Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Self-awareness – Best Practice in action

By William Franklin, Client Relations Director at Maven Training.

Yesterday saw 750 people register for the APM Group’s 7th annual The Best Practice Showcase. Held at the QE11 Conference Centre next to Houses of Parliament, the juxtaposition of an industry constantly seeking to evolve and adopt Best Practice in project and programme management was stark when placed alongside the current MP expenses scandals rocking UK politics.

Alan Harpham, as Chairman of the APM Group, gave the delegates and exhibitors a multi-cultural welcome that reflected some of the many countries now adopting PRINCE2® and other Best Practice products. After that, delegates entered a whirl of their own as they tried to find the first of many 'Birds of a Feather' sessions planned throughout the day. This possibly led to the early negative feeling of personal project management capabilities (see later) as many got lost and ended up in the wrong sessions. That said, the sessions themselves were well delivered on the whole with limited 'plugging' of individual organisational capabilities.

From the marketing perspective, the opportunity to hold in-depth conversations with delegates was limited as many were hurrying between Birds of a Feather sessions. Maven Training was particularly innovative in capturing delegates’ views by asking the following question: "Does your organisation run an EFFECTIVE project methodology?" with the only answers possible being YES or NO. By getting delegates to address this question up front we were then able to take the temperature of the industry. As mentioned earlier, the initial confusion over format, combined with uncertain expectations of what the day could deliver led to 67% of respondents in the morning session answering NO. After lunch we started to see a swing towards 50/50 as delegates started to see that their existing knowledge base when benchmarked against others in the industry was in fact quite strong. However, at the end of the day, the final balance of those that had confidence in their organisational methodologies was 38% with regular comments being "...but my skills and those of my team are very strong".

So what subjects were of highest concern to delegates? Interestingly enough, there was little interest in the updated PRINCE2® (2009) with many delegates recognising this was purely an evolution rather than structural change. At the top of the list of interest was a desire for implementation services from companies that had the breadth and depth of capability to deliver methodologies, irrespective of source of the method. Maven Training was therefore delighted to be able to showcase our new Wheel of Delivery (see below) where irrespective of the client maturity or project stage, they could benefit from a range of scalable implementation services.

An additional delegate request was for the three Birds of a Feather topics we spoke on to be delivered directly to clients at their offices around the country. While an unforeseen outcome from the sessions, we agreed to a small number of additional sessions to be included in our Project Health checks that clients seek from Maven Training.

Overall, the 7th Best Practice Showcase delivered what it set out to – an opportunity for experts in the industry to share experiences and learn from each other to continue the development of Best Practice with project and programme management. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

The Wheel of Delivery™
Click on the image to enlarge it

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