Here are some brainteasers, thinking exercises and puzzles that reveal things about the way we think.  Cognitive psychology, crowd theory, (ir)rationality, the way the brain processes and stores information; there is much to discover inside ourselves.

These insights may help you in your day to day activities and allow you to think differently about the world, to get to know yourself, as well as to increase your understanding of others.

Obstacles to project management

Obstacles course in project management

This questionnaire enables you to assess the nature of the obstacles you face in optimising project management in your organization

2 EUR 


Promoting good practices through project management, improving performance, wellbeing, effectiveness and reliability: the potential of project management can be enhanced by overcoming some typical roadblocks and obstacles.

This questionnaire invites people to consider the obstacles in terms of management and organizational issues, technical and procedural issues, culture and belief issues, and people issues.  Knowing where the issues lie is a good place to start in order to persuade people that project management has a more complete and deeper contribution to make.

Projects are important, they deliver innovation and change.  Projects can be difficult for the same reason.  And projects have often been under-invested due to these challenges.  However, projects are also the area where you can get the biggest return on investment through easy wins.  But, first you need to conquer some of the resistance and overcome the obstacles.  This questionnaire can help people to own up to where the stand before making the resolutions to improve. 



Hi, we would like you to contact us on:

irstokes @ metanaction.com

or if you prefer:

+33 (0) 6 81 76 55 39 by text or voice.

Ian Stokes


 Metanaction SARL, 54 rue de la Paix, 94300 Vincennes, France,  Telephone: +33 1 43 28 88 96


About us

We would be very happy for you to contact us on: irstokes@metanaction.com

Or if you prefer: +33 (0) 6 40 15 23 35        ( Temporarily out of action:  +33 (0) 6 81 76 55 39 )


Our vocation is to put methods into action and to turn ideas into successful projects.


Our business is to enable individuals, teams and organisations to become more effective at everything that involves projects, innovation and change.


To pursue these goals, with your help:

- we prepare and deliver exciting training programs, 

- we facilitate the development of business models and processes, and

- we develop the potential of experience and ideas.


Our basic principle is that we build on the integrity, responsibility, intelligence and potential of individuals and we believe in the capacity of business to deliver quality of work and quality of life.


Our team comprises independent and ingenious individuals, who are skilled team workers and project leaders.  This rare combination derives from their motivation to develop their understanding and their participation in communities of best practice in the areas of projects, agility, innovation and change management.


Projects are important, difficult and too often under-invested.  That's why even small changes can make a big difference.  There's more return on investment from projects that from any other activity.


The lag between learning and performing can be counted in years.  Our aim is to turn years into days by creating memorable learning experiences and worthwhile working partnerships.

Our services

Training Courses

When we prepare a learning experience, we need to take account of the context within which the learning will be applied. Our courses develop people’s ability to sense, think, plan and deliver; to interpret each situation on its own merits. Learning by doing is a major part of this. Our learning tools reinforce this capability and our support activities help to provide the actions and energy to turn skills into worthwhile results. Our training covers project management, leadership competencies, team development, risk attitude, sales techniques, constructive negotiation, supplier management, intercultural awareness, business analysis, customer focus, agile development, project sponsorship and project enterprise management.


Action Learning

The increased recognition given to discovery-based learning, serious games, and learning by doing is evidence of the success of these approaches.  It's clear that we remember better when we have done something to when we just sit in a classroom and listen. Participation creates a sense of involvement and ownership.  But the importance of action learning is more than memory.  It serves as an anchor for recall.  More than this, it educates us to learn from experience thanks to the thinking process of reflection, formulation, resolution and action that ensures that the learning is assimiliated.  It is an acculturation process that enables us to become better and better at learning from new situations.  Because learning is available through so many different channels, we think it is important to facilitate the assimilation and acculturation process, using individual and group active learning approaches; which is why we offer you training material at micro-payment prices in the "Action Learning Boutique."


Company Events

Your company event is an annual meeting or a departmental convention. Your organization is in the spotlight. Every cent has to make sense and every penny to pay.  Amongst all the presentations, workshops and activities, there are decisions to be made, targets to be aligned and resolutions to be deployed. We can help you to boost your event by carefully selecting and preparing management games, by writing specific case studies based on your own projects, and by setting up workshops that accelerate problem solving, stimulate decision-making and bring you closer to your vital business goals.


