Why You Need to Become Business Agile

May 11, 2018

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-why-you-need-to-become-business-agile.html

In the first of this 3-part webinar series, we will explore ways to not only significantly reduce change failures but also how to dramatically raise the capability, speed, and success rates of delivering strategic change in any organization through the adoption of a ‘business agile’ change structure.

Join our webinar to learn:

  • Evolution and Stasis of Project Management: Challenges and Failures
  • Best Practices and Pitfalls of Change Management
  • Business Agility and the Obstacles to “Going Business Agile”

Sign up today. Space is limited.

How to get fired at the c-level * All attendees who fill out a brief survey at the end of the webinar will receive an e-book copy of Peter Taylor’s: How to get Fired 

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-why-you-need-to-become-business-agile.html

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Mentoring the Next Generation

March 1, 2018

It was one of those moments. I was thinking that I really should get writing again and get some blogs out there in the big wide web of wonderment, but couldn’t think what to say or write about, and then ‘wham’, I get a message through my website contact form www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

It said ‘I would like to share my knowledge to the next generation PMs’ and asked for any guidance or advice in doing so.

Serendipitous or what? Well I think it was.

Mentoring is a long term relationship where the focus is on supporting the professional growth and business development of the recipient, the less experienced partner in the mentoring relationship, the mentee as it is officially known. The mentor should be a source of wisdom, teaching, and support, therefore real world experience is a must. You have to have put in the time and had the personal experience of the good, the bad and the ugly of project life in order to be a good mentor I believe. And the mentor is someone who observes, discuses, considers current behavior and issues and gently guides changes for the better where needed. Again, this is a call for a certain type of individual, we are not all cut out to be mentor material.

But let’s say you are the ‘right stuff’ and you do have some time to mentor others, how would you go about it?

At this point I would offer up, in not a call to action, but at least a call to comment, to the readers of this blog. How would you suggest someone with the experience, with the interest, with the time and with the general inclination to go about becoming a ‘mentor’?

Whilst I wait patiently for your input and general wisdom like contributions let me consider these questions:

  • Why do you want to be a mentor?
    • Altruism or profit?
    • That is do you just want to give back and it is all free and open, or do you want to profit financially from the effort – it is possible both can be true of course
  • One or many?
    • Do you want to offer a one to one mentorship engagement for just a lucky individual or do you want to offer a larger more mass gathering type of mentoring program? Or perhaps something in between?
  • What is the style of mentorship you are thinking of offering?
    • Face to face, remote/virtual, on-line?
  • And how long are you committing to?
    • What is your personal timeline of dedication to this program and/or each individual?
  • How will you set expectations amongst your mentees (or mentee)?
    • What is truly in it for them – especially if you are asking for money?

I spoke some time ago in an article entitled ‘Green Bean PMs’ about the three things that any newbie would benefit from and this included finding a mentor – so there is a real need out there for smart, experienced people to give back to their profession in some way:

  • Give them a safe place to start
    • Projects are, by their very nature, tricky beasts and for a ‘newbie’ to learn the practical skills of project management we should ensure that they enter the PM world in a controlled way. Hopefully being handed a new project to lead and being told to ‘get on with it’ (as I was when I became a PM) is long gone.
    • Rather we should allow the ‘Green beans’ to experience project reality by taking up a small part in another project managers project, and watching and learning and getting involved in a small way.
    • In addition, if there are project reviews, health checks, and retrospectives taking place (and I really hope that there are) then this is another great entry experience for the young ones to see and learn.
    • Another safe(r) environment might be internal projects – rather than external customer facing ones.
    • Key is to make the environment of learning a safe one.
  • Give them a friendly place to work
    • Where should they work and report when they first start out? Well don’t leave them out in the cold and without peers and project professionals around them. If you have a project practice then this is the place to nurture those ‘beans’.
    • Make it easy for them to ask the questions that they will need to ask and make it easy for them to see experienced project managers in action.
    • We all know that there is a world of difference between theory and practice so give them the support they need to move away from the theory.
    • Key is to make it easy for them to find out all of the stuff that will need to find out.
  • Give them a helping hand
    • Appoint a mentor from out there in project management land who will be there to listen to them from time to time and gently point them in the right direction when they need help – such a person will be invaluable to the ‘beans’ in the early days of being a project manager.
    • Encourage them to make the effort to look outside your organization and connect to some truly wonderful project managers and experts out there on the www. There is a huge amount of advice and guidance through local project management groups, through conferences and meetings, through the online discussions and blogs, and lots more. (It may be in this area the ‘Green’ ones might have the upper hand on us ‘Grey’ ones since all this social connectivity is second nature to them).
    • Key is to build the best possible network for now and the future and to use it wisely.

