Posts Tagged ‘pmo’

AI and the Project Manager

October 28, 2021

How the Rise of Artificial Intelligence Will Change Your World

A new book from the author of #1 best-selling book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’

Enabling project managers to adapt to the new technology of artificial intelligence, this first comprehensive book on the topic discusses how AI will reinvent the project world and allow project managers to focus on people.

Studies show that by 2030, 80 percent of project management tasks, such as data collection, reporting, and predictive analysis, will be carried out by AI in a consistent and efficient manner. This book sets out to explore what this will mean for project managers around the world and equips them to embrace this technological advantage for greater project success.

Filled with insights and examples from tech providers and project experts, this book is an invaluable resource for PMO leaders, change executives, project managers, programme managers, and portfolio managers. Anyone who is part of the global community of change and project leadership needs to accept and understand the fast- approaching AI technology, and this book shows how to use it to their advantage.

Available on Amazon world-wide.

www,thelazyprojectmanager.com

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The PMO Game Changer: A Value-Driven Project Resource Management

April 6, 2021

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1. What is a Value-Driven Project Resource Management?

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Project resource management by PMO has changed significantly in the last 20 years. It is no more a mere spreadsheet for allocating resources to the projects and plug the holes. It has evolved into a highly value-driven resource management solution.

A value-driven resource management is designed to help a business reduce project resource cost, increase billable/strategic utilization, beat market volatility and more. It can potentially become a key component of business profitability and sustainability.

This article would help you understand how a value-driven resource management can become a major game-changer for the PMO and become a profit centre for the business.

2. How Value-Driven Resource Management can be a Game Changer for the PMO?

Traditionally a PMO is seen as an administrative group setting up the project management standards and generating management reports. But in the last few years, a PMO has started evolving into a value centre. In this journey, modern resource management has become a key player. It can potentially deliver these values to the business.

  • Reduce Overall Project Resource Cost by 10-30%
  • Increase Billable and Strategic Utilization by 10-20%
  • Futureproof Your Workforce Against Market Volatility
  • Leverage the Skills Across Matrix Org. Boundaries
  • Improve Employee Productivity
  • Reduce Resource Acquisition Cost

These benefits might sound unreal. But they are definitely achievable by a modern resource management solution.

#1 Reduce Overall Project Resource Cost by 10-30 %

These are the capabilities of a value-driven resource management solution, which can help a business reduce overall project resource cost by 10-30%.

Minimize under/over skilled resources on projects: Both over and under-skilled resources increase the cost of the project. A modern resource management solution can help in identifying and allocating the right person with the right level of skill and experience.

Utilize cost-efficient global and local resources: An enterprise-level resource management solution can help you in allocating the right mix of local and global resources to the project. It can reduce resource cost significantly.

Minimize last-minute hiring cost and compromises: With proper resource capacity planning, one can forecast the future resource requirements and be proactive in acquiring the right resources at the right cost ahead of time.

Minimize hiring/firing wastageResource forecasting can help in identifying resource shortage ahead of time so that the internal staffs can be retrained or hire consultant or freelancer resources for short durations. It reduces unnecessary wastage due to hiring and firing.

Minimize Project Onboarding and Offboarding Time: An efficient and accurate resource planning and forecasting can help a PMO minimize onboarding and offboarding time.

#2 Increase Billable and Strategic Utilization by 10-20%

Maximizing billable utilization of resources in a professional service business is the key to profitability and sustainability. Similarly, maximizing strategic utilization of the resources is key to achieve the strategic goal of the business.

Improving billable and strategic resource utilization requires deep foresight into the overall utilization of resources. It is challenging work, especially in a matrix organization with a continually changing resource demand. But a modern resource management solution can help you get a real-time foresight into future resource utilization. So that corrective actions can be taken ahead of time.

#3 Futureproof Your Workforce Against Market Volatility

Market volatility in the last few years is continuously impacting the viability of every business. A smart resource capacity planning process can help you forecast a shortage or excesses of the resources and help you take proactive action.

Bridge Resource Shortage Proactively

  • Retraining existing employees
  • Smoothening the project workload
  • Hiring contingent resources ahead of time

Forward Plan and Utilize Excess Resources

  • Bringing forward future projects
  • Selling resource time aggressively
  • Restructuring capacity in different areas

#4 Leverage the Skills of Resources Across Matrix Org. Structure

In a matrix organization structure, it may be challenging to acquire a particular skilled resource in one location compared to others. With an enterprise resource management solution, a PMO can easily identify the person with the right competencies and utilize him/her in any part of the world. At the same time, a high skilled person also can be used to provide training and to a person on the bench.

