Our website uses cookies. By continuing to use our website you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
Close this message.

eLearning Log in

Login here using your username and password

Forgotten login?

High performing organisations – does this sound like you?

raft raceWe were undertaking a review of what we had seen and learned over the last year, and one of the main developments was the emergence of organisations achieving P3M3® level 3 and 4 ratings.
There have been some interesting discoveries about the characteristics of these organisations, beyond what we had anticipated. Some of the characteristics took us by surprise as they were more around moods and behaviours that were less tangible, we could almost “feel” the positive energy.
We have analysed dozens of organisations through our work with P3M3. We thought it would be useful to share some of the characteristics of those that stand out from the crowd, in no particular order.

  1. Self critical and restless: Organisations that are on the improvement projectory are continually dissatisfied and impatient, they are looking at where further improvements can be made and willing to take risks to achieve better performance.
  2. Learning organisations: They do not pay lip service to learning lessons and most importantly, they do not wait for a failure before looking for the new opportunities, they will analyse successes as well to differentiate performance from luck
  3. Measuring performance: They don’t just gather data in reports for the sake of it, they analyse it and use it to being good enough is rarely enough, they analyse their data and turn it into an asset.
  4. Educating their people: They don’t just send them on courses, they seek to develop their knowledge to underpin performance improvements from increasing confidence as part of a professional development strategy.
  5. Respecting assurance: They see this as an opportunity to avoid unnecessary failure and an opportunity to learn. Many organisations pay lip service to this and are grateful for a non-critical report, the high performers are much more demanding.
  6. Curating knowledge: They see knowledge as the foundation of power to improve and to do this they will implement tools and systems that enable them to not just store information but to interrogate and proactively broadcast it to an organisation that is listening.
  7. Clear lines of authority: Enable them to make the right decisions at the right time, sometimes they may be bound by their industry and regulation but they will have optimised themselves to function as best they can.
  8. Knowing their own limitations: They will know their limits of capability and competence, this will enable them to make balanced risk based judgements so that they do not get out of their depth unexpectedly.
  9. Committed leadership: They will have leaders who are committed believers, they will provide support and encouragement to teams to follow the proven working practices, but they will flex and adapt when needed. Lower performing leaders abandon proven practices and panic when trouble threatens or stick to them rigidly.
  10. Standing on the shoulders of giants: They don’t make the same mistakes as others, they investigate the solutions to problems and use proven solutions rather than inventing their own routes to failure through guesswork.
P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

Programme Management – PMI or MSP – which one is for you?

Programme Management – MSP v PMI – which is right for you
In many markets there is debate about which of the two programme management frameworks should be adopted, in this article we take an objective view of each of frameworks and compare their relative strengths and weaknesses of the MSP and PMI approach to programme management and intended as a guide when considering the relative strengths of each one.
The overwhelming conclusion of this article is that organisations delivering programmes need to exploit the strengths of both approaches and once understood; they are surprisingly compatible and build on the strengths and weaknesses of each other rather than proposing opposing approaches.
The article has been written by Rod Sowden, lead author for MSP 2007 and 2011.

Strategic PMOs play a key role in driving outcomes

Forrester-Strategic PMOs
In this article by Forrester Consulting they have written an excellent paper on how strategic PMOs play a key role in increasing an organisations ability to delivery the right projects in the right way, thus improving organisational performance and agility.
It includes an interesting section about the triggers for PMOs taking on this strategic relevance, not surprisingly, most are linked to a corporate calamity of some sort or a new CEO who is a believer.
Their findings illustrate that the critical success factors include:

  • The have a seat at the executive table
  • They are a critical part of the strategic planning process
  • They embrace core competencies
  • They use consistent objectives across industries and regions

For those of you that are familiar with Sue Vowlers P3O some of this will be old news, but it is still a very interesting article with current examples

Fresh Look – Benefits 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, so this is the first in a series of posts that we revisit to remind about some core concepts.
Picture1
In this article, we revisit benefits management, which is still one of the most mysterious disciplines in the world of transformation. Benefits appear like magic when the business case is being written. With earnest consideration and challenge, even more mysteriously, they seem to disappear as soon as the business is signed off and people get down to the real business of delivering stuff, probably never returning to the sticky subject of benefits and why the change was initiated in the first place.
We’ve pulled together some of what we have found to be guiding principles which may increase your chances of achieving your benefits delivery.

Case study – Thameslink

In late 2016 and early 2017 we were commissioned to write a lessons learned report on the Network Rail Thameslink programme to enable other organisations to learn from their experiences.
Once we started work it became clear that there had been extensive documentation of lessons throughout the lifecycle, the problem was that people weren’t listening.
The challenge therefore was find a way to communicate the lessons that this amazing programme had faced and how they overcame them and the lessons that others can learn from this experience in a format that could be consumed.
The scale of the assignment has led us to invoke a number of new techniques beyond this case study that enabled key individuals to share their passion, their pains and gain through the use of videos and workshops to ensure their story wont be lost.
Rather than a formal report, we have created a case study and supporting videos to communicate the message. This Thameslink case study provides an insight into workings off a major infrastructure programme, and how they in effect developed and approach that has become the second generation of programme management within Network Rail.
Thameslink review case study
In addition to this report, we also produced a paper on the challenges in general around lessons learned and knowledge sharing, based on our experiences on this assignment.
Lessons learned – new thinking

 
 
 

Fresh Look: Investment Logic Mapping

Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) was all the rage a few years ago but it has been lost in time. It originated in Australia and provided an approach to developing the justification for a business investment.
Picture3
ILM is a brilliant way to understand the problem, think about the outcomes and clarify where the costs and benefits sit. They should be made compulsory in all Programme Briefs!
This guide outlines why you should use Investment Logic Mapping to see what value the use of ILM will bring to your investments.
It is a powerful and extremely cost-effective way to bring shape and structure to your investment before you head off into expensive blind alleys.
We hope you find this useful.

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.

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.

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.

What lessons have we learned?

In general, lessons learned are rarely learned. butterfliesResearch and general knowledge about what causes programme and project failure has abounded for years, yet the same things keep happening, so what can we do to help.
As an example of this problem, for the last 20 years in the UK, the world of best practice (originated by the OGC) illustrates the issue. We wrote Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®), and it was written on the assumption that audiences already had experience of programme management, understood programme management and wanted to improve.  The reality is that people read the book as part of a course and never look at it again.
The work of P3M3® has shown that although the knowledge has been absorbed temporarily for the examination, it is not sufficiently understood to enable deployment in the real world as the courses are attended by inexperienced individuals unable or unauthorised to deploy the knowledge they have in the real world. For more on this, click here

MSP® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.