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 18.104.22.168 (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.
Projects and programs: we don’t mess around, we just make them happen.
A few years ago, a meticulous research study of 860 Project Managers (whittled down from 5,258 PMs) and 4,398 of their stakeholders was undertaken. Called ‘The Alpha Study’, and led by Georgia-based Project Manager and author Andy Crowe, one of the aims of this landmark study was to try to define the qualities that made an ‘Alpha’ Project Manager more effective than any other. Crowe published the findings in his book, ‘Alpha Project Managers (what the top 2% know that everyone else doesn’t)’, which challenged many of the assumptions in the profession of project management today.
Essentially, the assumptions of the PMs were tested against those of their stakeholders, and perhaps not surprisingly, it turned out that most of us are making incorrect assumptions about what our stakeholders want and how we should relate to them. Interesting too was that only 18 (2%) of the study group were identified as Alphas – 6 female and 12 male, a close approximation of the gender split across the whole study group.
Crowe discovered that Alpha PMs were the ones who consistently delivered projects that met the project goals, managed stakeholder expectation, and kept the customer, the team and the organisation in harmony. And whilst it might appear obvious that naturally, an elite PM would be achieving results like these, the reality is that most PMs find it simply impossible.
‘Alpha Project Managers’ is interesting, and has attracted discussion from all sides. But importantly, it encourages you to think about how you manage your own projects. I’ve extracted some quotes for you to read, but if you’d like to read more, it’s available from Amazon in either hard copy or ebook format.
I’ve been reading a book that I simply must recommend to you. Written by Kimberly Wiefling, ’Scrappy Project Management’ is one of the top ten PM books in the US, and it’s quite honestly the best book on the subject of PM that I’ve read in ages – and I read heaps of them!
Wiefling specialises in breakthrough leadership and project management excellence on a global scale, and in ‘Scrappy Project Management’ we are taken on a fascinating journey through ‘the 12 predictable and avoidable pitfalls every project faces’.
This book is for people who manage projects in the real world. According to Wiefling, “Projects are messy, and if you want to succeed you need the tools to do it!” Well, ‘Scrappy Project Management’ is filled with reminders of what we PMs do, why we do it and how it can all go wrong so easily. There are literally hundreds of insightful gems and quotes that really challenge your thinking.
Here are just a few of my favourite quotes to interest you to further reading…
“Running a project (or program) without first defining success is the equivalent of trying to steer a large boat by paddling with your hands; you’ll end up wherever the current takes you.”
“The major problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred” – George Bernard Shaw
“I’ve had it with PMs who think their entire job can be done from a keyboard.”
“You can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline; but you can’t con him into delivering it.”
“If you are absolutely dependent on your pay check to survive, then do yourself a favour and don’t be a project manager.”
“There is only one boss; the customer and he can fire everybody in the company form the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” – Sam Walton
“When we see someone else fail, it’s easy to assume they are just stupid; but when we fail, it’s simply an honest mistake or sheer bad luck. They should have seen it coming, but we were understandably taken by surprise, an innocent victim of circumstance outside our control”.
I could go on and on, but I’d end up reproducing the entire book! My own copy is highlighted, underlined and totally dog eared! It’s one of those books you can pick up again and again and each time you discover a completely new idea to ponder.
Click here to get your copy.
My favourite quote so far is, “No executive ever let their own rules stop them from doing what was in their own best interest.”
‘Scrappy Project Management is fun and worth the read… and I highly recommend it.
Portfolios Programs Projects – simply making them happen
Which one would YOU buy?
When considering a PM, clients look to see what we’ve done to improve ourselves over the years and what we’ve done to keep up. Are we up to date with the latest thinking (even if we think it’s rubbish)? Have we delivered the same project over and over, or are we fresh in our approach and broadening our thinking and value? Are we doing what worked years ago and trying to make today fit into yesterday ? Basically, can we deliver in the reality of today’s corporate environment?
Portfolios Programs Projects – simply making them happen
‘IT Project Success’ is a panel presentation and discussion forum to be held next month in Sydney. I’m delighted to be one of the presenters and invite you to register to attend this FREE event. Other speakers include Dr Alan Thorogood, Senior Visiting Fellow at the School of Strategy and Entrepreneurship; and Peter Grant from Intelligent Business Research Services.
Date: Thursday 8th September 2011
Time: 5.30pm – 8.00 pm, followed by drinks and canapés
Venue: Telstra Level 2 Auditorium – 400 George Street, Sydney.
The event is sponsored by Telstra and hosted by the University of South Australia’s Doctor of IT Management Program. It should be a lively evening, so don’t forget to register!
Please email email@example.com register your attendance
Hope to see you there…
Portfolios Programs Projects – simply making them happen
Change. Yes, it’s time to discuss this frequently used term that can cause grown PMs to run for cover. I prepared a presentation for a client to use with their management team (and yes, I slipped a couple of slides in there about RNC) to help explain and support the need to do things differently. Their challenge is that they continue with group training, team building exercises, culture surveys, etc, and yet projects and business, as usual, struggle… and change is stymied.
The presentation clarified why the old approach doesn’t work and that you can’t cause change unless the individual feels okay about it. It was a resounding success and we are now all focussing on the key building block of the organisation – the individual.
View my CHANGE presentation here.
Hi, I recently rediscovered this article which I wrote nearly a decade ago, in 2002. It seems like yesterday, but of course, life and times were very different. We were on the cusp of a number of major political, financial, technological and environmental shifts. What were the challenges facing PMs in 2002? And today? Has the PM environment moved with the times? Let me know your thoughts too…. read more
I thought it would be a good idea to present some insight and overview on the conferences I attended last week.
I chose to attend the first – the International Conference of Global Studies -because it focused on global management – overall management not just related to projects. I was invited to speak, but I wanted to give you a bit of a brief on what I heard and learned.
I know I promised this yesterday but instead I spent the time debating with myself about what to say. You see, in recent times I haven’t been going to project management conferences, preferring instead to go to the conferences where the people who ‘use’ project managers hang out. (And just for clarity please note that my use of the terms project and program, manager and director are interchangeable for these purposes – the people other people look to, to get things done).
However, I agreed to speak at the PMI Pharmaceutical project management conference in the US last week and was hopeful that things had changed. That perhaps the conversation would be around delivery rather than process and outcomes rather than tracking, reporting and analysis? read more
On Monday 28th February I presented a paper at the 2011 International Conference of the Association of Global Management Studies, which has just concluded in Las Vegas. The conference provided opportunities for networking and collaboration amongst scholars from academia, industry and government, and encouraged papers on any aspect of management and business. read more