Monday, 3 November 2014

PMI to Stream Synergy Presentations Free

p3m global proudly sponsors PMI Synergy 2014
p3m global is a proud sponsor of PMI Synergy 2014, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible, as PMI Synergy has rapidly earned distinction as one of the largest project management celebrations in Europe.

Synergy 2014 takes place on Thursday, 13th November in London. Register here for tickets.

This year the PMI are showcasing a new scheme, where the seminars will be streamed live from the event via a web link, making Synergy 2014 available globally. Yohan Abrahams, PMI UK, President, shared this exciting news with us:

"PMI UK is planning as a pilot to stream some of the presentation sessions at Synergy, our annual congress on the 13th of November 2014 starting 09:00hrs GMT. Not all the sessions will be available for streaming, therefore we are offering this opportunity free of charge.

All you have to do is register your interest on the PMI website quoting promotional code SynergyStream. On the 12th of November we will send you a web link to use to watch Synergy. You will then be able to join virtually with nearly 600 members of the community who will be present on the day in London. You will be able to interact with the presenters on twitter using #pmisynergy."

PMI Synergy 2014, sponsored by p3m global

PMI UK announced that p3m global would be duly recognised as Sponsor as this annual event continues to engage with leading industry figures and those looking to get ahead in P3M.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Principles That Guide p3m global's Service

What are you getting from p3m global? What are the catalysts for strong p3m competence, p3m capability, p3m assessment & assurance and p3m technology service - the points on our service star, if you will. It's all about the 5 Key Principles, as highlighted in our recent p3m global Facebook campaign and on our website...

As it reads on the p3m global website regarding p3m insights, it relates to our best-of-breed value:
"We make it our mission not only to incorporate the best that global standards have to offer but to be at the forefront of defining those global standards. By being a genuine thought leader we can ensure the solutions we provide are not just current or compliant, but ahead of the curve."

CONCLUSION #1: You can get ahead with us.

So what is our view on taking a more integrated approach to solving the problems of our clients:
"We do not work on symptoms or in silos, we identify and work on root causes and focus our development on pan-organisational solutions that will make a real and beneficial difference to performance. This is reflected in our integrated approach to People, Process and Technology and our modus operandi of Assess, Develop and Engage."

CONCLUSION #2: You can expect to get to the heart of the problem.

The journey with p3m global is summed up thusly:
"We are not here to sell you a quick fix. We are here to be your partner on a journey. We do not believe in overnight transformation, though early benefits can always be identified and prioritised. We recognise that real maturity takes time and that different interventions and expertise will be needed throughout. We will be there to anticipate and provide that as a key partner."

CONCLUSION #3: You can expect the right solution, not one merely good enough for "right now".

Here's why p3m flexibility is so important:
"One size does not fit all, and though we have standard engagement models, flexibility is built into them to ensure that the focus remains on you, the customer, and the targeted outcomes you need. No two projects we run are the same." 

CONCLUSION #4: You can expect us to be elastic and strong for the well-being of your project as it pertains to your business - not merely for the method.

More on the importance of measuring in what we do:
"We believe that all change, good or bad, should be measured because if you can't measure it in some way, it didn't really happen. This means we will benchmark at the beginning of each engagement and monitor changes in key performance metrics as well as capturing clearly defined benefits and outcomes. We believe you should be able to clearly see the results and return on the investment you place with us." 

CONCLUSION #5: You can expect us to benchmark, monitor and establish key performance metrics of what's going on in a change programme.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Want a Shot at Free PMI Congress Registration?

Ray Mead and Steve Butler of p3m global will be on site at PMI Global Congress in Phoenix, AZ 26-28 October. More details on this great opportunity to network with us in the days ahead. 

In relation to the  hashtag that's sweeping the  globe, be sure to tell everyone the following...
Follow us on Twitter @p3mglobal

Monday, 8 September 2014

Join us at p3m global Events and our new LinkedIn Group

This announcement is for all of our followers both old and new:

Last May at our re-brand party at the IceTank in London, we officially announced our transition from the known and respected PM-Partner brand to the all-new p3m global brand. This unique celebration (click here or here for a look at a night out) gave us a chance to engage with some close #P3M). If you missed out, get in touch: we'd love to tell you about p3m global and perhaps see you at future p3m global events.