So thank you my website visitor for triggering this blog and subsequent conversation – and thank you all my lovely readers for sharing your ideas, thoughts, suggestions, experiences and general wisdom with regards to the value of mentorship, and the path to becoming a mentor.

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert who has built and led five global PMOs across several industries, and has advised many other organisations in PMO and PM strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship.

In the last 5 years, he has delivered over 350 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

3 Wishes for 2018 – Dubai, Reykjavik, Rio

January 10, 2018

As the new year kicks off and I look ahead at my wish list diary I came up with three things I would love to be able to do in this year. Well to be precise, three places I would love to visit – ideally speaking about what I love, project management, whilst I am there.

So, if you are part of a company or project organisation in these places (and others to be honest, it is a big, big world after all and I really haven’t been anywhere near everywhere yet…) then I would love to hear from you right away – www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

  1. UAE,Dubai – I had such an amazing time at the Dubai Internation Project Management Forum in 2015 that I would truly love the opportunity to return!
  2. Iceland, Reykjavik – Yes I keep putting this on my wish list, it so nearly happened in 2014 but sadly, it was not to be that time around – but hey, Iceland! I am ready, willing and able!
  3. Brazil, Rio – Having been twice I really want to return for a third time – Rio has a special place in my heart and besides, I never got to hang-glide down to the beach last time!

There you have it, three places on my wish list – two I want to return to and one I have never ever visited. Can you help? Then get in contact and let’s talk about bringing productive laziness and all things project management to your part of the world.

And, of course, anywhere else in the world is equally interesting.

Peter

I need your Presentation Experience

December 29, 2017

So here’s the thing – I have, as it turns out, two slightly unexpected weeks free (before I start a new and exciting job) and I thought ‘why not write a book?’ – and why not indeed.

But that isn’t too long so I then decided a) I would write a book where I had a lot of the material already and b) I would go and get some help from all the ‘Lazy PM’ fans out there in the world (see, ‘productive laziness’ in action).

I decided to write a small book based on my very popular ‘A Presentation on Presentations’ – as the blurb says ‘We aren’t born to be professional level presenters but through this entertaining presentation the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of good presentations are explored along with a ‘how to prepare’ for that all important event. With a few simple lessons taught through the very medium of ‘presentation’ the audience will take away some great ideas for improving their own technique and ‘death by PowerPoint’ is definitely not the outcome’.

And this is where I need your help.

I need your stories of presentation experience – the good, the bad, and the really ugly. I need your top tips for what makes a great presentation. I need anything that you feel would add to the value of this book to help other people deliver better presentations in the future – hey, you might be in the audience so it is really in your own best interests.

If it is a top tip leave your name and the tip in reply to this post, in the comment box – or if it is a longer story then contact me and I will let you have my email to send me your story/experience that way.

But I am moving fast – the book will be done by 14th January so if you want to share, then share today!

Thank you – Peter

The Project Manager who Smiled

December 15, 2017

Probably the best gift you can give the Project Manager in your life …

How many project managers does it take to change a light bulb?

A better question to ask is perhaps ‘how many project managers does it take to have a good project?’

I think just the one, if they have a real sense of humour and an appreciation for the value of ‘fun’ in a project team.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group said ‘Have fun, success will follow. If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured… A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life’.

Now whilst there are, quite rightly, lots of books about the serious side of the profession there are none that address the more enjoyable aspects, and so I give you ‘The Project Manager Who Smiled’.

A superb resource of inspiration and entertainment; you’ll find this book invaluable in creating successful projects since:

  • A good laugh not only reduces tension and relieves stress, but also helps to increase team bonding and boost morale;
  • When you’re happy, you are more productive, more creative, more open, more likeable and a better leader.

