White Papers

Articles & White papers published in various places…

Papers are listed under the following headings

  • …Basic Articles for the layman
  • …On Generating a Return On Investment From Training
  • …On The Search For Insight into How To Turn PM into A Competent Discipline
  • …On Technical Aspects of Competent use of PM Tools & Techniques

All the links are to .pdf files: right click the links to down-load or just click to read in-line

…Basic Articles for the layman

Methods Madness From Guardian NewsPaper: Applying common sense to PM tasks is more valuable than PM methods like PRINCE2 for 80% of those involved in projects while P2 does nothing for the 20% who are specialists and need more power to their elbow

SOOP LML Simple PM. One of my SOOP series based on the observation that Projects are like soup. A short article summarising in simple layman’s terms the whole of PM without arcane language or esoteric ritual. PM is something everyone does all the time. A ‘common-sense’ description of the steps aimed at help 80% of people check they use the best steps in the best sequence with easy techniques tuned to their local needs.

…On Generating a Return On Investment From Training

PMToday Trainingwaste0809-6-7 (2) I never cease to be amazed by the lack of pre−event preparation and post−event follow up that training course attendees and their sponsors apply to extracting bang from the training buck. This article published by Project Manager Today explores what to do to increase the impact of training Return on Investment

A View of PM Training2 One of my SOOP series contrasting how I see the market place for project management exams (PMP vs. PRINCE2 vs APM (IPMA suite): mostly they are a must-have to get interviews and somewhat irrelevant to competently doing the job in the real-world.

Getting some Bang for the Training Buck How to recover some training ROI. Time and time again it seems organisations buy a training course for an employee and expect that by magic it will generate a result – Mostly this is only true if it is a technical skill the employee is already familiar with and using. if it is a management skill or not already grounded and in use then LOTS of effort is needed from many different roles to deliver an ROI

…On The Search For Insight into How To Turn PM into A Competent Discipline

SOOP LML Complex Projects One of my SOOPs: this one observes that projects are part of the Dynamic Open Complex Adaptive System (DOCAS) that is the universe and argues that (shows how) appreciation of ‘agent behaviour’, ‘emergence’ and a whole bunch more concepts improves project delivery competencies.

Benefits Realisation Will Improve When HiLighted An essay on how 50 years of IT and ‘industry associations’ has created memes that explain why the state of the art in project management is so poor. Currently PM thinking is supplier driven not investor focused. The paper is perhaps a little long so key points are highlighted to aid skim-reading. It charts the use of capital (equity and debt) and the sorry use of ‘Methods’ as a justification for suppliers failing investors.

D4 2nd Generation PM This paper appeared in The American Society For The Advancement of Project Management ‘s newsletter and is in their online archive. It overviews Dimension Four® and explains the techniques and philosophy behind the board-room tool set for expressing goals in a Balance portfolio, Linking to value drivers, Accelerating program delivery, and Supporting people through change. D4 is the antithesis of “operation sucessul but patient died” and “we destroyed your capital but we used a well regarded method – not our fault” excuses. D4 says results are what matter.

SOOP LML Complex Projects A SOOP that explores how to be in control when the context makes prescribing cause and effect (and thus creating plans) impossible. Drawing on ideas from Complex Adaptive Systems I suggest how planning takes a new route to sucess, communications are set-up in a different manner. Includes a table that defines aspects of projects that differentiates simple/ complicated/ complex and chaotic.

… On Technical Aspects of Competent use of PM Tools & Techniques

ASAPM – The Breakdown Structure – Part 1

ASAPM – The Breakdown Structure – Part 2 The Breakdown structure, or more properly the technique of decomposition is a poorly understood tool with a great deal of bullshit and misinformation published even by ‘respected’ sources. This two part explanation published by The American Society For The Advancement of Project Management charts some history but mostly its a tutorial in how to use the technique to create breakdown structures that first clarify what teh customer will pay for and then what the team must do to earn the fee.

These two are supported by course materials available for free personal use in the members area

PMToday BusinessCase Abuse This SOOP points out that the average business case is a prejudged, biased selection of (sometime dubious) data written ‘up-front’ to release funding. A good business case is a dispassionate exposition of the pros and cons of some initiative that is input into portfolio selection and is maintained and refered to through-out an investment’s life-cycle. (also available in PMToday BusinessCase Abuse )

SOOP LML Scope is Quality A short explanation of the concepts of Scope and Quality. These two words actually refer to the same elements of a project: “what do we have to deliver to get paid, how do we get it delivered?”. The concepts here are the understanding needed to create reliable and safe contracts and commissions, to use decomposition, to facilitate workshops that lead to clear understanding and result in reference models of both – IE breakdown structures and linkage to product and process stipulations in Quality Management Systems and payment milestones.

PMToday Post-It planning1209-12-13 Project Management Today published this short piece on conducting scoping, resourcing and scheduling workshops with walls, sticky-notes and plenty of fun. In short a ‘How-to’ covering insights into team creation and planning.

PMToday Powerful Magic With MS-Project GanttCharts and Estimating in Excel 0510-27-29 How to link an estimating database in Excel to a task’s effort or duration values in MS-Project so that project schedules (and levels) based on estimating metrics maintained in Excel. Also how to transfer the results of people-centric planning (See the Post-It® Planning paper) into the tool. There is a complete free 4-day course “How to use MS-Pj from the ground-up including with Earned Value Analysis” in the member’s area.

PMToday Estimating0909-22 One page only yet this paper sets out the secrets of competent estimating. If its simple content were embraced by organisations there capability would rise dramatically. An expose of techniques, philosophy, appraches and methods for creating and using estimates. There is a complete free 2-day course on “How to create and use estimates” in the member’s area.

PMToday Risk in Baseline Managing of risk requires that responses are identified, budgeted and scheduled in the resource leveled day-to-day assignments worked on within the team – normally a picture drawn as a lowish level Gantt-chart: so how do you show prophylatic responses to threats in Plan-A and reactive “Plan-B” threat responses in the cost and schedule baseline, and how do you do that with Microsoft Project? read on…
(Also note: the free MS-Project course noted above expands on this article)

PMToday PMO BestPractice0410-28 Project and Program offices have been a popular phenomonem: they are often challenged after only a short existance to justify themselves – often with good reason. Part of the problem is foggy definition of who they serve and thus why they are there, and thus what they deliver and thus how to discharge the duty. This one pager explains the two fundamentaly different ‘masters’ to whom a PMO can work and the implications that result.

PMToday p2 in 666 Words BestPracticeFocus0310-27-28 PRINCE2: 2009 explained (almost completely) in just 666 words. Nothing is omitted but not every detail is related. There is a complete, Free, APMG approved Foundation and Practitioner Exam Preperation Course in the Member’s Area

PMToday Getting Fired1109-34 Triggers for change come in all-sorts of shapes and sizes and are always good! Look for the positive in change, don’t dwell on the negatives.

End of the List – For Now