#5 Improve Employee Communication and Productivity

A value-driven resource management solution provides end-to-end work management along with collaboration to ensure that employees are working productively onsite and remotely. This solution can help a business:

3. Best Practices of Enterprise Resource Management Software

Resource management has evolved a lot during the last few years. Matured businesses have adopted well-developed and defined practices to get the best value out of their enterprise resources. Following are the best practices adopted across the industries.

Enterprise Resource Scheduling: Replace Silos with a Single Plan
Replace silos of spreadsheets or home-grown tools with a single real-time resource plan across the whole enterprise. Establish a single source of truth about resource allocations to the projects or non-project work such as BAU, Support, admin, operation, and more.

Workforce Optimization: Allocate Right Resource to the Right Project
Identify cost-effective competent resources with a click of a button across a matrixed organization structure so that the right resource can be allocated to the right project at the right time at the right cost.

Resource Utilization Forecasting: Maximize Billable and Strategic Utilisation
Get foresight into the future utilization of resources with real-time forecasting and analyze how effective they are. Accordingly, move employees from non-billable work to billable or strategic work. Improvement in effective utilization has a direct impact on the profitability of the business,

Resource Capacity Planning: Minimize Shortfall or Excesses of Resources
Forecast shortfall and excesses of resources ahead of time by identifying the gap between resource capacity against demand. Accordingly build strategies to bridge this capacity gap by juggling around project timelines, retrain current employees or hire a contingent workforce.

Pipeline Project Management: Forecast Proactively for Future Projects
Forward plan resource requirements for future or pipeline projects. Start identifying and acquiring cost-efficient competent resources ahead of time. Avoid last-minute hiring and reduces the overall cost of the project.

End-to-End Project Forecasting: Gain Real-Time Foresight into the Future
Resource supply and demand scenario change fast in almost every business. So, it is critical to have a real-time forecasting capability and get an early warning at every stage of the project life cycle. It helps in early decision making and take corrective actions proactively.

Team Collaboration: Streamline Communication and Reduce Chaos
Enable team collaboration with the modern-day solution. It can seamlessly bring remotely distributed team on a single platform. Minimize waiting period and complete task efficiently in a lesser period.

Resource Modelling: Simulate and Improve Decision Making
Use what-if analysis to get the best possible project resourcing outcome within the existing constraints. It helps you in moving around the project’s timelines based on priorities and put low-priority projects on hold.

Business Intelligence: Real-Time Multi-Dimensional Data Analysis
Get real-time business intelligence for dynamically changing business scenarios. Do multi-dimensional analysis as per the specific requirements of stakeholders and get a granular view of data with configurable filters.

4. How to Select a Resource Management Software

Even though the fundamental principles of resource management may be the same, but every business has a set of unique requirements for the software. It depends upon the industry and type of business. So, selecting the right resource management tool is a complex process that requires a number of careful considerations.

Following are some of these criteria that can be used to evaluate the right resource management software: –

User Interface and User Experience
An essential part of software selection is that the end-user of the product likes user interface and can navigate through the system effortlessly without going thru too many clicks.

Manages Complexity of Matrix Organization Structure
Matrixed organization structure has multiple reporting lines making resource identification, allocation, utilization very hard. So, the software should be capable of overcoming challenges of such complexities and manage resource efficiently and take care of the needs of different stakeholders.

Needs to be Configurable, Expandability and Scalable
The software should be highly configurable to meet the specific needs of the business without compromise so that the business would have a competitive edge against the rivals. The software should also be expandable and scalable as per the growing needs of the business.

Capability to Reduce Resource Cost
Resource management software should help your business to do multi-dimensional forecasting so that the business can get real-time business intelligence to improve business performance, profitability, and productivity.

Provides Real-Time Business Intelligence
Resource demand changes every minute in real life. So, it is crucial to have real-time business intelligence, i.e. reports, analytics, and dashboards. It enables the management taking decisions based on the latest information

Integrates with Other Legacy Systems
Most businesses have already invested in enterprise-level systems. They hold quite a bit of data required by a resource management solution, i.e., resource profile, competencies, project detail, etc. So, the resource management system must integrate seamlessly with existing applications.

