Select Page

Categories

The Art of Giving Feedback

The Art of Giving Feedback
By Lynda Bourne

One of the key supervisory skills needed by every leader is the ability to give feedback to their team on individual performance. The reason is simple, if the team don’t know what you expect from them, you are unlikely to get the performance you need. If someone is doing the ‘right thing’ they need to know it’s ‘right’ and be encouraged to continue. If someone’s not doing what’s required they need to have their efforts redirected.

Feedback is different to motivation – a highly motivated worker producing the ‘wrong thing’ quickly and efficiently has the potential to do more damage than an unmotivated worker producing very little. The ideal is a highly motivated team, all doing the right thing and all knowing they are doing exactly what’s required. Effective feedback is one of the keys to achieving this nirvana.

The starting points are effective delegation, making sure each team member knows what they are expected to achieve and why; and a constructive team environment where people understand the ‘rules’ and are willing to help each other. Read the Complete Article

Stakeholders in Complexity

Stakeholders in Complexity
By Lynda Bourne

The new CPM is ‘Complex Project Management’ and whilst most of the current project management tools and practices including risk management, scheduling and EVM remain important, they are not sufficient to successfully manage a complex project according to Stephen Hayes, from the Canberra based International Centre for Complex Project Management ICCPM.

ICCPM Ltd was established by Australian, UK and US government bodies and major defense industry corporations, and is now a substantial network of global corporate, government, academic and professional organizations committed to the better management of complex projects across all industry and government sectors focused on improving the success of complex projects.

Whilst all projects have a degree of complexity (see: Project Size and Categorization) CPM is focused on the major projects undertaken in response to ill-defined and often mutually-incompatible stakeholder requirements and are subject to uncontrollable external influences and almost continuous change.

Successfully managing this type of project needs outcome focused leadership that is capable of developing context specific innovative approaches to issues backed by the tenacity to deliver ‘no matter what’! Read the Complete Article

Practical Project Politics

Practical Project Politics
By Lynda Bourne

PMI expects project managers to be politically smart and recognizes that the appropriate and skilful use of politics and power help the project manger be successful (PMBOK® Guide Appendix X3.7). But what is organizational politics?

Project Managers tend to be ‘doers’ that like the action of delivering tangible results, things that have value. Most successful PMs are skilled at managing project sponsors or steering committees and their cross functional teams, and the best are good at navigating complex organizational structures. But, project managers are usually not office politicians and are usually not very good at playing corporate politics.

They see ‘playing politics’ as an undignified form of behavior where logic, discipline, transparency and loyalty are replaced by deceit, secrecy and subterfuge. And whilst this may be true of some ‘political operators’ everyone in corporate management is involved in organization’s politics and the biggest mistake a project manager can make is to assume that organizational politics don’t exist. Read the Complete Article

PMBOK #5 Standardizes Its Approach to Planning

PMBOK #5 Standardizes Its Approach to Planning
By Lynda Bourne

The PMBOK® Guide has always been designed for large projects, and assumes intelligent project teams will scale back the processes appropriately for smaller projects. The 5th Edition keeps this focus and introduces a standard process to ‘plan the planning’ at the start of each knowledge area. This concept has been embedded in earlier editions of the PMBOK, it’s made explicit in the 5th Edition.

Why plan the planning?

As a starting point, on larger projects there will be a significant team of experts involved in developing various aspects of the project plan, on $ multi-billion project frequently more than 100 people so their work needs planning and controlling the same as any other aspect of the project. With a budget of several $ millions and the success of the rest of the project dependent on the quality of the project planning this is important work. Read the Complete Article

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition – Some Technical Differences

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition – Some Technical Differences
By Lynda Bourne

We are busily working through the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition updating our training courses and making them ready for the scheduled examination changes. Three of the more technical changes (out of many) are:

The Good

Quality management has been tidied up. The seven basic tools of quality management are now dealt with in on place, once, in 8.1.2.3 and referenced through the rest of the chapter. The ‘magnificent 7’ are: Cause and Effect Diagrams, Flow charts, Checksheets (checklist), Pareto Diagrams, histograms, control charts and scatter diagrams. Other specific techniques are discussed in the appropriate process. There is also an attempt to relate the different project/quality cycles including the basic process groups, the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, the cost of quality and quality assurance and control.

