button1-projectconsultingbutton2-learning and developmentbutton3-managedservicesbutton4-cloudmanagement

16 November 2015

Change Management in Project Management – A Road To Nowhere?

In 1985 David Byrne, the lead singer with Talking Heads, wrote: “Well we know where we’re goin’ But we don’t know where we’ve been”

“Well we know where we’re goin’
But we don’t know where we’ve been”

Does this capture where change management is? We know where we’re going and we know where we’ve been? I think so. Question is how do we get to where we want to go?

In 2013, Prosci, a world leader in benchmarking research, undertook a change management benchmarking study. They asked participants for their insights into top trends in change management for the next five years. Now two years into the timeframe, Prosci decided to revisit it and see where the participants think we will be in the next three years.

  1. Continued Maturation of Change Management as an Industry: The top trend is the maturation and definition of change management as a practice with an emphasis on measurement and metrics.
  2. Stronger Internal Change Management Capabilities: By 2018, companies will recognise change management as a key organisational differentiator and will move toward adopting a standard approach.
  3. Greater demand for and Shortage of Change Management Practitioners: As companies focus more on change management capabilities, there will be a greater demand for change management practitioners.
  4. Recognition of Change Management’s Value in Benefit Realisation: More and more organisations are taking notice of change management and its role in delivering results.
  5. Better integration with Project Management: More change management will find its way into project management. Change management will be brought into projects earlier.

OK, so Change Management as an industry will continue to mature. Great. Organisations will place greater emphasis on change management competency and focus on improving sponsorship capabilities and on increasing manager change management comprehension. Excellent. There will be a greater demand for change management practitioners. Not so great, right? It’s okay. The path to becoming a change management practitioner will also be clearer with the addition of certifications, accreditation and credentialing. Phew! A business focus on sustained change results will help keep change management in the forefront of leader’s minds. And that’s good because leaders get it, right? Change management and project management continue to integrate. That’s good too because even if leaders don’t get it, project managers do, don’t they?

ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι (q.e.d.) Right?

ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι (q.e.d.) Right?

Finally. Problem solved. Where do I sign? Next. Wait!  Cork the champagne a second. Why? Think about your past and present experience as you mull over this one. How many people do get it? In my experience (past and present) very few.

Returning to the Prosci survey, and what its participants are thinking about. Permit to paraphrase. Change management will become a practice. Companies want to increase internal capabilities. There will be a greater demand for change management practitioners. There will be a greater emphasis on change management to realise benefits and a greater integration with project management. Darius Johnson, in his article (Insight #58: Constantly Focused on Successful Outcomes) asked organisations to Stop the Insanity. Darius eloquently argued that showing tangible benefits from change management increases the number of projects that succeed in achieving their objectives. Darius’ view is that people-related issues are reasons for projects missing the mark.

We’re coming close to the nub of it. It reminds me of an Eric Ries’ quote (in relation to entrepreneurs not being in the business of prediction but it [the quote] is relevant here also) “you can make all the models and forecasts you want but it’s basically a waste of time”. Why? “We can’t escape the fact that change management focuses on people” Darius Johnson)

In the end, there is value in all the contributions I have referenced in this week’s blog and it is all these parts (referenced), considered as a whole, will solve this Rubik’s cube: People, Process, Product and emPowerment but people a commanding and perpetual first.

See you next week! If you have liked what you have read please like and remember to share.

P.S. Keep reading.


For more information on the movement go to: http://theleanstartup.com/

For more information on Darius Johnson’s Stop the Insanity go to: http://goo.gl/c76jRs

For more information on the Prosci 2015 Benchmarking Study, published in March 2015 go to: http://goo.gl/c76jRs

For more information on Rubik’s Cube go to: https://eu.rubiks.com/

For more information on Talking Heads and a link to the video for their song Road To Nowhere go to: http://www.talking-heads.nl/


David Byrne and Talking Heads may have been on a road to nowhere but it doesn’t mean you have to be. Find out more about our TPF 4Ps Model (People, Process, Product, EmPowerment) at www.theprojectfoundry.com and also to find out about the stuff that matters!

Rebooting one cube at a time!

But if I were you… I’d check out Talking Heads first!

4 November 2015

Benefits Realisation: When Project Management Success is not a Benefit…


You’ve delivered your project on time, within budget, the customer has signed it off and you’ve completed your closure report. You’ve done your job, right? Time to move on to the next project, right? It depends.

It depends on what kind of Project Manager you are and what success means to you and your organisation.

Essentially a Project Manager is accountable for the success or failure of a project. So far are we in agreement?

Typical responsibilities of a project manager range from planning, executing and closing projects to managing teams and stakeholders but indulge me for a second, who ensures projects deliver the benefits detailed in the business case are realised. In my experience no one does. I will return to this point later.

