A time of change

Reflections on my term as APM president

 

COMMENTARY

By David Waboso

United Kingdom

 


 

Project management and change go hand in hand. The most successful projects – and project managers – are those that embrace change and seek out the new.

During my three years as Association for Project Management (APM) president, the pace of change we have seen in the profession and within APM itself has been truly staggering.

When I took on the role of president in 2016, my ambition was to enhance APM’s status as a body that supports the needs of our profession, to further raise the profile of the profession at home and abroad.

Gaining our Royal Charter in 2017 was a significant step towards realising this ambition. Achieving chartered status is helping us to galvanise the profession and build recognition in the eyes of other professionals, organisations and the wider public. We have seen the creation of nearly 800 Chartered Project Professionals (ChPPs), including 495 within the first five months of the standard being announced in October 2018, according to the latest APM Member Review.

There are also other areas where I feel APM has made a real difference in building the strength of the profession:

  • Improving the delivery of the programmes and change that we manage, especially against the backdrop of increasing organisational and operational complexity.

This has been supported by an increasing range of APM research and thought leadership, development of relevant qualifications and e-learning. In addition, the themes of our recent conferences and events will help ensure APM is increasingly seen as the leading source of knowledge and insights for the project profession.

  • The need to manage the unprecedented rate of technology change sweeping across our personal and working lives across all sectors.

As a profession, we recognise this challenge and the continuing need to adapt. We can therefore provide the professional standards and framework to build a community of credible, capable and trusted professionals, delivering effective change in all sectors to all stakeholders.

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Editor’s note: This article appeared as a blog post on the APM website in July 2019.  It is republished here with APM and the author’s approval so the rest of the world can read his comments.

How to cite this article: Waboso, D. (2019). A time of change: Reflections on my term as APM president; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Waboso-a-time-of-change.pdf

 


 

About the Author


David Waboso

United Kingdom

 

 

 

David Waboso served as president of APM from 2016 to 2019. He was awarded an APM Honorary Fellowship in 2011. He is an internationally renowned engineer and project manager who has worked on some of the world’s most prestigious infrastructure programmes including Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line Extension in the UK, projects for the European Rail Agency and World Bank funded infrastructure developments in Africa.

David has a passion for training and education. He has served on committees focusing on the teaching of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in schools, speaks regularly to the media and radio/TV, and promotes opportunities for people of all backgrounds to realise their full potential in engineering and other professions.

David was awarded a CBE in 2013 for services to transport in London. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, and an Honorary Fellow of Association for Project Management.  He also holds a Fellowship to the City and Guilds Institute.

 

 

Future PM Trends

 

COMMENTARY

by Yu Yanjuan

Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)

Beijing, China

 


 

At the end of 2018, this PM Review magazine (http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/) journalist interviewed more than 20 top experts across the globe to collect their opinions about future PM trends. Based on the results, we summarized their observations into 17 trends.

Trend 1: Redefinition of Project Success

In VUCA era, projects are characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Therefore, it is necessary to redefine the criterion of project success. Doctor Harold Kerzner pointed out that we will not merely rely on scope, time and cost to measure project success and that business value creation will be an essential criterion. Professor Wang Xiaojin said, “Faced with rapidly-changing technology and markets, projects, as the means for organizations to embrace changes, will play an increasingly important role. Therefore, measuring project success should focus on the extent to which projects have achieved expected changes for organizations and on the business value created by the changes. When talking about the definition of projects, PMBOK Guide (6th edition) added ‘driving change’ and ‘creating business value’, which aims to remind us not to forget the original reason of doing projects. It’s unreasonable to do projects only for doing projects.” Professor Ou Lixiong emphasized that project success should not merely be measured in terms of delivering the deliverable within agreed framework but in terms of the satisfaction of key stakeholders. Professor Ding Ronggui emphasized that in terms of the criterion of project success we should learn from Eastern philosophy: more synthesis, less decomposition.

Trend 2: From Agile Tools to Agile Mindset

The application of Agile is getting more and more common. It is reported that 75% companies in Netherlands and Belgium adopt agile methods, but many ended up in failure. Relevant surveys show that the most common reason is that corporate philosophy and culture cannot adapt to agile practice. Reinhard Wagner, Chairman of the IPMA Council of Delegates, said, “Agile is an ongoing trend, but the focus should shift from agile methods and tools to agile leadership, mindsets and cultures. Application of agile methods and tools will fail if the embedding organization is not ready for it. Agile projects require the leaders to give more space to maneuver to project teams, to let them self-organize, to enable creativity and innovation. The top-down mentality will disappear over time, otherwise agile project management is a farce.” To embrace this trend, IPMA has initiated Agile Leadership Certification.

Trend 3: From Responding to Change to Embracing Change

In VUCA era, change is constant and inevitable. Since change also means new possible projects and opportunities, project management and change management should go hand in hand. In our interview, it is agreed among experts that we should change our attitude towards change, which means making good use of disruptive technologies to identify opportunities in the course of change rather than passively responding to changes. Professor Ou Lixiong explains, “In light of the VUCA era ushering in an era of change, it also means the opening of doors to a world of new possibilities and opportunities. This also means that the study of ‘how to manage opportunities’ would be an area that is worth researching. Also we previously used to emphasize on ‘responding to change’, however, now we should put emphasis on ‘embracing change’. Previously when encountering changes, we may wonder if there are problems but now faced with changes we should try to identify opportunities. Therefore, for project managers the attitude towards changes needs changing.”

