Category Archives: Aspire Academy

Ever wondered how you become a thought leading company?

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but not many people back themselves and go into print as authors, even fewer get the backing of one of the world’s leading publishing companies such as The TSO.

Why not check out some of the books that we have written.

Managing Successful Programmes 2011

The lead author was Aspire Europe Managing Director, Rod Sowden and was supported by Geof Leigh, Aspire Assess Director. Together they wrote both the 2007 and 2011 versions of the manual for the OGC and Axelos and helped to establish MSP® as the de facto standard for programme management around the world.

MSP® Survival Guide for Senior Responsible Owners

This was jointly written by Rod Sowden and Nick Carter (one of our lead trainers) who had a significant track record as an SRO himself. It addresses the needs of new SROs who come into an intimidating environment and are expected to take full accountability for what is going on. The book is designed to help them keep their ship steady and navigate it safely to an acceptable destination.

MSP Survival Guide for Business Change Managers

This was the first in the Survival Guide series and the first of the publications intended to enhance the MSP® body of knowledge by focusing on the roles, tasks and techniques of each of the roles. The author was Rod Sowden with support from a number of the Aspire Europe team. The book was published in 2015 and filled in many of the gaps that link MSP® to business change and business architecture environments.

MSP Survival Guide for Programme Managers

This book was written jointly by Rod Sowden and Geof Leigh with support from the internal team. Published in 2016, the book developed a number of the concepts around MSP® and rewrote them for the benefits of programme managers new to MSP® and included large amounts of new materials to help set up programme governance and programme offices.

The Practical Guide to Project Planning

This book was written by Rod Sowden with the help of Tom Ford. It started life as a set of guidance for one of the Aspire Europe customers, developed into a course and finally became a book. It came as a result of P3M3 assessments and spotting a systemic problem with planning  in most organisations.  It is a global epidemic, so we wrote the book to help pull all the threads and concepts together into one practical guide which pulls the best out of many bodies of knowledge from around the world.

Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3®)

This is the product which changed the industry. From Version 1, the academic framework developed in 2005 to becoming a globally recognised and internationally adopted standard for measuring performance by 2015. Version 2 in 2008 was developed by Rod Sowden as the lead author, and the update released in 2015 had joint lead authorship with Andy Murray (Outperform and PRINCE2® lead author). In addition, Geof Leigh developed large sections of the model, Sam Jenkins was heavily involved in reviewing and testing the new model, Claire Rookes was the project manager and most members of the team were absorbed in some aspect of review and development.

If you can find an organisation that has contributed more to the industry, we are looking forward to finding out who they are.

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MSP®,P3M3® and PRINCE2® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Thameslink – an incredible journey of programme management

ThameslinkLate last year, 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.

Thameslink review case study

Thameslink 2

In addition to this Case study, we also produced a paper on the challenges in general around lessons learned and knowledge sharing, based on our experiences during this assignment.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Aspire Accelerate, Programme Management

Seven Deadly Sins: Programme Management

Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, and we have seen many in our  time.

In the early stages of maturity, there are many common errors that people make when delivering programmes, so we thought we would jot a few down for you.

  1. Thinking like a project: if you fill a programme with project people, guess what happens, they behave like project people and it gets run like a project. Programme management professionals have a different skill set, don’t mistake qualifications for skills.
  2. Forgetting the vision: at the start it is all about the vision. Once it starts rolling and people get busy it is easy to forget why the programme exists, it loses direction, scope drifts and before you know it, all people are talking about is what the projects are doing and not what the programme is doing.
  3. Forgetting there is a lifecycle: programmes have a start and an end, if your programme doesn’t have an end then it is probably a portfolio. They go through very distinct stages of evolution. In the programmes that fail or lose direction, it is because these stages (tranches) are indistinct and the whole delivery becomes a blur.
  4. Not having a blueprint: this one is simple, if you don’t have a blueprint to describe the end game for the programme, you will not know where you are going. This is a fatal error for most programmes, not thinking enough about the outcomes which means there will be no benefits.
  5. Leaving change till later: programmes deliver change, whether it’s major infrastructure build or internal business transformation, failing to plan and cost the change from the outset will lead to failure in the future. Benefits come from change, so without change there will be no benefits.
  6. Looking in the wrong places for risks: programme risks are not pumped up project risks. The risks that kill programmes rarely come from projects, they are normally linked to strategic changes of direction, underestimation of the cost and impact of change to the environment they are impacting, business or social.
  7. Getting the governance wrong: you may not be in a position to affect this, but the people on a programme board should have very clear terms of reference and authority. Programme boards are full of important people with big egos not making the important decisions.

Now you can do a quick health check on your own programme and judge whether it is likely to succeed.

If you need any more help, our services may be able to help. Why not check out our brochure to see the services we offer, or visit our website at www.aspireeurope.com

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12 October, 2017 · 13:59

Eileen Roden accepts a non executive director role at the Aspire Academy

Aspire Europe are pleased to announce that Eileen Roden has  accepted a non executive  director role at the Aspire Academy.

Rod Sowden, Managing Director, Aspire Europe said “We are very pleased that Eileen has accepted the non executive role on our board. We have had a close relationship with Eileen since her PMP days and she is already our P3O® lead trainer, one of our P3M3® assessors  and looks after a number of key clients. Eileen has a massive reputation in the P3M industry with a huge depth of knowledge around PMOs and is a fellow lead author as well, so always has an eye on developing trends but most of all, she is also great fun to have around !”

For more information on Eileen, please check out her LinkedIn profile

P3O® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Why is learning from failure so difficult?

One of the great mysteries is why is it we keep making the same mistakes or doing blindingly stupid things. The P3M industry is just a reflection of 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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Change Management and Prosci® – Which one is right for you?

Both APMG Change Management and Prosci offer certification programmes for people seeking to know more about change management. In the recent times, these are increasingly seen as alternatives or competitors and many potential candidates want to know how these offers differ. This white paper written by Chris Moore (Aspire Accelerate Director) and Robert Cole (Managing Director for C4CM), should help you decide which one is right for you.

If you find the article useful – please let us know

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“What’s your problem?” A guide to the benefits of Investment Logic Mapping

This guide by Ed Brown (Aspire Assess Director) outlines why you should use Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) and the good value the use of ILM will bring to your investments. They’re a powerful and extremely cost-effective way to bring shape and structure to your investment before you head off into expensive blind alleys.

If you find the article useful – please let us know

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Filed under Articles, Aspire Assess, Business Project Management, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, News