Stage 1: Establish organisational strategic objectives


Organisational Strategic Planning & Execution

Series Article 1 of 5

By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia

 



INTRODUCTION

This is the first of a series of five articles on organisational strategic planning and execution. The series will discuss, in turn, each of the five stages of strategic planning and execution shown in Figure 1, which is based on models used in some of my recent articles in this journal (e.g. Stretton 2017l, 2018a, 2018b).

Figure 1: An organisational strategic management framework, with project contributions

This model (now somewhat modified) places project planning and implementation in the broader context of organisational strategic planning and execution. My previous articles were particularly concerned with project contributions to achieving strategic objectives. In this series I will be more concerned with the five strategic management stages per se, but will not attempt a comprehensive coverage of these. Rather I will tend to focus on particular issues that do not appear to be adequately covered in the project management literature, and/or where there are significant differences of perspective by different writers.

This first article of the series is about Stage 1: Establishing organisational strategic objectives. It will be primarily concerned with summarising some of the extensive work that needs to be done in “deliberate” strategic contexts before strategic objectives can be reasonably established; the increasing importance of “emergent” strategies in times of increasingly rapid change; the need to re-establish strategic objectives as the latter come into play – all of which makes strategic management a dynamic, rather than relatively static, series of processes, and which I have tried to reflect in the (new) summarised descriptor in the Stage1 text box.

SOME ATTRIBUTES OF TRADITIONAL ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY

Organisational strategy has long been a major subject in its own right

A great deal has been written in the general management literature about organisational strategy, and I do not pretend to be in a position to attempt to encapsulate these materials in a relatively short article. However, the following chapter headings from Johnson & Scholes 1999, in their book “Exploring Corporate Strategy”, give an indication of the types of issues they believe need to be covered.

  1. Corporate strategy: An introduction
  2. Strategic management in practice
  3. Analysing the environment
  4. Resources, competences and strategic capability
  5. Stakeholder expectations and organisational purposes
  6. Bases of strategic choice
  7. Strategic options: Directions and methods of development
  8. Strategy evaluation and selection
  9. Organisation structure and design
  10. Resource allocation and control
  11. Managing strategic change

This represents what Booth 2018 has called a traditional “textbook” approach. The related strategies have often been described as “deliberate” strategies.

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About the Author



Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 190 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected]

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/

 

 

The Value of Benefits

If you can’t track it, you can’t manage it!

 

Applying Earned Benefit Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Crispin ‘Kik’ Piney

Southern France

 



Introduction: Reminder on Benefits Maps

In the first of this series of articles [Piney, 2018a; Piney, 2018b], I presented the basic ideas around program and portfolio. These concepts were illustrated on a simple case study. This introduction provides a brief reminder of these ideas.

Benefits and Benefits Mapping

As stated in the earlier article, whereas, for projects, you need to be able to specify precisely what you want to create, for programs as well as for portfolios, the objective is different. The question to be answered in this case is “how can I achieve a specific business or strategic benefit?” The approach for defining the solution is to create a benefits map. The output of this mapping exercise is a logical network that can be read in two directions.

The map illustrates how to make the benefits happen. Once the required benefits have been defined by the strategic sponsor, you need to determine all of the steps that are required in order to identify the component projects required in order to achieve the strategic objectives. The dependencies between these logical steps are quantified with respect to the size of the contribution of the source node to the required result. In conjunction with the forecast value of the strategic objectives, this link information allows the forecast contribution of every node in the benefits map to be evaluated. Comparing the calculated contribution of each component project with its estimated cost provides a measure of its business value: its forecast benefit-cost ratio.

The Case Study

The business objective of the program in this example is to increase profits for an organization in the area of customer service. For the purpose of the case study, strategic analysis has shown that increased customer satisfaction with after-sales support enhances business results and has the potential for delivering a benefit of €300,000 per annum compared with the current level of business. The steps to achieving this benefit have then been developed from this required strategic outcome all the way across to identifying the projects required. Analysis of this solution indicates that it will also lead to an increase in operational costs amounting to 25% of the corresponding benefit, thereby reducing the net benefit to be achieved by the program. The benefits map for this program, including all of the financial numbers mentioned above is shown in Figure 1. One important point about this case study is that, although the overall figures show a healthy return on investment, one component project (B: Call Handling Tool) costs more to develop than in contributes to the final benefit. The first article, however, explained why its inclusion was justified.

The benefits map provides you with a static view of the forecast result of the completed program. However, the addition of the Earned Benefit concept to benefits mapping provides additional, essential information for tracking the performance of the program during implementation.

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About the Author


Crispin Piney

South of France

 

 

After many years managing international IT projects within large corporations, Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, B.Sc., PgMP is now a freelance project management consultant based in the South of France. At present, his main areas of focus are risk management, integrated Portfolio, Program and Project management, scope management and organizational maturity, as well as time and cost control. He has developed advanced training courses on these topics, which he delivers in English and in French to international audiences from various industries. In the consultancy area, he has developed and delivered a practical project management maturity analysis and action-planning consultancy package.

Kik has carried out work for PMI on the first Edition of the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3™) as well as participating actively in fourth edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and was also vice-chairman of the Translation Verification Committee for the Third Edition. He was a significant contributor to the second edition of both PMI’s Standard for Program Management as well as the Standard for Portfolio Management. In 2008, he was the first person in France to receive PMI’s PgMP® credential; he was also the first recipient in France of the PfMP® credential. He is co-author of PMI’s Practice Standard for Risk Management. He collaborates with David Hillson (the “Risk Doctor”) by translating his monthly risk briefings into French. He has presented at a number of recent PMI conferences and published formal papers.

Kik Piney is the author of the book Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy, published by CRC Press in 2018

Kik Piney can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Kik Piney, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/crispin-kik-piney/

 

 

Expanding the Risk Management Universe

 

Risk Doctor Briefing

SERIES ARTICLE

Dr David Hillson, PMI Fellow, HonFAPM, FIRM

The Risk Doctor Partnership

United Kingdom

 



Like the physical universe, the risk management universe is expanding. This is true in two distinct ways, with enhanced depth of analysis and increased breadth of application. We might describe these as the micro perspective (looking very closely at the nature of the risks we face), and the macro perspective (looking at the bigger picture to see if we are missing anything). In addition to these, we need to think about how to manage the risks that we currently cannot see.

  • First is the micro perspective, where new advances in risk analysis are providing improved insights into the nature of risk, and developing new approaches for the effective management of risk and its impacts. Risk practitioners are committed to their profession, and it is not static. The high rate of publication of research papers and case studies and the release of new techniques and support tools provide evidence of a dynamic and developing discipline. Risk management has not settled but is continuing to develop and break new ground.
  • Progress is also being made on the macro level, with discovery of new dimensions to the risk management universe. The use of a structured approach to understanding and managing significant uncertainty is proving valuable in hitherto unexpected areas. Several fields are adopting “risk-based” approaches, including auditing, remuneration, social policy, communication, etc. It may only be a matter of time before these novel applications become full disciplines in their own right, adding new dimensions to the risk management universe.

Finally we should consider the risks that are currently invisible to us. Astronomers have realised that there is more to the physical universe than meets the eye or than can be detected using current instrumentation technology. Many have suggested the existence of “dark matter” to make their equations add up…

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About the Author


Dr. David Hillson

The Risk Doctor
United Kingdom

 

 

Dr David Hillson CMgr FRSA FIRM FCMI HonFAPM PMI-Fellow is The Risk Doctor (www.risk-doctor.com).  As an international risk consultant, David is recognised as a leading thinker and expert practitioner in risk management. He consults, writes and speaks widely on the topic and he has made several innovative contributions to the field. David’s motto is “Understand profoundly so you can explain simply”, ensuring that his work represents both sound thinking and practical application.

David Hillson has over 25 years’ experience in risk consulting and he has worked in more than 40 countries, providing support to clients in every major industry sector, including construction, mining, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, financial services, transport, fast-moving consumer goods, energy, IT, defence and government. David’s input includes strategic direction to organisations facing major risk challenges, as well as tactical advice on achieving value and competitive advantage from effectively managing risk.

David’s contributions to the risk discipline over many years have been recognised by a range of awards, including “Risk Personality of the Year” in 2010-11. He received both the PMI Fellow award and the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for his work in developing risk management. He is also an Honorary Fellow

of the UK Association for Project Management (APM), where he has actively led risk developments for nearly 20 years.  David Hillson is an active Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to contribute to its Risk Commission. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and a Member of the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Dr Hillson can be contacted at [email protected]

To see other works previously published in the PM World Journal by Dr David Hillson, visit his author showcase at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-david-hillson/

 

 

Working in the shadows

Exposing our inner demons

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



Last month’s column focused on the complexity of the terrain and the difficulty in mapping and making sense of the full scale of reality. An earlier article focused on creation of a culture of cooperation between different disciplines. This article shifts attention to the complexity of individuals, and the cultures and organisations within which they operate. In particular, it highlights the role of light and shadows in determining what we can see and do.