Provides High Return on Investment
Select a tool that provides a high return on investment in a short time. It should be possible to have a small phase of implementation without lots of investment so that the risk of investment and change management can be minimized.

5. The SAVIOM Solution

SAVIOM provides state of the art tool for supporting value-driven PMO. It has more than 20 years of experience working with high valued global companies around the world. SAVIOM also provides tools for enterprise resource management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software. So, SAVIOM can help your business to establish an efficient system geared towards your specific business challenges.

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The Balanced PMO

July 25, 2019

Balance2

As with most things in life (and business) getting a balance right can prove far more effective, especially in the long run, than having a single focus that ignores other key elements.

The same is true of the PMO.

A balanced approach will definitely pay dividends and will not only ensure that the PMO is as effective and efficient as possible but will also aid the acceptance of the PMO by the rest of the organisation.

For example, if your PMO is created solely with the purpose of being the ‘project police’ then you will be in for a very short run. No doubt the role of policing projects is one part of the PMOs responsibility but not the only part, such an approach may work for a short period of time but it is not sustainable. And if your PMO is focused on firefighting then again it will work for a while but not beyond a certan point as it is demoralising to only work on problem projects and deal with escalating issues. Far better is to prevent the fires from even starting.

One way to achieve such a balance in the PMO is to consider structuring your efforts under what I call the ‘5 Ps’:

  • P = People
  • P = Process
  • P = Promotion
  • P = Performance
  • P = Project Management Information System

5Ps

It may be tempting to just think of the PMO as all about the process, the means to ensure that good project management is achieved through methodology and quality assurance etc but that ignores the people side.

And it may be that your consideration is towards the project management community and your focus is drawn towards the people (projects are all about people after all) and so you direct your efforts as a PMO leader towards training and team building etc but this ignores the project mechanics.

You may also accept the need to build a good tracking and reporting system, supported by an investment in a project management information system, to deliver the visibility of project health and progress towards business goals.

But without the inclusion of a promotional program it could well be the case that all of the good work you, and your team, achieve in the areas of process and people will go unnoticed and unappreciated by both your peers and the executive.

As for what tools to use, well that can be tricky to work out (and time consuming) but you do need the right tools for the job – as an idea why not check out this neat way of getting some tools suggestions that really fit your needs https://crozdesk.com/operations-management/project-management-software/quote-form/the-lazy-pm

The best PMOs balance all of this to achieve the most effective development of capability, representation of capability and sharing of capability and achievement.  

Author:

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert who has built and led five global PMOs across several industries and has advised many other organisations on Change and Project 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 few 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

Professionalise Project Management

August 1, 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 – the extracts follow a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully – this is the final of the five challenges:

Invest in great project management skills – not just project managers

And how can you Invest in great project management skills? Perhaps we might begin with the PMO.

Since PMOs lead the project management community – either directly or indirectly, according to your PMO model (see appendices) – then by considering what the best PMOs offer we can gain some insight and see that:

  • The best PMOs have consistent, repeatable PM practices across the enterprise. All projects are held to the same standards and requirements for success. They have also eliminated redundant, bureaucratic PM practices that have slowed down projects
  • The best PMOs have the most experienced PMs in place and have a program underway to recruit the best PMs, develop their existing PMs into the best and to maintain this level of quality and experience
  • The best PMOs sponsor training and facilitate communities of practice to promote PM best practices in their organisations. Such communities of practice provide PMs with a forum to share their knowledge and share experiences

You can see that is not just a matter of recruiting the best project managers. That helps of course, as does developing the best project managers. Nor is it just having the best sponsors in place (we have covered that in some detail already), although having the best sponsors means that there should be a path for project managers to become sponsors.

It is not just about the provision of a ‘lean’ framework for these sponsors and project managers to work to – and by ‘lean’ I mean that every part should add value and not create unnecessary waste.

And it is not only about having a great project community – think way wider than just project managers in that community – or about having amazing education, mentoring, coaching or any means to raise skills.

It is about having all the above and anything else you can constructively think of providing to create an environment that provides and celebrates great project management skills.

