Blog – What Everybody Should Know About PRINCE2 2017

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What Everybody Should Know About PRINCE2® 2017

Introduction

PRINCE2’s certifying body—AXELOS—recently published an updated version of the PRINCE2 project management method, that reflects an evolution in the project management training world. This sees the first major update of PRINCE2 since 2009. As one of the first Accredited Training Organisations to offer the new PRINCE2 2017 courseware, we are providing an overview of the changes to the methodology/syllabus. For readers who need PRINCE2 certification, this guide serves as an outline of relevant information.

While PRINCE2 has always been tailorable, and versatile enough to handle the complexities and requirements of different projects, recently, it has garnered a reputation for being inflexible and procedure-heavy. AXELOS has taken on board this feedback and consequently, the update addresses the following:

  • Greater emphasis on scalability and flexibility;
  • More clarity on how the themes and principles are connected;
  • More emphasis on the core principles of PRINCE2;
  • Significantly more hints, tips, and examples of how to apply the new guidance;
  • Higher readability and greater support regarding tailoring the program;
  • Removal of configuration management.

Differences: Principles

There is very little change regarding the underlying principles of PRINCE2. With the updated version, there is actually a greater emphasis on these principles, however, they have added a key message for each principle which should help those to help understand the principles better and assist with those taking the Foundation exam.

Differences: Tailoring

Unlike in the PRINCE2 2009 version, the tailoring text is toward the front of the updated PRINCE2 2017 manual, making it more accessible to readers. There is specific guidance on Agile adoption and frequent references to using PRINCE2 with Agile. The update also includes specific guidance about recognising the minimum requirements for a PRINCE2 project and on making selective, but good use of the method, appropriate to the scale of the project at hand.

The main focus is on how to utilise PRINCE2 in an organisation with relevant topics such as:

  • Embedding PRINCE2 into an organisation;
  • Tailoring it to fit the organisation.

Additional tailoring topics include:

  • Tailoring the terminology
  • Tailoring the principles
  • Tailoring the roles
  • Tailoring the themes
  • Tailoring the management products
  • Tailoring the methodology

Differences: Themes

PRINCE2 2017 maintains the same seven themes from the previous incarnation being: Plans, Risk, Progress, Change, Quality, Organisation, Business Case. However, each of the themes now has additional support information. This new information is the minimum requirements for each theme and a guidance for implementation.

The PRINCE2 2017 Exams

The syllabus and exams have been streamlined in PRINCE2 2017. There is much more emphasis on Applying PRINCE2 in the exams.

Foundation Exam

There are now 60 questions instead of 75. The foundation exam’s pass mark has been readjusted to 33. There are also fewer negative and list questions.

Practioner Exam

This exam tests candidates on all aspects of the methodology, thereby rendering all aspects of the methodology relevant for the exam.

There are fewer questions about management products; instead, there’s a focus on practical application and operation in a project environment. The amount of additional material is also reduced.

There are 68 questions instead of 80, and all of the questions about response, assertion, and reasoning have been removed. The pass mark is now 38.

Although many of the changes between PRINCE2 2009 and 2017 are subtle, there are enough differences that make retraining important. For readers who haven’t been trained on the new material, re-sitting the course will be very helpful.


Get Certified in PRINCE2 2017 with MetaPM

As a leading provider of PRINCE2 Certification in Melbourne, MetaPM is one of the first organisations to now offer the new updated PRINCE2 2017 Foundation and Practitioner Courses.

Click here for more information on the course and to register

Blog – The Organisational and Staff Benefits of Competency Assessments

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The Organisational and Staff Benefits of Competency Assessments

The concept of a competency assessment is the kind of thing that can result in some initial anxiety for candidates, employees, and project managers. If it leads to a workplace with unnecessary tensions, the result could be a skewed perspective of the actual competency of the assessment. Because of this, it’s important to make it clear right from the start how beneficial such a process can be for both individual staff members and for the organisation as a whole.

Such assessments are becoming increasingly important to the modern workforce, where technology is levelling the business playing field.

