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What is project requirements management?

The source of failure for 90% of projects is their failure to establish a good set of requirements, with project teams only to eager to make a start and the business will bekeen to get the job done.

Far to little attention is paid to this topic and the complexity of the changes.

Why not have a look at our short and informal video on why this is a problem and the key things you should be thinking about.

If we can help further which our short training course on the subject just get in touch with us.

What are the P3M3 threads?

In the latest version of P3M3 the concept of Threads was introduced.

These are “cross cutting” concepts that help with the systemic analysis of an organisations strengths and weaknesses. It reflects the recognition that if an organisation is weak on a topic, e.g. planning, then this will have deeper consequences than just affecting project schedules.

In this video, the P3M3 lead author explains the concept and why it has been a critical development in the evolution of P3M3.

What is integrated assurance

Assurance – is it a bureaucratic burden or an effective way to avoid failure? It will largely depend on whether you are in a team being challenged or an executive with personal accountability for the result.
Most organisations have a fragmented approach to how integrated assurance is achieved. To have an integrated approach requires multiple layers in the organisation to function coherently. This article explains how to achieve this integration for your programme.

The three tier approach clarifies how the models (and terms) fit together:
  1. Organisational capability – assessed using P3M3® and identifies your systemic strengths and weaknesses which can be addressed. To download an interactive overview of P3M3, please click here
  2. Programme  viability – assessed by independent or peer assurance to provide an objective assessment of the likelihood of success
  3. Gate reviews – line management decisions on whether to continue to invest in the idea
P3M3® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

Democracy is killing our infrastructure

We were fortunate enough to attend a  conference 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

Why do programmes go wrong

So many programmes in the UK and around the world are going wrong.

There as so many examples of major investments in the UK that are going horribly off track at the moment and that is because they are being run by project people thinking like project people – they are becoming national embarrassments.

Universal Credit, Crossrail, High Speed 2 are never going to be delivered by project management because the people involved are not thinking the right way.

Here is our little video on the common sins that happen in programmes that don’t behave like projects – delivered by the MSP lead author, Rod Sowden

What is the difference between Prosci and APMG change management?

Both APMG Change Management and Prosci offer certification programmes for people seeking to know more about change management. In the recent times, these are increasingly seen as alternatives or competitors and many potential candidates want to know how these offers differ. This white paper written by Chris Moore and Robert Cole (Managing Director for C4CM), should help you decide which one is right for you.

If you find the article useful – please let us know
 

What is programme 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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What is programme risk management?

Risk management is one of those strange things that we know we should do it, but when we do, it doesn’t seem that interesting.  We have conducted numerous gateway reviews, health checks and maturity assessments and invariably organizations seem to be just going through the motions, we have termed the phrase “risk watching” rather than managing.
One Programme Director, when considering the MSP® Risk Management Strategy, concluding that whatever he did, risks seemed to happen so their strategy would be not to manage risks but manage them all as issues, pragmatic at least.
So here are our Magnificent Seven for Risk Management:

  1. The approach aligns with objectives of the initiative – if it is high risk then much more attention should be given to managing them, this can be achieved by putting it at the top of the agenda
  2. Focus on the threats and understand what could trigger them, far too many programmes and projects focus on the consequences, for example, stakeholder resistance can be the result of poor communications, so it is the impact or effect of the threat of failing to communicate effectively.
  3. Engage stakeholders in the process of identifying and managing risks, normally business operations will understand the risks much better than project staff so should be fully involved
  4. Focus on the aggregating effect of risk, a wise man once said the worst thing that happened to risk was the risk register, as it hides the relationship between individual risks.
  5. Clear and simple guidance that is provided in the context of the organisations vocabulary and culture, don’t overcomplicate guidance with jargon.
  6. Informs decision making through the availability of current information and that lessons are being learned and shared.
  7. Innovate in the way risk management information is presented to a programme or project board, avoid laying a large risk register in front of them, keep it simple and they will stay engaged, they don’t want to the initiative to fail, if they are disengaged when discussing risk then rethink the approach – basically worrying about what might go wrong is never going to be fun
MSP® is a [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

What is the difference between PMI & MSP programme management ?

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.