The Art of Action - Stephen Bungay

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This is one of many excellent presentations given over the last three years of the eVa in the UK series. They can also be found in the archive at: http://evaintheuk.org/archive along with back-copy …

This is one of many excellent presentations given over the last three years of the eVa in the UK series. They can also be found in the archive at: http://evaintheuk.org/archive along with back-copy video footage in http://evaintheuk/pmchannel
EVA19, the long established Earned Value conference, has this year described its theme as looking at a project management ‘ABC’ – Agile, Benefits and Complex.
The four day event, which returns to the Armourers Hall, runs from the 19th to 22nd of May with the flagship conference being held on 20th and 21st May and workshops before and after.
The conference will look at how this ‘ABC’ can be made to work within a portfolio and how agile fits into major and minor projects. It will investigate how to manage the relationship between portfolio benefits and project budgets, and whether complex projects even exist.
Conference organiser and APM chairman, Steve Wake says:
“Currently there is little evidence that this ‘ABC’ is being effectively deployed and managed. This conference aims to address that concern through EVA’s trademark blend of learning and professional development. Case studies and unusual presentations, delivered by top-notch speakers and experienced practitioners, will again engage and entertain the audience.
We’ve used string quartets to illustrate points in the past and this year we will be using a Blues band for the first time.”
Speakers across the two days include many familiar faces from the APM events programme including; Adrian Pyne of the APM ProgM SIG ‘Changing the project wasteland with a portfolio culture that works,’ APM Honorary Fellow Tim Banfield Director at the Major Projects Authority and Stephen Jones, Sellafield and Planning Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group (PMC SIG) and Carolyn Limbert of the APM PMC SIG to talk about agile, benefits and complex.
Peter Taylor, the Lazy Project Manager will be presenting on “The project manager who smiled” and the ever popular Stephen Carver will present the leadership lessons that can be learnt from Alfred the Great.
In addition, there will be speakers from AIRBUS, TfL, Bloodhound, Heathrow T2 and London Tideway Tunnels.
The conference will be supplemented by a number of workshops being held at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bloomsbury Square on Monday 19th and Thursday 22nd May 2014.
'eVa in the UK' http://evaintheuk.org is building a reputation, brand and a learning legacy for the Project Management Profession. The event series is now in its nineteenth year. It is almost as if it all kicked-off when Steve Wake was in short trousers and knights roamed the land on their chargers!
#eva19 is an excellent example of Listening, Learning and Leading #apmLLL in action, and great opportunity for professional development.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in 'Building a better Project Manager,' to take a look at the web site, and book your place and get involved.

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  • 1. The Art of Action APM Earned Value conference London 15th June 2011 Stephen Bungay
  • 2. 2 20th century business thinking: metaphors • Business is a science • Organisations are machines • Managers are engineers
  • 3. 3 20th century business thinking: implications • Outcomes are predictable • Optimise the parts and you optimise the whole • Managers plan, workers do
  • 4. 4 20th century business thinking: consequences • Nasty surprises • Silos • Paralysis
  • 5. 5 Individual malaise - common symptoms • I understand the strategy - I think - but what does it mean for me? • I have seven long-term goals, twelve medium term initiatives and twenty three short term objectives. What am I supposed to do? • I am actually measured on achieving budget • There’s too little direction from the top • There’s too much interference from the top • This is a very complex business
  • 6. 6 19th century military thinking: metaphors • War is an art • Organisations are organisms • Officers are leaders
  • 7. 7 19th century military thinking: implications • Outcomes are unpredictable • Do and adapt • What counts is aligning and motivating people
  • 8. 8 The theorist
  • 9. 9 The overall concept of friction Emotion & Stress Personal Interests Different priorities Different agendas Different interpretations Misunderstandings Lack of data Noise Chance External actors Changing Environment Complex Environment Independent wills Imperfect information transfer Unpredictable events Imperfect information Independent agents Limited knowledge Human Finitude
  • 10. 10 The problem: three critical gaps Outcomes Actions Plans Knowledge Gap: the difference between what we would like to know and what we actually know Alignment Gap: the difference between what we want people to do and what they actually do Effects Gap: the difference between what we expect our actions to achieve and what they actually achieve
  • 11. 11 Usual reactions Outcomes Actions Plans Knowledge Gap: more detailed information Alignment Gap: more detailed instructions Effects Gap: more detailed control
  • 12. 12 The result
  • 13. 13 Three mistakes Confusing understanding with information Confusing clarity with detail Confusing outcomes with measures
  • 14. 14 The reformer
  • 15. 15 The practitioner
  • 16. 16 Alignment Autonomy The dilemma
  • 17. 17 Goals: what and why Operational Control: how Autonomy Alignment High alignment enables high autonomy
  • 18. 18 Von Moltke on the three gaps Outcomes Actions Plans Knowledge Gap: ‘do not command more than is necessary or plan beyond the circumstances you can foresee’ Alignment Gap: ‘communicate to every unit as much of the higher intent as is necessary to achieve the purpose’ Effects Gap: ‘everyone retains freedom of decision and action within bounds’
  • 19. 19 A follower of the guru – ‘planful opportunism’ ‘The Prussian General Staff, under the elder von Moltke…did not expect a plan of operations to survive beyond the first contact with the enemy. They set only the broadest of objectives and emphasised seizing unforeseen opportunities as they arose… Strategy was not a lengthy action plan. It was the evolution of a central idea through continually changing circumstances.’ Jack Welch, Jack, p. 448
  • 20. 20 Giving direction: a demanding intellectual task Tell me what you want – what you really, really want… give me some resources, some constraints – and shut up!
  • 21. 21 Letting your people find the path Think Do (Learn) (Adapt) (Observe Orient) (Decide Act)
  • 22. 22 High performance – recurring patterns Over 200 years… Over 2,000 years…
  • 23. 23 Directed opportunism: the challenges • Answer the Spice Girl’s question – Making critical choices instead of setting multiple targets • Get the important message across – Aligning your people with the outcomes instead of planning their actions • Give space and support – Encouraging and guiding rather than appraising and controlling
  • 24. Appendix Intent and briefing
  • 25. 25 A core alignment discipline: strategy briefing 1. My intent – our part in the plan – what and why – Measures 2. Higher intent – one and two levels above 3. Implied tasks – responsibilities to assign to realise my intent – main effort 4. Defining the boundaries – freedoms and constraints 5. Confirm the intent: has the situation changed?
  • 26. 26 Cascading intent: each level is more specific Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Intent (What & why) Intent (What & why) Tasks (How) Tasks (How) Intent (What & why) Tasks (How) Strategic Intent ‘Backbrief’
  • 27. 27 Theoretical Thinking Practical Thinking Ways of Thinking
  • 28. 28 The three ‘S’s of simplification Articulating the essential point to create clarity by: •Structuring – Turning lists into sets of relationships •Selecting – What details matter? – What is merely detail and should be forgotten? •Summarising – Articulating the meaning of a large number of facts
  • 29. 29 Crafting intent: the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ Significantly reduce time-to-market for development, enhancements and support of high-quality products to our customers in a cost-effective manner in order to help aggressively grow our revenues and increase our margins. To accelerate development, support and enchancement of critical products in order to enable sales channels to halt market share erosion by December 2003. Measures: Critical products available during 2003; Market share 12/03 = market share 1/03