Matti Ahvenharju, former IPMA Vice President, has proposed the concept of Management of Opportunities by Projects (MoP), which I believe will have more room for application in the future.

More…

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Editor’s note: This article was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To learn more about PMR, visit http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this article: Yanjuan, Y. (2019). Future PM Trends; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Yanjuan-future-pm-trends.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China

 

 

 

Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review Magazine and website. She has interviewed over forty top experts in the field of project management. In the past, she has worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in various training centers in Beijing. For work contact, she can be

reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

 

 

Alexander and the Indian King – Part 3

 

COMMENTARY

By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA

 


 

Privacy

Empathy episode #1 led quickly to empathy episode #2. Hocking an abbreviated set of cryptic questions in an appendix of the OPM3 standard as a substitute for the Capability Statements, PMI decided to remove the Capability Statements altogether, which essentially meant removing the original product (i.e. the directory of Capability Statements) from its packaging or from the book written to introduce the Capability Statements. That’s not a criticism of the book or its author. The book was written by a professional writer named Paul Wesman whom PMI hired to turn concepts and language dictated by me and a handful of others into something presentable. Paul and I had a great working relationship: Paul wrote “John directed the original team that developed OPM3 for PMI, and I was the technical writer on the team. John was a creative, visionary thinker in his field.” Paul was a masterful writer. But the book, which a very small number of people were involved in creating, was not the original standard; the directory of Capability Statements was. If PMI’s customers buy a copy of the book that is the OPM3 standard from PMI today, what they will get is the packaging for the Capability Statements but not the Capability Statements themselves. PMI decided to repackage the Capability Statements in software. I was invited to advise PMI on the matter.

The new packaging was software named ProductSuite, a database version of OPM3’s Capability Statements created by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) on behalf of PMI based on the logical data model I had authored. Users were supposed to use ProductSuite to perform assessments of organizations and plan improvements based on those assessments. While I was delighted that ProductSuite was not another OPM3 Online, that ProductSuite based OPM3 assessments on the Capability Statements, and that ProductSuite got OPM3’s logical data model right, I tried to do the job I was asked to do for PMI (to advise them), and told PMI reasons why the software was unnecessarily problematic and why it would probably never result in the most useful and valuable knowledge that one would hope to create through the aggregation of benchmark data, i.e. data comparing the ability of respective organizations to implement their strategies through project, program, and portfolio management (described in terms of the maturity levels and capabilities of those organizations). The GUI was confusing, the workflow was convoluted, and functionality was limited. I would wager if you asked anyone who used ProductSuite whether this is an accurate description, they would affirm that it is, with the possible exception, naturally, of certain persons who worked on creating ProductSuite at PMI and DNV.

I won’t bore you with the details except to say that ProductSuite’s least attractive feature may have been that it was designed so users had to access ProductSuite over the Internet and allow their assessment data to be saved remotely in ProductSuite, which raised privacy issues of the sort that now plague Facebook for the simple reason that requiring customers to aggregate their data in a 3rd party product that is hosted remotely can result in a breach of trust. But Facebook did not exist back then, and PMI was not convinced by such critiques. PMI required users not only to access ProductSuite via the Internet but to save their assessment data in ProductSuite on those remote servers. The user could delete that data later, after exposing secrets to the risk of prying eyes. It came as no surprise that there were instances of corrupted assessment data, which I had warned PMI could happen from the outset. Speaking for myself, I never uploaded assessment data to ProductSuite that reflected the reality of any client’s capabilities. As years went by, PMI never produced any OPM3 benchmark data, and OPM3 users were continuously disappointed by the discovery that the OPM3 Standard did not contain the essential ingredients needed to implement it.

To be clear, I am not aware of any actual privacy breaches that resulted from this risk of one. And to PMI’s credit, ProductSuite was a huge improvement on OPM3 Online. But the OPM3 standard was updated to exclude the essential ingredients (the Capability Statements), and PMI required customers to buy the ProductSuite software to get access to those essential ingredients without clearly warning users of privacy risks and without stating that PMI would not create derivative products or reports based on assessment data without the users’ explicit permission. PMI’s logic justified PMI’s decisions, which plainly reduced PMI’s OPM3 standard to a commercial product in risky ways that gave PMI the power to corner essential aspects of the market for professional services pertaining to the execution of strategies through projects. And this aroused a schism regarding PMI’s purpose.

Purpose

Unfortunately, you couldn’t buy the ProductSuite software. You had to rent it, which is how empathy episode #2 brings us to empathy episode #3. As of 2006, PMI made users pay thousands of dollars to get certified in the ProductSuite software, which was remarkably user-unfriendly, and then users had to pay thousands of dollars annually in maintenance fees to continue to use it. OPM3 had been designed not to require expensive software, but users were locked in because there was no other way to access the Capability Statements. Full disclosure: I was hired to create the entrance exam for this certification and to pilot the certification classes, but I was outspoken that the Capability Statements should not be excluded from the OPM3 standard, that users should not be required to upload their assessment data to third-party servers, and that the pricing of the certification and software should be reconsidered. PMI’s executives were not convinced by these pleas.