It is packed full with ideas and jokes, inspirational thoughts and quotes, suggestions and maxims, anecdotes and all manner of good material that I just know you will steal and use in your own projects – and that is exactly what I want you to do.

Walt Disney said ‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible’ but, unfortunately, many project managers seem to think, or have been trained to think, that ‘It’s kind of impossible to do the fun’ when in reality I say ‘It’s kind of not possible to not do the fun when you’re trying to do the impossible, or something close to the impossible’.

I do really believe in all of this fun stuff you know. Time flies when you are having fun and project work gets delivered, and delivered well, when the project team is having a jolly good time.

This book is packed full with ideas and jokes, inspirational thoughts and quotes, suggestions and maxims, anecdotes and all manner of good material that I just know you will steal and use in your own projects – and that is exactly what I want you to do.

Go ahead and don’t be shy out there – fill your boots!

In between all of my personal thoughts and the great submissions I received from project managers all over the world there are some superb contributions under the heading of ‘PM Celebrity Gossip’ from some project management experts that I have had the pleasure of meeting, and in some cases, working with, in the past. I know you will love these.

And there are two fabulous case studies of organisations ‘walking’ with joy on the fun side of the project world, and not only that, seeing some real return on the investment as a result.

Serious: Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 350 presentations around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

Fun: Peter Taylor is a recovering second generation Virgo with a penchant for occasionally dressing up as a root vegetable and generally getting bored when there hasn’t been a laugh or a smile in the last 60 minutes.

The Lazy Project Manager Podcast

December 7, 2017

Have you checked out my podcast?

Peter Taylor The Lazy Project Manager Podcaster Speaker Author

Well episode 183 included two fascinating interviews with Cedric Waldburger (a man with no office and no home but with many enterprising initiatives going on in his life) and Parikshit Basrur – Executive | Academic | Researcher (another really interesting guy)

Interested? Check it out here http://www.thelazyprojectmanager.com/podcaster

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert who has built and led four global PMOs across several industries, and has advised many other organisations in PMO and PM strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship.

In the last 5 years, he has delivered over 350 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

 

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/parikshitbasrur/

Twitter @parikshitbasrur

LinkedIn https://ch.linkedin.com/in/cedricwaldburger

FB: https://www.facebook.com/sendtask.io/

Catsuits and Parachutes

December 6, 2017

The following is an extract from my new book ‘How to get Fired at the C-Level: Why mismanaging change is the biggest risk of all’ in association with my friends at Tailwind Project Solutions – previous extracts followed a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – and now we will look at the 5 tests of control:

Challenge 4, if you remember, was all about investing in good analysis and in good reporting so that the precious portfolio of change is well looked after and cared for, in a kind of management by exception sort of way.

This book is not the book to advise you on what portfolio reporting or dashboard solution to choose and it is not about how you should go about implementing such a solution (I did suggest one specific dashboard view you might ask for from any supplier and/or solution though so make sure you lock that one down).

But I would like to offer some general advice and it is in the area of scale or being ‘fit for purpose’.

There is a great presentation by Tom Peters where he talks about some organisations that get so big that they forget about some of the basic, simple, everyday stuff.[1]

He produces a tiny shampoo bottle that he has taken from a hotel bathroom and he asks, rhetorically, ‘who was the average user of this bottle?’ The answer being that most likely this was going to be used by a middle-aged business traveller who more than likely wore reading glasses. He then asked, still rhetorically, ‘where was this likely to be used?’ And the answer this time was of course it would be used when the middle aged business traveller, who most likely wore reading glasses, was taking a shower. He paused for effect and summed up; this product was most likely to be used by this guy in a shower without his reading glasses in in steamy environment with water running and when he wanted to decipher between the two almost identical bottles of shower gel and shampoo. Result: frustration and improper use of products.

A definition of ‘fit for purpose’ is ‘something that is fit for purpose is good enough to do the job it was designed to do’, but you could argue that the shampoo bottle, standing next to the shower gel bottle, and sometimes also next to a ‘body lotion’ bottle, is fit for purpose. The trouble is you need to distinguish the shampoo bottle first to then use it and for it to truly become ‘fit for purpose’.

