The Best Guard

Mechanic’s Lien



By Xionghuan Zhan

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




This article describes the definition of lien and the use of lien in construction contracts. After understanding the main concepts, we used MADM to compare three debt recovery options, and found that use lien laws are the best way to ensure payment to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.

Finally, we conclude that Assigning the project manager to prepare a Mechanic’s Lien at the start of the project is the quickest and most effective way. Mechanic’s Lien works extremely well, but the requirements are quite onerous. Therefore, to record lien’s reports at the beginning of the project can greatly simplify the process. If necessary, submit the application directly to the court and complete the early procedures quickly.

Key words:    Lien, payment, priority, Mechanic’s lien, notice of lien, Arbitrate


Along with the increase of commercial activities, more and more payment problems have appeared, which will result in three apparent outcomes as followed. For the first place, it is the increase of time-cost for many small and medium-sized companies. Besides, it is the lack of money to pay for their downstream companies which will result in a credit crisis. Furthermore, it is a shortage of cash flow.

Therefore, two actions ought to be taken to deal with the payment problems. On the one hand, it requires project managers to take emergency measures to avoid these problems, on the other side, using the lien law is an effective strategy when the contractor, subcontractor, and supplier did not receive payment from the owner or the payment was overdue.  There are different types of lien: one is Consensual Lien covering Purchase-Money Security Liens and Non-Purchase-Money Security Liens. There are other types of liens are the Mechanic’s Liens and Tax Liens. The last one is Judgment Lien; “a Judgment Lien can occur in a variety of circumstances. Basically, any event that makes you in court will result in a Judgment Lien.”[1]

There are some details from the UK: “FSB research exposed the UK’s paid late problem, which costs the UK economy £2.5bn each year and kills 50,000 small firms. It has a significant impact on downstream companies. The FSB’s survey of approximately 1,000 small businesses shows the size of the delay. 30% of payments are usually late. Only 12% of companies are always paying on time. About one-tenth of small companies say that 80% or more of their payments are usually late. Subcontractor companies and supplier report that 60% of deferred payments are worth more than £1,000 and the average value are £6,142. Large private companies are most likely to pay late to downstream companies.”[2]



To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Xionghuan, Z. (2019). The Best Guard – Mechanic’s Lien, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Xionghuan-best-guard-mechanics-lean.pdf



About the Author

Xionghuan Zhan

Paris, France




Xionghuan Zhan, Chinese, 25 years old, major in Project and Programme Management & Business Development (PPMBD) at SKEMA Business School in Paris, France. I graduated from XiMen Institute of Technology University in China. I enjoy making friends, and I am good at dealing with people.

In my past student life, I often appeared as an activity organizer. The duties and obligations of the class made me willing to communicate with others and help others in need. Traditional family education has shaped my character of respecting teachers, being kind to others, being grateful and being honest. Accepting education, an overseas graduate student, has brought me a diversified cultural impact. Empathy, patience, tolerance, and normalcy have become the norm.

In 2017 (May-November), I worked as an intern in Zhengda company and experienced the working state for the first time. Although the internship was not long, I got a lot of exercises. Participated in competition on behalf of the company for the first time and won the prize; The first time as the host and colleagues to complete the publicity session; Completed four recruitments independently for the first time; Introduced talents for the company for the first time.

These experiences enriched my social experience, and I am more looking forward to future tasks. Now I live in Paris and can be contacted at xonghuan.zhan@skema.edu and https://www.linkedin.com/in/熊桓-詹-484577158


[1] Different Lien Types Provide Creditors with Different Rights. Retrieved from https://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/research-topics/running-your-business/asset-strategies/different-lien-types-provide-creditors-with-different-rights

[2] Federation of Small Businesses. (2016). Time to Act: The economic impact of poor payment practice. Retrieved from https://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/fsb-org-uk/fsb-report—late-payments-2016-(final).pdf?sfvrsn=0



The True Origins of EVM

A historical approach to scheduling and incentive schemes



By Sophie Geneste

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




Earned Value Management has become a source of divisions. From the interpretation of its origins to its suitable applications, project managers seem to fail to reach consensus. While the private sector most often adopts it in Firm-Fixed Price contracts, this is precisely where US Defence Acquisition University discourages the method. Besides, if this technique is ordinarily said to have emerged in the 1960s, it actually arises from a lengthy evolution of both scheduling and incentive schemes. In fact, the very basis underlying EVM consists in paying for performance, a concept that appeared and developed concomitantly with the scheduling evolution and traces back to centuries AC.

Through the display of the evolution of scheduling and incentive schemes over time, and the presentation of the definition and functioning of EVM, this paper will expose the underlying roots of earned value and thus clarify its very merits in both project management and performance appraisal.

Key words:    Earned Value Management, History of EVM, Evolution of Scheduling, History of Scheduling, History of Project Management, Evolution of EVM, Earned Value Origins


Earned Value Management has become the “elephant in the room”[1] that everyone is aware of, but so few are willing to discuss, and even less implement. One could even claim the EVM has become analogous to the 6 Blind Men of Hindustan, trying to describe an Elephant for which everyone has their own interpretation of the origins, and the appropriate employments it can be put to. For instance, Earned Value is not used on firm fixed price contracts in the U.S government. In fact, the US Defence Acquisition University’s EVM Gold Card (Appendix 1) states the method is discouraged on Firm-Fixed Price[2], although this is precisely where it is the most often adopted in the private sector, not only in construction -with the milestone payments- but also in our daily transactions.

