Category Archives: Planning

Why project planning matters

Would you set off on a journey without planning your route first? Effective project planning ensures you reach your project destination on time and on budget. To read more click here

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TSO selects Aspire Europe publication to be featured book

Our recently published book  “The practical guide to project planning” has been selected by the publishers as their book of the month for May. This is an exciting development and shows the faith and commitment TSO have for Aspire Europe and the quality of our work.

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A Practical Guide to Project Planning: Ten Key things

Ten things that will you find in the Practical Guide to project planning – a step by step guidA Practical Guide to Project Planninge that you won’t find in other
planning books:

  1. It is written with you in mind! We are not expecting you to be a guru, building the Olympic Park or managing High Speed 2, everyday projects are hard enough
  2. Successful planning is about people and behaviours! Rather than techniques and tools, the data needed for planning is assembled through a number of activities, not making up numbers to feed into a software package
  3. Business projects are different to technical projects! So we have used a business project as the case study, these tend to be less predictable and have elements of different project types in them
  4. Moderating optimism! We have included guidance on setting priorities, estimation and helping to moderate the optimism bias gives you more chance of finishing successfully
  5. Planning lifecycle! We have used a lifecycle that shows the stages and events that trigger planning activities, instead of giving you a list of techniques, we bring it to life for you. The focus is on “How” to plan rather than telling you “what” to do
  6. Techniques at the right time! Every step of the way we offer a technique to use at each point, with an explanation of what it does and how you should use it
  7. Worked examples! We illustrate each technique with a worked example based on a case study that provides an example of everyday challenges we face
  8. Templates and tools! All part of the process, but effective planning is based on having the right information available at the right time, the focus of the book is on systematically collecting this information
  9. Useful check-lists! Common areas of failure for most projects, to help you avoid making them, we also include an example template on how to assemble your planning information
  10. Clear responsibilities and tasks for all the main roles involved with planning, which is everyone involved with the project!

For more information on  the book and how to buy from The TSO, click here

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Our Practical Guide to Project Planning is Published

Around the world less than a third of projects deliver their specified business benefits on time or within budget. Nearly 20% of all projects fail outright and under-delivery of benefits on the average project is as high as 50%!

So something is going horribly wrong somewhere, which is why we worked with the TSO to produce the Practical Guide to project planning – a step by step guidePlanning Guide Banner

We are convinced this book will make a difference to the success of your projects so why not have a look at our preview.

Back in 2008 when we delivered our first P3M3® maturity review we enquired about how that client developed and controlled plans, it was a bit of a surprise to be told their approach was MS Project; further digging revealed that there was no guidance at all, so each project manager planned independently. More reviews produced more evidence, from Bristol to Beijing and on to Brisbane, the issues seemed to be the same.

This book started life as a commission to put together a 2 day training course with some supporting guidance to help the client improve their planning. We quickly realised there was no guidance on where, when and how to plan, just lots of techniques. We set about putting together a sequence to the activities to generate the information that could be used by the techniques in a way that anyone delivering a project could follow without being a professor of Maths! For the full story behind the book, have a look at the interview with the author, Rod Sowden.

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P3M3® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

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Planning and Stakeholder eLearning course promotions

At the heart of good project management is effective planning and effective stakeholder engagement. We are offering a 50% discount on these eLearning courses to help you get ahead with these two core skills.

To get this discount on both of the below courses (£37.50 for 12 months license), please use the booking codes PPILAPRIL16 or SMILAPRIL16 when contacting our Course Manager.


Good planning is at the heart of good programme and project management. However, all too often the good practice learned on training courses is not put into practice in the real world. Would you like to put the concepts of planning into practice to construct a viable plan?

Stakeholder Management

Our Stakeholder Management course provides you with a unique opportunity to attain not only the theoretical knowledge of stakeholder management from our expertise as thought leaders in this area , but also attain an understanding of the practical application we have acquired as accredited consultants assessing organisational performance.

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PRINCE2® Plans Knowledge Nugget

From our partners in Brisbane, CC Learning this  high octane vodcast (see below) outlines the key concepts in the PRINCE2® planning theme. The video is presented by their managing director, Scott Spence

We hope you enjoy it

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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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