The reason for the announcement today is that September is when we officially adopt the p3m global name.

Related to that, another area we're making these changes is on LinkedIn, where we've long hosted a group dedicated to discussions of the matters close to all things p3m: training, development, assessment, competency, capability and much more. So as you join us for future p3m global events, we also invite you to take the time and join the p3m global LinkedIn Group: the PM-Partners LinkedIn Group will be no more as of this month.

It's our hope that followers take the chance to migrate from the expiring Group membership to its replacement, and that this announcement offers p3m global a chance to bring in new voices as well. Entities that you've known as PM-Partners and now p3m global remain intact and strong as ever.
connect with p3m global at our official LinkedIn Group

Thanks as ever for your interest in us - empower change, optimise delivery: p3m global.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ten Reasons to Think Beyond PRINCE2 with AXELOS

Project management competencies matter. You need the soft skills to do your job properly. That's just one particular reason why attainment of some form of the PRINCE2 certification is not the salve for your project management career hope wounds - those cuts can get larger if you allow. Below are ten reasons as to how far you have to be willing to go with PRINCE2 - and where else you might have to go to make the most of your project management potential...

Aside from other AXELOS courses like MSP, MoP, MoR and Agile Project Management, your career path in project management is dictated by more than just the PRINCE2 Practitioner we've all been sold as the ultimate prerequisite. though it doesn't hurt, it is neither the be all, end all, too.
AXELOS courses like MSP, MoP, MoR and Agile Project Management means your career path in project management can be catapulted by more than just the PRINCE2.

  1. PRINCE2® is the beginning of a journey, not the end If you are new to project management, PRINCE2 may seem like the right qualification for you because it has no prerequisites for entry or perhaps you are looking for a new Project Management position and every job that is advertised has a PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification as a CV essential. But, passing one 2.5 hour examination does not make you a Project Manager; rather, it is the beginning of a learning experience that will last a lifetime!
  2. PRINCE2® is a method, not a standard Methodologies are essential to project management, but perhaps we could be better if we understood the standards that we were trying to achieve. There are many standards out there, PMI may set the best known one, combining a knowledge of PRINCE2 and the PMI standard would make an awesome mix.
  3. PRINCE2® covers only about 15% of what a Project Manager does There is more to project management than Principles, Processes, Themes and Techniques, most of a project manager's thoughts and actions are taken up with engaging stakeholders and managing people. I was recently involved in a programme where some very talented scientists had been 'promoted' to the Project Manager role, they were very good in their scientific role, but had been given no leadership/management training. As a result their dealings with Project Teams were often seen as, shall we say, less than ideal. If you have never heard the names Maslow and Belbin, there is a whole new world with skills that will help anyone to improve their project management. So-called 'soft' skills (more commonly referred to as 'competencies') are an essential part of the armoury of any successful Project Manager.p3m global knows that competence amongst your P3M team and its respective individuals matters
  4. Most people think of PRINCE2® as the contents of the 'Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®' guide, forgetting the 'Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®' guide One of the biggest barriers to the success of PRINCE2 is that many Project Boards, Steering Committees, Project Executives and Project Sponsors want it implemented from the project manager down. The fact is that to be successful PRINCE2 requires everyone to play their part. Training for these senior managers has been available for many years, but I have rarely seen anyone take advantage of it.
  5. Many Project Managers in the know believe that PRINCE2® does not work! Their experience of failure may be because their organisation is not sufficiently mature to make it work Improving the organisation's project management maturity (the level of organisation’s readiness and experience in relation to people, processes, technologies and consistent measurement practices) of an organisation is often the key to long-term success. There are many models that may be examined e.g. P3M3, OPM3 CMMI etc. Any of them can lead to an understanding of why any particular methodology may not be working.
  6. Your organisation already uses another method This is a great opportunity to expand a project manager's experience and perhaps to add to the organisation's ability to manage projects successfully. (Editor's Note: Additionally, AXELOS has become more agnostic in terms of the pre-requisites for taking the PRINCE2 Practitioner Examination)
  7. Be Agile! One of the current methodology trends in project management is the movement toward 'Agile' and its implementation frameworks, e.g. XP, DSDM and Scrum. Originally employed by small software companies in Southern California, it is easily learned, but difficult to fully understand. It is now used within many different kinds of projects and programmes. Forward-thinking project managers would do well to supplement their toolkit with all/any of these capabilities.
  8. Think P3O® If an organisation is to deliver its business objectives it will need to successfully establish, develop and maintain appropriate business structure to allow senior management to take informed decisions concerning strategic alignment, prioritisation, risk management and much more. P3O is a way of delivering such a structure along with identifying and realizing business outcomes and benefits. 
  9. What about Programme Management? There is a common saying that we are all promoted to a level of incompetence, so some of us are more effective as good project managers than we would be if we were on a Programme Management career path. Likewise, you may discover that PRINCE2 and project management may not be your 'thing'; perhaps moving on to Programme Management (with a bit of a primer in MSP or Program Management Essentials!) is where your true expertise lies?
  10. What about Portfolio Management? Ditto to the above, so long as you substitute all mentions of programme management with portfolio management, and consider courses we offer like Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP), the Portfolio Management Workshop and our version of the AXELOS-offered Management of Portfolios (MoP) Overview.
One For Good Measure: The University of Grey Hair
Now that I am the 'Silver Fox' and grey hairs considerably outnumber the dark ones I can fully realize that the old saying 'there is no substitute for experience' may well be true. Certainly the world is full of people that are far cleverer than I will ever be, but sometimes I have seen a situation so many times that I can predict the outcome. As we say in the Project world 'learn by experience'; let’s have lessons learned, not lessons identified.

