Monthly Archives: March 2013

The BANANAs slip up

A UK Government Minster recently commented that the world was shifting from a bunch of NIMBYs to BANANAs!

HS2-banana

NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard (potentially selfish but understandable)

BANANA = Build Absolute Nothing Anywhere Now and Always

In the UK the journey from London to the Midlands is fraught – traffic is overcrowded for most of the 24 hours – one accident can cause hours of traffic chaos, conventional rail is overloaded and the distance is too short for effective air travel. The solution to this problem has been rolled out throughout the rest of Europe for several decades – high speed rail. Using the existing high speed rail you can get to Paris or Brussels easier than Birmingham or Leeds from the centre of London.

To fix the problem, the UK is planning its second high speed rail link from London to Birmingham and then on to Leeds and Manchester, called HS2. Since its announcement the BANANAs have been out in force – apparently it is better from the BANANA viewpoint to have highly inefficient, high pollution traffic jambs and build nothing rather than a clean and efficient alternative. The fact that the North of England is significantly disadvantaged compared to the better connected South is irrelevant. The emotional arguments about ‘damage’ caused by the development are immediate and compelling, the benefits arising from the operation of HS2 are in the future and so BANANAs can ignore them.

HS2-Map

Fortunately the UK High Court operates in a more pragmatic space. In its judgement earlier this month, the government won nine out of 10 points being challenged, which effectively gave the “green light” to the high-speed rail project. The judge agreed it was lawful for the Government to choose to rule out upgrading the existing network as a credible alternative to HS2. He noted that a patch and mend approach failed to meet the Government’s objectives of providing a long term boost to capacity and economic growth. He also found that the Government’s approach to consultation on the HS2 Phase One route, environmental assessment and consideration of the impact on habitats and protected species, had all been carried out fairly and lawfully.

The one point the judge upheld was a challenge concerning the way the property compensation consultation had been carried out. The Government has decided that instead of appealing this decision it will re-run this consultation in line with the judge’s finding to fairly compensate the public who are impacted by the scheme.

Contrast the problems in the UK and the Republican Party blocking a similar initiative in the overcrowded NE of the USA with China where current plans are for 16,000km of high speed rail to be operating by 2020, including the 9676km already built, in a determined effort to overcome congestion and pollution.

To quote the Boston Consulting Group: ‘China’s big infrastructure networks are platforms upon which new industries are layered greatly multiplying the economic value of the projects themselves’.

Australia has its fare share of BANANAs – there are 100s of tones of radioactive medical waste stored in expensive hospital buildings as well as radioactive industrial waste scattered throughout metropolitan areas because no government has had the courage to develop a safe storage facility. Every time one is proposed the BANANAs start screaming, but they also do not want to let cancer patients die or fly in unchecked aircraft (radio isotopes are used in the non-destructive testing of welds).

What the BANANAs forget is living is a compromise – every decision not to do something has a consequence and every decision to do something has a consequence. Careful consideration of the options and a balanced decision is needed based on the overall good for the environment and society (with proper compensation to those disadvantaged).

Doing nothing simply condemns everyone to progressively lower standards of living that will eventually lead to mass degradation of the environment because there is no money to look after it!

The advent of BANANAs supported by social media opens up a whole new set of stakeholder management challenges. NIMBYs were identifiable and had reasonable ground to expect consultation. BANANAs are far more widespread and work on emotions rather than common sense – for more on the tools for stakeholder management see: http://www.stakeholdermapping.com/

Defining Management

A consistent theme in these posts is the assertion that governance and management are different processes undertaken by different entities within an organisation. In short, Directors or their equivalent govern, Managers manage.

This assertion is supported by the unequivocal view of governments, the OECD, stock exchanges world-wide, various ISO Standards, various Institutes of Company Directors and the Association for Project Management in the UK. The various laws, standards, definitions and guidelines published by these bodies all agree the Board has the exclusive responsibility to govern all aspects of the organisation and this includes the governance of project and program management activities.

