Professional Resource Library
We are proud to make available to everyone the professional resources we have developed over the years:
- Interesting Facts about Project Management
- Software Tools
- Conference Papers
- Journal Articles
- White Papers
We are progressively uploading these resources. If you would like access to something not yet loaded, please contact us.
Quite Interesting Facts
Good quality information about many aspects of project management is hard to come by. So, when we come across an interesting fact or statistic, we add it to our collection of interesting facts.
Project Management Frameworks
The PRAXIS Framework is a free, open, community-driven framework for the management of projects, programmes and portfolios. It includes a body of knowledge, methodology, competency framework and capability maturity model. The framework is supported by a knowledgebase of resources and an encyclopeadia.
Over many assignments, where clients requested the delivery of a set of templates as part of our service, we have refined and rebuilt a good set of base templates in support of a number of best management practice methods.
PRINCE2, MSP, AgilePM, P3O and other best-practice methods are tool-agnostic, meaning that they don’t rely on any type of technology to make them work. The products listed below are some of the ones we're aware of that claim to be "compatible" or "aware" of one or more of the best practice methods. We are not endorsing any of them, merely providing a list to help you in the search for tool support.
The vendor describes this product as "Cloud based PRINCE2® software that enables you to run projects efficiently, anywhere anytime". It comes in several free and paid editions. Go to the website.
The vendor describes this package as a "Comprehensive and complete desktop project management tool leveraging state of the art methods and techniques for successful project planning, execution and reporting". The P2Ware Project Manager tool is a low-cost replacement for Microsoft Project. It comes with a PRINCE2 add-on. Go to the website.
Project in a Box
The vendor describes this product as "Methodology led project management software ... supporting PRINCE2 project management, AgilePM agile project management and MSP programme management." It comes in several free and paid editions. Go to the website.
The vendor says that their product "lets you professionally manage all projects, programmes and portfolios". It provides built-in support for PRINCE2, AgilePM, MSP, P3O, MoV, MoP and other best practice methods. Go to the website.
... and a whole lot more
This is a site that lists literally hundreds of generic software packages useful in the project management space. The "All Products" tab lists the products in random order, so use the select-and-filter option at the top right to find products that match your needs. The "Most Popular" tab shows that Microsoft Project, Basecamp and Atlassian are the most popular products. Go to the website.
Aligning Projects to Strategy using Balanced Scorecards and Benefits Models
A benefits-focussed process of step-wise refinement from strategic objectives through Benefits Models to implementation via projects can be achieved by integrating the Balanced Scorecard approach with the Benefits Model component of the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) method. This will increase the effectiveness of the strategic project portfolio and improve the confidence of business sponsors that their investment in projects will return benefits that they perceive to be of value. Replacing Strategy Maps with Benefits Models means that a single tool is used to bridge the gap between strategy definition and implementation planning. Benefits Models can be encoded with the four perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard approach to ensure that benefits and initiatives are balanced across the perspectives.
Moving Upmarket - New Roles for Old PMOs
This paper argues that for PMOs to continue to evolve, to remain relevant and valuable to senior management, they must follow advances in program management into the strategic level. If program management is regarded as an executive level process, then PMOs must be seen as valuable to these executives, whose primary needs include business continuity across periods of change and the delivery of real and measurable returns from their investments in programs and projects. The role of PMOs in maintenance of business-as-usual, termination of non-performing projects and benefits realisation is explored.
Comparing PMBoK and PRINCE2 in 2007
This paper reports on a detailed comparison of PMBoK Version 3 and PRINCE2 Release 4, which compares the two methods in a number of ways: the major features of each method; the impact of each method on various stakeholders; and the approaches of each method to a selection of issues of importance to project managers. The number of similarities seems to have increased since the previous versions were released. However, several critical differences remain. Firstly, in the externalities of projects, namely governance, project context and benefits, PRINCE2 is seen to provide guidance and effective controls to those who are responsible for governing projects, about which the PMBoK is silent. The PRINCE2 requirement for a single point of accountability, the supporting roles of Senior User and Senior Supplier, and the concepts of planning horizons, stages and tolerance around estimates, and Work Packages are clearly valuable. Secondly, with respect to the project manager's role, the PMBoK is seen as being more expansive in certain knowledge areas and more prescriptive in terms of activities to be undertaken. The PMBoK provides greater guidance and support for project managers in their day-to-day roles.
Project Portfolios ARE Investment Portfolios
There are many parallels between investment portfolio management and project portfolio management. If enterprise project portfolio managers applied approaches derived from investment portfolio management to their enterprise project portfolio, then better decisions about allocation of scarce resources would be made. This presentation will show how common approaches and techniques applied by professional share traders to manage their investment portfolios can be applied to enterprise project portfolio management.
