Recent

Tags

Archive

    Tanner James Blog

    New approaches to major public projects?

    John Howarth - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    The Best Management Practice products from the UK Cabinet Office are now widely accepted across Federal and State government agencies – including P3M3®, MSP® and PRINCE2®. What is less widely known is what is being done to fundamentally change the way major government projects are run. 

    Will we see these approaches adopted in Australia?

    A new approach to leadership

    Earlier this year the UK Government unveiled plans for a new Major Projects Leadership Academy which will be created and delivered in partnership with Oxford's Saïd Business School. The new academy will build the skills of senior project leaders across government to deliver complex projects – reducing the over-reliance on expensive external consultancy further and building expertise within the Civil Service.

    In future no one will be able to lead a major government project without completing the Academy.

    Quotes from the website make it clear that the focus is on building world class project leadership skills within government agencies and thus reducing the reliance on “expensive external consultants”.

    Improving project performance for the taxpayer

    The Academy will be managed by the Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority (MPA) which was launched in 2010 to oversee major projects and ensure they deliver for taxpayers.

    The MPA represents a sea change in the oversight of central government’s Major Projects at both an individual and a portfolio level and aims to address the findings from the NAO report Assurance of High Risk Projects and from a Major Projects Review.

    It is a collaboration between the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury (HMT) and Departments with the fundamental aim of significantly improving the delivery success rate of Major Projects across central government.

    The MPA is supported by a clear and enforceable mandate and has the authority to:

    • develop the Government Major Projects Portfolio, in collaboration with departments, with regular reporting to Ministers;
    • require Integrated Assurance and Approval Plans for each Major Project or Programme including timetables for Treasury approvals and validation by the MPA and HMT;
    • make a Starting Gate Review (or equivalent) mandatory for all new Projects/Programmes;
    • escalate issues of concern to Ministers and Accounting Officers;
    • provide additional assurance and direct involvement where Projects are causing concern including the provision of commercial and operational support;
    • require publication of project information consistent with the Coalition’s Transparency agenda;
    • work with departments to build capability in Projects and Programme management; and
    • publish an annual report on Government Major Projects.

    The Australian approach

    Australia has had a number of agencies at both federal and state levels focussed on improving project performance – including the PM&C Cabinet Implementation Unit the AGIMO-led Agency Capability Initiative and DoFD reviews and assessments.

    The question is, will we see these current initiatives develop into an Australian Government Major Projects Authority, with an associated Major Projects Leadership Academy? 

    And if we do, will that be a good thing? 

    What are your thoughts?

    How do I implement MSP (Managing Successful Programmes)?

    John Howarth - Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    How do I implement MSP? 

    It’s the question that all executives face once they have made the decision to use the framework for programme management. 

    Knowing where to start is the tricky part. Here are some pointers.

    Why are we doing this?

    If you don’t know the answer to this fundamental question there is a real danger you will end up with yet another ‘solution looking for a problem’.

    Why do you want to use MSP? 


    Are you, for example: 

    • trying to increase the focus on benefits;
    • trying to manage ambiguity and uncertainty that can’t be handled using project management techniques;
    • working in collaboration with other organisations; or
    • wanting to better co-ordinate separate projects that are all working toward the same goal?

    Taking the time to write down half a dozen or so simple high-level objectives for the implementation of MSP will help clarify things in your own mind, share your thinking with others and inform your next steps.

    What will we use MSP for?

    There are a wide variety of situations in which MSP can help and the MSP manual provides useful guidance on types of programmes and how to assess their impact by looking at the nature of the change a programme is expected to deliver.

    One of the first things I recommend you consider is whether you are looking to use MSP for a single programme (or perhaps a couple of programmes) or are you seeking to implement it across your organisation?

    If it is the former - you can focus solely on application and tailoring to suit the individual programme. If it is the latter - you will need to consider broader aspects such as integration with your organisation’s project management approach and organisational governance arrangements.

    Many Government agencies are looking at MSP, following their P3M3® assessment, as the foundation for their programme management approach. This is fine but you can’t implement MSP the same way you can implement PRINCE2 for example.

    MSP needs to involve executives at a very senior level and it reaches deeper into the operational areas affected by the change. As such, knowledge and skills are required across a broad range of people. This makes stakeholder engagement about MSP itself a critical ingredient.

    Look in the mirror to see where you are going

    Sounds weird doesn’t it? Allow me to explain…

    Most change programmes that choose to implement MSP are already underway – the government policy announcement has been made, the executive have stated their reform agenda etc. This means that things are already happening and you don’t have the luxury of starting with the proverbial clean sheet of paper.

