Employee Spotlight: Steve Corcoran

Perform Partners
Perform Partners
01.08.2023  |  11 MIN
Steve Corcoran at Perform Partners' headquarters in Leeds

In this week’s issue, we spoke with Steve Corcoran, a Managing Consultant here at Perform. Steve, an experienced project and programme manager with over 20 years of expertise, provides insights into his role, professional background, and the essential skills he believes are crucial for success in the field of project/programme management. Learn about Steve’s favourite aspects of working at Perform Partners, the accomplishments he’s proud of, and why he describes Perform Partners as dynamic. Read on!

Steve, what does your day-to-day look like?

As a Managing Consultant, I see my role from two angles – first, I need to ensure that the delivery team on the ground are happy. If they are happy, it is highly likely that they’re going to do good work and will enjoy what they’re doing. Then, the second part of my task is making sure that customers are comfortable with the work that’s being done. A happy delivery team is more likely to lead to a happy customer.

On a day-to-day basis, I’m having calls with either delivery teams or the customer. I often do retro sessions to find out what’s going well and what’s not so well, and what we can improve on. I share what I’ve learned from the team with the customer and I also feed back from the customer to the team. It works really well, and it ensures constructive two-way communication between Preform and the customer.

Communication is key. Ensuring that issues are escalated and resolved, puts teams in a far more positive frame of mind, compared to if nothing changes.

Interestingly, when I speak to the customer, I have to do all this “essential” stuff about budgets and resourcing and statements of work… but I also do this really interesting stuff about what the team could do, what else we could be working on and discussing feedback on a person, a new or existing process or an improvement to ways of working. The customers really like those discussions as they tend to add additional value to the engagement.

I also work closely with the Account Management team to ensure that our processes are correct. We’re still quite a new company and need to make sure that we’re working in a comprehensive and consistent manner, we’re not making things too onerous; we’re making processes slick so that they are easy to adhere to.

Employee Spotlight - Steve Corcoran in Perform Partners' office.

How long have you been with Perform Partners?

I started off as a contractor back in 2021. I worked for nine months on the NHS where I was the Delivery Lead for the reporting work stream on the Cervical Screening programme. That was my first engagement with Perform Partners.

When the project was delivered, I then moved into a Real Money Gaming customer and worked in their data stream, focusing on data migration. I didn’t stay there for too long because I was invited by Perform Partners to join the head office team as a Managing Consultant.

I accepted because I fancied the change and because I like Perform; I like the people. It just seemed a good fit. I’ve been contracting for over 10 years and whilst I like the variation, there’s not a huge sense of belonging. It was August 2022 when I walked through the door as a permanent member of the team.

Has your role with Perform Partners evolved over time?

Yes, it certainly has. Being in a new role within a learning organisation, there is always going to be the need for adaptability. What I truly enjoy, is that I can use my past experiences and knowledge. For example, conducting retrospectives is something I had done before as a delivery team lead. These sessions involve reflecting on a specific period of time to celebrate our achievements, acknowledge areas where we can improve, and explore alternative approaches. I like to keep things fresh by introducing variations, so it’s not always the same routine. Another aspect I believe is important, is recognising and appreciating team members through positive callouts. Additionally, I find the concept of the 4 Ls – loved, loathed, learned, and longed for – quite fascinating. Engaging in open conversations rather than simply asking questions is the most effective way to gather insights that drive action.

In my opinion, retrospectives help facilitate open discussions and bring important matters to the table. I decided to implement them with the delivery teams, and it has proved successful. This role allows me the freedom to pursue the ways of working I believe in and allows me to share them with a wider audience, whilst also allowing me to understand more about customers’ organisations.

How did you get started in the industry and what did you do before joining us?

In terms of my education, I initially pursued Business and Finance, finding an interest in Marketing. This led me to pursue a degree in Marketing at University. Following that, I embarked on a Marketing Management Trainee programme with Alliance & Leicester and eventually got the role of High-value Customer Manager within the company. I reached a point where I wanted to explore something different, so I made a transition to a company in Birmingham, where I took on the position of Head of Loans.

After a strategic decision meant that the loan operations ceased, I relocated back to Leeds and joined GE Money as a Client Engagement Manager. It was the Transformation Director at the time who proposed the idea of me becoming a Programme Manager, which was unconventional since most Programme Managers typically start out as Project Managers. Despite not having prior experience in the Project Manager role, I ended up overseeing a team of six Project Managers, responsible for enhancing credit proposition across multiple retail customers.

When Santander acquired GE Money, I remained in the role of Programme Manager, specifically for the cards back book migration programme. Later, I took on a contracting role with Lloyds, which wasn’t initially part of my plans but turned out to be an enjoyable experience. My responsibilities involved ensuring brand compliance and adherence to legal terms and conditions across various work streams for the split of Lloyds and TSB. I then took on a three-year stint focusing on financial crime prevention, heading a workstream dedicated to financial crime training.

Following my tenure with Lloyds, I received an opportunity to join Yorkshire Building Society. Initially starting as a Project Manager and Programme Manager for GDPR implementation, I continued working with the organisation to manage the migration of Norwich and Peterborough mortgage customers to a third-party. During this time, I closely collaborated with the internal team at YBS and N&P.

Then, the Covid pandemic struck, and I took a well-deserved six-month break. It was a wonderful period spent with my children, engaging in cycling and outdoor activities. However, when they resumed school, I felt it was time to re-enter the workforce. That led me to join a company called Medical Protection Society as a Senior Project Manager, progressing to the role of Programme Manager. Then, one of Perform Partner’s founders, Rob, contacted me and extended an offer to join the NHS cervical screening programme, to which I enthusiastically agreed.

Perform Partners Account Managers

What are the top skills of a Project Manager or a Programme Manager?

We’re going to go back to communication because communication is key, add to that transparency and good planning.

If you’re a good communicator, Programme and Project Management roles are not that difficult. Essentially, the PMs effective communication should facilitate the team to complete their tasks and keep all stakeholders up to speed with progress. If you stop communicating with the team and stakeholders, all of a sudden things start failing and you don’t have the answers to stakeholder questions, it is then the role becomes stressful.

Also, it is really important to get the governance in place quickly and effectively. Simple stuff like weekly reports in a clear format, a weekly newsletter, a RAID log that’s quite simple and straightforward to complete, a project plan that’s open and transparent and available to be challenged. All these things are really straightforward, but you’d be surprised how often they are overlooked.

My biggest gripe about a lot of projects and programmes is that organisations tend to jump into them feet first, whereas they should spend considerable time looking at feasibility and the foundations.

So first of all, invest time and money undertaking feasibility and answer the questions: Is it worthwhile doing? Is it the right thing to do? What are the technical, economical, legal and operational factors that need to be taken into consideration. Should we really be doing this; it’s a lot easier to spend £50,000 doing feasibility and write that off, than it is to spend £5,000,000 on a project that’s not really worthwhile doing in the first place?

Foundations are also paramount. Making sure that you’ve got everyone on board, making sure that everyone knows their role and responsibility. Putting strong governance in place early and then spending your time doing the analysis, understanding what you want to do and choosing the correct methodology, which is not necessarily the most recent.

What is the best advice that you can give someone who’s just starting their career?

Two things I would do. One is to be flexible, I wouldn’t solely focus upon a specific career path. I’d see what comes along, see what takes your fancy and be open to opportunities.

The second thing is, try and do as much as you can for everyone who asks because it’s all experience, it’s all worthwhile and it always puts you in a good light.

In brief, don’t set out a defined career path, go with the flow. But also, just be willing to muck in and get involved.

What’s your favourite part about working at Perform Partners?

There are two things for me. I like the flexibility. It’s great having the level of flexibility that allows you to come into the office, work from home, or go and visit a customer. This means that I have a great work/life balance, if I want to get out on my bike in the morning I can, as I don’t always have to be somewhere.

I also think it leads to greater productivity as I can work where I’ll be more productive, sometimes that is face to face, and on other occasions it’s locked away in my study. At Perform we have a balance that I believe works well for both the organisation and its employees.

I also love the variety that comes with this role. It presents multiple opportunities for me to engage in diverse tasks and projects. One aspect that I am currently enjoying is the chance to take the lead on our Sustainability initiatives. Within a larger organisation, such an opportunity would likely have been driven from elsewhere in the business.

Employee Spotlight Steve Corcoran at Perform Partners office in Horsforth, Leeds

In terms of successes, are there any accomplishments that you want to share that you’re proud of? Either work or personal.

I’ve always tried to do well in my role. I’m pleased that in the contracting roles I have undertaken, colleagues have wanted to keep me around. I have been with several companies for five-plus years and they have moved me from project to project, because they were happy with my performance and were getting value for money.

I have delivered some large programmes. Probably the biggest one was a £50 million data migration programme that I programme managed. It was especially satisfying because it was in a challenging environment. It was tricky, but we got it over the line.

Personally, I’m very happy with how well I and my family stay on top of our fitness. I have completed multiple long-distance triathlons and remain a capable cyclist despite being 50 next year. I keep telling the kids that they will only realise how fit I am for my age when they get as old as I am. They just yawn and say “whatever dad”.

What is the one word you would use to describe Perform Partners?


Dynamic, simply because we change, we adapt, we do things differently. We try and meet customers’ needs. We have dynamic people doing dynamic roles.


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