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The Golden IPO Egg

The Golden IPO Egg

The Golden IPO Egg
2014 has been a bumper year for stock market floatatons in London and abroad. SAGA, TSB, The AA and Pets at Home contributed to £7.4bn raised on the markets bythe end of August. Alibaba’s flotation was a majorsuccess.
More is to follow with companies such as Jimmy Chooand Aldermore preparing for IPO now that the Scottish Referendum date has allowed the market to settle.
The IPO remains a money spinner and not for the reasons most organisations would hope for. The myriad of advisors involved can certainly line their pockets.Flotation costs can easily spiral and without strong management, the whole IPO process can be a drain on an organisation’s finances. The natural complexity and unique nature of such a transaction will usually mean that companiesneed to look externally to supplement internal resources and this can dilute the value that an IPO delivers. In one recent example the total cost of advisors equated to 5.7% of
the overall deal value and fifteen different firms were involved in an advisory capacity. Appliances Online, relaunched in 2013 as AO.com, spent £20m on advisors fees for their floatation, wiping out annual profits in one go.
An IPO should be managed like other corporate change initiatives – it is, after all, a project and should be managed as such, with the same rigour and control one wouldexpect from any significant investment a business makes. The nature of the regulation that surrounds a flotation increases the complexity making IPOs inherently high risk projects.
Managing an IPO requires a clear strategy, robust planning and decisive execution. This has to be delivered against a backdrop of cultural shift with internal and external scrutiny, whilst managing an army of bankers, lawyers, tax advisors, consultants and other experts jockeying for a slice of the action. The key to success is applying rigorous and professional Project Management skills, recognising the pit falls at each stage, using the expertise available in the right manner and ensuring central control throughout the lifecycle:
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The marketplace is full of companies that are able to advise potential clients on the process. The real value comes from managing the resources and capability involvedand using their skills to advise and manage the risk that is inherent in a transaction of this nature. Here are a few of the most common challenges and how they may be handled.

  • Not starting the long lead time items early enough– The audited accounts and the Prospectus are two examples of long lead time deliverables requiring significant business input. The entity that is to bespun off needs a clear perimeter drawn around it early in the process to allow the intensive financial and legal work to commence in a timely manner. For example, debating whether customers are in scope or out of scope is a fundamental issue that needs to be tackled early. Starting this activity too far down the line leads to customer confusion and significant rework for the programme, all at a premium price where external lawyers and accountants are likely to be involved. Implementing a clearly articulated governance structure, with a concisely defined decision-making process totackle the big issues early on is essential to limiting last-minute changes in direction or scope.
  • Your advisors position themselves as experts in everything – Suddenly all of your advisors are expert project and programme managers able to deliver the IPO end-to-end. Use them and their advice only when needed and not as ‘generalists’ just because they happen to be there. Maintaining central control of the roles and responsibilities is essential when it comes to managing the scope and the costs associated. Your central programme function should take responsibility for managing external party scope.
  • The Management Team has their own agenda– However long the Management Team may have worked in the business and whatever the relationships they may have, when the carrot of autonomy and the potential benefits of ownership become tangible everything changes. Companies must make sure they have clear rules of engagement for all concerned and appropriate response strategies in place for when the internal positioning inevitably goes external.
  • External events may require a swift response– For example, your IPO may be ready to be delivered on time, the risks are clearly mitigated, it’s under budget, your management team are fired up for the marketing phase and then the market slumps. Ensuring that the market scenarios have been considered and that contingency plans are part of the scope isa must. Given the prescriptive nature of the laterphases of a float then building in Go/ No-Go checkpoints is essential.
  • Late deal sweeteners– Executives have a habit of coming up with brightideas at the last minute. Bonus share offers are all the rage as one example. Having the right core team in communications, operations, the sponsoring banks and the central programme teamready to react at short notice to a late change ofscope is prudent.

These are a small subset of the many challenges that an organisation faces as it floats. All are mitigated by strong project and programme management from a central function that must remain close to the internal decision makers within the organisation and hold advisors accountable for their specific scope and deliverables. Maintaining a clear oversight of the activities of the externaladvisors is key to driving full value from their expertise. Taking a company to market to raise funds for growth is a solid strategy. Sharing a small portion of the spoilswith external advisors and experts is a necessary part of a successful launch. Not managing them effectively is likehanding them a blank cheque. Their pockets will be comfortably lined.

About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. We work with you and your team to turn your business vision, objective, goal or strategy into reality. The company was formed by a revolutionary team of entrepreneurial leaders and award winning consultants looking to transform the way the world thinks about ‘consulting’.

For more information about P2 visit www.p2consulting.com

Has the RAG Status lost its value

Has the RAG Status lost its value

Has the RAG status lost its value?
How often do you see projects stuck behind a Red orAmber status, with the team unable or unwilling tocall it one way or the other?
Amber is the latter day “Buy IBM” equivalent (Nobody ever got fired for having an Amber status project) and it is often viewed as the safe option – Shows that the project manager understands there are risks associated with the project but also that they are on top of them and the project is still on track. This gives the project manager a seemingly credible escape route whatever the outcome!
Likewise when the project is known to be high risk then the temptation is to hold the RAG status as Red for an extended period of time. This gives the project manager a sense of shared culpability with the Steering Group because “They’ve been kept informed”.
How do you prevent the RAG status becoming increasingly meaningless as it gets stuck on Red or Amber and the visibility of the underlining risk profile of the project, and more importantly, the direction of travel of the risk profile, becomes obscured?
We’ve all witnessed Steering Groups that become accustomed to the Red/Amber status and where it feels like it is sleep walking towards the inevitable day when the project manager will, with a sigh, confirm that the concerns they have been sharing with the Steering Group have finally resulted in the expected re-plan. The Steering Group can feel comfortable with its performance knowing that the risks/issues were spotted well in advance and were therefore, by extension, effectively managed – Surely they are being collectively a little too generous?
This passive governance should never be acceptable and, I believe, often stems from the tacit and collective tolerance of an extended Red/Amber status. This form of Groupthink needs to be recognised and challenged right from the very start of a project.
Before I address how I believe you should avoid getting stuck on Red or Amber I’m conscious that some readers will, with some justification, argue that certain projects/programmes are just simply so high risk that they’ll never get better than Amber. I have some sympathy with this position but believe these projects to be in theabsolute minority (if they should exist at all) and where this is the case the project team should declare it early on and the governance and controls should be adjusted accordingly (increased contingency planning, tightened Go/No Go decision making criteria etc.).

So how do you avoid this form of Groupthink?

Intolerance to a Red/Amber status
The answer I believe lies in an absolute intolerance to recurring Red or Amber status reporting. I would suggest that any project that is continuously Red or Amber for more than 20% of its overall duration is “flying blind”. The project team increasingly won’t know whether the situation is improving or deteriorating and the focus and energy needed to “get back to Green” will be ebbing away.
So if you establish early on this principle of intolerance to an extended Red/Amber status then the immediate next question is: What do you do when the overall statusis not Green?

Too often the focus is on the potential impact of the threats that have been identified rather than focusing on the corrective actions. It is important to identify thechallenges but there needs to be just as much timeand effort invested in tackling them.
Project teams and Steering Groups need to be ruthless in their pursuit of effective corrective action plans and the PMO has a critical role to play in ensuring that these plans are robust and delivered.
Corrective Actions Plans:

  • Make sure you clearly understand the risks and issues that are threatening the project (and therefore driving the Amber or Red status)
  • Identify the necessary actions to address these threats and agree owners and target dates. This gives a “Return to Green” date
  • Track these corrective action plans through to successful completion and then re-assess the RAG status. (It is often prudent to turn the status to Amber once the actions have been completed and then to Green once there is clear evidence that the actions are effective)

The five point ‘Traffic Light’
In March 2011 the Government set up the Major Projects Authority with a mandate to “turn around the Civil Service’s record of delivering projects”. As part of this they introduced the Delivery Confidence Assessment (RAG ratings) to be used with all highly complex, high risk projects:

Delivery Confidence Assessments give an overall summary of the state of a project. Its risk is indicated using a five point ‘traffic light’ system known as the RAG (Red–Amber–Green) scale.
This introduced a bridging status between Green and Amber and between Amber and Red. The Amber/Red is particularly insightful as it forces the team to confront whether the project is truly undeliverable in its current form or simply requires decisive management action to fix:

  • Amber/Red: Successful delivery of the project is indoubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas. Urgent action is needed to ensure these are addressed, and whether resolution is feasible.
  • Red: Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues on project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.

I believe that a combination of an absolute intolerance to a persistent Amber/Red status combined withthe five
point ‘traffic light’ will prevent you and your project team sleep walking to failure.

The Major Projects Authority Delivery Confidence Assessments
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About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. We work with you and your team to turn your business vision, objective, goal or strategy into reality. The company was formed by a revolutionary team of entrepreneurial leaders and award winning consultants looking to transform the way the world thinks about ‘consulting’.

For more information about P2 visit www.p2consulting.com

IT Incidents – a costly legacy

IT Incidents – a costly legacy

How many times do we read that big organisations are having serious IT issues – web sites down, mobileapps failing, e-mail unavailable and back office functions unableto operate? In addition, there are countless lower profile IT issues in the background that demand business usersand staff to accommodate delays in service availability and undertake irritating alternatives to the way they go about their work.