Shadows may conjure up childhood images of playful finger and hand shapes of animals and magical creatures projected onto a wall in front of a torch, flashlight or fire, or perhaps invoke memories of elongated shapes manipulated at dusk, which lengthen as the twilight descends, until they are subsumed by the surrounding darkness when the sun is no longer visible.

The Oxford Dictionary offers two pertinent definitions: ‘a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface’, or, a term ‘used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom’. Upon reflection it thus becomes possible to focus on two main types of shadows:

  • The darkness that forms: the former description offered by the Oxford Dictionary refers to the shadow created when an opaque, or translucent, object casts a shadow, as it does not allow the light project projected from a source to pass straight through it.
  • The darkness that lurks: The latter definition acknowledges a more profound phenomena that could refer to a shadow of war impacting a country; a shadow of performance-enhancing drugs that blights a particular sport; a shadow cast by pests, vermin or disease, or some other threat; or even a more ominous shadow in the mind that encases the soul in darkness. Certain cultures, religions and mythologies also associate shadows with ghosts, demons or the underworld.

The common feature across both types of shadow is the absence of light, which manifests itself as a certain kind of emerging darkness.

Searching under the lamppost

Light seems to play an important part in driving local inquiry and emboldening the search for knowledge, while shadows and darkness, stifle the local search.

There is an old parable and joke about a police officer who observes a drunken man furiously searching under a streetlight. After a few minutes the police officer approaches to discover that the man had lost his house keys. The officer joins the search, as they both thoroughly and systematically comb the area underneath the streetlight. After repeating the search three or four times, the police officer asks the man if he is absolutely certain he lost the keys there, to which the man replies, ‘no, I lost them over there in the park’.

The officer proceeds to ask why he is searching in that particular spot, and the man replies that ‘this is where the light is

Searching under the lamppost is also known as ‘the streetlight effect’ or the drunkard’s search. It was popularised by Abraham Kaplan (1964), and has become an increasingly acknowledged and recognised observational bias where people search by looking in the easiest places. Farris (1969) observes that no matter where behavioural scientists have dropped their keys, they prefer to continue to search for them where it appears lighter, while Freedman maintains that ‘researchers tend to look for answers where the looking is good, rather than where the answers are likely to be hiding’ (2010).

The temptation to look under the light, where it is easier to organise a search, continues to appeal to many disciplines (see for example, Shanto & William, 1993; McKenna et al., 2008). Indeed, Noam Chomsky dryly reasons in a 1993 letter that ‘Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that’s where the light is. It has no other choice.’ (reported in, Barsky, 1998; p. 95)

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 


 
About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 


Darren Dalcher
, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Shadow Working in Project Management

Towards new levels of consciousness in groups

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Joana Bértholo, PhD

Portugal

 


                                                        

 ‘I have yet to meet the famous Rational Economic Man theorists describe. Real people have always done inexplicable things from time to time, and they show no sign of stopping.

— Charles Sanford Jr., US business executive, quoted in Ket De Vries, M. (2003; p. 1)

The book Shadow Working in Project Management (Bértholo, 2017) is the result of a research project undertaken from 2009 to 2014. It tells the story of an experiential autoethnography, the Learning Journey, which sought methods to address unconscious and subconscious traits as they manifest in groups/projects. After this Journey, the author was equipped to return to the literature in project management and explore the implications of the Shadow, to try to answer the main research question – What are the most prevailing Shadows in project management culture? For that, some auxiliary questions had to be addressed, namely

  • What is the Shadow and how does it play out in the life of projects?
  • To what extent and in what way is project management influenced by unconscious factors in its practice and culture?
  • To what extent is the manager’s role the fulfilment of a psychological projection or an archetype?
  • In what ways is the Shadow related to personal development and organizational change?

The varied answers draw a map of the dominant Shadow-issues in project management practice and culture.  In the forward to the book Resonant Leadership, Goleman (2005; p. x) writes that: ‘The first task in management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses the challenge of knowing and managing oneself’.

Management is not limited to outer circumstances and resources. Fundamental processes are happening within. Through internal management, the experience of the manager is less an outcome and more a process. Any situation becomes: ‘an encounter with the grander, more complex system described by the new sciences and the organizational systems literature. It also demystifies the relationship to this vast unknown, depotentiates the need for willful control over the environment and over other people in other roles.’ (Jones, 2004). These quotes illustrate some guidelines to the research. In addition, important premises were:

–        The existence of an unconscious realm;

–        The project manager as someone who participates in a shared psychological structure wherein unconscious factors play a significant role;

–        Individuals deny traits that belong to them, but which stand as a threat to their sense of self or ego identity;

–        These denied traits appear projected in the external environment and create conflict and tension;

–        The collective in itself as a source of tension between individual and collective needs;

The consequences are manifold. The way a project manager handles a situation cannot be solely attributed to personality, nor is it merely a result of acquired competencies and learned conduct. These rational aspects, although they are ever present, are in fact in relation to a larger totality. The Shadow is a permanent part of that larger totality, and it comes up generally through conflict or emotionally charged situations; in lack of drive or motivation; addictive and compulsive behaviour occurs, sensations of strong instability; somatic bodily symptoms, diseases, nervous ticks, allergies, and all sorts of bodily manifestations, among other forms the Shadow has to show itself.

What is outside of awareness plays out in our everyday lives (see Freud, Jung, Wilber, Zweig). Projection and transference mechanisms are the central mechanisms by which the Shadow manifests. These terms have been retrieved from the somewhat obscure jargon of the analyst or the psychologist and are being integrated in popular discourse, as well as in PM theory. Bowles defined the Organization Shadow as the ‘facts which organizations wish to deny about themselves, due to the threat posed to self-image and self-understanding and, more generally, the need to be viewed in a favourable light by others.’ (Bowles, 1991; p. 387). It is a useful extrapolation of the definition of the individual Shadow. When we speak about the Shadow of a project we are speaking about the Shadow of that project’s active culture at play, in the sense of its values, norms, etc. Different projects carry different Shadows, and the quest for a Shadow-free project is fruitless, as is the quest for a Shadow-free human being.

We all carry Shadows, they change through time, but they are not something we can get rid off, they are something we can be aware of and that can lead us to a more mindful life. According to Jung (1966; pp. 284-5) ‘[The Shadow is] the thing a person has no wish to be. It is everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him – for instance inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies.’ The Shadow is that about ourselves we find unpleasant or unbearable. It contains aspects that appear contrary to the ego ideal or to the ego identity. Therefore, it becomes a reservoir of untapped potential, rich in raw emotions and primal drives, the disavowed, poorly developed and undervalued contents of the individual psyche – but also our highest morality, creativity, and power (the Light Shadow). When the disliked qualities are removed from view (positive or negative traits) they are also removed from supervision. They do not stop existing. Instead, they play out in unpredictable ways, usually erupting unexpectedly, potentially in hurtful forms to self or others. Afterwards, a deep sense of humiliation, shame, or guilt can be experienced. These are clear Shadow-pointers. “Confrontation with the shadow produces at first a dead balance, a standstill that hampers moral decisions and makes convictions ineffective or even impossible. Everything becomes doubtful.” (Jung, 1963; para 708).

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


Joana Bértholo, PhD

Portugal

 

 

 

Joana Bértholo is a researcher, novelist and playwright. She first attended the Fine-Arts in Portugal, with a focus on Communication Design, and later obtained a PhD in Cultural Studies in Germany. Art processes are her preferred mode of research, using writing as a platform to investigate a wide scope of interests, such as technology, ecology, sustainability and the darker aspects of groups and communities.

Joana Bértholo is the author of Shadow Working in Project Management: Understanding and Addressing the Irrational and Unconscious in Groups, published by Routledge, ©2018

 

 

Benefits Maps You Can Count On

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!

If you measure it wrong, you can’t control it!

 

Applying Earned Benefit Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, PgMP, PfMP

South of France

 



Introduction: The Limitations of Current Benefits Maps

Whereas, for projects, you need to be able to specify precisely what you want to create, for programs as well as for portfolios, the objective is different. The question to be answered in this case is “how can I achieve a specific business or strategic benefit?” The approach for building the solution is to create a benefits map. There are four principal models for this (Fujitsu’s/Thorp’s ‘Results Chain’ [2007]; Cranfield’s ‘Benefits Dependency Network’ [Peppard et al. 2007]; MSP’s ‘Benefits Map’ [Office of Government Commerce 2011]; and Bradley’s ‘Benefits Dependency Map’ [Bradley 2010]) and they all work on similar principles [White 2015, Jenner 2013, and Jenner 2014]. The output of the mapping exercise is a logical network that can be read in two directions as explained next.

The map illustrates how to make the benefits happen. Once the required benefits have been defined by the strategic sponsor, the following steps allow you to build the map. You need to determine, in order: the changes to the environment that are required in order allow the benefit to occur (“outcomes”); what we need to be able to do if we want to change the environment in this way (“capabilities”); what tools we need in order to create these capabilities (“deliverables”); and, finally, what we need to do to create the tools (“component projects”).

This chain can be read in the reverse direction to explain why each step is necessary: from project to deliverables, to the capabilities of these deliverables, to the outcomes of applying the capabilities, to the benefits associated with the outcomes.

The diagrams associated with the development of the case study explained below provide examples of benefits maps (figures 1 to 5).

In the same way that the London Underground map gives no indication of cost or distance, current benefits maps do not provide a complete set of numbers to allow you to plan every aspect of your journey. I have found some tools that go part of the way to quantifying the map – such as P3M [P3M] and the tool from Amplify [Amplify]. However, even these tools do not provide a credible view of the allocations and contributions for every node in the map.

Without these numbers, business justification and modelling are incomplete. The same holds for performance planning, optimization, tracking, and review with respect to the required benefits.

This article explains how to fill this gap and evaluate some of the missing numbers. It is explained based on the following case study.

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Editor’s note: This series is by Crispin “Kik” Piney, author of the book Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy, published by CRC Press in 2018. Merging treatment of program management, benefits realization management and earned value management, Kik’s book breaks important new ground in the program/project management field. In this series of articles, Kik introduces some earned benefit management concepts in simple and practical terms.



About the Author


Crispin (Kik) Piney

Author, Business Advisor
South of France

 

 

After many years managing international IT projects within large corporations, Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, B.Sc., PgMP is now a freelance project management consultant based in the South of France. At present, his main areas of focus are risk management, integrated Portfolio, Program and Project management, scope management and organizational maturity, as well as time and cost control. He has developed advanced training courses on these topics, which he delivers in English and in French to international audiences from various industries. In the consultancy area, he has developed and delivered a practical project management maturity analysis and action-planning consultancy package.

Kik has carried out work for PMI on the first Edition of the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3™) as well as participating actively in fourth edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and was also vice-chairman of the Translation Verification Committee for the Third Edition. He was a significant contributor to the second edition of both PMI’s Standard for Program Management as well as the Standard for Portfolio Management. In 2008, he was the first person in France to receive PMI’s PgMP® credential; he was also the first recipient in France of the PfMP® credential. He is co-author of PMI’s Practice Standard for Risk Management. He collaborates with David Hillson (the “Risk Doctor”) by translating his monthly risk briefings into French. He has presented at a number of recent PMI conferences and published formal papers.

Kik Piney is the author of the book Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy, published by CRC Press in 2018

Kik Piney can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Kik Piney, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/crispin-kik-piney/

 

 

Choosing to Change

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By David Bentley

United Kingdom

 



The profession of project management is in its widest sense that of facilitating change. Whatever the context, it is essentially a process of creating something new from an existing situation. How we should best manage the process of change and create the best possible outcome has exercised management thinking for many decades.

It is one of the eternal paradoxes of life, that through the ages we constantly seek the security of continuity, sticking to the status quo, whilst life, and the world that we live in, inevitably changes. Politicians and financiers call for stability in the economy, markets and international relations knowing full well that it can’t and does not happen. Harold MacMillan, UK Prime Minister 1957-63, is reputed to have answered the question put to him by a journalist ‘What is most likely to blow governments off course?’ saying ‘Events, dear boy, events’. The exact words spoken and indeed the attribution is questioned, but the observation is clear. The best formulated policies and detailed planning will always be victim to the unpredictable. The events that continually emerge creating unexpected change.

Over the course of the past half century I have witnessed a rapid and accelerating pace of change. In technology, the advent of the computer and the revolution in access to information through the internet. In transport, from the post war spread of the motor car replacing horse drawn transport to the prospect of driverless cars and in health, evidenced by the extension of life expectancy. In all areas of modern life, we are constantly experiencing change but still we tend to be taken by surprise when it happens and resist it happening.

My professional career has been spent managing many facets of change. As a construction project manager I was involved in the planning and creating of change. Whilst it was, on the face of it, the physical change of building roads, utility plants and buildings, it was in fact that, most of my time in that role, was spent dealing with the unexpected. However detailed the planning and scheduling of the works a three-dimensional structure is being created from a two-dimensional plan or nowadays perhaps a virtual image. The interpretation of the detail required will always mean that the building created is emergent from those plans and change will be an integral part of the process. The time spent on crafting contracts and resolving disputes arising from the changes that happen are testament to that. Working now in organisational change the same applies. We can plan the change in great detail and strive to make the communication of the change as clear and widespread as possible. We can follow the latest model for change management but the unexpected will always happen. People will react in unpredictable ways. Sometimes resisting change that would appear, on the face of it, to be of clear benefit to them. Other times changing in ways that they did not expect themselves and being highly successful.

Whilst pursuing my career in change management I have been challenged to radically change my views on the nature of organisations. To re-evaluate what I was doing when planning a construction project and how I understood the reactions of the people that I was working with and the cultural changes. By chance I happened to choose to do an MBA course at the University of Hertfordshire that included taking a view of management theory that was developing out of complexity theory. A view that accepts unpredictability, takes human interaction as the basis of organisation and pays attention to what is actually happening rather than creating a model of what we think should be happening. It is in taking this complexity-based view that provides us with an understanding of what motivates people to accept or reject change. Providing an approach to managing change that works with individuals to make the choice to change and determines the way that change happens.

The mainstream approach to contemporary management and organisational theory that has been developed over the course of the twentieth century is founded on the application of scientific research principles. That is, by conducting experiments, taking measurements and analysing data we can come to a theory of how something works and then use that knowledge to predict and influence what may happen in the future. The ultimate assumption of this way of thinking being that, given sufficient time and research effort we will eventually discover the ‘theory of everything’ that will enable us to control our destiny.

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


David Bentley

Author, Business Consultant
United Kingdom

 


David Bentley has many years of experience working in business planning and improvement through change management at the corporate level both in the private sector and embedded with public sector organisations, with a multi-national engineering consulting company and more recently in delivering organisational and cultural change programmes as an independent consultant.

As a Chartered Civil Engineer, his background is in construction planning and managing projects in the highways, water and power sectors. Working on the introduction of IT systems and quality management led to a career in business and change management and a Director level position with a major international engineering consultant, working on highways network management, in the UK and Australia.

Supported by an MBA and a PhD in Business David has strong leadership experience with teams of change agents and working to deliver significant benefits in business development and cultural improvement. Working in SHEQ management and business improvement for DownerMouchel in Perth, Western Australia, embedded in the state roads authority, Mainroads WA, involved bringing together a team from multiple ethnic backgrounds and melding the public and private sector ethos into an effective working team. David’s particular skills in training and coaching in management, systems development, process mapping and improvement, procedure development, audit and systems accreditation inform David’s approach to successful change delivery.

David’s work as an independent business consultant has involved a diverse range of organisations from providing business planning and support to local charity groups through small not-for-profit organisations to transformation projects for global companies and the provision of management training in the nuclear reclamation sector.

Recent project work brought together David’s range of skills. Providing management training, process improvement and procedure development and performance management was combined with his experience in culture change and mentoring to help in the delivery of significant financial returns, team working and individual performance. Most recent work has included advising on strategic direction, business development and implementing performance improvement strategies for a global support services business.

David is also the author of ‘Choosing to Change – an alternative understanding of Change Management’, published by Routledge, ISBN-10 1138237892 in 2018.

 

 

The map is not the territory

Musings on complexity, people and models

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



In a recent article, we explored the potential use of a map in enabling decisions and facilitating forward movement and progress, even in a foggy or highly challenging contexts. The point made was that the process of mapping, as opposed to blindly following a map, enables reasoning and adjustments to emerge so that corrections can facilitate improved performance and a more purposeful journey.

Indeed, mapping and navigation provide the basis for a journey into less certain and less recognisable terrains, with a general goal or overarching purpose’ (Dalcher, 2018; p. 6).

This article explores the issues related to both maps and mapping in complex and unpredictable terrains.

So what is the problem with maps?

Maps have been in use for centuries. The Oxford Dictionary defines a map as a ‘diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc.’, implying that they offer a depiction or a picture of the earth.

Maps are known to represent key facts, often extending beyond location information to feature temperature, rainfall, prosperity, education or any other pertinent facet or feature. Maps are thus utilised to emphasise particular relationships that the cartographers consider to be of interest. Consequently, it is important that the users recognise the intended purpose of a given map and select an appropriate type (e.g. physical, political, geological, climatic, relief, thematic, topographical, economic, resource, road, navigational chart), projection (cylindrical, pseudo-cylindrical, conic, azimuthal, gnomonic, etc.), and scale. In other words, the choice of a map needs to be fit for the observational or navigational purpose and the expected goal.