Mike Austin, p3m global
Mike Austin is the Lead Trainer for p3m global. His track record is that of a highly motivated Project Management Trainer who has an outstanding understanding of the PRINCE2® methodology and M_o_R® management of risk methodology and the ability to successfully communicate it to others. Send Mike an email today.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Project Deadline That Won't Slip: Subscribe to The P3M Globe

I come from a newspaper background, cutting my teeth in the seat of the Cherokee Nation - Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Fascinating place, fascinating industry, prepares you well for other walks of life. To this day, if a blog post is submitted to me (your editor, in case you didn't know already) after deadline, it remains akin to a troll's fingernails on a chalkboard. Deadlines were a way of life, the rule without exceptions: there was absolutely no room, as legendary comic George Carlin once put it, to test the elasticity of them.

Naturally as the career expanded, I ended up with responsibilities that used the writing & editing capacities, but left me to rethink the loose ends that often need to be secured first. You know, the ones that don't actually extend the deadline, but merely strain the elasticity of the Time, Cost and Scope of the project triangle we all are so familiar with now (and brings the troll out from under the bridge and into my proverbial classroom). So suffice it to say, it's nice to bring a bit of normality and familiarity to the job.

The P3M Globe, a daily online newspaper from, is as close as I'll get to the old days, and it's good enough for me. Evolved from our old PM-Partners Weekly, p3m global are breaking away from the old format and into an evening daily (or an afternoon/late morning edition for those in the Western Hemisphere, especially Tahlequah!). Coverage collates the best of the #PMOT and #PM hash tags, with familiar voices like the PMI blog team, Voices in Project Management; Bernardo Tirado, Susanne Madsen, ProjectManagers.NET, APM and many more. Whilst not all of them write their own stuff, The P3M Globe exemplifies why sharing the strongest pieces and thought leadership (or retweeting, to use common parlance) on Twitter is to the benefit of the consumer and a great way to think not only about your job, but about how to your job well.

But more importantly, it forces the narrative and those in the know on the #P3M, #PMOT and other leading project management hash tags to bring their A-game continuously. Good content rolls and gets pushed. Whenever people thank me for promoting their writings via the latest edition of The P3M Globe, I make it a point to let them know that what they're putting out into the Twitter ether earned the push. Ergo: for the best words on Twitter about our practice, a subscription to P3M Globe from p3m global and is the way for the "on the go, no time to check Twitter", user to get it.

Dan Strayer is the Marketing Coordinator for p3m global. A native of Manchester (by way of the US), Dan currently edits all forms of p3m global Media, including this blog, the monthly newsletter (subscribe here), and all forms of social media output by p3m global that you can see in the icons below. Other recent ventures from p3m global Media include Slideshare and Prezi. Get in touch with Dan on Twitter via @p3mglobal or @danlstrayer.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Semantics of the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) Course

This week, we thought it would be useful to spread some of the joy regarding the development of the new PMI Portfolio Management Professional certification (PfMP), which will add a portfolio level to the PMI's suite of qualifications.