In all these cases the support teams work heroically to restore the service as quickly as possible. However, the reputational damage and the hidden costs to the organisation are significant. The damage is done. In the incident aftermath, there is even more time spent finding the root cause. Frequently, root cause is not identified and a series of worthy but often-futile mitigations are put in place to fend off another break down.

This ‘break-fix’ cycle is familiar and predictable but the real culprit is not technical failure but the tendency to sacrifice quality to meet ‘time and budget’ constraints.

Necessarily, major IT programmes are under pressureto ‘go-live’ on time and within budget. Publicity, commercial benefits and the often inflated expectations from senior management drive Programme Directors to deliver to the dates promised, seriously compromising quality as aresult. Typically, as a programme is approaching “go-live”, if the expected outcomes are within 10-20% of the target quality criteria there is a tendency for the organisation to push the programme leadership to a ‘go’ decision with the buy-in of all the key stakeholders. The programme director has succeeded – the project is ready to beimplemented and just a few weeks of warranty coveris all that is required before the delivery team is disbanded and success is declared.

But the quality criteria that were removed to ensure the go-live date is met frequently include the essential requirements for a high quality support function. The customer-facing requirements may remain in tact, but the less obvious back office maintenance, monitoring and recovery requirements that drive quality support are badly compromised. As a result, organisations pay a heavy price in the long run with frequent incidents incurring substantial additional costs to the business. Accurate programme benefit analysis and total cost of ownership is rarely calculated so the true cost of the missing quality is never understood.

There are simple process steps that can mitigate the problem. Some of these seem obvious, but are often lacking as part of the programme management approach. A study of 20 large IT programmes, where there were significant post-implementation issues, points to five key factors that drive quality after go-live:

Early engagement of the support team:
At key lifecycle stages, notably requirements definition and design, it is vital to get early and fullengagement from the post-implementation support team. Give a senior and seasoned support professional a seat at the Programme steering group.

Treating the operational requirements with the samepriority as customer requirements:
This is a highly challenging but fruitful pursuit. The operational requirements of exception handling, recovery within an hour, archiving, maintenance windows and performance are all on the list of must haves at the startof the programme. At every lifecycle stage as the budget is squeezed by an expanding set of functional requirements it is too easy to sacrifice these system saving essentials.

Forcing the programme teams to undertake live support until strict quality criteria are met:
This will also drive a behaviour that is wider thanthe budget and time philosophy. When a programmeteam knows that no-one is going to their next project until they have proved that the current implementation is supportable then attitudes to handover are focused on a quality finish.

Creating an attitude and culture within the organisation that focuses on support quality and understands total cost of ownership
In this pursuit, the relationship between the programme and support teams is vital. Do these teams know what each other’s responsibilities are? Do they understand each other’s daily pressures and challenges? Do they routinely keep each other informed of their plans? Regular conversations will improve the support outcome.

Break down the management silos
Frequently, the leadership within many organisations is ‘siloed’ right from the top into programme delivery and support. Consequently, there is little daily communication between them and support teams hear about the oncoming projects with just a few weeks to go, whenit is too late for any material improvements. Both teams provide engage in the process protocols to ensure the live date is secured but the underlying implications of reduced quality remain.

Clearly utopia in the development lifecycle is unlikely but a quick look through any list of monthly IT support issues can make depressing reading. The huge commercial costs, operational inconvenience and sheer frustration are challenges that can all be solved.

The programme leadership challenge is to raise the profile of support and move the philosophy from ‘time and budget’ to ‘quality and cost of ownership’. This is particularly testing when all the stakeholders are begging to meet the date and move on. Ultimately, a redundantIT support team would be a true measure of high quality!

About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. We work with you and your team to turn your business vision, objective, goal or strategy into reality. The company was formed by a revolutionary team of entrepreneurial leaders and award winning consultants looking to transform the way the world thinks about ‘consulting’.

For more information about P2 visit www.p2consulting.com

Accelerated Business Transformation

Accelerated Business Transformation

Accelerated Business Transformation
The UK economy has mounted a strong recovery over the past year and we expect this to continue throughout 2015-17. Most sectors and regions of the economy are now showing positive growth trends, with recent signs that business investment is also starting to pick up. In the longer term, re-shoring could also boost output and employment in both manufacturing and service sectors.
One of the most striking aspects of the current economy is the sheer volume and complex diversity of transactions: mergers, acquisitions, divestments, separations andIPO’s that are taking place simultaneously. We arecurrently in the midst of a major transaction revival with the return of the mega-merger, forced regulatory transformation, a rush of IPOs and many potential deals in the pipeline.
The next few years will give rise to many challenges and opportunities. Many executives have been through major business transformation activity. Many of them havenot survived! So with these new challenges on the horizon, when combined with the additional stresses of increased international competition, forced transformation and increased regulation, this is not a period for the faint hearted. Risks will need to be exceptionally well managed and actions decisively executed if organisations (and those at the helm) are to survive.