People utilise maps for many varied reasons, including (Hessler, 2015):

  • To find their way
  • To assert ownership
  • To record human activity
  • To establish control
  • To encourage settlement
  • To plan military campaigns
  • To demonstrate political power

While maps have enabled humans to comprehend their surrounding environment, they have also played a critical part in labelling, establishing and claiming power across neighbours, regions and resources. Hessler’s list of reasons seems to comprise only a single item focused on guiding the journey. Indeed, Rankin (2016) reasons that maps provide the means for governments to understand, manage and defend their territory, pointing out that during the two world wars maps were produced by the hundreds of millions. Barber and Harper (2010) note that maps use size and beauty to convey messages of status and power, while Monmonier (2010) observes that some maps control behaviour by providing the basis for regulating some activities and prohibiting others (for example, by designating residential zones and locating chemical plants outside cities).

Maps hold immense value, and are often taken to be a rational, unbiased and objective representation of reality. However, Wood (1992) asserts that maps, like photographs, represent a subjective point of view. King (1996) concludes that there can be no such thing as an objective map reproducing a pre-existing reality, as powerful choices will always have to be made about what to represent and how, and what to exclude. Black (2000) affirms that maps are coloured by the political purposes of their makers, therefore arguing that map-making and map-using cannot be divorced from aspects of the politics of representation. Monmonier (2014) maintains that maps lie, and the choices that mapmakers make – either consciously or unconsciously – mean that a map, far from being objective, can present only one version out of the range of possible stories about the places it depicts.

Why is Europe at the top half of maps and Africa at the bottom? Although we are accustomed to that convention, it is, in fact, a politically motivated, almost entirely subjective way of depicting a ball spinning in space. As The Power of Projections teaches us, maps do not portray reality, only interpretations of it. To begin with, they are two-dimensional projections of a three-dimensional, spherical Earth. Add to that the fact that every map is made for a purpose and its design tends to reflect that purpose. Finally, a map is often a psychological projection of the historical, political, and cultural values of the cartographer-or of the nation, person or organization for which the map was created.’ (Klinghoffer, 2006, back cover)

More…

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge. Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM. Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ.



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 


Darren Dalcher
, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK. He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board. He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Applying Earned Benefit

Introduction to a new Series

By Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, PgMP, PfMP

France

 



PM World Journal has kindly agreed to publish a series of articles based on my recent book ”Earned Benefit Program Management”. These articles will appear on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule and are planned to cover the following topics:

  1. “Benefits Maps You Can Count On” will explain how to develop and quantify a model to describe the steps required in order to deliver the strategic benefits from a program or portfolio of projects.
  1. “Introduction to Earned Benefit” will provide an initial introduction to this novel performance measurement technique that builds on the Earned Value Method to focus on achievement of the planned beneficial outcomes.
  1. “Completing the Benefits Map” will develop the benefits map quantification further to provide intermediate cost/benefit values for all components of the benefits map.
  1. “Enhanced Earned Benefit” will address the challenges raised by “essential dependencies” between components and their effect on realistic earned benefit calculations.
  1. “Using the Benefits Map to Understand Stakeholder Attitudes” will demonstrate how the fully-quantified benefits map can be used for advanced stakeholder analysis.
  1. “Benefits Map Risk Analysis” will present an original concept that goes beyond the ideas in the book to address analysis of the risks associated with the assumptions in the benefits map.

Reference

Piney, C. Earned Benefit Program Management, Aligning, Realizing and Sustaining Strategy. CRC Press, 2018

Editor’s note: We are excited to announce this new series of articles by Kik Piney, based on his book recently published by CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. Merging treatment of program management, benefits realization management and earned value management, Kik’s book breaks important new ground in the program/project management field.  What could be more important to program and project stakeholders than realizing and accounting for benefits as they occur?



About the Author


Crispin (“Kik”) Piney

France




After many years managing international IT projects within large corporations, Crispin (“Kik”) Piney, B.Sc., PgMP is now a freelance project management consultant based in the South of France. At present, his main areas of focus are risk management, integrated Portfolio, Program and Project management, scope management and organizational maturity, as well as time and cost control. He has developed advanced training courses on these topics, which he delivers in English and in French to international audiences from various industries. In the consultancy area, he has developed and delivered a practical project management maturity analysis and action-planning consultancy package.

Kik has carried out work for PMI on the first Edition of the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3™) as well as participating actively in fourth edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and was also vice-chairman of the Translation Verification Committee for the Third Edition. He was a significant contributor to the second edition of both PMI’s Standard for Program Management as well as the Standard for Portfolio Management. In 2008, he was the first person in France to receive PMI’s PgMP® credential; he was also the first recipient in France of the PfMP® credential. He is co-author of PMI’s Practice Standard for Risk Management. He collaborates with David Hillson (the “Risk Doctor”) by translating his monthly risk briefings into French. He has presented at a number of recent PMI conferences and published formal papers.

Kik Piney can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Kik Piney, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/crispin-kik-piney/

 

 

Let’s Talk Money

Project Business Management

By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

 



Summary

Based on a recent case of a defaulted project provider in the United Kingdom, the author recommends to put a stronger focus on profitability of customer projects, a topic that is rarely discussed in project management. This profit is needed to protect the performing company and also people and other organizations that depend on its health.

Customer Projects between Need and Greed

A Major Project Vendor Goes Insolvent

On January 15, 2018, the United Kingdom’s second-largest[1] construction company Carillion PLC collapsed. The company was a global major player in building, infrastructure, and services. Carillion employed 43,000 people worldwide, including 20,000 in the UK. It was reported that “the company was hit hard by cost overruns on projects” as well as delayed payments from customers[2] that turned these projects into loss-bringers. The company was a contractor in major construction projects, including the headquarter of the British GCHQ intelligence service and the Tate Modern building. It also provided ongoing services for public hospitals, road maintenance, provision of school meals and ran even prisons. The portfolio of the company was wide, the core business however was obviously construction and therefore project management.

Figure 1: The famous donut shaped Headquarter of British GCHQ intelligence service was a Carillion project (©GCHQ 2014)

According to the information that is publicly available, the company has been knocked out by a double-whammy:

–        Loss-making projects ruining the profitability of the company

–        Late payments from customers, battering its liquidity

Carillion did not make enough profit to build the reserves that would have allowed the company to cope with late payments without running into liquidity problems. At the same time, the company suffered from shortage of liquid money in customer projects, a sticky situation that commonly leads to decisions that are not made in order to support long-term profitability and ensure a happy customer, but to survive the current day and still be able to report some process at any costs.

The problem is not limited to Carillion and its customers, most of them obviously public agencies. The company’s default also hits its estimated 30,000 subcontractors[3]. One may carefully assume that about half of them worked for Carillon in projects. This gives an impression of the jobs that are at stake on top of those inside Carillion. Many of these subcontractors are waiting for payments for orders that they have fulfilled or for which they have ordered goods and booked resources that they will need to pay for, but the default of their customer Carillion will have to make them write off the majority of the invoiced amounts. Even the complete loss of their outstanding payments is something they must consider. In addition, most of them will have resources blocked for future work at Carillon, making them unavailable to gain income from other projects and are now facing idle times or lay-offs.

Many of these subcontractors may in turn have sub-subcontractors, and so on, and the loss of income from the project business at Carillon is trickling through this network of vendors distributed over various tiers. The number of jobs at stake in Carillon’s project supply network (PSN) is probably much higher than the jobs lost inside the company, and the effect on the pensions of current and former staff will also be massive.

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: This is the 4th in a series of articles by Oliver Lehmann, author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016. See author profile below.



About the Author


Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

 

 

 

Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc., PMP, is a project management author, consultant, speaker and teacher. He studied Linguistics, Literature and History at the University of Stuttgart and Project Management at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he holds a Master of Science Degree. Oliver has trained thousands of project managers in Europe, USA and Asia in methodological project management with a focus on certification preparation. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Technical University of Munich.

He has been a member and volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute, since 1998, and serves currently as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to PMI’s PM Network magazine, for which he provided a monthly editorial on page 1 called “Launch”, analyzing troubled projects around the world.

Oliver believes in three driving forces for personal improvement in project management: formal learning, experience and observations. He resides in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and can be contacted at [email protected].

Oliver Lehmann is the author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016.

To view other works by Oliver Lehmann, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/

[1] (TCI, 2017a)
[2] (BBC, 2018)
[3] (Goodley, Sabbagh & Kollewe, 2018)

 

 

Risk Leaders Need to Dance the TANGO

Risk Doctor Briefing

SERIES ARTICLE

Dr David Hillson, PMI Fellow, HonFAPM, FIRM

The Risk Doctor Partnership

United Kingdom

 



Risk practitioners seek inspiration from many different places, but not many look to the world of professional dancing to improve their leadership effectiveness. An innovative workshop has recently been developed by LeaderTango (www.leadertango.com), which uses the Argentine Tango as a metaphor for the leadership strengths and skills needed to succeed in today’s business world.

