Beyond First Generation Project Management Thinking

First generation project management thinking has improved the state of the art, but we can do better, much better.

Second generation project management moves on from the foundation skills such as breakdown structures and critical path analysis to Recognition Events® and Value Flashpoints®. These terms and a few powerful techniques are at the heart of Isochron’s Dimension Four® method for Benefts delivery.

D4 links Finance director and project scope together in a way that allows the senior management team to set project goals in their own terms and manage threats to achievement. D4 cuts through forecasting’s inevitable explosion of detail by starting scheduleing in exactly the way most of us intuitely plan our domestic lives: by back-casting. D4 focusses on changing behaviours in the certain knowledge that results depend on people’s actions. The techniques harness the vision of the optimist and engage the pessamists and cynics energies.

Common sense is obvious when demonstarted but not always easy to isolate unaided. The more the challenges faced the more able a common sense approache will become, and the more they are examined the deeper their principles can be traced to fundamental concepts and truths. D4 is based on several rather deep principles such as chronesthesia (our ability to percieve time and imagine the futre as if it were history), episode theory and the untangling of actions and events happening across the depth of time as well as along the length of time), the observation that projects are ascriptive while ‘typical’ project plans try to be prescriptive but are in fact just predictive.

The D4 method comprises four big-ticket themes

  • Outcomes: defining the end-point
  • Money: specifying the value case and value drivers
  • Stories: defining the tipping points and the actions to make change an epademic
  • People: the social side of change, business change is not the “hearts and minds” message of the ‘professiona change agent’


D4 demands that the business managers describe business destinations in quiet literally “visible”, absolutely binary, calendar dated terms with the observers name against the diary date on whch the observation will happen. Seeing proof that a destination has been reached is a Recognition Event(tm).

Some REs evidence the start (or end) of a cash-flow. these are Value Flashpoints(tm). Every value flashpoint supports one or more of the organisations Value Drivers and has an estimated financial value expressed as a range between a truly pessamistic could not be less than value to and could not be more than value that is factored for the organisations historic estimating inaccuracies

Use of outcomes in D4 is a business management tool. REs & VFs flow from the board room across the rest of the organisation.

Contact us

Email Simon@LogicalModel.Net or call 084 52 57 57 07 or visit

Simon Harris, PMP, CGEIT, IPMA-D, MoR, PRINCE2® is Principal of Logical Model Ltd. LML are Isochron’s only authorised training partner and are a D4 Licensed reseller.

D4 qualification exists at two levels: 1) Certification: where practitioners have shown-me they understand the method’s elements and 2) Accredited: where practitioners have shown me and D4’s author that they have successfully used (with support) the methods in a business context.

Simon speaks, consults, mentors and trains on Project Management. LML hold the required D4® accreditation (and APMG awarded PRINCE2® accreditation) to administer the exams.

Free Course-ware

LML provides most of its courseware 100% free to individuals using them for self-development. Free materials range from basic project management to a Master-class in estimating. Courses include Using PRINCE2® For Real (an accredited Exam Preparation course is in the member’s area). Other free courses include Using Microsoft Project to Manage A Project with Earned Value, Running an Incident Management function, How to do Software Configuration Management (this one is a little old, it predates Subversion for example) and several more.

Dimension 4®, Recognition Events® and Value Flashpoints® are registered trademarks of Isochron Ltd in the UK and elsewhere.

PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office

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