Competency assessments allow a company to identify the skills available for certain tasks and jobs, and to recruit and develop employees who possess those skills where there are gaps. This not only leads to a more efficient team but also puts employees in a better position for capability development so they can further their careers.

Organisational benefits

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in an interview with a candidate that clearly does not fit the position of which they’re applying. The awkwardness permeates the room, and the thought likely crosses everyone’s mind that it could all have been avoided. A competency assessment is a good way to do this, through a simple process that helps an organisation determine early on whether a candidate fits a role, or if they may be more suited for a different area in the company, if applicable.

This can produce dramatic results, by making sure people with the right skills are brought on and avoiding churn in staff, where possibly months of investment is lost (i.e. recruitment costs, on-boarding, and knowledge transfer time) with little value gained. Having a stable and appropriately skilled project delivery workforce enables better workforce planning and can lead to greater project throughput with the same size workforce.

Increased results, however, are not the only benefit, as this process also helps to mitigate risks by empowering the right people in positions where their skills are put to the best possible use. Project management will see a marked improvement to project delivery timelines, putting the company in a better position to take on clients who require faster and more accurate delivery.

A competency assessment can also increase the return on investment for companies that have implemented training programs. It continues to be expensive just to train an average employee for a role, and training programs are often run without an understanding the need or value gained. If that training investment is underpinned by scientific knowledge that the employee gains the required skills to fulfil a role, it is far more likely that the investment will pay future dividends.

Staff benefits

While the organisation will see obvious benefits from using competency assessments, this process will also give staff a clearer direction as they progress in their careers. The resulting higher employee satisfaction rates will ultimately lead to higher employee retention rates, and the overall positive atmosphere works to create more successful recruitment.

Rather than simply placing each staff member into broad groupings, such assessments allow management to focus on more targeted development plans in the development cycle process, as well as a more efficient perspective on coaching and mentoring individual talent.

Perhaps the most underrated and least-considered benefit for both organisations and staff is the enhanced engagement with staff, including understanding the goals and motivation that drives performance and success. It also gives visibility of the aggregate organisational capabilities based on the combined strengths of its staff, and sometime uncovers unique and unexpected talents that can be leveraged to innovate and maintain competitive advantage.


 

MetaPM’s Capability Framework and Competency Assessment Services

MetaPM’s Project Community Capability Framework service offering supports organisations who are invested in creating career pathways and professional development for their project professionals. The framework helps organisations build project community capability by incorporating a set of skills, behaviours and knowledge supported by processes and tools based on recognised standards.

We work with Executives, PMO and HR functions within your organisation to develop a project role family assessment and capability development framework based on industry recognised competency frameworks.

Click here for further details on our service offering and an overview of MetaPM’s Project Community Capability Framework.

Or contact us at [email protected] or on 1800 800 436

The Change-Savvy Team Member – Meet the Trainer

New Change Management Workshop – The Change-Savvy Team Member

Meet the Trainer – Helen Palmer

MIMS, BSc (Psychology)
Principal Change Agent

change management course

Tell us a little about yourself.

I care about people. I see their needs and desires in the workplace so I’ve chosen work where I can do something useful about that. I was born and raised in NZ so I have a fairly resourceful and creative approach to challenges. I’m a bit quirky and like to inject a healthy dose of fun into my work – some people would describe me as bubbly.  I’m a thinker – like Winnie the Pooh I  ‘sits and thinks’ … and imagine how people can make a better life for others and themselves.  I’m adventurous, so I created my own business as a platform for conversations and activity that cultivates better workscapes.

Outside my own workscape I indulge in landscape design on my country property in the Macedon Ranges;  I create works of art with the technique of origami; I record the family history; and I’ve  been known to compose a poem or three – just like three generations of ancestors.

What is your background in Change Management?

My path in change management has been a wandering one. My sense of how change, particularly technology change was impacting people, came from my very first job back in the mid 1980s. I was working at an Accounting firm that switched from mini-computers in a back room, to micro-computers on the Accountant’s desks. This was a hugh functional and cultural shock. And as the person who had just graduated high school in the first ‘Computer Studies’ class, I was expected to have the answers to help these people out.

My journey through managing change has traversed through doing training, designing training, doing business analysis, doing project management, leading people in teams and strategising what change to make and how to go about it. I now do my change management thing (it can be hard to scope and define) from my own business platform.

What is your involvement with the Change Management Institute (CMI)?

I recently became a member of the CMI Global Board responsible for the Thought Leadership portfolio.  Actually think of that as the Thought and Practice Leadership portfolio.  I have a vision that I’m turning into tangible action and outcomes about how to cultivate useful conversations and grow relevant competencies to tackle 21st change challenges. Some of this will have a research focus. Some of it will have an education learning focus.

What is change-savviness?

Change savviness is the mindset and ability to be savvy in making and leading change. It’s responding to change with a “bring-it-on” attitude, rather than a “oh-no” attitude. And in a world and workscape with so much change happening with high stakes and costs – I think we’d all do well to get better and how we personally deal with change.

Please tell us about The Change-Savvy Team Member.

The course came about because I was often seeing individuals struggling in the workplace with each change project. The training and support in those projects was focused on the specifics of the project, but nobody was stepping back and addressing questions like: How can a person get better at doing change – so when the next project comes along they are more able to participate?  I draw upon my own experience, insights, theory I’ve assimilated and techniques I’ve used to help individuals develop this change-savvy quality and to do it in the context of a team. It’s much easy to make these kinds of personal changes when those around you are also doing it, and some of the changes need the right kinds of conditions to become more natural, and the team leader can be the person to create those conditions.

Why should I attend The Change-Savvy Team Member?

Because you are ready to have a different experience next time there is change in your workplace! You’ve probably got stories about how it was ‘bad’ last time.  Some things are outside your control; others aren’t. Change-savvy is a life-skill that will be good for you at work, and good for you in the rest of your life.  Come along and learn some things that you can do to build your personal power and ability.  If we can cultivate a collective of people with these skills and attitudes, something pretty amazing could happen in our workplaces.

Attend The Change-Savvy Team Member

The Change-Savvy Team Member is the latest course to be added to MetaPM’s Learning Catalogue. It is run in partnership with Questo. Constant change is the new norm for organisations. With the right skills, you and your team can embrace this reality, and become change-savvy! Individual or group responses to change don’t have to be left to chance. The Change-Savvy Team Member workshop is for motivated managers and teams looking to become more change-savvy.

For more information on the course, click here or get into contact with MetaPM’s Director of Learning, Melanie Holland on 0418 770 395 or at [email protected]  

MetaPM’s Change Management Practice

We help organisations and businesses to consider their capacity and capability to plan and deliver effective change. We provide experienced and accredited practitioners in Change Management and Communication to enable the successful implementation of your strategic change initiatives. We specialise in innovative, agile approaches to leading and enabling people to transition through and embrace change. Design thinking, Empathy mapping, the latest research, and standards based on the Change Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK) informs our thinking and practice. Passion to help you, and partnering with you, defines our approach.

For a discussion about how MetaPM could help your Change Management capabilities, give us a call on 1300 800 436 or email us at [email protected]

The game simply never ends – Business game-changers

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By Matt Jobling

There are so many elements to achieving sustained business success these days. Just when a business establishes a position the market dynamics are disrupted by seemingly invisible forces and it needs to reset for the next play in real time.

Game-changers

Technology

On the surface it can seem bewildering. The pace of business just gets faster and faster, and the forces driving it seem hidden or unknowable.

Looking a little further we can see that there is combination of technological factors driving this profound economic change, and thankfully there is a clear path to establishing and maintaining organisational fitness for the never-ending game of sustained business success.

It is axiomatic these days that pace of business is increasing, and that traditional and leading edge methods for managing business alike need to learn and adapt, fast and continuously. The key is to embrace these dynamics as a fact of the business life and think through what it means for your business. Because if you don’t, someone else already is!