A Question of Confidence
The current situation fundamentally differs from any time pre the Global Financial Depression, in thatin many cases it is motivated by survival rather than confidence.This is against the backdrop of businesses no longer being able to look forward with confidence to the upward direction of stock markets sustaining their growth. As aresult, speed of execution in transformation (especially following an acquisition or divestment) is crucial to achieving solid results and retaining the confidence of the Market.
So what can business leaders do to minimise the inherent risk in transforming their business processes, technology systems, customer facing staff, products and services? If this were the only task facing a senior management team it would be difficult enough. However, organisations will also be coming to terms with several simultaneous challenges including having to reduce debt, the need to shrink costs, a greater emphasis on managing risk, and all the while continuing to drive their business forward and retain market share in an increasingly competitive and
aggressive economy.
Effective planning and rigorous management of the process surrounding such activity has always been critical to success. In today’s business environment this has never been truer. That means establishing a large and complex programme structure to ensure that all necessary change activities are undertaken within a cohesive strategy, where all inter-dependencies are identified, where issues and risks are understood and dealt with, andwhere there is an unremitting focus on delivering successful results.

Move to Action
The speed of transformation in today’s environment means that organisations have less time to examine all the issues, assess the risks and make adequate preparations. Companies still need to collect the same amount of information as they did in calmer times; they just need to complete the process more quickly. Equally,there is a need to communicate to employees and other stakeholders quicker than before.
The first 30 days in any transformation are crucial, where the tone and expectations are set, both within the company and with a wide variety of stakeholders andexternal regulators. In the post-acquisition environment it is critical to break down barriers between the two existing operating models and the two executive teams to establish how the merged control structure will function. At this time, it is also imperative that this Executive team is locked in to a reward structure that helps retain and focus them on the task at hand … with such rewards being closely tied to the required outcomes from the programme ofwork. Of equal importance, however, are the employees within the organisation/s, for whom many will view the transformation as a period of uncertainty, job insecurity and upheaval. It is these employees who must be secured for the pending transformation, with any that are ‘critical’ being identified and tackled first; those key individuals (on contract or permanent staff) who hold in-depth knowledge of the architecture, IT systems and business processes. Failure to secure such key knowledgeand skills
within the organisation will be one of the biggest issues to be faced and will almost certainly resultin failure if this is not addressed early on.
Jason Knight, P2 Consulting Director and business transformation specialist advises “most businesses thrown into the transformation challenge struggle to work out what to tackle first”. He goes on to list an 8 PointPlan to help organisations respond to the challenges they face:

  1. Be Decisive
    Drive the transformation programme as aggressively as possible, addressing the cultural and political issues head on to move beyond the initial period of uncertainty brought about by the transaction. The inertiacreated by failing to address such political issues will instil deep-rooted behaviours across both organisations that are difficult to break and will ultimately have a major knock-on impact not just onthe transformation programme but on the ongoing management and success of the core business.
  2. Aim and Focus
    There should be a clear definition of the target benefits of transformation – what’s in this for everyone? Why are we doing this? Often, the priority and focus is about “doing the deal”, leaving the delivery of benefits as an after-thought. It is essential to build a robust business case for the transformation and cascade this through the organisation to help create the clarity and common view of the programme and cement the benefits as expected outcomes from the programme … with such benefits being directly linked to the incentive/reward structure that must be put in place across the organisation.
  3. Minimise the Impact on Customers
    Customers’ expectations will not change – and in certain situations they may even grow – so avoid the temptation to reduce quality or service in an effort to create the management bandwidth to focus on the tasks of transformation. Ensure that the transformation effort is carried out “behind the scenes” and that it is largely invisible to customers. You should also see how the programme of activity could become awinwin situation for customers, albeit do not lost sight of the fact that you want to complete the transformation in the quickest time possible.
  4. Transformation Before Optimisation
    Pick the fastest, least complex approach or strategy to getting to the end-state – this will not necessarily be the most elegant or the prettiest, but will be the most expedient and the one that carries the least risk. Resist the urge to fix every minor operational issue as you go … this will just add to the complexity of the task at hand and have a major impact on the time to move beyond the transformation and onto the ‘Business-As-Usual’ activity of business survival and growth.
  5. Bold Leadership and a Dedicated Team
    This is the time when Senior Executives need to step up to the plate to demonstrate they are worth the investment from shareholders and are fully accountable for transformation success. As part of this, they must not fall into the trap of thinking they can just redeploy their line management team from their ‘day job’ onto the transformation effort. Transforming abusiness is never a part-time job, so don’t mix this with Business-As-Usual (BAU). Deploy a professional and dedicated team with solid programme delivery skillsto become the driving force. Don’t underestimate the effort and resources required. Organisations will still need at least the same management capability and capacity to continue to run the business and serve their customers and key stakeholders.
  6. Lose the Egos
    Ensure that there is a single, robust plan or roadmap that encompasses the critical activities that need to be executed right across the organisation. There isno room for departmental silos. The executive team needs to act as one to not just rapidly resolve issues and drive the programme at pace but also to help create unity and a common belief in the roadmap andthe ‘end game’ associated with the transformation effort.
  7. Firm but Agile Governance
    Implement a tight governance framework such that there is no doubt about roles, responsibilities, reporting lines and decision making. Command and control is essential to prioritise activity, make the big decisions and to drive delivery. Retain a dynamic approach tothe programme’s evolution, however situations change and it is therefore essential to be agile enough toexploit opportunities and address problems as theyarise. While there is merit in ‘not sweating over the small stuff’ the devil is often in the detail, therefore there will be a need for a regular meetings cycle, including daily conferences involving members of the senior management team, to close key issues.
  8. Frequent and effective communications
    Work hard to constantly communicate the logic of the transformation and the progress being made against the plan. Communication needs to be driven from thetop and be seen to have the active involvement of the Executive. Ensure that there is a very strong communications strategy and plan and don’t delegate this.

The logic of the 8-point plan is clear, however thereal challenge comes when trying to successfully execute all of them in an environment that is rapidly changing andunprecedented. Here, there is no substitute for capability, experience and a proven track record of success.

And if you do nothing else…

Faced with so many conflicting challenges the question is where to start? There are some key issues that must be addressed by senior management and while doing these alone will not guarantee success, failing to do so will cause significant problems and possibly undermine the rationale for the strategy.
In the first instance, the first 30 days are crucial. During this period the master plan is initially built, resources are marshalled and the first parts of the plan are executed. The new group architecture must be established and great effort put into initiating employee and stakeholder communications. The second point is the creation and implementation of the new business architecture anda common operating model. Thirdly, the transformation must be managed effectively, within an appropriate governance and control structure. All the while, the ability to make
timely decisions based on sound information and knowledge of dependencies, the capacity to deal with issues as they arise and a total commitment to effective communication will serve as a solid foundation for success.
So, in this multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and rapidly changing environment, businesses involved in mergers, acquisitions, divestments or restructures will needto choose who they partner with carefully. They’llneed to find the balance of the cost/income challenge, yet bringin seasoned capability to help both accelerate andsteer them through their complex journey of transformation.

About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. Formed by a combined team of entrepreneurial leaders and award winning consultants, P2 is looking to transform the way you thinkabout ‘consulting’. Our aim is to fundamentally change the way businesses buy, engage and work with ‘consultants’. The P2 team provides world leading Programme Management solutions to our clients’ biggest and most complex business challenges. The company is formed of highly skilled project specialists who have the ability to tailor project solutions to meet specific business and market-centric needs, and the capability to scale these to anychallenge. The client is first and central to everything we doat P2 and that’s why we enjoy the kind of client retention most companies can only dream about.

For more information about P2 Consulting visit www.p2consulting.com

Project Managers in Demand 2014

Project Managers in Demand 2014

According to a study commissioned by the Project Management Institute, there will be a demand for over 15 million more project managers across the globe by 2020. To effectively meet that challenge the sector must get serious about certification and leadership, says Pip Peel, Founder and Director of P2 Consulting…
With project management skills firmly placed as a core requirement for growing organisations, the expansion of the project management profession is set to continue. In the UK, roughly one million new project management roles will be created by the end of the decade. This highlights the need for more, better trained project leaders. Salaries and fees will increase as demand outstrips supply and the best project managers can expect to be busy (and relatively well off) for years to come.
That’s great news for training institutions, project management professional bodies, recruiters and consultancies; but it’s not so good for the organisations that need the expertise.

Still Failing Us
Most studies still conclude that less than two-thirds of projects deliver their intended goals. More worryingly, project delivery success rates are falling and have been for the last decade. It seems the efforts of the main project management accreditation bodies have failed to turn the tide of these dismal statistics. What hope is there for the very companies that seek those one million more project managers or – as a CEO of a large UK organisation once coined them – “Agents of Under-Achievement”?
This is not to denounce the efforts of, say, the Project Management Institute (PMI) or the Association for Project Management (APM). These bodies and ones like them have been advocating best
practice for years, providing valuable resources for project managers and the companies that employ them. Membership of these organisations has continued to grow, but together they “account” for just 23,000 of the 1.5 million practising project managers in the UK. Is it time for a radical new strategy to improve the quality (and increase the number) of project managers in the UK and around the globe?