Professionals responsible for project performance are likely aware of Earned Value Management (EVM). This project management technique integrates the three related components of project performance: scope, schedule, and cost. By means of a few rates, the current status of the project can be established, enabling the manager to explore not only past history of the project but more importantly the current trends, forecast, and eventually improve performance. The use of EVM is notably promoted by the the US Governments Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and practiced in a variety of industries, educational institutions and consulting firms. Some of the most renowned organisations adhering to the methodology include NASA, Project Management Institute (PMI), Defence Acquisition University, or again Acquisition Management (UK). However, it is not understood that EVM stands as a valuable tool for any project manager. Even though EVM has been adopted by a fair amount of countries especially since the 1980s[3], outside of some government agencies and construction industry, earned value is not extensively used[4], most certainly due to scarce understanding of its range of application.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Geneste, S. (2019). The True Origins of EVM: A historical approach to scheduling and incentive schemes, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Geneste-the-true-origins-of-evm.pdf



About the Author

Sophie Geneste

Paris, France




Sophie Geneste is a trilingual Project Management and Business Development Masters student at SKEMA Business School, Paris. Born in Burgundy, France, she first studied translation and international relations before entering SKEMA, in 2016.

In 2017 she was president of a 30-student organization, which created an Oratory Contest opened to 500 students (Prix Cicéron), opened a Model United Nations (MUN) delegation and directed a printed press review.

She spent her first internship as a project manager assistant in a social enterprise incubator based in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She studied in Australia and Great Britain, and spent her last internship in Santiago, Chile as a marketing project assistant at TOTAL.

Since late 2018, she is a PMI France volunteer (Région Globale). She works as a student coordinator, and communication facilitator for the anglophone PMI Chapters (in Canada, France, Africa and Middle East).

Passionate about drama, she is also a journalist and partnership representative at THÉÂTRES ET SPECTACLES DE PARIS, a Parisian drama review distributed at 120 000 copies. Sophie speaks the following languages: French (Native), English (Fluent), Spanish (Fluent)

Sophie currently lives in Paris, France and can be contacted at sophie.geneste@skema.edu

LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/sophie-geneste


[1] Martin, G. (n.d.). ‘The elephant in the room’ – the meaning and origin of this phrase. Retrieved November, 2018, from https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/elephant-in-the-room.html

[2] Defense Acquisition University. (2018, September). Earned Value Gold Card. Retrieved from https://www.dau.mil/tools/Lists/DAUTools/Attachments/19/20180904-gold%20card%201%20sided.pdf

[3] Humphreys, G. C. (2016, January). EVMS – AFTER THE EVOLUTION: THE LONG SLOW ROAD. Retrieved October, 2018, from http://www.earnedschedule.com/Docs/EVMS – After the Evolution.pdf

[4] The perceived value and potential contribution of project management practices to project success. (2006). Retrieved November, 2018, from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/perceived-value-potential-contribution-project-management-8031



How to avoid scheduling games

played by contractors in construction projects



By Lisa Di Cosmo

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




Construction projects can face many scheduling games played between contractors and owners. These games will impact the project in many different ways. Longer costs and longer delays are two examples of negative effects of the games. This shows the importance of agreeing with the right terms and the right clauses during the pre-project.

Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to identify the different games that can be played in order to provide different solutions to the owners. Then, the owners will be able to protect themselves.

As many games can be played with the schedule, a lot of attention has to be given to the clauses and specifications on the contract.

Key words: Construction management, construction project, games, schedule, delay analysis, project delivery, time, damages, owner, contractor


The construction industry is a booming and wide industry. It is one of the industries which has a high impact on the economy of countries. In fact, construction embraces several social and commercial sectors, and embraces lots of different actors from different sectors: suppliers, construction workers, engineers, designers, and many others.

Nonetheless, construction is also a complex industry. In fact, construction project management has a lot of components as planning, scheduling, project control, cost estimating, quality management, safety management, and many others.  However, in construction projects, scheduling is considered as one of the most important components in order to achieve a successful project, even if all components are interdependent and that the complete success of a project depends in reaching all criteria. Indeed, according to The Department of Cooperative a Governance and Traditional Affairs, “Project scheduling is one of the critical management tasks as it dictates the time frames in which the project will be completed”.[1] Scheduling, according to the Guild, is defined to be “Assigning an appropriate number of workers to the jobs during each day of work, determining when an activity should start or end, depending on its: duration, predecessor activity (or activities), predecessor relationships, resource availability, and target completion date of the project. »[2]

But why is scheduling so important and why exactly do we need to schedule in construction projects? There are several reasons. First of all, as the schedule helps monitoring progress, it is a management tool. The schedule is also an implementation tool because it gives deadlines and provides a framework to employees in order to get the work completed.[3] Moreover, schedule is closely linked to cost control. Indeed, the schedule makes it possible to organize the good allocation of resources in order to optimize it. For example, if you planned at the right moment that you will need to purchase some raw materials for a moment X, you will be able to order it at the right time. If you didn’t plan that you needed raw materials for this moment X, you will have to order it in a hurry and a lot of money will be involved. Scheduling definitely makes a good organization possible. This will enable good control of money and lots of cost savings. Finally, a good scheduling process allows another major thing: managing changes. In fact, project changes will be unavoidable through the whole project. A good schedule will allow Project Manager to correctly evaluate the risks of changes (cost, time..).

Schedule is created in order to improve organization in construction projects and to avoid delays. But delays will always happen, and delays will involve change, which will “often result in additional claims for the “cumulative impact”, meaning that the damages or losses incurred by the contractor due to “delay and disruption” are more than just the sum of the value of the change orders, but an additional sum to cover the hidden inefficiencies »[4]. This is why we use schedule in order to be able to forecast results. Identifying the Critical Path using the Critical Path Method (CPM) will allow each project to determine “activities that cannot be delayed without delaying the end date of the project schedule“[5]. According to Stumpf, a delay is “an act or event that extends the time required to perform tasks under a contract. It usually shows up as additional days of work or as the delayed start of an activity (…).”[6] However, delays in project delivery are a common problem and are found in the everyday life of projects.[7] Four types of delays exist. (Figure 1)



To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Author last name, first initial (2019). Title, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-DiCosmo-avoid-scheduling-games-played-by-contractors.pdf



About the Author

Lisa Di Cosmo

Paris, France



Lisa Di Cosmo is a Project Management professional and wants to become an International Business Developer.