    In these circumstances what I recommend is that you work through the various elements of the framework – but in particular the governance themes and programme information – to see how your current management arrangements stack up against MSP.  This will then allow you to see what you have in place from an MSP perspective and will no doubt shed new light on the programme you are running and where it is currently taking you.

    The MSP manual includes a simple health check that can be adapted for this purpose.

    Look at the ridge not the summit

    Change programmes are major undertakings these days. So, not surprising, the task of implementing MSP can seem quite daunting.  You can see the value in the method, but you can’t see how to modify the management arrangements in-flight to encompass all the different concepts and terminology contained in MSP.

    The key here is not to try to do everything at once: take one step at a time and focus on the fundamentals. They being:

    • conduct a health-check to see how your current management arrangements stack up against MSP;
    • work through the process of identifying a programme with key stakeholders – this will naturally lead you to consider what should happen next; and
    • forget the templates – use conversations, discussions and workshops to conduct the health check and identify the programme.

    So that is the answer to the question “How do I implement MSP?”.

    What are you waiting for?!

    Bold ideas for newly trained project managers

    John Howarth - Tuesday, August 28, 2012
    You have just attended a training course to get your project management qualification. It is your first day back at work, and you are keen to put your newly acquired learning into practice.  Here are some bold ideas which you may not have considered to get you started.

    Rub shoulders with the leaders

    As you will have learned on your course, project managers do not make the big decisions – project sponsors and project board executives do.

    So why not ask your boss’s boss if you can be an observer at a few Steering Committee or Project Board meetings?

    This will give you insights into how projects are governed in your organization and what will be expected of you when it is your turn.

    Take over from the guru

    If you have been in your organization for a while, or you ask around a little, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a gun project manager who everyone acknowledges for their skills.

    Buy that person a coffee and ask if you can run their project for them for a week.  Even if they politely explain that won’t be possible, you can always ask if they could do a dummy handover meeting as if you were about to run the project.

    It should be interesting to hear how what they do on a day-to-day basis matches what you heard on the training course.

    Invade the PMO

    The PMO is the hub of activity in your organisation for all things related to project management.
    It’s a great place to learn how things really work.


    Wander over there, and ask if you can work at one of their desks for the next couple of weeks.  If you volunteer to give them a hand you will probably pick up some great tips which will be invaluable for your own project.  

    Throw away your PC

    It might be tempting to go looking for templates and start typing, but I always think people looking for templates immediately after a training course is a bad sign – because methods such as PRINCE2 are process-based not template based, hence filling in templates doesn’t created a shared understanding of what is happening and what needs to be done.

    So rather than do the template thing, how about you throw away your PC? (I admit just switching it off might be safer for your career!).  What I mean is leave the PC alone, and instead take a good old-fashioned notebook and spend a week talking to everyone who has ever been near your project or who has an interest in it.  The longer they have been around the project the more you can probably learn from them.  If it is a new project so much the better.  You can find out from your stakeholders what they really want and why.

    Spend the night with your sponsor

    Well alright then, perhaps not the night, but at least a good few hours one evening over dinner.

    Project Sponsors are usually very busy people, but you need as much time with them as you can get, especially at the beginning of a project.

    Meeting outside the usual work environment in an informal setting with no interruptions or paperwork is a great way to find out what people really think, and what they see as important.

    If any freshly-trained project managers try these bold ideas please let us know how you go.

    Training project managers in project management is dangerous

    John Howarth - Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Your organisation wants to get better at project management. So you send all your project managers on training courses to get project management qualifications. Unfortunately this will not deliver the results you are seeking. This blog explains why, and what you can do about it.

    Training individuals does not achieve organisational implementation

    Projects are about the delivery of change across organisational boundaries. Effective governance of projects requires decision making structures – Steering Committees, Projects Boards etc – that cut across those boundaries. Everyone who plays a role in these structures must be on the same page, not only about what the project is doing, but how the project is being managed. Indeed, if they do not understand how the project is being managed this is likely to limit their ability to effectively contribute in terms of what the project is doing.

    It follows that the most effective way to train is to do so on a project-by-project basis, not a person by person basis, so that everyone in a project management role learns in the same context as their colleagues.

    Each project that learns together must then be provided with appropriate support to ensure what they have learned can be translated from the learning environment – classroom or online – into the workplace.