When two dancers perform the Argentine Tango, it is a very intense and passionate event. They are completely focused on each other, fusing their movements into a complex unity that tells a powerful story. One of the dancers takes the lead, with the other following closely. To dance the Argentine Tango well, five characteristics are essential:

  1. Trust. The two dancers must trust each other completely as they perform, with each one relying on the other to move in the right way at the right time, providing support where necessary.
  1. Agility. Argentine Tango involves fast moves, rapid changes of direction, and a complex series of steps, kicks and turns. These are not possible unless both dancers are highly agile.
  1. Naturalness. Although the dance is complex, when it is done well it seems simple and natural, with two people moving seamlessly in synchrony, telling a story of love and passion.
  1. Guidance. The dance relies on understanding which partner is leading, with the other following closely to create perfect harmony between the two.
  1. Ownership. Dancers show complete commitment to the dance, putting themselves whole-heartedly into each move, expressing a deep connection with each other and the dance.

These concepts can be applied to improve leadership in many different situations, including risk leaders who need to steer others towards more effective risk management.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 



About the Author


Dr. David Hillson

The Risk Doctor

 

 

 

Dr David Hillson CMgr FRSA FIRM FCMI HonFAPM PMI-Fellow is The Risk Doctor (www.risk-doctor.com).  As an international risk consultant, David is recognised as a leading thinker and expert practitioner in risk management. He consults, writes and speaks widely on the topic and he has made several innovative contributions to the field. David’s motto is “Understand profoundly so you can explain simply”, ensuring that his work represents both sound thinking and practical application.

David Hillson has over 25 years’ experience in risk consulting and he has worked in more than 40 countries, providing support to clients in every major industry sector, including construction, mining, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, financial services, transport, fast-moving consumer goods, energy, IT, defence and government. David’s input includes strategic direction to organisations facing major risk challenges, as well as tactical advice on achieving value and competitive advantage from effectively managing risk.

David’s contributions to the risk discipline over many years have been recognised by a range of awards, including “Risk Personality of the Year” in 2010-11. He received both the PMI Fellow award and the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for his work in developing risk management. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the UK Association for Project Management (APM), where he has actively led risk developments for nearly 20 years.  David Hillson is an active Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to contribute to its Risk Commission. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and a Member of the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Dr Hillson can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works previously published in the PM World Journal by Dr David Hillson, visit his author showcase at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-david-hillson/

 

 

Strategy as learning to discover the way forward

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher, PhD

Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire

United Kingdom

 



The term strategy appears to be amongst the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language (EF, 2017), particularly in a business context; yet it can still have a multitude of alterative meanings. The Oxford English Dictionary defines strategy as: ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’; whilst also offering an alternative definition as ‘the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle’. The Cambridge English Dictionary meanwhile offers a single, more all-encompassing definition in the form of  ‘a detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business, industry, or sport, or the skill of planning for such situations.

The most common definitions of strategy found in the literature include the following:

The determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for those goals.’ (Chandler, 1962; p. 13)

Essentially, developing a competitive strategy is developing a broad formula for how a business is going to compete, what its goals should be, and what policies will be needed to carry out those goals.’ (Porter, 1980; p. xvi)

The definitions above, while emerging almost two decades apart, point to a few essential themes:

  • Strategies focus on the (long term) future and the goals that can be reached as part of that future
  • Strategies determine the goals and objectives that will be pursued
  • The key concern is around the achievement of these goals
  • Resources are therefore allocated, and actions carried out, specifically in order to enable the actions required to facilitate the goals
  • Business environments are competitive, implying that some organisations will fare better while others may not succeed
  • Consequently, given the focus, long term impact and competitiveness, determining the strategies is a critically important and defining function of top management

The term strategy has been in use for centuries. Bracker (1980; p. 219) identifies the etymological origin of the word, from the Greek Strategos, “a general”, which in turn, comes from roots meaning “army” and “lead”, as befitting the second definition offered by the Oxford Dictionary.

The Greek verb stratego means to “plan the destruction of one’s enemies through effective use of resources”. The concept of strategy in a military or political context has remained prominent throughout history, and has been discussed by such major writers as Shakespeare, Montesquieu, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Calusewitz, Liddell Hart and Tolstoy.’ (ibid.)

Carter, Clegg and Kornberger (2010; p. 2) observe that the idea of strategy can be traced back to the early writings on military strategy by Sun Tzu, whose work, The art of war, is often said to mark the birth of the discipline. Other military tacticians expanded on the idea of the strategy of war.

Strategy is the employment of the battle to gain the end of the War; it must therefore give an aim to the whole military action; in other words, Strategy forms the plan of the War, and to this end it links together the series of acts which are to lead to the final decision, that, is to say, it makes the plans for the separate campaigns and regulates the combats to be fought in each.’ (Von Clausewitz, 1940; p. 79)

Given the competitive nature of the business environment and the need to succeed in the long term, business schools appear to have extended the war analogy and adopted the notion of competitive strategy, replacing the adversarial enemy, with the seemingly less sinister, yet equally cunning, cold and calculating entity known as business competition.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. In October 2011 he was awarded a prestigious lifetime Honorary Fellowship from the Association for Project Management for outstanding contribution to the discipline of project management. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has delivered lectures and courses in many leading institutions worldwide, and has won multiple awards and prizes. He has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering and published over 30 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process published by John Wiley. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series, Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

How strategy happens

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

David Booth

United Kingdom

 



An introductory tale

The pressure was on. A major new Division of a large international company had just been set up with great expectations, and as the new executive team got to work, the cry went up ‘we need a strategic plan!’.

External help was sought, and a parade of management consultancies presented their recommendations for how the new organisation should go about developing this within the tight timescale set out in the brief: there were detailed project plans specifying what had to be achieved by when, with week by week deliverables, critical deadlines, templates and outline document formats – all very logical and thorough, and appropriately ambitious, and a stack of impressively prepared proposal documents built up in the file.

But one consultant walked into the Boardroom with just a blank sheet of paper, sat down and asked ‘So what precisely do you want to achieve?’ Out of the ensuing discussion came the realisation that – despite the agreed formal brief – those in the room had widely differing views about the new organisation. More talking, and some listening.  Another blank piece of paper – this time flipchart-sized – and a marker pen. Discussion, clarification, different views. The 30 minutes ‘credentials and presentation’ slot became two hours of intense communication, at the end of which there was a simple sketched flipchart diagram mapping out how we were going to begin to address some of the issues. The organisation’s strategy journey had started, not as a result of some detailed project plan, but from people talking and – importantly – listening, to achieve a common understanding of the challenges and how they were going to work together to address them.

The traditional ‘textbook’ approach to strategic planning is a structured process of working methodically through stages of analysis, consideration of strategy options and consequent decisions, and then the equally crucial challenge of implementation, setting up a programme of strategic projects ranging in nature from IT to organisational change – a linear, logical sequence by which an organisation determines its direction and intended destination and marshals its resources to achieve this. Such formal strategic planning processes were adopted widely in the 1970s, with organisations following a series of neatly defined steps to produce a detailed ‘5 Year Plan’ which was then implemented through a structured project programme. But the world – industries, markets, businesses – has moved on since those days when relative stability meant that ambitions could be realised through sustained implementation projects delivered over extended periods; the increasing pace of change (a cliché perhaps, but its perceived veracity is sufficient to drive organisational attitudes) means that such a planned approach to developing and implementing strategies seems outmoded, a resource-intensive process whose determined outcomes are seldom delivered successfully before being overtaken by events.

The emphasis on rapid change has led to the adoption of a more dynamic approach to the development and implementation of strategy, with an emphasis on adaptability and organisational agility to react rapidly to changing circumstances or emerging opportunitiesi.

Starting points and journeys

What prompts an organisation to develop a strategic plan? Every organisation’s circumstances and rationale will be different. However, it might be helpful to consider two questions: a) what has prompted the decision to embark on that particular strategy journey, and b) what is determining the principal approach that is driving this?

To illustrate this, consider four scenarios:

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


David Booth

United Kingdom

 

 

 

David Booth has over 20 years of business management experience working for companies such as United Biscuits, Grand Metropolitan and Smith & Nephew, in marketing and then HR and strategic development at the senior management level, followed by working for the past 16 years as an independent management consultant helping organisations with their ‘strategy journeys’: clients include a range of large and medium-sized organisations from international financial services companies to specialist NHS Foundation Trusts. These projects have involved working intensively with client organisations, guiding and complementing their internal knowledge and resources to help steer their strategic planning processes and develop effective strategic plans: there has been a strong emphasis on organisational learning, and clients have remarked on the continuing value and relevance of the work.

He is author of Strategy Journeys – a guide to effective strategic planning (Routledge, ©2017) which aims to demystify the concept of strategic planning by propounding a ‘first principles’ approach to help those leading organisations work out where to start and what approach to take to steer their own organisation’s ‘strategy journey’.

 

 

Why culture really matters

The hidden perils of acculturation

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire

United Kingdom

 



According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, acculturation is defined as the cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture. The phenomenon refers to the cultural change that stems from intentional blending between cultures, which aims to alter a pre-existing perspective, approach or way of thinking and replace it with a preferred, and more highly valued alternative response pattern.

A ‘giant’ new kid on the block

The 1984 breakup of AT&T in the US, resulted in the creation of seven independent telecoms companies that were formed from the original twenty-two AT&T controlled members of the Bell system. Pacific Bell, controlled by the holding group, Pacific Telesis Group, was considered by many to be the weakest of the emerging new organisations.

“Of all the Bell regional holding companies, Pacific Telephone holds the most risk for investors. The company’s record of poor earnings and its long-running feud with the California Public Utilities Commission make it a risky investment at best.” New York Times, 1985

Finding itself within the new and fiercely competitive Californian telecommunications marketplace, Bell Pacific had to reform itself into a savvy and successful organisation, much removed from its Bell origins. Bell Pacific launched aggressive marketing campaigns to capture a significant share of the burgeoning market. However, the company quickly found itself enmeshed in controversy for selling unneeded telephone services to non-English speaking customers who did not understand what they were buying. As tales of the dubious sales tactics of the company became public knowledge, morale within the organisation plummeted and its reputation, increasingly on par with that of a dubious used car dealership, also took a hit (Kirp, 1989).

Bell Pacific decided to turn its attention to transforming the organisation into a modern and efficient conglomerate. Modernising the company would require the shaking up of its massive workforce of 62,000 workers and drastically reshuffling the rigidly hierarchical structure, described as a steep pyramid with 14 very precisely delineated levels.

In search of a new culture

More crucially, management also targeted the total transformation of the culture within the organisation. They were worried that Pacific Bell did not have the right culture and competitive attitude and concerned that employees were not sufficiently entrepreneurial for the corporation to be able to succeed in its new environment.

Looking for direction, they turned to a well-known, local Californian recluse and organisational development consultant, Charles Krone. Years earlier, Krone made his fame as an internal specialist within the Proctor & Gamble soap division, for which he set up a liquid detergent plant in Lima, Ohio, that outperformed every other soap plant in the company (Rose, 1990). His counterpart, Herb Stokes, who had since become a corporate consultant and rancher in Abilene, Texas — led a similarly successful effort at a P&G paper products plant he organised in Albany, Georgia. Krone’s methodology was based on a mélange of systems theory, socio-tech thinking, sufi mysticism and the writing of 20th Century Armenian Mystic George I. Gurdieff who believed that most humans spent their days in ‘waking sleep’ and that is only by shedding ingrained habits of thinking that individuals could liberate their inner potential.

Krone’s work was supposed to teach people to think more precisely, but it was jargon-laden and off-putting (Rose, 1990). Pacific Bell contracted with two associates of Charles Krone for $40 million worth of leadership development and personal-growth training (Kirp, 1989), to acculturate the workforce and embed the new culture. Some reports suggest that the full figure was closer to $147 million…

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. In October 2011 he was awarded a prestigious lifetime Honorary Fellowship from the Association for Project Management for outstanding contribution to the discipline of project management. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has delivered lectures and courses in many leading institutions worldwide, and has won multiple awards and prizes. He has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering and published over 30 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process published by John Wiley. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series, Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Creating a culture of partnership

between Project Management and Change Management

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Gabrielle O’Donovan

Dublin, Ireland

 



The dismal results achieved by organizational change initiatives over the past decades drive home the need for a step change in how we deliver projects. We can no longer be satisfied to hop along with a ‘one-legged approach’, where only Project Management methodologies are used or, alternatively, limp along with Project Management in the driving seat and Change Management playing second fiddle. Rather, a firm-footed ‘two-legged approach’ to project delivery, that employs both Project Management and Change Management methodologies and expertise, will enable projects to stride forward in confidence and derive business benefits. Achieving this requires the thoughtful integration of Project Management and Change Management methodologies throughout the end-to-end project lifecycle, and the cultivation of a culture of partnership between Project Managers and Change Managers – a twenty-first century solution to a twenty-first century problem.

The current disconnect between Project Management and Change Management feeds the well-documented projects failure rate (40–70 per cent), and the laying of many a dud egg.  While much work has been done in recent times to try to address this issue, cross-discipline integration efforts thus far have only touched the tip of the iceberg (policies, practices, and processes), ignoring that below-the-surface subterranean cultural component that can divide or unite project teams. An effective joint value proposition between Project Management and Change Management must incorporate both perspectives.  By way of an example, on any given project team shared assumptions drive the expression of shared attitudes and behaviours.  These in turn impact what gets done and what doesn’t, and cultural assumptions at play are reflected in project outcomes and results. For instance, if the project team holds a shared assumption that successful measurement of project delivery is simply ‘on time, on scope and on budget’, they will not appreciate the need to secure end-user adoption of new ways of working, and are likely to see the work of Change Managers early on in the project cycle as little more than interference and a distraction. They may rationalize this mind-set by saying, ‘If we don’t have a system, we won’t need users to be on board.’ Where this assumption is in action below the surface, strategies and plans that involve Project Managers’ cooperation with Change Managers early in the project cycle (e.g. to agree how the end user will be impacted) may prove very difficult to implement, and undermine business benefits realization.

Making Culture Explicit and Measureable

Because mapping any given culture could be a never-ending task, it is essential to define the parameters of such work. Context is one such parameter and the context here is ‘the integration of Project Management and Change Management methodologies for projects’. The other parameter I am employing is a three-part framework designed by Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT, on those universal ‘problems’ or challenges that organizations face:

  1. Deepest assumptions about universal macro issues.
  2. The second part of the framework considers those challenges that the organization faces as it adapts to its external environment. My new additions supplementing Schein’s original list include getting consensus on the ‘shared approach to problem solving’, and ‘shared approach to risks and issues resolution’ – challenges that are in the forefront for project leaders and teams.
  3. The third part of the framework considers those universal problems that the organization faces in terms of internal integration. Newly identified challenges added to Schein’s original list include getting consensus on ‘maximizing problem solving capability’ and ‘openness to feedback’.

These problems are as relevant to change projects as they are to business-as-usual. The project is, after all, an organization, albeit a temporary one. While leaders may give considered thought to some or even all of the problems above when considering the larger organizational context, they rarely give these problems due attention in the temporary projects environment – and certainly not in terms of how they can define a network of cultural assumptions that will help resolve these issues. Therefore, these challenges are an excellent reference point for doing just that, as they add a structured level of detail to that higher-level parameter of ‘Change Management/Project Management integration’.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 



About the Author


Gabrielle O’Donovan

Dublin, Ireland

 

 


Gabrielle O’Donovan
has clocked up more than 30,000 hours over 20+ years working on change programmes that have covered the full spectrum. Clients have included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Unilever, the London Metropolitian Police, Lloyds Banking Group, Friends Life Insurance, the Ministry of Justice UK, Invensys Plc, Dublin Airport Authority, Cathay Pacific Airways and HSBC Hong Kong. Projects have been global, regional and country-specific in scale.

Gabrielle O’Donovan has some significant achievements under her belt: her culture transformation programme for HSBC Hong Kong plus five subsidiary companies embedded a customer-centric culture and won an ASTD Excellence in Practice Award (USA, 2005); at Dublin Airport Authority, Ireland, her work as Stakeholder Management Lead for the building of Terminal 2 was instrumental to securing capital expenditure; Gabrielle’s first book ‘The Corporate Culture Handbook’1 was rated “In the top 1% of best business books for 2005” by USA reviewer Business Book Review; in 2010, Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus of Sloan School of Management, MIT and founding father of organisational culture, referenced Gabrielle and her HSBC culture change programme in his 4th Edition of ‘Organisational Culture and Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Schein also shared Gabrielle’s ‘Characteristics of a Healthy Culture’ typology in his book, referring to her 23 new culture dimensions as “noteable”.

Gabrielle O’Donovan is the author of Making Organizational Change Stick: How to create a culture of partnership between project and change management, published by Abingdon: Routledge in 2018.
 

