The Experts In

  • Complex Asset Performance

01 Outcome Focused

We are totally committed to helping our clients achieve their capital asset outcomes. From our experience as strategic advisors in complex asset and portfolio execution we know that delivering the valuable outcomes clients need requires a specific mindset and specialist skills. And even when we’ve worked with our clients to deliver quality outcomes, we’re still not satisfied.

02 Right-to-left thinkers

By focusing on what will drive the right outcome, we never lose sight of what’s important. We start with the desired outcome and work back from there, applying right-to-left thinking that clearly defines what successful outcomes look like; understands where, how and why complexity impacts or prevents success; gets to the heart of the problems complexity creates.

03 We deal in the unique

Because no two capital asset situations are the same, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, looking at the unique organisational culture and context (the soft factors) that have the greatest impact on success. We strive to find effective ways to exceed our clients’ expectations, even if this requires tough and straight talking.

04 A tested approach

Helmsman have successfully advised on some of Australia’s most complex and expensive assets like Defence, Oil and Gas, Banking, Rail and Utilities. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years, with a highly experienced and versatile team working across Australia, including Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Welcome to Helmsman

We love turning big, ugly, complex capital asset situations into highly successful outcomes. Because for us, the outcome is everything.
We have built a reputation for being the straight-talking, can-do and broad thinking specialists who can define what needs to be done to deliver the best results.

Complexity Conquered

We have identified 5 complexity types that need to be effectively controlled and managed, to get the right result. Helmsman defines and de-constructs these complexity types so that they don’t inhibit the organisation from taking effective action, or become a barrier to achieving the outcome.


There are stakeholder and political tensions around ‘what to do’, ‘how to do it’, and sometimes, ‘should we be doing it?’


How much the client will have to go through to implement necessary changes in culture, values, context, operations and process.


Key facets are un-defined or yet to be considered, and there is a lack of understanding about what needs to change, like incorporating new technology or skills into the mix.


The approach needed to deliver or maintain a capital asset creates complex interactions. This includes contracts, tasks and organisational structures.


There is a lack of understanding of how multiple interfaces, technical developments and physical systems need to integrate.

What we do

We use a combination of art, science and expertise to determine where the technical complexity lies, and what soft skills need to be applied to deliver success. Many asset owners tend to concentrate on technical, ‘hard’ factors when managing complex assets. Our experience has shown that it’s the people issues that determine how successful the outcome will be. This is what turns good intentions into great outcomes.

The Art

In capital asset situations, the soft factors are often the hardest to get right.

This is because soft, people factors are critical in creating the productive relationships that drive effective outputs. This is a critical part of success because successful people get successful outcomes, yet often the hard factors are given priority, when they are easier to manage.

The Science

No matter what your situation is, you can avoid unforeseen or major problems and ‘fail-safe’ it, using our fit-for-purpose IP.
This diagnostic modeling of complex projects applies a model using a set of ‘lenses’ (from leadership to governance) to make sure no under or overinvestments are made in managing projects, from strategy to execution.

We measure over 200 critical factors that drive project success; our research database contains complexity levels and applied controls from over 1,000 Australian projects. By correlating portfolio and project complexity with what’s needed to drive success we have a market-leading understanding of what will make a difference and in which situations.


We constantly strive to find effective ways to exceed our clients’ expectations.

With a broad range of capabilities and expertise at the highest levels of business and strategy, the Helmsman team are the ‘go-to’ advisors when you expect capital asset success.

And because we are process-agnostic we aren’t bound by set methodology, and can look for answers wherever we can find them.

This unwavering focus on helping our clients achieve their outcomes, and the ability to cut through noise to identify the critical issues, is our point of difference.


When you work with Helmsman you have access to a wide range of expertise and analytics designed to drive capital asset performance.
This predictive, analytics-based approach is backed by rigorous research conducted by the Helmsman Institute. In the past 3 years it’s been used on some of the largest and most complex projects and programs in Australia and overseas.

We use our unique and credible IP and targeted research to define what drives project success, through:

  • A research-based approach to project services factors that are statistically linked to project performance
  • A focus on the ‘soft systems and skills’ in addition to the technical components
  • Services used by one of the ‘Big Four’ in multiple countries
  • Frameworks that have been adopted by the Australian Defence Services and recognised by the cross industry Australian Institute of Business Analysis.


We’re smart enough to know we can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all, so we choose and work closely with partners that are experts in their particular fields, to effectively (and non-competitively) deliver through diagnosis and outcome delivery.


The Helmsman Institute is a Division of the Helmsman International Group.

The Institute is committed to improving complex capital asset delivery and maintenance performance through world-class research, education and professional development.

The Institute draws intellectual rigor and insight through its associations with a number of Australia’s leading universities and education institutions.

The research and education agenda for the Institute is entirely market driven, not defined by academic interest. The Agenda is determined by the Helmsman Institute Board comprises a number of participating commercial and government organisations, that seek to address their current pressing issues as it relates to their capital asset performance management capability.

The Helmsman Institute and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) are engaged in a three-year research initiative to create best practice benchmarking tools for project governance. This initiative has received a $1.2m Australian Research Council (ARC) partnership grant and is sponsored by companies such as Telstra, Sydney Water, DMO and QBE Insurance.




A Comparison of Project Complexity between Defence and other Sectors – Mar 09

Helmsman was tasked to complete a review of the Defence project portfolio, to understand the relative complexity of the projects versus other sectors.

This document is the publicly available report created by Helmsman. The recommendations and findings were accepted by the Defence Department.


The Helmsman Sustainment Complexity Review – Jul 10

Helmsman was tasked to complete a review of the Defence maintenance portfolio, to understand the relative complexity of Defence maintenance requirements versus other sectors.

This document is the publicly available report created by Helmsman. The recommendations and findings were accepted by the Defence Department.


First Principles Review

Helmsman is proud to have supported the First Principles Review Team in their development of this report. We look forward to continuing our support to the Department in their implementation of the One Defence model.

Dean Blomson-new

Dean Blomson


Dean Blomson is a Partner of Helmsman International Group, with over 25 years experience.

View Dean’s full profile


Julian Mitton-new copy

Julian Mitton


Julian Mitton is a Partner of Helmsman International Group, with 20 years of experience.

View Julian’s full profile


Stephen Clynk


Stephen Clynk is a Partner of Helmsman International Group, with over 20 years experience.

View Stephen’s full profile


Sarah Nelson-Jonas


Sarah Nelson-Jonas is a Partner of Helmsman International Group, with over 17 years experience

View Sarah’s full profile


Enrique Ugarte


Enrique Ugarte is a Principal of Helmsman International Group, with over 15 years experience

View Enrique’s full profile


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