Juggling client expectations and internal ROI—Dean Lewis

Juggling client expectations and internal ROI
All businesses strive to manage their resources as efficiently as possible. But for a professional services firm where skilled staff such as project and engineering consultants represent both their biggest cost and biggest source of revenue, effective resource management is critical to creating client value, enhancing profitability and maintaining a competitive edge.

Clients want to know that their investment will improve their business, whether by lowering costs, enabling efficiencies or expansion into new markets. They also need assurance that a project will complete on time, on budget and within the agreed parameters. If a deliverable does look likely to slip, then they expect to be informed as early as possible.

As such, professional services firms need complete visibility across their business. Projects must be planned, resourced and executed in a way that allows a firm to find the right combination of team members and skill-sets to maximise billable hours at lowest cost and achieve the best possible margin.

They also need to be able to bid for contracts safe in the knowledge that they have the headroom to deliver on what they have set out within the tender. This is particularly challenging in the current economic climate, where headcounts have been reduced and recruitment programs frozen. The more prospective projects there are in the pipeline, the greater the risk that resources will be overstretched.

Author: Dean Lewis
Review status: N/A

April 27, 2012

Wrapping PRINCE2 around Agile—Roger Fance

Wrapping PRINCE2 around Agile: You can, but should you?

Over the years, many organisations have invested heavily to increase the chances of project success by establishing project management frameworks, methodologies, processes, tools, templates and training to support their project managers and teams and improve project management maturity.

However, an ever increasing speed of change as a result of competition and technological innovation presents a serious challenge to business. It compels the need for continual re-evaluation of the project methods employed to ensure that organisations are responsive and adaptable enough not only to simply survive, but prosper. Some organisations have turned to Agile project management in an effort to improve their response to business change. In the right circumstances, Agile offers an effective way to rapidly react to change, indeed embrace change, through a range of management techniques. Some may be tempted to combine their original investment in traditional project management techniques like PRINCE2 with the benefits that Agile can bring.

This paper suggests two ways that PRINCE2 and Scrum as an Agile framework could be combined and compares the characteristics of each approach in relation to governance, planning, risk, change and value delivery. It poses some questions that organisations should consider before trying to combine these two approaches.

Author: Roger Fance
Review status: UXC Consulting

April 16, 2012

Project-Space—Greg McMahon

Project-Space: A new doctrine for warfare

Managers have long drawn concepts from the military in meeting business challenges, from marketing to leadership. The aim of this paper is to illustrate how some project management concepts might assist the development of military doctrine for modern war.

Developments to date in military doctrine appear most sophisticated at the conventional warfighting end of the Spectrum of Conflict models used by most defence forces. The doctrine at the ‘peace’ end of the spectrum appears less so.

Project management concepts, a ‘Project-space’ if you like, to accompany the Battle-space concepts in military doctrine, is discussed, using the examples of integration and stakeholder management as leads.

Author: Greg McMahon
Review status: Presented at the 2011 IPMA World Congress

March 1, 2012

The State of Alliancing—Alain Mignot

AAA: Focus on State of Alliancing and 2011 Highlights

Collaborative contracting is alive and well, adapting to meet the changing policy landscape while continuing to tackle project complexity through relationship skill and enhanced productivity. Public sector agency representatives are actively applying and developing the principles of collaborative contracting and shared their perspectives with local and overseas peers at the Alliancing Association of Australasia’s (AAA’s) 2011 national convention in Brisbane in October 2011. Alliancing practitioners related their experiences over the past twelve months in applying alliancing to meet the challenges of delivering difficult infrastructure projects, including in disaster-torn communities in Christchurch and Queensland.

Authors: Alain Mignot, Frances Walker
Review status: N/A

December 1, 2011

Simulation and Industry Mentors—Weterman, Hogan

Simulation and Industry Mentors as a pathway to learning ‘near world’ Project Management

Students are increasingly finding it difficult to learn project management in a classroom environment that is conducted using a traditional teaching approach as it lacks the complexity to bring real-life project experiences to life. Simulation is a widely accepted technique to create models that resemble the real life business context and can be very useful for teaching and learning project managzement. Expert project managers can also share project management scenarios with the students and successfully mentor them during their learning process. This paper brings these two techniques together and presents an alternative teaching methodology for project management that uses latest simulation technology and involves industry mentors to generate ‘near world’ project knowledge and a positive learning experience in a stimulating, enjoyable and engaging learning and teaching environment.

Author: Linda Weterman, Frank Weterman, Tania Hogan
Review status: Presented at the 2011 PMOz Conference (PMI endorsed)

August 8, 2011

4½ Key Steps to Project Success—IRIS

4½ Key Steps to Project Success

Project success. We all recognise it when we see it, but what constitutes a successful project and how can this success be replicated in the future?

Traditional project management for years has followed the ‘iron triangle’ or ‘three pillars’ of time, cost and quality. In an ideal world, projects would be delivered on time with all the milestones reached on schedule; they would come in on budget, without any nasty surprises for client or supplier, and they would delight the client with high quality deliverables.

How can you increase the likelihood of the projects you undertake achieving this happy state of affairs?

Author: IRIS Project Solutions (submitted by Rupert Ralston)
Review status: Peer reviewed

June 12, 2011

Measuring client profitability—IRIS

Getting to grips with Client (Un)Profitability

This white paper tackles a growing problem which can be regarded as a side-effect of the current tough operating climate.

In their efforts to maintain business viability—and keep staff gainfully employed—some project-oriented businesses can be tempted to take on projects with narrow profit margins. They then tend to over-deliver to retain the client’s business in an aggressively competitive marketplace.

This trend is an entirely understandable, but is not a sustainable way of doing business.

We discuss here the value of adopting an evidence-driven approach to understanding which areas of your business and client base are most/least

Author: IRIS Project Solutions (submitted by Rupert Ralston)
Review status: Peer reviewed

June 12, 2011

Controlling Attrition in the IT Industry—Dinesh Sharma

The importance of employee engagement in controlling attrition for IT industry scenario: A step-by-step approach

The IT industry is facing a major challenge in the area of employee attrition. Every organization is working on devising new measure to increase retention. This white paper focuses on the importance of employee engagement in controlling attrition. The information would be helpful for all IT managers looking for effective ways to control attrition.

Author: Dinesh Sharma
Review status: Peer reviewed

June 8, 2011