Excepting a small number of consultants, most people I pitched OPM3 to balked at the prospect of paying many thousands of dollars for the certification followed by many more thousands of dollars each year for software PMI had created from the work of PMI volunteers who never intended their work to be commercialized that way. To empathize with PMI, I see this as an organic strategy that was probably simply PMI’s attempt to lead the way by following a path familiar to PMI, noting that PMI had created only one foundational standard to date (the PMBOK Guide) and only one prior certification (the PMP). Choices were made with imperfect knowledge of this new market and how to support it, choices that reflected PMI’s expertise, which pertained more to controlling the IP than to ensuring it was used correctly. The latter would have required expertise from volunteers who had been alienated by past missteps and the risk of a monopoly. Consequently, the individuals comprising the relatively small community of consultants who were certified in ProductSuite were only certified in the functions of the software, i.e. how to start the software, how to open a new assessment project file, how to import Capability Statements into that assessment project file, etc. They were not certified in their knowledge of how to advance through the maturity levels of OPM3 or in their ability to guide an organization through those levels. And frankly, a great many had no idea how to do those things (which I know because PMI hired me to teach the OPM3 certification classes for about the first year of those classes, and I asked all the students). For many, it may have simply been the case that they did not know what they did not know.

More…

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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). Alexander and the Indian King: Part 3; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Schlichter-Alexander-and-the-Indian-King-Part3.pdf

 


 

About the Author


John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA

 

 

 

John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/

 

 

Alexander and the Indian King – Part 2

 

COMMENTARY

By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA

 


 

By some estimates, the sum of all human knowledge is doubling every twelve hours. The pace of technological change is perpetually redefining human-technology relations to such an extent that every leader inherits an identity crisis as soon as he is collected to any organization anew. In this context, it is not only natural but necessary for PMI’s incoming CEO to face the question: “What is PMI?” Is it a developer of technology? An architect of abstractions? While PMI may be many things in the minds of many people, what is it essentially? What structures and functions are indispensable to PMI’s meaning? In much the same way one might ask “What makes a horse a horse?” PMI’s CEO must ask “What makes PMI whatever it is?” After everything PMI could be is removed, and nothing more can be removed without losing what it means for PMI to be PMI, what remains? PMI should cleave from itself and terminate all entrepreneurial endeavors that other companies can do and re-focus all its energy on revolutionizing those things which only the premiere trade association for the profession of project management can do.

The one interest common to all stakeholders of project management is for projects to be successful. Toward that one common goal, all stakeholders want project management to be not only a field of activity but a profession. The field of project management cannot become the profession of project management unless the practitioners subscribing to the profession are widely perceived as adhering capably to standards. Although trade organizations may obtain many structures (e.g. a non-profit organization, a federation, a network), the preferred structure is whichever one facilitates most efficiently and sustainably transformation of the field to the profession by enrolling a critical mass of adherents to a shared vision based on shared values.

To reiterate a predicate from Part 1, some people perceive PMI’s values in such a way that they believe the Project Management Institute’s primary purpose should be to advocate the project management profession (the profession of the vast majority of its members) through standards applicable to all proj­ects, certifications that denote competence in those standards, conferences pertaining to all aspects of projects, networking events that help project management practitioners associate with each other globally, and educational materials that increase knowledge regarding all aspects of project management. This view prioritizes institutionalizing project management in society.

Alternatively, others perceive PMI’s values in such a way that they believe PMI’s primary purpose should be to ensure the growth of PMI through profitable commercial endeavors whereby PMI provides all manner of professional services. That view prioritizes scaling the institute. While the latter (scaling the institute) could certainly be used to support the former (institutionalizing project management), which takes priority? In either case, where do we draw the line between PMI’s nonprofit role to do charitable work in the interest of elevating the field of project management to the profession of project management and PMI’s commercial role to dominate profitable ventures to scale the institute? By offering professional services, does PMI undermine itself?

Aspiration

Consider what is at stake. Projects dominate our world, whether the Human Genome Project or humanitarian projects in Sudan or Syria, projects to create everything from new information security platforms to new mobile phones and futuristic technologies; projects that deploy technology infrastructures or urban infrastructures, projects that consolidate businesses or expand businesses, and projects that improve all manner of processes, systems, and cultures. When project managers mismanage projects, damages occur. The scale of damages from poorly managed projects is enormous, whether that is due to any given mega-project that costs billions of dollars in overruns or countless smaller projects with smaller failures in organizations of every kind across the globe that, in the aggregate, eclipse individual mega-failures. By creating technical and ethical standards which distinguish good practices from bad and helping people to be certified in these, we can help both the persons who are certified and their stakeholders gain a confidence that has real value. We can also discourage bad or irresponsible practices. Every essential trade recapitulates these principles toward institutionalization as an intrinsic telos inured to the benefit of society.

If a professional association prioritizes commercialism and becomes a competitor to commercial organizations of the field, it degrades its legitimacy and therefore its ability to perform the role of defining standards that distinguish what is professional from what is not. Why do you think baseball umpires are prohibited from owning a baseball team governed by the standards they arbitrate, much less prohibited from betting on teams? PMI cannot be the arbiter of any standard of ethics, for example, if it has a vested interest in competing against others governed by that standard, no matter how one structures UBTI. It must choose to be one or the other, the advocate or the player. If it chooses to be the advocate, it must recuse itself from being a player.

Rumors abound that PMI has refreshed its strategy (in something called PMI 2.0) to resume its original mantle: the mission PMI had when it was first formed in 1969 — service and support for project management practitioners. In pursuit of the institutionalism of project management as an indispensable and implicit practice for solving problems at all scales, will PMI aspire to elevate project management as a discipline on par with medicine and law? Or in pursuit of the Project Management Institute’s growth and revenue goals, will PMI weave its way through every stage of the value chain associated with professional services that enable strategy implementation through projects, vertically integrating one stage after another in an inexorably totalizing drive to commercialize the full line? Whether one path is righteous and the other is reprobate in anyone’s eyes will depend on what that person makes “service and support for project management practitioners” mean. For example, in what appears to some to be a contravention of the rumored refresh, PMI appears to be going down the latter path of commercializing professional services vis-a-vis a marketing campaign called the Brightline Initiative, which is marketing assessments and capability development offerings that pit PMI against any other company offering similar services.

More…

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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). Alexander and the Indian King: Part 2; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Schlichter-Alexander-and-Indian-King-Part2-2.pdf

 


 

About the Author


John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA

 

 

 

John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/

 

 

What is governance and how does it influence PPPM?

 

COMMENTARY

By Klas Skogmar

Stockholm, Sweden

 


 

In my experience there are many different opinions on what “governance” is. This article will describe one perspective of governance, how different types of governance relate to each other, and give some details on project, program and portfolio governance.

Governance influences, restricts and empowers, the ways something can be managed through formal or informal means. Management is the operational activities performed to manage tasks or people. Governance can be viewed as the “management of management”, or “the rule of the ruler”.

If you can tell someone to do something, to get it done, it is management. However, if you generalize and write something down that enables everyone to act according to your wishes, then it is governance.

Governance can be formal and structured things such as policies, rules, processes, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. This type of governance is usually formalized and documented and may be referred to as a governance framework. But governance can also include things that may be hard to formalize and document, such as culture, principles and values.

One should note that governance is neither inherently good nor bad. Governance could be used in positive ways, as a means to create democracy, reinforce positive behaviors in an organization or to enable empowered teams, but it could also be used to reinforce the power of a dictator or sustain a never-ending loop of the recruitment of child soldiers. “Good governance” typically follows principles such as transparency, fairness, accountability and resilience.

Governance is something that “is” – not something you “do”. Therefore you also need to manage the governance. This view on the subject may be referred to as the act of governing. The act of governing may be writing and communicating policies, establishing processes, defining roles and responsibilities, etc. Those individuals responsible for managing governance are often referred to as the ”governing body”, but may have different names in different contexts. The governing body could be viewed as the ruler; the governing could be considered “to rule”; and governance “the rules”.

More…

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How to cite this article: Skogmar, K. (2019). What is governance and how does it influence PPPM? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Skogmar-what-is-governance.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Klas Skogmar

Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

 

Klas Skogmar is a management consultant and trainer within project, program and portfolio management. Klas have been part of ISO standardization for several project management related standards, and regularly holds courses and seminars in areas such as PMBOK, ISO, PRINCE2 and agile development. He is also an entrepreneur with experience from founding and managing companies in various industries over the years. As a methodology specialist, he helps large organizations such as IKEA, Sony Mobile, Tetra Pak, Alfa Laval, Volvo and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency with portfolio management, project management and organizational agility. Klas can be contacted at klas@arkatay.com

 

 

The Seven Limits of Project Management

 

COMMENTARY

By David Shannon

London, UK

 


 

What is project management? 

Defining the scope of project management has been a continual concern for the profession.  In 1987 this was largely answered by the PMI’s first Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.  Since 1991 the scope of the profession has been expanded, amongst others, by APM’s various editions of its Body of Knowledge.   Both publications, in different ways, treat the organisational context of project management as a defining boundary and an important subject for professionals to appreciate.    This brief paper suggests a structured model for understanding the limits of project management.  My contention, based on wide experience, is that on a lot of projects, time spent by project managers can be better allocated.  Greater clarity of limits will make for better use of effort, thus raising the productivity and respect of project management.

There are at least seven boundaries at which the limits of project management can be questioned.  I briefly describe each before touching on the implications for project management professionals.

The discipline can be represented as a six-sided box.  The sides of the box represent the external limits of project management.  The arrows represent two-way interactions across the boundaries.

Diagram 1 – The limits of project management

© David Shannon, 2019

 

Key:     Dimensions                          Arrows

Hierarchy                    Up                   Down

Expertise                 External                Internal

Focus           Socioeconomic                Tasks

Taking each of these dimensions in turn.