"What is portfolio management?" I hear you say. Well, the official definition from the PMI is "a component collection of programs, projects or operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives." The APMG define it as "the totality of an organisation's investments (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve its strategic objectives." Basically, making sure you are doing as much of the right stuff as you can – and demonstrating that you are doing it.

Want one of these? Steve Butler's got the lowdown 
on how to get one. (Courtesy:
To put it in simpler terms, consider a car. You have a nice bright shiny new car. It is of no use to you unless you have the skills to drive it…that is your project management layer – or the ability to maintain it or have it maintained…the operations layer. That enables you to get from A to B.

But what is B? Where are you going? If you are taking three kids to school, it is no good having a sports car. If you are moving furniture around, it's no good having a little four seat saloon car. So the vehicle is programme management layer – it's no good being a really good driver (the project management layer) with really good skills as a car mechanic (the operations layer) if you don't know where you're going.

The final part of the picture is how you are going to get there – if you like, the SatNav bit. How can you most efficiently get to where you are going without sitting in traffic for hours on end, or running out of petrol. Conceptually – the world of portfolio management! It's all about saving money, getting more value out of what you are doing – more bang for your buck. If you consider programme management as "doing the thing right"… portfolio management is doing the right thing.

So the PMI is in the final stages of producing a certification to demonstrate someone's ability and experience at the portfolio layer. What's the point? Well, portfolio management is being adopted more and more - across industries and across the globe. So, there is a corresponding demand for more knowledge, resources and professional recognition. The PfMP credential is intended to validate and demonstrate a practitioner’s knowledge and experience. It will also differentiate practitioners from their non-credentialed peers, and, because it is transferable among methodologies and industries, it helps make them more marketable. It will complement existing qualifications such as the MoP and provide the first globally-accepted credential for the role of a portfolio manager.

We've written before about PfMP, including a useful set of FAQs about how to attain the certification.
Be sure to check out PMI's literature on PfMP development as well.

Steve Butler is Head of Delivery at p3m global. He was a Co-author of the PMI Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd Edition, and has been a key contributor to other recent PMI publications, including OPM3, 3rd Ed., and Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition. earning special distinction as the only co-author based in the UK. Join the PMI Portfolio Management debate on our LinkedIn Group page - hosted by Steve - today.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

What the World Cup Teaches Us About Project Management

Whether you like it or not, there has been no escaping this year's World Cup. Despite the disappointment of England's untimely departure, the competition continues to dominate the front and back pages. Whilst he is nursing the pain of the USA's recent exit, our resident Yank and marketing expert Dan (Editor's note: a.k.a "Editor" heretofore) has asked me to reflect upon the “lessons learned” from Brazil 2014.