To understand Challenge 5 further take a look at these three arguments:

  1. Project Management will always be a niche capability
    1. It’s the skill and experience of the individual project manager that makes or breaks a project;
    2. The need for success means that projects have to be driven by a ‘niche capable’ project manager;
    3. General managers will never have the time, the experience, the training, or indeed the skills, to manage any project beyond that which is simple in its goals;
    4. No executive gets promoted because of their project management skills; they get promoted for other reasons. Executives do not need project management skills but project sponsorship and product ownership skills.
  2. Project management is a core skill
    1. If you believe, as most evidence is now directing us, that we are moving to the ‘projectification’ of society, where work is less and less a line activity and delivered in the majority through projects, then it is clearly vital that all managers now understand the dynamics of projects and have basic skills and understanding of the process of project management to make the most out their organisation’s investments;
    2. All managers need to think in terms of controlled and carefully monitored delivery of outcomes, against a fixed budget and expectations of a quality outcome, that is as projects;
  3. Project management is both a niche capability and a core skill
    1. Project management methodology is a ‘core skill’ that all managers need to be aware of but, the actual project management activity is still a ‘niche capability’, for which additional training and experience are required to be successful;
    2. Managing a small, simple project is no big deal and most people can do it. Managing a large, complex project with substantial risk, diverse stakeholders, a geographically distributed team, multiple constraints and high stakes is best reserved for experts;
    3. The successful business of the twenty-first century recognises the value of niche project managers working under a supportive executive that has a foundation of project core skills.

I personally believe that there will always be a need for project managers, but what is also needed these days is a new management capability of successful project delivery. One man can’t do it all on his own (even Batman has Robin by his side).

All of which, I believe will make you reconsider the full project delivery capability within your own organisation, and then consider how well you and your organisation are supporting these project leaders.

To completely address Challenge 5 – invest in great project management skills – not just project managers – for as many people as possible to ensure that ‘projects’ are appropriately understood, and supported as a consequence.

We have now explored the five key challenges

  1. The challenge of investing in the right portfolio dashboard (getting a good and accurate view from the very top);
  2. The challenge of investing in real professional project sponsorship or executive leadership (project sponsors are from Venus if you remember);
  3. The challenge of investing at the C-level in a chief projects officer and, ideally, a PMO (added to the C-level);
  4. The challenge of investing in the means to know the true status of your strategic change/project investment (having good analysis and good reporting)
  5. The challenge of investing in professionalising the project capability and competence within your organisation (professionalise your project management).

It is now time to take stock, and to assess your own organisation’s position regarding these five challenges.

In the subsequent blogs we will cover five test points to apply against these 5 elements before moving on to describe five simple steps to move forward with all of the above in a controlled manner.

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/

A View from the Top

June 7, 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 – the extracts follow a series of 5 Challenges that I think every organisation should consider, and consider very carefully:

‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future’ John F. Kennedy

Challenge 1 – invest in the right Portfolio Management

Knowing the value of your investment in change, and the consequential cost of failure to deliver this change, is critical.

So how can you get across the message that executives need to stop failing their projects without looking like a project manager with a chip on their shoulder?

Fear is one way, so why not try this simple exercise when you get the opportunity. Putting a price on something works well, I find.

Start with your company project portfolio value (this should be a reasonable reflection of the strategic investment). For the sake of this example I am going to use pounds’ sterling but of course it works with any currency. I am also going to use a small portfolio value of say £20m; again, please insert your own figure here.

The next step will depend on the type of industry you are in but if we choose a typical regulated commercial model for a business it can be said that out of that total portfolio some projects are compliance driven and some business driven. In this example, we will use 40% as compliance and 60% as business growth projects. Therefore, in this example we have £8m invested in compliance projects and £12m in business development projects, again insert the appropriate figures for your organisation. A regulatory light organisation may devote only 20% of portfolio to compliance, with 80% devoted to growth.

You know your business so I will leave it up to you to decide.

But we don’t stop there. For each project to be sanctioned there must be a ‘value added’ benefit. For compliance projects this might be expressed better as cost impact. So, failure to deliver ‘X’ will result in a potential fine of ‘Y’, and/or a potential loss in self-certification of ‘Z’ and so on. All such failures have cost impacts. This may be a 2:1 ratio calculated as the potential penalties for non-compliance plus the actual project-investment costs. In our example this would be £8m multiplied by 2 plus the original £8m, which equals £24m.

Now for the rest of the portfolio, the business growth or development projects. There would be no point in investing £1 to gain £1, there must be a return on investment. In terms of a ratio that typically might be at around 4:1 (apply your own business factor here you should be able to find relevant figures in your business case approval process). Therefore, investing £1 would gain a return in investment of £4. Using the same maths as the compliance projects we now have in our example a total of £12m multiplied by 4 plus the original £12m, which equals £60m.