Born in Paris, Lisa comes from a multicultural family. With an Italian father and an Argentinian mother, she had the opportunity to travel a lot to several continents and to become trilingual. In fact, she is fluent in Spanish and Italian.

Since 2016, she studies at SKEMA Business School, the 7th best-ranked French Business School. She had the chance to fly to Suzhou, where she stayed one semester to study on the SKEMA’s Chinese Campus. She learned International Finance, Corporate Governance and International Negotiation. Loving languages, she made solid foundations in Chinese. In September 2018, she specialized in the Master of Science “Project and Programme Management & Business Development”. She was able to exercise her skills of Project Manager during the different courses of Global Project Management and Sustainable Project Management. Moreover, she successfully passed two international certifications which are Prince 2 Foundation and Agile PM. Willing to develop more Project Management skills, she will pass the Prince 2 Practitioner certification next year.

In January, she will start a Business Developer internship in the company Wonderbox, a French company. After this internship, she wants to discover Project management in a professional way, this is to say in an internship. Loving challenges, she aims to become a great Project Manager.

Lisa lives in Paris, France, and can be contacted at lisa.dicosmo@skema.edu.

To find more information about Lisa Di Cosmo, visit her Linkedin profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-di-cosmo


[1] Planning and Scheduling. Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.cogta.gov.za/mig/toolkit/TOOLBOX/PM/Planning%20and%20Scheduling.pdf

[2] GUILD OF PROJECT CONTROLS COMPENDIUM and REFERENCE (CaR) | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet). (s.d.). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/gpccar/introduction-to-managing-planning-and-scheduling

[3] The Purpose of the Project Schedule | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet). (2009). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/wiki/422495/purpose-project-schedule

[4] (“GUILD OF PROJECT CONTROLS COMPENDIUM and REFERENCE (CaR) | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet)”, s.d.)

[5] GUILD OF PROJECT CONTROLS COMPENDIUM and REFERENCE (CaR) | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet). (s.d.). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/gpccar/introduction-to-managing-planning-and-scheduling

[6] Stumpf, G. R. (2000). Schedule delay analysis. Cost Engineering, 42(7), 32-43. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/220446193?accountid=42874

[7] Assaf, S. A., & Al-Hejji, S. (2006). Causes of delay in large construction projects. International Journal of Project Management24(4), 349-357. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.11.010



Are Smart Contracts the Future of Contracts?



By Swati Dangi

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




Contracts are an integral part of the corporate world, and even for individuals dealing with all types of big and small businesses or even other individuals. This paper explores if and why smart contracts will replace traditional contract systems in the near and upcoming future. In this paper, the author analyses the working of both traditional and smart contracts. The paper explains the working of the blockchain technology which is the basis of smart contracts, and explains what contracts are, and how they are related to projects, programmes, and portfolios. The paper compares other alternatives to smart contracts with the help of Multi-Attribute Decision Making Matrix and selects the best one using selection criteria method. Finally, the author summarizes the paper with the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and smart contracts.

Key words:    Contracts, Smart Contracts, Blockchain, Project Management



A contract is generally defined as “An agreement between two or more persons, which created an obligation to do a particular thing. Its essentials are competent parties, subject matter, legal consideration, mutuality of agreement, and mutuality of obligation.” [1]

“A contract is a binding agreement between two or more parties. It has several legal elements, such as an offer made by one party; acceptance of the offer by another party; intention to create a legal relationship by the parties; and consideration for the offer. An agreement can be formed in writing, through a discussion by parties (oral), or it can be implied”.[2]

“Contracts have always required middlemen or brokers till now and creating them can be a time and money consuming process. Moreover, there are litigious elements related to contracts that can either be exploited or can just make matters more complicated than easier when they are actually needed most.”[3]

But nowadays everyone trusts technology more than people. A smart contract eliminates the middlemen (lawyer, bank, etc.), or you can say it is a platform between buyers and sellers without a broker. It works as a digital notary for contracts where no lawyer is required to ensure that the agreements are met. It has a self- executing nature, and is based on a code.[4] Smart contracts save money in business as no extra pay or share is going to the broker as these are by very definition decentralized, i.e., they are not controlled by anyone.[5] It is a safe, uninterrupted, and secure network, and your information is most likely to be never lost in smart contracts as they work on blockchain technology and the code is written on a blockchain.[6]

Now, what is blockchain? In simple words, it is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. “It is basically a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data”. [7] Thus, it is a secured database and it cannot be hacked or modified as every node downloads the copy of the contract and every single modification is stored.

In smart contracts the output of a project or agreement is already fixed, so we already know what to expect. It helps in the management of any workflow related to this project or agreement as we have a proper work breakdown structure – it has all the set stages, marked dates, and payment details. Once a phase is completed it automatically transfers the payment to the concerned person/department. Delays or scheduled progress can be noted easily, and the payment can be sent accordingly.



To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Dangi, S. (2019). Are Smart Contracts the Future of Contracts? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Dangli-are-smart-contracts-the-future-of-contracts.pdf



About the Author

Swati Dangi

SKEMA Business School, Paris
India & France



Swati Dangi has done her bachelor’s degree in architecture at Aayojan School of Architecture, Jaipur, India. Born in Delhi, the capital of India, she is currently in Paris pursuing her MSc in “Programme Management and Project Management & Business Development” from Skema Business School, Paris campus.

She has worked for 5 years in three different architecture firms in India, where she has worked with a multitude of colleagues and clients on projects both big and small and in the capacity of junior architect and project manager as well. She also has PRINCE2® Foundation Certificate, AgilePM® Foundation Examination Certificate, and Six Sigma (yellow belt) Certification.