    Senior executives must be directly and personally involved in the learning

    I have talked previously about the basics of executive involvement (blog 7 ways to get your executives on-side).  In the training context the message is simple – that senior executives who are involved in the governance of projects must be directly and personally involved in the learning.

    That is not to say however that you should attempt to put your executives through the same training regime as the project managers. It is highly likely that they will have neither the time nor the inclination to spend several days on a course or hours wading through screen after screen of e-learning.

    What most executives want to understand is how does the project management approach relate to the context in which they operate, what is their role in a project, and what do they need to do to ensure effective project management among the people who work for them.

    Tailoring is essential

    Project management qualifications demonstrate (in most cases) that an individual has attained a certain level of understanding of a particular approach.  What they do not do is equip that individual with an understanding of how the approach should be applied to their particular project.

    Project management training is most effective when participants receive not only theoretical knowledge, but specific guidance on how things work in their organisation and the opportunity to apply the theory to their own projects.  This means tailoring must be tailored to suit both the organisation and the types of projects it is running.

    For Government agencies that are required to undertake P3M3® assessments and improve capability, it is important to know that P3M3® level 3 maturity requires that training is focused on your organisation (blog P3M3 Training Considerations).

    Embedding project management disciplines requires a structured approach to manage the change

    Putting these things together at an organisational level is not trivial.  It requires good cooperation between the corporate PMO and HR department responsible for training / people development.

    It requires careful consideration of timings – what is the right time to provide training to each project from the perspective of that project, and how does that add up into an overall picture of how the whole portfolio of projects can be supported. If the organisation is running projects in a programme context this must also be taken into consideration.

    Putting it together

    If you are currently just arranging project management training for individuals, I suggest you:

    • consider changing your training to a project-by-project basis,
    • involving senior executives in the learning; and
    • tailoring that training.

    How to put all this together?  I think you already know the answer to this – run it as a project!

    Event Wrap - P3M3 Assessment & Capability Improvement Plan Progress

    Daniel Oyston - Tuesday, August 07, 2012

    Last week, we attended an event co-hosted by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) which brought together Public and Private sector to talk about how P3M3 assessments and Capability Improvement Plans are progressing.

    Ann Steward, Australian Government Chief Information Officer spoke about the continuing importance and focus on P3M3 including goals of the Agency Capability Initiative, the strengths and areas requiring focus and Capability Improvement Plans and their importance in the ICT Two Pass Process.

    Our own Chairman, John Howarth, provided views from an Accredited Consulting Organisation, with extensive experience in the P3M3 arena, on what the Capability Improvement Planning process is and how Agency’s are and can manage their CIPS to achieve their target levels.

    John  discussed why Agencies need such capability levels, what Agencies can select to manage using the capability they have and how they can implement their improved capability. There was lots of nodding in the room when John advised that the capability improvement planning process must be an exercise in stakeholder engagement.

    A video of John’s speech as well as an audio only file are posted below.

    Following Ann and John, the audience heard from three Departments who provided case studies on how they are progressing with their original CIP and their second P3M3 assessment including lessons learnt in the past two years.

    Case studies were provided by:

    • Michael Carmody AO, CEO Australian Customs and Border Protection
    • Paul Madden, CIO Department of Health & Ageing; and
    • Mandy Newton, National Manager International Deployment Group Australian Federal Police.
    You can download a summary of the key points from each speaker here 


    Finally, the five speakers came together on a panel and fielded questions from the audience.


     Click the icon below to access an audio only file of John Howarth's address.


    Translating a P3M3 Assessment into a Capability Improvement Plan

    John Howarth - Wednesday, July 25, 2012
    P3M3 (Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model) is a key area of focus for many organisations, especially government agencies. I have touched on P3M3 a few times in previous blogs, but have only once addressed the issue of capability improvement planning.

    Many people are now turning their minds to the question of “How do you really translate a P3M3 assessment into a capability improvement plan?” 

    Here are some of my thoughts on this next step.

    Don’t make the mistake of simply trying to turn your P3M3 assessment inside-out

    It is tempting to look at the results of a P3M3 assessment and say “OK, what we need to do is fix the weak areas”. Then the organisation sets about tackling each area one-by-one. The flaw in this logic is that the process perspectives within P3M3 are interrelated, and must be addressed holistically. This is evident from the frameworks that are commonly used as the cornerstones of portfolio, programme and project management capability – MoP, MSP, PMBOK, PRINCE2, P3O etc. They are not designed to be broken into individual stand-alone elements that are used separately from one-another.