When it comes to reporting then this very much applies. Your portfolio reporting process and solution needs to be a good ‘fit’ for the purpose you wish to put it to, practical, usable, understandable, with the right data in it.

Yes, you can have the all-singing, all-dancing, let’s take this barn and put on a show with fireworks and banners approach and good luck to you – you might need it but almost certainly not. This is the ‘parachute approach’ making the solution so copious and all-covering that there is no danger in being exposed in any way – but guess what? You can’t move in it, well not very fast anyway, and it isn’t particularly suitable for most needs (unless you are actually jumping out of a plane of course but this is actually a metaphor so not relevant), and most of the material is wasted.

The alternative approach is to make it as minimal as possible, only the bare data available, lean and focused, tight as can be – this is the ‘cat-suit approach’ which does the job, precisely and nothing more – this is a good looking solution for sure and this may well work, but probably not, someone will want something extra (and justify that they need it) and suddenly you are making alterations, without any spare material to make that even remotely possible without causing an embarrassing rip.

The sensible approach is, of course, somewhere between the ‘parachute approach’ and the ‘cat-suit approach’ – perhaps the ‘It’s Friday dress down day in the office comfortable jeans with stretch denim approach’ or something like that.

Make it fit for purpose just don’t take the whole ‘fit for purpose’ too far:

In a circus, the Bearded Lady and the World’s Strongest Man fell in love, and decided to start a family. Soon the Bearded Lady fell pregnant[2].

A few weeks before she was due to give birth the Bearded Lady and the Circus Ring-Master were talking.

‘How’s it going?’ the Ring-Master asked, ‘Are you well?’

‘Yes thanks, we are very excited’ said the Bearded Lady ‘We have so many plans for the baby and we want to be supportive parents’.

‘That’s great’ said the Ring-Master ‘Do you want a boy or a girl?’

‘Oh, we really don’t mind as long as it’s healthy’ said the Bearded Lady ‘Oh and it fits into the cannon…’

TAKE THE TEST: The action for you now is to look at your reporting and ensure that it is right for your needs, the executive team’s needs, and the business needs. Can you access the data you need to make the right decisions? Is that data accurate and timely? Does it truly represent the change underway inside your organisation?

If not then best do something about that fast or you will be making ill-informed decisions, or worse no decisions at all.

Tailwind Project Solutions was formed in 2014 to provide a bespoke approach to project leadership development. Owned by Director & CEO Alex Marson, the organisation works with large FTSE 250 clients including some of the biggest companies in the world in the Asset Management, Professional Services, Software, Automotive, Finance and Pharmaceutical industry.  The company has a team of world-class experts who provide a bespoke approach to the challenges that our clients have, and the company was formed because of a gap in the market for expertise which truly gets to the heart of the issues clients are facing – providing a robust, expert solution to change the way that companies run their projects.

At the time, the market was becoming flooded with training companies, providing a ‘sheep dip’ approach to project management, and the consensus was that This didn’t solve the real challenges that businesses and individuals are experiencing in this ever-increasing complex world of project management. The vision was to hand-pick and work with the very best consultants, trainers and coaches worldwide so that Tailwind could make a difference to their clients, to sit down with them, understand their pain points, what makes them tick, and what is driving their need for support.

These challenges being raised time and time again are in the project leadership space, from communication issues, not understanding stakeholder requirements or having the confidence to “push back”, lack of sponsorship support, working across different cultures, languages, levels of capability and complexity. We expect more from our project managers – we expect them to inspire, lead teams and be more confident.