We now have a ‘true’ project portfolio value of £24m plus £60m which gets us to a chunky £84m.

And guess what? We haven’t even considered disruption of business costs during the projects. What shall we say here, maybe another 20% of the total portfolio investment, so about £16m or so? But the two types of project don’t behave in the same way. I suspect that the 40% we allocated as compliance project investment has a greater success ratio than the other projects. It is not that these projects are any more ‘healthy’ but the fear of non-compliance ensures that the company throws resources at these projects in a way that it doesn’t with the 60% that are business development projects, ensuring ‘success’ the hard (and costly) way.

Now if the compliance projects are ‘successful’ (he says smiling knowingly), then the other 60%, the growth projects, must carry even higher levels of potential failure.

Work out these figures now. In our example, we will use 10% across the whole portfolio for simplicity.

Can you work them out?

Do you have the data (the accurate and real data) to do this? If not, does that worry you? (It should.)

Looking back at our portfolio we said 40% was compliance activity and 60% was business growth but think about it, on balance how many of these growth projects represent real clear blue strategic change?

I bet that most are just to keep pace with your market and perhaps only 10% of projects represent real change. So again, if failure is the ‘norm’ and the focus on success tends towards the compliance end of the project scale, how successful is this 10% – the true change projects you have underway in the organisation?

I realise that these figures are open to interpretation and maybe my maths is a bit rough but you can see the general idea. It is a little like fantasy finances but the underlying points are that a) your portfolio is bigger than you think it is and b) unless you are in the special minority you probably don’t have a good insight into how this portfolio investment is being managed and how the organisation’s money (and future) is being protected.

In our example this takes a £20m base portfolio right the way up to £105.6m.

Extensive investment in strategy through projects needs to be backed up by real commitment to successful delivery and, whilst the development of good project managers backed up with appropriate processes and methods is critical, it is the clear responsibility of the executive leaders to connect such strategy to project activity and to sponsor these projects in a competent way.

Hopefully putting a value on the portfolio will have woken up the executives (or even you).

 

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/

Challenging the C-Level Executives

April 12, 2017

How to get Fired at the C-level goes beyond the constraints of a book.

To that end the author offers some focused workshops, keynote presentations and insightful supporting education to help organisations achieve the success in strategic change that they desire, and to help C-level executives understand the challenge and benefit from the opportunity.

This is all about bringing a reality check to your executive team, and help can be found right here.

If your organisation or team needs a short sharp executive ‘scare’ session (or reality check) then Peter Taylor can deliver this, customised for your organisation, your executive team and the time available.

If you need to take it to the next level of detail, then the author offers two specific workshops based on his book.

Both can be customised to suit your audience’s needs and indeed, a fully customised engagement can be proposed if you feel your organisation requires something very specific in order to help you look at what you should be considering and doing to make sure your change, your projects, your organisation and you are still around for the foreseeable future.

Workshop 1: Executives – stop failing your projects!

Yes! You read that right – not ‘Executives – stop your failing projects’ but ‘Executives – stop failing your projects’.

The report Why good strategies fail: Lessons for the C-suite published by The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited in 2013 stated in its conclusion that there was a need for increased C-suite attention to implementation (and therefore projects). It said, ‘Leadership support is the most important factor in successful strategy execution, yet a substantial number of survey respondents indicate that the C-suite is insufficiently involved’.

This is why I make the loud and bold challenge that executives are failing their projects and why I strongly believe the situation needs to stop – now!

The workshop will explore the true value of your strategic change portfolio (projects) – which will probably be bigger than you think – and will explain why it, you and your organisation are at real risk of failure (and wasting a lot of that financial investment).

What you should do about this critical situation is, of course, explained simply. The two key actions you need to take to avoid strategic change failure will be introduced, making this undertaking far less onerous than it would have been had you attempted it solo.

 

Workshop time                                           1 to 3 hours[1]

Participants                                                 C-level executives and senior project leaders

 

Workshop 2: Two key actions you need to take to avoid strategic change failure

If you are concerned about strategic change failure, and by association your portfolio of projects, then there are two key actions that can dramatically de-risk this potential situation.

Step 1: Strategies for project sponsorship

It is stated in the Standish Chaos Report, amongst many others, including PMI’s ‘Pulse of the Profession’, that the sponsor is the person who is ultimately responsible for the success (or failure) of the project, who represents the business and the business change. And yet, there is a chasm in many organisations between this statement and the reality of the professionalism and associated investment in development of those active sponsors.

