I'm Kathryn Jones, and I am Head of PMO at United Utilities, the water company for the North West. In this blog I want to share some insights from a recent webinar where I had the opportunity to talk about the Project Data Analytics (PDA) Coalition. United Utilities is a proud member of this coalition, and I'd like to walk you through why we joined, what we hope to achieve, and the exciting potential this collaboration holds for the future of project management.

What is the Project Data Analytics Coalition?

The PDA Coalition is a collective of industry-leading organisations that have come together to explore and leverage the power of data analytics in project management. The fundamental belief driving this coalition is that the challenges and opportunities presented by Project Data Analytics are too vast and complex for any single organisation to tackle alone. By pooling our resources, knowledge, and expertise, we aim to accelerate our progress and drive significant improvements in project delivery.

Why Did United Utilities join?

At United Utilities, we recognise that the developments in Project Data Analytics and AI are going to evolve the way projects are delivered in the future. We want to ensure our business is embracing this change, building the skills needed and realising the potential benefits, to help us successfully and more efficiently delivery our capital projects and programmes. The pace at which Project Data Analytics and AI are evolving means that no single organisation can have all the answers. By joining the Coalition, we benefit from shared knowledge, cross-sector insights, and a collective approach to problem-solving. This collaboration is not just about sharing ideas, but the practical application of project data analytics into our organisation and speeding up our journey and adoption of AI solutions and the necessary Project Data analytical skills our teams need.

Key Focus Areas

So where do we start?  As a coalition we have identified three key areas to explore, where we see real potential to unlock new opportunities. They are; risk management; assurance; and scheduling . By focusing on these specific topics, we aim to reimagine how they might work in the context of advanced data analytics. The goal is to develop tangible case studies and deployed examples that demonstrate the real-world benefits of these solutions. We're leveraging tools like project data analytics apprenticeships and hackathons to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to these challenges. 

The Approach: Lego Blocks

These collective efforts can be compared to building a new Lego model. Each organisation contributes a piece of the puzzle, and together, we assemble these Lego blocks to create comprehensive solutions. This collaborative approach allows us to move faster and more efficiently than if we were working in isolation.

Real-World Applications and Future Prospects

A critical aspect for us as a coalition is to ensure that we can demonstrate robust business cases for change on the ‘Lego block’ solutions. By demonstrating clear benefits of the new solutions, such as increased capacity and efficiency, we aim to build momentum within our organisations and across the industry. This is not just theory; we're applying these concepts to real-world problems, testing solutions, and scaling successful initiatives.

Encouragement to Get Involved

During the webinar, we emphasised the importance of active participation. This coalition is not a spectator sport; it requires energy, commitment, and a willingness to step into the unknown. It does require individual and collective effort. The pace at which each organisation within the coalition may be able to move will be subject to their own individual circumstances, some will be able to pioneer and reimagine quickly and see step changes in their approach, others may need to go through the change in a more gradual way, but embracing a collaborative approach as a coalition we will move faster.  For example one of the key principles of the coalition is that we open source our solutions that we develop through the coalition, apprenticeships and hacks so that each member can in turn adopt them, along with the business cases back into our own organisations. 

If this initiative interests you, we encourage you to get involved. Join our product groups, nominate team members for apprenticeships, and participate in hackathons. The more we contribute collectively, the more impactful our results will be.


In wrapping up the session, I urged everyone to revisit the webinar content and dive deeper into the materials provided. There's a wealth of information to absorb, and we are just at the beginning of this exciting journey. As we move forward, I am confident that our collaborative efforts will lead to significant advancements in project data analytics and transform how we deliver projects.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to checking in with all of you in the coming months to share our progress and continue this journey together. Let's harness the power of data analytics to reshape the future of project management!