Friday, April 17, 2015

Agile Project Management in easy steps

David Morris and I have just finished updating the second edition of Agile Project Management in easy steps. We have expanded the book from 192 to 216 pages, with new chapters covering Feature-Driven Development and Agile at Scale. Most of the hard work has been done by David, who is an expert in the field and who will be taking over the book entirely from the next edition. It has been interesting collaborating with someone on the other side of the world (Auckland, NZ) and 12 hours time difference. And even more pleasurable is the fact that he is my son, so I'm going to be leaving the book in good hands.

Now waiting with baited breath for the publisher's feedback, hope they like it!

Friday, April 10, 2015

PMI Netherlands Summit

I mentioned last week that I had been invited to speak at the PMI Netherlands Summit and the program has now been finalized at:

The central theme is The secret of Project Management; next practices demystified and the presentations will elaborate on Project Management circa 2025. What is the secret of successful project management, what are those next practices we need to adopt? 

During the Summit they will demystify next practices from both a scientific and real-life perspective and will consider:

  • Next practices of excellent organizations
  • Next practices of excellent (virtual) teams
  • Next practices of excellent project managers
  • Next practices deployed
My talk will form part of the deployment thread and I look forward to hearing some of the other presentations and meeting some of the delegates. If you are planning to go do let me know.

Friday, April 03, 2015

PMI Netherlands Summit

I have been invited to give a presentation on Why Projects Really Fail (and what we can do about it) at the PMI Netherlands Summit on June 11th 2015. The Summit is the platform for Project, Program and Portfolio Management professionals to inspire and to be inspired by national and international thought leaders and experts. The central theme this year is The secret of Project Management; next practices I hope I will be doing some of that for them.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review the Projects

Why Projects Really Fail
Step four is to put processes in place to review all projects at set times in the project life-cycle. What is needed is some form of peer review process (where a small team external to the project, or just a single person for a small project, carries out a quick review against a standard check-list). Typically this would be at the end of each project stage. This is sometimes referred to as a gateway review process and uses a Red, Amber, Green traffic light against each point on the check list. Red is critical and urgent: the problem must be addressed or the project will fail. Amber is critical but not urgent: the problem should be addressed before any further key decisions are made. Green: the project is on track on this point. 

This process is nice and simple and I like ‘simple’ processes. And used properly it works as it ensures that projects that are going wrong get fixed or stopped before they can have a serious impact on the business. 

So that covers the four things I believe we can do to stop projects going wrong. Thanks to those of you who have given me feedback on these topics, it is much appreciated.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chose the Right Projects

Why Projects Really Fail
Step three is to make sure that only projects that are critical to the business take place and that the projects that do take place are measured on the actual benefits they deliver to the business at the end of the project. Most organizations are currently failing in both of these areas.

These decisions must be made at the highest level in the organisation and portfolio management provides the mechanism for this (although you don’t have to call it that). The most business-critical projects are always prioritized and anything else (including projects that are already under way) can be deferred or delayed. This way all projects are business critical and will get full top management support.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Develop the Organisation

Why Projects Really Fail
Step two is to consider the needs of the organisation. A business today need to be agile and able to change and adapt quickly, if not it will fail. Because of this the business environment today is becoming more and more project driven and I don’t see that changing over the next few years, which means the business must have a project focus. That means embedding project management into the business strategy.

If we are going to do projects we need to do them right and that begins with putting our best people into the role (not just anyone who is available). Maybe as part of a career development process for a couple of years. Good managers will blossom in the role and be capable of taking on greater things in the future. But the organisation must support this and be fully committed to it.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Develop the People

Why Projects Really Fail
In my previous post (the real reason projects fail) I identified a number of steps that need to be taken and the first one is fairly obvious. Is the project manager up to the job? In other words do they have the necessary skills to manage projects? 

A lot of people get thrown into project management because they are available, with no thought about what skills they need to carry out the role. A good honest appraisal should clearly identify any areas of skills shortage and development needs. But we need to be honest, not everyone can become a good project manager. Not everyone will have the temperament or basic management skills necessary. If they show promise then we should provide mentoring for them. If they are not cut out for it, then we should move them to somewhere else in the business where they can do less damage.

But this won't happen spontaneously, we have to do something about it and that is what I will be discussing in the next topic: developing the organisation.

Thank You
Many thanks to those of you who have commented on the topics in this series. Most of which have been excellent. I will be turning this series of posts into a presentation to the PMI Netherlands Summit in June and will incorporate several of your points. So keep them coming.