Category Archives: Magnificent Seven

Magnificent Seven – Risk Management

Risk management is one of those strange things that we know we should do it, but when we do, it doesn’t seem that interesting.  We have conducted numerous gateway reviews, health checks and maturity assessments and invariably organizations seem to be just going through the motions, we have termed the phrase “risk watching” rather than managing.

One Programme Director, when considering the MSP® Risk Management Strategy, concluding that whatever he did, risks seemed to happen so their strategy would be not to manage risks but manage them all as issues, pragmatic at least.

So here are our Magnificent Seven for Risk Management:

  1. The approach aligns with objectives of the initiative – if it is high risk then much more attention should be given to managing them, this can be achieved by putting it at the top of the agenda
  2. Focus on the threats and understand what could trigger them, far too many programmes and projects focus on the consequences, for example, stakeholder resistance can be the result of poor communications, so it is the impact or effect of the threat of failing to communicate effectively.
  3. Engage stakeholders in the process of identifying and managing risks, normally business operations will understand the risks much better than project staff so should be fully involved
  4. Focus on the aggregating effect of risk, a wise man once said the worst thing that happened to risk was the risk register, as it hides the relationship between individual risks.
  5. Clear and simple guidance that is provided in the context of the organisations vocabulary and culture, don’t overcomplicate guidance with jargon.
  6. Informs decision making through the availability of current information and that lessons are being learned and shared.
  7. Innovate in the way risk management information is presented to a programme or project board, avoid laying a large risk register in front of them, keep it simple and they will stay engaged, they don’t want to the initiative to fail, if they are disengaged when discussing risk then rethink the approach – basically worrying about what might go wrong is never going to be fun
MSP® is a [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Magnificent Seven – Planning

Planning is a crucial aspect of programme and project management. Though time consuming, it remains the case that if you fail to prepare then you prepare to fail.

Here is our magnificent seven question checklist for planning.

  1. Do we know what is required?
  2. Is it clear what we have to create?
  3. Are the resources capable and available?
  4. Is there clarity about how the sequence of products fit together?
  5. How have the estimates been achieved?
  6. Do we understand the dependencies?
  7. Is the ‘golden thread’ in place?

For a taster of our planning principles i-learning Click here

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Magnificent Seven – Stakeholder Communications

The Magnificent Seven is a series of hot tips for improving the way you do an aspect of programme and project management.

Here is our magnificent seven question checklist for stakeholder communications.

1. Include communication at the outset of a project
2. Create a simple, clear, and concise headline message about what the project is going to achieve
3. Identify and segment the target audience and understand the likely impact on them, adjust your message accordingly
4. Use a staged approach to maintain interest and not overload the audience – take them through the sales cycle
5. The quickest communication methods (i.e email) are often the least effective
6. Include the most senior stakeholder – they can prove to be a strong ally in putting across the importance of the project
7. Welcome questions and comments and value feedback, always acknowledge and respond to it.

For a taster of our stakeholder management i-learning Click here

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What the Academy can offer you

FACT 1 – In 2011 the UK National Audit Office (NAO) reported that lack of programme and project management skills was one of the major concerns for senior managers.

FACT 2 – 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 don’t actually use the fundamental concepts or processes, basically people are gaining qualifications on subject areas they don’t use.

FACT 3 – 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.

If you are interested in more about why organisations fail to extract better value from the training market, why not read our article and paper at delivering better value from training. If you are interested in a broader perspective and wish to fully support your programme and project managers then an Academy model may be right for your organisation, an overview of the key characteristics is provided below.

How we improve your performance through training:

  1. Corporate Development Programmes – that provide targeted development to improve organisational and individual performance in both the processes and leadership of change (including talent programmes for developing critical communities).
  2. Competency Framework – that can be adapted for your organisation to help target your training (aligned to the APM Body of Knowledge).
  3. Competency and Capability Assessment – the process and survey that can profile the current organisation to target your training more effectively.
  4. 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.
  5. I-Learning Courses – we have all the main APM Group qualification courses and a range of topic specific courses that focus on application of the concepts, for example planning. The courses are modularised into over 200 “Knowledge Nuggets”. Which are short sharp sessions covering a specific topic or technique.
  6. Accredited Qualifications – we can offer the full range of APM, APM Group 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
  7. Align Framework – which provides 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.
  8. Community of Practice – which will enable personal development and networking and organisational learning and improvement.

If you are interested contact us at theacademyteam@aspireeurope.com or 01275 848099

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Magnificent Seven – Stakeholder Communications

The Magnificent Seven is a series of hot tips for improving the way you do an aspect of programme and project management.

Here is our magnificent seven question checklist for stakeholder communications.

1. Include communication at the outset of a project
2. Create a simple, clear, and concise headline message about what the project is going to achieve
3. Identify and segment the target audience and understand the likely impact on them, adjust your message accordingly
4. Use a staged approach to maintain interest and not overload the audience – take them through the sales cycle
5. The quickest communication methods (i.e email) are often the least effective
6. Include the most senior stakeholder – they can prove to be a strong ally in putting across the importance of the project
7. Welcome questions and comments and value feedback, always acknowledge and respond to it.

For a taster of our stakeholder management i-learning Click here

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, Magnificent Seven, Stakeholder Management

Why programmes need blueprints

The blueprint is one of the most important documents in a programme, but it is also the one that is most likely to be missing or the content is weak,  so in answer to the question “why do we need to bother with blueprints?”, here is the answer (the magnificent seven).

  1. Provides the detailed development of the Vision and underpins the options analysis in the business case
  2. Creating the blueprint engages key stakeholders in building and understanding the future operating model for the organisation
  3. Provide the basis for calculating benefits
  4. Provides the detailed understanding of what is needed to define the project requirements
  5. Understand the level of change and associated risk that the programme faces
  6. Provide the basis for more effective decision making as the impact can be assessed
  7. Better control though Intermediate states that enable  clarity of direction and effective planning

For more news and views why not visit our website www.aspireacademy.tv

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, Magnificent Seven, MSP®, Programme Management

Magnificent Seven – why programmes need blueprints

The blueprint is one of the most important documents in a programme, but it is also the one that is most likely to be missing or content is week,  so in answer to your question “why do programmes need blueprints?”, here is the answer.

  1. Provides the detailed development of the Vision and underpins the options analysis in the business case
  2. Creating the blueprint engages key stakeholders in building and understanding the future operating model for the organisation
  3. Provides the basis for calculating benefits
  4. Provides the detailed understanding of what is needed to define the project requirements
  5. Understand the level of change and associated risk that the programme faces
  6. Provide the basis for more effective decision making as the impact can be assessed
  7. Better control though Intermediate states that enable  clarity of direction and effective planning

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Filed under Magnificent Seven, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme Management