A portfolio management approach to business change is required to ensure that organizations prioritize and invest in the changes that contribute most to the strategy. It provides an overview of all change activities including what is in the portfolio, what it is costing, what risks are faced, what progress is being made, and what the impact is on business as usual and the organization’s strategic objectives. Not only Business as Usual prioritization, Management of Portfolio means to effectively decide to invest in the change initiatives that will contribute to deliver strategic objectives.
TITLE: 100 Days to Implement Management of Portfolios
ABOUT THE ARTICLE: “At the Office for National Statistics (ONS) we collect, analyse and publish important statistics such as population, inflation and gross domestic product. This information is used to inform decisions that affect your life and the lives of everyone in the UK. We were aware that some studies indicated a timescale of 12–18 months to implement portfolio management. However, we decided to embark on a 100-day, high-energy approach to implementing the Cabinet Office’s best-practice standard Management of Portfolios (MoP). During the implementation we derived considerable value from enhanced executive portfolio-level information, portfolio prioritization, consistent portfolio investment appraisals and project sequencing. All of this led to a greater understanding of the portfolio delivery landscape and the ability to make more confident investment decisions with an overall increase in collaborative working and organizational energy“. This is how Glen Watson, General Director of the Office for National Statistics explains the decision of implementing MoP.
This Case Study follows the steps of the Portfolio implementation highlighting the key phases of this 100 days project: in the terms of the ONS, the path was to “understand where we are” to define “where we want to go”: this includes the analysis of the current situation, the definition of the so called “portfolio cycle”, “portfolio plan” and “portfolio office”.
To summarize, at the end of the paper are indicated 8 top tips (in no particular order) which are the things ONS found critically important when implementing portfolio management within 100 days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Craig Kilford worked with the Office for National Statistics as Interim Deputy Director of Portfolio Management. As one of the world’s leading portfolio management subject matter experts he is a regular motivational conference speaker, co-author of the Cabinet Office’s Management of Portfolios and author of “Think P3O.” Craig blogs regularly at www.MrPortfolioManagement.com where additional information about this case study is available.
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Programmes are more than just just “bigger projects” and project and programme managers still truglle to bring awareness on this aspect of Programme Management. Programmes exist in the tension zone between:
- the strategic direction of the organization,
- the delivery of change capability by projects,
- the need to maintain business performance and stability while realizing and exploiting the benefits from the investments.
A new article in our download section can help you understand more.
TITLE: Programme Management: a Basic Overview
ABOUT THE ARTICLE: A programme can be triggered in a number of ways; each will require different focus and intensity of resources and control. This white-paper explains the different types of Programmes, and hot to manage them to ensure the realization of business objectives.
- Vision-led programmes that start with a clearly defined vision, have a top-down approach, and focus on strategic or innovative opportunity with radical transformation of business, culture or both.
- Emergent programmes evolve from current uncoordinated initiatives, where there is recognition of the value of a joinedup approach with an emergent vision and end goal.
- Compliance programmes can also be called ‘must do’ programmes. The organization has no choice but to change; for example, because of market forces or the potential negative impact of not changing.
The biggest difference with Project Management?
Unlike project management, which thrives on certainty, programme management recognizes and exploits the ambiguity. This is why is important to use a structured and well tested approach to Programme Management.
Programme Management and the Transformational Flow
Transformational flow is the term used to describe the lifecycle of the programme. ‘Flow’ reflects the evolving nature of the journey the programme takes and the adjustments that will need to be made.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Sowden, from Aspire Europe Ltd, is lead author for the “Managing Successful Programmes” official handbook 2007 version and lead author and mentor for the 2011 version.
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PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environment) is a structured method for the effective and efficient management of projects. It is a generic, best-practice approach for the management of all types of projects and it has become the de facto standard for organising, managing and controlling projects globally.
The PRINCE2 process map is always one of the most downloaded documents from QRP International’s download area: this graphic view of the PRINCE2 process involved within a project is a useful and relevant tool for:
- Project managers: anyone who is applying PRINCE2 at work would benefit from having a clear and graphic overview of the method.
- Course delegates: QRP International provides an A3 Process Map version as part of the training material during our courses, both classroom and distance learning.
PRINCE2 2017: a Renewed Process Map, updated to NEW Version
PRINCE2 is firmly established as the world’s most practiced method for project management and is globally recognized for delivering successful projects. In July 2017 AXELOS released the first major update to PRINCE2 since 2009, with the 2017 version of the method: this brings along a new PRINCE2 guidance and new Foundation and Practitioner examinations.
The 2017 update of PRINCE2 builds on the proven strength of PRINCE2, so the following key elements remain unchanged:
- 7 Processes forming the project management
- 7 Principles forming the basis of good method of managing projects
- 7 Themes, knowledge areas which support specific key areas of project management
The purpose of the updated version is to better respond to current imperatives for flexibility and agility, and the new guidance wants to do so with a renewed focus on the importance of tailoring.
