International Project Management Day 2020: Better Together (2)

There’s nothing new about being together online this year. The 2020 International Project Management Day 2020 conference organized by IIL with this theme brought me several lessons that I want to pass on to you. Project management still is about collaboration, diversity, turning strategy into action. Last week I published part 1, now it’s time for a sequel.

Alexandre Fara (Millipore Sigma) – Aligning your Innovation Portfolio Prioritization with the Strategy

Fara stresses the importance of (continuous) innovation. A business vision turned into a strategy that needs to be translated into a product roadmap, technical roadmap, and then a business implementation. The market pull may last 1-5 years. New technologies arise in the meantime: a technology push. This clash of push and pull puts a company to challenges.

Strategic portfolio management, the link between the mission and vision at the top and the project portfolio and execution on the other side, is often missing. How to link portfolio to strategy? A critical success factor (CSF) is a criterion by which alignment with the strategic direction will be (pre-)assessed, typically qualitative. A key performance indicator (KPI) is a criterion by which success will be measured, typically quantitative.

How to deploy?

  1. Define strategic directions
  2. Define the prioritized CSFs
  3. Each component gets a total weighted ‘contribution to strategy’ score
  4. Each component gets also an ‘achievability’ score (related to the risk in terms of customer adoption and technical complexity).

A scorecard and 2×2 matrix can be used to visualize the CSFs and scores. Outcomes can be used for prioritization, budget and budget allocation, communication to senior management. Fara shared his lessons learned on strategic portfolio management.

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez (Strategy Implementation Institute) – Reinventing Project Management Now

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, is a thought leader, author, practitioner, and professor. He is the creator of concepts such as the Hierarchy of Purpose, featured by Harvard Business Review, or the Project Manifesto, which argues that projects are the lingua franca of the business and personal worlds from the C-suite to managing your career or relationships. He is the author of The Project Revolution (LID, 2019), Lead Successful Projects (Penguin, 2019), and The Focused Organization (Taylor & Francis, 2014). Projects are taking up a more and more prominent role within organizations and the economy as a whole, the rationale behind the project economy. Yet, the success ratio of projects is low.

Simultaneously, Gartner claimed that 80% of today’s project management tasks will be eliminated by 2030 as Artificial Intelligence takes over. Our profession needs to be redefined, even if in reality only 25% would be stripped from our daily project management activities. Currently, there is no simple framework for project management. Fortunately, the presenter is not in favor to promote Agile/Scrum as the only way to execute changes. Clayton Christensen (1952-2020) – the creator of the 4 types of innovation that coined disruptive innovation as well – offers a typology of projects which can be mapped to the right management approach.

The start and end stages should be encompassed in the project life cycle. In other words, ideation and (parts of) run should be included. Nieto-Rodriguez developed a project canvas framework. That the project triple constraints are obsolete, is known. Being part of a project is (still) great. Collaboration is key.

Dominic Price (Atlassian) – Evolving Project Management to Build Thriving Organisations

Dominic Price helped pioneer Atlassian’s Team Playbook and has a deep passion for understanding the future of work and the changes we need to make today and calls himself a work futurist. Trends like the ones in the graphic on the right impact, if not disrupt the way of working.

The context is changing. Think of diversity and inclusion, a growth mindset where learning and development are key. Next, our practices and processes need to evolve. Products and technology are developing fast. Place, the physical place of work, significantly was influenced by this year’s pandemic. These four interrelated aspects can be influenced by the project managers. Elicit and categorize your stakeholders and implement an effective communication approach to engage them. Note, that self-organized, self-managed teams are around. You have to redefine your role as a project manager. Would more strategic project management, portfolio management, multi-project management be your next job?

Dominic shared this self-reflection exercise that can be shared with your peers to hold you accountable for the next round:

  1. What did I love (to do)?
  2. What did I long for (but didn’t do yet)?
  3. What did I loathe?
  4. What did I learn?

You can drive your own change and get the future you want, to borrow Capgemini’s new brand promise. You are the key to unleashing the potential of you, your team, and your organization.

Jean-Roch Houllier (PMI) – Leading a Learning and Digital Transformation Project

Learning is not training anymore. Lifelong, constantly renewed, everywhere, opportunistic, and consumerist are connotations of modern learning. Houllier has managed L&D strategic projects for transforming, digitalizing, and proposing a strong value-added & international learning offer. Here are his lessons learned.

Traci Duez (Break Free Consulting) –  Ask & You Shall Achieve! Discover Collaborative Problem Solving to Realize Greater Value in the Agile Framework

“Leadership isn’t answering questions others ask. Leadership is asking others to answer their own questions.” (Simon Sinek)

  • Do you know what questions to ask yourself?
  • Do you know what questions to ask your team?
  • Are you asking questions that increase collaboration, co-creation, and co-elevation?

Traci Duez (Break Free Consulting) pitches her message around Agile (creating value), Axiology (the science of value, created by Robert S. Hartman), and Asking (realizing value). Asking better questions lead to better solutions, better results, and greater value.

Agile has its Manifesto with principles. Axiology identifies three basic kinds of value, intrinsic goods (e.g. people as ends in themselves), extrinsic goods (e.g. things and actions as means to ends), and systemic goods (conceptual values). All good things share a common formal or structural pattern: they fulfill the ideal standards or “concepts” that we apply to them.