    So for example, an organisation cannot address benefits management in isolation if it also has significant weaknesses in stakeholder engagement – the two go hand-in-hand.

    Be very clear about what you want to use the disciplines for – and why

    There are three disciplines measured by P3M3®, which people often talk about in a single breath - Portfolio Management, Programme Management and Project Management.  However they are very different. While there are linkages between them, when it comes to what you do to improve capability they can – and should – be tackled individually.

    Having understood that there are three disciplines in play, an organisation needs to make a conscious choice as to what each discipline will be used for. Sound obvious? It isn’t. For example, should your programmes stop at your organisational boundary, or should they work beyond that boundary? Is it sensible to run a single ICT-enabled change portfolio, or should you run multiple portfolios that reflect discrete service or policy areas? It could well be enlightening for your executive team to have a conversation around what kind of activity they think should be managed with each discipline – and why.

    The why question is critical. 

    You shouldn’t manage key changes with these disciplines because the project management fraternity think that is they way to go. You should do so because doing so will bring some advantage to the organisation – a way to manage uncertainty and complexity, increased certainty of delivery, reduced risk, better communication with suppliers etc. If your executive can’t articulate what they hope to gain through enhanced portfolio, programme and project management, there is no business case for your capability improvement plan. That is a serious problem!

    Focus on people not processes

    Hang on you cry, isn’t this maturity all about having processes? Yes, but it is about having processes that people really understand and apply because “That is the way we manages changes here”. There is no value creating management frameworks, manuals and templates which describe a theoretically ideal world but only sit there as shelf-ware while managers do something different.

    Your capability improvement plan must be an exercise in stakeholder engagement that brings everyone on the journey. As champions of change, PMO staff and others need to inhabit the world that managers live in and help them learn new skills. The plan must be explicit in identifying which change initiatives will adopt new practices, how and when.

    Practice what you preach

    By which I mean don’t just write a capability improvement plan as a document, but rather run capability improvement as a change initiative – i.e. as a project or a programme in its own right.

    This will both lead you to think about what you are trying to do in a structured way but also serve as an example to others. It helps bring clarity to all the things we espouse to others, such as:

    • who is the sponsor for capability improvement;
    • what is the business justification for it;
    • what are we going to create or change; 
    • how will we go about it;
    • what resources are required, and 
    • what are the risks etc.

    Avoiding the Traps in a P3M3® Self-Assessment

    Daniel Oyston - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    For the last two years P3M3® (Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model) has been mandated by the Federal and Queensland State Governments for assessing the organisational capability of agencies to effectively manage ICT-enabled investments. The results have been mixed, not just in terms of how mature agencies are, but also in terms of how the assessments have been conducted.  Federal Government agencies will undergo another round of P3M3 assessments before the end of September with results to be reported to the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board. There are a number of traps that agencies should be aware of when considering a self-assessment.

    Trap 1 - Misunderstanding what 'self-assessment' really means

    There was considerable confusion when the term ‘self-assessment’ was first introduced, not least because there were two distinct meanings being used. In the Federal Government context, self-assessment originally meant that assessments were to be run by agencies themselves and that it would not involve a central agency arranging each P3M3 assessment or ‘judging’ individual agency capability. The P3M3 model itself, however, offered self-assessment questionnaires as one of a number of ways for an organisation to begin to explore the P3M3 model.

    Most agencies have now recognised that a P3M3 assessment is something they must own As such, the question of self-assessment then becomes “To what degree can we do this ourselves and to what degree do we need external assistance?”

    Trap 2 - Not ensuring the right level of experience is involved

    The P3M3 model is relatively simple to understand in structure; however a deeper level of understanding is required to grasp which elements of the model are the cornerstones of maturity measurement. There is a significant level of detail in the model and not all of it carries equal weight when undertaking an assessment.

    In order to assess portfolio, programme and project management maturity, it is also important that the assessors understand what the disciplines of portfolio management, programme management and project management look like when they are well defined and applied in practice. Agencies must consider whether internal assessors have the skills and experience to make such a judgement. Many agencies have the requisite experience in relation to project management, but it is less common for portfolio management and programme management.

    Trap 3 - Misinterpretation

    The assessments undertaken to date show that consistent interpretation is a critical ingredient in a valid assessment. It is why assessments undertaken using online surveys are of questionable value – those responding to the survey must place their own interpretation on the meaning of the model without the benefit of an experienced assessor to guide them.

