Category Archives: Programme Management

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.

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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.

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Filed under Benefits Management, Knowledge Nugget

Have you checked out the Aspire Europe youtube channel yet ?

We have been developing on our You Tube channel over the past year to bring you a host of video content from programme life cycles, benefits/risk/assurance (etc.) management to revision tips on how to successfully pass your exam.

We aim to keep the videos to a maximum of 10 minutes to cover key topics for busy people on the go – admittedly, with such a passionate team with a wealth of knowledge to share, this wasn’t an easy task…

Here is a behind the scenes shot of Aspire Europe’s managing director, Rod Sowden recording a video on programme organisation.rs-video-recording

Rod Sowden is the lead author for a number of publications including MSP®, P3M3® and more recently released survival guides for senior responsible owners, programme managers and business change managers which he regularly refers to throughout the videos. Click here for more information on the publications we have available.

Click here to visit our channel and keep an eye out for more videos coming soon.

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Got an idea for a video you would like to see? We would love to hear from you:
Email: theacademyteam@aspireeurope.com

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

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Lewis Hamilton – business change manager extraordinaire

There was a radio interview last week with the Mercedes team principal explaining how Lewis Hamilton was heavily involved in the technical development and the amount of time he spent with the construction team.

This has made for a great anology for people trying to understand how the BCM role in Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) is supposed to work.

MSP Sound bites – how was Lewis Hamilton the Mercedes F1 BCM

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

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10% discount on our Planning guide!

Is it time your organisation improved its planning?

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but how many people put themselves ‘out there’ and go into print as authors, securing the backing of one of the world’s leading publishing companies like the TSO?

This book was written by Rod Sowden (Aspire Europe’s MD). It started life as a guidance for one of his customers, but later developed into a course and finally evolved into a book. It evolved as a result of P3M3® assessments, spotting a systemic problem with planning in most organisations which we found to be a global issue. The book helps to pull all the threads and concepts together into one practical guide that extracts the best from many bodies of knowledge around the world.

Why not have a look at the British Computer Society review

We are confident this book will make a difference to the success of your projects so why not take a look inside! Contact us to find out more and how to obtain a 10% discount when purchasing through us.

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

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Filed under Aspire Academy, P3M3®, Planning, Programme Management, Project Management

Democracy is killing our infrastructure

Massive construction

At the APM Programme Management conference last year, there was a tremendous presentation from one of the grandees of major infrastructure programmes and projects in the UK. He outlined how politics were and have 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. 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.  Therefore, the only people making money out of infrastructure appeared to be the builders.

The golden age of UK infrastructure investment was the 50’s and 60’s – an era pre-dawn of Thatcherism.  That was when big decisions and actions were taken on  motorways, power stations, schools  and infrastructure. 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 Programme Management, Vodcast/Video

Programmes without blueprints are like ships without keels

Clipper Around The World Race, Hawaii start, April 5th 2008Is your programme exhibiting any of these characteristics

  1. Project issues dominate the programme board
  2. Unidentified risks start to materialise a bit too quicky
  3. Benefits are rarely discussed
  4. The BCM lacks authority or purpose
  5. Many uncontrolled or unclear dependencies between projects and other initiatives start to manifest themselves
  6. Decision making is ad-hoc, reactionary or just slow
  7. Stakeholder resistance begins to increase and programme loses support
  8. Programmes either lack momentum or feel like a roller coaster

If that is the case, your programme probably does not have a blueprint, and is probably out of control.

In this article, we liken a programme a yacht and explain how it is not what you see on the surface that is providing the control, it is what happens below the waterline that is important.

If your programme is exhibiting any of these characteristics then this article is for you.

 

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Aspire Accelerate, MSP®, Programme Management

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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Filed under Aspire Academy, MSP®, P3M3®