Be Practical
A simple internet search for project management training throws up some signs that all is not right in the drive for better equipped project leaders. “Become a Qualified Project Manager in 4 days” announces one training company. “Earn between £40k to £80k with a PRINCE2® qualification” claims another. Even a so-called professional project management qualification (for example, the PMI’s Project Management Professional certification) can be gained in the classroom in 5 days according to some training specialists.

Project managers are not born in a classroom. To claim that a few days in a seminar can qualify a would-be project manager to lead a business transformation or manage the roll-out of a new product to the UK market commoditises the profession. It undermines those experienced Project Leaders who have toiled and have the scars to show for a life-long honing of their skills. It is time to discredit these claims once and for all. Building a globally recognised professional certification that is founded on both education and (more importantly) work-place experience is an essential first step in driving up project management competence.
A model along the lines of the UK’s Engineering Council is what is required specifically for the project management profession. This body, whose formation started 50 years ago, is the UK’s regulatory body for the engineering profession. It sets the standards of professional competence for engineers. Its Chartered Engineer (CEng) status can only be achieved through a combination of academic learning and “Assessed Professional Development” – i.e., on the job inspection. It works. Driven in some part by a Health and Safety compass (people can die when engineering projects go
wrong), the CEng is a globally recognised accreditation that has the trust of employers and provides a measure of a professional’s practical competence, not just his or her theoretical knowledge. Project management has much to learn from this model.

Get Personal
Building technical ability is only part of the challenge, however. There is a vital (and, in the views of this author) over-looked core competence that must be part of the tool-box of any successful project manager. This competence is not straightforward. It has an air of “art” rather than “science” about it. It is leadership. On the face of it, this seems too obvious to call out.
The distinction is drawn here, however, between management and leadership. A project manager can analyse the relevant project status data, determine the necessary actions required to remain on track and disseminate instructions to their “resources”. A project leader on the other hand does all of this but has an innate ability to motivate, engender teamwork, build co-operation between disjointed parties and deliver the project within the context and complexities of the changing organisation around them. The leader has highly-tuned inter-personal skills. He or she is all about
people; not resources. There is an on-going and healthy debate among the many authors on leadership as to whether this competence is inherent, in the genes; or is nurtured, garnered through experience. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is results. A professional development model for project managers that analyses an individual’s project delivery record and recognises and assesses

“The CEng is a globally recognised accreditation that has the trust of employers and provides a measure of a professional’s practical competence, not just his or her theoretical knowledge. Project management has much to learn from this model.”“There is an on-going and healthy debate to whether leadership competence is inherent, in the genes; or is nurtured, garnered through experience. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is results.”

leadership skills would provide a marked improvement in project success rates.In Good Company There is one other facet missing in the project management market. This is for the companies that retain the services of said “Agents of UnderAchievement” to consider. Project management has been in the mainstream corporate psyche for some years now. Utilised as a vehicle for implementing strategic intent, it is central to many organisations’ ability to grow revenues, increase margins, out-wit competitors and delight customers (and, of course, shareholders). Yet there are very few companies that systematically invest in recruiting, retaining and, especially, developing project management talent. In one study of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies, it is estimated that whilst nearly all deploy project management skills across their organisations, a mere handful have a meaningful, high attaining, career path for employees that wish to spend their professional life running projects. Nearly all hire in project management capability from the consultant or independent contractor markets to help deliver some of their most business critical projects, when their own
investment in what is now a core corporate competency is woefully inadequate to meet current demands, let alone the demands of the next decade. Organisations need to focus more on creating an environment and career structure to nurture home-grown talent. The advantage is, of course, that this talent will be built to fit the specific technical and cultural nuances of the organisation and be able to drive greater value for the business as a result.
The corporate landscape is shifting rapidly. The estimate of 15 million more project management based roles globally and about 1million for the UK in the next decade points to a recognition that project-style working is going to be the new norm for organisations. It is well past the time to improve on historically poor project success rates. Key to this is to start to build a generation of tried and tested project leaders who come with a globally recognised set of credentials based in the real world and not the classroom. If we don’t…..God help us!

About the Contributor
Pip Peelis a Founder and Director of P2 Consulting. The P2 team provides programme management solutions to its clients’ biggest and most complex business challenges via a network of project specialists who have the ability to tailor project solutions to meet specific business and market-centric needs.

