Category Archives: Programme and Project framework

Designing a programme management framework is hard

Safe LandingNo 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

P3M3® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
Align Framework® is a registered trademark of Aspire Europe Limited.

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Filed under Aspire Accelerate, Programme and Project framework

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

Project Academies – how to set up and gain value

Project Academies – how to set up and gain value from Donnie MacNicol

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Filed under Align Framework, Articles, Aspire Academy, Business Project Management, Change Management, Programme and Project framework, Programme Management, Project Management, Training

What is Integrated Assurance?

Integrated Assurance is a term that has become common parlance over the last 5 or 6 years. The origins of the concept were the UK government monitoring of the London Olympics. It was such a complex programme with so many governance bodies wanting to satisfy themselves that everything was going well that people with in the programme were almost professional interviewees.

However, there is little definition around what integrated assurance actually is, for those of you that have an interest in this, we have found this useful article by KPMG that provides a useful overview of the “Three lines of defence” concept.

Enjoy

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Filed under Articles, Assurance, Governance, Programme and Project framework

Developing Programme Management Frameworks

No organisation can successfully deliver programmes and projects without an effective framework. Our work on developing the maturity model P3M3® and undertaking assessments of over 100 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

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

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Filed under Align Framework, Business Project Management, News, P3M3®, Portfolio Management, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme and Project framework, Programme Management, Project Management

Democracy is killing our infrastructure

We were fortunate enough to attend the APM Programme Management Special Interest Group conference last week, where there was a tremendous presentation from one of the grandees of major infrastructure programmes and projects in the UK. He outlined how politics was and has been at the root cause of the degeneration of the UK infrastructure over many generations.

I had always thought of the Victorian era as our golden age, but I was disappointed to find out that most of the investment was by entrepreneurs rather than our government, and most of them ended up broke as a result of the altruism,  so the only people making money out of infrastructure appears to be the builders.

The golden age of UK infrastructure investment was the 50’s and 60’s – an era pre the dawn of Thatcherism, that was when big decisions and actions were taken on  motorways, power stations, schools  and infrastructure. Unfortunately it is the period we remember for the demise of railways and not much else, so history has been very unkind to that generation.

It was also an era of nationalised industries and high levels of government controlled investment. Apparently the countries that have the highest levels of infrastructure investment tend to be a little light on the democracy side of things, hence the conclusion that democracy is killing our infrastructure.

By chance I have come across this excellent youtube video which looks at mega project failure and provides an interesting insight by Michael Hobbs into a major tunnel project in Seattle

I hope you enjoy it

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Business Project Management, Learning, Planning, Programme and Project framework, Project Management, Vodcast/Video

Solving the Riddle of Integrating Assurance

Integrated Assurance is a very popular topic at the moment; however, most organisations have a fragmented approach to how it 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
  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

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Filed under Articles, Maturity Assessments, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme and Project framework, Programme Management, Project Management