Category Archives: Articles

5 lessons for the unwary – Agile PM

Over the last year or two we have reviewed a number of programmes and projects that are using an “agile” approach. There are a number of common problems that have come to light that should be of interest to any organisation setting out on an agile endeavour for the first time.

Agile, Lean or project management are not cures for unproductive or incompetent teams, weak leadership or poor performance management. All methods have their place and can add value and improve performance, but none on their own are a panacea as they all depend on the capability of the people involved.

This article sets out some of the key lessons that we have taken from our reviews.aspire-logo

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Filed under Project Management, Articles, Knowledge Nugget, Agile

Integrating Assurance to Save Money and Time

Assurance – is it a bureaucratic burden or an effective way to avoid failure? It will largely depend on whether you are in a team being challenged or an executive with personal accountability for the result.

Most organisations have a fragmented approach to how integrated assurance is achieved. To have an integrated approach requires multiple layers in the organisation to function coherently. This article explains how to achieve this integration.

The three tier approach clarifies how the models (and terms) fit together:
  1. Organisational capability – assessed using P3M3® and identifies your systemic strengths and weaknesses which can be addressed. To download an interactive overview of P3M3, please click here
  2. Programme and project viability – assessed by independent or peer assurance to provide an objective assessment of the likelihood of success
  3. Gate reviews – line management decisions on whether to continue to invest in the idea
P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Articles, Aspire Assess, Assurance, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, P3M3®

Agile Project Management – 5 lessons for the unwary

Over the last year or two we have reviewed a number of programmes and projects that are using an “agile” approach. There are a number of common problems that have come to light that should be of interest to any organisation setting out on an agile endeavour for the first time.

Agile, Lean or project management are not cures for unproductive or incompetent teams, weak leadership or poor performance management. All methods have their place and can add value and improve performance, but none on their own are a panacea as they all depend on the capability of the people involved.

This article sets out some of the key lessons that we have taken from our reviews.aspire-logo

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Filed under Articles, Knowledge Nugget, Project Management

Lessons learned – new thinking

In general, lessons learned are rarely learned. butterfliesResearch and general knowledge about what causes programme and project failure has abounded for years, yet the same things keep happening, so what can we do to help.

As an example of this problem, for the last 20 years in the UK, the world of best practice (originated by the OGC) illustrates the issue. We wrote Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®), and it was written on the assumption that audiences already had experience of programme management, understood programme management and wanted to improve.  The reality is that people read the book as part of a course and never look at it again.

The work of P3M3® has shown that although the knowledge has been absorbed temporarily for the examination, it is not sufficiently understood to enable deployment in the real world as the courses are attended by inexperienced individuals unable or unauthorised to deploy the knowledge they have in the real world. For more on this, click here

MSP® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Articles, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, MSP®, News

P3M3® at the United Nations

P3M3 Consulting Partner Logo

We would like to share with you an interesting case study about the use of P3M3® at the United Nations.

As an operational arm of the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) helps partners deliver around $1 billion worth of aid and development projects every year. The UNOPS mission is to help people build better lives and countries to achieve sustainable development. UNOPS always aims to satisfy or surpass partner expectations by advancing sustainable implementation practices within the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding context.

UNOPS has over 20 years of experience in providing project management, procurement, and infrastructure services to governments, donors and UN organizations. Within those areas, UNOPS focuses on supplementing partner capacities, improving speed, reducing risks, boosting cost- effectiveness and increasing quality. UNOPS operates across 80 countries with over seven thousand personnel, most of whom work in some of the world’s most challenging places. UNOPS is a self- financing organization with a business model that is unique to other entities in the UN system

To see the full case study, please follow the  link 

P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Brexit – the biggest MSP programme ever – August 2016 highlight report

Welcome to the August highlight report for “Brexit – the biggest MSP programme ever”

In the aftermath of the Leave vote in June we thought it would be interesting to illustrate how the MSP® (Managing Successful Programmes)  framework would cope with such a massive challenge, so we released the paper explaining this at the end of June, see this here, with our set of recommendations which proved very popular.

The events of July, whilst appearing random, fitted in almost perfectly with the steps in the MSP® programme process, so rather than produce another paper, we produced a highlight report which again proved really popular. August proved a little light on information due to everyone being on holiday, so we have included events at G20 within the report, some might say the stakeholders are revolting.

This is reflecting the reality of programme management, where there are commitments to major change without clarity of vision for stakeholders to buy into, if they aren’t going to be advocates then the only option is at best ambivalence or more likely adversary, neither of which will enable the guiding coalition needed to deliver such a massive programme.

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Filed under Articles, Brexit, News, Programme Management

July highlight report – Brexit – the biggest MSP® programme ever

In July we posted an analysis of the situation in the wake of the referendum and used the “Managing Successful Programmes” (MSP®) framework to illustrate the steps that any good transformation programme should follow and  how these could be applied to Brexit. The original article can be found here

1 month on, we can see that the steps we recommended and the likely solution are coming to life so we thought it useful to illustrate these as any good programme would, with a highlight report, summarising the progress and tracking the activities that MSP recommends for initiating (Identifying) a programme.

Hope you find it useful

Rod Sowden | Managing Director Aspire Europe and Lead author for MSP®

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

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Filed under Articles, Brexit, Events, MSP®, News, Planning