 

The Evolution of Risk

Risk Doctor Briefing

SERIES ARTICLE

By Magda Stepanyan

CEO, the Risk Society

The Risk Doctor Partnership

The Netherlands

 



The concept of risk has evolved a long way since its origin at the end of the Middle Ages, up to the way risk is understood today. Four main stages of evolutionary development can be identified:

  1. Risk as objective danger that resides in the natural world. Originating at the end of the Middle Ages, this notion of risk is similar to that of hazard, involving natural disasters, famine, earthquakes, hurricanes, plague and so on
  2. Risk as accident, which is inevitable in the quest for economic progress. Gaining momentum in the 19th Century, this idea of risk included dangers and hazards arising from industrial processes, and viewed human fault as the cause of potential losses and damages
  3. Risk as social phenomenon arising from relations between human beings. By the end of the 19th Century, risk was seen as neither an external phenomenon nor the result of misconduct. Instead, risk was perceived as socially constructed and politically loaded, coming from the decisions made by people, either deliberately or unconsciously. Such risk is hard to rationalise and accurately define in terms of probability, consequences, compensation and accountability. Risk was viewed as an integral part of human life: the multiplicity of uncertainties that surround us as individuals, organisations, or societies shape the risk landscape of threats and opportunities.
  4. Risk as a global ‘grand challenge’. Today, the concept of risk includes mega risks that could affect the whole of humanity, jeopardise sustainable development, and even endanger our existence. Mega risks include climate change, critical infrastructure disruption, etc. One of their key characteristics is that mega risks disrupt cause-effect relationships in our globalised and highly-interdependent society. This disruption can occur in various dimensions across generations, geographic areas, sectors, institutions. This can create a ‘butterfly effect’ that often escapes our attention. A prominent recent example is the global financial crisis that triggered a wave of cascading risks across geographic regions, sectors, and industries. Understanding the ‘butterfly effect’ could help us see how risk is propagated, and identify early signals of potential mega risks.

More…

 

To read entire article, click here

 



About the Author


Magda Stepanyan, MA, MSc, CIRM

Risk Society

 





Magda Stepanyan
is founder & CEO of the Risk Society consultancy (www.risk-society.com). She holds an MA in Sociology from Yerevan State University, Armenia, an MSc in Public Administration from Leiden University, the Netherlands, and the International Certificate in Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management (IRM).

Magda’s expertise is in resilience programming, integrated risk management (IRM), risk-informed strategy planning and implementation, disaster and climate risk management, horizon scanning for strategy and policy development, monitoring and evaluation.  She has more than 15 years of management and consultancy experience, working with organizations such as the EC, UN, WB, Red Cross, and others.  In 2012 Magda authored a UNDP Technical Paper on “Risk Management for Capacity Development Facilities”.

Magda can be contacted at [email protected]

 

 

Freebie Projects and The Project Business Management Office (PBMO)

Project Business Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

 



Summary

Project business management is high risk for all parties involved. For organizations performing projects for paying customers, a very central area of uncertainty is profitability from one or more projects. A second one is liquidity, and on top of that, the customer must be satisfied. Assigning persons as Project Business Managers can help meet these goals for individual projects. For a portfolio of projects, a Project Business Management Office (PBMO) can be beneficial to ensure portfolio-wide profitability.

Freebie Projects

Case Story: A Customer Betraying High Hopes

Silk Moth Inc.1 is a JAM. The company performs a continuous portfolio of customer projects and is Just About Managing, meaning that it makes enough profit to survive the day but has no monetary resources to manage unexpected problems and crises and to grow into new capabilities and markets.

As a small publicly listed manufacturer of automotive components with roughly 1,000 employees, Silk Moth’s name stands for quality and for timeliness in delivering its products to its customers, mostly automotive manufacturers. The name also stands for effective integration of product development and production design for small components roughly up to the size of a tin can. In its development work for its customers, it follows the standard process of the industry, which predevelops innovative products to a market maturity of roughly 50% to 80%, then offers the product on the market and finishes development when a customer and with the customer a business case has been found[1].

Automotive industry is generally a high-pressure environment, and while some suppliers of automotive components and services are highly profitable there, the majority are JAMs. Profitability is a leadership task, and while most companies in automotive industry are well managed, they are also under-led.

In the specific case, the product was a new type of pump for break fluids and coolants, designed to be located around an axle. The pump uses the rotation of the axle to propel the liquids, when the car is driving and switch on an electric motor when the car and with it the axle stands still, to ensure uninterrupted and steady flow and pressure of the fluid. During a presentation on an exhibition, a customer was indeed found for the item, who was in the process to develop a new electric car, Botfly Corp., and an agreement was soon made that the final development, based on the predeveloped immature product, would be finished for the item, production design started for it, and that it would become a part of the future car model.

Such a development project is often a Freebie project. It is done by the contractor for the customer free of charge, but after its end, revenues created from the product or service that the project has created will pay back the investment for the contractor. Figure 1 describes the lifespan of a freebie project with those of internal projects and customer projects that are regularly paid by the customer during the course of the project.

Silk Moth was normally a very careful company, that would not take too many risks for a new and uncertain customer business in development. The high hopes associated with the first application of the new product and the expectations of the Botfly car to sell in high numbers and to give the company a first-class reference customer for future business development however blinded their attention to business risks. They also considered the customer strongly dependent on them and thought, this will protect the return from the investments ahead. Being driven by devoted engineers, Silk Moth never understood, how Botfly’s processes actually brought about their decisions.

 

To read entire article, click here

 

 

1  Name changed by the author

 

Editor’s note: This is the 5th in a series of articles by Oliver Lehmann, author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016. See author profile below.




About the Author

 


Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

 


Oliver F. Lehmann
, MSc., PMP, is a project management author, consultant, speaker and teacher. He studied Linguistics, Literature and History at the University of Stuttgart and Project Management at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he holds a Master of Science Degree. Oliver has trained thousands of project managers in Europe, USA and Asia in methodological project management with a focus on certification preparation. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Technical University of Munich.

He has been a member and volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute, since 1998, and serves currently as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to PMI’s PM Network magazine, for which he provided a monthly editorial on page 1 called “Launch”, analyzing troubled projects around the world.

Oliver believes in three driving forces for personal improvement in project management: formal learning, experience and observations. He resides in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and can be contacted at [email protected].

Oliver Lehmann is the author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016.

To view other works by Oliver Lehmann, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/

 

[1] The development process is called Produkt-Entwicklungsprozess (PEP) and has been highly standardized in automotive industry to combine creativity in development with consistent technical and business practices (Moehrle, Isenmann & Phaal, 2013)

 

Invisible Traps in Project Management Lead to Crisis

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Constance Dierickx, PhD

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

 



When we think of great project management, most of us imagine very smart people, tight processes and rigor to spare. Calendars, charts, metrics all skillfully employed by people with project management credentials. Yet, things go wrong. Sometimes resulting in disaster. Why? Because projects require humans to create the project, do the project and monitor it. Even smart people have cognitive limitations and emotions that influence their thinking. Even project managers of great experience, skill and intellect are subject these influences.  In my book, High-Stakes Leadership, I talk about the three aspects that make a leader great when ambiguity and risk are both high. These are the same attributes that enable leaders to move through crisis and often avoid it in the first place. They are: courage, judgment and fortitude. Even when leaders have these qualities in abundance, invisible decision traps can get in the way of even the most intelligent people.

What are the things that get in our way? The top three:

  1. Overconfidence
  2. Groupthink
  3. Anxiety avoidance

Who me? Overconfident?   

Regardless of how rational we think we are and no matter how objective we believe our assessment of our abilities, most people are overconfident. Surprisingly, more education doesn’t improve this. Fortunately, it doesn’t make it any worse either. Research by Russo and Schoemaker shows us that executives and undergraduate are equally likely to be overconfident. Neither experience nor recent advanced education creates immunity. This surprises almost everyone.

Russo and Schoemaker devised a very clever test of overconfidence and permitted me to update it for my book. I have used this test with executives for over 15 years and it never fails to yield the same result. What result is that? Surprise. Disbelief. Argument. Regardless of how smart and experienced we are, humans are overconfident. Since the research on this is clear, what should we do?

First, answer the questions in Table 1. Provide both low and high answers for each such that you are 90 percent sure the correct answer falls between the two. Then, check your answers with those that appear at the end of this article. If your answers were all correct or 9 of 10 were correct, ask yourself, “How did I do that? What method was I using?” This sort of reflection is essential to learning so don’t rush! Think about whether or not the approach you used for the test can be applied elsewhere.

If you are like most people, you missed several questions. What might you learn from this? Whether your answers were mostly right or not, thinking about your own thinking is worth doing, especially if you can keep the need to be right tucked away.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


Constance Dierickx, PhD

Georgia, USA

 

 

 Constance Dierickx is a sought-after advisor to boards and senior executives in high-stakes situations such as rapid growth, mergers and acquisitions, CEO succession, and crisis. Her merger and acquisition clients succeed 400% more often than the average.

Constance has been quoted in, and asked to write for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer, Directorship, Boards and Directors, and Corporate Board Member.

Constance has consulted with dozens of boards and over 500 executives on five continents. She has worked with companies from the Fortune 50 to high-tech start-ups. Some of her clients include EWI Risk, Johnson Controls, Joy Global, Milliken Research, Porsche, Schnabel Engineering, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Vulcan Materials.

She is Vice-Chair of the board of The Partnership Against Domestic Violence and a member of the Advisory Board of Executive Women of Goizueta (Emory University). She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Association for Psychological Science.

Constance received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, with faculty bestowed “high honors.”  Her M.A. and Ph.D. are from Georgia State University where she studied psychology and decision science.