For more information visit www.p2consulting.com

Powered by P2 Consulting

Powered by P2 Consulting

Powered by P2 Consulting
At P2 Consulting, we are specialists in ensuring that the goals you set for your business are fully delivered. 100% of the time. We don’t write lengthy reports or try to impress you with presentations, reports and charts.We get our hands dirty, roll our sleeves up and get to work. We are like a super-charged extension of your team; getting the heavy lifting done around the organisation to make things happen….particularly at a time when your team is maxed out; or when you need to deliver on a one-off initiative like an acquisition or the launch of a new product or gain entry into a new market. We are about getting YourVision Realised.
Our services are built around this. We manage across the investment life-cycle, from helping you and your team back the right ideas that optimise value for the business, to mobilising the organisation into action and then delivering the tangible outcomes.
We have the best people in the market to do this, but the power comes when coupled with our comprehensive range of tools, techniques and products. Each of which has been
proven in practice (and not just on the whiteboard).
The first thing to note is that we don’t simply “plug-in” offthe-shelf products and services like many other management consultancy firms. We believe in treating each new business challenge as unique and tailoring the solution to meet defined objectives. For that purpose our tools and methods are modular, all highly configurable and they interfaceseamlessly with the systems and tools you already have in place across your organisation.
Take our Enterprise Project Management (“EPM”) approach for example: We have the expertise to leveragethe value from industry standard tools such as Microsoft’s EPM suite or from a product like Clarity, but we have also developed our own EPM-lite approach that is highly practical, rapid and cost efficient to implement and provides a very flexible alternative. But, because we never charge for our tools and intellectual assets, we are totally independent to advise on and implement the best tool for your organisation. Furthermore, we only deploy tools
and techniques that are proven to add value in “real” situations – that can be implemented and leveraged in ‘reallife’ and not just in theoretical, perfect organisations as some tools are designed.
The second unique feature of our intellectual property is that it has been built from experience, sweat (and tears) of over two decades of managing in excess of £100bnworth of projects and delivering a staggering £500bn of business benefits to Global 500 companies. The leadership team at P2 Consulting has a combined 300 years’ project delivery experience working together. The tools andtechniques we bring to bear have been crafted throughout this time and adapted to remain relevant, value-add and leading-edge. We believe this is unrivalled in the industry.
A good example here is our Programme Design & Mobilisation method. Over the years we have often been engaged when a client has just completed a strategic reviewexercise. There is a very satisfied air around theplace as the glossy strategy document has recently been signed off by the Board; but when asked: “OK, what do you need to do first to start to put the strategy into action? What needs to be done today and tomorrow?” There is often a stunned silence. Many years’ ago, we devised a slick process, supported by a suite of tools that takes the strategic thinking
and starts to make it happen. Our systematic approach to major Programme design and mobilisation provides a step-by-step guide to getting the strategic vision into a comprehensive and “do-able” action plan. This method has been deployed on some of the World’s most complex initiatives. It’s a formula that ensures the Delivery Programme is set up to succeed from Day One and that you gainthe necessary buy-in and commitment across the organisation to make it happen.
Our tool-box is full of pragmatic and practical stuff like this that optimizes the chances of success and decreases the risk of failure. Our services, tools and techniqueshave been honed from the experience of our team over many years delivering some of the largest and most successful projects in corporate history. But whereas many of our competitors focus entirely on delivering the project, you will see from our range of services that we place an equal emphasis on driving out the benefits to the organisation after the project has been delivered. We see this as not
just integral to the process, but the absolute critical component.
For example you need to make sure that your business-critical project is ready to go-live and the project has delivered what you said it would. Our Implementation Confidence Matrix is a key component to drive thedecision making at all levels across the business. We then manage a process that ensures your organisation willbe able to execute business on Day 1 as efficiently as possible. Our benefits delivery framework allows you to track the outcomes beyond go-live until they are “hard-wired”into the organisation; but using our framework, wewill have already independently verify the robustness of the benefit forecasts and have a benefits roadmap in place ensuring front-line accountability for benefit delivery.
And so, the whole investment life-cycle is our domain, not just the day to day management of a project. Our tools and techniques help ensure you capture the best ideas across your team, shape them and mobilise the organization to make them happen and drive the outcomes at the end continually improving your ability to execute…and ultimately reducing your reliance on us….yes…there’s a problem with that model somewhere!!!

About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. Formed by a combined team of entrepreneurial leaders and award winning consultants, P2 is looking to transform the way you thinkabout ‘consulting. Our aim is to fundamentally change theway businesses buy, engage and work with ‘consultants’. The P2 team provide world leading Programme Management solutions to our clients’ biggest and most complex business challenges. Its network is based on highlyskilled project specialists who have the ability to tailor project solutions to meet specific business and market-centric needs, and the capability to scale these to anychallenge. The client is first and central to everything we doat P2 and that’s why we enjoy the kind of client retention most companies can only dream about.