Here's a list of 10 shameless analogies to project management from this year's tournament:
    The ticket to understanding elements of your project management
    potential may lie in this year's World Cup
    (image courtesy Jorge in Brazil
    via @Flickr, re-used with permission. Changes were not made to the image.)
  1. The twelfth man - Whether it's been the sun, the samba or the Selecao, there's no denying that the support for this year's cup has been fantastic. Amid the hype, the USA's coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave a master-class in stakeholder engagement with his letter to America's bosses ahead of their game against Germany.
  2. The death of tiki-taka - Methodologies come and go. As Spain's exit shows us, the trick is to have the flexibility to choose an approach that fits the game and gets a result. This serves as a word of warning to those always following the flavour of the month.
  3. "No tactics without technique" - The English national team have once again failed to make it far on the biggest stage. Over-drilled and under-skilled, Hodgson's men proved that no matter how good the tactics, a team needs a fundamental level of competency before it has the capability to achieve its goals.
  4. Beware! Underdog bites! - In a group of three former world champions, Costa Rica were the lowest risk on the register at the start of the tournament. That hasn't stopped them becoming an issue.
  5. Beware! Striker bites! - What struck me about Suarez' misdemeanour was the public outrage incurred: not by the monster munch itself, but by his silence on the subject, before making an apology. Whether there's an appeal process or not on your project's evaluation, no communication is bad communication in times of crisis.
  6. Home advantage - Brazil may not have been at their scintillating best so far in the tournament, but it comes as no surprise that half of the teams to reach the quarter finals are South American. Familiar working conditions, lofty aims and high expectations have undoubtedly spurred the hosts - and their neighbours - to outperform the rest of the world.
  7. A game of two halves…and extra time and penalties - The number of games that have gone into extra time this year has probably been more popular with the fans than with the players due to the heat. Overtime has seen the levels of performance drop and the number of mistakes increase as legs tire and concentration is lost.
  8. "Rome wasn't built in a day, but I wasn't on that particular job…" - What do 'Big Phil' Scolari, Didier Deschamps and van Gaal have in common apart from a team in the quarters? Charisma. The value of strong leadership for team work, conflict resolution, communication and - ultimately - project success, is undoubted and immeasurable in value.
  9. Calamity in Qatar - Whilst Brazil seems to be getting over its teething problems, Sepp and his cronies continue to baffle with their handling of plans for the World Cup in Qatar. If you want an example of how not to do a risk assessment, how not to engage stakeholders, how not to monitor compliance, or how not to run a project: look no further!
  10. On scope, on time and on budget? - Despite its successes, criticisms that will mar the legacy of the Brazilian World Cup have all come from three classic project management perspectives. First, delivering all that entails an international tournament in a country with more pressing socio-economic and political issues was the cause of the widespread riots that threatened to kill the fever of the cup. Second, spray painted turf at Fortaleza (editor's note: not to mention rickety structures) was a symptom of widespread under delivery. From the pitches, to the stadiums, to the transport infrastructure, Brazil did not come close to meeting requirements on schedule. Finally, the cost of the World Cup will ultimately be judged against the benefits that the tournament brings to the nation over the next few years. (editor's note: Against the backdrop of Rio de Janiero playing host to the next edition of the Summer Olympics, the impact could face even more scrutiny. Given what has transpired in Greece in recent years, the legacy of hosting the 2004 Summer Olympics is negligible and forgotten, especially in light of losing out on so much economically without the burden of the World Cup hosting gig to boot.) Whether the impact of this World Cup demonstrated value for money in Brazil will be a question that overshadows the tournament's place in history.
Nick Sharpe, p3m globalNick Sharpe joined p3m global as a University of Exeter graduate in 2013, working in a consulting capacity to drive improvements in the Project Management methodologies of our clients. After a quick-fire induction on our Project Management Fundamentals course, and initiation into the wonders of the 'iron triangle', Nick was qualified in PRINCE2 and MS Project, and assessing clients project management frameworks. Nick has worked with clients in the recruitment, telecoms and energy sectors, and with HR, Business Services and IT departments.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

p3m global Welcomes Inclusive PRINCE2 Practitioner Pre-Requisite News from AXELOS

WINCHESTER (23rd June 2014) – As providers of leading project, programme and portfolio management (P3M) training worldwide under the UK Cabinet Office Best Practice standards, p3m global today welcomes the news that AXELOS have removed the Foundation Only pre-requisite for takers of the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination.

AXELOS Global Best Practice announced last Thursday that from 1st July 2014, they would waive their "requirement for project managers seeking the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification to obtain the Foundation level first."

p3m global offers PRINCE2 Practitioner training - thanks to recent announcements from AXELOS, the Practitioner Examination has opened up to PMI and IPMA certification holders as well.
p3m global particularly applauds this update for its active inclusiveness of other leading project management standards of top practice. These include the Project Management Institute and the US and UK chapters of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) – the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management and the Association for Project Management, respectively. As recognised ATOs for both PMI and AXELOS (through APMG-International) certifications – and with aspirations for similar ATO status within IPMA via the APM – this is a significant development.

"With this initiative, we hope that project managers worldwide will consider how obtaining this higher level best practice management standard can improve project management within their organizations and develop their own careers without having to revisit a more elementary level of study beforehand," said Frances Scarff, Product Development Director at AXELOS.

PMI certifications of recognition for the PRINCE2 Practitioner application will include the Project Management Professional (PMP) and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). IPMA Levels A through D are also to be recognised.

Inclusion opens up new windows for expanding the AXELOS customer-base that had once been closed or viewed as filled with a requisite re-learning of competencies. PMI and APMG-International Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs) like p3m global welcome this opportunity to reach out to customers in the PMI realm.

