I've just finished my final slot on the "Ask the Expert" booth and it's been a jam packed morning! The overriding theme this morning has been coaching people to understand what their value is and what they really want from their careers and lives. It's been a really interesting journey to see how people want to develop and progress in their professional careers and how differently that this looks across the Project Management spectrum. Here's a quick summary of who I met with today*:
Here's some pictures from today:
*Please note all names have been changed for privacy reasons.
Tomorrow is the day! It's the start of the PMI Global Conference and the Ask The Experts team are ready and waiting to help you with your project management queries.
We're all slowly arriving in Chicago (which by the way is a bit chilly so i'd recommend bringing a coat, gloves and scarf!) and it's really exciting to see all of the displays being erected and attendees starting to arrive.
What can you look forward to at the "Ask the Experts" stand?
Primarily, the main thing to look at is our knowledge! PMI have assembled a great team of experts with knowledge covering all the major aspects of Project Management.
I dare not try to calculate the number of years experience that the entire group has and with this experience comes wisdom and support for any issues that you might be having
We're all experts in our field and we've been around the block when it comes to projects.
Who to see?
What about me?
I'm available to chat about anything... but i'm really interested in: agile practices, talent management, virtual teams, communication, professional development, Next-gen project management
Rethinking the Charter
Calculating Project Value,
Education and Training,
Nontraditional Project Management,
PM Think About It,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Agile, Benefits Realization, Calculating Project Value, Change Management, Communication, Complexity, Documentation, Education and Training, Facilitation, Human Resources, Innovation, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Metrics, Nontraditional Project Management, PM Think About It, PMOs, Portfolio Management, Program Management, Project Delivery, Project Failure, Project Planning, Project Requirements, Reflections on the PM Life, Risk Management, Roundtable, Scheduling, Stakeholder, Strategy, Tools, Translations
Since I retired after 26 years in one company, I have had assignments in various PMOs in different industries. I’ve been in the energy sector, the insurance sector, credit card services, industrial/manufacturing, and now healthcare. Every industry has struggled with the project charter. What does baselining it mean? Does it ever get updated? Who should issue it? And the list goes on. And while PMOs in all these industries try to invent the perfect process – we are ignoring one important aspect.
The project charter, as defined by PMI, does not meet the needs of today’s business!
Before you call me a heretic and an incompetent – hear me out. The problem I have with the charter is it becomes a reformatting of existing information, bloated, and redundant – and it doesn’t provide the project team with the most important information it needs. Shouldn’t the charter give the team a definition of what success looks like?
I propose the charter should be extremely streamlined. After all, how many people, let along executives, will read a 14 page charter? Many charter templates contain information that is already in one artifact and will no doubt be included in another. I propose we throw away the bloated all-inclusive charter of today and replace it with a simple charter.
Project Organizational Wrapper
You need to have the organizational wrapper of project control structures. If the project pipeline has a defined Demand Process and there is a demand id, it should be in the charter. This should also be aligned to the business case information – what went into the approval, and other justifications. No need to repeat them in the charter – they already exist in a corporate database of record. If information is in two places – that doubles the risk of inconsistency, confusion, and delay.
If you have an integrated project management system (IPMS) that tracks project work in process – then that project id should be there. Projects assume titles and identify from the ideation phase through project initiation. That title, or name, should be included in the charter because that’s the lingo that has defined the initiative.
Should be results focused
Once the project is ready to kick off, the work initiative needs to be focused on the results. If your organization is mature enough to be doing Benefits Management Realization, the charter should map directly to the benefit register. The next section of the charter should be:
What does success look like?
Quite simply – what is the vision in reality? Knowing what success is far outweighs the value of several scope bullet points. The definition of success can be expressed in several ways including:
Critical success factors
The essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project.
What can we do in the future that we can’t do now?
How do we measure success?
Not calling for specific key performance indicators here, but should have an idea of how we will measure success. It also provides requirements for the product and what are the critical success factors.
If you are driven by a legal requirement or an industry standard (HIPPA or an ISO requirement comes to mind) than that should be identified. The charter must identify conformation to external factors.
What benefits are being realized?
Again, if you have a mature benefits realization process, then the entire benefits quantification/qualification should be in place and your project is delivering outcomes and capabilities to realize the defined benefits.