The governance function has two key aspects; the first is deciding what the organisation should be and how it should function. These governance decisions are communicated to management for implementation and the primary outputs from this part of the governance system are:

  • The strategic objectives of the organisation framed within its mission, values and ethical framework.
  • The policy framework the organisation is expected to operate within.
  • The appointment of key managers to manage the organisation.

The second aspect of the governance system is oversight and assurance. The governing body should pro-actively seek assurance from its management that the strategic objectives and policies are being correctly achieved or implemented. The assurance and oversight functions include:

  • Agreeing the organisations current strategic plan (in conjunction with executive management). The strategic plan describes how the strategic objectives will be achieved.
  • Suggesting or approving changes to the strategic plan to respond to changing circumstances.
  • Requiring effective assurance from management that the organisations policy framework is being adhered to.
  • Requiring effective assurance from management that the organisations resources are being used as efficiently as practical in pursuit of its strategic objectives.
  • Communicating the relevant elements of the assurances received from management to appropriate external stakeholders.
  • Assurance to the organisation’s owners the strategy and policies are being adhered to by management and the organisation as a whole.
  • Assurance to a wider stakeholder community (including regulatory authorities) the organisation is operating properly.

From the list above, it is obvious that the governance system cannot operate without the effective support of the organisation’s management system. And, if governance and management are different systems within an organisation, they should have different functions creating different outputs. We believe this is the case and the purpose of this post is to define what management is and does.

The functions of management were defined by Henri Fayol (1841 – 1925) in his general theory of business administration and surprisingly, this is still seen as a one of the basic definitions of management. He proposed that there were five primary functions of management and 14 principles of management:

Fayol’s Functions of Management

  1. to forecast and plan,
  2. to organise
  3. to command or direct
  4. to coordinate
  5. to control (French: contrôller: in the sense that a manager must receive feedback about a process in order to make necessary adjustments and must analyse the deviations.).

Inherent in these functions is decision making!  The primary role of management is to make decisions and value judgements within the framework set by the governing body to achieve the objectives set by the governing body. The primary output from management can be defined as information and instructions that have to be communicated to others.

The communication is firstly to the workers so they understand what has to be produced, where and when; secondly to the governing body to provide assurance that the right decisions have been made and the right things are being produced in the right ways applying the organisation’s policy framework correctly.

Fayol’s Principles of Management

The principles of management define some of the ways the functions of management can be implemented – some of theses principles need adjusting to remain effective in modern organisations but the concepts are still valid:

  1. Division of work. This principle is the same as Adam Smith’s ‘division of labour’. Specialisation increases output by making employees more efficient.
  2. Authority. Managers must be able to give orders. Authority gives them this right. Note that responsibility arises wherever authority is exercised.
  3. Discipline. Employees must obey and respect the rules that govern the organisation. Good discipline is the result of effective leadership, a clear understanding between management and workers regarding the organisation’s rules, and the judicious use of penalties for infractions of the rules.
  4. Unity of command. Every employee should receive orders from only one superior, from top to bottom in an organisation (not practical in matrix organisations).
  5. Unity of direction. Each group of organisational activities that have the same objective should be directed by one manager using one plan.
  6. Subordination of individual interests to the general interest. The interests of any one employee or group of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organisation as a whole.
  7. Remuneration. Workers must be paid a fair wage for their services.
  8. Centralisation. Centralisation refers to the degree to which subordinates are involved in decision making. Whether decision making is centralized (to management) or decentralized (to subordinates) is a question of proper proportion. The task is to find the optimum degree of centralisation for each situation.
  9. Scalar chain. The line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks represents the scalar chain. Communications should follow this chain. However, if following the chain creates delays, cross-communications can be allowed if agreed to by all parties and superiors are kept informed.
  10. Order. People and materials should be in the right place at the right time.
  11. Equity. Managers should be kind and fair to their subordinates.
  12. Stability of tenure of personnel. High employee turnover is inefficient. Management should provide orderly personnel planning and ensure that replacements are available to fill vacancies.
  13. Initiative. Employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort.
  14. Esprit de corps. Promoting team spirit will build harmony and unity within the organisation.

