More About Arras People

John Thorpe

John has been involved with Arras since 2001, bringing both breadth and depth in the field of Programme and Project Management and significant business management experience. Arras People represents the third phase of John’s career which has previously seen him work in the UK’s manufacturing sector and in the professional services sector for global blue chip organisations.

Trained as a mechanical & production engineer John spent his early career making things from a metal and various other materials. His organisational skills then became engaged as he progressed in to material and production control where he first came across the use of computers in the business environment. Creating a shop floor documentation system on an Apple II was no mean feat, and after this experience he decided to let others do the coding work whilst he got on with implementing MRP (Material Requirements Planning) and MRPII (Manufacturing Resource Planning) systems before joining a recently formed management buyout company as their production controller.  Upon this blank canvas systems were created and implemented, products made and delivered and eventually he managed the planning and implementation of a full blown MRP2 solution (Manufacturing, Sales & Financial control). Once delivered, the impending return to business as usual rather than the roller coaster of delivering projects meant it was time to move on.

John joined Honeywell’s manufacturing automation group as a consultant where he was involved with many UK based manufacturing and distribution companies looking to implement computer based business solutions. He then joined Hewlett-Packard as a Manufacturing Consultant as the company embarked on a journey to create a professional services division. Initially working with MRP2 solutions, John then got involved in the next generation ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution SAP R/3 in the early 90’s and managed its delivery to clients across many sectors in the UK and Europe. Throughout this period John continued to use and develop his skills in the Projects arena (including Prince training in 1993) and gained significant commercial experience.

As John’s experience of delivering projects grew he moved out of the ERP space and was involved in a wide range of business transformation projects working with clients such as the Inland Revenue and the BBC. In 1996 he managed the UK Office Shopping project, a joint venture with Sainsbury which offered 20,000 product lines and paved the way for today’s home shopping solutions. Possibly one of the few successes from that crazy time around the now infamous dot-com bubble! In the latter stages of this career phase John spent some time managing the Dublin operations and then took on the role of Business Manager. Taking P&L responsibility, with a $30M revenue targets he had responsibility for a team of Programme and Project Managers and their business performance. He was also part of the UK Business Operations Leadership Team, which had the responsibility for directing and managing the divisions UK business.

Today John is responsible for the business operations at Arras, leading the recruitment team and developing the business. He still gets his hands dirty both in terms of running projects (new web site!), recruiting (occasionally), and taking clinics with candidates,  as well as partaking in public speaking engagements. John is also the driving force behind the Annual Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report which he manages and produces each year.

Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott co-founded Arras People in 2002 following a career at Esso and Hewlett Packard. Following her graduation from Manchester University, Lindsay went onto work within the recruitment arm of Esso before leaving to join Hewlett Packard. At Hewlett Packard, she worked within the professional services consulting division, first as a Project Co-ordinator and then the Project Office Manager for the division.

It was during her time at Hewlett Packard, recruiting for a project office of 20+ members that Lindsay came face to face with the issues of recruiting good project management professionals.

“It was a frustrating time when looking to grow the project office team; the recruitment agencies we had to use as part of the preferred suppliers list just didn’t understand the roles which are found within a project office. After hours of briefing agencies and taking the time to explain what the roles were and the skills needed, we still ended up with PAs or overqualified project managers!”

When the opportunity came along to set up her own business she knew there was definitely a place in the UK recruitment market for a recruitment agency that really understood its subject matter.

We started Arras People with the aim of ensuring all our recruitment consultants were project management practitioners – people who have all worked within the project management environment. Since 2002 this has been the case and thankfully there has been no roles or projects that we don’t understand!”

Today, Lindsay is still passionate about the subject of PMO. After ten years managing the voluntary group – APM PMOSIG (Programme and Project Management Office Specialist Interest Group) alongside the Chairman and other committee members, she now organises PMO Flashmob

“It is important for everyone at Arras to maintain their project management knowledge and being part of the PMO community not only allows me to continue developing in the area of PMOs but also to be part of something that is providing thought leadership on PMOs in the UK today”

Lindsay manages the marketing and sales function at Arras People today; in addition, she still occasionally recruits for PMO roles (because she can’t resist!) and provides careers clinics for PMO professionals. Lindsay also carries out speaking engagements on project management careers topics and can be contacted through Arras People for more information.

She is the regular project management careers columnist for PMI’s Network magazine; column writer for APM’s Project magazine and co-editor of the Handbook of People in Project Management.

Additionally, she writes regularly both for the Arras newsletter and for the Arras blog, How to Manage a Camel.


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