The charter must be able to identify all the organizations that are impacted by the initiative. After all, how did you get high level estimates for the business case if you didn’t have a means of identifying organizations involved? This RACI should then be driven to know which groups need to receive and approve the charter.
What time frame is expected for the organization to start to realize benefits? Let’s avoid the charade of bottom up estimates and defining the schedule after you have all requirements defined etc. We are driven by budget cycles and funding is only approved to last so long. This isn’t to say those things can’t and shouldn’t happen, but at a Charter level – the approval has a defined end time. This also helps define the scope.
I have purposely omitted several pieces of what is considered part of a charter. Not that I don’t think they are important, I do, but they belong in defined sections of the project plan. There is no need for budget as that should already be in the business case approval – and I don’t know if it directly contributes to the definition of the outcomes and capabilities. Scope is implied in what success looks like and the Critical Success Factors. If during requirements definition, a question is raised that doesn’t directly support the definition of success, than it is out of scope. Assumptions, risks, issues, and constraints are all important, but they live elsewhere. The charter should identify the future state, not dwell on the challenges of the present state. And the charter should be a onetime document that is not modified or have addendums. It initiates the work – other artifacts ebb and flow during the project life cycle.
In closing – the purpose of the charter is to authorize the project manager to start delivering on the project. It is not to cut and paste from all over to make an all-inclusive summary of all business intelligence that justified the project. I propose to make it a lean document focused on the outcomes and capabilities and the definition of success. Items that have a workflow/life cycle (risks, assumptions, issues, etc.) do not need to be in a charter, they are taken care of elsewhere. A lean, concise, and easy to read charter allows the team to focus on delivering within the success criteria.
Please sign up for a 1:1 with me while at the PMI Global Conference! We can talk about PMOs, healthcare project management, teaching project management, or any other topic related to project management!
To schedule a 1:1, use the SIGN UP button on this page.
Calculating Project Value,
Education and Training,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Benefits Realization, Best Practices, Calculating Project Value, Career Help, Communication, Communication, Complexity, Earned Value, Education and Training, Ethics, Facilitation, Generational PM, Lessons Learned, Mentoring, Portfolio Management, Program Management, Project Delivery, Project Failure, Project Planning, Reflections on the PM Life, Risk Management, Roundtable, SoftSkills, Stakeholder, Talent Management, Teams
Right after the Global Conference, I will be flying out to Vancouver to give presentations at ProjectWorld. One of my presentations is on Influence and Advising as a Project Manager. This is my closing slide.
As a project manager, we are frequently in a position of advisor or influencer. We need to understand our interactions have long term impact. Not only for our self, but also our organization. It's the feeling of value required in the trust relationship.
The last bullet is most important, there may sometime be the "drop the mic" moment where you win a heated discussion - but the odds are good you will still need to work with that person - so give them an opportunity to save face. That 15 seconds of satisfaction might be the prelude to months of resistance.
For those who have seen my webinar on Organizational Agility you know that I am facilitating a book series called The Agility Series (you can find more on it over at www.TheAgilitySeries.com).
The way I get content is by inviting people to answer a series of questions on the topic. I use the input I get which I augment with some ancillary research and my own ideas to write the final copy. So I was wondering what I could I do in the using the same approach leading up to the Congress on October 28-30. So with that as the backdrop, here is the question I have for the PMI community:
If we want to make a difference in our work and as people in our communities, what behaviors might we exhibit?
You have until October 15th to answer the question – that should be enough time for me to go through the results and get it ready to share in a blog post prior to the congress.
I am also throwing it out to my fellow experts to participate in the exercise and to help me sort through what we get in response to share with the rest of the PMI community.
So what say you all?
Here is the link where you can answer the question – you can offer up to three separate responses of the behaviors you feel would help you to make a difference.
It`s a single question survey and no need to ponder too deeply so you should be able to do it in a minute or less.
(BTW - it's an anonymous survey)
Also feel free to share with your colleagues and other professional contacts. The more the merrier!
If you will be at the congress come on by anytime and talk to me and the rest of the experts about the results of the question and the blog post it will spawn.
If you’d like to talk strategic intent, adaptive strategy, back-casting over forecasting, outcomes over outputs, any of the agilities, or pretty much anything you think I may be able to help you with in making a difference in your world, here is my availability during the conference:
You can also connect with me at: