Ron Rosenhead writes eclusivley about pro training for professional staff. He is thoughful, provoking and gives away lots of free information and hints and tips
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At a meeting of the International Project Management Convocation (IProMco) this month, the Board ruled there was no need for projects to have a project sponsor. The Board suggested that as the role was not being played out fully by project sponsors then it was ‘unnecessary.’ In addition, the amount of project sponsorship training has fallen dramatically over the last … Read More > Related Posts: Should a sponsor be able to delegate? How good is project sponsorship in your...
At a meeting of the International Project Management Convocation (IProMco) this month, the Board ruled there was no need for projects to have a project sponsor.
The Board suggested that as the role was not being played out fully by project sponsors then it was ‘unnecessary.’ In addition, the amount of project sponsorship training has fallen dramatically over the last 24 months. There were some heated debates and on a day when temperatures outside were a hot 40 degrees Celsius inside temperatures really rose as did tempers. The hosting delegation from Australia nearly walked out. They were however stopped when the Chair cited an obscure ruling.
The conclusion from the Board and ratified by the Senior Executive Committee was that because sponsors failed to carry out their role effectively and training was falling it should cease to be an ‘official’ position in project management. The formal date for this to take place is 1 June, 2018.
The Board of IProMco said that there are some great advantages for project managers:
- They will no longer need the sponsor to approve the business case and charter. This will save a lot of time in long badly run meetings a lot of meetings involving sponsors and stakeholders
- Linked to the above the project manager will now provide direction and guidance for strategies and initiatives linked into the overall strategic agenda
- The project manager will be able to make really important decisions. They have had the training especially around strategy and organisational politics so this is great. There will be no more waiting for sponsors to make a decision
- The project manager will deal directly with all key stakeholders. No matter how senior and how committed they are to the project the project manager will now oversee this aspect. All the engagement, selling and getting buy in (especially where there are boundary management issues) will be down to the project manager
It will enable the project manager to make go/no go decisions. The sponsor only gets in the way so the project manager can easily cover this off!
They can take real risks – sponsorship reduces risk taking and stifles innovation!
IProMco suggest that there will be Time saving: this is as a result of the project manager being in two positions delivering the project alongside monitoring the project
The results of IProMco decision will take a while however it will be far reaching in its consequences.
I have one major question: who has done a benefits management study on this decision?
Image: Original image from Google Images amended labelled for use with modification
The post OFFICIAL! Project sponsorship has been declared null and void. appeared first on Ron Rosenhead.
In October 1931, the U.S. Army Air Corps held a flight competition for airplane manufacturers vying to build the army’s next-generation long-range bomber. The overwhelming favourite was the Boeing Model 299, which was dubbed “the flying fortress.” But disaster struck; the plane crashed, killing two members of the flight crew, including the pilot, Major P. P. Hill. An investigation revealed … Read More > Related Posts: Personal awareness for project managers What’s missing...
In October 1931, the U.S. Army Air Corps held a flight competition for airplane manufacturers vying to build the army’s next-generation long-range bomber. The overwhelming favourite was the Boeing Model 299, which was dubbed “the flying fortress.”
But disaster struck; the plane crashed, killing two members of the flight crew, including the pilot, Major P. P. Hill.
An investigation revealed that nothing had gone wrong. The crash was attributed to pilot error. The report suggested that the 299 was too much aircraft for one man to fly.
The accident report found that Hill was unfamiliar with the aircraft and had neglected to release the elevator lock prior to take off. Once the plane was airborne, the Boeing chief test pilot realized what was happening and tried to reach the lock handle, but it was too late.
There was a need to make sure that everything necessary was done before take off. What resulted was a series of checklists for pilots: one for take off, one for flight, one for before landing, and one for after landing. The 299 was too much for one man to fly: it was simply too complex for any one person’s memory. But these checklists for the pilot and co-pilot made sure that nothing was forgotten or overlooked.
Thanks to the checklists, careful planning, and rigorous training, the twelve planes the army initially ordered flew 1.8 million miles without a serious accident. The army then accepted the 299 and eventually ordered 12,731 of the aircraft they numbered the B17.
And so the checklist was born.
What about your projects? Do you have a checklist?
I have been asked many times for a one page document that summarises the development & delivery of a project.I have developed one that is a practical tool and you can find it here. However, it is wider than the words stated as the check sheet can be a vital aid in governance of the project:
- what have we missed?