Hierarchy

Along this axis project management sits between directing at the upper end and administration.

Limit 1  Up, or directing

However far project management projects itself up the hierarchy of projects, programmes and portfolio management it will eventually hit a ceiling.  This is where management gives way to direction.  The concerns at this higher level are about strategy, policy, accountability, organisational risks and opportunities, the provision of resources and balancing change with stability.  Project management does of course feed into direction and takes its lead from directors.  Provision must be made for communicating across this boundary where the role of Sponsor and effective disclosure and reporting are vital.  Nevertheless ours is by definition a management discipline focused on planning, monitoring and controlling resources to achieve objectives.

Directors should ensure that their project management resources are capable and well used, hence the APM’s flagship publication Directing Change.  In that guide, most of the recommendations are made to Directors and their advisers, not to managers.  Conversely project managers should be adept at managing upwards, ensuring that they receive the direction and sponsorship their project requires…

More…

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How to cite this article: Shannon, D. (2019). The Seven Limits of Project Management; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VI, July.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj83-Jul2019-Shannon-Seven-Limits-of-Project-Management.pdf

 


 

About the Author


David Shannon

London, United Kingdom

 

 

 

David Shannon is a senior advisor and interim manager.  He designs, delivers and audits major change programmes and projects in the private, public and charity sectors.  He has been voted one of the ten top project management personalities in the UK. Since 1988 with Oxford Project Management he has delivered major improvements in over 100 assignments for blue chip clients in the UK and internationally.  He was an institutional development specialist with the World Bank during 1985-1987 and worked on capital projects in the City of London, the Middle East and Far East during 1974-1985.  Prior to 1974 he worked on civil, transport and urban renewal projects as an engineer.  Over the last 50 years, he has worked on, managed and advised on many programs and projects around the world.

David served as editor of three widely influential guides published by the Association for Project Management (APM): Directing Change, Co-Directing Change and Sponsoring Change, guides to the governance of project management. He has published and presented papers in academic and professional journals and conferences including: APM’s Project Magazine and Yearbook; Conference of the European Academy of Management; IPMA World and Regional Congresses; Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research; and the Ministry of Finance Concept Symposium, Norway. He contributed the Governance chapter to APM’s 6th edition of Project Management Planning and Control.

He has been a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers since 1968 and was a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting/CMI in the UK.  Elected both an Honorary Fellow and Fellow of APM, David previously served APM as Director and Head of Professional Board (1993-2000), Deputy Chairman (1998-2000) and Interim Chief Executive (2000). He is a past or current member of other professional societies in the UK and elsewhere.

David holds a B.A. in Engineering (with honours) and M.A. from Oxford University, and a Diploma in Accountancy and Finance.  He can be contacted at davidwtshannon@gmail.com

 

 

Alexander and the Indian King – Part 1

 

COMMENTARY

By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA

 


 

Some people believe the Project Management Institute’s primary purpose should be to advocate the project management profession (the profession of the vast majority of its members) through standards applicable to all projects and certifications that denote competence in those standards, which legitimizes practitioners as professionals. Ancillary activities may include hosting conferences pertaining to all aspects of projects, facilitating networking events that help project management practitioners associate with each other globally, and publishing educational materials that increase knowledge regarding all aspects of project management. This view prioritizes institutionalizing project management throughout society. Alternatively, others believe PMI’s primary purpose should be to ensure the growth of PMI through profitable commercial endeavors whereby PMI provides all manner of professional services in ways that elevate the profile of the institute. That view prioritizes scaling the institute, which some critics argue looks like empire-building. While the latter (scaling the institute) could certainly be used to support the former (institutionalizing project management), which takes priority? In either case, where do we draw the line between PMI’s nonprofit role to do charitable work in the interest of elevating the field of project management to the profession of project management and PMI’s commercial role to dominate profitable ventures to scale the institute? Does PMI undermine itself by offering professional services?

By comparison, other trade associations like the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association largely eschew professional services from their menus. There are some exceptions, instances of professional services corresponding to the unique concerns of members, e.g. risk retention or insurance. But trade associations largely limit their activities to the development of standards, the managemen­t of certifications, and the distribution of educational materials, which is why the AMA is not a healthcare provider and the ABA is not a law firm. PMI’s incoming CEO would do well to mak­e this distinction as PMI engages in the most fundamental question of strategy, namely deciding courageously what not to do, and as leaders ranging from Jack Welch to Jagdesh Sheth have said, doing that by focusing on differentiation, making PMI’s specialization(s) sticky, emphasizing strategy implementation in a way that is transparent and honest. To my mind PMI’s leaders should start by revisiting PMI’s values, beginning with consideration of perceptions that past decisions fomented and the implications for redressing those perceptions by recasting PMI’s values. If PMI’s new CEO were to recast PMI’s values in a way that prioritized institutionalizing project management by focusing exclusively on delivering only those products and services that PMI alone can furnish in its role as the premiere trade association for project management, the chief executive could expect to be celebrated like Alexander the Great upon cutting the Gordian Knot and fulfilling the prophecy that doing so would unite the world.

