Project good practices

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Magic cards and Roman numerals

These magic tricks will amaze you.

Agile Methods

Traditional projects fix the scope and establish a budget. With these as non-negotiable constraints, project control efforts concentrate on time management. Agile projects target a deadline for a proportionate cost. The effort switches to managing the scope and making sure that all of the most important functionality is delivered before an agreed date. The usefulness and usability of each function is constantly being assessed. This requirs a great deal of cooperation between the customer and the development team that revolves around managed prototypes and facilitated workshops.


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 spreadsheets in so many different ways, that you need this shared effort to ensure a coherent and common way of working together.


Fooled by a stereotype at the crossrails of Paris

Chatelet RER station is at the heart of Paris where all the train lines cross. At rush hours there are hoards of people coming and going. The trains are full and a klaxon sounds when the doors are about to close.  I could have taken the next train, except that it would have been even more crowded. Then suddenly I saw running towards me the largest and most forbidding son of Africa I’d ever seen since Foreman fought Ali in Kinshasa. He was charging straight at me, and looking right at me, and in his hand he was holding something that looked like it was aimed at my chest. The klaxon continued, as I prayed for the doors to close, feeling right then as if I was surely about to die. But the man, with his blue cloak billowing behind him managed to reach me, and as he stretched out his arm, the doors were closing, but he’d arrived just in time …. to give me back my wallet!


Launch pad for change order management

A change order management system should be fit for purpose. If the project is highly creative, then ideas must be encouraged. A simple note, with a description of the idea, likely benefits and possible costs, may be enough. However, in a safety sensitive and operational context, the change order process may be subject to more checks and scruples, and can be made especially thorough. 

The operations for a satellite launch are extremely sensitive to change.  The infrastructure of a rocket launch site is a system that has to be error resistant and error tolerant, robust and secure. Reliability is a watchword and if any change might possibly prevent something from working, then it should be rejected.

One change proposal seemed like a no-brainer. In order to speed up the work stations used for the launch campaigns, the suggestion was to slow down some other work stations that were used for managing the car pool. The reason given for rejecting the change was astonishing: "Users would not be able to comprehend why two identical work stations would not have the same performance." What is this?  Libert, equality and fraternity for work stations? 

But, they were right to reject the change request. It was rejected for the right reasons. The benefits were not explicit, there had been no lobbying, promotion or marketing of the change, and the risks had not been quantified. Furthermore, any change that you could introduce has an opportunity cost.  The change should offer at least the return on investment that you could obtain by investing the effort elsewhere. So given the competition to spend money, any counter-benefits, including change management overhead, can harm your business case.


Robotic arm is key to improved project schedule

Although the European space-plane project was a magnificent dream, it never came to fruition. Nevertheless, at one time it occupied talented space engineers from 20 countries.  At the end of every month they would review the status in a meeting with representatives from many of the leading European aerospace companies. 

The "success-oriented" timeline already seemed challenging. Two planners worked late one night before a critical meeting. One Flemish, sceptical, the other British, ironic, from the country that called the project ‘a cuckoo in a nest.’ Perhaps, it was inspiration, perhaps pure caprice that made them modify the project schedule in the last fifteen minutes before going back to their hotels. 

At the meeting the next day, the schedule showed the development of the robotic arm linking into the milestone for the first unmanned launch, instead of integartion of this sensitive instrument being programmed for the third launch six months later. There was uproar in the meeting: “You are going to burn our robotic arm”, erupted the work package manager. A few seconds later: “No, this is good; we can study the cabin configuration in this way.” 

A heated discussion ensued. The end result: a model of the robotic arm was planned for the first launch, together with much of the documentation which had been previously put back until the third launch. Three months had been saved on the tightest of schedules.


Space plane and ejector risks

Risk is never a purely rational process, but is very much a question of perspective. When two options were evaluated for the safety of the astronauts in the case of a serious incident of the space plane, there were heated discussions about which option to choose.  One solution was to eject an entire module, and the other alternative would mean ejecting three separate seats, one for each astronaut. 

The chance of survival for each astronaut in the case of the single module was estimated at 90%, where as the ejector seats gave a chance of survival of 95% for each astronaut individually, but only 86% (0.95 x 0.95 x 0.95) for all three together.  Thus, on the one hand it was better for the individual astronaut, and on the other there would be a smaller probability of tragedy. For if one astronaut should die, then from the mission point of view it's a failure. 

