PRINCE2: How to Manage Successful Projects

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The new PRINCE2(r), manual for project managers, feels much clearer and more structured. The new PRINCE2(r), Managing Successful Projects, has more diagrams and provides more information about the themes and processes.
This makes the book visually more interesting than the previous versions. I’m sure it makes it easier to read and reference on a daily base.
The business case is more prominent, and the text spends more time evaluating and understanding project context.
Chapter 5 outlines the project’s organizational environment and provides advice on how to work with a project team, whether part-time or not. It also includes guidance on training and line management responsibilities.
This edition has a more detailed definition of the quality approach and a sample agenda for quality review meetings. The book provides more structured guidance about the ‘how’ to manage a project, with examples of how the techniques or criteria are actually applied within a project.
Each Theme chapter ends in a table that explains the responsibilities of each member of the team as they relate to that Theme. This is repeated in a similar manner in the Processes chapters.
The text mentions a daily log, but I’m not convinced that this concept is useful in an electronic business environment.
There are many useful checklists in the book. The Closing a Project checklist seems particularly useful, even though it overlaps slightly with the Authorize Project Closure check-list.
The Appendix E health check lists offer project managers the chance to assess the status of any project. This is especially useful if you are near the end of a major stage or feel it is time to schedule a review.
This chapter provides clearer guidance on how PRINCE2 (r) fits within the OGC family of texts. There are also references to Management of Risk in Chapter 8.
This, along with the advice on how to tailor PRINCE2(r), makes the manual more practical and coherent. The PRINCE2r methods were prone to being applied in an “all or nothing” manner. But this new version puts organizational maturity and appetite at the core of the project management process.

Keeping up: Steps in a positive direction

This is the final part of a series of four on project management in the 21st century.
I’m seeing a shift to work in a more 21st-century way. Many recruiters now place more emphasis on people who have emotional intelligence (read more here) than technical competence. PMI has established a New Media Council to improve communication with members and non-members all over the world. BCS has a Social Media Executive. Soft skills are featured in frameworks and methods like PMBOK or the APM Body of Knowledge. TSO published a series of three books titled “Focus on Skills” earlier in the year.
All the “new ways of working tools” I reviewed last week are communication tools. We need people who are able to communicate well and open to business change in order to get the best out of our project team.
Understanding business change is key to building good working relationships with people who work in a different way to you. Let me show you an example of how stakeholders can be more forward-thinking when adopting new business practices.
Recently, I was speaking to Hal Malcomber and he shared with me a story about an exchange with a member of his project team. It was a construction project and he was speaking to one of the workers. One member of the team wanted to send updates via Twitter. He would complete a task and then tweet the status to the project manager.
It was a great idea to use a technique that the team member was familiar with and would be easy to use. The team member found it easy, and so did the project manager. There was no need to twist arms in order to get weekly status reports. They considered interfacing Twitter’s feed with the project software to automatically get the updates. It was impossible to do, but there are tools that accept Twitter updates, such as Basecamp.
These new methods of working are popular. These new ways of working should be adopted by us all. We should also update our project management methods to reflect how other people work. This will improve our results as well as our relationships.
Did you miss the previous articles? You can catch up here
Part 1: Aligning project Management to Real Business Part 2: Responding To Business Challenges Part 3: New Ways of Working

How to plan for next year

Are you a member of a team and have you completed your annual appraisal? You can also do them for your team members.
I won’t be doing any this yea, which makes a difference. But I will be thinking about 2022 and taking stock of my goals. This year has been a bit disappointing. It feels like I have barely managed to complete any work this year due to getting covid, homeschooling, and having to cut my work hours to make it work around school.
I had big plans, fun goals for my business, and I wanted to do some cool projects. Literally, anything that wasn’t contractually required or kept the lights on didn’t get done.
Last year, I wrote: “The only way you can get what your heart desires is to plan for it.” Follow the plan.
Lol. It worked.
Next year, I will be taking personal planning with a pinch salt. Is it going be another year of’maintenance? I really hope not. I know that having goals will help me make wise decisions about how I spend my limited time.
What about you? This is a great time to think about what you want out of 2022. Is it training? Is it a promotion or training? Increased visibility at work What does it mean to “Better” your projects?
Download my 2022 Career Planner to help you plan for next year and stay on track.
You know that planning is essential if you want something to happen. If you want 2022 career-wise to be a great one, take some time to consider your goals and the steps you will take to reach them.
Even if you don’t care about having a great 2022, and just want it to be good, think about what that could look and how you will make it happen.
When I was a parent of two under two-year-olds, my goals for the year were very low. Don’t assume that career planning is only for those with lofty goals like obtaining your PMP(R), or enrolling in an MBA program.
Get the only career planner you will ever need
My career planner template can help you determine what you want.
This document is quickly becoming a standard in project management! It has been a project management tool for me for the past few years. It has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. I hope that this year’s version will prove to be as useful to you in your planning for what you want to accomplish.
Get your copy here.

How to be helpful

If you are out for more than a day, set your out of office email address. You should also change your voicemail if you are at a critical point in the project or you know that people will want to reach you.
You will be able to tell people where your project team is so they can find the answers. Encourage them to also set up their voicemail and out-of-office email responses.
Your contact details should be included in your email signature. If your company already has a corporate signature format, you can use it. If your company does not have one, make something professional. Include your phone number. People will look at your last email first when looking for contact details. Outlook will not include your signature in a reply to an email unless you have specifically requested it to. It can be really frustrating to receive an email reply and then realize that you need to speak to the person. You will then have to look for their telephone number elsewhere because they don’t have a signature for return emails.
Your emails should be proofread and spell checked. Particularly if you are sending them via a BlackBerry or other mobile device. It is not helpful to anyone if the message isn’t understood by someone because you have missed ‘not’ or made a typo on the name of a document or person.
Make sure you have all the admin done: minutes of project team meetings, steering group meetings, shared project diaries, etc. It is important to keep it all current. If you need to, make sure to block time in your schedule for ‘admin days’.
Don’t promise to deliver what you can’t. This could be coffee for guests when the coffee machine is down, or project dates that you need to rely on unreliable people to deliver.
Follow through with what you say. Be clear about the deadline for feedback if you send a project document out for comment. Collect the feedback and update the document. This will allow others to plan around you.
Tell people as soon as you can if you are unable to do what you promised. This is the time of year to do capital reforecasting. If your project is not on track to deliver by December, adjust your forecasts immediately. It’s better than if your project sponsor discovers in October that you won’t be meeting your delivery or budget targets.

David Cleden at Experts’ Forum

David Cleden stated that there are no magic bullets for dealing with uncertainty when he presented at this year’s Gower/NCPM Experts Forum. His presentation was about organisational strategies to deal with uncertainty. Cleden brought up the famous “known/unknowns” diagram and pointed out how the common version with four quadrants fails to capture the things we don’t know.
Cleden explained that risk management goes beyond knowledge and experience. It’s about managing the uncertainty of managing “bolts out of the blue”. Cleden shared the story of a project that his company was involved in. The project manager was asked Friday if the software would be ready for the client to demo on Monday. He said that he was 100% certain that it would. It wasn’t Monday. This was not due to the project manager making promises that he couldn’t keep. The entire office, including software demos and all, was destroyed on Monday. Buncefield was within close proximity to the building, which was destroyed in the explosion. The disaster meant that the software demo was impossible, although no one was there at the time. This was definitely not something that the project manager wanted to risk.
Cleden recommended that exploratory work be done where possible to move risk into a quadrant that can be managed actively. You can’t project the future state of a project by projecting ahead. Things will change in a week and then there are many possible outcomes. This makes it difficult for logic and mathematical principles to predict the future.
His suggestion was to start with project’s end and then forecast your risk position backwards. This sounds similar to forecasting forward, but you have more control because you can plan your risk response from now to now without having to account for multiple variables in the future.
He also offered some additional advice on managing uncertainty.
Explore future uncertainty using piloting, prototypes, and iterative methods.
You need to understand the purpose and what is normal for your body so that you can spot deviations as they occur.
Use the knowledge you have to forecast backwards and make patterns.
Be able to empower decision-making at times of crisis and be able to bypass hierarchy.

