November 21, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

New PMBOK Guide 6th Edition and SCRUM Guide Perspectives

PMBOK Guide

Attention all existing project managers who are already PMP certified or who are preparing to become certified.

Most of you will know that the new PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition was released in September 2017. Here you will find a reference to a good summary of all the changes that were made in the new PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition. As PMP’s it’s good to keep up to date with what the Project Management Institute (PMI) considers as important when these Guides, that are used world-wide, are refreshed.

Enjoy the read here.

In addition, I would like to share a really interesting interview with Cyndi Snyder Dionisio, the chair of the team that worked on updating the guide. It’s published by Cornelius Fichtner as part of his PM Podcast interviews.

Then I want to refer to an article by Kevin Lonergan, with a controversial view of the Scrum Guide. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.

 

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Growth Program for New Project Managers to Help Close the Talent Gap

By Linky van der Merwe

Growth Program for new Project ManagersImagine living in a world where there are 66 million jobs with a growing demand of 2.2 million per year that have to be filled? These jobs require people to implement strategic initiatives, drive change and deliver innovation. Unfortunately, there’s a huge shortage, or talent gap as it’s called, to fill these roles which could result in in a potential loss of some US $207.9 billion in GDP through 2027 for 11 countries that were analyzed.

This is according to the “Job growth and talent gap 2017 – 2027” Report from the Project Management Institute (PMI) published in 2017, based on an assessment of project management employment and industry activity by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG).

Basically it states that there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for skilled project management workers and the availability of professionals to fill those roles.

Talent Gap

These are huge numbers caused by different factors like:

  • A dramatic increase in the number of jobs requiring project-oriented skills.
  • Attrition rates, including professionals retiring from the workforce.
  • A significant uptick in demand for project talent, especially in rapidly developing economies such as China and India.

This has resulted in an imperative to encourage more talent to enter the profession and narrow the talent gap.

With this motivation in mind, I want to introduce you to the Fast-track Growth Program for new Project Managers. It’s an online training program that will help transform an inexperienced project manager who really wants to do well on projects or your typical “Accidental Project Manager”, into a competent, confident and credible Project Manager.

We all know that project managers will face many challenges. That includes handling difficult team members, satisfying demanding customers and working towards impossible deadlines. We want more project managers to succeed and fewer projects to fail. To address the huge demand for skilled talent, we need motivated, independent and professional project managers who are willing to make mistakes, learn from them and still continue to deliver successful projects to the best of their abilities.

To assist new project managers on their journey, the Growth Program will fast-track and ease that transition into project management.

Here’s feedback from a few students who have completed the Growth Program.

Case Study 1

Mark works in the Retail Sector and was assigned to me for mentoring. After years of working as a Systems Manager, he was asked to manage a big project due to his experience and background knowledge of the product. The only problem was that he lacked project management experience and he had no prior training.

He was very motivated to learn fast and I invited him to join the Growth Program for new project managers. This was his feedback:

The Growth Program taught me about soft skills and what my individual strengths are. The biggest benefit for me was that the Program really embodies the framework of project management and gave me valuable insight and a plan for future growth as a professional PM”

Since completing the Growth Program, he has become clear about the responsibilities of his new role, he knows where to start, what his next steps are, what additional training he requires and most importantly, how to plan his PM career. He gained much confidence and like other new PM’s I mentored, he has become very independent and mature in managing projects.

Case Study 2

Harshiela comes from a Change Management background and having worked on many projects before, she wanted to transition into the project management role.

She completed the Growth Program and had the following results.

“The Growth Program gave me confidence that I have the core knowledge and skills and ways of working that is required in a PM role. The training program highlighted my technical gaps which are development areas that I can fast track while making the transition from a Change Manager to a Project Manager.

I recommend the Growth Program based on the holistic approach looking at the technical skills, soft skills and competencies required. It also provided me with further learning and career options – it really gives the whole picture for someone starting out in the PM profession.”

Case Study 3

Roelof, a senior professional with a MBA degree, was new to project management and needed coaching. He worked through the Growth Program Training Modules and asked me questions during coaching calls.

It taught him the essential technical project management skills needed, the soft skills required, the importance of Governance to be an effective project manager, as well as the main pitfalls to avoid as a new PM. He walked away with a customised Personal Growth and Development Plan that he could execute in his own time with the confidence of having a clear direction and enough reference material to use daily in his role as a PM or Programme Manager.

Virtual Project Consulting

As the founder of Virtual Project Consulting, it has always been part of my mission to help aspiring and existing project managers. One of the responsibilities I was given in a new Programme Manager role in 2014, was to mentor and coach the organisation’s new project managers.

Fast-track growth programFrom working with many new and accidental project managers, I understand their needs, the challenges they face and their desire to become effective in their new roles quickly. Hence the birth of the “Fast-track Growth Program for New Project Managers.

It’s a self-paced online training program, or with the option of Small Group Coaching Support that will help students grow critical project management competencies, teach them how to overcome their biggest challenges on projects and increase their confidence and impact in the workplace.

If you fall into the category of an ‘Accidental Project Manager’ or you know some-one who does, please refer them and enroll today as the next Growth Program with Group Support will start in October 2017!

Certifications for Professional Project Managers

By Linky van der Merwe

In a previous article about being a professional project manager, we explained the characteristics of a professional, the type of qualifications within the profession as well as the benefits to the individual and the organisation. This article will explain the main project management bodies, as well as the certifications on offer.

Who are the recognised Project Management Bodies?

Certifications for professionalsThere are three main recognised bodies for project management who provide a range of project management best-practice methodology, principles, qualifications, certifications and professional membership.

There is considerable overlap with what each of the three Bodies considers as best-practice project management. The differences tends to be more related to the level, focus, breadth and depth of project management principles, processes, techniques and methods rather than there being any fundamentally conflicting views about best-practice project management.

The three main recognised project management bodies are:

  1. Project Management Institute (PMI) – The PMI is the largest global membership association for project management professionals. At the heart of the PMI philosophy is ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)’, comprising of core project management processes and techniques. Training is delivered through PMI Registered Education Providers (REP). PMI is headquartered in the USA.
  2. Association for Project Management (APM) – The APM’s mission statement is to develop and promote the professional disciplines of project and programme management for the public benefit across all sectors of industry. At the heart of APM ethos is the APM Body of Knowledge (APM BoK), comprising fifty-two knowledge areas required to manage any successful project. APM BoK provides a framework and key principles for managing projects. Training and examinations are delivered through APM Accredited Training Providers. APM is headquartered in the UK.
  3. Association for Project Management Group (APMG) – The APMG is the registered examination institute and administer qualifications, certifications and accreditations for Axelos on behalf of The Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office is the owner of the PRINCE2 method for managing projects and MSP for managing programmes. PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects In Controlled Environments. MSP is an acronym for Managing Successful Programmes.PRINCE2 is a structured process-based method for effective project management and a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is increasingly used in the private sector.

Certifications offered

The most well-known certifications in the project management marketplace today are awarded by these three institutions.

1.      PMI®:  Project Management Institute

PMI is the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, with more than half a million members and credential holders in 185 countries. Their worldwide advocacy for project management is supported by a globally-recognized standards and credentials, an extensive research program, and professional development opportunities.

  • CAPM®– Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PMP® – Project Management Professional
  • PgMP® – Program Management Professional
  • PMI-RMP® – Risk Management Professional
  • PMI-SP® – Scheduling Professional

2.      APM:  Association for Project Management

As the largest independent professional body of its kind in Europe, their membership extends to more than 20 000 individual and 500 corporate members throughout the UK and abroad.

  • Introductory Certificate in Project Management
  • APMP
  • APM Practitioner
  • CPM: Certificated Project Manager
  • APM Risk Certificate – Level 1
  • APM Risk Certificate – Level 2
  • Registered Project Professional (RPP)

3.      APMG-UK:

APMG-UK is the United Kingdom arm of APMG-International, a global Examination Institute accredited by The APM Group. APMG-UK specialises in the accreditation and certification of organisations, processes and people, within a range of industries and management disciplines and is currently the Official Accreditor of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

  • Agile Project Management
  • APMP Foundation, Practitioner, Professional Bid & Proposal Management
  • CHAMPS2 – Change Management Foundation
  • CHAMPS2 – Change Management Practitioner
  • Earned Value Management (EVM) Certification
  • PRINCE2® Foundation
  • PRINCE2® Practitioner
  • PPS – Programme and Project Sponsorship
  • M_o_R® Foundation and Practitioner (Management of Risk)
  • MSP® Foundation, Practitioner, Advanced Practitioner Managing Successful Programmes

4.      IPMA®:  International Project Management Association

The IPMA® is a world leading, non-profit making project management organisation which represents more than 50 project management associations from all continents of the world. The organisation actively promotes project management to businesses and organisations around the world in order to increase the recognition of the profession.

  • IPMA: International Project Management Association
  • Level A – Certified Projects Director
  • Level B – Certified Senior Project Manager
  • Level C – Certified Project Manager
  • Level D – Certified Project Manager Associate

5.      Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1981. (Unfortunately, there is no recognised Six Sigma accreditation body or single organization which oversees a standard body of knowledge or standardized Six Sigma tests and certification).

