p3m global is a proud sponsor of PMI Synergy 2014, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible, as PMI Synergy has rapidly earned distinction as one of the largest project management celebrations in Europe.
Synergy 2014 takes place on Thursday, 13th November in London. Register here for tickets.
This year the PMI are showcasing a new scheme, where the seminars will be streamed live from the event via a web link, making Synergy 2014 available globally. Yohan Abrahams, PMI UK, President, shared this exciting news with us:
“PMI UK is planning as a pilot to stream some of the presentation sessions at Synergy, our annual congress on the 13th of November 2014 starting 09:00hrs GMT. Not all the sessions will be available for streaming, therefore we are offering this opportunity free of charge. All you have to do is register your interest on the PMI website quoting promotional code “SynergyStream”. On the 12th of November we will send you a web link to use to watch Synergy. You will then be able to join virtually with nearly 600 members of the community who will be present on the day in London. You will be able to interact with the presenters on twitter using #pmisynergy.”
PMI UK announced that p3m global would be duly recognised as Sponsor as this annual event continues to engage with leading industry figures and those looking to get ahead in P3M.
“What is portfolio management?” I hear you say. Well, the official definition from the PMI is “a component collection of programs, projects or operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.” The APMG define it as “the totality of an organisation’s investments (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve its strategic objectives.” Basically, making sure you are doing as much of the right stuff as you can – and demonstrating that you are doing it.
To put it in simpler terms, consider a car. You have a nice bright shiny new car. It is of no use to you unless you have the skills to drive it…that is your project management layer – or the ability to maintain it or have it maintained…the operations layer. That enables you to get from A to B.
But what is B? Where are you going? If you are taking three kids to school, it is no good having a sports car. If you are moving furniture around, it’s no good having a little four seat saloon car. So the vehicle is programme management layer – it’s no good being a really good driver (the project management layer) with really good skills as a car mechanic (the operations layer) if you don’t know where you’re going.
The final part of the picture is how you are going to get there – if you like, the SatNav bit. How can you most efficiently get to where you are going without sitting in traffic for hours on end, or running out of petrol. Conceptually – the world of portfolio management! It’s all about saving money, getting more value out of what you are doing – more bang for your buck. If you consider programme management as “doing the thing right”… portfolio management is doing the right thing.
So the PMI is in the final stages of producing a certification to demonstrate someone’s ability and experience at the portfolio layer. What’s the point? Well, portfolio management is being adopted more and more – across industries and across the globe. So, there is a corresponding demand for more knowledge, resources and professional recognition. The PfMP credential is intended to validate and demonstrate a practitioner’s knowledge and experience. It will also differentiate practitioners from their non-credentialed peers, and, because it is transferable among methodologies and industries, it helps make them more marketable. It will complement existing qualifications such as the MoP and provide the first globally-accepted credential for the role of a portfolio manager.
We’ve written before about PfMP, including a useful set of FAQs about how to attain the certification.
Agile, the Dark Ages, and maintaining appreciation for project delivery as a method agnostic goal.
Agile methods have emerged and become popular over last few years as a response to perceived shortcomings of waterfall delivery model. We have seen agile proponents take an almost evangelistic approach, claiming that agile methods should be used in all cases and that those who don’t agree with them are living in the Dark Ages. Conversely, the agile approach is stomped on by some as being akin to chaos, and anyone who evangelises agile is a developer who has simply never seen a project managed properly.
Just as when you choose a courier, delivery can’t be ignored in project management, whether your agile, waterfall or agnostic in delivery. Image courtesy snaillad @Flickr, re-used with permission.
There is some truth in both arguments, but devotees of the “either or” position show a fundamental lack of understanding of delivery. In truth, there is a continuum – a spectrum of project delivery, in fact, there always has been. It is simple, basic, good practice. On the one hand you have the pure adaptive approach. Welcoming change, this approach is perfect in circumstances where there’s an advantage to get something partial out now rather than everything later. Or, maybe the sponsor isn’t entirely sure what they want – ok, so give it to them in bits so everyone can be sure the right approach is being taken. Or, maybe new technology is involved and we want to reduce risk by delivering iteratively. Conversely, the culture of the environment may not be conducive to the flexibility required when delivering using an agile method – governance may be very rigid, and empowering a team maybe as likely as jumping over a house. Maybe there are very restrictive regulatory requirements that remove any chance of flexibility – or maybe the sponsor just isn’t interested in a flexible approach. In truth, it is very rarely a case of “either or”. Agile practices can (and often should) be adapted in traditionally waterfall approaches, and vice-versa. For example, having weekly stand-ups in an infrastructure project where the sponsor has definite requirements and is not interested in flexibility. Or including a risk management plan to keep those overseeing regulatory aspects of delivery where an agile approach is chosen. Or delivering an individual work package in a purely agile way, where the rest of the project is waterfall. So in practice, delivery methods form a continuum, with purely adaptive methods at one end and purely prescriptive methods at the other. As delivery professionals, we must lose the temptation to evangelise about one or other of these extremes and understand that we need to learn the skills to place our project or work package at the appropriate position in the delivery continuum, based on aspects such as what we are delivering, the nature of the team, who we are delivering to and where we are delivering it.
Steve Butler is Head of Delivery at p3m global. Steve served as co-author of the PMI Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd Edition, and has been a key contributor to other recent PMI publications, including OPM3, 3rd Ed., and Software Extension to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition, earning special distinction as the only co-author based in the UK.
Image courtesy snaillad @Flickr, re-used with permission.
Steve Butler PMP lays out what Project Management means to him (and PM-Partners) in conjunction with the exciting Shim Marom-inspired #pmflashblog initiative. In short, Steve feels that project management requires a lot of planning, and some common sense, too.
Project management is all about change. Strip out all the latest fads, standards and gimmicks and at its heart all project management really boils down to is a risk mitigation exercise when you are trying to effect change – be it deliver a product or a service or an update. Keep that thought at the front of your mind when managing a project, and everything becomes common sense. You are changing something, and you want to get it right. So what do you need to consider? Well, you need to make sure “it” is the right thing…so some sort of requirements gathering exercise and scoping exercise is needed so you can hit the target. To do that you need to make sure you are talking to the right people to find out the right information, and to make sure you are keeping the right people up to speed with what you are doing – so some sort of communications management and stakeholder happiness plan needs to be in place. Obviously when you gather the requirements and define the scope, a budget and a timeline needs to be defined and managed, and how they progress needs to be communicated (hence having a communications plan). Within the timeline will be milestones and deliverables and some sort of mechanism for delivering them and reviewing the milestones. Part of making sure you hit the target is making sure the quality of what you are doing is acceptable, so some sort of plan to manage that is necessary. You can think about assembling the team, and keeping them happy and efficient. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing, maybe deliver in bits and make sure you are heading in the right direction by regularly reviewing with someone who knows what is required. Maybe regularly review with the team to make sure they are doing the right thing and have no blockers you don’t know about. We could call that basic concept, oh I don’t know, Agile? A concept that has been around for decades, but now has a name! Project Management – an exercise in common sense.