Tailwind’s experience is vast, from providing interim resources in the project and programme management space, supporting the recruitment process, experiential workshops, coaching – from project managers through to executives, providing keynote speakers, implementing PPM Academies, PM Healthchecks and Leadership development. The approach is created often uniquely – to solve the real challenges of each of their individual clients.

http://tailwindps.com/

[1] Originally published in ‘Project Branding: Using Marketing to Win the Hearts and Minds of Stakeholders’ (RMC Publications, Inc. 2014) – author Peter Taylor

[2] Originally published in ‘Project Branding: Using Marketing to Win the Hearts and Minds of Stakeholders’ (RMC Publications, Inc. 2014) – author Peter Taylor

How to avoid a Project

November 24, 2017

The following is an extract from my new book ‘How to get Fired at the C-Level: Why mismanaging change is the biggest risk of all’ in association with my friends at Tailwind Project Solutions – previous extracts followed a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – and now we will look at the 5 tests of control:

The Cycle of Engagement (some also refer to this as the Cycle of Resistance, but that might be considered somewhat cynical) describes some typical stages in a project. Not stages of the project lifecycle you understand but stages of even getting to the project lifecycle, in getting the project started – despite the business case being approved and the project being well and truly ‘in the portfolio’

It goes something along these lines:

Corporate change initiative approved and announced, everyone cheers loudly. Kick off meeting (party) fueled by marketing spend is completed.

A department or team are asked to pick up the project and implement the change in relation to their day to day work.

The cycle commences…

  1. Ignore- Take a project logo’d beanie hat and mouse mat from the program kick off meeting and put on your desk, and then actively ignore the project for as long as humanly possible through non-communication
  2. Avoid – When ignoring the project, no longer works then instead loudly welcome the project initiative and then dodge your department or team being involved through any avoidance tactic you can think of
  3. Argue – When called out on this behaviour start arguing that you really aren’t the best team/department/group to be active at this point in time – if you can get away with pointing the finger at an alternative (and clearly in your opinion, better placed team/department/group to go before you) definitely do that – it may buy you more time
  4. Impact – An extension to the argument step can be that the impact is too much to bear right now and if only you can wait a few weeks/months/years (delete as appropriate) everything will be so much better and you can really focus
  5. Cost – Throw in cost as well if you can – this always gets people’s attention especially if you can challenge the assumptions on the initial business case (and if you can point to another team/department/group better placed i.e. more cost effective i.e. cheaper, to go before you then go for it)
  6. Start – Finally, you will most likely reach a point of acceptance (more than likely as a result of you wanting to keep your job) and the project, the change will finally be undertaken in your department/team etc’ – did out those logos’ goodies and shout ‘hallelujah’ for all to hear
  7. Fast – Then immediately ask a) what is the fastest way to get this done and dusted and b) can you just copy another team/department and make the change – even if it doesn’t really fit your real needs

You see what is happening here – no real commitment or buy-in, only lip service to the change and the value of that change.

Back to that classic isn’t it?

1.           What do we want? ‘Change’ comes the loud reply from all

2.           Who wants change? All hands go up as one

3.           Who wants to change? No hand goes up

Ensuring a successful change, it is necessary to create that clear vision and to make sure people are ‘on board’ with that change.

TAKE THE TEST: If you recognise this behaviour inside your organisation then you definitely have an attitude issue and your organisation needs to do a whole lot of Organisational Change Management[1] (OCM) and generally get out there making people realise that this stuff is important.

Tailwind Project Solutions was formed in 2014 to provide a bespoke approach to project leadership development. Owned by Director & CEO Alex Marson, the organisation works with large FTSE 250 clients including some of the biggest companies in the world in the Asset Management, Professional Services, Software, Automotive, Finance and Pharmaceutical industry. The company has a team of world-class experts who provide a bespoke approach to the challenges that our clients have, and the company was formed because of a gap in the market for expertise which truly gets to the heart of the issues clients are facing – providing a robust, expert solution to change the way that companies run their projects.

At the time, the market was becoming flooded with training companies, providing a ‘sheep dip’ approach to project management, and the consensus was that This didn’t solve the real challenges that businesses and individuals are experiencing in this ever-increasing complex world of project management. The vision was to hand-pick and work with the very best consultants, trainers and coaches worldwide so that Tailwind could make a difference to their clients, to sit down with them, understand their pain points, what makes them tick, and what is driving their need for support.

These challenges being raised time and time again are in the project leadership space, from communication issues, not understanding stakeholder requirements or having the confidence to “push back”, lack of sponsorship support, working across different cultures, languages, levels of capability and complexity. We expect more from our project managers – we expect them to inspire, lead teams and be more confident.