But, what about the astronauts?  The astronauts reply was unanimous. “If we have to pilot a fighter plane for ten years, there's much more risk than for one space plane mission.” “You do what you think is best for the programme.”


Tanks on parade and users who drink beer

When a tank driver wants a drink, he tends to reach for a beer. You can open a beer bottle with your teeth, but a better way is to crack it open on the ridge of a hard surface. 

As the beer bottles in the inside of the tank were opened and consumed, the hard rim around the dashboard degraded. Eventually, entire units had to be replaced. Now, tank drivers are not supposed to consume beers whilst on duty, especially in Middle Eastern countries (yes, it was.) Therefore, you cannot sell a tank with a bottle opener. But, what you can do is to reinforce the metal rim of the dashboard so that you can reduce maintenance costs (it's called "integrated logistics support".) Any beer drinker would recognise its potential. 

Tank designers are bound up with specifications on firepower, navigability, manoeuvrability and robustness. But, how many take account of the demands of a parade through the capital city? As an array of thirty tanks advances down the Champs Elysées, each must have its barrel perfectly aligned. Whoever would have thought that a vehicle designed for the heat of combat would have to look so beautiful?


Trust in milestones, but check the plumbing

The manager of a major complex systems project liked to ask the contractors to propose 50 or 60 milestones. You can imagine the contractors going as pale as the milestones in a salt desert. “You’re not going to micro-manage all those milestones? Don’t you trust us?” “I shall only select three of the milestones, which I will manage.”   

A systems builder used to have just one milestone every nine months. You could imagine that a lot of system can be built in nine months. Would they be throwing systems away from time to time, we may wonder. If you fail to program regular milestones, then you will find out too late that you’ve been wasting time and energy. 
When a building is being constructed, the milestones control the progress. When you sign the contract, you may have to release a deposit, say about 5% or 10%. Once the foundations are complete, another 20 to 30% becomes due. Foundations involve risks; there might even be water, rock, or planning permissions to negotiate.  
When the roof is installed and the building is being prepared for completion, you could imagine checking out whether the toilets have been installed. Yes, it’s very down to earth, but nevertheless an indispensable function in very many projects.  And you might want to test to check that it works. After all if you want to move into your new home, you’ll need it.
One way to be sure is to go there and check the plumbing; that the water flows out and the cistern fills up. Another way is for documents to be sent by the builder – approval forms and signed-off inspections. A further way is to go and see the site manager and ask questions about the schedule. 
If you know and trust the contractor, then perhaps you don’t need either a physical test or documentary evidence.  Otherwise a prototype is a good way to obtain reliable feedback by testing something visual or tangible and finding out if it works and that you can pay for it.
After all, if you wanted to take your best prospect or friend to a meal, would you not check the restaurant first ?  And the kitchen, and the toilet !


Typhoon in the China Sea and the critical path

It was one of those dreary, dark and drizzly mornings in deepest winter, and a troubled and embarrassed visitor at the door. He sat down, lit a pipe, and let the story unfold: “We had a problem with our hook-up...”  Hook-up is when a pipeline connects the shore to the offshore installation. A barge lays down the pipeline, on the seabed metre by metre. 

In the China Sea, a hurricane is called a typhoon. The typhoon arose and swept away the barge. To relocate the barge they needed to hire a helicopter. It took some time. The China Sea contains a myriad of small islands between the Philippines and Indonesia. Eventually they found the barge washed up on a beach. 

When they could get down there, they discovered that the barge had been gutted and stripped by pirates: nothing left on board. Subsequently, the customer took out a claim for failure to meet a key deadline. The commissioning contractor retorted ‘Act of God’. “Not at all”, countered Big Oil, "The hook-up was not on the project's critical path". 

Unfortunately, the contractor had kept no track of the critical path and had not agreed the schedule in enough detail with the client. They had to build up a case using job cards for each activity, with no clear agreed version of the dependencies between the activities.  Overall losses to the contractor: 75% of the millions of dollars up for claim.

The critical path ensures that you are working in the same project, in the same direction, and for the same purpose.


