Ford: Peter Cooke, ‘Global Teams-how to make them effective and fun’

Biography: Peter Cooke, Global Enterprise Architect, Ford Motor Company

Peter is the lead enterprise architect on some strategic global change programs which aim to move Ford Motor Company from a collection of regional enterprises to one truly global company. His responsibilities include working with business and IT stakeholders located across the world to define and develop world-class Information Systems supporting Product Development and Order-to-Delivery processes.

Peter is recognized as a thought leader on how to overcome the challenges of global working and managing virtual teams, through his own research and innovation activities, as well as providing training to several hundred Ford Motor Company employees.

Peter joined Ford Motor Company as a Buyer in 1985 having graduated from Loughborough with a BSc(hons) in Economics. After several years he joined a team to design a new purchasing IT system. This experience laid the foundation for his career in designing and managing Information Systems.

In the late 90’s he was manager of European Customer Information Systems with a team of 40; and in the early 00’s was manager of European Vehicle Order Processing Systems with a team of 70+. Peter then moved into a strategy role for European Marketing and Sales Systems managing an annual IT budget of $150m. During this time Peter did considerable work with Ford North America, Ford Australia, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo Cars.

In 2007 Peter led a strategic study to examine ways to radically simplify business and IT operations; and many of these recommendations are now being executed as part of a multi-year global initiative.

During this time Peter also studied for an MSc in Information Systems with the Open University which concluded with a research project relating to the challenges of agreeing systems requirements from geographically distributed stakeholders.

Lecture: ‘Global Teams – How to make them effective and fun’

Information Systems teams that span many countries and time-zones are now common-place but the methodologies they use (eg Agile, Waterfall, PRINCE) are silent on how to meet the challenges of virtual teams. Technologies such as email and audio-conferencing have been closing the gap but many teams fail to build trust and the rich social dynamic required to deliver successful solutions.

This lecture summarises current understanding of the challenges and emerging solutions before examining some case studies of piloting new techniques on projects at Ford Motor Company.