the civilian workforce, with the annual awards recognising both employers of veterans as well veterans who have made a significant contribution as an employee or entrepreneur.

Now overseeing a team of close to 50, Cutts earlier spent almost a decade and a half with the Australian Navy as an electronics technician, during which time he completed an engineering diploma and Masters of Business and Technology with the University of New South Wales. Upon departing the Navy in 2009, Cutts established boutique advisory Lindberg Consulting, which provided services to the Department of Defence.

While Lindberg was successful in winning subcontracts through major players such as Jacobs and Aurecon, Cutts according to his awards bio grew to miss the collaborative team environment characteristic of his time in the Navy, and so set about co-founding Coras in 2015 with a keen focus on people and integrity. This people-centric approach can be evidenced in the company’s employee equity model, along with Cutts’s passionate attitude.

“While very appreciative of the nomination and being a finalist, the entrepreneur tag doesn’t sit well with me,” he said in response to the congratulations on LinkedIn. “It has an individual focus and tends to link to individual achievements. Our success at Coras would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of an exceptional group of individuals. I am humbled by their trust in Coras and excited to see what the future holds.”

Part of that future may be in providing key support to the Australian government on its nuclear-powered submarine program signed under the AUKUS pact, with Coras recently striking a partnership agreement with UK Nuclear and Defence specialists Abbott Risk Consulting. Coras brings local Defence sector and consulting expertise in areas such as business advisory, asset management, governance and assurance, and project delivery.

The nomination of Coras, which has a close to 50 percent veteran ratio among staff, follows that of last year’s entrepreneurial category finalist WithYouWithMe, a workforce transitioning and job-matching organisation for military veterans which topped Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Technology Fast 500 index thanks to its staggering growth.

Meanwhile, Big Four firm PwC has also recently been promoting its Career Evolution programme for veterans and military spouses.


Paul Eastwood on Pollen Consulting’s growth and ambitions

Disruption caused by the rapid move to direct delivery of goods to customers has prompted many manufacturers to reconstruct their supply chains to cope with the multiple new ways of reaching the end consumer. 

This accelerating trend has played into the hands of Sydney-based Pollen Consulting Group, which has achieved notable growth in the five years since inception. It was founded by UK expat Paul Eastwood, who has a background in operations and supply chain management, particularly in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.

“I felt there was a different way of doing things when compared to the two main consulting approaches: boutique players addressing small parts of a business and the big consulting firms that play across everything, but in amore general way”, Eastwood says. “Launching Pollen was a unique opportunity to hit that sweet spot in the middle.”

It was good analysis. While Pollen started out with two people and revenues of less than $1 million in its first year, the firm now comprises 42 people and expects revenues to reach $10.5 million this financial year. Pollen focuses on supply chains and manufacturing excellence and sticks to specific core areas of operation where it knows it can add value.

Most of its consultants have mechanical engineering or chemical engineering degrees that directly address these selected areas. Eastwood is proud of the culture created at Pollen, which has seen most of its senior leaders come up through its ranks. The future goal is to reach a total of 100 people by 2025.

“The overall aim is to keep things lean, with small, focused teams that can drop into businesses and deliver great results and act as a partnership with senior people in those businesses to play a big role in the transformation,” he says. 

An entrepreneurial culture

Part of Pollen’s success can be put down to the firm’s entrepreneurial mindset, with its willingness to adopt new technology and innovative approaches to solving client pain points. One example is a recent collaboration with the Colliers commercial real estate brokerage and investment company to create an industry first end-to-end footprint offering.

“This was the last piece of our jigsaw”, Eastwood says. “If you are a manufacturing or distribution business, the footprint of buildings and infrastructure are key parts of the cost structure and how you design the business for competitive advantage. Redesigning supply chains often involves assessing locations, land and buildings.

“Colliers has the data on land costs and availability, and building costs and can offer project management to build warehouses and factories while we figure out where, how many, what size they should be and what to do inside them.


“We are able to talk to our customers about improvements that are based on independent advice. If the best result is to stay where they are, that’s what we advise. Our motto is, ‘Think it, build it, optimise it’.” On the technology front, Pollen is an early adopter of artificial intelligence and uses this to test run proposed changes to manufacturing or supply chain operations.

“We’ve got a really cool digital twin simulation tool that can analyse how a proposed network or factory might work,” says Eastwood. “We feed in real-world variables and then run a simulation of the new or reconfigured factory to see how it will perform. “If you’re making big capital decisions or making changes to your factory and the way it works, this gives you the ability to model the options so you can really see the impact of the changes you are making.

Because we use variability like the real world, we are not going to tell you the exact outcome, but it will tell you the probable range of outcomes you may achieve without the real-life risk. “We think this is a big area where businesses need to move, particularly as they chase the evolving world around them. They don’t want to make an investment that leaves them stuck.”

Pollen respects the confidentiality of its clients, but the firm was recently “outed” by the former Freedom Foods (now Noumi) as a key part of their turnaround plans. “They had a pretty patchy financial year last year which gained a lot of media attention with some significant write-downs. They told shareholders about the turnaround under way and mentioned that we were there supporting them.

“The one thing that summarises us very well is that we thrive on a challenge. The harder the problem, the more we want to work with our client to solve it. That builds our credibility and that’s what we come to work for. “We solve the problems other people can’t. Doing that alone always looks after the rest of our business.”


Better plan work and projects with the MoSCoW prioritisation method

The MoSCoW prioritisation technique is an increasingly popular method from the Agile toolbox for helping to understand and manage priorities, tasks and activities. Lawrie Kirk, program delivery specialist at Synergy Group, embraces the MoSCoW prioritisation technique to proactively plan and monitor his work (and life).

The MoSCoW abbreviation stands for: Must have; Should have; Could have; Won’t have this time. Lawrie says using MoSCoW to plan for the week ahead can help you appreciate how to manage priorities.

“This is an approach I have used for many years – decades in fact,” explains Lawrie. “It’s a familiar technique for those who are managing Agile projects as it provides a clear indication of what must be completed, as well as the expectations.”“I started using this approach in the early 1980s when managing an earthmoving construction business. People relied on my ability to plan and have a solid and agreed pipeline of work ready to go. Must have activities are a fact of daily life in the construction industry.”

Applying the technique can help you visualise what your day and week will look like. “Using the MoSCoW approach, I list the tasks that have to be done, then allocate either an M, S, C or W to each. When allocating a letter, I also allocate a colour to each task: Red for Must, Green for Should, Amber for Could. For the Won’t have, think of a colour that you really don’t like; in my case I choose a mustard yellow! You can also select an icon that you associate with pleasure and allocate that to the tasks.”

“The design and delivery of programs and projects inevitably results in time and resource conflicts. MoSCoW has provided me with a process that is both practical and proven for managing multiple activities. It reinforces one of the principles we use in program management, to always align effort and resource allocation to deliver capabilities and benefits.”

The musts

Next, look at the Must haves and sort them based on what other people are waiting on, or if you’ll need to get information to another person to action quickly. “Must haves are also for what must be done today, and don’t forget to put in private commitments related to school pick-up, taking that walk or heading to the gym.”

This approach starts to establish a ranking system. “As a rule, don’t dedicate more than 60% of your time to Must haves in your daily to do list,” explains Lawrie. “For teams to maintain confidence in their ability to deliver, it’s not necessarily the number of tasks but the amount of effort, so have a look at your daily allocation of time, and make sure you have time for breaks.”

“Allocating more than 60% of your time to Must haves can mean you are setting yourself up for failure. And don’t allocate difficult Must have tasks one after another. You do need to give yourself a reward and ensure that your confidence is able to be maintained.”

The shoulds and coulds

Lawrie then allocates time for Should haves, Could haves and those inevitable unplanned activities that appear. “‘The actual percentage allocation will depend on the nature of these tasks and other environmental factors. Try to plan for only 4/5 of your day, leaving 1/5 for other unplanned activities. Remember, thinking time is still a valid activity and if some of the other tasks are completed earlier than expected, then have a review of the Won’t haves.”

Modify to suit

Lawrie wants to emphasise that what suits his style of operation may not be for everyone – yet he has proven this technique can be effective. “Colour shading makes it easy to see where the heavy traffic areas of the day and week are to be found,’ Lawrie explains. ‘I also keep this as a private diary – it’s important not to give an incorrect impression that a job was not important. Plus, you can add your private activities for greater balance.”

And it doesn’t have to be an onerous planning activity – keep it high level.

“MoSCoW simply works,” says Lawrie. “It helps me prioritise and establish some structure for each day. Working from home during Covid-19 has made the use of this approach more relevant, and I find that most of this high level planning can be done in a short period of time.”

“It has always provided me with increased confidence that I have a manageable, deliverable plan for the week. If you want to get some time back on your Sunday, try a daily dose of MoSCoW.”