"It's good to see cross-standard recognition in the industry as we have long advised are clients that these two credentials are complimentary rather than conflicting," said Ray Mead, CEO of p3m global. "I hope this will encourage some of our clients on the PMI side to look at what they can use from the AXELOS stable to further their role in project management, and vice versa."
You're invited to learn more about p3m global and Training - plus more on this press release - today.

Dan Strayer is the Marketing Coordinator for p3m global. A native of Manchester (by way of the US), Dan currently edits all forms of p3m global Media, including this blog, the monthly newsletter (subscribe here), and all forms of social media output by p3m global that you can see in the icons below. Other recent ventures from p3m global Media include Slideshare and Prezi. Get in touch with Dan on Twitter via @p3mglobal or @danlstrayer.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Business Change and #p3m Competence

Business change (or, if you prefer, business transformation) is a reality in the ever-evolving 21st Century commercial landscape. What you cannot afford to forget about is how essential competent project, programme and portfolio management (that's #p3m for short) will be in determining the long-term effectiveness and capabilities of those initiatives.

Notice the phrase "competency": there's a reason, because this isn't merely skills we're talking about. We've talked about the difference in a public presentation, which you can now view on Slideshare...

We're going heavy on the multimedia here and light on the volume of words to arrive at this conclusion: We've got great things going on here, and the time will soon arrive for understanding truly what #p3m is going to mean for you. We invite you to turn to @p3mglobal to learn how solid #p3m enables and empowers it for your company.
Dan Strayer is the Head of Marketing for PM-Partners and an unapologetic baseball fan. He even finds time to umpire a couple games a week, in spite of the pesky British summer. A native of Manchester, Dan currently edits all forms of PM-Partners Media, including this blog, the monthly newsletter (subscribe here), and all forms of social media output by PM-Partners that you can see in the icons below. Other recent ventures for the PM-Partners output include Slideshare and Prezi. Get in touch with Dan on Twitter via @PMPartnersuk or @danlstrayer.

Dan Strayer is the Marketing Coordinator for p3m global. A native of Manchester (by way of the US), Dan currently edits all forms of p3m global Media, including this blog, the monthly newsletter (subscribe here), and all forms of social media output by p3m global that you can see in the icons below. Other recent ventures from p3m global Media include Slideshare and Prezi. Get in touch with Dan on Twitter via @p3mglobal or @danlstrayer.


Friday, 13 June 2014

p3m global rebrand night

Thursday 15th May, PM-Partners officially announced the relaunch of what was PM-Partners EMEA to p3m global. An evening of celebrations with music, refreshments and an introduction to the new brand was enjoyed at the IceTank in Covent Garden, London.

Everyone at p3m global would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who joined us. We received some great feedback from the night.

For those of you who could not make it, we encourage you to visit the p3m Facebook page, where more photos and information can be found.

Over the next few months you may notice that we will be gradually phasing out the PM-Partners brand and as of September 2014 we will officially be running solely as p3m global. We are very excited about what the future will bring and to continue working with you moving forward.

Best wishes from the p3m global team!

Like us on Facebook to catch a glimpse of the fun & some bits about the future as well. You can also catch a glimpse at our Google+ page.

Photography c/of Amber-Rose Smith, re-used gratefully with permission


Jennifer Parmenter-Brown, p3m globalJennifer Parmenter-Brown serves as Marketing & Events Coordinator for p3m global. Connect with her on LinkedIn today

Stewart Ball, p3m globalStewart Ball is Business Development Manager of p3m global. Connect with him on LinkedIn today

Dan Strayer is Marketing Coordinator of p3m global. Connect with him on LinkedIn today.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Project Delivery Continuum

Agile, the Dark Ages, and maintaining appreciation for project delivery as a method agnostic goal.

Agile methods have emerged and become popular over last few years as a response to perceived shortcomings of waterfall delivery model. We have seen agile proponents take an almost evangelistic approach, claiming that agile methods should be used in all cases and that those who don’t agree with them are living in the Dark Ages. Conversely, the agile approach is stomped on by some as being akin to chaos, and anyone who evangelises agile is a developer who has simply never seen a project managed properly.