Popular accounts tell us Alexander encountered the knot early in his campaign and that an oracle had foretold the man to free its intractable yoke would become the ruler of all Asia. Alexander slashed the knot in two with his sword and then conquered the Achaemenid Empire of Persia before proceeding into India’s subcontinent, which the Greeks believed marked the end of the world. Once there, upon defeating an Indian king, Alexander asked the royal how he wanted to be treated, and the proud king invoked the Golden Rule, replying “How would you wish to be treated?” Alexander was so impressed by the king that he returned his lands and title. An alternative history told by some Indians to this day is that Alexander was defeated by the king, whose war elephants literally unseated Alexander, who fell from his horse on the battlefield and broke his back, inspiring Alexander to ask for a halt to hostilities. By that account, the Indian king agreed to his opponent’s plea for peace, as that was the Indian custom, not only invoking the Golden Rule but embodying it. In either case, whether the legacy belonged to the emperor or to the king, a leader had brought peace to the land by invoking values and choosing courageously what not to do. Therein lies a lesson for PMI’s new CEO, which I would enroll the executive to reckon by recounting a more recent history in what follows.

I represent many people involved in the creation of PMI’s foundational standard called OPM3 (Appendix A). It is clear to me that significant differences abound between the facts of what transpired in the evolution of OPM3 and perceptions of those facts, and the implications reach far beyond OPM3 itself, challenging PMI’s identity, its fidelity, and even its viability. Soon after OPM3’s publication, PMI entered the software business, removed the most valuable components of OPM3 from the standard, and sold them at a price orders of magnitude higher than any PMI standard to date as software named ProductSuite, a database version of OPM3. Us­ers were supposed to use ProductSuite to perform assessments of organizations and plan improvements based on those assessments. That is what happened, but what some people made it mean was that PMI valued revenue and control more than promoting goodwill and freedom. Though I doubt PMI believed such a trade-off had occurred, it is clear to me confusion about it resulted from different views of values. And after PMI removed OPM3’s most valuable components from the standard, PMI withdrew those components altogether from the marketplace. Consequently, OPM3’s users could no longer use OPM3 to assess organizations accurately and improve their organizations’ capabilities in the many ways that OPM3 was designed to help them improve their capability to implement strategies through projects successfully, consistently, and predictably. That is what happened, but what some people made it mean was that PMI failed to respect an implicit agreement with volunteers that the fruits of their labor would not be abandoned. PMI acquired its own consultancy as a subsidiary of PMI to provide assessments for hire using a proprietary model which was not OPM3. PMI viewed ProductSuite and this other new model as apples and oranges, not as a replacement of one by the other. That is what happened, but what some people made it mean was that PMI’s noble charter to institutionalize project management had been compromised and that PMI’s charitable functions had given way to profit motives that personified their fears. Eventually PMI decommissioned that acquisition, which brings us to the present. Looking back, PMI’s executives and PMI’s volunteers had shared the goal of supporting project managers and elevating the profession, but there was great division between different camps who envisioned accomplishing that shared goal in very different ways.

I believe that in the case described above an organic sequence of events occurred, driven by a persistent logic that has dominated PMI for the better part of twenty years, a logic that confuses ideas in the minds of many stakeholders about what PMI should do (i.e., institutionalism) with ideas about what PMI can do (i.e., commercialism). I believe some of the people involved may not fully appreciate the distinction. Others may simply believe “institutionalism versus commercialism” is a false dichotomy. Whatever the case may be, different views about PMI’s values appear to have produced different ideas about how PMI should serve society. Recognizing the presence of a plurality of views regarding PMI’s values, we should create the possibility of discussing disagreements about these things publicly to cultivate empathy and alignment, which creates an internal consistency that produces strength, which is called integrity. These are values relevant to PMI’s mission, which I have imagined in the hope that discussing values dispassionately will resolve rampant division and lead PMI away from a ditch that lies dead ahead and into an unimaginably awesome future that transforms the way we live, work, and play as a species.

Ryan Berman, author of Return on Courage, wrote “Values-based, socially responsible, and purpose-driven companies are the ones that are winning today’s business game.” In his book, Berman presents a business model for what he calls “courageous change.” He wants organizations to take thoughtful, calculated risks when developing a new product, implementing an innovative strategy, or simply voicing an opinion that upsets the status quo. Berman’s five-step process, called P.R.I.C.E., is based on his experiences advising prominent brands like Major League Baseball, PUMA and Subway, as well as interviews with leaders from Apple, Google, Dominos, Zappos and other successful companies. The process includes five steps undoubtedly familiar to PMI’s new CEO:

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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). Alexander and the Indian King: Part 1; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue V, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/pmwj82-Jun2019-Schlichter-Alexander-and-Indian-King-Part1-2.pdf

 


 

About the Author


John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA

 

 

John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/

 

 

 

Digital Leadership

Game Changers of New Age

 

COMMENTARY

By Özüm Öyküm Katli

Ankara, Turkey

 


 

Industry 4.0 or 4th Industrial Revolution, replaces the traditional industry concept with a world of many technological systems and components, including cyber physical systems, intelligent robots (co-robots, collaborative robots), and Internet of Things (IoT, Internet of Things), to increase productivity, quality and flexibility in industry. In summary, Industry 4.0 is the concept of “intelligent production” in which the traditional production approaches change radically through the collective use of technological developments. This revolution gains enterprises the ability of networking with the use of cyber-physical systems.

