Keynote delivered by Michel Thiry, PhD, PMI Fellow, Adjunct Professor University of Technology Sydney, to a group of senior managers and post graduate students at the Université du Québec à Montréal on 26 November 2013.
“PMI's second edition of its program management standard demonstrates an overall poor understanding of this complex discipline. It also provides practices that — at best — are disappointing and largely composed of reused project-centric contents and approaches.”Gartner Report on The PMI Standard for Program ManagementExample of iPhoneWhen it came out in January 2007: Knowable-Developing/EmergentiPhone 3G (Wifi & Internet): Knowable-DevelopingiPhone 4 (Video Call): Known-Developing
Example from PMI e-Seminar:The business strategies are done by the senior management committee typically in preparation for the annual budget. It goes like this, "if we need to grow our revenue by 12% then we should launch these 7 projects". A few days later, the discussion continues, "if we need to reduce our expenses by 17%, then we should launch these 4 projects". Finally, the finance department compiles the number and funding is allocated for 2 projects! The 2 projects are then launched with all the right project management tools and processes. After the end of the Quarter - for those not familiar with the context, that is when the financial results are communicated to Wall Street - the organization realizes that we fell short of expectations so we immediately kill the 2 existing projects and launch 1 or many project to address the gap with the financial expectations
Typically, organizations are divided into a series of management processes destined to run the business (Governance, portfolio, operations and maintenance) the role of which it is to provide continuity to the business. Another set of business process are destined to transform the business (Strategy, Program and Value Management, innovation and project management), the purpose of these actions is to maintain the competitive advantage of the organization in regard of a changing market context (competition, new technologies and others)The more turbulent the context, the shorter the cycles of transformation. But transformation only produces potential value, it is only when the changes are implemented through operations and integrated that they produce real business value.Central to the change management process in organisations is recognising when change is needed. Some steps include:deciding who needs to implement the changes (whole organization or one department)selecting a model or framework to guide the processdeciding who is responsible for implementing the changesknowing your desired outcome.In the next few slides, I will discuss and example.
This slide has to be seen as a build-up (Slide Show view); it aims to explain the relationship between the different management areas of an organization as a continuous ongoing process (This view is based on the work I did for my PhD). The management of change programs starts with strategic objectives that are determined at the corporate portfolio level, the strategy is defined through value management and/or business analysis (this is where the business case is developed for the change). Once the decision is made to implement the change, innovation practices and project management enable the execution of the processes that will deliver outputs and new capabilities to the organization. These capabilities are then implemented at operational level and benefits/value can only then be measured.The blue arrow represents the rational and planning areas of the process, whereas the yellow arrow represents the responsive and more intuitive side of the process: e.g. Overall portfolio of actions is based on rational decision-making practices, but strategy is developed, based on stakeholder input, which is typically people-based (validated), and an evolving context (responsive). Once decisions are made to implement projects, these can be planned rationally using PMBOK methodology and results are defined (scope). Finally when the results are delivered into the business the actual measures of success need to take into account the integration of the capabilities and the people’s acceptance of them to produce continuity and value.
Mintzberg’s (1978) concept of strategy “formation,” in which strategy formulation is entwined with implementation in an ongoing, mutually constructive process, positions top managers as active participants in the strategy process (Mintzberg & Waters, 1985)Mintzberg, H. 1978. Patterns in strategy formation. Management Science, 24: 934–949.Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. 1985. Of strategy, deliberate and emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6: 257–272.
MSP 2007, p.64: Part 2: The Governance ThemesTable 7.1 Differences between outputs, outcomes and benefits
One of the key elements of any change program is the pacing of the change. There is a fine balance between pacing benefits too far from each other and risk losing stakeholder’s motivation to support the program because they have to wait too long to see its benefits and pacing them too closely together and risk them having difficulty coping with too much change too quickly.Resistance and/or acceptance of change is a key factor to be taken in consideration when pacing a change program. Individuals and groups need time to make sense of the change in order to increase acceptance of change. The greater the change, the more sensemaking time is required. The PMI Standard for Program Management recommends that benefits be delivered in an incremental, iterative way so that the ultimate benefits are achieved in a “cumulative manner”.Our own experience is that the successful delivery of benefits, at business and operational level, is highly dependent on the pacing of the benefits delivery in a series of cycles in accordance with the organization’s receptiveness or resistance to change. Sensemaking time and preparedness of the organization are important aspects of the benefits realisation and should be taken into consideration in the pacing of the program. The slide is a graphical representation of the concept described above; it shows that without the controlled release of benefits into the business resistance to change is likely to trigger an unacceptable drop in performance that can jeopardise the whole program or cycle. If the introduction of change is controlled, the drop of performance will stay at an acceptable level. Given time, the people affected by the change will understand the positive aspects of the change and their performance will rise to the expected level and benefits will be realised. Financial issues such as cash-flow and funding, resource availability (either in numbers or expertise), and human resource issues like the organization’s culture (e.g. risk seeking or risk averse) also affect the pacing.
The program monitoring and appraisal process is also build around the program’s pacing ‘cycles’. The program roadmap identifies those cycles and further defines a number of key activities and milestones. In this slide, the yellow line represents the level of performance of the organization during the change (see slide 12). In the face-to-face course this is part of a buid up.Once the pace of change has been determined, transition cycles and periods of stability are set. Transition activities are planned and inputted into the roadmap. This defines the end of the different projects that will deliver change. From a program point of view the project elements that need to monitored are: review milestones, that correspond to the deliverables that directly contribute to benefits; interdependency activities that affect the interface between the project within the program and high level tasks that are grouping of project tasks that correspond to the delivery of a key deliverable.
Michel Options as build up
Keynote UQAM 26 november 2013 Program Management
PhD, FAPM, PMI Fellow
Michel Thiry, PhD, FAPM, PMI Fellow