- yes, we have included it however the quality is not as it should be
- should we include this aspect in the project? If yes, it could be at the expense of something else
These are simple examples however those who have used them have said they have been invaluable. As one person said on a project management course after completing the checklist: “yes, there are a few aspects missing or not done very well. We need to stop and deal with these issues now”
The checklist can help deliver the outcomes needed. It is part of the overall governance of your project and is based on best practice. Let me know what you think about checklists and please note; you will need to amend it to fit your project(s) or your organisation.
The checklist is available here
Picture from Google Images labelled for reuse with modification.
That was a question posed by a caller recently. Yes we do! I went on to explain that we have a partnership with OnLinePMCourses where we offer a wide range of project management eLearning. I referred the caller to the page with all the details- https://projectagency.co.uk/on-line-video-training and they were impressed. One comment struck me: the caller said: “Why don’t you … Read More > Related Posts: New! Online project management courses. The Pareto Principle is alive and...
That was a question posed by a caller recently.
Yes we do! I went on to explain that we have a partnership with OnLinePMCourses where we offer a wide range of project management eLearning.
I referred the caller to the page with all the details- https://projectagency.co.uk/on-line-video-training and they were impressed. One comment struck me: the caller said:
“Why don’t you publicise this bit more? Good point I said and I added that it sounds like I need to write an article for my blog site!
Three options to take your elearning training
We now offer a great range of project management eLearning courses. There are 3 main courses which are:
The Project Managers Fast Start Programme –for project managers who want to feel confident taking on a small to mid-size project?
The Project Manager’s Skills Mastery Programme – for those serious about succeeding in your first significant project, and see project management as a vital part of your job?
Project Manager’s Immersion Programme – for those who are committed to making your next project the successful foundation of a long term project management career
Take a look at the graphic below. It gives you the content of each course alongside the equivalent time of on line training alongside cost options
Each On Line Video Programme has support built into it including:
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD) resources
- guide to the course,
- downloadable audio podcast versions of all video lectures,
- workbook and downloadable worksheets
- tools and templates that you can download and adapt to your needs
- you even have access online Q&A with your trainer, Dr Mike Clayton
- there is a full project management glossary
- bonus articles
- a completion certificate
Why chose this earning course?
Now what is the reason I chose to partner with OnLinePMCourses? Many clients have asked for project management elearning or asked my advice on the ‘best programme’ to buy. As a result, I have seen and sampled many eLearning programmes and I have found those provided by OnLinePMCourses to be the ‘best in the market.’ The key is that they are practical, informative and they work.
Don’t just take my word for it. Let me give you some words from people who have taken the programme.
“Very user friendly, accessible, and understandable in a way that some of the other PM education I have engaged in has not been. Less “jargony” and more practical. It’s given me new perspectives/understanding of familiar topic areas; information I can share in new ways with others I am training in PM skills. I’d recommend this course to anyone interested in learning PM skills whether they aspire to getting the PMP certification or not.” Karen Kinsman, Dir/Sr Program Manager
“Mike covers all the key topics a project manager needs to know in his Skills Mastery Program and it’s clear throughout the course that Mike not only understands the theory, but also what works practically and offers tips, tricks and pitfalls to watch, that only an experienced practitioner knows. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to grasp the key concepts of good project management.” Chris O’Halloran, Agile Coach
We offer options for payments including attractive volume licensing of Project Management courses.
The post Does your company do project management eLearning? appeared first on Ron Rosenhead.
I have worked in many companies delivering project management training where there appears to be an issue with my clients complaining that their clients keep changing the specification of work. In order to dig a little deeper I have asked my own clients ask a number of simple questions: What have you done to really tease out client needs/expectations? Have … Read More > Related Posts: Project managers, just say no! So, you are about to start a project…..? My project sponsor...
I have worked in many companies delivering project management training where there appears to be an issue with my clients complaining that their clients keep changing the specification of work.
In order to dig a little deeper I have asked my own clients ask a number of simple questions:
- What have you done to really tease out client needs/expectations?
- Have you got a clear statement of what problem(s) you are trying to solve?
- Have you got clear objectives with scope statement (what is included and what is excluded)?
- How much do you engage with your clients (and internal stakeholders) during the project keeping them informed of progress towards solving 2 above?
Looking at the questions above in order I can best summarise responses as:
- What have you done to really tease out client needs/expectations? In many cases, little time has been spent doing this. One project manager was told by the client that ‘the brief is the one in the email’ which he described as brief and not to the point. Another said that the expectations were ‘gleaned’ in a 5 minute phone call. Little work was done to try and get agreement on the expectations of the client
- Have you got a clear statement of what problem(s) you are trying to solve? Very little work is done to understand the true problems to be solved and where problems are clearly identified few write anything down
- Have you got clear objectives with scope statement (what is included and what is excluded)? I am told that objectives are vague and there is no agreement on what is included and what is excluded from the scope of work
- How much do you engage with your clients (and internal stakeholders) during the project keeping them informed of progress towards solving 2 above? Engagement with clients is seen by project managers as haphazard. There is no agreed process for communication (either way) and as one person suggested ad hockery rules!
Educating your client is a key project manager role
I have stated many times that educating your client is a key aspect of the project manager and project sponsor role. I get some sceptical comments when I suggest this. I understand why as it slows down the project management start up process and in some cases it takes people outside their comfort zone; having to spend time asking questions, researching, agreeing the scope and yes, educating the client!
However, the consequences of not educating your client are clear to see;
- deadlines come and go – are not met (or it is a false deadline)
- client expectations are raised but not managed or delivered against (indeed, they may be impossible to deliver against)
- relationships start to suffer as the client is not getting what they want
- companies lose clients as ‘you cannot deliver’
- the quality of the work drops in order to meet the agreed deadlines (but with added scope)
- profit margins are reduced
There is a need to spend time educating your clients. Indeed, I suggested to one client that they should ask their clients if they wanted to come onto one of their internal project management courses or, run one for them!
How do you educate your clients ?
In discussions with one client I asked what else can you do to educate your client? Here are some of the suggestions:
- share lessons learned – many of these are client issues as discussed in this article. Imagine the power of a lesson that suggested; “We got it wrong at the start. We should have spent more time exploring what the problems were and the budget to solve it.” OK, these are my words however they are pretty powerful if read and understood by others
- improve listening and questioning skills – if used effectively, these two skills will really tease out what the client wants and whether you can actually deliver for them
- be more proactive – suggest to clients that typically the start up process throws up all sorts of issues so let’s sit down for a few hours (or have a ‘phone conference)
- stick to best practice – it’s all too easy to say OK, we can deliver against that timetable and cost/. But, what is it you are delivering? Use project management templates
So, what do we need to do to educate our clients, and ourselves?
Original image in Google Images labelled for use with modifications
That is the question…. Now I know I may well upset a few people with this articles however here goes….. I receive many emails asking for advice how to ‘get into’ project management or what project management training should I undertake? ‘Should I get PRINCE2/ APM/PMI’ is usually attached to the question. Enquirers tend to fall into 3 categories: The … Read More > Related Posts: Who should attend project management training? How good is project sponsorship in your...
That is the question….
Now I know I may well upset a few people with this articles however here goes…..
I receive many emails asking for advice how to ‘get into’ project management or what project management training should I undertake? ‘Should I get PRINCE2/ APM/PMI’ is usually attached to the question.
Enquirers tend to fall into 3 categories:
- The inexperienced – no project management experience at all. They feel project management is a good career move however they know little about it
- Those involved in project management – usually as a project team member or what I call a project management contributor (a person who contributes to a work package in a minor way)
- A project manager involved in a strategic project for a company who wants to better themselves; get more experienced; a person who has revived no project management training
What project management training do I recommend?
For the person with no project management experience I mention a combination of reading, some voluntary work with say a charity getting involved in project management. I also suggest getting in touch with project managers suggesting they ask what it’s like being a project manager, generally discovering what is involved in the role. As they are not yet in a project management role, I advise against any qualification route
However, what about those in category 2 and 3 above?
Let me take a side step from the answer for a moment as I believe this will give some background into what I say.
Practical project management training
I decided many years ago that Project Agency will provide practical project management training. Why? After attending various qualification courses I felt that the driver was to get people through a qualification rather than application of project management techniques and tools. To me, it was (and still is to many who I speak with) not real world.
Yes I know that the idea is that you apply it to the situation you face; adapting it to suit the project or the company. But, people have told me that this is the difficult bit. They cannot adapt it finding it too difficult.
This conclusion has been supported by many people who have come along to our Perfect Project course. This is a 2 day course with many practical activities based around a well tried and tested framework. Many people who have been on a qualification course come along at the end of the course and saying something like ‘I went onto a PRINCE2/ APM/PMI qualification course and this 2 days makes much more sense’ Or, ‘I can apply this to my projects straight away. I couldn’t with my qualification course’
Practical application of project management tools & techniques – but not on qualification courses
Key words: I can apply this (the course) to my project straight away.
So back to the question; do I suggest they get qualified? Yes! I have done so and will continue to do this. People who are involved in key corporate projects need that solid base however they are in the minority of people my company deals with.
As an aside, I am recommending and running more and more soft skills training for all of the 3 above groups. Something I have been speaking about for many years.
