Project Accelerator News http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk The latest project management news, views and project management sites from the around the world Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:32:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Blue Ball Solutions Becomes First Changepoint Partner to Reach Platinum Status http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/blue-ball-solutions-becomes-first-changepoint-partner-reach-platinum-status/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/blue-ball-solutions-becomes-first-changepoint-partner-reach-platinum-status/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:32:13 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5561 Changepoint a leading provider of project and portfolio management (PPM), enterprise architecture (EA) and professional services automation applications (PSA), today announced that Blue Ball Solutions has become Changepoint’s first partner to achieve Platinum status. As Changepoint’s first dedicated European partner, Blue Ball has worked with numerous global enterprise clients to achieve technology-led business transformation goals, including …

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Changepoint a leading provider of project and portfolio management (PPM), enterprise architecture (EA) and professional services automation applications (PSA), today announced that Blue Ball Solutions has become Changepoint’s first partner to achieve Platinum status.

As Changepoint’s first dedicated European partner, Blue Ball has worked with numerous global enterprise clients to achieve technology-led business transformation goals, including Extra Energy, Arco, Schlumberger and Ziggo.

“Working with Changepoint partners means clients benefit from decades of experience and expertise in the full range of Changepoint solutions,” said Mike Spacone, vice president, partner strategy at Changepoint. “Blue Ball Solutions is an outstanding partner in our channel landscape, and their Platinum status is testament to their dedication, focus and ongoing success in delivering cutting-edge Changepoint technology projects.”

Since joining Changepoint’s global partner program, Blue Ball clients have benefitted from Changepoint’s solutions including Changepoint PSA, Daptiv PPM and barometerIT. Changepoint is consistently recognized by top industry analysts for delivering leading project and portfolio management and enterprise architecture solutions.

“Real-time insight into the status of projects is even more essential for business today,” said Matt Lowman, managing director at Blue Ball Solutions. “Bringing order to chaos requires a firm grip on an organization’s portfolios, programs and projects. Changepoint’s local presence, global user community and cloud-based solutions best fit our clients’ needs for solutions that transform how they do business.”

Daptiv PPM is a highly-configurable SaaS project portfolio application that provides top-down and bottom-up visibility for resourced-based project management. Its designed for organizations that need a structured approach to managing their projects, programs, and portfolio. Daptiv PPM automates project data capture to reduce errors and provide enterprise-wide visibility.

barometerIT is a cloud-based data management application that provides a real-time enterprise asset map. Data is inventoried from people-driven crowdsourcing and from third-party system integration that barometerIT leverages to illustrate the relational data using graph technology and rich visualizations. Real-time, authentic data about the state of the enterprise enables organizations to make smarter, more informed decisions.

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Everything You Need to Know About the PMO Conference in London this June http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/everything-need-know-pmo-conference-london-june/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/everything-need-know-pmo-conference-london-june/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:36:45 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5552 The PMO Conference is back for a third year this summer at St Paul’s in London – and over 400 PMO practitioners come together to gain great inspiration and ideas to push their PMO and their careers forward. Will you be amongst them? The PMO Conference gives you 19 hours of new PMO content, spread …

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The PMO Conference is back for a third year this summer at St Paul’s in London – and over 400 PMO practitioners come together to gain great inspiration and ideas to push their PMO and their careers forward.

Will you be amongst them?

The PMO Conference gives you 19 hours of new PMO content, spread across four streams from 23 inspirational speakers. Can’t decide what to see on the day? All delegates receive the full video set of presentations from the PMO Conference to watch back at the office.

The PMO Conference also features the PMO Exhibition – the largest ever in the UK with 23 organisations showcasing PMO products and services to help you and your organisation push your PMO on.

The PMO ConferenceThe PMO Conference is a full on day – kicking off at 8am in the morning with breakfast networking and expo, the main keynote starts at 9am.

Mark Price Perry, the world renowned PMO author of the Business Driven PMO, brings his energy and passion to kick-start the day and challenge you to Test Your Convictions.

You then have a choice of sessions that take you up to the lunch break – choose themes such as managing stakeholders; Agile PMO; portfolio management or listen to a PMO case study – real stories from the trenches.

Lunchtime gives you chance to get back into the expo – pick up the latest in products and services happening in the PMO area. Take time to connect with other PMO practitioners or browse the bookshop.

Not looking forward to the post lunch slump as the afternoon session gets underway?

We’ve got it covered with four fast paced, innovation, even controversial PMO Flash Talks – you’ll leave the session energised ready for the next two sessions. Choose from themes that cover PMO governance; strategy; innovation or further case studies from real PMO practitioners.

We finish the day with brain tricks and behaviour fixes to achieve extraordinary results, inspiring everyone to find the gap between stimulus and response and be the best they can be.

An energising and inspiring end to the PMO Conference.

But don’t forget, you take away all the presentation sessions with your 19 session video pack – perfect for catching up on the sessions you couldn’t make – and sharing them with the team back at the office.