Tailwind’s experience is vast, from providing interim resources in the project and programme management space, supporting the recruitment process, experiential workshops, coaching – from project managers through to executives, providing keynote speakers, implementing PPM Academies, PM Healthchecks and Leadership development. The approach is created often uniquely – to solve the real challenges of each of their individual clients.

http://tailwindps.com/

[1] Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a framework structured around the changing needs and capabilities of an organization. OCM is used to prepare, adopt and implement fundamental and radical organizational changes, including its culture, policies, procedures and physical environment, as well as employee roles, skills and responsibilities.

The ESP connection

November 18, 2017

The following is an extract from my new book ‘How to get Fired at the C-Level: Why mismanaging change is the biggest risk of all’ in association with my friends at Tailwind Project Solutions – previous extracts followed a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – and now we will look at the 5 tests of control:

Another quick test of control is the ‘Executive board to Sponsor to Project Manager’ relationship or the ‘ESP’ connection test.

Let’s start with the simplest form of this test by asking ‘Is there one?’.

Does the executive team interact with project sponsors on a regular basis, perhaps are they even the executive sponsors themselves? And do the sponsors interact and engage on a regular, bi-directional manner with the project managers?

Come up with a ’No’ at any of these connections and you have trouble ahead. You do need all three and you do need them connected and communicating.

If you don’t declare a complete and utter ‘No’ then the next step of the ‘ESP’ test is to consider any weak points in this ‘Executive board to Sponsor to Project Manager’ relationship. Here we can go back to the question of do the executives understand change (and projects), and/or do the change sponsors understand what it means to be such a sponsor, and how to go about being and effective sponsor, before arriving at the project management community and asking they know what they are doing, do they have experience and are they supported in skills and tools and method?

Such a consideration will allow another perspective on the robustness of your entire change management structure and to focus where there is a need.

One point here. If there is a problem at say the ‘E to S’ connection and also at the ‘S to P’ connection, then the priority has to be to focus and fix the ‘E to S’ problem first as the higher the issue the bigger the issue is in my personal experience.

TAKE THE TEST: Consider each level on the ESP connection and evaluate the change leadership maturity at each level – then assess the strength of connection at each of those touch points, ‘E to S’ and ‘S to P’.

Tailwind Project Solutions was formed in 2014 to provide a bespoke approach to project leadership development. Owned by Director & CEO Alex Marson, the organisation works with large FTSE 250 clients including some of the biggest companies in the world in the Asset Management, Professional Services, Software, Automotive, Finance and Pharmaceutical industry.  The company has a team of world-class experts who provide a bespoke approach to the challenges that our clients have, and the company was formed because of a gap in the market for expertise which truly gets to the heart of the issues clients are facing – providing a robust, expert solution to change the way that companies run their projects.

At the time, the market was becoming flooded with training companies, providing a ‘sheep dip’ approach to project management, and the consensus was that This didn’t solve the real challenges that businesses and individuals are experiencing in this ever-increasing complex world of project management. The vision was to hand-pick and work with the very best consultants, trainers and coaches worldwide so that Tailwind could make a difference to their clients, to sit down with them, understand their pain points, what makes them tick, and what is driving their need for support.

These challenges being raised time and time again are in the project leadership space, from communication issues, not understanding stakeholder requirements or having the confidence to “push back”, lack of sponsorship support, working across different cultures, languages, levels of capability and complexity. We expect more from our project managers – we expect them to inspire, lead teams and be more confident.

Tailwind’s experience is vast, from providing interim resources in the project and programme management space, supporting the recruitment process, experiential workshops, coaching – from project managers through to executives, providing keynote speakers, implementing PPM Academies, PM Healthchecks and Leadership development. The approach is created often uniquely – to solve the real challenges of each of their individual clients.

http://tailwindps.com/

ABI Evaluation

September 30, 2017

The following is an extract from my new book ‘How to get Fired at the C-Level: Why mismanaging change is the biggest risk of all’ in association with my friends at Tailwind Project Solutions – previous extracts followed a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – and now we will look at the 5 tests of control:

ABI stands for ‘Allocate, Burn or Invest’ and is a way of looking at how organisations truly ‘manage’ their change investments after they are sanctioned.

