Tag Archives: project management

Business projects – are they from another planet?

Project Management has been around for centuries. Apart from being able to use our thumbs, it may be the differentiating factor between humans and other species, as we can see evidence of humans working together to create amazing things; from the ancient Greeks, to putting men on the moon, all of which constituted a form of project management.

These projects principally focused on constructing “things”, be it a building or a machine.  Although highly complex and amazing feats in their own right, the results were quite predictable – whether it was a bridge or a machine that was being created.  It was possible to understand the problem being solved.

Business projects are much more fluid, it is almost as if they are from another planet to the certainty that surrounds traditional projects.

This article explores the differences and how they could be handled.

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Deadly Sins: Adopting Agile

Deadly sinsOver the last year or two we have reviewed a number of programmes and projects that are using an “agile” approach. There are a number of common problems which have come to light that should be of interest to any organisation setting out on an agile endeavour for the first time.

Agile, Lean or project management are not cures for unproductive or incompetent teams, weak leadership or poor performance management. All methods have their place and can add value and improve performance but none on their own are a panacea as they all depend on the capability of the people involved.

This article sets out some of the key lessons that we have taken from our reviews.

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Close up on P3M3

As many of you will know, P3M3® is the world’s number one framework for assessing organisational maturity and performance in portfolio, programme and project management.

If this is a new concept to you, click here for a quick introduction.

This free briefing (pdf) outlines the key concepts of P3M3. Right click this link and ‘save as’ to download the interactive overview, please view it in either Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

We have also put together a video to take you through the history and concepts behind P3M3, we hope you will take a look.

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

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Filed under Maturity Assessments

Fresh Look: Dependency 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.

Dependency Management really is one of the Dark Arts. It  about the interfaces between initiatives. At a programme level it is what planning is all about, tracking how the inputs and the outputs of projects fits together. At the portfolio level it is even more complex as it is matching together inputs and outputs from programmes and projects.

In MSP® 2011 we introduced the concepts of Intra, Inter and External dependencies so here is the paper that defined the original concept and explains how they operate in a programme management environment.

MSP® 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, Portfolio Management

Fresh Look: Planning

Fresh Look – Is a series of articles taking a look at common topics to try to come up with some new ideas and insight into problems that seem to repeat themselves across many organisations.

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 revisit to remind about some core  concepts so what could be more important than planning

One of the great mysteries of our profession is planning. For most of our clients, project and programme management is all about  having a plan, and yet most of our  professional qualifications don’t actually involve much planning, in fact some of them go out of their way to avoid it like PRINCE2.

So we shouldn’t really be surprised that so many projects run late or go wrong. There is a sequence to events that are needed to bring a good plan together.  In this article we have set out this sequence for you to consider – Planning – back to basics 

Now, if you are really interested in finding out more about planning and how you can improve your performance, check out our book.

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Agile Project Management – 5 lessons for the unwary

Over the last year or two we have reviewed a number of programmes and projects that are using an “agile” approach. There are a number of common problems that have come to light that should be of interest to any organisation setting out on an agile endeavour for the first time.

Agile, Lean or project management are not cures for unproductive or incompetent teams, weak leadership or poor performance management. All methods have their place and can add value and improve performance, but none on their own are a panacea as they all depend on the capability of the people involved.

This article sets out some of the key lessons that we have taken from our reviews.aspire-logo

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Filed under Articles, Knowledge Nugget, Project Management

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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Filed under Business Project Management, News, Planning, Project Management

APM Project Challenge – Our Story Part 2

 

Fundraising

To maximise our collections, we spent time with the TRT sponsor to enable us to competently speak about the charity publically. We were proud to attend two rugby matches to fundraise and raised £187.00. We sourced T-shirts, personalised buckets and charity ID tags to make us feel part of TRT. BristolvEaling Fundraising

We contacted over 100 organisations for raffle prizes and donations and we received some encouraging support:

“Well done to all concerned, a worthy cause” – Julie Thomas, Wales Rugby Union representative

“What a superb project you are involved in” – Tim Wainwright, England Rugby Union Social Responsibility Manager

We undertook the following fundraising activities:CardiffvFrance Fundraising

  • Fitness Challenge
  • 15,000 ft. sky dive
  • Collection pots in local establishments
  • A prize draw
  • Cross channel swim (May)
  • Coast – to – coast bike ride – (July)

Summary

We achieved all objectives, delivered to success criteria, managed requirements and have a plan to realise the benefits. We raised £2,500 and had developed a roll-out plan to ensure this project made a significant impact to this fantastic charity and deserving recipients.

The project has provided us with many lessons and new project management skills that we can use throughout our careers. We have taken foundation qualifications, however the theory and reality have been very different. We undertook the work mostly in our own time.

We had reached the milestone set by the APM Challenge, but this was not the end. Fundraising continued and we supported the TRT with the eLearning rollout.

On April 11th 2016 we received notice that we had made the finals of APM Project Challenge! We were all so happy and pleased that our hard work had been recognised and we got the chance to present to all participating teams and their sponsors at the Finals night on April 28th 2016 in Bristol.

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Filed under APM, APM Project Challenge, Articles, News, Project Management

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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Filed under Articles, Aspire Academy, Business Project Management, Learning, Planning, Project Management

APM Project Challenge Update

Since October 2015, Team Aspire Europe have been working hard raising money for the Tag Rugby Trust and taking part in the APM Project Challenge.  Our final report was submitted on 18th March and today we received notice that Team Aspire Europe have made the finals of APM Project Challenge!

We are all so happy and pleased our hard work has been recognised and we will get the chance to present to all participating teams and their sponsors at the Finals night on April 28th in Bristol.

We would like to thank everyone who supported us during Project Challenge and helped us raise an amazing £2,907,74 for the Tag Rugby Trust. TRT will now be using that money to purchase equipment to screen our eLearning modules that were created to build project management skills for the young leaders of the TRT. As well as this they will use the money to support the branches of TRT all over the world.

Team Aspire Europe will ensure to keep you all updated and provide a review of our presentation after the final on April 28th and thank you once again for the support to help such an worthwhile charity.

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Filed under APM, APM Project Challenge, News, Project Management