Just as when you choose a courier, delivery can't be ignored in project management, whether your agile, waterfall or agnostic in delivery. Image courtesy snaillad @Flickr, re-used with permission.
Just as when you choose a courier, delivery can't be ignored in project management, whether your agile, waterfall or agnostic in delivery. Image courtesy snaillad @Flickr, re-used with permission.
There is some truth in both arguments, but devotees of the "either or" position show a fundamental lack of understanding of delivery. In truth, there is a continuum – a spectrum of project delivery, in fact, there always has been. It is simple, basic, good practice.

On the one hand you have the pure adaptive approach. Welcoming change, this approach is perfect in circumstances where there's an advantage to get something partial out now rather than everything later. Or, maybe the sponsor isn't entirely sure what they want – ok, so give it to them in bits so everyone can be sure the right approach is being taken. Or, maybe new technology is involved and we want to reduce risk by delivering iteratively.

Conversely, the culture of the environment may not be conducive to the flexibility required when delivering using an agile method – governance may be very rigid, and empowering a team maybe as likely as jumping over a house. Maybe there are very restrictive regulatory requirements that remove any chance of flexibility – or maybe the sponsor just isn't interested in a flexible approach.

In truth, it is very rarely a case of "either or". Agile practices can (and often should) be adapted in traditionally waterfall approaches, and vice-versa. For example, having weekly stand-ups in an infrastructure project where the sponsor has definite requirements and is not interested in flexibility. Or including a risk management plan to keep those overseeing regulatory aspects of delivery where an agile approach is chosen. Or delivering an individual work package in a purely agile way, where the rest of the project is waterfall.

So in practice, delivery methods form a continuum, with purely adaptive methods at one end and purely prescriptive methods at the other. As delivery professionals, we must lose the temptation to evangelise about one or other of these extremes and understand that we need to learn the skills to place our project or work package at the appropriate position in the delivery continuum, based on aspects such as what we are delivering, the nature of the team, who we are delivering to and where we are delivering it.

Steve Butler, p3m global
Steve Butler is Head of Delivery at p3m global. Steve served as co-author of the PMI Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd Edition, and has been a key contributor to other recent PMI publications, including OPM3, 3rd Ed., and Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition, earning special distinction as the only co-author based in the UK.

Image courtesy snaillad @Flickr, re-used with permission.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Conscientious Project Manager

Let me start by asking you a few questions about your attitude towards administration. We all know that some of us are better organised than others.

Even so, take a moment and answer the following questions;
  • Are you one of those PMs that is excellent at planning and managing what others do, but not so good at managing your own tasks and time?
  • Do you feel as though everything is under control, as you know all that is going on and therefore, there is no need to review or update the risk register, etc.?
  • Have you learned something useful and incorporated the lesson into the project, and so there is no need to document?
  • Are you lazy?

Buried in Paperwork? Let Derek Bland and PM-Partners help you sort out your priorities.
None of the advice below excuses the lazy – sorry, guys.

There will be some of you that need to adhere to a PM method that is document heavy, and the application is not proportionate to the size and complexity of the project. It may be that there is no company-wide method or project, programme or portfolio management (P3M, for short) standards being applied. The advice below will not get rid of this problem, but may help you to organise your time. p3m global is a Portfolio, Programme and Project Management consultancy and training company that is involved with the design and implementation of project management methods; therefore, we can help define and/or streamline your processes.

The advice below should be adjusted to your own needs and those for the project.

1. KNOW WHERE IT IS - BE ORGANISED: It is essential to be organised form the start. Ensure you have a good folder structure that helps you to find documents easily as this will save you time. An example would be to have a folder for; strategies, registers, schedules and work packages and a folder for products to be produced. Let’s be honest, communication is driven by email and so it is as important to have a similar folder structure for your emails.
2. KNOW WHAT IT IS AND WHAT THE CURRENT VERSION IS: It is imperative that you version (yes, it's a verb in this case!) your documents. A good practice for documents that are being worked on (WIP) are to use a decimal place and once approved/signed off, the version is rounded up to a whole number. This process is then repeated for all subsequent versions. Example of WIP versions, v0.1, v0.2 etc. Once signed off it becomes v1.0, followed by the next version earning a label v2.0, and so on. Another option for documents or registers is to use a date format. I like to use YYMMDD. Therefore, my Risk Register will be Risk Register, PMP Project 140131. This ensures that it will always be the latest version. Make sure you have a good naming convention for all project documents and ensure that all of those producing product documentation follow these protocols.
3. KNOW WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO DO TASKS – BE DISCIPLINED: We all know that projects in a fast-paced and or complex state can throw up urgent issues. However, it is important to schedule set times so that you can review documents - even if only a quick check - to verify that they do not need updating. Make a recurring schedule item in your calendar and add a checklist of activities to the calendar appointment. Break-up mundane activities into small manageable tasks. A simple example* might be;

