Project Zone Congress, Frankfurt #2


The Project Zone Congress is now over and the two conference days lived up to the standards set on pre-conference workshop day (see my first post)!

A few of the ideas picked up as vignettes:

Oliver Lehmann commenting on competency made the point that experience is a teacher, you need to be a good student to learn from your experiences (and the same applies to training courses), this requires taking the time for reflection and then implementing the insights. We are planning a blog on this a bit later.

Peter Taylor asked what’s the best way to develop solutions? ‘End-user’ involvement. or remove the hyphen and ‘end user involvement’?  The challenge is communication and understanding – what do the customers actually understand from your project documentation??

Peter again, project management has progressed from the ‘accidental project managers’ of 20 years ago, to the ‘non-accidental, qualified project managers’ of today and the emerging generation of ‘intentional project managers’ – where people are making specific career choices to become PMs.  Effective sponsorship is a crucial element for project success but no-one is training or supporting sponsors – we are still in the era of the ‘accidental sponsor’.

Organisations are changing and this affects project governance! The effect of the industrial revolution was to progressively isolate organisations from the natural environment with mechanical sources of power (starting with steam) and ‘factory walls’.  The knowledge revolution is increasingly forcing organisations to connect with the ‘virtual world’; connectivity and integration are becoming normal as are the pervasive social networks.  From both a governance and management perspective it in no longer possible to ‘hide’ behind the organisation’s walls.  Openness and accountability are the new normal.

Senior management attention is the key resource in any organisation and is in very short supply.  Maintaining access to this resource is the key to obtaining all of the other resources you need for your project.  This means Advising Upwards effectively to be seen and to be successful!

Change management and the difficulty of implementing change was a constant theme – probably the only person who really likes a change is a wet baby…..  change is generational within organisations – taking 4 years to fully bed down and one successful relapse that goes uncorrected needs 20 corrections to erase the memory of the ‘success’.

Agile was one of the three streams in the conference – my paper on the challenges of developing an effective governance regime ‘Governing Agile – the changing role of project controls in an ‘agile’ environment’ focused a lot of discussion from the more senior managers in the room, good questions and clearly identified issues but at the moment no generally accepted answers to the challenge of governance oversight and control.

Overall a great way to spend 3 days and recommended for anyone looking for a good reason to visit Frankfurt next year (or one of the other conferences organised by Stamford Global Ltd).

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