Author Archives: Pat Weaver

New Articles posted to the Web #65

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

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New Articles posted to the Web #64

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

Defining project success – moving beyond benefits realisation!

What you measure is what you are likely to get – so do the so-called measures of project success used by The Standish Group[1] and other really help?  Certainly, the CHAOS definition has been updated from the ‘traditional’ assessment of on-time, on-budget, and on-target (scope) to the ‘modern’ definition of on-time, on-budget, and a satisfactory result[2]; but does this really change anything?

Challenged projects failed to achieve one or more of the measures, failed projects were cancelled before completion or the deliverables were not used.  The problem is do these measures really matter?  The Panama canal expansion was planned to finish in 2014, it was actually finished in 2016; its costs were estimated at US$5.25 billion, it actually cost will be in the range of $6 to $8 billion (depending on the outcome of disputes).  But, the expanded canal is operating close to capacity and has had to restrict bookings since January 2017 to minimise delays and the latest estimates project that fiscal transfers from the Canal to the central government are expected to increase 60% to a total USD 1.6 billion in the current fiscal year.

Given the canal is 100 years old and the new works can be expected to have a similar lifespan what is the real measures of success? In the last 11 years of Panamanian administration, canal revenues grew at a compound rate of five percent annual of the fiscal year 2006 to 2016. Given the core mission of the Panama Canal is to generate income and support the growth of the Panamanian economy is this really a ‘challenged project’?

We have been suggesting for many years real success is a much more complex issue that requires far more sophisticated measures and management than simply focusing on time, cost and scope:

All of these papers lead towards the same conclusion, project success is founded in the creation of deliverables that facilitate the realisation of benefits. But real success needs something more; the benefits have to be seen as valuable by a large proportion of the key stakeholders – success is very much in the ‘eye-of-the-stakeholders’ and if they declare the project a success it is, if they don’t see the outcomes as valuable it is not!

The simple measures used by The Standish Group are only relevant if they advantage or impact the value perceived by the project’s stakeholders.  A number of projects in Queensland leading towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games undoubtedly have time as a key component in providing recognisable value to stakeholders. In many other projects time may be almost irrelevant. Cost may affect profitability (and therefore value in the ‘eyes’ of some stakeholders) but is probably far less important than delivering an output that delights the end users.  Quality and scope should be similarly balanced against the value perceived by stakeholders.

The problem with the proposition that success is based on outcomes of a project being perceived as successful by its stakeholders are many:

  • Different stakeholders will have different views of what is important and ‘valuable’ – these differences may be irreconcilable.
  • Stakeholder’s perceptions change over time – the Sydney Opera House went for a ‘white elephant’ that suffered massive time and cost overruns to a UNESCO World Heritage landmark in record time.
  • It is impossible to know how people will react to the eventual project outcome in advance –success, or failure, emerges after the project has delivered and everyone involved has ‘gone home’.

I don’t have an easy answer to this conundrum – but I do believe two major shifts in project governance and the overall ‘management of project management’ are needed:

  1. The concept of project success is built over time; it starts during the earliest stages of a project when the concepts are being formulated – no one benefits from delivering the wrong project on time and on budget.
  2. Everyone involved in the management of the project including sponsors and portfolio managers through to the project manager need to have in-depth discussions with their stakeholders about what success looks like and what is really important to the client and end users of the deliverable. This discussion needs to be framed by the constraints of cost and time (to the extent they matter) but not limited to predetermined artificial values, to create a prioritised list of success criteria that directly relate to the needs of the stakeholders (which may include time and/or cost, but equally may not); see: Defining Project Success using Project Success Criteria.

Finally, the ‘what’s really valuable’ discussion needs revisiting on a regular basis to keep the work of the project aligned with the evolving needs and perceptions of the stakeholders.  You can call this ‘agility’ if you like (or simply effective stakeholder engagement) but by now we all should recognise that producing ‘failed’ projects helps no one and driving to achieve arbitrary and/or unnecessary time and cost targets is a good way to destroy real value.

Making these shifts presents some real challenges:

  • The challenge the project controls community needs to start looking at is how do we start measuring success? Most organisations can’t even measure benefits!
  • The challenge for people involved in the overall management of projects is primarily answering the question which stakeholders are important in this conversation and how do we engage them?
  • The portfolio management challenge is focused on developing ways to quantify and assess these intangible metrics to select the most valuable projects.
  • The governance challenge is putting rigour around the whole framework to encourage innovation, satisfy stakeholders and maintain overall accountability.

My feeling is that project success is a complex, emergent, characteristic of a project that manifests after the work of the project has been completed.

Your thoughts are welcome.

_____________________________

[1] See: http://www.standishgroup.com/outline

[2] Presumably this change is to accommodate agile project where the scope is defined through the course of the work.

New Articles posted to the Web #63

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

New Articles posted to the Web #62

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

The PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition and its consequences.

One of the key tenets underpinning standards development is the need to continually refresh and update a published standard to maintain its relevance to the market it serves.  The PMBOK® Guide is no different.  The first formal edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 1996 and then every four or five years an updated version has been published the sixth edition will be published in 2017.

1996 Presentation Edition

The original concept of the PMBOK® Guide was to provide the knowledge framework need to underpin the PMP examination. This started as a special report published in 1983, with the first PMP candidates sitting for their exam in 1984[1]. The formal guide was first published in 1987. A major revision between 1991 and 1996 led by Bill Duncan resulted in the publication of the book we now know and understand as the PMBOK® Guide.

Each new edition the PMBOK was followed a few months later with an update on the PMP exam so questions being set were based on the current version of the PMBOK® Guide. In addition to these changes caused by updates to the underpinning body of knowledge, the PMP exam itself has evolved over the years. The current exam format of 200 multiple choice questions delivered via a computer-based system originated in the late 1990s.

In 2009 PMI commissioned a global role delineation study (RDS) the PMP credential. This study reached a consensus on the performance domains and the broad category of duties and responsibilities that define the role project manager, as well as the tasks required for competent performance and the knowledge and skills needed to perform those tasks.  This role delineation study became the basis for the structure of the PMP exam in 2011 and whilst it is very similar to the PMBOK® Guide there are some significant differences.  The RDS was most recently updated in late 2015.  Each update to the RDS also triggers a subsequent change in the PMP exam. The change we are now starting to work towards is driven by the impending publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition – public release date 6th September 2017.

From one perspective updates and changes to the PMP exam have occurred on a routine basis every three years or so for most of the last decade.  Some of the changes were relatively minor, some quite significant.  Based on our preview copy of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition the changes in the PMP exam scheduled for Q1, 2018 will be quite significant.

PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition Enhancements

Content Enhancements[2]:

  • Agile practices incorporated into the PMBOK® Guide:
    • Expanded coverage of agile and other adaptive and iterative practices. This will align proven, foundational project management concepts with the evolving state of the profession today. Significant additional detail on agile will be included in an appendix.
    • PMI also plans to publish a companion practice guide focused on agile in the third quarter of 2017.
    • Addition of three introductory sections for each Knowledge Area,
  • Key Concepts, consolidating information fundamental to a specific knowledge area.
    • Trends and Emerging Practices not yet widely used.
    • Tailoring Considerations, describing aspects of the project or environment to consider when planning the project.
    • More emphasis on strategic and business knowledge including discussion of project management business documents.
  • More information on the PMI Talent Triangle™ and the essential skills for success in today’s market

Process Changes

The Process Groups remain the same in the Sixth Edition, although two Knowledge Areas have new names:

  • Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management, emphasizing the importance of scheduling in project management. This aligns with PMI’s Practice Standard for Scheduling.
  • Project Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. We discuss both team resources and physical resources in this Knowledge Area.

There are three new processes in the Sixth Edition:

  • Manage Project Knowledge is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Integration Management knowledge area.
  • Implement Risk Responses is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Risk Management knowledge area.
  • Control Resources is part of the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group and Project Resource Management knowledge area.

Estimate Activity Resources is still part of the Planning Process Group, but it is associated with the Project Resource Management processes instead of the Project Schedule Management processes.

Some processes have been renamed to align the process with its intent. This table identifies the name changes.

Exam Changes

PMP and CAPM

PMP and CAPM exams will change in the first quarter of 2018. We will start updating our CAPM and PMP courses in early September so that candidates planning to take these exams early part of 2018 will have the correct materials to work through as part of their mentored email courses. For more on PMP and CAPM training see: http://www.mosaicproject.com.au/

PMI-SP

The PMI-SP exam is not scheduled for specific change, however, the reference materials used in our PMI-SP courses are based on the PMBOK® Guide and an industry textbook both of which are scheduled to have new editions published in September. We have therefore embarked on the upgrading of this course is our first priority not because the exam is changing, but because all of the references will be out of date when the new versions of the guide and text are published in a few weeks’ time. For more on PMI-SP training see: http://www.planning-controls.com.au/

PMI-ACP

The PMI ACP exam will also undergo a major revision early in 2018. We are currently assessing the viability of developing a mentored email course for this year exam.

Summary

From the information currently available to PMI R.E.P.S the new version of the PMBOK® Guide has a lot to offer the industry. From a trainer’s perspective there is a lot of work to do over the next six months but at the end of that time, we will have significantly improved training material based on a much stronger foundation. Interesting times ahead!

_______________________

 

[1] for a more detailed discussion on the early days of the PMBOK® Guide see: https://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/the-pmp-examination-is-30-years-old/

[2] For more on the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition enhancements see: https://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/pmbok-guide-6-edition-takes-a-major-step-forward/

New Articles posted to the Web #61

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM, and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence