‘Never miss a moment’. That was the BBC’s tagline and ultimate goal for its coverage of London 2012. To deliver this ambitious promise, the BBC had to successfully develop and deliver a project on a scale that its viewers had never witnessed before.
At the forefront of the project was Jamie Hindhaugh, the BBC’s head of production for London 2012. The scope was complex – to manage the corporation’s multiplatform coverage of the Olympics including the torch relay, athletes’ parade, Paralympics on the radio and Cultural Olympiad.
Speaking at an APM London branch event, Jamie said that the success was down to rigorous project management. “My key message this evening was about project management and how we used it to manage and deliver such a big project successfully. I wanted people to take away that the skills they have are transferable and that core project management principles can help you achieve most things.”
Responsible for preparing all related BBC production plans, Jamie was also tasked with securing resources and managing the production teams – a team of more than 1,000 for the pan BBC Olympic coverage.
He designed and project managed the broadcast infrastructure, including building temporary TV and radio studios and broadcast positions together with connectivity for delivery across all platforms. The platforms included network television (in HD, 3D), local regional television, radio (linear and digital), the L2012 Portal, 24 ‘red button’ streams and Super Hi Vision (SHV).
Jamie took the position in 2009 after six years as the BBC’s head of sourcing, he explained that whereas the Games were about bringing the nation together, his project was all about bringing the BBC together. Jamie’s ability to harness collaboration among the many different teams in the corporation’s plethora of platforms was key.
The project, codenamed ‘L2012’, had three key elements that were critical to its success. Jamie said: “A flexible governance system, communication and not being afraid to say no were vital.” He added that an agile approach – where lessons were learned throughout the project and factors adjusted accordingly – was also crucial.
Building on the triangle
With help from the BBC’s expert PMO, Jamie and his team developed the classic ‘Barnes Triangle’ of time-cost-performance into a diamond, which incorporated quality and benefits. He adds: “We developed the ‘L2012 diamond’. The visual helped me get people to understand what we were trying to do.”
The support of the PMO was another aspect of the project that Jamie highlighted for the audience at the Charing Cross Hotel. He described the experience of working alongside the PMO as similar to having a friend on hand to offer expert guidance and advice.
Well within budget, the project allowed viewers to access 2,500 hours of live sport over the course of two weeks and was subject to much acclaim from viewers and majority of the world’s press.
Jamie will now go on to his new role as chief operating officer of British Telecom’s new sports channel. He will help launch the channel, oversee its day-to-day operation and ensure it is run efficiently as it begins to deliver Aviva Rugby Premiership and Premier League matches.
Jamie said that he will forever be grateful to the BBC for allowing him the chance to get involved in the project. He added: “I’ve never felt anything quite like it. Being part of the biggest terrestrial event the BBC will ever cover has been amazing. What a privilege.”
This event followed the APM Learning Legacy series earlier in the year that disseminated the lessons learned from the construction of the Olympic Park. APM were selected by the Olympic Delivery Authority as an official partner to share the vast amounts of knowledge on programme organisation and project management through a series of events and resources.