The Bad

Monte Carlo is missing from Time Management and Cost Management! One area that needs a major update in the 6th Edition are the aspects of time and cost management focused on three point estimates and variability. Read the Complete Article

The Value of Stakeholder Management

The Value of Stakeholder Management
By Lynda Bourne

One of the questions I’m regularly asked is to outline the business case for using stakeholder management in a business or project. This is a difficult question to answer accurately because no-one measures the cost of problems that don’t occur and very few organizations measure the cost of failure.

The problem is not unique; it is very difficult to value the benefits of an effective PMO, of improving project delivery methods (eg, improving the skills of your schedulers), of investing in effective communication (the focus of my September column in PMI’s PM Network magazine) or of better managing risk. The costs of investing in the improvement are easily defined, but the pay-back is far more difficult to measure.

There are two reasons why investing in effective stakeholder analytics is likely to deliver a valuable return on investment (ROI).

  1. The first is by knowing who the important stakeholders are at any point in time, the expenditure on other processes such as communication can be focused where it is needed most, generating efficiencies and a ‘bigger bang for your buck’.
Read the Complete Article

CPO – Chief Project Officer

CPO – Chief Project Officer
By Lynda Bourne

CPOs should become CP3Os – Chief Project, Program and Portfolio Officers! It is impossible to deliver value to an organization if any of the layers of project governance are ineffective. Like C-3PO in Star Wars, the CP3O needs to be an expert in communication and understand the right language and protocols to use at different levels of the organization to tie the project, program and portfolio management processes directly to the creation of value.

At the portfolio management level, selecting the ‘right’ projects and programs to continue, cancel or start is vital to the future success of the organization. The CP3O should be a key adviser to the executive team responsible for the strategic plan and selecting the on-going mix of work for the organization; balancing high-risk, high-reward projects that may define the future of the organization with ‘safer’ projects that help keep the lights on and grow today’s business. Read the Complete Article

Stakeholder Risk Tolerance

Stakeholder Risk Tolerance
By Lynda Bourne

Managing the inherent risk associated with undertaking any project, anywhere, in any industry is a critical organizational capability. Within the organizations overall Project Delivery Capability (PDC) the maturity of its risk management approaches is central to the organization’s ability to generate value.

Only very immature or deluded organizations seek or expect to run ‘risk free’ projects. To quote Suzanne Finnamore: “Delusion detests focus and romance provides the veil.” Any sensible analysis of any business activity will indicate levels of risk; effective organizations understand and manage those risks better then ineffective organization.

The skills that a mature organization brings to the art of ‘risk management’ is to focus effort on managing risks that can be managed, providing adequate contingencies for those risks that cannot be controlled and deciding how much residual risk is sensible. The balance that has to be struck is between the cost and time needed to reduce the risk exposure further (the pay-back diminishes rapidly), the impact of the risk if it occurs and the profit to be made or value created as a result of the total expenditure on a project. Read the Complete Article

Project and Organizational Governance

Project and Organizational Governance
By Lynda Bourne

One of the themes running through several of my recent articles is the importance of effective Governance. Both organizational governance and its sub-set project governance.

Good governance is a synonym for ‘good business’, structuring the organization to deliver high levels of achievement on an ethical and sustainable basis. This requires the optimum strategy and the right approach to risk taking supported by sufficient processes to be reasonably confident the organizations limited resources are being used to achieve the best short, medium and long term outcomes.

Project governance focuses on the portfolios of programs and projects used by the organization to deliver many of the strategic objectives. This process focuses first on doing the right projects and programs constrained by the organizations capacity to undertake the work – Portfolio Management; secondly, creating the environment to do the selected projects and programs right- developing and maintaining an effective capability; and lastly systems to validate the usefulness and efficiency of the ongoing work which feeds back into the selection and capability aspects of governance. Read the Complete Article

Project Governance

Project Governance
By Lynda Bourne

Corporate governance is defined as aligning as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, the organization and society. Good governance is good business!

Project governance is a sub-set of corporate governance, focused on systems that ensure the right projects and programs are selected by the organization, and the selected ‘few’ are accomplished as efficiently as possible. Projects that no longer contribute value to an organization should be terminated in a way that conserves the maximum value and the resources reallocated through the portfolio management process to more valuable endeavors.

Governance Tree

Figure 1: Governance Tree

The framework for effective project governance is laid out above, and is an executive management responsibility. Sponsors and the Portfolio Selection/Management processes provide the key link between the executive and the working project and programs.

The focus of this post is to look at the pre-selection activities that inform the portfolio selection processes. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App

Categories