Make sure you are at the UK’s premier PMO event of the year this June in Central London.

The PMO Conference

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From Zero to Hero: Four Ways to Stop PMO Failure in Its Tracks http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/zero-hero-four-ways-stop-pmo-failure-tracks/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/zero-hero-four-ways-stop-pmo-failure-tracks/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:58:48 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5545 Its not just Dilbert cartoons where projects are doomed before they begin. Real-life PMOs are no stranger to failure. In the past three years, PMI research found that 75 percent of Project Management Offices closed or failed to add value. Yet, while project success metrics are less than optimistic, effective project management can deliver tremendous …

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Its not just Dilbert cartoons where projects are doomed before they begin. Real-life PMOs are no stranger to failure. In the past three years, PMI research found that 75 percent of Project Management Offices closed or failed to add value.

Yet, while project success metrics are less than optimistic, effective project management can deliver tremendous business value by improving project execution and strategic resource alignment. Businesses agree. An astounding 97 percent of organisations believe project management is critical to business performance and organisational success.1 In fact, the increasing drive to complete more projects on time and on budget with fewer resources means demand for project management discipline is greater than ever.

Stakes are high for underperforming PMOs. High-performing PMOs nurture capabilities that enable successful strategy implementation, contribute value to their organisation and impact financial performance. While these high-performers are perceived as integral to strategy implementation initiatives, underperformers who ineffectively manage programs are viewed as cost-centers that offer little value to their organisation.

In reality, some projects will fail and yet, many failures are easily avoidable. In these situations, failure rarely has anything to do with project management itself. Taking a few relatively simple corrective steps can quickly illustrate the PMO’s value and head off trouble before it impacts how the PMO is perceived.

Read on to learn some of the most common warning signs and actions you can take to go from project failure to project hero.

Warning #1

You’re asked, “How does that project map back to our goal this quarter?” and you have no clue.

What to do: Ideally you discussed the PMO department’s metrics when you first began your role. However, as business goals change, sometimes they are not communicated to each department. This is especially true in business climates that revere adaptation and transformation. In fact, almost 80 percent of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with their company’s business strategy.2 It is critical to regularly connect with the business leader to ensure that your projects are consistently mapping back to operational efficiency and business value. Book that meeting before its too late.

Warning #2

You receive multiple emails asking for the status of Project X.

What to do: The term “over-communication” is overused for a reason–30 percent of the time, project failure can be attributed to poor communication.2 Proactively offer update the leadership team and take a hard look at your reporting to ensure you provide a true and complete picture of the portfolio at all times. Better still, once you’ve established two-way of communication, ask if the project is a dependency for another objective. Consistent communication and robust reporting will help projects stay on course and build trust and cooperation with your stakeholders who will recognise your efforts to align projects with larger initiatives.

Warning #3

While walking down the hall, you overhear someone from another team comment: “I don’t even know what the PMO does.”

What to do: Adopt an outward focus. Remember the PMO was created to serve the needs of the business. When coworkers do not know why the PMO exists, what it is or what the PMO’s objectives are, it’s often because the PMO’s mission has not been effectively, and repeatedly, communicated across the full entire team. Hint, here’s a sample mission statement for some inspiration: “The PMO exists to provide a standard approach to project delivery, full and accurate visibility into project status and effectively prioritise project management resources to support the organisation’s strategy.”

Now that you’ve got a clear mission statement, ask to present an update at the next company meeting or contribute project milestones to the intranet news page. Include metrics that support business objectives to remind everyone you’re all working toward the same goal together.

Warning #4

Your project success rate is low–and that’s not going to change next quarter, either.

What to do: First, revisit or repeat steps 1-3. Consider it your checklist. Step one: Ensure alignment with business goals. Step two: Confirm you’re proactively communicating project status to stakeholders as part of a robust reporting plan. Step three: Verify your organisation is aware of the PMO’s mission.

If the first three steps are done effectively, stakeholders should be aware of at-risk projects, understand why they’re falling behind and be confident in the steps that are already underway to address project threats.

However, don’t take comfort in this reassurance for too long. Immediately consider steps to ensure a higher project success rate. Complete an audit of your project tracking tools to ensure your toolkit meets the needs of your organisation. While needs will shift depending on your organisation’s maturity, you should have access to real-time insights into your resources and a big-picture view of your current projects. Next up, work with your team to establish a standardised process for determining when to cut a project that just isn’t working. Twenty percent of project failure is blamed on limited resources3. Eliminating a doomed project could free up resources for a future successful project.