John Thorp (The Information Paradox) based his new approach to benefits realisation on the following premises:

  • Benefits do not just happen.
  • Benefits rarely happen according to plan.
  • Benefits realisation is a continuous process.

This “benefits mindset “, as John Thorp coined it (in 2003), has not been adopted and as such even today, investment in IT enabled business change is still not translating into business value. Why is this? Paraphrasing Michael Krigsman (of ZDNet) here, but people don’t know what they want. Permit me to add an addendum. If they got it (what they asked for) they wouldn’t know it.

“REALISING BENEFITS – IT’S WHAT PROJECTS ARE FOR!” Gareth Byatt and Jeff Hodgkinson said this. It sounds simple, right?


Yes, but why then do upwards of 70% of projects fail (ESP Solutions Group, Gartner and ZDNet all back this up with their findings from as far back as 2008 to present day). So why is this?

The process of benefits realisation should begin at the earliest stages of initiation and should continue after the project deliverables have been met. Benefits should be defined in the project business case and should be related to advancing the organisation’s strategic objectives. Otherwise, adapting what Gareth Byatt and Jeff Hodgkinson said what are projects for?

From theory to practice, at The Project Foundry, the benefits realisation process is broken into four stages:

  • Identify: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • Define: Benefits should be clearly defined. For a project to be measured against benefits, these [benefits] must be defined as tangible, measurable benefits.
  • Plan: These [definitions] must be built into the specification of the project deliverables.
  • Realise: Once the deliverables are commissioned, these [changes] must be embedded so as they can become the “new business as usual” with the organisation’s performance targets [KPIs] adjusted to incorporate them.

At The Project Foundry, advocates all of John Thorp, I will leave you with one of his three necessary conditions for changing the way people think and manage “activist accountability that includes the concept of ownership”. With a willing client, benefits can be delivered, but only if the business sponsor is (willing) to take ownership and accept clear accountability for delivering the [project or program] benefits.

Finally, let me leave you with this thought? Ownership and accountability don’t have to be scary words. Benefit is good, right? Yes. Being accountable and owning something good is even better. We can empower you to make this happen.


4 November 2015

Agile Project Management is everywhere…Thankfully so is Dilbert


Dilbert cartoons are funny but they always make us stop and think. “How true?”

Writing on LiquidPlanner, “7 Project Management Trends for 2015”, Will Kelly, forecast “More Agile, less Waterfall”. He predicted that 2015 was going to bring even more Agile project management practices into small and large businesses. This prevalent theme is trending with bloggers and technology researchers alike and while it (“More Agile, less Waterfall”) is not a new phenomenon it is gathering pace.

Vara Prasad Rongala, writing for Business Insider India, referred to the PwC’s 2012 report titled Insights and Trends: Current Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Practices which surveyed more than 1,500 respondents across 38 countries. Of those that responded, around 97% stated that project management is critical to business performance and the success of the organization; 94% agreed that project management facilitates business growth and 59% of most organizations which employed an agile project management methodology credited it for project success.

While the juggernaut train has left the station, we need to ask, how ready are we? In 2015 Trends in Business Analysis and Project Management, Elizabeth Larson cautions “as the Agile bandwagon continues to grow, some organisations, previously reluctant to jump aboard, are running to catch up. Sometimes, though, Agile is implemented without much thought to unintended consequences of not having enough organisational commitment when adopting Agile.”

“as the Agile bandwagon continues to grow, some organisations, previously reluctant to jump aboard, are running to catch up. Sometimes, though, Agile is implemented without much thought to unintended consequences of not having enough organisational commitment when adopting Agile.”

Staying abreast of trends and predictions will position you to plan strategically to take advantage of the coming changes but positioning is one thing, planning for success quite another.

The PMI’s Pulse of the Profession “Capturing the Value of Project Management”, published in February 2015, predicted the continued rise of Agile it too “suggests” it is “time for organisations to revisit the fundamentals of project management and, essentially, go back to basics.”

These basics include fully understanding the value of project management, having actively engaged executive sponsors, aligning projects to strategy, developing and maintaining project management talent, establishing a well-aligned and effective PMO and using standardised project management practices throughout the organisation.

So Agile is everywhere? That’s what’s trending. If nothing else trends are fun to read. “Agile is in vogue.” Matthew D-Feu wrote in techradar.pro but one certainty about trends and fashion is they change.

Trends and fashions aside there is one certainty. To deliver success with certainty you need Talent. Process, Product and Knowledge Sharing of course but at the root of every success is People.

Talent is at the core of everything we do at The Project Foundry.

Really though when it comes down to it, Dilbert cartoons are just funny!

A-Z of Project Management

Sign up to receive the A-Z of Project Management direct to your inbox