We will explore the current challenges of project sponsorship maturity and offer some techniques for creating an effective sponsorship community as one of the two foundations of project success.

Step 2: Building the best PMO

Here will explore the true value of a good PMO in guiding project success and supporting the sponsor community in the management of the portfolio of project change.

We explore what is meant by a balanced PMO, a design developed by Peter, as well as presenting a new working model for project management excellence with the project academy concept.

This all adds up to a critical second foundation for project success.

The workshop will be an interactive experience with first-hand case study insights and the opportunity to spend some time with one of the world’s most experienced PMO leaders.

Workshop time                                           2 to 3 hours[2]

Participants                                                 C-level executives, senior project leaders, sponsors and PMO leaders

The workshops are standalone but related and follow the journey from strategy investment through to the key foundations of change/project success.

Also available are keynote presentations based on this book, on project sponsorship and PMO leadership.

Peter Taylor

Known as The Lazy Project Manager, Peter Taylor is a project management office (PMO) expert.

He is currently leading a global team of more than 200 project managers acting as custodians for more than 5,000 projects around the world from Kronos Inc., a billion-dollar software organisation delivering workforce management solutions.

Peter is also the author of eighteen books, including the number 1 bestselling project management book, The Lazy Project Manager. In the last four years he has delivered more than 200 lectures around the world on his mission to show people how to work smarter, not harder in their quest for career success.

www.thelazyprojectmanager.com and http://tailwindps.com/how-to-get-fired-at-the-c-level/

[1] Workshop timing can be customised to the availability of the audience – the shorter workshop focuses only on the high-level issues with minimal interaction time permitted, the longer workshop allows for a ‘deeper dive’ and with audience interaction and discussion

[2] Again, here the workshop timing can be customised to the availability of the audience – with the longer workshop allowing for some audience interaction and discussion

Warning Signs Your Sponsor Doesn’t Care About the Project—and How to Change That

July 8, 2016

Critical to any projects success is having a good project manager we all know but after that then it is pretty important to have a good project sponsor, in fact it can be argued that the project sponsor is the more critical role; but, like the saying goes, ‘you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives’ and the same is true of project sponsors.

There are many ‘types’ of project sponsor and some are really good at what they do but most can, at best, be described as the ‘accidental project sponsor’ – never having been trained, supported, or advised as to what is expected of them.

In ‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship’ the authors offer advice on many types of sponsor with suggestions for ways to work with them, or compensate for their ‘skills’ or ‘interest’ gaps. They also speak of the concept of a ‘balanced sponsor’ – being involved in the project, being objective about the project, being supportive of the project, and being reactive to project needs.

If your sponsor offers none of these key attributes and remains distant from the project, disengaged and/or disinterested, then first you need to find out the root cause:

  • Do they not know how to act as a project sponsor?
  • Or do they not believe in the project and don’t want to be associated with it in any way?

Test the reality with a one-on-one with the sponsor. If they are willing to give you time for such a meeting then it may be more a case of the former in which case:

  • Speak honestly about the issues that you are facing and the challenges your project is dealing with as a consequence of their lack of involvement.
  • Discuss what is expected of project sponsors and what the business also expects.

If it is the second reason then go back to the business case and explore the original thinking:

  • Did they have concerns at the start about the business case – and if so what were they?
  • Or do they see the role of the sponsor as a nuisance that is an added burden to an already busy schedule?

Based on this understanding you can plan a means to re-engage the sponsor if possible, and if not you need to plan to ‘fill the gap’ through your own efforts and any additional executive support you can obtain.

It has been said that ‘A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager’ – but wouldn’t we all be that much happier if that ‘giant leap’ was supported by a really focused and competent project sponsor?

 

 

 

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert currently leading a Global PMO, with 200 project managers acting as custodians for nearly 5,000 projects around the world, for Kronos Inc. – a billion dollar software organisation delivering Workforce Management Solutions.

Peter Taylor 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 4 years he has delivered over 200 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.

Are your Project Managers working too hard to be effective?

June 10, 2016

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‘Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.’ Robert Heinlein

During my time leading a number of PMOs across different organisations one thing was common across all of the project managers that worked under the PMO, and that was they generally could be placed in to two groups.

The first group was reasonably successful in leading projects to the point of delivery and sign off by the steering board and sponsor. But so too were the second group, they also led reasonably successful projects. The difference was in the time that they invested in doing this work. One group averaged a ‘normal’ working week (of course projects aren’t flat in their demand of project managers’ time investment but I am talking averages here) and the second group didn’t. They average many more hours.