Whilst some authorities have added to and changed some aspects of Fayol’s work in the intervening 100 years, these additions and changes have generally expanded and clarified the concepts outlined above. In general terms Fayol’s work has stood the test of time, has been shown to be relevant and appropriate to contemporary management and defines what management is and does. A person undertaking any of the five functions, or employing any of the 14 principles is engaged in management (not governance).

What I believe this post makes crystal clear though is the difference between governance and management – when a manager is deciding the best options or seeking information on actual performance to use in decisions the manager is managing.

The Standard for Program Management—Third Edition

The most noticeable thing about the new Standard for Program Management – Third Edition is that is has gone on a major diet! The 2nd Edition was 271 page long (plus appendix), the 3rd Edition is less than half the size at 106 pages plus appendix. Unfortunately the price has not moved in the same direction.

The Standard still provides a detailed understanding of program management and promotes efficient and effective communication and coordination among various project management groups. The major updates include:

  • Program Life Cycle has been assigned its own chapter for the third edition to provide the details of the unique set of elements that makes up the program management phase.
  • The third edition highlights the full scope of program management and clarifies the supporting processes that complete the delivery of programs in the organizational setting.
  • A more detailed definition of program management within an organization is provided, including the fundamental differences between project management and program management.

The major focus of the revision seems to be removing a lot of the ‘project management’ information that is found in the PMBOK® Guide and focusing on the role of program management in organisations, the unique characteristics of program management work and the role of the program manager. A shift from process to principle, that is aligned with the Program Management Role Delineation Study that forms the basis for the PgMP examination.

The framework in the Third Edition is:

  • Introduction
  • Program Management Performance Domains
  • Program Strategy Alignment
  • Program Benefits Management
  • Program Stakeholder Engagement
  • Program Governance
  • Program Life Cycle Management
  • Program Management Supporting Processes

The relationship between the Program Management Performance Domains that makes up the bulk of the standard is illustrated below.

Program_Domains

In addition to the core standard, Appendix X4 on Program Management Competencies, and X5 on Program Management Artefacts are very succinct and useful.

A couple of shortcomings in this version of the standard are firstly the limited recognition of the different type of program that organisations run. The PMI standard is very much centred on the ‘strategic program’ defined in the GAPPS typology discussed in our White Paper Defining Program Types. In particular the GAPPS ‘Operational Program’ typology has been largely ignored in the PMI standard.

The other is the classic confusion between the Enterprise level executive management responsibilities that are critical for the support and oversight of the work of the Program Manager and Organisational Governance, typical of documentation produced by working managers. What the standard describes as ‘governance’ is the critical management responsibilities of senior executives to adequately support oversight and manage the process of ‘program management’. Governance is the process of oversighting the whole management system, that is performed by the ‘governing body’ which is the Board of Directors in most commercial organisations and their equivalent in other types of organisation – governors govern, managers manage! For more on this critical distinction see: WP1084 Governance Systems & Management Systems. The contents of the ‘governance’ section are good, just miss-labelled.

Summary
Overall this is a significantly improved standard – a lot of duplication and redundancy has been removed, and the key functions and processes of program management and what organisations need to do at the enterprise level to support programs are well though through and laid out. This new standard is available in Australia from: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Books.html#PMI

PERT – What’s in a name?

Orange

I could choose to call the image at the top of this page a tennis ball – it is about the right shape and is a bright colour, but if I chose to do so all that results is confusion! The name we call things matters because it communicates what we are talking about to our audience.

Over the last week we have been dragged into a number of Linked-In discussions focused on questions such as ‘Do you use PERT?’ Partly as a result of our latest blog on the PMBOK 5th Edition  and also because Mosaic Project Services (and particularly Patrick) has a high profile writing about scheduling history.

The overriding conclusion from the debates we’ve witnessed is no-one knows for sure who is saying what. Each user of the term PERT may be referring to a Network Diagram, a Monte Carlo simulation, some other simulation or the actual PERT technique developed in the 1950s. If the basic premise of the debate is not clearly defined the net result is a lot of noise and no possibility of reaching a conclusion of consensus – in exactly the same way as playing tennis using the ‘ball’ pictured above, all you end up with is a mess.

I’m not sure why so many organisations and people chose to use names that have a very specific meaning completely out of context but it seems increasingly commonplace:

  • it may simply be a lack of awareness, assisted by seeing many similar incorrect usages of the name;
  • it may be a desire to look clever by using technical jargon, which of course backfires big-time as soon as someone who knows hears the misuse;
  • it may be an overt commercial move to trade off a well know ‘brand’ to make a tool or offering seem better than it is.

What is important to consider though, is apart from the first option none of the other factors are ethical behaviour and all of the factors destroy effective communication.

To help bring some level of knowledge into the discussions around PERT, we have published a White Paper today on Understanding PERT.  This paper outlines exactly what PERT is and was, identifies the shortcomings in the technique and delineates what PERT ‘is not’ and the reasons why. After everyone has understood what PERT is and is not, let the debates continue but this time with the effective communication of ideas between the protagonists, ie, a communication in which the receiver actually understand what the sender is meaning.

The alternative was effectively described by Robert McCloskey, a US State Department Spokesman several years ago ‘I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant!’  Effective communication needs a mutual understanding of the terms used.

Download the White Paper

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition – Some Technical Differences

We are busily working through the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition updating Mosaic’s PMI training courses ready for the scheduled examination changes. Three of the more technical changes we have discovered (out of many) are:

The Good:
Quality management has been tidied up. The seven basic tools of quality management are now dealt with in on place, once, in 8.1.2.3 and referenced through the rest of the chapter. The ‘magnificent 7’ are: Cause and Effect Diagrams, Flow charts, Checksheets (checklist), Pareto Diagrams, histograms, control charts and scatter diagrams. Other specific techniques are discussed in the appropriate process. There is also an attempt to relate the different project/quality cycles including the basic process groups, the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, the cost of quality and quality assurance and control.

The Bad:
Monte Carlo is missing from Time Management and Cost Management! One area that needs a major update in the 6th Edition are the aspects of time and cost management focused on three point estimates and variability. Monte Carlo has been moved out of these sections into the Risk chapter, and is defined as the source of ‘contingencies’ and as a means of ‘simulating’ schedule outcomes. Very little is included about the ways simulation through Monte Carlo are developed or used. In particular, there is no discussion of how different distributions should be chosen based on the available data. Understanding the range of potential outcomes is a critical time and cost management process as is the interactions between time and cost. The treatment in the Risk chapter is not bad, just in the wrong place, hopefully in the 6th Edition the consideration of modelling outcomes will move back into the Time and Cost chapters Or there will be far clearer links drawn between the development of the raw data and its use in cost and time management.

The Ugly:
For some reason PMI keeps bringing PERT back into consideration, ensuring the unfortunate confusion around PERT will persist for another 4 years at least! The completely inaccurate reference to ‘PERT Cost’ that crept into the 4th Edition has been killed off but the concept has reappeared in Duration Estimating (6.5.2.4), Quality Assurance (8.2.2.1) and the glossary.

There is nothing wrong with PERT being in the PMBOK if the technique is defined properly. PERT is a simplistic technique that applies a modified beta distribution and an approximation of the calculation for Standard Deviation (a polite term for inaccurate), to the activities on the critical path in a single calculation to determine the mean completion date (p50) and the effect of adding 1 Standard Deviation to approximate the p80 completion (ie, the date with an 80% probability of being achieved or bettered). PERT is prone to errors including the ‘PERT Merge Bias’ which describes the effect of a nominally sub-critical path finishing later than the critical path.

However, PERT is not synonymous with three point estimating despite a number of software vendors making the same mistake and using a ‘cute name’ to make their uncertainty calculations sound sexy. Any computation that involves simulation, different distribution options or calculating the whole network is not PERT.

PERT has an important place in history and is a useful teaching tool because you can do the calculations manually. But confusing this venerable technique with simulation and three point estimating helps no one and creates a significant communication problem – when a planner says he has done a PERT analysis you have no idea if this means a full Monte Carlo simulation, a manual PERT calculation described above or something in between. As a professional body PMI has let everyone down perpetuating this confusion.

The End:
Overall the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition is still a significant improvement; our earlier posts have highlighted many of these changes:

To read our earlier comments:
https://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/category/training/pmbok5/

To see more on the book:
– In Australia: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Books.html#PMI
– Other places: http://marketplace.pmi.org/Pages/Default.aspx

AustPMA – Final Meeting

The meeting to formalise the closure of the Australian Performance Management Association and discus the formation of a less structured network for project controls professionals will be held on the 9th April 2013, at the Rydges Capital Hill, Canberra, ACT.

The AustPMA – Final Meeting is being held in conjunction with the Project Controls Community Evening (free event) which will start at 6:00pm to conclude at approximately 7:00pm – a cash bar will be available from 5:30pm.

The free Community Evening will include:

  • The formal finalisation of the AustPMA
  • A brief presentation on developments in the International Standards Arena (ISO) and the work of the ISO Technical Committee focused on project, program and portfolio management.
  • An update on the qualification of planners and schedulers including the launch of the CIOB PTMC (Project Time Management Certificate) qualification in Australia
  • An update of the CIOB contract for ‘complex projects’ and its approach to proactive time management.
  • An open discussion on the ‘way forward’ to establish a dynamic community of project controls professionals in Australia, effectively linking the work of the AIPM Controls SIGs, the Governance and Controls Symposium, the College of Performance Management, Planning Planet, and any other group working to advance skills and knowledge in this important discipline.

The costs of the room hire are being covered by the not-for-profit, PM Global Foundation, the organisers of the Governance and Controls Symposium that will be in the same location on the 10th April.

Any former AustPMA members may download:

Or email me to request copies at patw@mosaicprojects.com.au (many of you have moved and we don’t have your current email).

Regardless of your involvement with AustPMA in the past, we cordially invite all project controls professionals and interested project managers to attend this free community meeting to network and discuss the future direction of our discipline, as well as bidding a short but fond farewell to the AustPMA.

To assist in organising, please register for the free Project Controls Community Evening at: http://wired.ivvy.com/event/GCSM13/ (scroll down page for details).

Project Time Management Workshops for Planners & Schedulers

We are pleased to be part of the team launching the Project Time Management Certificate (PTMC) in Australasia. Mosaic’s Project Time Management Workshops are designed to:
– Offer a practical one-day scheduling and planning course.
– Underpin studies for the CIOB PTMC examination.
– Start a Blended training course for the PMI-SP credential.

In cooperation with the Chartered Institute of Building, Mosaic will be running a series of practical 1 Day Project Time Management Workshops that will be followed by a PTMC examination conducted by CIOB in the same city a few weeks later. Our first workshop will be held in Canberra as part of the Project Governance and Controls Symposium on the 9th & 10th April:
Project Time Management Workshop – 9th April
Free Controls Professional networking evening – 9th April (follows workshop)
Project Governance and Controls Symposium – 10th April
PTMC Examination – 4th May

These events are designed to re-frame project controls in Australia and provide an on-going forum for cross-industry, cross-association, cross-discipline discussions to advance the status and understanding of project controls. 2013 is the foundation year for what is planned to be a regular annual event.

The PTM Workshop is a valuable 1 Day course as well as providing a foundation leading to professional credentials.

The PTM Workshop is a valuable 1 Day course as well as providing a foundation leading to professional credentials.

Unlike the PMI-SP credential which requires formal training and a minimum of 3 years of experience for a candidate to be eligible for the examination, the PTMC is designed as a rigorous knowledge test that is open to anyone. Potential candidates can choose to self-study or take a course or any combination that works for them:

PTMC_Routes-500

The PTMC is designed to provide experienced schedulers with proof they understand their discipline and offer graduates and others wishing to become a scheduler an opportunity to learn the art and skills associated with being a professional planner and scheduler – there is far more to the profession than simply using software!

More information:
– The PTMC Credential.
PTM workshops (full schedule of dates).
– Book into the Canberra PTM workshop.
– Book into the free networking evening  (scroll down page – cash bar)
– Join us at the Project Governance and Controls Symposium.

The Symposium and networking events are underwritten by the not-for-profit PM Global Foundation and apart from physical costs, all of the income from the PTM workshop will be used to help develop this important initiative. We look forward to your support.