Thanks to the industrial revolution, the physical and biological worlds are already beginning to unite with the digital world. Many new technologies are emerging and these technologies will be included in every aspect of life. Digitalization is the main reason for collapse of more than half of the companies in Fortune 500 since 2000. This new and dynamic commercial ecosystem, completely different from the current business and market models, is expected to affect nearly 46% of the global trade volume in the next 15 years. According to the Gartner Predicts 2018 Report, by 2020, it is estimated that the Internet of Things technology will be used in 95% of electronic designs, and by 2020 the value of the Internet of Things technologies is expected to exceed $ 3 trillion. In 2025, this value is estimated to exceed $ 11 trillion. Gartner predicts that the number of devices connected to each other in the world will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, which means that nearly 5.5 million new objects are linked together almost daily.

At the corporate level, the impact of the digital revolution will not only be limited in terms of technology and infrastructure, but this change will support the development of new professional groups, new organizational structures and a new management style. The constantly evolving technology world directs its business model approach to rapid adaptation, to get the most accurate decision in the fastest way and to gain continuous change. In this sense, it is an inevitable fact that company employees need new competencies to adapt to this unusual digital world. For this reason, 16 new jobs are expected to occur in only just a few years.

The human dimension of the digital world will be as compelling as its technological dimension. In this new industry model, the huge burden of knowledge, the interconnection of systems, the radically changing of traditional business models, new technologies that overwhelm the old ways of doing business, and increasing globalization are just a few of the challenges that will emerge. Such a working environment, that constantly changes shape makes it necessary for all employees, especially the leaders, to change the way they do business. Technology alone is unlikely to change our world. However, adopting changes that create value according to the requirements of the new age is the most important factor and this makes the role of the project leader even more important.

While some traditional leadership capabilities are still critical to successfully lead in the digital age, new requirements for leaders at all levels of organizations are needed. More free, more flexible and more agile leaders embracing change will be tomorrow’s “game-changer” leaders.

Identifying qualified leaders is the primary source of concern in the 4th Industrial Revolution. But who are these leaders and what are the required qualifications? What are the basic skills that leaders need in managing the increasingly complex projects in the digital age?

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Turkish in “Proje Yönetim Dünyası” The link to the full publication (in Turkish only) is available at https://lnkd.in/dYtPb27 with the article at page 54.

How to cite this article: A (2019). Digital Leadership: Game Changers of New Age; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue V, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pmwj82-Jun2019-Katli-Digital-Leadership-Game-Changers-of-New-Age.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Özüm Öyküm Katli

Ankara, Turkey

 

 

 

Özüm Öyküm KATLI graduated from the Hacettepe University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and from Middle East Technical University with an MSc degree in Micro and Nanotechnology. As a project manager, she has more than 10 years’ experience in defence projects with customers and partners in Turkey, UK and NATO Europe  gained broader insights and a wealth of experience in international business and successful management of relationships. She became a volunteer in PMI Turkey in 2015. In addition she has worked as director of governance and finance for PMI Turkey between 2016-2018. She is now assistant director of PMI Turkey Marketing. Her main areas of interest are communications management, risk management, strategic planning and leadership.

She is based in Ankara and can be contacted at oykumyurtseven@gmail.com.  Her portfolio is published at the www.linkedin.com/in/özüm-öyküm-katli-297033116.

 

 

What is Understanding?

Excerpt from The Persuasive Project Manager: Communicating for Understanding[1]

 

COMMENTARY

By Dr. Bill Brantley

Maryland, USA

 


 

Understanding is a topic in epistemology which is the study of knowledge. Don’t worry; I will keep the philosophy brief and to the point. Even though the study of knowledge is ancient, the study of understanding is relatively new (just like the study of project management communication). According to philosophers, there three main ways of understanding.

There is know-what in which I have an understanding of some concept, physical object, or process. For example, I know what a work-breakdown-structure (WBS)[2] is in the sense of it being a tool in project management. I may have a simple understanding of what a WBS is because I recognize a WBS when I see it. Or my know-what may be that I know WBS exist but, that is all I know. In contrast, I may thoroughly understand WBS including the history of the concept. Know-what is often the first step in creating understanding.

When I can construct a WBS, I have know-how. As you can see, know-how is more involved than know-what. For me to have know-how, I must possess these six attributes:

  1. Ability to follow the explanation of the concept, physical object, or process.
  2. Ability to explain the concept, physical object, or process.
  3. Ability to draw conclusions from the concept, physical object, or process.
  4. Ability to conclude opposing conclusions from the opposite of the concept, physical object, or process.
  5. Ability to conclude the correct ideas when given the concept, physical object, or process.
  6. Ability to conclude the correct opposite ideas when given the opposite of the concept, physical object, or process.