From the previous ‘Control Test’ of portfolio value you will now know the ‘what’, that is the ‘what is the value of our change investment’, which is an excellent start.

Now we come to the ‘so what’ part.

‘So what do we do with this change investment?’

The ‘A’ for allocate is when an executive team take the first part of the process very seriously and exhaust many, many hours scrutinising business proposals and change propositions, evaluate alternatives and options, ponders long and hard, challenges and re-challenges the change advocates and then allocates the money, whilst at the same time (in much the same way as in the Men in Black films) erase their minds of the change investment and everything that just occurred in order to carry on with the rest of their business responsibilities and business as usual.

What happens with this ‘Allocate’ path is that there is no ongoing control of the changes that have been launched and success is very much dependent of the under-lying organisational team and the priorities that the feel they have. Success is possible but far from ensured.

The second answer to the ‘So what do we do with this change investment?’ is the ‘B’ for burn. The allocate option works to some degree if there is some maturity of project delivery inside the organisation, it works if there are people who care, and it doesn’t work if these are not in place. In this situation, the allocate actually becomes a ‘burn.

Anything that is approved will be left to burn away (think of it as money on a bonfire) and be destined to not deliver most or any of the expected business benefits. Without management and control and accountability, alongside that maturity in change delivery, it will be wasted – perhaps not truly burnt but money used a little here and a little there, a resource ‘borrowed’, and a little help provided over there on that other important activity. The bottom line is it will go and the benefits will not replace its disappearance.

The third, and final, answer to the ‘So what do we do with this change investment?’ is the ‘I’ for investment. Here are in that happy place where the executive team do take the first part of the process very seriously and exhaust many, many hours scrutinising business proposals and change propositions, evaluate alternatives and options, ponder long and hard, challenges and re-challenge the change advocates and then finally allocate the money, but they do not forget all about it. They remember, they care, they enrage, they get updates and ask for status analysis and business benefit realisation progress and so much more.

Forgetting ‘burn’ (and I think you will agree we should) then ‘allocate’ means to distribute (resources or duties) for a particular purpose, which is a bit of a one-way process, whereas ‘invest’ means to ‘put (money) into a commercial venture with the expectation of achieving a profit – less of a one-way process and more of a ‘two-way/we’d like to get something back’ process to me.

And this requires ongoing and continual interaction with the change underway.

TAKE THE TEST: Think of your own organisation and (honestly) decide if you are an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘I’ type of executive team? You might even take it down to the individual executive team member (or make it personal to yourself perhaps) asking ‘is this person’, or ‘am I’ an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘I’ type?

Once you know this you can contemplate what this means for that big number you came up with in ‘The true value of change’ exercise.

Tailwind Project Solutions was formed in 2014 to provide a bespoke approach to project leadership development. Owned by Director & CEO Alex Marson, the organisation works with large FTSE 250 clients including some of the biggest companies in the world in the Asset Management, Professional Services, Software, Automotive, Finance and Pharmaceutical industry.  The company has a team of world-class experts who provide a bespoke approach to the challenges that our clients have, and the company was formed because of a gap in the market for expertise which truly gets to the heart of the issues clients are facing – providing a robust, expert solution to change the way that companies run their projects.

At the time, the market was becoming flooded with training companies, providing a ‘sheep dip’ approach to project management, and the consensus was that This didn’t solve the real challenges that businesses and individuals are experiencing in this ever-increasing complex world of project management. The vision was to hand-pick and work with the very best consultants, trainers and coaches worldwide so that Tailwind could make a difference to their clients, to sit down with them, understand their pain points, what makes them tick, and what is driving their need for support.

These challenges being raised time and time again are in the project leadership space, from communication issues, not understanding stakeholder requirements or having the confidence to “push back”, lack of sponsorship support, working across different cultures, languages, levels of capability and complexity. We expect more from our project managers – we expect them to inspire, lead teams and be more confident.

Tailwind’s experience is vast, from providing interim resources in the project and programme management space, supporting the recruitment process, experiential workshops, coaching – from project managers through to executives, providing keynote speakers, implementing PPM Academies, PM Healthchecks and Leadership development. The approach is created often uniquely – to solve the real challenges of each of their individual clients.

http://tailwindps.com/