I’m in the uk. Project folk routinely inspire me while at the same time the pm ‘establishment’ depresses me.
I hope PM is at the dawn of a great age. The signs are there and I for one know the steps required! But the darkest hour is just before dawn. Current PM capability is unreliable, often poor, is far from where it should and easily can be. PM advancement is held back by the vested interests of those who claim to be our champions. Lets first briefly examine current context then briefly touch on remedy.
Formula 1 Drivers?
The need for specialist project managers is larger than the need for F1 drivers and 747 pilots yet almost everyone can drive a car and benefits from those skills. Sadly most specialist pm’s have the domain skills of a Sunday afternoon driver not the truck, bus or f1 driver or 747 pilot. IMHO PM capability is being eroded by a fashion for individual training to pass examination in what is when used a wholly collaborative subject. Exams target BoKs and manuals which are widely regarded as irrelevant to the real job and 100% of what trainees need to study. Both wrong.
Three Sources of Insight Should Integrate not Fight
If all was as it should be then the three major sources of insight 1) Product Development Life-cycles like Waterfall and ‘Agile’ 2) The GUIDE to the PMBoK(r) and PRINCE2(r) would be seen as complimentary, overlapping, insufficient, central to the day job, contradictory and in places wrong.
BoKs and methods are naive (simplistic may be a fairer word) introductory texts that are woefully short of industrial strength insight for the full-time specialist PM. They are also way over the top for the operational and functional managers who have routine need to use project based approaches to respond to threats and opportunities that arise from change in the world around them. While all of us drive cars, few of us need the greater skills to drive busses (IE take a duty to keep other people safe). We all need scheduling tools, those of us who think we are specialists PMs must also know how to use MonteCarlo Analysis for cost and schedule what ever our industry or product development life-cycle choice and when weighted, probabilistic estimates or quick cheap single point estimates are good-enough.
The BoKs and Frameworks/ Methods that have arisen in the last 50 years are mismatched to actual day-to-day needs of all but one audience – the novice specialist PM in a supplier/ contractor organization! The mismatch has spawned movements like agile whose arrival into the same context as older BoKs and whose source (the supplier side again) means their recent developments are suffering similar fates of being neither properly understood for their strengths and weaknesses (so no silver bullet) nor correctly taught and examined, nor are they fit for other than the narrowest purpose (getting the bill paid with minimal chance of dispute).
Most sad is that many of the ‘New’ ideas arrive with passionate xenophobia and ignorance of the fact that there entire contents (well 80+% at least) is old and many lessons once suffered that could be learned from are lost and will be suffered again.
The remedy is simple
1) position each of Product Development insights (whether ‘agile’ or ‘waterfall’ – both poor names), Guidance on baseline construction (the PMBoK-Guide’s strength), Control structures (PRINCE2’s strength) and Boardroom determination of Vision (Dimension Four(r)’s strength) in juxtaposition with each other, rationalize their overlaps, gaps, contradictions, homonyms and synonyms
2) Deliver training programmes that show the whole organizational hierarchy how to collaborate to build cohesive, motivated, coordinated teams whose skills in Strategy & Vision, in Operations & revenue generation as well as Technology and Capability development are combined to drive benefit (social or financial) from project based change. The participating specialist project personnel should be exam graduates of both PMP and P2-RP because then they have the start-point (not end-point) skills to participate in realworld pursuit of benefits – what it is all about
I call the whole assemblage #pm_ngt when I tweet and blog about it. asapm’s newsletter and my website include more details
Logical Model Ltd are a BCS Accredited training organisation who specialise in project management knowledge transfer through a three tier approach we call #pm_ngt. #pm_ngt Is an integration of best-of-breed solutions such as Dimension Four® to aid the Board-Room provide vision, PRINCE2® to aid management control, PMBoK Guide®, Lean Six Sigma and other tool collections to aid plan development using industry and product specific life-cycles for development of deliverables.
- #pm_ngt training builds on your existing investment, it integrates methods and frameworks, resolves contradictions between them, defuses their polarized disagreements by explaining how to combine each’s strengths, fills there collective gaps & link to your mission & values
- #pm_ngt Helps the board develop and maintain a vision, translate vision to strategy, to tactics, to outputs, to outcomes, to benefits
- #pm_ngt Isn’t (just) project management it is an investment regime for the management of change based benefits delivery
- #pm_ngt Is a collection of tools and procedures within a defined but loosely enforced framework that together handle the initiation, conduct and bedding-down of change; From Idea to Returns, the end to end investment cycle
- Successful change requires support of activity from top 2 bottom of the management hierarchy and from end 2 end of an investment’s timeline. #pm_ngt provides conceptual foundations, vocabulary, roles, tools, technques and framework that span needs from Board-Room 2 Boiler-Room™
- #pm_ngt is a product set of business leadership and project management tools that provide governance over equity. #pm_ngt’s acid test is “is this relevant 2 reality?” it is not an exercise in exam based ‘cram and forget’ cv building. #pm_ngt training coaches each layer of management in how to interact with the layers below and above to facilitate sound decision making