Integrating PRINCE2 and Scrum for successful new product development
Today's business environment demands shorter time to market for new products and services along with early benefit realisation. In an effort to meet demand, project teams are realising that success can only be achieved through a more collaborative approach and a willingness to commence without a detailed understanding of requirements. Clients often don't know what is required to achieve a business objective until they actually see a working prototype, which may then have to be rapidly adjusted to the clients' emerging understanding. To enable a client to attain the maximum return on investment in every product development, there must be an acceptance of change throughout the life cycle of a project. In fact, the complexity and uncertainty associated with such emergent projects may mean that a final set of requirements may not be known until the end of the project.
This paper is the result of collaboration between an experienced PRINCE2 project manager and trainer and a qualified coach and trainer in the Scrum method, in analysing the application of PRINCE2 and Scrum in an actual project environment. We provide an analysis of those areas where conscious decisions appropriate to each project and each organisation will have to be made. The careful and tailored application of Scrum and PRINCE2 can create a synergy that results in a dynamic yet controlled product development environment.
Improving Project Management Maturity in a Not-for-Profit Organisation
Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) face an increasingly difficult time in the current economic circumstances. They must significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their change delivery and service delivery processes to cope with increased demand for services and increased rates of change. However, because of the nature, history and environment of many NFPs, they face a number of special difficulties. Improving internal project management maturity can be a sustainable and cost-effective means for them to achieve their objectives.
Comparing PMBoK and PRINCE2 in 2009
This paper reports on a detailed comparison of the latest versions of the PMBoK (4th edition) and PRINCE2:2009 (5th edition), which compares the two methods in a number of ways: the authority attached to each, their underpinning philosophies, the major features of each method; the approaches of each method to a selection of issues of importance to project managers, the impact of each method on other key project stakeholders; the usefulness of each method to organisations; the recognition of accreditation in each method and supporting materials.
Time to Professionalise Project Governance?
Many organisations appear to experience difficulty in extracting maximum organisational value from investments in projects, particularly but not exclusively in areas such as IT. Research, experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that poor project governance is widespread. This is despite the fact that historical evidence should have indicated to those in corporate governance the need for more effective project governance from the outset in many projects. One reason for such negative outcomes for organisations appears to be an emphasis on the technical, financial and scheduling aspects of projects rather than emphasis on ensuring that required business outcomes will be achieved and organisational value realised. Another is that many of those appointed to project governance roles are ill prepared. In many cases, projects are not subject to adequate oversight and guidance by senior business managers. The achievement of business value is enhanced through active participation of senior business managers in the governance of projects from initiation to realisation of benefits, particularly through their involvement in project decision making and promotion of the organizational change necessary to achieve anticipated business value. This paper first reviews the guidance available on project governance, then discusses possible approaches to professionalising and supporting those governing projects and programmes, including emerging accreditation options.
Using MoV to Optimise Project and Programme Outcomes
Value, in its broadest sense, is the benefit to the business of a project or programme - that is, is it worth doing and can its value be quantified in business terms (though not necessarily in financial terms); for example, creating a better working environment or improving the experience of patients during treatment. Value is optimised by ensuring that the right choices are made about obtaining the optimum balance of benefit in relation to cost and risk. Value management provides a structured approach to the assessment and development of a project or programme to increase the likelihood of achieving these requirements at optimum whole life value for money. Value management is a collection of techniques used to improve outcomes and provide best value for money. Value Management may be perceived as a method to reduce costs. The real 'value' of value management is in exploring the available solutions to business problems or opportunities to determine which will provide the greatest value for the money that will have to be invested. Management of Value (MoV) provides guidance on how to conduct value studies, the roles that may be needed, and the tools and techniques that may be used. It originates from the UK, with a similar background, ownership and support arrangements as PRINCE2 and MSP. MoV is well aligned with the Australian Standard AS 4183:2007 Value Management.
Value as the Glue
Delivery of portfolios, programmes and projects 'at the speed of light' needs a guiding light, so that these initiatives can make local decisions while ensuring that they deliver value for money to the organisation at all levels, and that organisational resources are used as wisely as possible. At the portfolio level, it is essential that an organisation be able to express its priorities in terms of what will add the most value to the organisation and its stakeholders, so that programmes and projects can be aligned to deliver these priorities. This paper will outline how value management fits, describe how value management is being used worldwide, and examine portfolio, programme and project management considerations in case studies from Australia and around the world.
