Blog for AXELOS: Driving Value for the Organisations

There is an important question for project and programme professionals in 2018: now that you’ve passed your test, how are you learning to drive?

By this I mean that, presently, colleagues who have passed their best practice foundation and practitioner examinations are not always effectively implementing the methodology - it’s critical for organisations to promote application of best practices and encourage practitioners to move from being certified to practising.

Moreover, this also means that organisations must take greater responsibility for their approaches to change initiative. Statistics show that fewer than 60% of organisations have a corporate approach to project and programme management.

The proactive PPM practitioner

Following training and certification, practitioners need to check whether their organisation has an existing corporate approach to PPM. Is there someone responsible for developing, updating and informing staff of such an approach? Surprisingly, this is not always clear and therefore important to ask the question.

If there is a corporate approach, how does the practitioner receive the necessary training in it? Ultimately, if practitioners are certified in a method such as MSP®, Agile Project Management, PRINCE2 and Change Management the aim is for them to deploy it.

Creating the connection between global best practice and a corporate approach will ensure that the terminology is mapped and encourages people to use a common language. This will avoid confusion between and across programmes and projects and, additionally, for end users and customers during any corporate change activity.

Once practitioners apply the corporate way, they need to understand how lessons learned from their programmes and projects are fed back into the organisation at corporate level. It is essential that organisations develop and promote their internal processes for sharing knowledge and experience.

Creating a corporate approach

The senior management team needs to understand clearly the value of having a corporate approach to PPM. Without a common set of procedures staff will implement their initiatives in different ways, which leads to lack of understanding and very little shared learning.

The senior management team needs to recognise the value that best practice brings and how the organisations use these frameworks across the world. However, they also need to appreciate that it’s their application that will get the best result. That doesn’t mean ‘being slave to’ these frameworks; instead the organisations need to decide what’s appropriate without creating unnecessary bureaucracy.

Having a Corporate Portfolio Office is a useful vehicle to create a corporate PPM methodology, to train staff in this and to provide assurance that all projects and programmes are running to these standards. Any lessons learned are then shared through this department, similar to “FBI” – a Federal Bureau of Information/Intelligence!

Tools such as dashboards for highlight reports, can give the senior management team a valuable picture of what’s happening in their change initiatives on a single screen, though this is only achievable if everyone is using the same method to share the information.

Best practice investment = value

Investing in best practice approaches is more critical for organisations than ever. The need for constant improvement means organisations are spending considerable funds on change initiatives and these need to be managed effectively, either as programmes, projects or part of business as usual.

Change needs managing consistently across organisations, avoiding duplication of effort and sharing lessons to avoid making the same mistakes, over and over again. This is possible only by having a common approach. Furthermore, another by-product of this is the ability to self-assess and measure what is being achieved by using the AXELOS maturity level assessment.