I subscribe to and would like to suggest you check out the “Narrative-Leadership” blog. I have met one of the contributors, Rabbi Rob, who calls himself a “contemporary Renaissance man”. He’s an amazing guy, one of those gentle but powerful souls.

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Yesterday, I attended a meeting with a PM represented by another company. He’d heard me speak late last year – wouldn’t have been hard as I spoke at 11 events in 10 weeks – and also knows some RNC people (past and present) and asked if he could PAY RNC to provide to him the support he’s seen us provide to other people.
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This is the first time I’ve ever forwarded a PMI email – wow – it’s an advertisement for a course on mastering office politics – The Dark Art of Office Politics – Without Losing Your Soul“.

I don’t know the presenter, but I do know that office politics (or in my language, learning how to run the campaign around projects and programs) is THE key to success in 2014.
Just being helpful.

Happy 2014!


In my last post I talked about how the job of project management has evolved into one that requires project managers to use their influencing and persuasion skills to obtain resources for their projects. And with this change comes a requirement for training to provide managers with those additional skills.

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One of the biggest takeaways I brought back from the AGMS was the concept that there are people who are ‘outside the universe’. These are usually people who choose to work long term on contracts; or employees who think it is solely their employer’s obligation to provide their development. They don’t engage with their own career; and miss the fact that the world moves on without them. They are still employed but each contract gets harder to find, their rate (both in real and perceived terms) reduces and their bewilderment increases. It’s sad to see these people grasping at diminishing opportunities; opportunities that diminish further as they try to do things the old way, relying on the approaches, skills and methods that used to work.

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Almost two years ago, Andrew was a senior executive in a large organisation here in Sydney.

Every day he went to work braced for trouble, bad news and budget overruns on the major project he was sponsoring. Andrew knew his career was in trouble as he didn’t feel quite as comfortable around the other execs and the top level guys.

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There’s a theme developing here – and it’s interesting (to me) that deans of the biggest management/business schools are concerned with this stuff. Interesting in a good way.

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I’ve been attending the 2013 International Conference of the AGMS at the University of California in Berkeley. Some really interesting ‘stuff’… And some really interesting people! There was no shortage of Deans from business schools around the world – an impressive bunch from schools across the US, Europe and Asia, although I did notice that an Oz contingent was missing.
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PMBOK 5th Edition is out. You know I’m a PM tragic (and I hope you are too as it’s important to keep up and on top of what we are doing and the expert field in which we operate). I’d like to think that you were waiting for the Jan release of PMBOK, but I suspect you’ve had other things on your mind. I still think it’s a good idea to get a copy though – I can’t tell you how important I think it is to keep up to date.

However, I live in the real world so I’ve taken the liberty of reading it (yes – while I was on leave and it’s in the category of being at the front of the field) and decided to send you a few snippets. At least you’ll be able to talk about it knowledgeably if anyone asks.

Basically, the book is a lot thicker (an indication that either there is a lot more to say; there was a lot of clarification needed following the last edition; or they’ve found a way to complicate stuff and that always takes up more space to write).

On reading, there isn’t much to worry about, the basics are all there and any changes are mostly minor ones.

The most noticeable change is the addition of a 10th knowledge area. For those of you who are interested, the 9th knowledge area – ‘integration’ – was an Australian inclusion which I can tell you about if you are interested. Now ‘stakeholder management’ has been included. I confess I rolled my eyes because if projects aren’t about stakeholder management the rest is just admin. Anyway, I digress.

The new section, Chapter 13, does what all the chapters do. It describes the knowledge area, breaks it down into components, suggests inputs and outputs and basically provides a framework which isn’t bad.

I found a few things interesting (when you read it you may well find more or different things interesting).

1. It includes four (4) versions of stakeholder identification models….. well it lists them and gives a generic example of one. The models are all good but there is no guidance as to how to slot stakeholders into each model..I found that frustrating and went googling for more detail but it is sparse – I’ve started to work some of that out and will send it through as I get there.

(a) one of the models (salience) sounded very interesting but (and perhaps I’m not very bright) I found the explanations and diagrams I could find on the web a little less than clear – so I am starting again and will share that with you as well.

2. There is a further section in the engagement levels of the stakeholders – they provide 5 but I think there needs to be a sixth…… more on that soon too.

3. My favourite which I arrived at with enthusiasm is the new section (yes it’s very heavy on subbing the paras) Interpersonal skills. There are four dot points explaining why you need them…. to

(a) build trust
(b) resolve conflict
(c) active listening
(d) overcome resistance to change
(perhaps you can spot the problem with the list – but I digress).

That’s it! no explanation, guidance etc. Perhaps….. oh dear, nope, I’ve got nothing.

4. Then there is the section that suggests the value of monitoring stakeholder engagement – a worthy suggestion – addressed with the further suggestion of adjusting your strategies…… sigh…… for a fleeting moment I had hoped for a ‘how to’.

I went away from my reading a bit despondent – I needed more. Then I hit on the idea that the PMBOK is like a filing cabinet with all the folders in place (though for mine I’d move stakeholder stuff to the front not just add it at the end, but no matter) and space for the content (would have been better with some hints about where to get the content but we are smart and will work it out).

I’ll be back soon with some of my interpretations of what is suggested and with some meat on them so you can put them in the folder and actually use them.

In the meantime, and as a teaser, when you are considering stakeholders think about the following elements:

Power: does the person have the power to influence the project deliverables or the organization (legitimate or personal)
Legitimacy: do they have the right by position or influence to impact the project.
Urgency: do they have the ability through whatever means to change the priorities of the project or other stakeholders?

As I said just a teaser.


Good morning, another beautiful morning here in Sydney and I hope you’ve had a good weekend.

Over the weekend, my mind was vexed by a question. I put it to an AICD Group and it has generated some interesting comments, so I thought I’d ask you and see if you have any input. To my mind it’s a big question, sometimes asked over coffee when no one is listening and rarely with a clear answer. And so…

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