The third way of understanding is know-why. You may know what a WBS is and how to construct the WBS. However, your understanding is incomplete if you don’t know why you need to use a WBS. Know-why may seem the same as know-what, but there is a significant difference. For example, I may be an expert on Monte Carlo[3] simulations in risk management. I can explain the concept and even create a spreadsheet that uses Monte Carlo simulations for risk management. However, I may not be able to explain why you need a Monte Carlo simulation in your project. I just want to use a Monte Carlo simulation in your simple weekend project to build a deck just because I like building Monte Carlo simulations. I know-what and I know-how but I don’t know-why we shouldn’t use the Monte Carlo simulation in your particular project.

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How to cite this article: Author last name, first initial (2019). Title, PM World Journal, Volume VIII, Issue V, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pmwj82-Jun2019-Brantley-What-is-Understanding.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Dr. Bill Brantley

University of Maryland
College Park, MD, USA

 

Dr. Bill Brantley has an MBA in project management, became a certified PMP in 2003, and has taught project management courses for over a decade. He has taught project management communication for the University of Maryland’s Project Management Center for Excellence. During the day, he is a training administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office where he manages IT projects, training projects, and is an active contributor to the Federal government’s agile project management community. Dr. Brantley can be contacted at bill.brantley@gmail.com

 

[1] Dr. Brantley’s book The Persuasive Project Manager: Communicating for Understanding was published in 2019; the book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NCC7KFN

[2] Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): according to the Project Management Institute, a WBS is a “deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team” A simpler way to define WBS is to think of all the tasks in a project. Now, imagine organizing the tasks into an outline. For example, let’s say you are planning a picnic. One set of tasks will be around packing a lunch. Another set of tasks would be packing games for the picnic. And there is an important set of tasks around driving to the picnic spot and setting up the picnic area. A WBS arranges these tasks in the order that a task must be completed before you can work on another task.

[3] Monte Carlo Simulation: To understand Monte Carlo simulations, imagine you are rolling a pair of dice with friends. In this dice game, each of you takes turns rolling the dice to see who rolls the highest sum for each round. To determine how likely it is you will win a round; you can program a spreadsheet to virtually roll the dice a thousand times to create a graph. This graph will show you the probability for each dice sum from 2 to 12. Monte Carlo simulations are often used to determine the probabilities for more complex project risk events.

 

 

 

A commentary on managing the front-end of projects

 

COMMENTARY

By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia

 


 

INTRODUCTION

In a recent article in this journal (Stretton 2019c) I discussed expanding the scope of project management services in the construction industry, to add value and reduce costs. This was essentially a discussion of some of the additional contributions that project management has made in the building-and-construction industries by becoming progressively more involved in actively managing the front-end of projects.

Whilst I do not know the extent to which these experiences in the building-and-construction industry are applicable to other project management application areas and/or other types of projects, I suggested that they may be relevant in many, if not most, other contexts. This commentary looks at some aspects of managing project front-ends in a more generalised context, based largely on some discussions on the nature of such front-ends by Morris 2013.

VARYING STAGES OF PROJECT FRONT-ENDS

Morris 2013:164 asks the question “But what do we mean by the front-end?”, and discusses three representations. I borrow from his Figure 11.1, and its accompanying note, in presenting the following figure to illustrate his three ways of representing the scope of the front-end.

 

Figure 1: Three different representations of the scope of a project’s front-end.

Adapted from Morris 2013, Figure 11.1: Roles in the management of projects

 With these three representations, it can be seen that a project’s front-end is not easy to define in a generalised way. In each of the above the front-end it starts after Stage Gate 1. In its most extended representation it can to go the end of project definition. Or it can extend to any point between these two – Morris has indicted two such points at SG2 and SG3. We will now go on to look more closely at who is responsible for managing these various front-end stages, and also for managing the subsequent project work, which could be broadly called project implementation.

WHO MANAGES PROJECT FRONT-END STAGES?

The question as asked by Morris 2013

Morris 2013:235 asks this question in the following quotation (and gives his well-known preference).

In practice, in many organisations, the term [project management] is also used to refer only to the management of project execution (after requirements have been identified). If this is the case, we need to ask, what is the discipline that is responsible for managing the front-end stage of the life-cycle – development management? (To me, it would seem best to extend project management to include this activity.)       

If project management is not responsible for managing front-end stages, Morris asks if “development management” would have this responsibility. But, where would such a discipline be located, in what broader context? We now look at an organisational strategic management framework as providing an appropriate broader context.

Project management in the context of organisational strategic management

I aim to approach responding to the above question in the context of the contribution that project management makes to the achievement of organisational strategic objectives. I have been discussing project management in this context in many recent articles in this journal, because this context appears to be relevant to most projects, irrespective of their type, application area, etc.. most of the time.

Morris 2013:257-8 also puts the relationship between project management and organisational strategy in quite a pro-active way, as follows.

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How to cite this paper: Stretton, A. (2019). A commentary on managing the front-end of projects, PM World Journal, Volume VIII, Issue IV (May). Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/pmwj81-May2019-Stretton-commentary-on-managing-the-front-end-of-projects.pdf

 


 

About the Author


Alan Stretton, PhD      

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 

 

Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 200 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.