The output was similar but the input was very different.

In my first book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ I advocated being a ‘lazy’ project manager but by that I meant a ‘productively lazy’ project manager. I didn’t intend that we should all do absolutely nothing and I wasn’t saying we should all sit around drinking coffee, reading a good book and engaging in idle gossip whilst watching the project hours go by and the non-delivered project milestones disappear over the horizon.  That would obviously be plain stupid and would result in an extremely short career in project management, in fact probably a very short career full stop!

No I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and to exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or indeed that do not need addressing at all in some cases.

The behavioural differences in those two groups of project managers was that the latter had not matured their project management style and failed often to delegate in the appropriate way, involved themselves in too much communication (often becoming a bottleneck slowing the communication process down) and placed themselves in the path of the majority of the decisions that needed to be taken (often becoming a bottleneck slowing the decision-making process down).

They were working very, very hard but they weren’t being really, really effective.

If you truly want to be a smart project manager, and to work in a more effective and efficient manner, then you need to start by asking yourself some fundamental questions when the next project comes along.

In ‘The Lazy Winner’, my second book on ‘productive laziness’ I talk about the 5 key tips or questions that everyone should ask themselves.

Tip #1: Do I want to do this piece of work, job or task etc? Even if I do want to do it, do I need to do it?

Don’t do something just because everyone else does it or because it is the ‘usual thing to do’. Just running with the pack is never going to allow you to take control of your own time and will only lead you in to over-commitments.

If you really want to change things for the better then begin by asking yourself two questions: ‘Is this really necessary?’ and ‘Is this really worth doing?’

If the answer is ‘no’ to either of these questions then simply don’t do it! Of course there will be times when you ignore this advice because you are compelled to get involved because ‘it is the right thing to do’ but really you need to make these exceptions just that, exceptional.

Challenge yourself the very next time you consider taking on some new work – ask those two critical questions ‘Do I need to get involved and do I want to get involved’. By addressing objectively the decision making process, rather than being swept up in enthusiasm, acceptance of delegation, or assumption that you do have to do something then you will be better prepared to a) do what is important and b) do a good job on what you accept is important.

Tip #2: Is the result or outcome worth my effort?

Only do the things with the most impact. It is all about applying the good old 80/20 rule. What are the most critical things that you need to get involved in? What is the 20% that will deliver the 80% of value (and not the other way around that most people do – often the easier actions that deliver a false sense of progress). Get the priorities right and you will achieve far more, and by prioritising this way and assessing if the outcome or output is worthwhile then you can help do what is most important.

Your time is limited (some people seem to believe that time is flexible and infinite but they also tend to over-promise and under-deliver) so invest it only in things that give you the most return on your personal investment. As with all of these guiding rules there will be exceptions but at least by starting with the all-important questions as and when you do ‘break the rules’ you will have done so with the right level of consideration and planning.

Tip #3: Do I have to do this myself?

Ask yourself if you really are the best possible person to do whatever it is that needs to be done or is there someone else in your network who is better qualified than you to do this thing? If there is then be generous and let them help you out.

The principle here is that allocating work to the best-suited person benefits everyone in the long run. Of course this cannot be done just to avoid work. You have to pick up some actions yourself.

The strength of saying ‘No’ should not be underestimated and saying ‘No’ can be a very positive thing, if you don’t say ‘No’, ever, then you will never achieve anything. There is the ‘what goes around comes around’ idea as well. Sometimes you shouldn’t say ‘no’ because despite the fact that you may not want to do something, need to do something and there is someone who could do it better, you do want to help out and be that team player or Good Samaritan.

Or, it is in your interests to take on a project so you can learn some new skills, in which case you may well not be the most obvious person for the job.

It is all about balance and priority. Overall you want to deal with the important stuff plus a reasonable amount of other stuff.

If you keep saying ‘yes’ then your backlog will never go down and you will spend far too much time working on the unimportant.

Tip #4: If you have to do it, then what is the shortest path to the point of success?

Don’t waste your time on the unnecessary. If it works in black and white don’t waste effort in creating a technicolour dream version of the same thing. What is the point after all if you are ‘just getting the job done’ (to the right quality level of course)?