Now, she is looking forward to working in an international environment where she can utilize her previous professional experience as well as international academic experience to perform at her best on exciting new projects.

Swati lives in Paris and can be contacted at swati.dangi@skema.edu or https://www.linkedin.com/in/swati-dangi/


[1] Max Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms v5.5. (n.d.). Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v5.5. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/pmglossary/PMG_C09.htm#Contract%20Form

[2] Rule of law – Institute of Australia. (2018, May 31). Case Note – Contract Law – Rule of Law Institute of Australia. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/contract-law/

[3] By author

[4] Block Greeks. (n.d.). What Are Smart Contracts? A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Contracts. Retrieved from https://blockgeeks.com/guides/smart-contracts/#comments/

[5] Block Greeks. (n.d.). What Are Smart Contracts? A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Contracts. Retrieved from https://blockgeeks.com/guides/smart-contracts/#comments/

[6] Smith, R. (2018, 2). Smart Contracts – The Future of Project Management – Wildara Project Management. Retrieved from https://www.wildara.com.au/insight/smart-contracts-the-future-of-project-management/

[7] Fointrade. (n.d.). FoinTrade. Retrieved from https://fointrade.com/


The importance of stakeholders

and how to manage them during the negotiations in project management



By Tiphaine Helene Couanau

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France




This paper is carried out as part of the International Contracts class led by Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, within the MSc Programme and Project Management & Business Development in SKEMA Business School. The purpose of this paper is to take a deep look into the relationship between stakeholders, negotiations and contracts. In this paper, several questions will be answered: why are there so many stakeholder-related failures in negotiations? Why are negotiations crucial for contracts in project management? What are the best tools to be used for successful negotiations?

The non-compensatory model and the multi-attribute decision-making model will be used to quantify, assess and rank the different possible alternatives. Ultimately, the findings of this research show that the key to managing stakeholders in construction project’s negotiations lies in collaboration.

Key words:      Conflict of interest, Influence, Construction Industry, Compromise, Disagreement, Impact, Power


The first attempt of the construction project of the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France between 1957 and 1975 was finally abandoned by the British government for several reasons. Indeed, as Gourvish T. stated, “The difficulty in getting the two governments to pledge unequivocal support for the project tried the patience of businesspeople used to a more straightforward environment.”[1]. The specificity of this megaproject derived from the multiplicity of the stakeholders, namely two different governments with different levels of intervention, private construction companies and railways companies. Finally, a last indirect stakeholder played a decisive role in the future of the project: the public opinion. At the time, the crisis was plunging the UK’s economy and the UK government had no choice but to give up the project to avoid a conflict with the population.

This example is the living proof that stakeholders, as many as they are, play a crucial role for the future success of the project[2]. As the Max Wideman Glossary states, a stakeholder is “any individual, group or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by, an initiative.”[3]. Their number, power, influence and interests vary and determine their position during the negotiation of the contract. The Guild of Project Controls Compendium identifies 6 usual categories of stakeholders:

  1. Beneficiaries
  2. Negative Beneficiaries
  3. Implementers
  4. Decision Makers
  5. Financiers
  6. Regulators[4]

During negotiation phase, they “reach an acceptable agreement through communication and compromise”[5]. This means that the negotiation phase is a decisive step because it will determine the final contract, and thus the future obligations deriving from this contract. Construction contracts are particularly concerned with this stage, considering that it often involves subcontractors and a multiplicity of stakeholders, whether they are direct or indirect. However, as we know, negotiations are sometimes never-ending, or even worse, they do fail. To ensure peaceful and successful negotiations, we need to understand why they can turn into failures.



To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Couanau, T.H. (2019). The importance of stakeholders and how to manage them during the negotiations in project management, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Couanau-the-importance-of-stakeholders.pdf



About the Author

Tiphaine Helene Couanau

Lille, France



Tiphaine Couanau is a student in MSc Programme and Project Management and Business Development. Born in Georgia, U.S.A, she grew up in Strasbourg, France, where she attended the International High School and later entered Preparatory Class. She joined the management program in SKEMA Business School (Lille) in 2016, and studied abroad for a year, notably in the United States (Raleigh) in Fall 2017 and Russia (St Petersburg) in Spring 2018. After two years studying management, she decided to take the path of Project Management & Business Development. She acquired various experience in Project Management and Business Development through several internships as business developer or sales assistant; she moved to Amsterdam in January 2019 for an internship as business developer. She was recently certified PRINCE2 Foundation and AGILEPM Foundation and will be graduating in May 2020.

Tiphaine can be contacted at tiphaine.couanau@gmail.com or tiphaine.couanau@skema.edu

You can also view her LinkedIn profile via the following link : www.linkedin.com/in/tiphaine-couanau


[1] Gourvish, T. (2006). The Official History of Britain and the Channel Tunnel (1st Edition). London, United Kingdom : Routledge.

[2] Karlsen, J.T.  (Dec – 2002).  Project Stakeholder Management, Engineering Management Journal, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 19-24. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228934223_Project_Stakeholder_Management

[3] Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v5.5. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/pmglossary/PMG_S07.htm

[4] Identifying and Engaging Stakeholders (Nov-2015), Guild of Project Controls Compendium and Reference, Planning Planet, retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/gpccar/identifying-engaging-stakeholders

[5] Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v5.5. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/pmglossary/PMG_N00.htm



Green Building Training

of Nigerian Quantity Surveyors in Preparedness for Green Building Practice



By Adetayo O. Onososen

Ondo State, Nigeria




The surge in emergence of new technologies and advanced construction methods and processes is a strong indicator of the dynamism of the construction industry and its little or no unopposed acceptance of disruptive processes. While developed economies are fast dictating the pace of transformation as regards green building, it is imperative to cross-examine the training of quantity surveyors for green building practice as to determine the suitability of their skills and competence in competing locally and globally. The course contents of academic curricula of higher institutions offering quantity surveying at undergraduate level were examined to gauge the availability of green building courses.  From the study, green building education is vastly absent in the curricula of Nigerian Universities as it is almost non-existent. Also, inadequacies were observed in competencies areas. To prepare quantity surveyors for green building practice, formal education needs to be checked by reworking the curricula to accommodate green building competencies, more so, informal education through training and retraining, workshop and conferences should be organized for practicing quantity surveyors to upgrade their skills and keep them abreast with necessary knowledge and competencies to function as green building experts.

