A message to L&D Managers in organisations where projects have a deserved reputation for less than reliable performance


I expect you already know what your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses are. I also expect that you have found improving project capability non-trivial and that you keep an eye open for offerings that might help. Iguess your not hopeful of finding a breakthrough?

It is probable that you’ve recognised that focusing Learning and Development effort on exam training for well know project management methods is great for employee mobility in the jobs market but does little to improve corporate capability to cope with project based change. Also it does nothing to harness the potential for excellence in delivery of change. It is possible, likely even that “agile” is a buzz phrase demanding attention. I expect you can predict localised improvements and a lack of overall impact on needs that should hav arisen in 18 months time.

In fact if used well all the frameworks and named methods have value so the key is to know how to use them well. That is where we specialise. In the pragmatic integration of the best elements of Complex Adaptive Systems (Agile’s inspirations), Structured toolsets (PMBoK for example), Control frameworks (PRINCE2® when taken out of an exam setting), Governance including for IT (Turnbull Coso and CobIT for example).

Our discussions start with “projects should deliver shareholder value”. We know that engaging us to help improve your project performance is a project.

We don’t propose a new broom approach but a consolidation of and leverage of existing sunk investments. Achieving results is easily described. Teach each of the layers of direction setters, day to day managers (business and project), plus operational and project supervisors and front line experts to link, cooperate, communicate and understand the layers above and/or below for the three time frames of investment consideration, project and benefits realisation.

Our observation is that there are only a few techniques and process steps that need to be explained before that uncommon attribute “Common sense” takes over and results flow. While the whole journey can be long there are plenty of quick wins. First step is to help senior people frame objectives with clarity, to facilitate the adjustment in mindset of those for whom change is about to arrive and recognising their role as decision makers in clearing log-jams. In parallel is a need to help those with day to day operational duties and with project duties as subject matter experts to escalate concurrent contradictions in demands from above, to estimate reliably and to report true status reliably. The middle tier also needs help translating exam knowledge from the stale and irrelevant into the valuable toolkit of the truly competent.

Outside of exam contexts each of the existing toolkits and frameworks address some part of the problem space but they are not integrated and some excellent guidance is still little known so not widely available.

The last factor to consider is that the improvement in capability runs in cycles of about 18 months each. The first establishes organisational awareness of what the solution looks like and knowledge of the elements. There are quick wins here. The second turns awareness, through practice into ‘just how we do it here’ and the third sees the developing unconscious competence deliver results I every aspect of organisational activity.”

Call to discuss – +44 (0) 84 52 57 57 07

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.