Constance Dierickx is the author of High-Stakes Leadership: Leading through Crisis with Courage, Judgment and Fortitude published (© 2018) by Bibliomotion, part of the Routledge / Taylor and Francis Group.

 

Team dynamics and the perils of agreement

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire

United Kingdom

 



Project managers are accustomed to avoiding, and overcoming disagreements inside the team, amongst stakeholders, with suppliers and with others senior managers, sponsors and leaders. Indeed, the abilities to remove or resolve conflict and deal with contradictions are highly prized in leaders in most domains.

Project management has followed a similar set of traditions and assumptions. The 6th edition of the APM Body of Knowledge focuses on the seven crucial interpersonal skills, which include conflict resolution, alongside communication, delegation, influencing, leadership, negotiation and teamwork. Similarly, The 6th edition of PMI’s A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge makes multiple references to conflict management, before addressing it as a key area under the Project Resource Management knowledge area, identifying it as a key interpersonal and team skill, alongside decision making, emotional intelligence, influencing, and leadership. IPMA’s Individual Competence Baseline also makes a reference to the area of ‘conflict and crisis’ under the people section, given the need to moderate or solve conflicts and crises.

Conflict can be defined as different objectives and attitudes between two or more parties. Conflict management is the process of identifying and addressing differences that, if left unresolved, could affect objectives.’ (APM, 2012; p. 56)

The success of project managers in managing their project often depends on their ability to resolve conflict.’ (PMI, 2017; p. 348)

The potential means of resolving conflicts involve collaboration, compromise, prevention or the use of power.’ (IPMA, 2015; p. 86)

The Oxford Dictionary defines conflict as: a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one; a prolonged armed struggle; or, a serious incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles or interests. Given the implication of disagreement between ideas, beliefs or perspectives, it is only natural that managers and leaders try to minimise disagreements and maintain harmony and balance.

But what if the core of our problems stems from agreement rather than conflict?

The real problem with agreement

Variation is highly cherished, especially in teams, in order to avoid homogenous thinking and problem resolution. Nature also favours variation as a mechanism for infusing diversity, resilience and flexibility. Design is often informed by the creativity that emerges from the conflict between ideas, needs and perspectives.

Project teams bring together a diversity of opinions, views and team members encouraging a wider spectrum of approaches designed to avoid the uniformity and conformity of groupthink and encourage diversity through challenge. And yet, project managers often seek to banish conflict in order to simplify decision making, reach consensus, and limit the potential for disagreements and blockages in systems, plans and the execution of initiatives.

The approaches for addressing the harmful impacts of excessive conflict are well featured in the literature, but what about the harmful impact of violent (or perhaps, silent) agreement? Can agreement, which after all seems to be the outcome of effective conflict resolution, become powerful enough to undermine a good project or destabilise a good team? Can absolute agreement derail success?

A journey to Abilene

US management scholar Jerry B. Harvey (1974) captured the risks of agreement in the following tale.

On an extremely hot July afternoon, a couple is visiting the wife’s parents in Coleman, Texas. The temperature of 104 degrees combines with a persistent wind that re-distributes the topsoil throughout the house to make being outdoors unpleasant. But as they settle on the back porch, the family has an old-fashioned fan, cold lemonade and is becoming engrossed in a game of dominoes. This has the makings of an agreeable, if slightly lazy afternoon, in Coleman, until the father-in-law suggests that they take a trip to Abilene, 53 miles North, to have dinner in the cafeteria…

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. In October 2011 he was awarded a prestigious lifetime Honorary Fellowship from the Association for Project Management for outstanding contribution to the discipline of project management. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has delivered lectures and courses in many leading institutions worldwide, and has won multiple awards and prizes. He has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering and published over 30 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process published by John Wiley. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series, Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Grass Root Involvement in a Mega Program

Managing and Working in Project Society

SERIES ARTICLE

By Tomas Blomquist, Nils Wåhlin and Rolf A. Lundin

Stockholm, Sweden

 



For several years, the European Union has annually appointed a city in Europe to be the European Capital of Culture. Lately two different cities have in fact been chosen for each year in order to promote the development in the regions of the EU member states. For 2014 the cities were Riga in Latvia and Umeå in northern Sweden. Cities apply for the title by presenting a preliminary plan for how they are to prove that they deserve the honor to be the European Capital of Culture and the plans are scrutinized by EU officials visiting the city applicants in the competition. It is not only an honor to be selected, but the cities chosen will also receive financial resources from the union in order to carry through efforts related to the title.

The two cities used different approaches to select activities to prove themselves worthy of the nomination. In Riga, the politicians in charge chose a set of activities with which Riga should demonstrate that they were devoted to culture and worthy of the selection. A top-down procedure was used, almost of a mega project type (cf. Van Marrewijk, 2015), where decisions about activities and resources were made by the city top government handing over the concrete work and the responsibilities to cultural administrators working for the city government.

The Umeå approach selected was almost the opposite, i.e. more of a bottom-up character where the initial step was to invite individuals from citizens-at-large, associations, companies, etcetera to submit suggestions for activities to prove the city worthy of the culture title. The effort received a lot of publicity with the help of local newspapers, TV programs and the like. A main idea revolves around the notion of co-creation; how to involve as many citizens as possible in different activities and projects. Co-creation became an important criterion for making choices between projects to be included in the program.

The range of various projects suggested to be potential parts of the program for the year was impressive and the question “what is culture” was debated a lot with an open mindset. To mention just one suggestion to demonstrate the open attitude: “How have birds moving south during the winter period changed their migrating behavior in terms of routes and time resulting from climate changes?” An interesting project, but it had an inherent difficulty – it was not evidently related to culture. But instead of rejecting the project it was used as a project for place-marketing. Birds normally return to the same location year after year and in that way the birds showed the way to the European Capital of Culture.

Cities in the neighborhood of Umeå were also activated in various ways promoting cultural events to take place in the year of 2014. The effort was conceived as one promoting the northern region of the country. There were also efforts to combine activities with Riga, but the outcome from the collaborative effort between the two cities was meager.

The Sami Ingredient

One of the key special reasons for Umeå winning the competition between cities was the connection to the indigenous people living in the northern parts of Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden in an area called Sapmi. Umeå is a part of Sapmi and the Sami people is a part of the northern community as one of few indigenous people in Europe. Traditionally the life of the Sami people (who move around with the reindeers as a way of their cattle raising) is circulating around how reindeers have to be taken care of to preserve the need for nourishment. In order to follow the movement of reindeers, the Sami people are dividing the year in eight different seasons.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: This is article is one in a series based on the book Managing and Working in Project Society by Rolf A. Lundin, Niklas Arvidsson, Tim Brady, Eskil Ekstedt, Christophe Midler and Jörg Sydow, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.  The book won the PMI David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award in 2016.

 




About the Authors



Tomas Blomquist, PhD

Umeå School of Business and Economics
Umeå, Sweden

 


Tomas Blomquist
is a professor in Business Administration at Umeå University. He is the director of research at the department and the research profile leader for the business school’s research profile on Projects, Innovation and Networks. He is currently involved in work on behavioral aspects of coaching in business incubation and inter-organizational aspects of business development around digitalization and IoT. Tomas has previously done research with mixed methods research and his work is published in several international journals including Business Horizons, Business Strategy and the Environment, Industrial Marketing Management, Harvard Business Review, and Project Management Journal and International Journal of Project Management. His latest publication in International Journal of Project Management develops a self-efficacy scale for project management. A six-item self-efficacy scale that predicts project management performance and might be used for selection and hiring of project managers.

 


Nils Wåhlin, PhD

Umeå School of Business and Economics
Umeå, Sweden

 


Nils Wåhlin
is Associate Professor in Business Administration at Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University. His research focuses on management and organization studies in general with a special interest for practices of organizing and strategizing. He is currently doing studies on European Capitals of Culture and published recently a co-authored book with the title Urban Strategies for Culture-Driven Growth. Co-creating a European Capital of Culture on Edward Elgar Publishing. He can be contacted at [email protected].



Rolf Lundin, PhD

Jönköping International Business School
Jönköping, Sweden

 


Rolf A Lundin
is a professor (em.) of Business Administration at the Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) and a Courtesy Professor-in-Residence at the Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).  He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Chicago (now the Booth Business School) in Management Science.  He has been a full professor since 1978, first at the business school of the University of Umeå (in northern Sweden), where he was also the founding dean of that school.  In 2001 he was recruited to dean JIBS.  He stepped down as dean in 2007.  Since then he has been affiliated with the Media Management and Transformation Center.  He has several publications in the management of projects and temporary organization area and is currently serving on the board for the PMI Global Accreditation Center which is working with accreditation of project management educational programs around the world.  His current research focus is on the use of projects in media industries.

Prof Lundin is the lead author of the monograph Managing and Working in Project Society: Institutional Challenges of Temporary Organizations, published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press and winning the 2016 PMI Book of the Year award.  Rolf is active in the Swedish Project Academy. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Lundin, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/rolf-a-lundin/