So what else do I say to people who enquire about qualification courses? I suggest for example starting a project to develop a community of practice . Where there is no PMO to research what it is and start to act as a PMO (attending various free PMO events) or coaching a less experienced project manager or a team member or receiving coaching from an experienced project manager.
The advice I give is clearly based on the persons experience and circumstances.
It is important to stress I am not suggesting that project management certification training is a waste. As suggested above, I have recommended people to attend such courses. However, it’s about being practical. The drive to pass the exam is just that…a drive. The application of project management seems to have got lost in the process. Then, on re-entry to the business people find it difficult to apply to a project. To repeat, these are the words people say to me, though I have thought this was the case for many years.
Finally, I came across an article from Elizabeth Harrin. It is called Professional development (without a training course). In it, she calls on the expertise of Louise Worsley who is a coach, consultant and academic in South Africa. Worsley says (and I agree) that:
“Most adult learning comes from relevant experience: challenges faced on a project, interactions with peers, or opportunities which force reflection upon and make sense of our experience.”
Do read the article as it has a strong link into what I am suggesting though from a different angle.
To project management certify or not…? What’s your view?
Original image from freedigitalphotos.net
So let’s start with a definition or an understanding of the ‘Pareto Principle’? “The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.” Let me give you an example of how I used this many years ago. I was the training manager in a company that had a centralised typing pool (I … Read More > Related Posts: I’m really effective. Are you? No member of staff should ever feel like they did… All change but...
So let’s start with a definition or an understanding of the ‘Pareto Principle’?
“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.”
Let me give you an example of how I used this many years ago. I was the training manager in a company that had a centralised typing pool (I did say it was many years ago). Staff in the pool struggled to turn the work around within the target of 24 hours. As a Consultant, I was asked to look at what training was needed.
80% of typing pool problems came from 20% of the causes
I started out by analysing the issues and discovered:
- Authors kept changing their minds thus causing repeat letters to be printed out
- The letter was often written by one person and signed by their manager. But the manager sometimes did not agree with the content, the grammar or tone. This resulted in several versions being typed before the letter was finally signed off
- Bad handwriting – staff said they wasted a lot of time trying to decipher handwriting. Letters had to be put to one side until the person came along and rewrote that bit of the letter (or in some cases the whole letter)
- There were spelling mistakes and words omitted by typing pool staff
The 4 issues mentioned were some of many mistakes that I identified. When I looked at the statistics they accounted for around 20% of the errors but around 80% of the wasted time. The 80/20 rule applied! (80% of the problems came from 20% of the causes.)
The solution: I coached the typing pool supervisor and deputy to coach the authors (and her staff) in a proactive way. The result; after 3 months the target time of 24 hours was being achieved more regularly, and after 6 months all the time.
So what is the link with project management?
I have worked with project managers, project sponsors and team members. They talk about their problems – and do they talk!
Now I have not done any formal analysis as I did with the typing pool. However I feel that if the 80/20 rule were applied then many of the problems mentioned would effectively be prevented. What are the problems – that account for 80% of issues people face?
- Defining the project – there are still many projects where ‘getting to done’ is far from clear. Many project managers are frustrated around the lack of a clear objective. Many team members feel the same, as they cannot see the end goal
- Stakeholder management – this is by far the most common issue that accounts for so much angst, worry and anxiety around many of the people aspects of project management. Sometimes a stakeholder is forgotten, or it is assumed ‘they know’, or there is a lack of skills to influence them
- Time management/work breakdown structure(WBS) – my good friend Mike Clayton from OnlinePMCourses.com suggests that time management is definitely in the top 3 problems. I believe that through the WBS the full extent (size, complexity) of the project becomes apparent. It is then that people worry about time management and personal organisation issues.
If these 3 issues were proactively managed then many of the problems around delivery of projects would disappear. Now I know some of you reading this will say this is too simplistic. I would argue that so many problems around project management can be identified even before the project kicks off. The 3 identified account for the 80% of problems are holding back project delivery (from 20% of the causes)
So what can project managers and team members do?
Focus on managing out the three problems.
Ensure there is a written project definition signed off by the sponsor and involving key stakeholders. Carry out a formal and in depth stakeholder management with a range of actions, including effectively communicating to all parties. This can also include developing influencing skills of all project managers (influencing without authority courses can easily be run for project staff). Finally, personal organisation skills can quickly be developed again with the application of time management principles and techniques alongside clear priority setting by the organisation.
Project managers need to solve problems and if they solve only the top 3 then their lives would be a lot easier. Of course, your problems may be different however it is still up to you to solve them, proactively
Maybe the title of this article should read “The Pareto Principle should be alive and well in project management?”
Do your own analysis and let me know what you think.
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