The ubiquity of technology (smart devices) and cloud offerings (mobility), the rise of social networks (connectedness) and availability and use of data (information and hence choice) are a powerful combination of technologies and innovation. And the speed at which innovation is taking place is accelerating, driving enormous productivity gains, creating new businesses and changing the competitive dynamics of existing industries.

Consider traditional industries like insurance, legal, banking that have not competed directly with technology-based products and services, and that up until now have been insulated to a degree by the strength of their historical market positions. Even they are now directly impacted by the ubiquity of digital channels and far more knowledgeable and discerning customers, and nimble and digitally savvy start-ups moving into their markets.

Customers

We all acknowledge the impact of digital technologies on our everyday life.  With “big data in our pocket” we can connect to the world in a way that was unimaginable five years ago.  No matter where we are we can stay informed, engage with each another, and importantly for businesses, transact based on a whole new view of the world. And this is happening all day, every day, and beyond the confines of geographical boundaries, that until recently where the last significant tariff protecting traditional business models.

Customers these days are been liberated from the traditional business-defined relationships and are defining their own. Power is with the people and they are exercising it by effortlessly researching competing offers and sharing information and opinion within their online communities, informing their decisions.

Build An Adaptive Operational Foundation

Doing business and working on the business are now concurrent and highly interrelated processes. Think flying the plane while you are building it and you get the idea of what it feels like!

The key is an operational foundation that is inherently adaptive, ultra-reliable, that can be counted on to support business not only with quality product and service delivery but also great product and service innovation and development.

Far from being based on fixed structures and processes that are simply funded, resourced and managed, winning organisations must maintain great insight into customers and markets in real-time through continuously refined digital channels, end-to-end management of the customer journey, and the design and collection of aligned metrics.

And they use these analytics to drive strategy and lean planning and steering towards a clearly understood and measurable set of business objectives that are implemented by customer-driven product and service innovation, and continuous, incremental delivery.

Create Highly Enabled Teams

And finally, critical to success in this new world are highly enabled teams aligned to the strategic value streams of the organisation and who have ownership of the implementation plans and business outcomes within. Teams that are supported by leadership with all the skills, experience, behaviours and culture needed to meet and beat the goals agreed with them.

Gone are the days when business can be done with teams waiting for direction from management and within the constraints of static processes and controls. Now it is all about an inspirationally led, supported, knowledgeable and highly enabled and adaptable workforce that has direct line of sight to their customers and all the information, skills, tools and culture to read and respond to their needs. Businesses that get this backbone in place, and maintain it, position themselves for sustainable success.

Those that don’t will either fail to see the real opportunities of the digitally disrupted field of play, or will simply not be able to respond quickly enough to exploit them.  And these businesses face the inevitable future of more nimble, digitally savvy innovators making deeper and deeper inroads into their territory as they struggle to hold to operating modes that once served them well but now do not.

So the question to ask is “Are your teams primed and ready to respond to your competitive environment, or are you waiting for the off-season to work on their match fitness?” If the answer is the latter then think again.

In business today the game never ends, the final siren never blows. So adapting to the volatile dynamics of customers and markets and making the necessary course corrections while there is still time to win the current play, while at the very same time thinking strategically, and establishing and maintaining organisational fitness for the next play, and for tomorrow and next month, and next year is the new competitive advantage.

Is Agile ‘Porter for Dummies’? – Agile Program Management Blog

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IS AGILE JUST ‘PORTER FOR DUMMIES’?

By Bronte Jackson

This is the question I had at the end of the first day of my Agile Program Management training (APMG accredited).    Why are we still having to talk about management of programs/projects or organisations as needing to start with a joint vision, objectives and a strategy? Why are we still having to learn about the importance of engaged stakeholders, delegated decision making, skills and structures that facilitate fast delivery, and how to divide that up into timely segments with rough costs and estimates to operationalise our goals and dreams?  Didn’t we already learn that in the 1990’s?  Have we as Management Consultants and practitioners failed to get these points across after all this time?

‘Top management can facilitate inter-relationships by emphasizing cross-unit collaboration …… and taking steps to build a strong sense of corporate identity.’ (Porter, 1987)

‘The challenge of developing or re-establishing a clear strategy is often primarily an organisational one and depends on leadership.’ (Porter, 1996)

‘…..there needs to be ongoing effort to extend a company’s uniqueness while strengthening the fit among its activities.’  (Porter, 1996)

‘The “five forces” identified by Porter two decades ago still matter ……… but the nature and ferocity of business competition has changed, and business strategy has to be updated to keep pace’. (Esty & Winston, 2006)

So why are we still struggling to action this?  And why are we embracing the Agile principle that ‘Program and project goals must be clearly aligned to business strategy’, like it’s a newfound religion that will finally get us the innovation, benefit realisation, and happy and engaged stakeholders that we have always dreamed of?

As I looked at the Agile principles (below) and how they applied to Program Management I only had more questions.

  • Why is it often so difficult for organisational initiatives to come together in alignment rather than compete against each other, use and deplete the same stakeholders, or cancel each other out because of bad timing?
  • Why is governance so often not about creating a coherent organisational capability but about governance of a project or program in isolation?
  • Why is it difficult for organisations to realise benefits incrementally and early, to delegate decision making to the lowest level, and to be iterative?
  • Why have the principles of working together and allowing progress to flow rather than be controlled been so difficult to implement?
  • Why have these Agile principles resonated so well with so many?

Because they address an age old principle that we are still learning to put into practice.

When auditors are called in to investigate or analyse the health of an organisation they follow the money.  Where does the money come from?  Where does it lead?  Where does it go?  These questions help to analyse the organisations priorities and whether they align or are congruent with what the organisation says it stands for.  The answers give clues as to what is really going on and how to deal with it.

Social Anthropologists follow power.  Where does the power sit in an organisation and what happens with it?  Who has it and what do they do with it?  Who has the power, is it the customer or the shareholders?  Is the locus of control internal or external? Do those with power work towards aligning their organisational initiatives to the business strategy or do they seek to compete with each other by coming up with better ways of doing things in order to keep their project alive?  Do they seek to create a coherent capability through their governance or do they compete for resources against other organisational initiatives, and do they have to because adequate resources have not been allocated from an enterprise perspective?  Are executives rewarded for how well they coherently integrate and align or how cheaply/quickly they deliver on their part alone?  If it is the latter, then devolving power to the lowest decision making level, iterative planning, allowing small progress and benefits to be realised, and using feedback to influence further planning, will be difficult (because in this type of culture it is a perceived loss of power).

Studying where the power is in an organisation and how it is used tells me how successful an organisation will be in achieving its goals whatever management tool, methodology or philosophy they use.

With my training as a Social Anthropologist and as a result of my Agile Program Management training I now have some more questions.

  • Is Agile the early 21st century attempt, by those who are closest to the customer and the operational problems, to get Executives to let go of obstructive power?
  • Is Agile a new road map for a new century (the disruptive one), so that leaders can feel safe by having a line of sight down into what their teams are actually doing?
  • Is Agile a plea to leaders to focus on designing the vision, identifying the benefits, and setting up and resourcing the organisation appropriately so that those with the technical skills (HR, OD, Change, Finance, IT, Marketing, Operations), and capability, can successfully deliver on them?

I hope so.  I hope that Agile succeeds in getting the message across.  The thing that all our management research and data has said for nearly half a century now.

Start with what you want to achieve, agree on it, create some measurable goals, put a plan into place, resource it, lead it, and allow your people to action it.  Review and repeat.

Onwards and upwards brothers and sisters!


 

Attend MetaPM’s fully accredited  AgilePgM® – Agile Programme Management course today!

The Agile Programme Management Foundation Course is a fully accredited programme management methodology intended for organisations delivering transformative change programmes in which organisational strategy is complex and evolving and/or in which some or all projects are agile, both in the private and public sectors.

