OUR BLOG: HONEST VIEW OF THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY
IN THE WORLD OF DELIVERING PROJECTS

Benefits Realisation Framework

The need for a Benefits Realisation Framework Every organisation engaged in business change should have a benefits realisation framework, to maximise the impact of change, and to avoid common pitfalls of change programmes. Benefits realisation includes the long-term process of embedding and maximising potential benefits following the delivery of projects.  Benefits are rarely automatic. Often they require behavioural and organisational change. Benefits realisation goes well beyond project management. Responsibility for benefits realisation should seldom be ...
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How to write a problem statement

Writing problem statements for Business Cases In this post we discuss: why we need one; how to develop a clear problem statement; common mistakes to avoid; and provide an example showing how they can be improved. Why do we need one? When developing a business case, it is often hugely useful to include a clear problem statement or similar.  It should be the starting point for many business cases. Sadly, far too many business cases ...
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Why Scrum alone does not work

and how to make it much better: The purpose of this post is to describe the limitations of Scrum and why Scrum alone will often not work.  Later we describe what would work much better, while still using incremental product development. In particular, we focus on how to move beyond the mantra of delivering “value” to something much more specific, beneficial and measurable, collaboratively. Agile is a collection of values and principles relating to software development.  ...
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Why Agile will never be a project management framework

This is not a Waterfall-versus-Agile discussion: This post is not about Waterfall-v-Agile.  It is much wider than that. In its pure sense, Waterfall is a very specific and rarely used software development life-cycle.  This post is about the realities of projects in business, regardless of how unpalatable those realities may be, and what the real world of projects is often about. At its most basic, a genuine project is a unique problem to be solved, ...
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Effective project sponsorship: key role on projects

What makes a great Project Sponsor? Having an effective project sponsor can be a very key role in a successful project. However, just nominating someone, even the right person, does not always work out as we hope.  This post describes the attributes of successful project sponsors. So what is the role and responsibility of a Sponsor? In this context, the Sponsor is not just the client, or maybe not even the client.  The role is most ...
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Product Owner: the things they often don’t mention

Being a Product Owner: the things that are rarely mentioned Having an effective Product Owner (PO) on software development projects is a hugely useful and important role, whether using Agile or other methods.  The way the PO is described, especially by many promoting some Agile methods, is at best ambitious.  In many circumstances, it may not even be close to possible. Pretending we have one when we don't (by the measures below) is going to be ...
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Why it’s a mistake to assume anyone can manage a project:

Why it’s a huge mistake to assume anyone can manage a project: Most people don’t plan to go into project management.  They often find themselves in the role more by accident than design. It’s also common that when people first attempt the role, they have little if any preparation or real support, with something that can be very challenging. For well over a decade, we have asked precisely the following question to groups of people ...
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Why many Agile projects still need project managers:

The good things in Agile: Firstly let me say, I am a huge fan of the good that Agile can bring, through some of the practices that it encourages (e.g. collaboration, transparency etc). Like all "new" ideas though, there are some whose interpretation goes beyond the bounds of what is good.  There are also some very experienced people in the Agile world, who believe that Agile projects also need project management. This post is not about ...
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Time for a grown up debate: Methods and Scrum

Time for honesty I have been writing recently on the alarming trends around PM ‘methods’, including the latest edition of the Scrum Guide, which was updated in 2017. There are many people and groups developing and publishing methods, guides and standards etc. and we have to hope they are being written for the good of the world of delivering complex projects more successfully. A great ambition, but we need to be very honest and careful ...
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Why the current focus on methodologies is totally wrong:

There are large numbers of online discussions and posts promoting one project management or product development “method” over another.  As a career-long project management practitioner who has seen everything from excellent practice to appalling attempts at managing projects, I feel this is very wrong, damaging and totally the wrong debate. Where does all this 'methodology' discussion come from? Firstly let’s deal honestly with why we have reached this point. It is largely down to vested ...
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Issue with Certification Training

The huge issue with certification training: Is that it’s like mixing oil with water There has been an enormous growth in certification and related training courses (e.g. PMP) in recent years. Firstly, there is nothing inherently wrong with certification itself. However, there is a world of difference between certification 'training' and courses that teach real skills which deliver real improvements in personal and organsational competence.  They are not the same and pretending they are is at ...
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Managing home improvement projects – lessons learned

Managing a major home improvement project - lessons learned from real projects Many of us get involved at least once in a major home improvement project.   Some turn out fine but sadly too many go very badly wrong, sometimes disastrously. The majority that go wrong do so for common reasons. If you follow all of the following you will minimise the chance of major issues on your project and ensure that any issues you have ...
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