Monday, 25 July 2011

No summer slow down this year

Today is the start of the school summer holidays, and traditionally many of us would be jetting off for a couple of weeks in the sun. However, this year there are lots more people who are using their holiday entitlement to go on training courses and get new qualifications. Those that have a job want to make sure they keep it by enhancing their CVs (in some cases they are paying for the courses themselves) and those looking for work are keen to make sure they don't lose time over the summer and are fully qualified and ready for job hunting during the busy September period.

This atmosphere has also extended to a significant number of our clients who are holding training events during the normally quiet August period, ignoring the 'summer slowdown' and just getting on with the work. It doesn't appear that anyone has the time to take a break.

Certainly the Maven workload reflects this - we have so many pieces of work that we need to have ready for September when everyone is back to work that the next 6 weeks are going to fly by.

What is your experience of the summer this year - are things going to quiet down in the next 6 weeks, or are we all going to maintain our manic pace, with no let up on deadlines and the need to get on and deliver?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Agile project management

I was going to post a thought leadership piece about closing projects but I have had so many requests for our new Quick Guide on Agile Project Management that I thought I would just post this up again for you all to access -

If you want to book the next course its on the 22nd August -

Monday, 11 July 2011

Chief Programme Officer

I was really interested to see an advert for a Chief Programme Officer in the Appointments section of the Sunday Times yesterday. This is still a rare event, but this job role is becoming better known and I think reflects the changes in how project and programme management is seen within organisations now.

In the last five years there has been a growing recognition that programmes and all the projects and change initiatives that they deliver are the mechanism for realising the strategic objectives of the organisation. This recognition is driving a change in the perception of the importance and relevance of those that manage these significant transformational change programmes.

At board level there are well understood processes for strategy formulation, backed up by lots of executive training in the models and theories of strategy including evaluating the environment, identifying target markets and setting quantitative targets.

Setting objectives and working out how they will be realised are very different disciplines. Who should be responsible for identifying what the organisation should do and how it should do it is not as clearly defined.

The board needs to ratify the decision on what programmes are required. However, the reporting lines between those who scope the programmes (programme managers) are not formally represented on the board. There is a gap that is usually filled by the CIO or COO, which is an imperfect situation.

Programmes are cross functional and to imply they sit within the remit of either of these directors is not strictly true. The remit of the programmes is transformational change, touching every part of the organisation and cannot be pigeon holed as either the responsibility of operations or IT.

By trying to funnel the responsibility for cross functional programmes into one functional reporting line the organisation creates a management structure that runs counter to the matrix management environment that it is asking its staff to embody.
Forward thinking organisations are now addressing this gap in their management hierarchies by creating the role of Business Transformation Director, Chief Programme Officer or Chief Projects Officer.

This role is a board level appointment that complements the more traditional CIO, CFO, COO roles by creating a ‘single version of the truth’ regarding the progress of all the change activities that are taking place, irrespective of the business function that is sponsoring them.

It is an important piece in the career path for those interested in a long term future in project and programme management. If you want to plan your career path, view this link for ideas on the different types of roles available:

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Popularity of business transformation

Continuing my theme, I was researching most popular project and programme management jobs currently being advertised in the market and the most common term amongst all the job adverts right now is business transformation. If you are looking for your next role, check your CV against the terms on my wordle diagram (the biggest words are the most popular), drawn from 50 job adverts posted this week for project and programme management roles earning over £40,000 per annum.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Business Transformation

I went to a meeting of the Change Management Institute on Tuesday night which included a presentation from Simon Moran, the Head of Process and Change at London Underground. imon described how over the last 6 years he had been building an internal capability for managing and effectively implementing change. Simon and his team support change initiatives by helping staff understand how people react to change, and providing them with a lifecycle model so that they can clearly see the steps that will take them from the current state to delivery of the change vision. I thought it was really interesting that London Underground have had this team in place for so long, because many organisations that Maven are working with are just beginning this journey. There is definitely a demand from organisations to get better at implementing change, and a realisation that this capability does not happen by accident. If you are facing a similar challenge, have a look at this Quick Guide for ideas on how to get started in managing change: If you are interested in formalising your knowledge about change management, have a look at this Quick Guide: