One thing that I asked the community before the conference was what would like they to see during the conference? What was the best way to share the conference with you all? The feedback and answer that came from several of you was that you wanted to see various points of the conference via video. To be able to have this in a format that could be watched by everyone, I have uploaded to Youtube all of the videos and would really appreciate your feedback.
Are these the videos that you wanted to see? Would you want to see any others/different ones?
Coaching as a powerful tool, the cat-metaphor on agility, and the crux in project monitoring at #PMIEMEA19 Day 2
What a second day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. Not only did the sun shine again in Dublin. PMI also celebrated it’s 50th birthday with us. Half a century of caring about the people and the profession; I am happy to have witnessed just over a tenth of that time. PMI also brought on a stage the most incredible Irish a-cappella-band for the evening celebrations. They would certainly be in the final of any X-Factor show.
It was the first time Maria Fafard spoke at a PMI Congress, and it will not be the last. As an Executive Coach, Maria’s goal was to emphasize the value of coaching techniques in project management.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Does this question ring a bell? Avoid this question if you want to effectively coach. Coaching is essentially about helping the one being coached to change their beliefs, and with it, their behaviour. Because you touch the belief system of a person, the strongest tools in coaching are open powerful questions: How is your behaviour serving you to achieve your goals? Ok, you received feedback from peers, how are you going to use it? Why is this important to you? A common misconception: As a coach “you are not there to be liked, you are there to give a service. Kindly and firmly state what you observe”, says Maria.
Maria also highlighted to overcome the urge to provide a solution that worked for you in a similar situation. Descriptive support will not provide a change of the belief system in the person being coached. People are not vested in the success of a solution that was brought to them from external.
In the afternoon Leonor Viturro demystified organisational agility and described the three basic layers of agility needed in today’s organisations to respond rapidly to change: (1) Project Agility, (2) Personal Agility, and (3) Agile Decision Making, of which Personal Agility is the pre-requisite, and also the most difficult to obtain in organisation. Leonor applied a metaphor of a cat to distil the key characteristics of personal agility:
In order to increase organisational agility, starting to push processes to become agile (project agility) will most certainly fail, if the other levels are not addressed (personal agility and agile decision making).
The last session of the afternoon was highly engaging and sparked a lot of discussion. Anderson Gordon introduced a systematic approach to project monitoring: He extended the common Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to include the importance of studying the data being collected and then using the insights to constantly review and adapt the monitoring system.
Anderson mastered the task to facilitate discussion and lead the audience to come up with the key take-aways themselves. He showed examples of performance indicators that lacked completeness and were rightfully challenged by the audience. Performance Indicators should combine two set of criteria: CREAM and QQT. Meaning Clear, Precise, Economic, Adequate, and Monitorable indicators, which can be collected in the right Quality, Quantity, and Time.
And don’t forget to evaluate the indicators you have selected before adopting them.
Let’s see what day 3 holds ready for us.
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Think-Feel-Act, Design Thinking, Governance, AI in PM, and the importance of Sponsorship at #PMIEMEA19 - Day 1
What a first day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. A single blog post won’t suffice to cover all the learnings of one day. I chose to pick out some of the key points that stuck in my head of each session I attended – so here it is:
Denis Vukosav is a passionate project manager from the banking industry. That industry may not be known specifically for their ability to deploy Design Thinking and Agile methods in their projects, but Denis is challenging this: “When Design Thinking and Agile methods merge, you can combine best of both worlds. Design Thinking devotes an entire process step to developing customer empathy, which is often minimized within the agile framework for the benefits of speed.” You can make your projects become more successful by incorporating the needs of the customer with design thinking early on in your projects.
Michael Knapp presented his research findings from a study on the importance of governance in 3P (Portfolio, Programme, Project Management) in managing innovation in organisations. “One common mistake management and project managers often do is confusing governance and management. Management is about the execution of tasks and processes. Governance is about decision-making. Today, we have good standards and processes defined for the execution, and research shows, there are very little standards and processes on Governance in organisations.” The lack of maturity and metrics in governance can often lead to barriers to manage innovation effectively. If a project manager experiences the following barriers, there is a high chance that these symptoms are the result of a lack of governance maturity: Under-funding, culture clashes, sclerosis, politics and poor alignment, lack of strategy and vision, and lack of executive commitment.
“The best thing you can do as a project manager working in innovation is to grab management and sponsors and drag them down to the shop floor where the action takes place basis”, said Michael. This will make them start to rethink their commitment.
What will the future of work look like for a project manager? The next session I attended was organized as a panel discussion formed by three industry leaders in their field of expertise (project management). Hilary Baker from Airbus, Jim Robinson from the Ministry of Defence UK, and Dieter Butz from Bosch.
“Knowledge management, empathy, and anticipation are probably the key competences that distinguishes a good project manager from any future AI-driven tool in the profession”, says Hilary. Jim adds, that: “Hard project management skills such as scheduling, risk management, planning, and reporting the right information may become less manual, but need to be understood by a PM”. “Role perceptions will constantly change, and we need to change with the changing needs of the organisation to stay competitive, as an organisation, and as an individual”, concludes Dieter.
The gist of the talk for me: Now is the time to rethink standard role models in a project in order to shape the profession in 2030. AI will support, but cannot compete with the human intuition, passion, and creativity of a project manager.
Olivier Lazar, one of the very few people in the world holding each PMI certification, made an inspiring talk about the role and the need of the sponsor in a project.
“41% of projects fail because there is a lack of sponsorship”. Especially in Change Management the role of the sponsor is inevitable. The project manager does not have the credibility to effectively sponsor change and convince negative influential stakeholders.
Furthermore, he stresses a vital point: “The project charter is a contract between the organisation, the sponsor, and the project manager. It is the accountability of the sponsor to write and own the project charter”. This is sometimes forgotten. Olivier reminds us that the Initiation Process Group of the PMBOK 6th is owned by the Sponsor.
Now I am looking forward to a great 2nd day.
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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
Nontraditional Project Management,
Calculating Project Value,
Reflections on the PM Life,
PM Think About It,
Categories: Tools, Portfolio Management, Project Failure, Risk Management, Agile, Human Resources, Nontraditional Project Management, Calculating Project Value, Reflections on the PM Life, Documentation, Project Planning, Facilitation, PM Think About It, Project Delivery, Project Requirements, Translations, Roundtable, Strategy, Metrics, Stakeholder, Innovation, Change Management, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Program Management, Scheduling, Benefits Realization, Complexity, Education, Programs (PMO), Communication
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.
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