  • Six Sigma Certifications
  • Yellow Belt Certification
  • Green Belt Certification
  • Black Belt Certification
  • Master Black Belt Certification

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Is Project Management Success on the Rise?

The more mature companies are with project management, the more likely they are to achieve their goals of adding value, advancing strategies and to increase competitive advantage.

PMI Pulse of the Profession 2017This is according to the PMI Pulse of the Profession Report for 2017, a global survey of project management practitioners that charts the major trends for project management now and in the future.

The results in the Pulse of the Profession indicates that more organizations recognize the strategic value of projects and programs. There’s a growing focus on talent management, executive sponsorship, and benefits realization management. At the same time, organizations are searching for ways to be more agile, customer focused, and competitive and this is a big driver for executive leaders, PMO directors and project teams.

There’s a growing need for a culture of engagement, learning, and innovation. To make progress the focus should remain on developing project management talent, managing project benefits, establishing PMO’s, driving executive sponsorship and by addressing agile approaches.

To read the full Report Pulse of the Profession 2017: Success rates rise, visit PMI.org.

Thoughts on PMI Global Conference 2016

By Louise Worsley, a non-US attendee

The Project Management Institute Global Congress in North America is big!

PMI Global Conference 2016Nearly 3,000 attendees from 67 countries representing some 1,368 organisations.

Just to give you a feel – the European equivalent PMI Congress in Barcelona attracted some 100’s of attendees.  And at other related events; the International Institute of Business Analysts had 1,400 attendees at their global conference in Las Vegas (2015,) while the Association for Change Management Professional achieved just 1,100 attendees at their 2016 global conference in Dallas, Texas.

The brief initial survey, conducted via the excellent conference PMI App, suggests that attendees valued the learning from the sessions and the networking almost equally.  In speaking with delegates, I found that a big incentive for attendance was to get PMI PDU points quickly and efficiently.  All delegate attendance in sessions was recorded, and within weeks of the congress, it was added to attendees PDU records.

Picking the ‘good’ sessions is important

Over 100 sessions were available over the three days, divided into the three streams of ‘leadership’, ‘technical’ and ‘strategic and business management’.  Given the varying length of the sessions (ranging from 1 hours to 1.5 hours) and the scheduling approach, the maximum number of session you could attend over the three days was about 9, plus the three keynote sessions.  Attending the ‘good‘ sessions was thus pretty important, but as I heard some delegates comment – the choice process was a ‘bit hit and miss’.  Popular sessions filled up quickly and places in the room were limited.   By the second day, wise delegates had adopted the habit of simply getting to their preferred sessions very early.

Agile and soft skills attract audiences

Although the actual numbers and overall feedback have not been released yet, my feeling is that the big attractions were the Agile sessions (10 sessions) and the streams in leadership around communications and the soft skills.  Sessions like Sherri Thomas, speaking on “Career Stories for Project Managers” inspired comments on Twitter (#PMIcongress) with her statement:

“Make connections with those who inspire you, teach you new things, or promote your ideas.” 

Lessons and language from the keynotes

PMI Global Conference 2016Perhaps the most discussed sessions were the keynotes.  Not surprisingly given the San Diego venue (the home of the USS Midway and Top Gun) there was a military theme to the first session, with the ‘Afterburner’ consultancy team, made up largely of ex-military aviators.  This was an upbeat and inspiring discussion of project management using a military flying metaphor, and had some great linguistic take-aways.

  • Task saturation leads to mistakes
  • Project managers need a bias towards action
  • Don’t wait for the perfect
  • We’re drowning in data but starving for information

For me, the highlight of the conference was the keynote presentation by the Canadian, Sue Gardner –  a former executive at Wikimedia; and named one of the most powerful women by Forbes.  Her statement:

PMI Global congress 2016“Good project managers don’t expect other people to adapt to them.” clearly caught the attention of a number of Twitter users.

She argued that disruptive business models such as Itunes, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Bitcoin have changed the ways we listen, ride, stay, buy and pay.  As she puts it “software is eating the world” and IT is increasingly moving from a staff function to a line function, where it directly contributes to the strategic value of the business.

Following this, she poses her challenge: “How can large organisations that are trapped between the ‘sunrise stages’ and ‘sunset stages’ transform themselves to provide new disruptive business model innovation?”

Thinking of attending the next Congress?

PMI Global Congress 2016The 2017 PMI Global Congress is in Chicago.  Not quite such a glamorous venue as San Diego, and I suspect this may affect the numbers attending.

Interestingly, this will now be known as the PMI Global Congress (dropping the title North America) which does beg the question – are the European global congress being abandoned, or are they no longer ‘global’?