The PRINCE2 Process Flow Diagram is a graphical ‘at a glance’ representation of all the PRINCE2 processes and how they fit together and it shows all the processes involved in running a PRINCE2 project from start to finish.
The QRP International’s PRINCE2 Process map does not show only all the processes and how each stage integrates with the others but also what action needs to be taken for each process, which are the important products, documents or information to deliver during the stage for each management level (Team Manager, Project Manager, Project Board).
Looks complicated but it’s not! This process map is a strong asset during your PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course and an helpful reference once back in the office as a project manager.
Download your version!
Our PRINCE2 Process Map is available for download: don’t miss this chance!
More on PRINCE2: Literature, Articles and Case Studies
QRP International has a full selection of recommended reading for professional qualifications: check out our Literature page to stay up to date with the latest publications on Project, Programme, Portfolio and Change Management.
Furthermore, our commitment is to share with the community practical cases and real life scenarios about the methods, as well as white papers that illustrate the features of each Best Practice: check out our Articles & Case Studies page to find valuable content, easy to download!
We all know it’s quite easy to get lost in the world of Project Management certifications: not only because there are many different methods and best practices that you could choose from, but especially because the right choice depends on many different factors: the type of projects, the sector of organization, the direction of your career, the certification required by industry standards etc.
In two of the latest Market Reports from Axelos, needs for professionalization and continual improvement are clearly highlighted.
- The “Future of Project Management Professional” report from Axelos identifies the key trends that will impact the project, programme and portfolio management profession, and refers to Democratization of Project Management: “76% of project managers believe project management will become a basic business skill.” This means that Project management will more and more become a basic business skill: every aspect of our roles can be considered in terms of project managing and delivering.
“Project management will be used widely by individuals across the whole organization and will be seen as a valuable business skill. This democratization of project management will only enhance the value of project managers, setting them apart as professionals as they evolve their roles to be more strategic and effect change within the business.”
- The “Axelos 2017 PPM Benchmarking Report” has the interesting and insightful title “The value of Project Management Excellence”. This research has identified a lot of challenges facing project managers, but there were also some positive findings too, especially around ongoing development. Continuing professional development (CPD) an activity that is commonly associated across professions such as accountancy, medicine and law and that, however, the majority of project managers recognize as very important for the continuous improvement. The only thing that could hold them back is a lack of investment from organizations; but, if you delve deeper, both individuals and organizations are on the same page: individuals want to do their job more effectively and organizations want to improve the effectiveness of their teams.
So: you are a Project Manager, and most probably hold one (or more) great Project Management certifications. What’s next?
Most of professionals in the Project Management world already know about Programme, Portfolio and PMO management; some of them already work at PMO level for example, having helped with the set up of a “Centre of Excellence” in their organization. But how do you know what is the right next step after Project Management? How to identify the right action that can fit your needs? We’ve developed 3 webinars to help you answer these questions!
3 Webinars to Guide you through Programme, Portfolio and PMO management
WEBINAR – FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER – 11h00 – PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT ELEMENTS AND BENEFITS
In you are managing bigger-and-bigger projects and driving transformational business change, your next step is Programme Management. MSP, Managing Successful Programmes, represents proven good practice in programme management in successfully delivering transformational change, drawn from the experiences of both public and private sector organisations. MSP defines programme management as “the action of carrying out the coordinated organization, direction and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformational activities (i.e. the programme), to achieve outcomes and realize benefits of strategic importance to the business”. In fact it’s key to understand that a programme is not only a “bigger project”, but can also be a set of coordinated projects.
WEBINAR – FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – 11h00 – PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT: BENEFITS OF STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
If you are a manager with a top-down perspective (you are managing a budget and a team, or a group of strategic initiatives), your next step could be MoP Portfolio Management, a one week training with certification. MoP, Management of Portfolios, provides an overview of all change activities including what is in the portfolio, what it is costing, what risks are faced, what progress is being made, and what the impact is on business as usual and the organization’s strategic objectives. MoP helps you answer the question “Are we doing the right projects?” by prioritizing the right projects and programmes to undertake.
WEBINAR – FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER – 11h00 – INTRODUCTION TO PMO MANAGEMENT: ROLES, TECHNIQUES AND BENEFITS
If your focus is on improving the way that projects are done (so that more projects succeed and change is more effective), then you should consider P3O, which explains how to use offices to support projects, programs and portfolios. You can facilitate effective portfolio, programme and project management in your organization by implementing a PMO Office. This may be provided through a single permanent office which may exist under several different names e.g. PMO, Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, Enterprise or Corporate Programme Office. It may otherwise be provided through a linked set of offices (portfolio office, programme offices, project offices), both permanent (enabling/supporting business objectives and consistency of delivery) and temporary (enabling/supporting specific programmes and projects), providing a mix of central and localized services.
The Axelos 2017 PPM Benchmarking Report has an interesting and insightful title: “The value of Project Management Excellence”.
As stated in the foreword by Cameron Stewart, Head Of PPM Product Development at Axelos:
“This inaugural report seeks to lay the foundation for a yearly publication aimed at giving insight to the project and programme management (PPM) market for our members, community and accredited partners.”
