Friday, July 03, 2015

What We Can Do About It (2)

As we saw last week, step one was to consider whether the project manager actually has the necessary skills to manage projects and if not, to move them somewhere else where they can do less damage to the organisation. And speaking of the organization:

Step two is to consider the needs of the organisation itself. Business today needs 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, which means the business must have a project focus. That means embedding project management into the business strategy and making sure the organization understands it.

Then 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 be stretched and 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, not just put anyone who is available into a project management role.

Agile Project Management in easy steps
And speaking of agile, the second edition of the book (now co-authored with David Morris) is due for publication in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What We Can Do About It

Develop the Project Managers
First of all we need to consider if a project manager actually has 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. I get a lot of feedback on this point so I know it is still happening today.

So 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 right temperament or basic management skills. However, if they show promise then give them any necessary training but more importantly I think we should provide mentoring for them from an experienced (and therefore hopefully a wise) project manager.

But if they are not cut out for it, move them to somewhere else, where they can do less damage to the organisation.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Why Projects Really Fail

To recap:

The Real Cause
Earlier in this blog I listed the top ten ‘causes’ often cited for project failure and then examined them one by one. They all turn out to be just symptoms of poor project management or selecting the wrong project. But a wise project manager would also deal with the wrong project, so let's bite the bullet, the real reason projects fail is just poor project management.

Wise project managers are aware of these symptoms as they will have learned about them the hard way from their own early projects. They take the necessary steps to ensure they don’t have these problems in future on their projects. 

But that still leaves us with the problem of what to do about the unwise project managers whose project run into problems or fail altogether. The answer is not to send them all on training courses. What I believe we need to do is develop the project managers, develop the organisation, select the right projects in the first place and then regularly review them. I'll be expanding on these topics again over the next few weeks.

Friday, June 12, 2015

PMI Netherlands Summit

The summit was a great success with some fine inspirational speakers and it was good to meet so many PMI members. What was interesting was the number of common topics that were covered by the different presentations. Lots of food for thought for the future. Now I've delivered the talk I will post the remaining bits on this blog.

Friday, May 29, 2015

More about Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs
Spent an interesting day in Winnersh, working through their Corporate Project Office plans and drawing up a route map for the implementation. It was very topical for me as that's what I will be talking about in the Netherlands the week after next. 

Agile Project Management
Still not heard anything back from the publishers, so fingers crossed.

Project 2016
Also just seen that Microsoft will be releasing a new version of Project with Office 2016 later this year. So I'll have to see if the publishers want me to update it, the 2013 version didn't sell very well so they may decide to drop it, we shall see.

I'm taking a week off next week to visit family and spend a few days cycling in Kent. So no post next week but I'll post an update on how the Netherlands conference went the week after.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Guide Dogs for the Blind

I had a contact from a young lady from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association a short while back and have arranged to go and spend a day with them next Tuesday. We will be looking at their re-launch of their Corporate Program Office, which should be very interesting and very much in line with what I will be speaking on at the PMI Netherlands Conference in three weeks time.

Meanwhile In Easy Steps (my publishers) have started reviewing the revised Agile Project Management book co-authored with David Morris this time. So we wait with bated breath for any feedback and hope they don't find too many typos!

Friday, May 08, 2015

PMI Netherlands Summit

I've been working on my slides for the talk to the PMI Netherlands Summit on 11th June and decided to go with lots of visual images and no bullet points. Quite good fun but I thought I had better put the text of what I will be saying on the slide notes as it will be the only handout the delegates get. I thought the title slide looked nice...