Conclusion

In a turbulent environment where the unexpected has become the norm, agile organisations lead the pack. Project leaders, business leaders and stakeholders must work together to build greater agility. When they do, they’ll solve problems, take smarter risks and deliver innovative products and solutions faster—all key components of success

References
1Project Management Institute: Pulse of the Profession 2016: The High Cost of Low Performance
2Changepoint: Did you know? Executives lack visibility into organization and performance is at stake
3Project Management Institute: Pulse of the Profession 2015: Capturing the Value of Project Management

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How to Survive in a Multi-Project Environment Using MS Project http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/survive-multi-project-environment-using-ms-project/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/survive-multi-project-environment-using-ms-project/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 11:42:17 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5540 What is the best project planning software for managing large numbers of projects simultaneously? This question concerns C-level managers, project managers, and executive decision-makers who attempt to find the perfect PM solution for navigating their projects. Microsoft Project is the most commonly used PM application; but is it efficient for multi-project management? GetApp Lab, a …

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What is the best project planning software for managing large numbers of projects simultaneously? This question concerns C-level managers, project managers, and executive decision-makers who attempt to find the perfect PM solution for navigating their projects.

Microsoft Project is the most commonly used PM application; but is it efficient for multi-project management? GetApp Lab, a company that highlights current trends and research in business software tools, reports that 67% of respondents to their 2016 survey use MS Project for their project planning and management needs.

 

Still, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Project Management Maturity Survey indicates that only 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects. The Project Management Institute’s  2016 Pulse of the Profession report estimates that for every $1 billion invested in the US in 2016, $122 million was wasted due to poor project performance. Considering that the latest statistics point to frequent project delays and cost escalations, project management appears to be on the verge of failing. Is the lack of proper PM tools the reason for the above-mentioned painful outcomes? The Epicflow team, with 30 years of combined experience in project management, has investigated what features MS Project is actually missing and has offered a solution to consider in 2017.

 

Why MS Project Is Not Enough For Multi-Project Management

When searching for software features to develop in 2017 to meet the current demands of project managers, the Epicflow team noticed that almost all PM tools were designed for single project environments. Nearly every project management solution, including MS Project, Jira, Trimergo, TOPdesk, and Primavera is built on a single project philosophy and requires manual planning and replanning. Even though they encourage continuous collaboration, these apps lack software features that can set priorities, create adequate effort-based workloads, and eventually prevent overload and planning overhead in multi-project environments. How can project managers respond to this ongoing flux of replanning and what digital tools do they prefer to track project performance? How can you upgrade MS Project to fit multi-project environments?

 

Don’t Change the Tool, Change the Philosophy Behind it

MS Project is cumbersome to use in multi-project environments, as it lacks analytics to allocate resources efficiently. But what if you could get insights about where processes are stuck and predict resource bottlenecks in your pipeline with MS Project data?

Dutch scientists Albert Ponsteen and Jan Willem Tromp have already made this possible by integrating smart algorithms into their web-based solution that fits modern multi-project environments in many domains: engineering, manufacturing, software development, and others. These PM-savvy experts with 30 years of combined experience collected evidence from 4,000 business experts, CEOs, and project managers and concluded that it was essential to find a solution that would set priorities and reduce overload and planning overhead.

 

Approach Multi-Project Management from the Perspective of Resource Availability

Ponsteen and Tromp agree that what overwhelmed project managers really need is flow, order, and simplicity to help them manage large numbers of projects, solve capacity problems, set priorities, and allocate resources properly. One of Epicflow’s purposes is to save time and energy otherwise spent on excessive planning by approaching project management from the perspective of resource availability and task distribution.

 

Opt for Speed, Durability, and Flexibility in Multi-Project Management

Is there a reliable PM solution that can be easily integrated and used with MS Project? Yes, there is. Now it’s possible to upgrade MS Project for multi-project environments, adding analytical value to a static PM application and lifting the planning burden from project managers’ shoulders.

The Epicflow software add-on offers a package of useful PM features and integrates data from MS Project or nearly any other PM tool you use. Epicflow was designed to prevent bottlenecks by collecting and analyzing workflow updates and visualizing these analyses in a number of graphs that provide full visibility of resources, tasks, and projects. It brings order and simplicity to dynamic work environments and increases focus.

 

The Epicflow team discussing the SaaS release

 

Even though Epicflow’s web-based version has just been released, it has already been proven effective; many companies already consider this project management software the key to solving their top PM issues. The early version of Epicflow, Flow MPM, was an offline application that helped many businesses reduce lead time, restore due date performance, and improve the quality of business outcomes. Flow MPM proved effective for the TKF cable factory, which produces transatlantic cables. Hans de Boer, R&D Director at TKF, pointed out that Flow MPM helped the company increase its output by 200% and reduce lead time by 50% over 2 years, at the same time enabling realistic commitments to customers. This PM application, the precursor to Epicflow, successfully connected with Trimergo to help construct superyachts like the “Venus” for Steve Jobs. The web-based version, Epicflow, is even more flexible.

In tandem with MS Project, Epicflow offers superpowers for successful multi-project management. It enables smooth and adequate workflows and resolves resource conflicts, not only engendering a peaceful environment for win-win cooperation, but signalling where your project’s arteries are clogged. From now on, it’s possible to revamp MS Project by adding new analytical prowess courtesy of Epicflow. What’s actually stopping our progress when the solution is at hand?

 

References

  1. Project management software features report: is 2017 the year to replace your current solution?
  2. Project Management Maturity Survey
  3. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2016

 

Biography: Albert Ponsteen and Jan Willem Tromp are Dutch scientists with deep knowledge of project management based on more than 25 years of experience. They have contributed their research expertise to Epicflow, an online PM tool.

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Why and how IT hirers should embrace social media http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/hirers-embrace-social-media/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/hirers-embrace-social-media/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 15:04:06 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5535 I was amazed to learn this week that a UK firm, one that is a major user of technology to deliver its services and a large employer of millennials … bans its staff from using social media during office hours. It got me thinking. Given that increasingly this age group (and younger) are accessing so …

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WHY AND HOW IT HIRERS SHOULD EMBRACE SOCIAL.I was amazed to learn this week that a UK firm, one that is a major user of technology to deliver its services and a large employer of millennials … bans its staff from using social media during office hours.

It got me thinking. Given that increasingly this age group (and younger) are accessing so much, from sales leads to networking opportunities … if firms are imposing such bans – are many leveraging the potential hiring power that social platforms can deliver?

I selected ten firms who I follow on Twitter – firms who use social media to try to sell me their product and investigated how well they are using social platforms to attract talent. Only one of the ten seemed to have an effective social media recruitment strategy.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about just tweeting that you have an opening. That’s potentially going to be as effective as an old-fashioned job ad. Clearly, you will still get better results with a recruitment partner who will write bespoke adverts focussed on candidate attraction to match your business or company culture and sell your business as a great place to work. Your social platforms can help as part of the mix but it’s more than posting #jobad and hoping for the best.

What I’m talking about here is creating a presence on social media that singles you out as the best place for IT Talent to work. It’s about projecting a culture, under the radar, that will attract talent with digital skills. Talent who, nowadays, can pick and choose where they work.

Here are five thoughts on how you could use social platforms to complement the work of your IT Recruitment partner.

Blog Thoughtfully

Only one of the firms I chose in my survey did this. I read a blog from an IT Project manager about how he and his team had collaborated to solve a significant challenge.

As I read the post I got a sense of the kind of meaty challenges that they faced, the creative way that they approached them, the true sense of teamwork and togetherness, the difference that they had made to their customer and the recognition that they got from their company bosses.

It sounded like a fabulous place to work and it would have made me likely to keep an eye out for any opportunities that come up there.

How powerful is that?

They weren’t advertising a job but they made me want one.

Using social media to report industry trends, for example, helps you stay in touch with candidates on a more regular basis.

Engage.

How many firms do you follow on social media who are a bit anti-social? They seem to use their Twitter account like a loudspeaker to shout corporate messages at you. My timeline is full of them and I wouldn’t want to work for a single one!

BUT …

When you truly engage with current and potential customers you create a perception that yours is the kind of company that would probably engage with its current and potential staff. Certainly, a firm that worth applying to work for, should an opportunity arise. For example, one company that I follow has its Twitter feed regularly manned by managers answering questions. Now, none of it is employment related but it leaves you with a definite sense that here is a culture of integrity and openness that you imagine would be a really cool place to work.

Use Social Media To Colour In Your Firm’s Offer

Nine out of the ten companies I looked had a very safe social media offer. They were beige!

I know for a fact that one of the companies had just completed a charity abseil … but there was no mention of it on the firm’s social media channels. This kind of extracurricular ‘make a difference’ type of activity can be really appealing to certain talent who have a Steve Jobs ‘make a dent in the Universe’ attitude.

Be Active, Authentic And Consistent

Like with most things, you will reap what you sow. The more active you are on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, etc) the more awareness you will gather and the more effective your recruitment efforts will be.

It is essential that you talk in your ‘company voice’ – your online personality should be a mirror of the feeling that your business gives to its clients and visitors. Measuring activity, authenticity and consistency will help create a brand image that will attract culturally aligned talent.

Encourage Employees To Engage

Your employees are going to use social media.

So are your potential employees.

You should get to know the content that they habitually engage with and share as a professional community and identify and encourage the sharing of company related areas of content – like success stories, great change projects that they were involved with, or big contract wins.

This, in turn, creates an awareness of your business that makes you more attractive to potential talent who may otherwise never have heard of you. Then, when you advertise your position potential candidates already have an idea of why they’d want to work with you from the ‘testimonials’ of their fellow professionals – your existing employees.

You should acknowledge best practice in this area!

Conversely …

Always Challenge Worst Practice

The company that I mentioned at the start, the one that banned social media during office hours, did so because they are afraid that any posts by staff may reflect negatively on their brand. If someone says in their profile that they work for you and during the hours of nine to five they post something controversial it could be attributed to you.

Really?! OK, occasionally someone may post something negative about your company. We all have bad days. We all have days where the job stinks! Some people take to social media to vent and that could put off potential candidates.

The best way to deal with this kind of thing is quickly and decisively. Be proactive! You should run regular training on the consequences of social media bad practice … but don’t ban it altogether.

Recruitment can be an incredibly frustrating process but you can make life easier with the right recruitment partner and an effective narrative on social media. You can ensure a cultural ‘best fit’ and sell your business as a great place to work but social media is not a replacement for other recruiting processes. It is a useful addition and an enhancement, another tool in the toolkit and like most tools, knowing how to use it will get better results.

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Never blow an IT project budget again http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/never-blow-project-budget/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/never-blow-project-budget/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:30:47 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5528 Most of my friends, colleagues and clients are forecasting that IT budgets will increase during 2017 but according to a recent survey, many CIOs say that managing and implementing those budgets is getting tougher. Which, I suppose, stands to reason. With greater budgets comes greater responsibility and every organisation wants the best possible return on …

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Never blow an it project budget againMost of my friends, colleagues and clients are forecasting that IT budgets will increase during 2017 but according to a recent survey, many CIOs say that managing and implementing those budgets is getting tougher. Which, I suppose, stands to reason. With greater budgets comes greater responsibility and every organisation wants the best possible return on their investment.

In the survey, by Apptio, 67% of CIOs and other senior IT executives expected their budget to either increase or stay the same over the next year but more than half said that they found managing these bigger budgets a challenge.

Ask anyone who has had their budgets cut and they’ll tell you that increased allocation for spend should be a reason to cheer not fear!

With this in mind, I thought I’d share 7 strategies that could help you never blow another IT Project budget again.

1 – Prepare A Separate Budget For Change

This simple strategy creates a reserve of funding for any changes that are approved. Many Projects suffer because each time a change is approved the PM has to prepare a budget forecast for it and get approval. This way funding is pre-approved.

To create a Budget For Change you need to estimate change requests during the life of your project based on your experience and awareness of the project and resources. Once it is approved it is normally down to the Project Manager to apportion funding. However, be careful to only use your Budget For Change to fund approved changes. Some projects fall into the trap of confusing their Budget For Change with a contingency fund and find that it soon runs out.

As with all aspects of the project, communication is key. Any spending from your Budget For Change should be communicated with your client, if it’s an external project or with your stakeholders if it’s internal. That way, at the end of the project everyone will know what’s been spent and what’s left in the pot.

2 – Regularly Check In With Your Budget

IT Project budgets are a little like diets. Keep a regular check on how you’re doing or you will soon start to fail.

My Project Manager friend is the ultimate expert at breaking Projects down into bite size chunks and it’s from her that I took the diet analogy. She approaches weight loss with an “eat healthily and exercise more just for today” mentality that she learned in IT Project Management. All those “just for today’s” soon add up and she recently dropped three dress sizes for her sister’s wedding.

She also uses this approach when it comes to monitoring the budget. She breaks down resource allocation and budget in relation to those bite size chunks and by checking in at least weekly she has carried budget over to the next chunk on more occasions than not. The ultimate return being that she is regularly delivering IT Projects under budget.

Does she find it easy?

She says, “It’s as easy as losing weight. Which for me is really hard! But when you create habits that are in line with your goals, whether it is packing a salad and taking the stairs or making a diary note to check spend against forecast every week, it soon becomes second nature.”

3 – Align Your Project With Business Strategy

I’d say 90% of the Projects that I see run into fatal budget issues are not properly aligned with the business mission of the organisation. Conversely, probably 99% of projects that I see delivered within or well under budget are well aligned.

I’d love to see some actual research on this but my gut feeling will probably be backed up by most Project Manager’s experience.

When a Project shares the business mission trajectory of your firm it’s harder to overspend. Maybe it’s because you all have a common sense of direction of travel and appreciate the value of keeping travel costs down, perhaps it’s because well thought out strategy begets well thought out strategy, it could be there’s a perception of increased governance and accountability when you have a higher power to answer to … I don’t know for sure!

BUT I do know that IT Projects without a business case are the likeliest to wander off into the wilderness of overspending because there is nothing strategic against which to measure them.

4 – Get Some Help

I think it’s great that more than half said that they found managing bigger IT budgets a challenge. At least, I think it’s great that they have acknowledged the challenge. That’s 80% towards solving the problem in my book.

There’s no shame in admitting that any part of the Project Management job description is not your strongest suit. As long as having worked out your weakness you do nothing to address it!

Last year a Project Manager in the UK public sector bravely acknowledged that increased budgets and Project portfolio were going to overstretch his (already fairly stretched) budgeting capabilities so he used the extra workload to request they hire some new talent to the team. The person who got the gig, surprise, surprise, was a budgeting maestro. I know this because the Project Manager they hired is a friend of a friend and a .. well … a budgeting maestro.

The point is, you can bring in talent to complement any weakness that you have and increased budgets is a great time to push for such a review.

Alternatively, if you can’t increase headcount, the Project Management as a Service market has solutions from people to end to end Project Management that can help with managing budgets. Furthermore, a PMO assessment, where a fresh pair of eyes takes a look at your operation might find a simple fix to any issues that are the root cause of your budget dilemmas.