    A simple example of this issue is interpretation of the word ‘programme’ – if people interpret it to mean ‘Government program’ rather than ’change programme’ when undertaking a survey then the  P3M3 assessment results will be invalid.

    Trap 4 - Using unskilled interviewers

    The accepted method for undertaking a P3M3 assessment relies primarily on interviews with people in key management roles – programme managers, project sponsors, investment committee members etc.  It is important that the correct people are selected for interview, and that the assessors are skilled interviewers. The APMG Group provides third-party accreditation of Registered Consultants who are qualified to undertake P3M3 assessments.

    P3M3 is here to stay – What are the next steps?

    Agencies are implementing their capability improvement plans. They will complete their next P3M3 assessment, to compare their actual capability to their target capability, and report the results to Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board, by 30 September 2012.

    From September 2012, agencies are required to complete regular P3M3 assessments of their portfolio, program and project management capability and report to Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board on progress against their capability improvement plans.

    Agencies must obtain independent validation of their current capability before undertaking major ICT projects. The Government considers agencies’ capability as part of the ICT Two Pass Review process to strengthen the link between policy formulation and implementation.

    P3M3 is here to stay. While I hate to use the blog as a ‘sales tool’, it is important to note that Tanner James can help agencies undertake a self-assessment in the optimum way – using APS resources to build internal skills and reduce cost while benefiting from external expertise arising from having conducted many assessments.  Conducting an assessment this way can produce a valid assessment for less than half the cost of having a full external assessment undertaken.

    If you have undertaken a self-assessment before, or started to explore the self-assessment questionnaires, then I would welcome your questions, observations or lessons learned.

    Too busy fighting the war with bows and arrows to buy a rifle?

    John Howarth - Tuesday, June 05, 2012

    "Too busy fighting the war with bows and arrows to buy a rifle?" is one of my favourite sayings, and although it is an old one, I still think it has plenty of applicability in this day and age to the way we manage the programmes and projects in our portfolios of change.

    Busy

    “I’m flat out”

    “I’m under the pump”

    “We’ll need to reschedule”

    If you are working in the world of programmes and projects you will be all too familiar with these phrases and what goes with them – long hours, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the feeling that you are not on top of things and that life is racing along and you do not have the time to do anything properly.  This is the modern working environment.  A world full of pressure and challenges and not enough time to deal with them.

    Bows and Arrows

    So what is our response to this environment?  My observation is that it is fairly chaotic, and under pressure, many of us revert to ‘bows and arrows’ to run our change initiatives.  Let me give you some examples.

    Email

    The weapon of choice for many.  You can create them at all times of day and night, pack them full of what you think needs to happen and then fire them into the unsuspecting crowd.

    Impromptu meetings

    Actually meetings is a generous term.  Accidental discussions might be closer to the mark.  Someone raises a matter, and the manager says “right, lets have the conversation now” and pulls whichever team members happen to be in the vicinity into the room to “sort things out”.  Two hours later and you have a full whiteboard which will serve as the plan for the next couple of weeks.  Or at least until the next impromptu meeting.

    Templates

    Those who know me or read my blogs regularly will know that I have hit this one many times before, but I think it bears repetition.  Are you unable to make things happen in your organisation?  The easy answer is to sit in a corner and spend a couple of weeks filling in a template that paints the perfect picture of what you would like to see happen.

    And why do we work this way?  “Because we don’t have enough time for all that project management stuff. It just creates an overhead and paperwork and I need to press on and get the job done”.  Then off the project warrior goes into the fray, firing off emails, holding impromptu meetings and filling in templates.

    Rifles

    I am no weapons expert, but my understanding of a rifle is that there are a few key elements such as,  

    • Training – you need to know how to use it.
    • Loading – there is a brief but important sequence of things you need to do before the rifle is ready.
    • Aiming – making sure you are pointing it at the right thing.

    I would like to suggest that the Cabinet Office frameworks Management of Portfolios (MoP), Managing Successful Programmes (MSP), PRINCE2 and Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O) can serve as well aimed rifles for the delivery of change – if you are trained, and spend time on the brief but important sequence of activities involved in definition/initiation.

    Are We Running a Programme (or a Program) or a Project?

    John Howarth - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Are we running a programme or a project?  That is a common question and one that attracts an increased level of debate when there is a P3M3® assessment underway.  So I will share my thoughts and invite other people to enter the discussion based on their experiences.

