Brexit this and Brexit that, it is now becoming the most topical sidebar conversation we have on this side of the world. What are the implications, what do we know and the answer is very little but what we do know is the following:
- The British European Union (EU) referendum has set European Union with the objective of ensuring the United Kingdom (UK) seamlessly leave the EU.
- For the UK to leave the EU it had to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which gives the two sides two years to agree the terms of the split. This was triggered on 29 March 2017, meaning the UK is scheduled to leave on 29th March 2019.
- The UK could cut all ties on 29th of March but current negotiations are about avoiding a “cliff-edge” where current regulations on things like cross-border trade and travel between the UK and the EU ends overnight
- The UK government wants to keep visa-free travel to the UK for all EU visitors after Brexit and is hoping this will be reciprocated
- The majority of the big corporate organisation were in favour of the UK staying in the EU because it makes it easier for them to move money, people and products around the world.
This is a snapshot of where we currently stand and the implications the Brexit has on a free-trade EU way of thinking. However ultimately the whole element of Brexit is still a project and understanding how the project is to be managed is key in the success of the delivery of one of the most complicated divorces of modern time.
Here is our roadmap for managing Project Brexit
Step 1: – Define the Exact Project Objectives. Although leaving the EU is an clear and define high level project objective, there is a lot more that needs definition and understanding and a good project statement is required. The understanding the of the ‘What’ side of the equation needs focus and attention. So trashing out elements such as:
- Will it be viable for the UK to stay in the common markets
- How will future immigration controls be managed and the consequences that these might have for EU nationals living in the UK and vice versa
- Understand the effect on the Northern Ireland peace process and how it impacts on the border between the South and the North
The effects of ongoing uncertainty about the Brexit solution have created pressure for all member nations and as the diplomatic process of engagement begin, there is a case to say that there still is little enough clarity on what the detailed objectives for Brexit are.
Step 2: – Create the Governance Structure and Steering Groups. Given the implications of Brexit, the role of a project steering group is crucial and that this is supported by all EU member states. Without a flexible project governance structure, the Brexit projects are likely to fail with achieving a successful outcome. This structure should be the framework for resolving issues and managing problems that arise during the implementation cycle, and for considering recommendations on the key deliverables. The Steering Group should be made up of the affected member state representatives and this is a crucial element of the structure. The focus of the steering group should be to:
- Unify all EU member states on the strategy, direction and focus of Project Brexit over the new two years
- Be the go-to group for all media transactions and present the global audience that is immersed in Project Brexit the roadmap of execution that we all desire
- To attempt to remove the politics and focus on the governance of the project. This is not about ego’s or personal manifestos, this is about consolidation and focus for the community
The EU referendum result has directed the EU, and in some cases unwillingly, to implement an ill-defined project with major consequences. An unstructured implementation might be the downfall of Project Brexit so the governance structures is essential to manage the unacceptable risks and speculation across the EU states and also globally
Step 3: – Be Welcoming of Change and Good Information. The need for realistic information and supported with a good basis and understanding. So it is time to roll up the sleeves and get going with the following:
- Develop the project business case with relevant and realistic information that provides a reliable basis for making authorisation decisions.
- Develop the project systems that allows the monitoring and scrutiny of projects and implement the required assurance.
- Develop a communication structure where information is disseminated and distributed across global platforms
- Develop a structure of feedback and retrospective loops where there is a culture of continual learning and not political manifestos
Project Brexit has not been done before so the systems of information will never be complicated but should never be underestimated.
Right now, there is a lot of information out there on Brexit and a lot of it is unrealistic and misleading. If the Brexit project is to produce the best outcome time should be allowed for the project to be defined and planned in a way that leads to an common consensus on the outcome.