SRO Survival Guides extract – Vision and Blueprint

MSP Survival Guide for Senior Responsible Owners has been written specifically for the SRO, full of helpful advice to make your hectic life easier

There are many reasons why programmes fail, but failure to grasp the scale of the change being delivered and weak leadership of the programme teams are often contributing factors.

As they are unlikely to have time to read the MSP guide or to go on courses, we have covered the main things that you will need to know in a format that can be easily referenced.

In this series of extracts we are publishing a summary of the key points from each of the chapter of the MSP Survival Guide for SROs. If you would like to buy a copy, please follow this link and quote the discount code of SG15 for a 10% discount.

“If we don’t know where we are going, how will we know when we have arrived let alone how we are going to get there?”  – Yendor Nedwos

You need to grab the vision for the programme. The vision is the guiding star that should inspire those working on the programme on what may be a long and  challenging journey. People expect the leader to have a vision for a better future that they can follow, if you don’t believe in the vision, you will find it very difficult to be an effective and successful SRO

 Creating a blueprint challenges people to think through the consequences of the vision, which may identify issues and decisions that people would rather not have to make. Those decisions will fall to you to make, or you will need to present them to the sponsoring group or other senior people for them to make decisions. Without a blueprint it is not possible to effectively estimate benefits or what capability you will need delivered by the projects

Follow this link for a fuller extract – MSP Survival Guide for SROs tasters – Programme Vision and Blueprint

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Fresh Look: P3M Frameworks

Fresh Look – Is a series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

No organisation can successfully deliver programmes and projects without an effective framework and common lifecycle around which controls can be based.

Our maturity and capability assessment of over 120 organisations enabled us to review a wide range of processes, guidance and tools that are used across a range of sectors.

We found:

  • Incomplete frameworks with inadequate lifecycles
  • Frameworks that replicate manuals and basic theory but add no value
  • Roles and responsibilities that are generic, confusing or conflicting
  • Themes, such as risk, that are not connected to the lifecycle or sit in isolation
  • Generic role definitions with no application of the responsibilities
  • Templates that bear no resemblance to the lifecycle or processes
  • Little connection between programme and project management systems
  • Portfolio Management frameworks that fail to address balancing priorities

To overcome this, we developed our own Align Framework® and offer it as a fully supported package. If you would like to find out more about the Align Framework, click here

Align Framework® is a registered trademark of Aspire Europe Limited.

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How much of your training budget is wasted?

Strange but true

  1. In 2011 the UK National Audit Office (NAO) reported that a lack of programme and project management skills was one of the major concerns for senior managers. In 2017 there is an estimate that the UK public sector is 4,000 short of the number needed to deliver Brexit.
  2. Our skills and capability assessments have also highlighted some other alarming statistics, one of which is that 23% of people involved in transformation programmes and projects have no formal qualifications.
  3. Over 250,000 people worldwide are qualified in PRINCE2® and over 50,000 in Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®), but when we undertake maturity assessments and assurance reviews, we find organisations do not actually use the fundamental concepts or processes. So basically people are gaining qualifications on subject areas they do not use.

If you are interested in finding out more about why organisations fail to extract better value from the training market, why not read our article – delivering better value from training

In the meantime, here are the things that the Aspire Academy award winning team can help you with.

If you want targeted development to improve organisational and individual performance in both the processes and leadership of change, we can help with the  following:

  1. Competency Framework – that can be adapted for your organisation to help target your training and is aligned to the APM Body of Knowledge.
  2. Competency and Capability Assessment – the process and survey that can profile the current organisation to target your training more effectively.
  3. Short Courses – a range of  ‘off the shelf’, customisable topic and role related courses specifically targeted at improving performance. A number have associated vocational qualifications from C4CM.
  4. eLearning Courses – we have all the main APM Group and AXELOS Limited qualification courses and a range of topic specific courses that focus on application of the concepts, e.g. planning.
  5. Accredited Qualifications – we can offer the full range of APM, APM Group, AXELOS Limited and C4CM qualifications in face-to-face events. Result statistics from the APMG exam institute show our average pass rate across all our products and qualification levels is a 97% success rate over the past year!
  6. Align Framework – A portfolio, programme and project framework which provides a self-help knowledge base and just-in-time guidance for teams. For more information on the Align Framework, click here.
  7. Community of Practice – will enable personal development and networking and organisational learning and improvement.
MSP® and PRINCE2® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Fresh look: Lessons Learned

Fresh Look – Is a series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

One of the great mysteries is why do we keep making the same mistakes or doing blindingly stupid things. The P3M industry is just a reflection of a wider society, as programmes and projects fail repeatedly for the same reasons, yet each time it seems to come as a complete surprise.

TSO asked Aspire Europe to write the guest article for their website, so we decided to focus on this topic and share our insights. We hope you find the article useful.

If just one word from this article triggers a thought or an idea that improves your performance at any time in the future, then it will have been worthwhile.

 

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Fresh Look: Dependency Management

We thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the guiding principles that underpin the world of portfolio, programme and project management. In a world of information overload it is very easy to lose sight of what matters.

Dependency Management really is one of the Dark Arts. It  about the interfaces between initiatives. At a programme level it is what planning is all about, tracking how the inputs and the outputs of projects fits together. At the portfolio level it is even more complex as it is matching together inputs and outputs from programmes and projects.

In MSP® 2011 we introduced the concepts of Intra, Inter and External dependencies so here is the paper that defined the original concept and explains how they operate in a programme management environment.

MSP® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Thameslink – the incredible journey

Late 2016, we were commissioned to write a Lessons Learned report on the Network Rail Thameslink programme to enable other organisations to learn from their experiences.

When we commenced work, it became clear that there had been extensive documentation of lessons throughout the lifecycle, but the problem was people weren’t listening.

The challenge therefore was to find a way to communicate the lessons that this amazing programme had faced and how they overcame them and the lessons that others can learn from this experience in a format that could be consumed.

The scale of the assignment has led us to invoke a number of new techniques beyond this case study that enable key individuals to share their passion, pains and gains through the use of videos and workshops to ensure their story would not be lost.

Rather than a formal report, we have created a case study together with supporting videos to communicate the message. This Thameslink case study provides an insight into workings off a major infrastructure programme, and how they in effect developed an approach that has become the second generation of programme management within Network Rail.

 

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Fresh Look: Planning

Fresh Look – Is a series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

In a world of information overload it is very easy to lose  sight of what matters, so this is the first in a series of posts that revisit to remind about some core  concepts so what could be more important than planning

One of the great mysteries of our profession is planning. For most of our clients, project and programme management is all about  having a plan, and yet most of our  professional qualifications don’t actually involve much planning, in fact some of them go out of their way to avoid it like PRINCE2.

So we shouldn’t really be surprised that so many projects run late or go wrong. There is a sequence to events that are needed to bring a good plan together.  In this article we have set out this sequence for you to consider – Planning – back to basics 

Now, if you are really interested in finding out more about planning and how you can improve your performance, check out our book.

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