    Spelling doesn’t matter

    OK, let us get this one out of the way.  It doesn’t matter whether you using the spelling ‘programme’ or ‘program’. What does matter is the meaning attached to the word.  For this reason I have suggested to Government agencies – admittedly with very little success so far – that they use the spelling ‘program’ for traditional Government programs, and use the spelling ‘programme’ for delivery of major change initiatives.  Bottom-line: be clear what it means in your organization.

    Definitions do matter

    I want to put reference some definitions here, not just for the sake of it, but because I think it is central to answering the headline question.

    The parliamentary website defines a program as:

    “Activity that delivers benefits, services or transfer payment to individuals, industry and/or the community as a whole, with the aim of achieving the intended result specified in an outcome statement.” (An outcome is “the intended result, consequence or impact of government actions on the Australian community”.)

    In its best management practice guidance the UK Cabinet Office defines programmes and projects as:

    “Programme: a temporary, flexible organization structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to an organization’s strategic objectives.”

    “Project: a temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business outputs according to a specified business case.”

    The answer:  It is a matter of choice

    Have another look at those definitions because therein lies the answer to the question.  The key words are “temporary” and “create”. From a best practice perspective - P3M3®, MSP®, PRINCE2® etc - a programme is a programme or a project is a project because you choose to create a temporary management structure. Nothing is inherently a programme or a project, it is simply an initiative with certain characteristics. Sure, if you look at the management tests they will provide ‘compare and contrast’ listings examining the characteristics of each. Ultimately, however, it is a choice that needs to be made: “should we run XYZ as a programme or a project?”.

    Implications

    In my opinion the implications are significant in that Government agencies in particular should be very clear about who is making these choices and on what basis.

    • Should you run the establishment of a new program as a programme?
    • Should you run a new program as a programme from cradle to the grave? 
    • Should you run some of the program as a project? 

    I think these questions deserve a far more considered response than “That’s not how you spell it”.

    Who is making these choices in your organization and on what basis?  I’d love to hear your views.


    What makes a good P3 Community of Practice?

    John Howarth - Tuesday, May 01, 2012

    If your organisation is targeting P3M3® level 3 maturity in portfolio, programme or project management then you need to address this question, because the P3M3 model expects that “Forums exist for sharing organisational experience to improve individual and organisational performance”.

    There are many good Communities of Practice out there already, however there is a problem – many of them are run by industry bodies or external organisations such as AIPM or PMI. While very well run and respected, they do not satisfy the P3M3 requirement, because it is has an organisational focus. 

    So, here are a few pointers to get you started with your internal communities (or help improve your existing ones).

    Why?

    Why have a Community of Practice? Don’t over-think this. The answer is simple – to share organisational experience in portfolio, programme or project management.  One thing you may wish to think a little more about though is whether you want one or multiple communities? That probably depends on who you want involved…

    Who?

    If your first thought is to get all the project managers together or all the people running PMOs in your organisation together can I respectfully suggest you pause and think deeper. The reason I say that is you risk ‘preaching to the converted’ and/or creating a community which isn’t inviting to others.

    I am not saying that project managers and people in PMOs should not be a part of the community, but rather you should cast you net wider. Interestingly, P3M3 provides a ready-made start-point for who you should target, in the sense that if you have already undertaken an assessment you will have identified those in key portfolio, programme and project management roles.

    Whether you are familiar with P3M3 or not, I do strongly recommend that you involve executives/sponsors (perhaps they have their own community?) and involve business-side people.

    What?

    Most Communities of Practice manifest themselves as a forum of some kind and to my way of thinking that is the best and easiest place to start before considering online content such as intranet sites. If you are going to share experience nothing beats talking with one another.

    The content of a forum/meeting will obviously vary but I think there are some golden rules:

    1. do provide time for people to chat, perhaps in a structured way such as ‘speed-dating’;
    2. do make it inviting for newcomers and sceptics;
    3. do share knowledge and experience. ‘Show and tell’ or story-telling is a great way to find out what is happening on the next floor in your building;
    4. don’t argue about who has the best approach; and
    5. don’t talk too technically – technique is fine, but it’s much more interesting (and useful) to consider how it works in the real world.

    Ideally in work time but not in the heart of peoples’ working day – breakfasts or late afternoon sessions seem to work well.

    Pick somewhere that is easy for people to attend. If you run it at your premises then try to find a nice room. How about you talk to the EAs in the Executive Suite - running the first P3 Community of Practice there will send a really positive message.

    Hopefully there are a few ideas here to get you started. If you are already running a successful P3 Community of Practice in your organisation please share your hints and tips so others can benefit from your experience.

    1 2 Next