Project Kick-Off

The reason for a project kick-off is to build the team. This is usually done with some fun activities to build team spirit and team morale, and some serious teamwork to start the project on the right footing; maybe even get some traction to put momentum into the project. Once things get started, the energy level goes up and you begin to create a pattern of success. However, we believe the most important thing you can do is to actually practise with some of the teamwork and communication tools that will be used on the project. Thus the team gets built in a way that will make the real work environment feel familiar.  People use even the most common tools like e-mail and spread sheets in so many different ways, that you need this shared effort to ensure a coherent and common way of working together.


Decision Workshops

When decision-makers get together they want to make sense of a complex problem, to explore options and to arrive at the best possible result in a short amount of time. The decision-making can be rather stultified, unless there has been a deliberate effort to prepare and to structure the process. On the other hand, it can be enlightening, inspiring and stimulating, by presenting information in a form that reveals facts and context that supports the participation of the whole decision-making group.


Project Close-Out

Learning from experience is one of the most important areas where companies can build a strong project management process. The end of a project is a learning opportunity, but so few projects really seize this opportunity. It requirs the presence of the key stakeholders and there willingness to study the story of the project, comparing what actually happened with what was planned: in particular comparing the risks that were analysed with the risks that occurred, the estimates with the costs. Furthermore, the organization and structure of the project can provide pointers for the future. The learning process needs to be well prepared and followed up so that the lessons learned can be recycled into future projects.


Innovation Challenges

Team creativity cannot always be called to order.  Team-based creativity requirs a sense of urgency and purpose. But an awareness of how creativity works can be very helpful: including the boosters and the obstacles. People have different creative styles, and so the workshop should be flexible in order to allow break-out groups and changes of rhythm. An inspiring backdrop, well-researched subject matter, a focused objective create the conditions for success.


Change Management

Change management has become a routine activity, more business as usual than anything exceptional. However, successful change management requirs exceptional management ability and leadership style. Change management takes individuals through a transition. Each individual may perceive the change differently, be part of a group that reacts more or less positively, and again be part of the organisation that may demonstrate alacrity or take much more time. Therefore the change leader must work at many different levels, and take account of the dynamic nature of transitions.

Our values

Our way of working is  CheckThink – Plan – DoLearn -

Check: ensure that we understand the context, the vision, the goals and the reasons for the next iteration, stage or project

Think: choose the right options for the agreed challenges

Plan: plan the project, stage or iteration around the critical success criteria

Do: deliver, knowing the risks and showing early evidence of achievement 

Learn: use the experience to improve for next time 

This is a project and decision-making cycle, as opposed to the usual 'production' cycle of PDCA.  

See also OODA: Observe - Orient - Decide - Act


Horizontal and Vertical Communication

Horizontal communication or “transversality” entails working across functional boundaries, which means respecting each other’s perspectives, priorities and constraints, and understanding how to achieve synergies and to synchronise work.

Vertical communication requirs transparency and governance in order that actors at different levels refrain as much as possible from hiding information from each other, and instead seek the trust that allow information to flow from source to outlet fluently and fluidly.


The T Skills

Your career skills develop in the form of a T.  The bar of the T represents the general skills that you need in order to flourish as a member of a team. The root of the T represents the expert skills that you need to feed your credibility and understanding.


The “Unknown Known”

Usually, we know less than we think we do, individually; and more than we realize, collectively. 

Often,  information known to someone else - that we don't know - makes the difference between success or failure.  


Know and Show

Understand and demonstrate how success is being achieved (or else No Show)


Strong Vision, Flexible Execution

The most successful organisations have a clear idea of their purpose and the value, results and outcomes that they need to achieve; meanwhile they provide a great deal of flexibility with regard to how to go about attaining the vision.  Unsuccessful companies do the opposite.


Stoke Energy, Reduce Stress

A project leader ensures that the team works in conditions that stoke energy and reduce stress. The team wants a manager that practices “kick up and kiss down” and not the reverse.


Ask Why, Explain Why

Always clarify and verify the purpose. Explaining why provides motivation and ensures that we know we’re doing the right thing and doing it right.

See also the 5 Whys that help you to get to the heart of a problem.


Say what you’ll do, Do what you said, Say what you did

Whichever method you choose, say what you will do, do what you said and be able to prove what you did. That way you will be irreproachable for an audit; you also have to satisfy the customer, of course.

Quality is in the eye of the Beholder

Quality depends upon the public and the stakeholders for whom you are providing the product or the service.  It needs to be measured, planned and built in to the solution with good faith and integrity.

Our Values in Action

1) Familiarity with project management and change management

    Project management is an approach with important strategic implications for organisations.  Actions are most effective where the deciaion makers are implicated and motivated, not just informed.

2)   Experience of managing projects

     It is important to apply a pragmatic and operational project or development framework.  Managing projects using a goal oriented, team-based and cooperative approach delivers advantages both to the contracting organization and to the client. 

3)   Experience of competitive, international  and high technology industries                  

    Innovation in product development and process improvement can offer significant competitive advantage. Consequently, products, processes and even organizations should be distinctive, fit for purpose and change tolerant.

4)   Understanding of the most influential contemporary trends in technology development, business processes and team facilitation 

     Management methods are evolving quickly and constantly.  Knowledge of best practice is more widely diffused than ever from a variety of sources, but special effort and flair is requird to encapsulate this information in a form that can be used in each situation.

5)   Emphasis on innovation, imagination and quality of the work environment                                                                             

    Technology can be used to enhance the quality of work.  Improving the project management process and speeding up the introduction of technologies develops the skills of each individual as well as building the capabilities of the organization. 

6)   Service view of quality                                                                                            

    When providing a service in a highly competitive business it is not enough to satisfy.  Contacts must be customized as well as being positive, productive, and rewarding to all parties. This requirs a flexible and pro-reactive way of working.  

7)   Creative approach to training                                             

    Learning is most effective when it is involves participation and when it appeals to different learning preferences.  Activities, simulations, case studies and role-plays   engage the participants in different ways and enhance the learning experience.

8)   Knowledge of tools and methodologies                                                                      

    Modern project management and systems development processes have adapted to the latest technologies, and vice versa.  The tools and methodologies should be accessible and helpful to the teams that are responsible for achieving results on the project.


Two Vital Rules for Business

1) Don't run out of cash; cash is like oxygen to a business and in its absence a business will choke. 

2) Satisfy your customers.  If you fail in rule one, you’ll fail rule two.


Cost Price, and Price Value

It’s easy to forget, but although cost can be greater than price for strategic reasons, price greater than value (to the customer) is not sustainable.


Uncertainty is Costly

Time, complexity and uncertainty generate cost.  When uncertainty persists, then the business has to provision contingency that increases the cost of investments and reduces the return on investment.


Measure what is Important

In business as in life the easy measures are not necessarily the most important and the most important not often easy to measure.  Nevertheless, unless we are doing art or poetry what is important has to be measured in order to be attainable.


Theory of Constraints

Look for the biggest obstacle, roadblock, show-stopper or constraint.  That’s what you have to cure, remove or overcome in order to reach your next business goal.


Business Models and Process

The smallest difference to the way that business is carried out with customers, suppliers, processes or systems can make all of the difference to a business surviving and thriving.


Unique Selling Proposition

There’s something that you do that justifies your business, makes it distinctive and makes it worthwhile to customers, to employees and to other stakeholders.  The art of your craft is to know what it is and keep making it better  


Commitments, Experiments, Improvements

Committed staff members feel ownership and have a transformational rather than a transactional relationship with their work.  Although experiments are necessary and do not always work out, constant improvement and the ability to share learning is a critical contribution.

Methods in Action

project good practices Build on a Buisness Case Agile in Action

Project Good Practices

Methods in Action

Build on a Business Case

Methods in Action

Agile in Action

Methods in Action

Test card

 test card

If you test this purchase option to ensure that you received the document for 0.01 ‚ā¨uros, you will also receive 'free' a white paper on the "arts of testing".¬†

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Testing is a critical skill that requirs a specific attitude.  Testing is an 'art' as much as a science that requirs tools and data. And it is a universal skill and art that we need throughout our lives.

All of us make misteaks, especially when we are being creative and when we are learning.  In fact, mistakes are how we learn. The ability to capture mistakes early, before they become too costly, to understand our mistakes and to correct our errors can make the biggest possible impact on our performance (especially the stupid mistakes, which are about 80%, from school onwards.) 

But, don't expect to never ever repeat your misteaks.  For that you would need a fautless process or system that recognises the error occuring and makes corrections for you. And processes and systems are made by people...


Echanges de liens du webmaster

Echange de liens ( pour optimiser référencement ) avec le réseau des sites web gérés par l'agence web de l'Espace Informatique de Vincennes et appli.pro business app creator :

Metanaction.com : Ian Stokes, Project Leader and Advisor

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