Wednesday 3 January 2018

New Year's Resolutions

I've updated my principles and new year's resolutions from 2015, which have been useful in considering project delivery for the changes I'm involved in.

1) Success

Project success is not just about delivering what the project objectives state. Being really clear about what makes a specific project or change successful, especially mid-project and prioritising the things to bring this about, is a must. People usually focus on high-level time, cost and scope indicators as measures of success. Often success is derived from basic things like making sure a critical requirement is understood, agreed and delivered in a usable form. For example for GDPR this includes being able to demonstrate compliance, not just make the required changes.

2) People

Involving the right people is one of the biggest factors in delivering successful projects, not IT or just using the 'right' methodology. Taking time to make sure the right people with the right experience to deliver this year's projects and challenges, and not last year's, should pay dividends. I use Kotter's approach to change and working with stakeholders, as below.

3) Assumptions

In my book, making assumptions, and not proactively managing them, can kill projects. People managing 'RAID' lists often focus on risks, issues and some dependencies. Problems around scope, resources and other changes often hide in lists of assumptions and are forgotten about once the project starts or when it changes course. Reviewing assumptions regularly and making proactive changes might just help keep that project on track and avoid other common causes of failure.

4) Collaboration

Projects and change seldom involve just immediate colleagues or one organisation. Collaboration with third parties and partners is often critical to delivery. Reviewing past performance, the capabilities required for 2018 and alignment of all parties across the supply chain is essential.

5) Lessons

Lessons are often identified, but not always applied. I'm going to review again the main lessons from projects and change in 2017, summarise what was successful, what could have been better, and think about, and apply, both these areas to 2018's challenges.

Happy New Year to you all!

#projectmanagement #pmot

John Kotter, as published in Harvard Business Review, 2014 and from an article in Project Magazine, 2017

Saturday 11 March 2017

Analytics example

Friday 1 May 2015

project success
Effie Konstantinou from University College London and Ben Brownlee from the BBC have been researching what makes projects and programmes successful across the broadcasting and media industries.  They have researched: 

  1. Conditions for project success
  2. The nature of professionalism 
  3. The value of successful projects and professionalism

Sunday 16 November 2014

Common Causes of Project Failure

In 2004, the Office of Government Commerce and the NAO published the now well known common causes of failure for major 'acquisition-based' programmes and projects. While project practitioners have since extended this list, here's a summary of the common causes which remains a useful checklist for all major projects and programmes.
These are the common causes of failure to proactively avoid:
  1. Alignment - Lack of clear link between the project and the organisation’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success.
  2. Sponsorship - Lack of clear senior management and (Ministerial) ownership and leadership.
  3. Engagement - Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
  4. Capability - Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.
  5. Phases - Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
  6. Benefits - Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits).
  7. Supply - Lack of understanding of and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in the organisation.
  8. Integration - Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supply chain
Each of the eight areas has a list of associated questions, available from the Cabinet Office here.

Saturday 31 May 2014

W1 Project film of BBC's New Broadcasting House

The BBC's W1 project was a ground breaking achievement. This film celebrates the end of the W1 project and some of its successes which I hope will continue for many years to come. Here are the project's key statistics:

  • creative renewal of the News Channel, the One, Six and Ten O’Clock TV News Bulletins and BBC World News 
  • 5,539 people moving from ten buildings across London into four in the W1 postcode 
  • Radio Four and World Service news sequence programmes, Newsnight, Marr and Hardtalk 
  • three 24 hour News Channels, 3 Network Radio Stations (R1, R2, R4) and 26 World Service language hubs 
  • 92,000 square metres of the redeveloped Broadcasting House to be refurbished and fitted out 
  • 3,000 kms of cabling 
  • 41,886 training days and 126 different courses that have been provided 
  • cut storage requirements from 19 linear kilometres of ‘stuff’ by 75%. 
Budget and Benefits
  • a £1.046bn budget 
  • £736m financial benefits from the sale of other properties 
  • creative and collaboration benefits of bringing so many BBC staff under one roof. 

Sunday 14 July 2013

Do the right projects in the right way

The hard-won lessons from project management are to recognise what a project is and is not, and to be clear about what is success right from the start. Also important is to pull projects together into a coherent group to manage them more effectively and adopt the approach most likely to give success. Only then do you stand a chance of delivering the right outcomes. - See more in The Times supplement. 

Tuesday 12 March 2013