Business projects – are they from another planet?

Project Management has been around for centuries. Apart from being able to use our thumbs, it may be the differentiating factor between humans and other species, as we can see evidence of humans working together to create amazing things; from the ancient Greeks, to putting men on the moon, all of which constituted a form of project management.

These projects principally focused on constructing “things”, be it a building or a machine.  Although highly complex and amazing feats in their own right, the results were quite predictable – whether it was a bridge or a machine that was being created.  It was possible to understand the problem being solved.

Business projects are much more fluid, it is almost as if they are from another planet to the certainty that surrounds traditional projects.

This article explores the differences and how they could be handled.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Project Management

High performing organisations – does this sound like you?

raft raceWe were undertaking a review of what we had seen and learned over the last year, and one of the main developments was the emergence of organisations achieving P3M3® level 3 and 4 ratings.

There have been some interesting discoveries about the characteristics of these organisations, beyond what we had anticipated. Some of the characteristics took us by surprise as they were more around moods and behaviours that were less tangible, we could almost “feel” the positive energy.

We have analysed dozens of organisations through our work with P3M3. We thought it would be useful to share some of the characteristics of those that stand out from the crowd, in no particular order.

  1. Self critical and restless: Organisations that are on the improvement projectory are continually dissatisfied and impatient, they are looking at where further improvements can be made and willing to take risks to achieve better performance.
  2. Learning organisations: They do not pay lip service to learning lessons and most importantly, they do not wait for a failure before looking for the new opportunities, they will analyse successes as well to differentiate performance from luck
  3. Measuring performance: They don’t just gather data in reports for the sake of it, they analyse it and use it to being good enough is rarely enough, they analyse their data and turn it into an asset.
  4. Educating their people: They don’t just send them on courses, they seek to develop their knowledge to underpin performance improvements from increasing confidence as part of a professional development strategy.
  5. Respecting assurance: They see this as an opportunity to avoid unnecessary failure and an opportunity to learn. Many organisations pay lip service to this and are grateful for a non-critical report, the high performers are much more demanding.
  6. Curating knowledge: They see knowledge as the foundation of power to improve and to do this they will implement tools and systems that enable them to not just store information but to interrogate and proactively broadcast it to an organisation that is listening.
  7. Clear lines of authority: Enable them to make the right decisions at the right time, sometimes they may be bound by their industry and regulation but they will have optimised themselves to function as best they can.
  8. Knowing their own limitations: They will know their limits of capability and competence, this will enable them to make balanced risk based judgements so that they do not get out of their depth unexpectedly.
  9. Committed leadership: They will have leaders who are committed believers, they will provide support and encouragement to teams to follow the proven working practices, but they will flex and adapt when needed. Lower performing leaders abandon proven practices and panic when trouble threatens or stick to them rigidly.
  10. Standing on the shoulders of giants: They don’t make the same mistakes as others, they investigate the solutions to problems and use proven solutions rather than inventing their own routes to failure through guesswork.
P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Aspire Assess, Uncategorized

Programme Management – PMI or MSP – which one is for you?

Programme Management – MSP v PMI – which is right for you

In many markets there is debate about which of the two programme management frameworks should be adopted, in this article we take an objective view of each of frameworks and compare their relative strengths and weaknesses of the MSP and PMI approach to programme management and intended as a guide when considering the relative strengths of each one.

The overwhelming conclusion of this article is that organisations delivering programmes need to exploit the strengths of both approaches and once understood; they are surprisingly compatible and build on the strengths and weaknesses of each other rather than proposing opposing approaches.

The article has been written by Rod Sowden, lead author for MSP 2007 and 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles, Learning, Programme Management

Strategic PMOs play a key role in driving outcomes

Forrester-Strategic PMOs

In this article by Forrester Consulting they have written an excellent paper on how strategic PMOs play a key role in increasing an organisations ability to delivery the right projects in the right way, thus improving organisational performance and agility.

It includes an interesting section about the triggers for PMOs taking on this strategic relevance, not surprisingly, most are linked to a corporate calamity of some sort or a new CEO who is a believer.

Their findings illustrate that the critical success factors include:

  • The have a seat at the executive table
  • They are a critical part of the strategic planning process
  • They embrace core competencies
  • They use consistent objectives across industries and regions

For those of you that are familiar with Sue Vowlers P3O some of this will be old news, but it is still a very interesting article with current examples

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles, Programme & Portfolio Office

Fresh Look – Benefits 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, so this is the first in a series of posts that we revisit to remind about some core concepts.

Picture1

In this article, we revisit benefits management, which is still one of the most mysterious disciplines in the world of transformation. Benefits appear like magic when the business case is being written. With earnest consideration and challenge, even more mysteriously, they seem to disappear as soon as the business is signed off and people get down to the real business of delivering stuff, probably never returning to the sticky subject of benefits and why the change was initiated in the first place.

We’ve pulled together some of what we have found to be guiding principles which may increase your chances of achieving your benefits delivery.

Leave a comment

Filed under Benefits Management, Knowledge Nugget

Fresh look: Project and Risk teams

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

Risk management should be the star of the P3M show, but it rarely is. In organisations that are forward thinking enough to have risk professionals the relationship between project managers and risk managers is not always optimal.

In this paper, a risk advocate provides some fresh insight into how the relationship could work better.

aspire-logo

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk Management

Fresh Look: Investment Logic Mapping

Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) was all the rage a few years ago but it has been lost in time. It originated in Australia and provided an approach to developing the justification for a business investment.

Picture3

ILM is a brilliant way to understand the problem, think about the outcomes and clarify where the costs and benefits sit. They should be made compulsory in all Programme Briefs!

This guide outlines why you should use Investment Logic Mapping to see what value the use of ILM will bring to your investments.

It is a powerful and extremely cost-effective way to bring shape and structure to your investment before you head off into expensive blind alleys.

We hope you find this useful.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Project Management, Knowledge Nugget