The Promise of Projects is Value for Money
As organisations continue the search for improvements in profitability and performance, the need exists for a process that both generates real innovation and achieves that with a measurable and sustainable improvement in the organisation's performance. Innovation is what separates high performing organisations from the rest of the pack. A hierarchy of the impacts on an organisation's performance exists and the design function to a large degree drives both innovation and performance. The greatest impact is achieved by altering the design of a product, project, programme, portfolio or strategy. Get this wrong, and the promise of value-for-money is much less likely to be delivered. There are various techniques used to envision the promise of value and provide support for the initiatives proposed at that level: at the organisational strategic level, strategy maps are used (in the Balanced Scorecard approach); at the portfolio level, a portfolio map (in the MoP method); at the programme level, benefits maps (in the MSP method); and at the project level, product breakdown structure and flow diagrams (in the PRINCE2 method). More generically, value management uses FAST diagrams. All of these techniques enable multi-disciplinary and often inter-organisational teams to develop a shared understanding of how things work, or should work, before committing resources to a promise of improvement. However, it is not clear that the argument support mechanism used at one level links to the mechanism used at the next level, which carries the risk that the impedance mismatch will destroy value.
Lessons from implementing MSP in non-standard organisations
In larger and more complex organisations, the guidance in MSP on identifying and defining a programme needs to be scaled up to cater for multiple layers of governance, multiple passes through programme definition, a significantly larger number of stakeholders, and handovers of accountability at phase boundaries which introduce novel forms of risk. In smaller and perhaps infrequent users of programme management, there is a general challenge in understanding how to scale down the programme management method without damaging its control mechanisms, as well as a very specific challenge: how to attract and retain experienced practitioners across periods where there are few programmes in flight. In all organisations, if the level of organisational programme management maturity is low, there is a specific risk that the programme's projects will be treated as standalone initiatives, resulting in the loss of many of the benefits of strategic programme management, such as design coherence, effective delineation of initiatives, information consistency, and resource rationalisation. This paper offers lessons from the field to the programme management community.
Non-traditional views of Project Management
Traditional approaches to project management require the boundaries of a project to be clearly described before the project commences. But the real world is sometimes not so clear-cut: sometimes the business problem to be solved is not defined or the possible solutions have not been explored. And often, the key stakeholders of the project are asked to provide requirements before they have fully conceptualised the problem and the solution, leading to under- or over-specification of the solution to be delivered by the project. This paper describes a workshop that explored: non-traditional approaches to project management, such as extreme project management, lean project management; agile approaches to product development, such as Scrum, eXtreme Programming and feature-driven development; is there such a thing as agile project management? And how does it work with agile product development techniques?; the project team as a complex adaptive system - naturally agile; adopting non-traditional approaches in a traditional project management environment, and specifically the use of Scrum in a PRINCE2 environment.
Comparing PMBoK and PRINCE2 in 2013
This paper continues our ongoing comparison of these two most popular project management methods. We report on a detailed comparison of the latest versions of the PMBoK:2013 (5th edition) and PRINCE2:2009 (5th edition), which compares the two methods in a number of ways: the authority attached to each, their underpinning philosophies, the major features of each method; the approaches of each method to a selection of issues of importance to project managers, the impact of each method on other key project stakeholders; the usefulness of each method to organisations; the recognition of accreditation in each method and supporting materials.
Designing an Integrated PMO
A Government Authority was tasked with establishing a $400 million infrastructure replacement programme, and was told by a consultant that they needed an "iPMO". This paper describes the journey from general confusion to delighted customer.
Professional Journal Articles
Improving Strategy Implementation
The purpose of this paper is to outline an approach based on my experience in bridging the gap between those strategising about change and those actually delivering change. I take the view that strategy setting, portfolio management, programme management and project management are elements of an overall approach to effective delivery of strategic change into organisations, and that delivery specialists need to be able to understand the strategy which underpins their projects.
Introducing Programme Management
The term 'program management' is widely used but not well defined. This article discusses several ways to think about programs
PMOs adding Value
In a large Government Department, I helped set up and oversee a programme as programme office manager. The PMO sat within the IT Division. The sponsor and project manager of one of our large projects sat in another Division, which had had a fraught relationship with IT for many years, because of several experiences where IT had attempted to dictate their business direction. We had several battles to fight over the next six months.
It's Time to Professionalise Project Governance
If projects are regarded as investments of organisational resources, then those governing projects are acting as investment managers on behalf of those in corporate governance. For our personal investments, we usually check the competence of investment managers before we entrust them with our capital. Why shouldn't those accountable for corporate governance of organisations check the competence of those to be entrusted with project governance roles, and act to raise competence where necessary?
The Role of Governance in Project Success
Surveys of factors leading to project failure have consistently ranked ‘lack of senior management engagement’ as a leading cause. This paper looks at three mini Case Studies concerning project governance.