The findings from this research identified a range of issues that could all be categorized under one solution: project management excellence. Project managers, PMOs and organizations all have a responsibility to create this culture of excellence otherwise they could find that their investments don’t bring the competitive advantages they seek.
“It comes as no surprise that project managers are being asked to do more with less. This is a trend that could be applied to any business function. However, a lack of resources or time is leading to cutting corners at both a strategic and operational level. Awareness of project management methodologies is high in the industry. However there is a gap between awareness and uptake. Unfortunately organizations are under-investing in the development of their project managers, which the research shows has far-reaching consequences.”
Today’s project management pressures
Project managers (and the projects they’re responsible for) are not immune to the effects of a changing global economy. In fact, the majority of project managers acknowledge that there is increased business competition which is causing a variety of knock-on effects. Some findings:
- 76% states that “The business environment has become more competitive”
- 74% states that “Budgets and timelines are tighter as clients/ stakeholders look for more value from projects”
- 65% states that “PMs are expected to deliver more projects over a shorter time frame”
Furthermore, evolutions in technology bring their own set of challenges resulting in greater complexity in project delivery, increased project risks and an impact on profit margins.
Project management maturity within organizations
The maturity of project management in many organizations is still behind where it needs to be to meet the increased demands of more projects within existing timeframes and budgets. One measure of maturity can come from the P3M3 Maturity Model, yet:
- less than 20% of organizations described themselves as having established processes in place, with ongoing improvements based on monitoring and feedback
- only 53% of project managers describe the project management function as “influential”
Although it is encouraging to see that PMOs are in place in more than half of organizations, their integration at the highest level is far from where it needs to be. If project management continues to be under-represented at a senior level then this will impact on the successful delivery of projects.
The challenges faced by project managers today
At the head of the list of the challenges faced by PMs today there is “over-ambitious timeframes” for projects, followed closely by “changing project briefs and moving expectations”. In the context of increasing project numbers to deliver in the same timeframe or less, plus the relative isolation of the PMO in organizations, these are serious challenges for project managers. Following in the list there are also challenges like “poor communication”, “absence of the right people for the job”, “unrealistic budgets” and “inefficient work practices”.
- Half of project managers felt their project didn’t have the right people in place, which led to project failure in 43% of cases
- 56% of project managers had witnessed significant changes to the project brief and expectations and this led to project failure in 48% of cases
Agile continues to be a hot topic within project management. There is a huge appetite amongst project managers for agile techniques, yet this enthusiasm isn’t apparent at an organizational level. Why are so many organizations wary about adopting agile? It could be due to a lack of understanding as ‘agile’ is still perceived as the latest buzzword. Project managers need to educate the business about the value of agile to help deliver the number of projects that organizations are now demanding. Organizations need to get on board with adopting agile techniques. Working in an agile way allows project managers to respond to evolving business needs but still the appetite for adoption at an organizational level is low.
- 77% of respondents seeing value in working in a more agile way and just 2% seeing no value in it
- Less than half (46%) of respondents said there is significant appetite for adopting agile techniques within their function and this falls further to 39% at an organizational level
Learning and development
This research has identified a lot of challenges facing project managers, but there were also some positive findings too, especially around ongoing development. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an activity that is commonly associated across professions such as accountancy, medicine and law. However, the majority of project managers recognize its importance and are actively participating in CPD. The only thing that could hold them back is a lack of investment from organizations. If you delve deeper both individuals and organizations are on the same page. Individuals want to do their job more effectively and organizations want to improve the effectiveness of their teams.
Being AGILE and managing project in agile way is not only a statement but organisations have to “make it happen”. Organisations often think they are or could be agile. It could be a wishful thinking but in reality they have what I call an in-house “DNA”, usage, strong company culture which might not be in favour of developing agile practices. AGILE prior to be project management methods is first a mindset, a posture, a way of being. Be aware of “flawed AGILE”, it looks agile but it’s not.
In this article we explore 5 examples of area to check before launching an agile project.
TITLE: Ready for Agile? Five Questions to Test Your Company Culture
ABOUT THE ARTICLE: Organisations are facing so much unknown that they have to be ready almost for anything. That means the ability to launch quickly project and mobilise multi-skilled resources either in house or through pre-agreed commercial subcontracts or a mix of both. The AgilePM guidance of ABC (Agile Business Consortium) has an interesting document called “PAQ : Project Approach Questionnaire” used at the outset of the project. The questionnaire is in fact a risk assessment for the management side of the project. It helps defining if all stakeholders are effectively able to work in agile.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Antoine Breton has 30 years of experience in project management and technical Operations. He has been an agile management accredited trainer for the past 10 years on “Best Practices” in agile project and programs management: PRINCE2, DSDM – AGILE PM (Project Management and SCRUM) and AGILE PgM (Program Management). He performs consultancy work for embedding PRINCE2 and AGILE within organisations. He delivers training and support for the implementation of best practices. He is able to perform missions in English, and French.
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