For more information about P2 visit www.p2consulting.com

PM Trends in Economic Growth

PM Trends in Economic Growth

2014 – Economic Growth and the Big 3 trends of Project Management
Another year has dawned and the economic doom-mongers who talked of a triple dip recession in the UK and were scathing of the Government’s economic policy have become a little less vocal of late! Long live the optimists!!!
Indeed, this month the IMF adjusted the UK growth forecast for 2014 to 2.4%; faster than any other major European economy! Furthermore, confidence has increased thatthis growth will continue into 2015. Another shot in the eye for those doom-mongers out there …. Hopefully!
So, with increased confidence back on the agenda, large corporates are rapidly moving into expansion mode, with replenished investment pots at the ready and M&A activity firmly back centre-stage. Indications are also pointing to the ambition of small to medium-sized businessesbeing back, adding more fuel to stoke UK growth with new projects underpinning this.
With that in mind, what big themes can we expect tosee in project management over the year ahead? This article starts to explore this topic …

Collaboration and Technology comes with a word of warning.
The top theme this year appears to centre on technology and how this will facilitate online collaboration and the use of open source tools for projects and programme teams. In particular project planning and human capital management over the cloud is set to be big in 2014,with collaborative scheduling supporting resource management to act as a dynamic data feed for prioritisation and resource levelling.
For the last 10 years we have had video conferencing, conference calls, shared drives and big expensive collaboration tools that try to do everything. Now with low cost apps, widgets and tooling for specific tasks the cloud is taking centre stage … but can virtual project teams of all shapes and sizes be truly effective? Or is this a step too far, too early?
Tech may be a trend in 2014, but it comes with a word of warning; using cloud and collaboration software is one thing … fostering a collaborative culture is something entirely different!

Methodologies – old dogs can learn new tricks!
At number two, ‘methodology’ is the word. The trendfocuses on how comparably new methodologies are getting applied in new ways. In particular agile and even lean disciplines are going to get effectively blended for the first time with the traditional waterfall approach.
The classic consulting line of combining methodologies is no longer just blending Prince with PMI! When asked about delivery approaches, project managers will beexpected to articulate an all-encompassing position … and this will become one of the true differentiators.
This, too, opens a whole new can of worms, with PM’s and PMO leaders needing to guide colleagues and coach programme teams in such new ways of implementing projects successfully. Organisations may in fact demand that PMOs up their game and be the catalyst of change, training, coaching and embedding such new approachesand skills across the change environment. Mechanisms for doing this will also be different, leveraging thetech trend noted previously to facilitate and drive the step change at a pace not seen before. Online training and knowledge management portals will see instructor-led trainingused only where absolutely necessary. Rather than sending practitioners away from the coal face to attend week long courses, PMO practitioners will become the leaders in
developing change capability and helping guide organisations through to the new era.

Project Leaders and Portfolio Management go mainstream
Portfolio Management is the 3RD and final trend that can’t go without a mention, especially as it has finally made its way through to the world of PMI; the new Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) credential was launched in late 2013. Better late than never!
It reflects the fact that choosing the right projects with the highest ROI and ruthlessly culling those of a lesser strategic value is even more necessary in a growth year.
Organisations that previously failed to dedicate appropriately skilled resource to Portfolio Management and failed to give this important discipline the respect it deserves will need to do so in 2014 … or leave themselves open to missed opportunities. This will also have major implications for the PMO community, too,, with Corporate Programme Management offices (CPMO’s) being the fashion in 2014. CCO’s and business unit leaders responsible for the development and execution of strategy will be turning to the CPMO to not just support projectsbut to advise
and choose the right ones. This really is the time for PMOs to step up to the plate and deliver real, impactful organisational value or face a lifetime of dealing with the minutia and be left swimming in the weeds!
So, that’s it in a nutshell … one BIG year and three KEY trends.
Project Management has never before been more prevalent and been so pivotal to delivering the economicgrowth expected (and needed) in 2014 … a year that will see the discipline of project management shift as it faces up to (and embraces) what technology has to offer.

About P2 Consulting
P2 Consulting is the market leading Project and Programme Management Company. Formed by a combined team of entrepreneurial leaders, business executives andaward winning consultants, P2 is looking to transform the way you think about ‘consulting. Our aim is to fundamentally change the way businesses buy, engage and work with ‘consultants’. The P2 team provide world leading Programme Management solutions to our clients’ biggest and most complex business challenges. Its network is based on highly skilled project specialists who have the ability to tailor project solutions to meet specific business and market-centric needs, and the capability to scale these to any challenge. The client is first and central to everything we do at P2 and that’s why we enjoy the kind of client retention most companies can only dream about.

For more information about P2 Consulting visit www.p2consulting.com