Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review

Thank you for helping make 2013 another successful year
for our blog.

The WordPress statistics for the site include this gem:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 45,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

It is important to mark major milestones. A friend, Barbara Anderson from Shire Coaching & Training in Sydney recommends spending some reflective time with pen and paper ( or your i-pad? ) to answer all or some of the following questions ……
– what were my achievements and highlights of 2013
– key turning points, events, and what impacted me?
– who I became, what I learned, or how I grew?
– disappointments, sorrows, or trying times of 2013? what can I leave behind?
– what I wish I did more of, or had allowed more time for?
– what am I thinking to do (or be) differently in 2014?

Then having some fun and creating your intentions and goals for 2014. There are many ways to do this. The key is to think creatively and abundantly. And perhaps do some writing under the following headings …
– list at least 10 things I wish to attract into my life in 2014
– what opportunities lie ahead?
– what adventures and fun to be had?
– new skills to learn?
– supports and resources I shall put in place?
– what are my values and needs to orient my life around in 2014?
– goals I am strongly committed to?
– who I am becoming and how I can be described in the year ahead?
– if 2014 was a chapter in my book of life – what would the chapter heading be?

And then celebrate!! We are looking forward to a fun evening welcoming in the New Year many hours ahead of most of our readers. But whether you have 8 hours or 28 hours to wait, we wish you and those near to you a wonderful evening and a happy and successful 2014.

The N B-Grade N Debacle

fast-good-cheap1By focusing on the wrong thing, our politicians seen bent on consigning Australian business to the B-List for the next 50 years. We are already in the knowledge economy and knowledge it transmitted through integrated communication networks.

The proposed NBN – fibre to the premises – is not world beating, is it a catch up to bring Australia back onto a level playing field so we can compete with more advanced economies such as Singapore and South Korea. The proposed N B-Grade N is a hotchpotch of systems scrambled together and not very different to the system that would have evolved without government intervention – $ Billions wasted for no real advantage.

The N B-Grade N will condemn large slices of Australia to a sub-optimal communication system and eventually cost us all $ Billions more to maintain and upgrade to a standard approaching the level the original NBN would have delivered.

This policy failure places innovators and small businesses in Australia at a significant disadvantage and given more than 50% of future growth is generated in this sector, and that 60% plus of the services we will be using on our communication network in 20 years time have not even been invented yet, the loss in growth and competitiveness will damage the economy and all levels of Australian business for much of this century.

So how did this mess happen?

First the luddites in the then opposition who cannot differentiate between national infrastructure needed to transport physical goods – the nation building vehicles of the 19th an 20th centuries and national infrastructure needed to create and transfer knowledge – the nation building vehicles of the 21st and 22nd centuries. There is no fundamental difference between a rail line to export coal and a fibre optic cable to export training or design except you can only export coal once, knowledge is infinite. Link this to the Liberal’s successful policy of opposing everything and any possibility of a long term bi-partisan approach to communications infrastructure was out of the question.

The Labour party response was to focus their NBN onto a completely irrelevant and highly damaging objective – a ‘quick build’. No one seemed to notice that Australia has a functioning telephone system that still has capacity for limited upgrading. Certainly it is based on 100 year old copper wire infrastructure and is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain but it does not need replacing in 4 or 5 years. It just needs replacing in a sensible timeframe with appropriate 21st century technology that has the potential to remain viable for another 100 years.

The consequence of the political pressures on NBN Co. to achieve an impossible roll out schedule simply ramped up costs for absolutely no benefit. We are paying $ Billions more than we need simply to achieve a politically imposed deadline that has no technical imperative or relevance. There may have been a political imperative – get so far into the build the Luddites could not cancel it but this simply highlights the failings on both sides of politics.

Then the Liberals came along and introduced the N B-Grade N proposals that are designed to reduce costs by a little, reduce the build time by a couple of unnecessary years, reduce capability significantly and increase maintenance and ownership costs by a vast amount over the next 50 years. What’s the point?

We don’t need the Liberals B-Grade NBN in 4 or 5 years that will damage Australia’s competitiveness for decades. And we don’t need the Labour NBN in 5 to 7 years at the likely cost associated with maintaining the ridiculous time pressures on the build.

What we need is a world class NBN rolled out sensibly over the next 5 to 10 years, at the lowest practical cost, designed to position Australia for the commerce of the next 100 years. With the build planned around industry capacities and business needs, not political irrelevances.

good-fast-cheap2As the old adage goes “You we be good, we can be fast and we can be cheap – pick any two!” The NBN needs to be cheap and good! What’s currently being discussed is ‘fast and cheap’ and let the next government worry about the lack of quality.

The trouble is its Australian businesses that will suffer as a consequence of both political parties focusing on ‘fast’ and a three year election cycle rather than good and our competitive position for the next 30 to 60 years.

Strategic PMOs

Strategy1PMOs that focus on process, tools and report formats are out of step with the needs of executive management and unlikely to survive.

Value is created through the alignment of projects with the goals of the organisation and best-practice PMOs go beyond alignment with strategic initiatives; they are involved in creating and implementing organisational strategy.

The type of measurements that matter in this environment focus on measures such as ‘Return on investment (ROI)’, benefits realised, risk profiles and payback periods. Simplistic measures such as time and cost performance, use of processes, courses run and the number of qualifications achieved are not sufficient; and in themselves are largely irrelevant.

Processes and staff training are a means to an end, not an end in themselves! What matter is measures that demonstrate the qualified staff, applying the processes, are more effective at delivering valuable outcomes. Good processes improve efficiency and reduce error; bureaucratic processes reduce efficiency and drive up costs (see more on process improvement).

StrategyBut even that is not enough! These elements only look at doing projects ‘right’. Successful PMO leaders cite project alignment to strategic objectives as the top-rated PMO function that has the greatest potential for adding real business value to their organisational activities.

As part of PMI’s Thought Leadership Series, PMI in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit, Boston Consulting Group and Forrester Consulting, has examined the changing role of PMOs as they shift emphasis away from process and towards the more important role of contributing to value delivery. Their reports can be downloaded from:

There’s a lot of reading in these reports – maybe a good use of any excess holiday time…..

For more of out thoughts on PMOs see:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Which is just as well given the energy level of our cats…..

Cute Cat Photo

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas, and thank you for reading our blog posts.

New Melbourne PMP and CAPM website launched

Meeting1Mosaic has launched a new website focused on our PMP and CAPM classroom courses run in Melbourne.

The new site has a clean, modern image with easy to access information on the PMP exam, the CAPM exam and our courses for these two credentials. You are invited to check out the site at:

Our existing site is still very much alive and running at  (the difference in the URL is the ‘S’ on the end of project).  This ‘main site’ has a fantastic reservoir of useful information – it’s just too big and too complicated to work well on one of our key income earners, conducting PMP and CAPM classroom courses in our home town. Key parts of this original site include our:

If this new website proves a success, over the next year or two we will look at spinning off some of the other key sections from our main site to make access easier.

In the meantime if you know of anyone interested in PMP or CAPM, the new site is a simple to use resource: – our current challenge is to build the Google rankings.

Papa Elf, the man behind the man, on stakeholder management

The-PenguinDoes Santa use the SRMM® maturity model to enhance his organisations stakeholder management practices?

This interview published in the ‘the penguin’ would suggest Papa Elf, the man behind the man, is at least acquainted with the Stakeholder® Circle methodology and his grotto organisation has achieved a high level of ‘Stakeholder Relationship Maturity’ – we will know for sure in a few days time……

To read the full interview with Papa Elf see:

Problems with PMP pricing

I am getting thoroughly fed up with foreign organisations that set up for a few months in Melbourne and try to make a living out of PMI training, damage the local businesses then disappear.

I have no problems with competition and Mosaic has survived dozens of these ‘onslaughts’ since 1999 but it is made all the more difficult when these ‘out-of-towners’ appear to fragrantly breach Australian consumer law.

The law in Australia (unlike the USA) mandates consumer goods and services are advertised at their full price. Business to business quotes or advertisements need to clearly define if the advertised price includes GST or not.

Looking around the web today I came across this advertisement in a Google search for PMP courses in Melbourne:


Clicking through to the Melbourne course page, directly linked form the advertisement changes the story substantially:


Complete a registration and you are in for a nasty surprise when you get to the payment screen:


Your $1300 course is actually a $1600 course.

The only legitimate ‘extra’ between the Google advertisement and the final bill is the credit card fee; there was an option to pay by debit card for no fee.

For the record, the following two extracts are taken directly from the ACCC website summarise the law:





The Google advertisement appears to be in breach of the Australian consumer protection legislation and also appears to contravene the PMI R.E.P. policy which requires honesty in advertising. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for either authority to take action – they will undoubtedly be slower than 007!

In the meantime we have decided to take a direct commercial stand.

  1. We believe our advertised ‘all inclusive – no more to pay’ prices for PMP and CAPM classroom courses in Melbourne offer the best value ‘in-town’.
  2. If anyone finds a similar course that has a ‘real’ price lower than ours, we will beat that price by $50 every time.

To test our prices and check out the fine print (unfortunately we cannot avoid some) visit our new website dedicated to PMP and CAPM courses in Melbourne at:

Powerful Questions

Questions and Answers signpostYou can use questions to change peoples thinking, move their thinking to the ‘right answer’, or elicit information.

But questions are not neutral:

  • Asking ‘leading questions’ when you are seeking information closes off options;
  • Whereas asking ‘open questions’ when you are intending to move a person towards the conclusion you want them to reach can be counterproductive.

To be effective, you need to know the objectives of the questions you are asking and then design the questions to support the objective. This is a subtle art but well worth the effort of learning, particularly is you need to ‘advise upwards’ and influence the thinking of senior executives, project sponsors and steering committees.

One of the best short demonstrations of the art of leading questions is in this video clip from the UK ‘Yes Prime Minister’ TV series – its an oldie but a goodie…… spend couple of minutes and watch an expert:

You need to be more subtle than ‘Sir Humphrey’ to make this technique work effectively on senior managers but when you need something, asking a few well planned questions can very often lead the person towards the idea and instead of responding to your request, they have an idea of how to help you be more successful. Effectively advising upwards is an art – you really cannot ‘manage you managers’ but you can be an effective advisor. The art of advising upwards is the focus of my book: Advising Upwards: A Framework for Understanding and Engaging Senior Management Stakeholders see:

Questioning for effect is a key part of any sales process, including selling ideas such as the desirability of actually working to the project schedule or making the promised resources available on ‘Monday’.

However, when you are seeking information and insight you do not want to sell your ideas to the people being questioned, you want to find out what they know and think. When framing questions to gather information  (eg, during requirements gathering) you need to be really careful to ensure they are open and do not predispose the person being questioned towards a particular view point. Unfortunately the art of open questions seems to have disappeared from academic teaching; well over 80% of the research questionnaires I look at have the objective of eliciting the answers wanted by the researcher to support their preconceived hypothesis.

A question like “Do you want to go to Kentucky Fried or McDonald’s for lunch?” presumes:
a) The person wants to go out for lunch, and
b) The person only eats takeaways.

Change the question to “Where would you like to go for lunch?” opens up other possibilities (eg, the really good salad bar down the street), but still assumes the person wants to go out for lunch.

You need two questions to remove all presumption; first “Would you like to go out for lunch?” and assuming a positive response, “Where do you suggest?” Even then the first question has a presumption of ‘with me’ built in.
The art of question has discussed at some length in the past, some useful resources are:

PMI Promotes the PMI-SP Credential



And we agree!

Don’t wait to validate your skills and take you career to the next level

Apply Now

To help prepare of the examination and meet the PMI-SP training requirements, our PMI-SP courses are available world-wide via Mentored Email™ to see