4. BEWARE THE MEETING, ESPECIALLY THE IMPROMTU ONES: Meetings are necessary and can aid greatly in communication and assist in team building. However, avoid agreeing to a meeting if you feel it is for said meeting's sake. I once worked on an extremely large Government Project. The main project team took up one floor, with additional staff distributed thorough the building. The floor was open plan and so it was easy to see what was going on around you; ergo, it became easier to be distracted. I estimated that around 35% of my day could be taken up with impromptu meetings or chats at the water cooler. Do not be afraid to say that you have something urgent that you are working on and arrange a time to meet to discuss. However, consider if the meeting is really necessary or whether the person just wants a chat or the person may simply want to get something off of their chest. Although this may not be a priority for you, you should try and find some time to listen to concerns, because you never know: something productive may come out of it.
5. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED: I am not just referring to lessons to be logged in the Lesson Log; rather the way that you work. Ensure that you actively audit yourself by taking time to reflect and think about;
      • How have you been perceived in a particular instance; did you try something new which worked, could you have communicated better? Did you provide information to the correct level of detail and in the correct format?
      • How well have you managed your time? Could you have performed some tasks more quickly without compromising quality? Were some of the meeting necessary or did they drag on too long and how could you improve this the meeting next time? Remember you are the Project Manager, many of the team will want to learn from you. Anything that you can learn for yourself needs to be acted upon and so log it – learn it – embed it.
* - Please note that the above list is a very simple example and does not negate the need to update or review project documentation as required. The very act of recording a risk or issue often promotes ideas on how best to deal with it.

Derek Bland is Project Management Consultant & Trainer at p3m global. His experience includes consultancy on design and delivery of bespoke Project Management methods, conducting Project Audits and advising PMs on best practice improvements. As a trainer, Derek delivers on a variety of Project Management Courses, including PRINCE2 and MSP.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Project Management: An Exercise in Common Sense

Steve Butler PMP lays out what Project Management means to him (and PM-Partners) in conjunction with the exciting Shim Marom-inspired #pmflashblog initiative. In short, Steve feels that project management requires a lot of planning, and some common sense, too.

Project management is all about change. Strip out all the latest fads, standards and gimmicks and at its heart all project management really boils down to is a risk mitigation exercise when you are trying to effect change – be it deliver a product or a service or an update.

Keep that thought at the front of your mind when managing a project, and everything becomes common sense. You are changing something, and you want to get it right. So what do you need to consider?p3m global flashblog from Steve Butler, PMP - Project Management: An Exercise in Common Sense
Well, you need to make sure "it" is the right thing…so some sort of requirements gathering exercise and scoping exercise is needed so you can hit the target. 

To do that you need to make sure you are talking to the right people to find out the right information, and to make sure you are keeping the right people up to speed with what you are doing – so some sort of communications management and stakeholder happiness plan needs to be in place. Obviously when you gather the requirements and define the scope, a budget and a timeline needs to be defined and managed, and how they progress needs to be communicated (hence having a communications plan). Within the timeline will be milestones and deliverables and some sort of mechanism for delivering them and reviewing the milestones. Part of making sure you hit the target is making sure the quality of what you are doing is acceptable, so some sort of plan to manage that is necessary.

You can think about assembling the team, and keeping them happy and efficient. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing, maybe deliver in bits and make sure you are heading in the right direction by regularly reviewing with someone who knows what is required. Maybe regularly review with the team to make sure they are doing the right thing and have no blockers you don’t know about. We could call that basic concept, oh I don’t know, Agile? A concept that has been around for decades, but now has a name!

Project Management – an exercise in common sense.

Steve Butler is Head of Delivery at p3m global. He was a Co-author of the PMI Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd Edition, and has been a key contributor to other recent PMI publications, including OPM3, 3rd Ed., and Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition. earning special distinction as the only co-author based in the UK. Join the PMI Portfolio Management debate on our LinkedIn Group page - hosted by Steve - today.