Category Archives: Programme & Portfolio Office

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

Undisputed Thought Leadership

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 go9237 IBP Stamp_Author WHITE into print as authors securing the backing of one of the world’s leading publishing companies like The TSO?

As evidence of our unique position, we have summarised here how we have contributed to the development of the programme and project management profession through leading the development and authorship of several publications!

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Business Project Management, Change Management, Events, Learning, MSP®, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme Management, Project Management

Aspire Europe Course Summary

Aspire Europe offer a range of training solutions to support organisations in delivering their change effectively, many of our courses offer formal qualifications that are unique to Aspire Europe Ltd to help motivate and recognise the achievements of your teams.

Training is only one element of raising your capability and improving performance, the proof of the pudding is whether the new skills and knowledge is put into action back in the business. A maturity assessment to identify your strengths and weaknesses and using training as a vehicle to underpin improvements is an essential element of the improvement mix. We can offer a skills matrix for each of the key roles in change to help you target your training, and can conduct a maturity assessment using P3M3® to provide you with a baseline.

View our complete course summary here

P3M3® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

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Filed under APM, Aspire Academy, Benefits Management, Business Project Management, Change Management, Governance, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, MoP®, MSP®, M_o_R®, P3O®, Planning, Portfolio Management, PRINCE2®, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme Management, Project Management, Risk Management, Sponsor Advice, Stakeholder Management, Training

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

Introduction to the new version of P3M3®

On Wednesday 18th November 2015, the Aspire Europe Managing Director Rod Sowden (P3M3 lead author 2008 and joint lead author 2015) will be presenting the Introduction to the new version of P3M3, APM event.

P3M3 Version 3 was released earlier this summer by AXELOS to build on the success of the 2008 version in the global private and public sectors.

This session will introduce the concepts of maturity models and how they have been successfully adopted by the P3M industry. Rod will explain the new model, what the changes are, why they were needed and what impact they are likely to have. The event will include anecdotes and examples from as far afield as New Zealand and China and how local organisations in the South West have used it.

For more information on the event, please go here

P3M3® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.


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Filed under APM, Events, News, P3M3®, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme and Project framework, Training

Leadership makes or breaks complex projects

Leadership makes or breaks complex projects. Why? Because complexity requires people to accept change. And people only accept change and flourish when they feel safe enough.

So who creates environments people can thrive in? It’s you. If you invest in becoming a leader, that is.

Becoming an effective leader isn’t about management training. It’s not about a new process, method or tool, or about command and control.

Becoming a leader is about looking in the mirror. It’s about listening to painful home truths. It’s about changing your behaviour to become the leader others choose to follow. And it’s not vain self-indulgence to focus on yourself. Your leadership is vital to creating the ‘people-intelligent’ project environments we need to deliver complex projects successfully.

There are three areas where most leaders can benefit from developing themselves:

Firstly, generating an exciting project vision and ensuring that everyone understands their part. That’s the way to create meaning and commitment and to obtain discretionary effort from everyone involved.

Another factor is being trustworthy, so that your teams learn how to nurture trusting relationships with customers and suppliers. This is because when things go wrong, it’s relationships that create solutions.

Finally, it’s important to focus everyone’s energy on what’s important – in other words, deliver measurable results. Prioritising, delegating and making good decisions are critical to prevent a limited supply of energy going to waste.

Interestingly, most leaders readily ‘get’ the above – and enthusiastically self-report about doing these things well. I recently watched one such leader demolish a team member who reported some disgruntled customer feedback. This leader’s much avowed ‘open and honest’ policy was seriously undermined because he was unaware of his fragility with perceived criticism.

Winners listen to feedback, no matter how painful it is. They then choose if or how to adapt. Their focus is on maximising success and they accept that others’ perceptions are key. At such times, I recommend a ‘think slowly, act swiftly’ approach.

If you want your complex project to be successful, then look in the proverbial mirror and relish honest feedback. In the words of Winston Churchill:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”


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Filed under Articles, Programme & Portfolio Office, Programme Management, Project 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