Keywords:      Competencies, Education, green building, quantity surveying, training.


The significant impact of construction activities which results in delivery of infrastructural products is an emerging source of concern as to its impact on the socio-economic and environmental aspect of human livelihood. This is further established by Chalmers (2014) who stated that the construction Industry and its product affect the environment in negative ways. Nigeria is not left out of the impacts of these unsustainable building practices. With 48.08% score in air pollution and a meager 8.9% of Lagos residents having access to good drinkable water (WHO, 2016), the country has a long way to go in adopting sustainable approaches to its developmental initiatives. The critical and undeniable need to adopt green buildings as a way to mitigate the effect of bad environmental policies is imperative and obvious in its urbanization rate which is projected to increase to 56.8% and 63.6% in 2020 and 2030 respectively; these brings with it challenges as much as opportunities (Fed.Min Environment 2012).

As ascertained by Ameh, Soyingbe and Oyediran (2018), data from World Bank and the National Bureau of Statistics agrees that there is an estimated housing shortfall of over 17million in Nigeria. In as much as the country has lofty goals and vision on development considering its lacuna in the availability of infrastructures, there is need to take a critical look at the educational system of the country if it supports and trains professionals in the built environment to meet up with changing global demand and needs.

For the impact of unsustainable environmental approaches over the years to be minimised, the traditional methods of construction has to be disrupted and improved to pave way for newer environmentally friendly methods (Haapio, & Viitaniemi, 2008). This disruption however can only be driven by competent hands with apt knowledge of construction processes and how to make it sustainable, all these cannot be achieved without training of professionals in the built environment. A critical look at the curriculum of higher institutions in Nigeria is imperative in judging if the country is reskilling its professionals in preparedness for the future needs for green and sustainable buildings.



Sustainable construction aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability through green buildings holds immense opportunities for professionals in the industry as it provides a veritable source to improve their knowledge, enlarge the scope of their services and compete favourably globally.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Onososen, A.O. (2019). Green Building Training of Nigerian Quantity Surveyors in Preparedness for Green Building Practice; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Onososen-green-building-training-of-nigerian-quantity-surveyors.pdf



About the Author

Adetayo Olugbenga ONOSOSEN

Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria



Adetayo Onososen is a research-driven, highly dependable, diligent and innovative graduate of Quantity surveying from the Federal University of Technology Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. He also has a Master of Science in Quantity Surveying from the University of Lagos.  He has a strong bias for excellence, execution and exemplary work ethic. He is highly analytical with industry-based experience in construction management/cost control and project management. He is skilled in conducting qualitative and quantitative field research in environmental sciences/ technology in construction and sustainable/green buildings. He possesses effective communication and writing skills, strategic leadership, teamwork and dynamic people management skills. Over the years he has garnered keen interests in technology in construction, green buildings and research in the environmental science. He works as a practising quantity surveyor in a firm where a mix of entrepreneurial drive and extreme ownership mindset is encouraged where he is leveraging skills to contribute own quota to overall organization growth.

Adetayo can be contacted on Onososen@gmail.com



Stakeholders, who are they?



By Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy




This paper focuses on stakeholders, and on their importance with respect to projects. At first, the origin and the history of this word help to understand the complexity of this role, which includes several key concepts as interest, support, participation, organizational behavior, influence, value, ethics, and risks. Then, the centrality of stakeholders, who are both the doers and the beneficiaries of each project, is demonstrated: while, on the one side, the stakeholder work is basic for project implementation, on the other side, the stakeholder satisfaction is the main success factor in all projects. Then, an accurate overview about all different project stakeholders is made, with a special focus on project manager, on project team, on reluctant stakeholders, on negative stakeholders, and on personal stakeholders. Finally, the concepts of importance both of stakeholder relationships – as real and proper business and/or social relationships – and of stakeholder management are introduced. This paper is extracted from the first Chapter of my new book “The Stakeholder Perspective: Relationship Management to Increase Value and Success Rates of Projects”, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, October 2019.


Stakeholders are persons, without a doubt: but why do we use a word that specific, which incorporates so many concepts that some hundreds of its different definitions exist in the literature, and direct translation of which in other languages is nearly impossible? In fact, some history, and a little in-depth analysis, of the meanings of this word can help us to reveal a significant part of the mystery.

The word stakeholder dates back to the beginning of the eighteenth century, in England, and it meant the person who was entrusted with the stakes of bettors: he was the holder of all the bets placed on a game or a race, and he was the one who was paying the money to the winners. Therefore, the first stakeholder was a holder of interests, and this is, even today, one of the most common meanings, if we consider, in addition, that “having a stake” is a synonym of “having an interest”, and that stakes (meaning “strong sticks”) can be pushed in the ground either to mark a property, or to be part of a fence that settles the boundaries of an estate, so defining the perimeter of an interest.