Can you simplify it? Can you shorten it? If there’s something that you do that is complicated and difficult, find ways to make it easier and simpler. List the steps, and see which can be eliminated or streamlined. Which steps can be done by someone else or automated or dropped completely? What is absolutely the easiest way to do this?

Can it wait? Is it really needed when it is supposed to be needed? Will it impact on others if it waits? Sometimes, not always you understand, but just sometimes, not rushing into something can turn out to be a productively good thing as it turns out it didn’t matter anyway, or at least the need has gone away. We live in a complex world of interaction so at any given time just about everything is changing.

Do only the things that are necessary to get the job done. Cut everything else out!

Tip #5: What exactly is that point of success and at what stage will you just be wasting your time?

Having said take the shortest path to success there is a counter-argument that says can you make this of greater value in the long run. Can this be reused again and again? Can it have more value than just a ‘one-off’ piece of work? If it can, then scale it for a better return on investment.

To achieve project success in the most efficient way you always need to think ‘smarter and not harder’ and find that ‘productively lazy’ approach that will give you just as successful project together with a better work/life balance.

 

Bio

Peter Taylor is a PMO expert currently leading a Global PMO, with 200 project managers acting as custodians for nearly 5,000 projects around the world, for Kronos Inc. – a billion dollar software organisation delivering Workforce Management Solutions.

Peter Taylor 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 4 years he has delivered over 200 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.

Leading and Delivering the Best PMO for your Business

March 31, 2016

As a part of the PMI Australia Conference (Adelaide 30th and 31st May) where I will be delivering a keynote on ‘The Social Project Manager’ – I will also be leading a one day master class on 1st June on ‘Leading and Delivering the Best PMO for your Business’ at Flinders University in the CBD, Adelaide.

By adding this post-conference Masterclass to your registration, you get the chance to spend a whole day learning from one of the most experienced PMO leaders in the world.

Numbers are strictly limited for the Masterclass, so please make sure you book early to guarantee your spot.

  • For Conference delegates:  $400 (full-day).
  • For non-delegates:  $600 (full-day).

As a registered delegate, it is an easy 4 steps to add a Masterclass to your registration.  Go to the online form at https://www.plevinevents.com.au/pmi2016.php

  1. tick the box “I am already registered”
  2. add your name
  3. select the Masterclass and
  4. make payment.

For further information about each Masterclass go to http://www.pmiac.org.au/masterclasses/

I look forward to meeting you in May.

EVENT MANAGEMENT

Plevin and Associates Pty Ltd

PO Box 54

BURNSIDE 5066

South Australia

 

Tel. Nat. (08) 8379 8222

Tel. Int. +61 8 8379 8222

Fax. Nat. (08) 8379 8177

Fax. Int. +61 8 8379 8177

Email: events@plevin.com.au

Give me ‘C’

March 11, 2016

I have seen in the companies that I have worked for, and I am sure that you have all seen it as well, the special ones amongst us that are on a fast track up through the organisation destined for the hallowed ground of ‘C’ level appointment. We all watch in awe and wonder at the skill and ability in acquiring new skills and mastering new responsibilities and generally doing a whole better than us.

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And there is nothing wrong with that at all. They experience the company as broadly as possible with experiences in finance and in sales and in marketing and in manufacturing and even sometimes in services perhaps. They get first-hand experience of the component parts of the businesses that they will one day lead and this is a really valuable preparation. These are the ones identified as having future leadership potential and any company will invest in such people for their joint futures.

Sadly I have yet to see a future ‘C’ work their way through the project arena, the PMO, the project management practise. It seems as if, when it comes down to it, that the project side of the business (as opposed to the operational side of the business) is maybe a little less important, a little less attractive?

There is a danger of cause in putting a non-project person in charge of projects.

A comment from my recent PMO Survey summed it up with ‘the management in charge of the PMO are highly experienced operational managers, each with a significant and solid track record. Unfortunately that expertise does not translate into projects where the deadlines, delivery management and interaction between different role-players are significantly more acute than in operational management’.

So perhaps the ‘C’ is not immediately destined for the PMO leadership role but surely there is a critical need for such future leaders to understand the nature of their ever increasingly project based activities.

Take an action all of you PMO leaders – talk to the ‘powers that be’ and to the fast track talent development agencies in your companies and open up your PMO with an invitation to ‘come on in and enjoy the experience’.

In the long run it will only benefit the PMO, your projects, you yourself and, of course, the organization. Projects are here to stay and with the increase in project activity inside organisations then really the next generation ‘C’ level should understand as much as they can about our world.