Cleden also stated that the key to managing uncertainty is to be motivated to improve. Accept it and do your best to manage it.

Can we use Facebook for managing projects?

When I talk to people about social media tools, project managers, I get asked the question “What about Facebook?”
As you all know, I believe in the many benefits social media tools can bring to project managers. When asked about Facebook, I always reply that it is not a good tool to help project managers run projects.
I have always been skeptical about the role Facebook can play in managing projects. It’s not something I discuss in my book Social Media for Project Managers. It’s not business-y enough.
It’s not enough to have an opinion. I wanted to see if I was right. So I went on Facebook to see if I was right.
Facebook’s project management community
A search for “project management” brought up the PMI page, which is the most popular with over 41,900 people liking it. I also found [email protected] and The International Community for Project Managers. These sites and others like them had no original content. They simply aggregated content from their normal’ websites and uploaded it to Facebook.
Facebook allows users to comment on articles without visiting the organisation’s website. Some comments were interesting and some were very informative. However, I did not see anything that would make Facebook a better choice than an organisation’s website. I couldn’t find any presence for APM and IPMA.
There are also Facebook groups, but I found the search results confusing. The results were not alphabetical. I wanted to show the largest groups first to see which one I would like to join. After I looked at the groups, I realized that the discussions weren’t recent.
Is it worth it
LinkedIn’s discussion groups are more active and up-to-date if you want to participate in discussions about project management.
Facebook’s greatest benefit is consolidating your social media experience and bringing together all of your favorite project management reference resources in one place. It will save you time and you won’t have to go to each site individually. You can view all updates in one place.
This is useful only for networking and keeping up to date with the latest news. It does not help with the actual business of managing a project. I don’t believe that Facebook is a tool project managers can use for managing a project and working collaboratively with a group. Are you a different person?

The Best Books on Team Skills for Project Managers

Today’s video contains 3 book recommendations that I recommend for managing projects or, more specifically, how to get the right mindset to succeed within a team environment. You can scroll down to see more details about each book.
A Practical Guide to Dealing With Difficult Stakeholders, by Jake Holloway, Roger Joby and David Bryde
The authors combined their experiences in very difficult situations to share best practices and offer tips on how to deal with people who seem to be against you.
Although there isn’t much theory in this book, you can see that they have tried a variety of ‘classics’ ways to deal with difficult people.
It is a practical guide for dealing with difficult stakeholders, especially those in positions of power like sponsors. It is a quick read and some stories will surprise you. The case studies showed that there were some dysfunctional leaders in these organizations.
Conflict 101 by Susan H. Shearouse
This book will teach you how to deal with conflict at work. I hate conflict and would prefer not to have to deal with it. This book helped me to face conflict head-on and not worry about it. It changed the way I think about conflict at work.
Although the book is quite old, it still feels timeless. People argue at work for many reasons, and this hasn’t changed much over the years.
You will find examples of how teams have overcome difficult situations and come out on the other side. Although this book isn’t about project management, it will help you if you are a member of a team.
Results Without Authority by Tom Kendrick
When I read this book, many things came together for me. It’s a great book that will give you lots of advice about how to get people to do the right thing in a matrix setting.
You need to get people to work with you, even when they aren’t your boss. This book will help you create a culture of collaboration that works for you.
Results Without Authority would be my choice if I had to pick one book from this list.
These books are great for project management.
Best PRINCE2 (r) books
Books by Elizabeth Harrin (that’s you!)
The best books about project collaboration
The best leadership books for project managers
8 books you must read about stakeholder management
10 top books on change management

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Part 1: BAs and PMs working together

A month ago, I spoke at the Business Analysis Conference on how project managers work and how business analysts can help project managers to work more effectively together. It was a bit difficult to tell a room of BAs that project manager don’t want to hear too much detail and analysis paralysis. My presentation was followed by heated discussion.
You can still participate in the discussion if you weren’t there. I will be writing over the next four weeks about the key points I covered in that presentation. I will start with an explanation of the triple constraint, which is what project managers care most about.
Business analysts are often not able to understand the motivations of project managers. We are often faced with bizarre and sometimes absurd demands and use Gantt charts quite a bit. It’s easy to understand the motivations of project managers, but we don’t take the time to explain. None at all. To anyone. We get upset when people don’t understand the value we bring to organisations (BAs): Does this sound familiar? ).
Project managers are navigators. We see the big picture, and we want to get there as quickly and cheaply as possible. If we are good at our jobs, we spend all day thinking about OTOBOS.
OTOBOS is also known by the triple constraint, which stands for on time, budget, and scope. The problem is that project management has evolved and the triple constraint now includes other factors, bringing the total to three. These are generally:
Time
Budget
Scope/Requirements
Quality

These are the “normal” four. Some commentators include:
Risques
Customer satisfaction

The ‘triple constraint’ actually includes six items. It’s no wonder that project management jargon is so difficult to understand outside of our immediate colleagues.
Although the jargon may have changed, most stakeholders and sponsors still don’t. They are still most concerned with:
“Will it deliver on time?” “Will it cost what was agreed?” “Will it do what I need?”
This is OTOBOS. On time, on budget and on scope. If you do that, you are doing something right.
In the coming weeks, I will be writing about what project managers value and what we don’t in our working relationships with business analysts. The last part of this series will focus on how to improve workplace harmony between PMs, BAs.

At the APM conference

Yesterday, I spoke at the Association for Project Management conference in London. My presentation focused on equipping project managers to meet the challenges of modern businesses, including the credit crunch and outsourcing and offshoring. It also highlighted the role of new technology in 21st-century ways to work.
I arrived just as Geoff Whittaker was wrapping up his presentation on objective-setting in project management. I was able to attend the Q&A session with Geoff, David Daly, and the wonderful blog Outside of the Triangle. David’s talk was about the state of project management. I didn’t have the opportunity to see it but he had prepared a detailed paper that I thoroughly enjoyed. As part of the Q&A, the audience was asked to vote on questions. Only 61% of those surveyed agreed with David’s view that project management is in a midlife crisis.
I was one of the 61%. My argument was centered on the fact that we aren’t working as smartly and efficiently as we should. It was difficult to stand up knowing that 40% felt everything was fine in the project management world and that we don’t have to change anything.
After lunch, it was my turn. As I clicked on my first slide, I realized that the version being shown to the monitors to either side of me was an older version of my presentation. The audio-visual company had experienced some difficulties and hadn’t received the most recent version of my slides. Although they didn’t make any changes, I don’t think it was a problem for the audience. However, it did throw me off balance because the version I had on the Lectern with all my notes and scribbles on it wasn’t the same one as what was on the screen. I was not behind the lectern the majority of the time, so if I had stood behind it, no one would have been capable to see me.
Nick invited me back to the awards dinner last evening. Unfortunately, the stress of the day was too much and I was unable to attend the awards dinner last night. The APM website has a complete list of winners.
Some interesting feedback was received from my presentation. The session I shared with Martin Price also featured interactive Q&A with an audience vote. I’ll return to that in another post. I’ll also upload the correct version of slides here for anyone who is interested in what you should’ve seen.

Willie & Tahlia – The Glades, Robina, Gold Coast | Rezolution Photography

Willie & Tahlia – The Glades, Robina, Gold Coast
This photogenic duo created a glamorous affair for their Robina real wedding at The Glades.
With thanks to a large budget and an organised bride, Willie and Tahlia Dixon made some unforgettable memories along with 65 of their closest friends and family.
Date: 5 April 2014The Couple: Willie and Tahlia DixonLocation: The Glades, Robina, Gold CoastNo. of Guests: 65First Dance Song: Watch Over Me – Bernard FanningTheme: Black, white and blingBudget: $35 000 plus – without honeymoon
How did you meet?  Willie and I met through our mutual friends when I was 17 and he was 21. Our good friends continuously tried to set us up until one day we finally got to talking and once we did, we never stopped.How did you meet? Willie and I met through our mutual friends when I was 17 and he was 21. Our good friends continuously tried to set us up until one day we finally got to talking and once we did, we never stopped.

Tell us about the proposal… We were holidaying in New Zealand and Willie had organised a surprise dinner at the revolving restaurant in the Sky Tower in Auckland. Once we were there he had originally planned on proposing on the observation deck but didn’t realise how many tourists would be there so he had to think of another plan. Once we got to the restaurant he snuck off and spoke with the chef who then wrote in chocolate on my desert plate will you marry me?

Why did you choose The Glades for your wedding? I just fell in love with it. I instantly knew I wanted to get married there the minute I saw it. I wanted an outdoor ceremony and the lawn area, the gardens and the view was just divine.What did you do for your hens and bucks? I had nothing to do with the planning of my hens weekend. My five wonderful bridesmaids planned the whole thing and I never knew what was coming next! We started off in a beautiful suite at the Mantra Circle on Cavill Avenue, where we were joined by the rest of the guests, followed by some hilarious entertainment. After a few drinks we went onto the second location where I had some more entertainment at a night club and danced the night away.  The boys stayed in a lovely house on the Sunshine Coast. They had some entertainment of their own, went paint balling and swam and drunk lots!

DIY Details I hand made all of my photo booth props and hanging pom poms. I bought a lot of my own decorations for the reception such as my lolly buffet, birdcage wishing wells, candles and drink dispensers for after the ceremony.Key Styling Inspiration I wanted something visually beautiful that wouldn’t date! I wanted lots of white with a bit of black and of course bling. The bridesmaids dresses and flowers worked great by adding that pop of colour.

What gifts did you give your guests? We gave them black baroque frames that doubled as their name card holder.

What was the funniest moment of the day? There were actually quite a few funny moments. During our ceremony, our celebrant made a small mistake by asking Willie to, “take me as his lawful wedded husband”. Which threw him off a bit and of course ended in fits of laughter. Willie’s brothers speech – although written on a coaster – went for quite a while and was filled with hilarious stories and memories.What was the most special memory from the day? Other than marrying the love of my life, having all of our family and friends come together  to witness Willie and I get married. It was amazing. We feel very blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

What did you do for your honeymoon? We went to New York, San Francisco, L.A, Vegas and Hawaii. We had an absolute blast! Some of the highlights were; seeing all the sights in each city, going to watch a basketball, ice hockey and baseball game, snorkelling with turtles, cycling through Central Park, seeing two Cirque Du Soleil shows in Vegas, going to Disneyland and Universal studios, hiring a car and driving around Waikiki.

Special thanks to…All of our family and friends. A lot of them made such an effort to be there for our wedding day and we will be forever thankful.What advice would you give to future brides-to-be? Book the major things first, a lot of the popular suppliers and venues go quickly! To do lists: I may have planned my whole wedding in the notes section of my iPhone (this I probably wouldn’t recommend) but it was so handy to have it with me wherever I went and to add things to whenever I needed. Looking at lots of wedding photos for inspiration was a great way for me to figure out what I wanted my wedding to be like- which came in handy for when I went shopping or had to choose colours etc. Related posts
James & Michelle, Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove
Travis & Shelley Links Hope Island Weddings
Heath & Carmel, Parkwood International, Gold Coast
Ben and Mikayla, Burleigh Heads – Gold Coast
Featured Wedding Willie & Tahlia This photogenic duo created a glamorous wedding. With thanks to a large budget and an organised bride, Willie and Tahlia Dixon made some unforgettable memories along with 65 of their closest friends and family. Featured Wedding Willie & TahliaFeatured International Wedding Natasha & Stuart We travelled to La Digue, Seychelles via South Africa for this tropical wedding – What an amazing event, view all the images here. Featured International Wedding Natasha & Stuart Copyright © 2014 Rezolution Photography.
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