But stakes (still meaning “strong sticks”) can be hammered in the ground also for supporting plants: in fact, it is believed that the first modern  meaning of  stakeholders, which has been attributed (Freeman, 1984) to an internal memorandum of Stanford University Research Center dated 1963, was “those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist”. Therefore, stakeholders are the strongest supporters of an organization (we could also say that they may be ready to “go to the stake” for it!), and their contribution is foundational to the existence of the organization itself: main emphasis is, in this definition, on internal stakeholders, who are the doers of organization’s performances, and who need to be properly engaged to give an effective contribution. Meanwhile, in the above-mentioned perspective, stakeholders do  not  act  anymore as individuals only, but they are considered as part of groups, too: stakeholders interface each other through processes, start to act collectively, by  sharing their resources and by integrating their efforts, and they do it through relations, so that their behavior becomes organizational, and not only personal.

Furthermore, in the first text on the theory of stakeholders (Freeman, 1984), the definition of stakeholder was “a stakeholder in an organization is any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization’s objectives”. Since “to affect” is a synonym of “to influence”, it was here that one other of the most common concepts in stakeholder definitions came in: stakeholders influence the organization’s objectives, and are influenced by them, and this is the first time that the nature of stakeholders’ centrality     in the organizations became evident, since stakeholders were defined as both the actors and the recipients of the organization’s results.

In the original PMBOK (Project Management Institute, 1987), the stakeholders were considered as the participants to the project. In addition, some years later (Freeman, 1994),   the foundational concepts of participation and of created value were enhanced too, and stakeholders were defined as “participants in the human process of joint value creation”. At first, in fact, stakeholders participate in the organizations, as far as other stakeholders would like to participate in the same organizations, and, in both cases,  they  want  to  do  so jointly, e.g., by becoming, and then being part of a specific community, which is deeply characterized by common goals, behavioral rules, specific languages, and so on. Thus, regarding the created value, the extraordinary importance  of  this  concept, on the one hand, is due to the enhancement of the stakeholders’ role  on  the  joint  creation  of  the  business  and/or social value, while, on the other hand, is  because  it  introduces the issue that actual value which is added by stakeholders must be considered arithmetically: in fact, it can be positive, but also null or negative. Indeed, in, and outside of, all the organizations, there are positive stakeholders to engage, but there are generally also neutral/reluctant stakeholders, who require special additional efforts for their engagement, and negative/hostile stakeholders too, who have to be properly combated.



To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Pirozzi, M. (2019). Stakeholders, who are they? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Pirozzi-stakeholders-who-are-they.pdf



About the Author

Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy




Massimo Pirozzi, MSc cum laude, Electronic Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Principal Consultant, Project Manager, and Educator. He is a Member and the Secretary of the Executive Board, a Member of the Scientific Committee, and an Accredited Master Teacher, of the Istituto Italiano di Project Management (Italian Institute of Project Management), and he is a Senior Examiner for Certifications in Project Management, and for Professional Project Managers, too. He is Certified as a Professional Project Manager, as an Information Security Management Systems Lead Auditor, and as an International Mediator. He is a Researcher, a Lecturer, and an Author about Stakeholder Management, Relationship Management, and Complex Projects Management; in particular, he is the Author of the Book “The Stakeholder Perspective: Relationship Management to Increase Value and Success Rates of Projects”, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, October 2019.  He has a wide experience in managing large and complex projects in national and international contexts, and in managing relations with public and private organizations, including multinational companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, and non-profit organizations. He worked successfully in several sectors, including Defense, Security, Health, Education, Cultural Heritage, Transport, Gaming, and Services to Citizens. He was also, for many years, a Top Manager in ICT Industry, and an Adjunct Professor in Organizational Psychology. He is registered as an Expert both of the European Commission, and of Italian Public Administrations.

Massimo Pirozzi serves as an International Correspondent in Italy for the PM World Journal. He received the 2018 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Award for his featured paper “The Stakeholder Management Perspective to Increase the Success Rate of Complex Projects”.

E-mail: pirozzi@isipm.org



The Primacy of the Scope Baseline

in Engineering & Construction Projects



By Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC

Florida, USA



In the management of engineering & construction projects it is accepted that a project can be described and best controlled against three baselines – scope, schedule and budget[1]. Together they define the project’s performance measurement baseline. This paper focuses on the scope baseline and suggests its primacy among the three baselines. An incomplete scope will, by definition, result in incomplete or inaccurate schedules and estimates.


What is scope?

Scope is the detailed set of deliverables and/or features for a project derived from the project’s requirements. Scope must clearly identify the work required to successfully deliver a given project. A more detailed description of the elements of scope is provided later in this paper and, while focused on engineering & construction projects, is more generally applicable.

Why is scope definition and management important?

Inadequate scope definition and management has been identified as a major source of degraded project performance. The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM) has identified 10 common pitfalls for contract management. First among these is “lack of clarity on scope and goals”[2]. Others[3],[4],[5],[6] have identified that when scope is not clearly and accurately defined, overruns become systemic and scope creep is a consequence and the second highest rework indicator.

In addition to cost overruns arising from poor scope definition we also often see delayed completion and disputes, often extended in time. Poor scope definition affects all of the project’s baselines.

Inadequate scope definition and management is also a source of owner’s risk, referred to as ‘Spearin risk’[7],[8] in the US, for which no effective transfer or warranty mechanisms currently exists.

What creates scope problems?

There are many potential contributors to scope challenges with business and/or project complexity and uncertainty being the principle source of scope and goals issues. This inescapable challenge is exacerbated by[9]:



To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Prieto, R. (2019). The Primacy of the Scope Baseline in Engineering & Construction Projects; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Prieto-primacy-of-scope-baseline.pdf



About the Author

Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC
Jupiter, Florida, USA



Bob Prieto is a senior executive effective in shaping and executing business strategy and a recognized leader within the infrastructure, engineering and construction industries. Currently Bob heads his own management consulting practice, Strategic Program Management LLC.  He previously served as a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. He focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide and consults with owners across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies. He is author of nine books including “Strategic Program Management”, “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry”, “Application of Life Cycle Analysis in the Capital Assets Industry”, “Capital Efficiency: Pull All the Levers” and, most recently, “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) as well as over 600 other papers and presentations.

Bob is an Independent Member of the Shareholder Committee of Mott MacDonald. He is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction, a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America and member of several university departmental and campus advisory boards. Bob served until 2006 as a U.S. presidential appointee to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth.  He had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and a non-executive director of Cardn0 (ASX)

Bob can be contacted at rpstrategic@comcast.net.


[1] Quality is a baseline parameter defined as meeting customer’s requirements, i.e., scope, schedule, budget

[2] Excellence in Contract Management; Common pitfalls from a practitioner’s perspective; IACCM; CPA Global 2016

[3] Scope Creep; Stephanie Gurlen; University of Missouri–St. Louis; 2003

[4] Investigation and Analysis of the Rework Leading Indicators in Construction Projects: State-of-the-Art Review; University of Texas Arlington; Elnaz Safapour; Sharareh Kermanshachi; Piyush Taneja; 2019

[5] Hollmann, John K. 2016. Project Risk Quantification: A Practitioner’s Guide to Realistic Cost

and Schedule Risk Management (Probabilistic Publishing: Gainesville, FL, USA).

[6] Guidance Note 1 Project Scope; Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; March 2017

[7] United States v. Spearin (248 US 132)

[8] The implicit warranty an Owner makes at contract to the Constructor, is the source of Scope/Spearin

Risk that Owners retain regardless of the contracting transfer method. Spearin Risk remains with the owner as uninsured risk associated with the completeness and accuracy of the project scope.

[9] Opinions about Project Scope Management; NYU; Henry Zhou; 2016



A Proposal of Governmental Project Management Maturity Model



By Dr. Stanislaw Gasik

Warsaw, Poland




Governments may perform actions to improve project implementation effects in their countries. This article describes a way to improve government project management by applying a specific maturity model. First, the concepts of the Governmental Project Implementation System (GPIS) and Governmental Project Management (GPM) are briefly introduced. A GPIS is a system that contains the regulations, organizations, processes, project managers, contractors and other elements influencing the management of public-sector projects in a given country. The GPM covers processes of GPIS development and maintenance. Next, the Governmental Project Management Maturity Model (GPM3) is defined and described. A GPM3 is a GPIS / GPM maturity model consisting of the Initial, Local, Governmental, Cooperating, and Optimizing levels. Finally, the article points out the benefits of introducing GPIS and GPM and using GPM3.


Administrative units at any level (country, state or province or land) have their own public administration. Public administration is a set of collaborating organizations subject to activities of its government (e.g.. Bluntschli, 2000, p. 25; Heywood, 2004, p. 75; Parker & Gallagher, 2007; Held, 1989, p. 2). In the public sector, the set of organizations composing a particular administrative unit forms one higher-level organization. This feature distinguishes the public sector from the other sectors in which there are numerous independent, often competing companies in every administrative unit. Governments shape the way that public administration functions. Public-sector projects are one area of government activities.

A public-sector project is a project performed by any public organization in an environment established by its government. The effectiveness and efficiency of public-sector projects depends both on the activities of the public organization and the government by which it is governed. The government-created environment of projects’ implementation may cover processes, methodologies, practices, organizations (including auditing offices and public-sector Project Management Offices), databases, project managers, project management maturity models, project contractors and other elements, all of which define, shape or influence the way public-sector projects are implemented. It will be referred to as the Governmental Project Implementation System (GPIS). The GPIS is controlled by governmental laws, executive orders and other activities and documents, specific to the individual administration. The process of influencing and shaping the GPIS by the government will be referred to as the Governmental Project Management (GPM).

It is worth to compare GPM with lower levels of project-oriented management. Table 1 summarizes the main differences between project management, Organizational Project Management, and Governmental Project Management.

Table 1. Levels of project management



To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Gasik, S. (2019). A Proposal of Governmental Project Management Maturity Model; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Gasik-governmental-project-management-maturity-model-proposal2.pdf



About the Author

Stanislaw Gasik, PhD, PMP

Warsaw, Poland




 Dr. Stanisław Gasik, PMP is a project management expert. He graduated from University of Warsaw, Poland, with M. Sc. in mathematics and Ph. D. in organization sciences (with specialty on project management). Stanisław has over 20 years of experience in project management, consulting, teaching and implementing PM organizational solutions. He has lectured at global PMI and IPMA congresses and other conferences. He was a significant contributor to PMI’s PMBOK® Guide and PMI Standard for Program Management and contributed to other PMI standards. His professional and research interests include government projects, portfolio management, project management maturity, and project knowledge management. He may be contacted at stanislaw.gasik@gpm3.eu.



Creatures that slow down portfolio delivery

and how to kill them



By Marisa Silva
Portugal & UK


Henny Portman
The Netherlands




Many organizations struggle to finish their projects on time, on budget, and within scope. If you look into their portfolios, one of the first things to notice is the huge number of projects. I remember an organization with more than 600 projects. It was firefighting all over the place. Problems in one project were solved by resources from other projects and as a result the problem project is not at risk anymore (but delayed) and by using resources from other projects, these projects are now at risk too. And this approach was continuously repeated. Furthermore, the portfolio had independent projects delivering the same benefits (on paper) or delivering the same output. 100 percent resource utilization in optima forma and as a result a ‘traffic jam’ in the portfolio pipeline. After rationalization the final portfolio contained less than 100 projects and all of a sudden it was possible to finish projects and deliver benefits.

Portfolio management helps to solve these kinds of problems. Portfolio Management supports management by answering the following four questions:

  1. Are we doing the right projects?
  2. Are we doing projects the right way?
  3. Are we getting projects done well?
  4. Are we getting the business benefits?