5 – Forecast Resource Needs And Availability Throughout Your Project’s Lifecycle

I recall years ago hearing the legendary football manager Brian Clough talking about the strategies that had won his Nottingham Forest side two consecutive European Cups. Among them was an embedded knowledge of where each player was meant to be for each phase of play.

It is a wonderfully simple technique that in IT Project Management budget planning can reap huge wins. If you have gone to the trouble of chunking your project into bite size pieces allocating resource to each phase and checking that the resource your need is available is a reasonably simple next step. As well as giving you peace of mind that all your bases are covered it gives an early warning of gaps that can be filled by re-prioritisation the rest of your portfolio or through the Project Management as a Service market.

6 – Manage Scope

You know it, I know it. If you don’t manage your project’s scope then you most likely struggle to manage your budget. Despite us all knowing this, scope creep is still one of the greatest project killers. Unfortunately, as the size of the project and budget increase so do the risks of scope creep.

You don’t need a tutorial here about how to define, control and manage scope but one of the most dangerous and invisible forms of scope creep that I’m seeing a lot of is worth a special mention.

It’s a form of self-inflicted scope creep. You and your team are working in your project day to day and you notice that there may be better ways to do things or enhanced deliverables could be achieved by making a simple tweak. It’s all done with the best of intention but someone needs to keep an eye on these because they all add up quickly!

Make sure that budget, resources and schedule grow in line with the project’s scope and if they don’t robustly challenge any creep that may affect your budget.

7 – Establish Who Is Responsible For Budget – Guess what – It’s Everyone!

A quick one to end with!

One of the best ways that CIOs and Project Leader’s can manage budgets better is by sharing budget responsibility with individuals on the team. You don’t abdicate responsibility – it’s still your name above the door – but by communicating what the business strategy is and how your project will help deliver it you’ll get a greater collective mission buy in.

If you get this right you’ll find that team members police their own spend in line with organisational budget expectations. When you keep your project team thoroughly informed of the project’s budget forecast you’ll find that they take greater ownership of the project and when you keep them updated on the current status of the budget you will find that they take more care of the costs associated with their project area.

As with any aspect of Project Management, good budget management comes down to good governance, a great strategy and best practice. Try these ideas, develop your own or get support from the Project Management services community. In 2017, do whatever it takes because greater budgets are something to be celebrated not a cause for sleepless nights.

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Learn How To Succeed At Stakeholder Management http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/learn-succeed-stakeholder-management/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/learn-succeed-stakeholder-management/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:42:32 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5524 New research from Elizabeth Harrin shows that project managers understand the value of stakeholder management but in many cases they aren’t doing it (or aren’t able to do it). Engaging stakeholders on projects is essential for success. The survey, conducted at the end of last year via Elizabeth’s blog, GirlsGuideToPM.com, included responses from over 300 …

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what prevents you from engaging stakeholders

New research from Elizabeth Harrin shows that project managers understand the value of stakeholder management but in many cases they aren’t doing it (or aren’t able to do it).

Engaging stakeholders on projects is essential for success. The survey, conducted at the end of last year via Elizabeth’s blog, GirlsGuideToPM.com, included responses from over 300 project managers worldwide. They reported that the value of stakeholder management is clear. It:

  • Helps manage risk
  • Improves the perception of success
  • Improves project handovers
  • Helps secure resources
  • Ensures the team does what is required.

Doing stakeholder management well, and moving beyond the obligation to document a list of people affected by a project on some kind of log, has a real impact on being able to deliver your project successfully. When you know that it can help you smooth out issues on your project and get work done more effectively, wouldn’t you prioritise doing it?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Project managers are prevented from doing effective stakeholder management for a number of reasons including not having management support (45%), not having enough time to do it when juggling their other responsibilities (48%) and not having the templates to set the processes up (27%).

Constrains on stakeholders’ time came up multiple times in the comments that respondents added to their survey results. “This seems to be a real issue for people,” Elizabeth says. “When your stakeholders don’t give you the time you need with them, your project suffers because you can’t get the direction and decisions that help you keep moving forward.”

In response to the survey results, Elizabeth has put together a Masterclass on stakeholder management to help project managers create better working relationships with stakeholders and customers.

“The difficulty with stakeholder management is that there is no magic wand,” she says. “It’s impossible to hand out a formula that would work in every situation, for every business, for every project, and that’s where much of the formal teaching about stakeholder management falls down. We give people the templates and processes but we don’t explain how to actually move people’s positions, or share the techniques that really work.”

Much of that hard-won knowledge comes from experience, and that’s difficult to get for someone new to the role. Equally, even mid-level career professionals can struggle when faced with a difficult set of personalities or a particularly challenging project.

Elizabeth’s Masterclass is a shortcut to gaining that knowledge, packed with practical tips to navigate the difficult terrain of stakeholder relationships. “What I can do is give you the tools, techniques and confidence to boost your stakeholder relationships at work so you can effectively decide which way on the map to go,” she adds.

Unlike lots of online training classes, the Stakeholder Management Masterclass will be delivered live over 4 weeks. “I’ve already had students sign up from overseas who know now that they won’t be able to make the live classes,” Elizabeth explains. “They’ll be getting information in advance of the classes so they can still ask their questions and then they can watch the replays. I hope I’ve created an engaging format that will allow me to tailor the course and enable delegates to get the most out of it.”

Elizabeth’s objective is that she can give project managers the confidence to engage with project stakeholders – even the difficult ones. When you have confidence, and the techniques, you can build credibility and authority at work and put together a clear engagement plan for working with others on the project.

Read the full research results and find out more about the Stakeholder Management Masterclass.

Enrollment closes on 20 March 2017 with live classes starting on 22 March 2017.

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Sustainable project management http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/sustainable-project-management/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/sustainable-project-management/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 07:53:25 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5518 Project management association members and credential holders have an obligation act sustainably.  For example, PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2.2.1) asks us ‘as practitioners in the global project management community to make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment.’   The problem we all face …

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Project management association members and credential holders have an obligation act sustainably.  For example, PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2.2.1) asks us ‘as practitioners in the global project management community to make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment.’   The problem we all face is working out how to achieve this aspiration!

The concept of sustainability (or the ‘Triple Bottom Line’) is fairly well understood in business, it involves balancing economic interests with the needs of stakeholders (society) and the environment.

The ‘economic’ aspect of project management is directly aligned with effective project management, delivering the project on-time, on-budget and to the required quality. And, this basic objective cannot be achieved without engaging effectively with at least part of your overall stakeholder community. So-far-so-good!  The challenge project managers and their teams face is understanding how they can move beyond the pure economic elements to take into consideration the needs of society and the environment.  What do these terms mean and how can a project manager or team member make a difference?  Fortunately there is an increasing range of resources available to help us focus on the things that matter where we can make a difference.

 

Sustainable Development Goals

The starting point is the Sustainable Development Goals that all 193 members of the United Nations have signed up to achieve. On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs – ‘the Goals’) and 169 associated targets. The new transformative agenda builds on the achievements of 2000 – 2015 Millennium Development Goals program, and sets the world’s targets for the next 15 years.

No one is going to attempt to tackle all 17 goals let alone the 169 specific targets, but every project team can look through the goals and targets and find 3 or 4 that they can strive to achieve. A couple of examples:

  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, Target 5: substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. Focus on this and you not only help the environment, you can also improve profitability!
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, Target 8: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women. Child care is still primarily undertaken by women – how can your team support working mothers?

There are lots of other options to choose from, all you need to do is visit the sustainable development website http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ and find a few that you can focus on and make a real difference!

There are also commercial benefits! As governments and corporations move to implement the SDGs, $trillions will be invested in projects to implement the changes.

 

Green Project Management Resources

GPM – Green Project Management is a sustainability-centered certified social enterprise whose mission is to decouple socio-environmental degradation from economic growth. The mission of GPM is ‘delivering a sustainable world, one project at a time’.  Project Sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principled approach to managing portfolios, programs, and projects.

To learn more see: http://greenprojectmanagement.org/

 

Summary

The world’s governments and an increasing number of corporations are starting to focus on sustainability. Organisations are beginning to recognise they cannot survive if the society or environment it operates within fail. The role of the organisations governing body is to balance the three elements of sustainability to create win-win outcomes where better social and environmental outcomes drive better economic outcomes.   The opportunities for project practitioners highlighted in this post are firstly the opportunity to get onto the ‘front of the wave’ and be positioned to take advantage of the demand for project mangers the SDGs will create over the next few years.  Secondly, providing a practical foundation to work from to implement our ethical responsibilities to ‘to make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment.’

How can your team help achieve the UN’s SDGs ‘one project at a time’?

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Project Management Apprenticeships Launched by Parallel and Interserve http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-apprenticeships-launched-by-parallel-and-interserve/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-management-apprenticeships-launched-by-parallel-and-interserve/#respond Fri, 10 Mar 2017 13:12:39 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5511 The choice of project management as a first career is becoming increasingly common. This is a significant change because traditional project management was seen as a second career.  This is a continuing trend as shown by the Arras People benchmark report. They asked project management practitioners asked if PPM is, in fact, their first career or their second.  The …

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The choice of project management as a first career is becoming increasingly common. This is a significant change because traditional project management was seen as a second career.  This is a continuing trend as shown by the Arras People benchmark report. They asked project management practitioners asked if PPM is, in fact, their first career or their second.  The results are fascinating; they show that while a majority of people still see project management as a second career. However as you can see below, it is more common for younger people to see project management as a first career.

The conclude that When the UK respondents are cut by age, as in figure below, we can see that the percentage of the population in a first career are certainly higher amongst those under the age of 42. As an overall number though, they are lower accounting for 43% of the respondents.

In the under 34’s we see a wider gap and the actual number is higher, accounting for 54% of the respondents, so maybe the career of first choice is taking traction?