I won’t attend next year.  I think one global Congress every 3-5 years is probably enough.  Also, I find that hearing local stories and meeting local contacts is possibly more valuable, and hence I would prioritise the South Africa and Southern hemisphere conference in Australia and New Zealand.

Should you be thinking of attending the Congress in Chicago, here are my suggestions:

  • Research the speakers and sessions well beforehand. Of the five sessions I managed to attend (I was also speaking at the event)  only two of them were really valuable.  I didn’t pick the right sessions.  Partly this was because I just didn’t know the names.  Sherri Thomas, for example, is clearly well known in America for her book “Bounce back” and articles in the Huffington Post.  If I had found this out before hand…
  • Make connections before the Congress and seek them out once there. The PMI App provides the names of all the attendee at the Congress, but in most cases, this does not include the company and nationality information.  I was particularly interested in seeking out attendees from the African continent and certain industries.  Bar peering at 3000 name badges – this proved very difficult to achieve.
  • Be prepared to use the conference backchat on both Twitter and the PMI App – this had some really interesting additional information and potentially provides a way to make connections.

And finally, if Chicago is just too far, don’t forget the next PMSA National Conference in Johannesburg, 9-12th November.  I will be there launching my book “Stakeholder-led project management: Changing the way we manage projects” and will be happy to share more experiences from the PMI Congress.

Current Trends in Project Management

By Linky van der Merwe

In a profession that is ever evolving, companies are continuously looking to understand the latest trends in project management. The business environment is shifting towards project based work as a result of globalization, the information Age and the speed of change.

PMI talent-triangleThe skills required to fill project management positions are changing, therefore the role of the project manager is evolving. This can be seen in the Project Management Institute’s new Talent Triangle that reinforces the need for a balance of skills in leadership, strategic management as well as the traditional technical expertise.

To have a look at the Top Ten trends for Project Management for 2016, I recommend Insider Insights White Paper from Twenty Eighty Strategy Execution, formerly known as ESI-International.

Another trend I’m particularly excited about, is the move to Digital Project Management. The Infographic below, supplied by Visualistan, explains why Digital Project Management is the new project management.

Project Management Global Trends in 2016 #infographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting for future articles, tips and advice.

PMI Survey – Pulse of the Profession 2016

By Linky van der Merwe

PMI Survey - Pulse of the ProfessionRecently PMI has conducted their 8th global project management survey and published the results in the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2016 Report, called: “The High Cost of Low Performance”.

While expecting to see improvement from previous years, the results showed a decline in projects meeting their goals. The aim of this research is to strengthen conversations about the benefits project management delivers to organisations.

Here are a few highlights of the report, and click here for Pulse of the Profession 2016.

In line with the PMI Talent Triangle that embodies a skill set combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise, 40% more projects will meet their goals and original intent if they are managed by PM’s with these skills.

Organisations that align their EPMO with strategy report 27% more projects deliver successfully, and 42% fewer projects with scope creep.

When more than 80 percent of projects have an actively engaged executive sponsor, 65 percent more projects are successful. Yet, on average, only three in five projects have engaged executive sponsors.

Many challenges remain, like the fact that only 6 out of 10 organisations use standardised project management practices and benefits realisation remains low on 17%.

The demand for skilled and experienced project/program managers are on the rise.

Recommendations are made to address the situation including the following:

  1. Invest in ongoing project manager training
  2. Offer defined career path to those engaged in project or programme management
  3. Establish formal processes to develop project management competencies
  4. Transfer knowledge

Many benefits of formal project management are given, but the most important message is to keep spreading discussion around the strategic value of project management by following proven practices like aligning the PMO with organisational strategy, and more as explained in the Report.

In response to the challenges that exist and following recommendations made by the PMI, I have developed a Fast-track Growth Program to assist business professionals who are new to the project manager role, to help them become competent, confident and efficient. The online education teaches critical project management competencies like technical skills you need for the role, soft skills you use daily, the importance of governance, how to overcome common challenges and avoid typical pitfalls. It also addresses career options and helps to define a career path.  Project managers will walk away with a personalised growth and development plan to take action immediately.

Fast-track Growth ProgramThis accelerated Growth Program is available to all new or accidental project managers, as well as PMO Managers who want to improve skills of new project managers at their organisations. Please visit today and help to improve the project management maturity that will lead to more success!

Attention Aspiring Project Management Professionals

Important announcement for project managers who plan to do the PMP exam in 2016.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has changed the PMP Exam on January 11th. Cornelius Fichtner has published information in this regard on his PM Prepcast website and explains what it means for you.  This is to share it with you and to help answer any questions you may have while preparing for this important exam.

Click here to read more

Remember that there’s a 10% discount on the PM Prepcast in January, which means $18 off if you use coupon code Jan16

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