In this article we want to focus on the first three questions by visualizing projects as specific creatures with their own behavior. For example, a pet project is a project that can be seen as a ‘pet’ or personal favorite from a senior manager and is not contributing to the organization’s strategy. This is not the right project (question 1) but by running this project you are absorbing scarce resources and change budget. The sooner this project is killed the better.

For each project creature you get one or more examples to understand the creature, to which question it relates, who must act, and how to kill the project creature or transform the creature into a project that fits in the portfolio.


Project creatures out there:

  1. Pet project

What is it? A project pursued as a personal favorite, rather than because it is generally accepted as necessary or important. Every organization has one of these – it might be the President’s last project, the CIO deciding that it’s time for a revolution, or even a Mayor dreaming of a library named after him. The projects are their “babies” and they will stop at nothing to have them implemented. Pet projects are a clear example of projects which might not be suitable to the portfolio, thus, they relate question 1 (are we doing the right projects?).

How to kill it? These types of projects are political and highly-emotional, and that is why they are so difficult to kill – they do not represent a rational problem, but instead they are linked to the egos and legacies of those who are trying to leave a mark behind. Unfortunately, most of the time pet projects do not entail real benefits to be achieved (or their business case is simply the result of confirmation bias) and are nothing more than a futile attempt for power games in the organization, wasting useful and often limited resources that would have been better employed in other initiatives. Because most times pet projects are conceived by the sponsors and others at the highest level in the hierarchy, the “whistleblower” needs to be someone independent from the project (or ideally, from the organization), such as a Project Management Office (PMO), or an Assurance or Audit department. However, remember this is not a rational project. Thus, there’s no point in coming to the sponsor with rational arguments or metrics, which will prove useless for this project creature. Instead, use a skeptical approach and ask ingenuous questions: “who are the customers of the project?”, “what will they gain from the project?”, “what does success looks like?”. To speak truth to power, speaking to their head is not enough, you need to speak at their heart too.

  1. Watermelon project

What is it? Watermelon projects, also known as watermelon reporting, refers to projects which are continuously reported as green (or healthy) on the outside but, when you look closer, surprise-surprise…they are red (in trouble) on the inside. The Red-Amber-Green (RAG) approach is a typical and well-established way of reporting the health of projects. However, while it is visually appealing and easy to interpret, reducing the pluralistic reality of a project to a single indicator may result in a loss of reliability over the real situation of the project and lead to such watermelon projects. Moreover, under the principle of management by exception, to present a project as red is almost as an invitation to senior management to dive into the situation, bringing unwanted attention to it, hence why the Project Manager may show a natural reluctance to flag the project as red. Yet, watermelon projects are symptomatic of a bigger problem and suggest that we are not doing projects the right way (question 2) nor getting projects done well (question 3).

How to kill it? Watermelon projects do not arise by chance but are usually a reflection of organizational cultures that promote ‘blamestorming’ instead of ‘brainstorming’, in this way influencing how facts are reported and risk management is addressed in projects. It is then crucial that the tone is dictated at the highest level from senior management downwards, encouraging transparency in status reports and emphasizing that a “red project” does not necessarily reflect poorly in the project manager but instead should be understood as a cry for help. Another approach that will prevent this project creature from happening is the existence of regular health checks, typically carried out by a PMO. This will ensure that there is continuous visibility over the project and that early warning indicators can be effectively and timely spotted. Finally, you can also consider reporting using multiple indicators rather than relying in just one – this mechanism will enable a richer picture of the project are areas in need of an intervention.

  1. Mushroom project

What is it? Can represent a project that pops up out of nowhere or be used to refer to a project kept in the dark. Let us take the first case first: projects that emerge out of thin air and in abundance, just like mushrooms. No one sees them coming, know where they originated or, sometimes, not even who is managing them. Such scenario begs the question “are we doing the right projects?” (question 1) and suggests, not only the absence of strong governance around how projects are initiated and approved, but also a lack of visibility over the overall portfolio of projects of the organization. As for the interpretation of mushroom projects as projects that are kept in the dark, these can also evidence poor visibility (and transparency!), but, more significantly, poor communication from the project manager, where the question “are we getting projects done well?” (question 3) becomes difficult to answer.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Silva, M. and Portman, H. (2019). Creatures that slow down portfolio delivery and how to kill them; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Silva-Portman-creatures-that-slow-portfolio-delivery2.pdf



About the Authors

Marisa Sliva

Portugal / UK




Marisa Silva, the Lucky PM, is a PMO and PPM advisor, trainer, and international speaker, with a track record of building capabilities in complex organizations undergoing transformational change. A passionate advocate of the value of PMOs and project management, she was Programs Director at Project Managers Without Borders, Secretary of the APM PMO SIG, and is a certified PMO Value Ring consultant who co-authored the only APM-accredited PMO Practitioner course. Marisa is the author of “Bedtime Stories for Project Managers” and a Senior Consultant at Wellingtone, a leading project management consulting firm dedicated to enable step change in organizational PPM maturity. Marisa can be contacted at marisa.silva@wellingtone.co.uk.


Henny Portman

The Netherlands




Henny Portman is partner of HWP Consulting. He has 40 years of experience in the project management domain. He was the thought leader within NN Group of the PMO domain and responsible for the introduction and application of the PMO methodologies (portfolio, programme and project management) across Europe and Asia. He trains, coaches and directs (senior) programme, project and portfolio managers and project sponsors and built several professional (PM(O) communities. He is an accredited P3O, PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PRINCE2 Agile, AgilePM, and AgileSHIFT trainer and a SPC4 SAFe consultant and trainer too. He is a P3M3 trainer and assessor and PMO Value Ring Certified Consultant. In addition, Henny is international speaker and author of many articles and books in the PM(O) field and blogger (hennyportman.wordpress.com).  Henny can be contacted at henny.portman@hwpconsulting.nl.



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