This is the first time they have asked this question and it will be interesting to see how this changes over the next few years.

 

We can expect to see this trend accelerating as the APM has just launched the project management trailblazer apprenticeships. This sets a benchmark standard for all PM apprenticeships, including the knowledge to be developed, skills to leaned and the expected behaviours.

To respond to these changes Parallel Project Training and Interserve Learning and Employment have combined togeather to offer a structured project management apprenticeship. This is available as a 24-month programme for new starters and 18 months for those who have some prior experience. The programme consists of three main components, knowledge of the principles of project management, skills development workshops and then the practical application of the skills in the workplace.

Knowledge of the Principles of Project Management

Knowledge or project management is evaluated by a gateway exam taken within the first 12 months of the programme. This is done by the completion of the APM Project Management Qualification. This is a 3-hour written exam with 10 questions from a selection of 16 options. Training for this is provided using the Parallel Learning System which combined workshops, e-learning, podcasts and webinars with project management experts. Apprentices will be expected to complete monthly homework questions and a full mock exam before taking the final gateway exam.

Skills and Behaviours Development Workshops

In addition to theory apprentice learn how to use and apply the tools and techniques of project management at workshops. Based on a simulated project these workshops develop the practical skills of project management including stakeholder management, planning, budgeting, change control, reporting and managing risk.

Putting Theory into Practice

 

The final element of the apprenticeship programme is applying the skills developed in the workshops and theory parts of the course to a workplace project. This application is supported by an apprentice mentor but needs to support of the employer to give the apprentice access to a suitable project.

End Point Assessment

Once the apprentice has completed all these elements of the course they can then submit their portfolio for endpoint assessment, this is a paper review of what they have learned and also an interview where they have to show that they have met the standard set by the APM.

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Project Governance http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-governance/ http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/project-governance/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:27:30 +0000 http://www.projectaccelerator.co.uk/?p=5503   Does Project Governance really help?   In 2015, a study conducted by PMI (Project Management Institute) revealed that project delivery remains a challenge for most companies. It emerged that 45% of projects are not on budget, 7%  exceed the allotted time and 56% do not provide the expected value.   For several years, there’s …

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Does Project Governance really help?

 

In 2015, a study conducted by PMI (Project Management Institute) revealed that project delivery remains a challenge for most companies. It emerged that 45% of projects are not on budget, 7%  exceed the allotted time and 56% do not provide the expected value.

 

For several years, there’s been much talk about governance and its perceived impact or lack thereof, on project success. It’s an expression that causes a lot of confusion, and is used in various contexts. In general, governance is about creating the ideal environment to govern effectively. In project management, governance aims to develop ways of piloting and monitoring during the life cycle of a project. This is a framework that ensures alignment with the overall organizational strategy. If there is no standardized approach, project governance is strategic for businesses and establishes a monitoring framework for optimal project delivery.

 

Improved decision making

 

Governance allows a company to describe a management style and an organizational framework for all activities. A company that works in project mode, establishes a project governance to ensure the dissemination of information in a particular way. This governance is meant to facilitate the taking of thoughtful and strategic decisions in the context of complex projects with high stakes. During the life cycle of a project, many events are created as a result of changes, for example. Effective governance should enable the collection of information quickly, in order to make good decisions and keep the project under control. Based on practice and experience, governance provides a direction for making the necessary changes.

 

Maximize ROI

 

Efficient governance minimizes the risks of change and maximizes revenue. Governance allows the defining of areas of responsibility for stakeholders and to understand which actions have worked and which did not bring the expected results.

 

The areas of governance

 

Project governance helps define a framework and a strict methodology for running a project. It provides a logical strategy aligned with the overall organizational strategy, establishes clear goals and offers the visibility to see if the objectives have been achieved.

 

If there is no standard governance, it is important to create a favourable project environment. Project managers who can implement and monitor governance improve their chances of success.

 

Here are some areas to consider for establishing an effective project governance:

 

  • Project objectives: it is important to accurately understand the issues and project objectives by defining specific criteria. This information helps set expectations and shows that the project is well aligned with the strategic objectives of the company and meets the company’s needs.

 

  • Project management methodology: a method for implementing a project is essential to its success. We must therefore define the path and steps leading to the delivery. This methodology should be consistent with the organization’s strategy.

 

  • Monitoring, reporting and decision making: Governance sets the controls during the project implementation. Reporting or dashboards integrate important and useful information and make this information available to management. The reporting should be clear enough and should consider the maximum amount of metrics, to convey an accurate picture of the situation.

 

  • Tools used: projects can be very different from one another and the tools used during the execution can be varied. Governance requires the use of specific tools.

 

  • Project team: a project cannot exist without the people who work on the project from idea to delivery. Consider the necessary knowledge and employees skills for the success of the project.

 

 

Project management is increasingly complex and difficult to monitor. The establishment of an efficient governance will help keep some control and optimize results.

More information about Genius Project

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