Managing Ruthless Timescales without Compromise: Establishing the True Core of a Project at the IOM3

Metal Triangle Shapes IOM3


The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) is a major UK science and engineering institution whose activities promote and develop all aspects of the materials cycle, from exploration and extraction, through characterisation, processing and application, to product recycling and reuse.

The Institute represents a combination of scientific, technical and human resources which links industry, government, education, research and the academic world, with a current membership of over 18,000. 

The Institute’s charitable vision is to be recognised as the global leader for professionals involved with the materials cycle. Its mission is to promote the science, design, engineering and technology of materials, minerals and mining and their practical applications and facilitate qualifications, professional recognition and development, and deliver knowledge, information and networking services to a global membership and wider community.

Blue Steel

It’s been a pleasure to work with everyone from BLC, and I must say they are the best team I have ever been involved with.

  • Dr Nuna Staniaszek
  • Director of Communications
  • IOM3



The project was shaped by the challenges arising from an incredibly short timescale. From the kick-off meeting in September, it was only five months until the IOM3 legacy CRM and web portal would be switched off, and this meant the project would need to be delivered in phases. The first stage was to replace the CRM and previous member portal. All other requirements, including a brand-new website and extended web functionality across key areas around Event Management, Group & Stakeholder Management and others, were scheduled for subsequent phases. BLC were clear from the outset that the challenging timeline would particularly impact the IOM3 team because they would have to be strict about balancing their business-as-usual jobs with the intense and collaborative effort required on the CRM project. IOM3 responded by making an organisation-wide commitment to allow the project to take top priority, and this helped the key user team to manage their workloads effectively.

The next challenge was to manage a robust Discovery Phase. Here BLC worked with IOM3 to establish exactly what constituted the core requirements of the system and what could be moved to Phase 2. IOM3 worked extremely hard and, guided by BLC, was able to delve down into the data and the business processes and be confident about making often ruthless decisions about omitting requirements from Phase 1 in order to meet the tight timescale.

The other big challenge was logistics. IOM3 is managed from three main geographical locations in Stoke, London and Grantham, meaning there was an added layer of complexity to ensuring effective user engagement and communications across all the sites. For example, to maximise engagement, it was arranged for different touchpoints of the project to be delivered at different locations, with IOM3 and BLC teams travelling between sites where necessary. Then, there needed to be a viable and robust channel of communication spanning the three offices to facilitate speedy progress on the project. In the lead-up to going live and throughout testing cycles, BLC created and oversaw an ‘All Day’ Chat using Microsoft Teams for key users to drop in and out of. This gave everyone timely access to the BLC experts regardless of location.


The combined expertise of the Project Managers on both teams helped ensure the project continued to drive forward, meeting deadline after deadline. Development and testing, data migration and testing, user training and engagement all followed apace and according to a strict timetable. A short breather for Christmas and the team were straight into User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

There was time for some fun, too, and the Project Team enjoyed a social night out, bonding over a trip to the bowling alley and word games (where a case was put forward for including UAT in the official Scrabble dictionary).

What we like about BLC is their honesty and their can-do attitude. Right at the start, they were clear about the risks around such a short timeline, and they proactively worked with us to manage those risks. I am looking forward to continuing our working relationship as we move into Phase 2 of the project.

  • Dr Nuna Staniaszek
  • Director of Communications
  • IOM3
A digger in a quarry at sunset


The CRM and Web Portal went live in January 2020, as planned, which allowed IOM3 to switch off legacy systems. Working together collaboratively, all outcomes were achieved.

Key outcomes for Phase 1 include:

  • Detailed analysis of core business requirements and stripping out non-essential processes

  • Dynamics CRM implementation and data migration from legacy CRM

  • Launch of a new Web portal to allow login, registration, profile and comms preference updates, as well as online payments (with other areas such as online joining to follow very soon after).

  • A clear understanding of how future developments scheduled for Phase 2 will interplay with Phase 1 functionality

  • A strong client/supplier relationship and project structure established and maintained ahead of Phase 2 of the project

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