For more information on the course, CLICK HERE


Porter, Michael E., ‘What is strategy?’, Harvard Business Review, Vol 74, No.6, 1996, pp. 61 – 78, p.77
Porter, Michael E., ‘From competitive strategy to corporate advantage.’, Harvard Business Review, May-June 1987, pp. 43 – 59, p.57
Esty, Daniel C., Winston, Andrew S., Green to Gold.  How smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value, and build competitive advantage. Yale University Press, 2006, p.98

Change Management Blog – Do You Have the Desire and Tools to Manage Change But Still Nothing Happens?

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DO YOU HAVE THE DESIRE AND TOOLS TO MANAGE CHANGE BUT STILL NOTHING HAPPENS?

by Bronte Jackson

  1. Do you have a Change Management Framework – guidelines, tools and templates?
  2. Do you have an agreement at Executive level for its application on all upcoming projects?
  3. Have you demonstrated the new Change Management Framework, piloted it, reviewed it and reported on its value?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to all of the above, then obviously:

  • people are knocking on your door to access and apply it
  • all projects are running with adequate change management planning, support and resourcing

But just in case you are not one of the company’s experiencing this, what’s missing and how can you fix it?

 

We recently helped the Head of Human Resources and the Head of the Project Management Office at a higher education institution with this exact scenario. Here’s what we said and how we helped them.
Imagine if one day you get given a wonderful, designer model car (mix-master, pair of shoes). It is a wonderful machine/piece of equipment/foot apparel. It has a lot of built in features that make life really easy, faster, better and help you get to your destination/achieve your goals more efficiently. If only you had time to read the manual/instructions. If only you could work out which bit goes first, what to do when you hear that noise, how to adjust it for that stretch of pathway, what to do if you are gluten free/allergic to leather? If only it operated and fit you exactly the same way that your current car/mix master/pair of shoes did.
In the meantime your tried and trusty old car, electric beater, pair of shoes will have to do as daily life is not getting any slower. As soon as you have time to investigate this great new solution and apply it, you will. In the meantime no one notices what your current car, mix master, pair of shoes are – there aren’t really any immediate consequences for continuing to use them, are there?

  • But what if you could get someone from the manufacturer to come out, observe your daily life, what your current issues are and devise a way to practice using your fancy new machine/appliance/foot apparel in your own surroundings? Using your unique challenges, capability and culture?
  • And what if the manufacturer worked with someone from your household and coached and mentored them through a few situations where the new tools/equipment were applied and then got together with the other members of the household to share the learnings of how someone just like them learnt to use and apply the new way of doing things? (And found life easier as a result)
  • And what if everyone at that time also got the opportunity to practice applying these new tools, receive feedback, share their learning and challenges, and decide what to do next as a household? Would that make using and implementing the new things easier?

 

At MetaPM we understand that the best guidelines and tools are often difficult to apply when a structured approach to managing change is new for an organisation. Time-poor managers, or project sponsors are often given a drivers manual, without any experience of driving a car, and expected to participate in a race, the next day!
To help our client we delivered a practical Change Management workshop to introduce key managers to concepts and tools, and to familiarise them with their organisations change framework. At this workshop they heard from one of their own Project Managers who had applied the tools and guidelines to his project, using our coaching and our training. We designed and provided a forum for business managers to apply tools and collectively reflect on learnings that increased their confidence and provided support. We facilitated the creation of Action plans set up the creation of a community of practice for ongoing support and shared learning. Our client could then effectively oversee and support the use and application of their Change Management Framework to projects.
We understand that to be able to apply these tools and concepts for the first time, partnering and support from experienced change specialists is required to deliver and develop capability, so the owners of the new car/mix-master/shoes can be fully equipped to use them. This is turn enables the benefits to flow back to the business of adopting, managing and implementing change.

 

 

Learn about MetaPM’s Change Management services HERE.

Mad about squandered opportunities in the EPMO

 

Focus on the big picture

How many Portfolio or EPMOs (Enterprise Program Management Office) really do step up to their Portfolio responsibilities?

Not nearly enough, I say and I am mad about it! Why? Because most of my retirement savings are invested in major organisations and their future returns and value, which is in turn is developed and improved through their portfolio of change. I don’t want to see it squandered!

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