Universal challenges of managers with Tsars

The trainer in project management stood before a room of twenty Russians in a city two hours East of Moscow by plane, near the birthplace of Tchaikovsky and home to the Kalashnikov factory, a city of onion-domed churches and warm convivial cafés, whilst outside in Winter it can touch -40C. 

The Russians present were tough oil-industry workers, from as far away as 8 hours drive through the silver birch forests. In the winter snow the silver glistens white on white. The twenty Russians were solemn. The interpretor had just translated the vital importance for a project of a committed sponsor, and above all the critical skill of a project manager of managing upwards for the project’s vision, success factors, risks, performance indicators, and key decisions to be clarified on time.

And the Russians looked like stone, the atmosphere sullen. Russians can take a while to warm up, especially with icicles being scraped off the overhanging roof and a naive head office consultant standing in front of them imploring them to listen. Later on in the week this Russian group will become effusive and soulful. But, for now the ice needs to be cracked. 

In Russia the top manager is like a Tsar; so the trainer tells a story. "This is how it is in Western Europe: When you want to communicate or sell something to a top manager, you have to call them 50 times. And they won’t be there. The manager will be in a meeting, then on the phone, then not to be disturbed, then away on a mission. And then after many calls, you’ll ask to speak to the assistant. And the assistant will be busy on the phone and not to be disturbed. And then one day, maybe after twenty calls, you’ll manage to speak to the assistant. And you’ll treat the assistant with lots of respect, explaining the reasons for your call and why it’s important. And then one day the assistant will open the door to the top manager." "How does it work in Russia?" A big guffaw from the group: “That’s how it works in Russia.”  They’ve warmed up. Perhaps, we’re not so different after all.

The Russians like to test your mettle.  "Who are these flashy consultants with their fancy methods, thinking they can tell us what to do?" Dogma will get you nowhere. You have to respect a proud culture; and all cultures are proud.  The Kalashnikov AZ47 was a wonder project; it includd a work breakdown structure with cost and value analysis for every work package.

Next course, in a famous town near Kazakhstan, the top manager was a poet, a latter day Pushkin. Everyone roared as he recounted his verse, in Russian. "What is it this time? This not work in Russia?"  "This project was successful because in 1947 we had one project manager, Josef Stalin."  Eyes looking down, eyes looking up, heads shaking, shoulders heaving with mirth, red faces, glee; not one person's body language like another. 

"Surely Stalin was the sponsor, not the project manager?"  "He was the project manager!"  More laughter.  "Then why was the AZ47 project finished in 1948?"  Red faces turn gleeful, and glee goes red. 


Using tools that shape the way we think

Although everyone uses the same desk top tools, everyone uses them in quite different ways. The tools have become second nature, but most people are not specifically trained; they learn through contact and intuition. 

When spreadsheets arrived in the late 1970s, some people found them almost impossible to understand. Each cell was addressed like a coordinate. It was like using a map in digital form without the benefit of the cartographic layout. Now the tools have become part of everyone’s everyday work, but because they work in different ways, there are features that people use intensively and others that people know nothing about. 

Even in the most common word processor you can find a function that produces a summary of a document. It works remarkably well on some documents, less well on others. It can be a very useful function when trying to sift some key phrases from large quantities of text, perhaps gathered using a web search. It’s a feature that specialist tools have developed. But the main point is that no two people work inside the most common word processor in exactly the same way. 

This has important consequences for a project. People can misunderstand each other and be at cross-purposes. The remedy for a team is to develop shared ways of using the tools. This can be an easy win. And when the technology moves ahead, you need to think again as a team. When people get used to GPS positioning, it changes the way they think about maps, and the way they work also.

They say that people who grew up with a technology, perhaps learning it between 12 and 22 can speak it like a mother tongue.  What you learn afterwards is less intuitive, and when you learn a technology later on, it's more like a foreign language.


Vision outruns the herd instinct

When e-business made its apparition there was an immediate gap between the potential of the technology and peoples’ understanding of the opportunity. When people caught on there was a gold rush and then a feeling of betrayal when the promise could not live up to expectations.

The herd instinct takes over when even the most talented and informed cannot interpret the signals. The best ideas need an enlightened visionary and a high-level sponsor. One big company in information technology was lucky enough to have a visionary.   The visionary was convinced that e-business was the future, but had to court and to convince the managing director. 

He used a prototype based on a concept from a competitor. The prototype showed how that competitor was using the big company’s data for its own e-business initiatives. Many people in the big company had assumed that this was simply a legal issue.  To get to the managing director, he had to climb the company rank by rank, office by office, persenting and prefecting the demo, the proof of concept. 

One day he sat in the managing director's office.  This man had the challenge of saving the company from its past. The managing director listened intently to the presentation and then asked just one question: “Where’s the ‘buy’ button?”  It was all the visionary wanted to hear. This big company is now a world leader and a pioneer in e-business.

It's not always easy to be the top man. During the boom and bubble, of 1999, an entrepreneur ran a 30 people start-up in enterprise resource management. Because the system was not Internet-based, and his staff 'knew' he just didn't "get it".  And every day the economy shifted, and every day the manager did nothing. "This boss doesn't know what he's doing."  He couldn't explain his unfashionable reasoning, he couldn't get his team to listen.  Then the bubble burst. Well, the boss was right all along.  Just wait for the next bubble! 


False - Positive probability test

Risk and probabilities can flummox our reasoning.  Click on the page to move forward.


Lean development turns sickness to revival

The MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology study ‘The Machine that Changed the World’ was described as too good to be true (3 times as quick, 3 times less expensive and much better quality.) The "machine" was TPS the 'Toyota Production System', the subject was lean development and lean production in the Japanese car industry.  And the story of success was about TQM Total Quality Management, not to mention target costing, ‘kanban’ just in time, poka-yoke (mistake proofing) and ‘keiretsu’ networks of cooperating contractors.  

At that time, quality management on the most efficient European car (i.e. BMW) was costing more than an entire Japanese car (Lexus).  Inspired by Deming’s precepts, quality in Japanese cars was being built in from the start of the project, whilst quality in European and American cars was still an afterthought. An American delegation visited Japan to resolve the problem. Led by President George Bush Senior, the goal of the representatives from America’s three big car companies was to convince the Japanese that they should buy more American cars. 

The American president was unlucky. Suffering from a bout of gastroenteritis he vomited on the President of Japan, before fainting. Needless to say, this did not persuade the Japanese to buy American cars. But, the Japanese have a tradition of politeness. (In fact, they are typically very intelligent islanders, with a flag that’s red on white like the English, and they also drive on the left ;-) 

They wished to suggest – ever so politely – that if the Americans could start to put the steering wheel on the 'right side' of the car, then perhaps they could start selling more vehicles in Japan.  Certainly, there was a small niche market for the iconic American car, to cruise Main Street in the 1950s James Dean image. Perhaps, there was a niche market for people who wanted to drive on the wrong side of the road ;-)  

But, in the end you have to really listen to the customer, genuinely. The Europeans were no better. There was a strong smell of denial. After first explaining that the Japanese results were better only because they worked all night long like ants, a few pioneering companies at that time, realizing they had no choice, started to introduce the changes that made a difference: platform teams, simultaneous engineering, partnerships with suppliers. And it worked!

In a short time, those companies led the pack in their ability to manufacture cars cheaply and effectively. Other car companies started to believe there might be something in the Japanese 'TPS' approach. When a company in your own market starts to do something so much better, there is really no point to denial. 


Prince2 catalyseur

( little prince image manquante )

Learning Lessons from Project History (Single Sigma Shift Method)

We don’t learn from historical experience. Now when it comes to a project, learning from past experience is what they call a “no brainer”. It’s free information, paid for through trial and error that s really indispensable for use on future projects. 
This video illustrates beautifully what the problem is:
And yet, all companies claim that they could improve in this area, most lament that they don’t recycle the experience from past projects at all.  But, it requirs a systematic approach. This article will analyse this methodically. 
It starts with the use of a table from the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge from
This table below has always seemed to me to be a little theoretical, but I have changed my mind. The original figures which were derived from the construction industry have been embedded in the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) ever since.


Type of
Range of
When to
Order of Magnitude
conceptual, ‘scientific’ guess
- 50 % / +50 %
Enough initial information is available for authorizing the project and assessing feasibility
Preliminary Estimate
design, intermediate
- 25 % / +25 %
Information about human resources, materials, expenses, and overhead are available and the objective is identified
Definitive Estimate
Finalized, bottom-up, baseline
- 10 % / +10 %
Detailed work breakdown structure information can be used


The table shows the increasing precision of the estimates as the project progresses from an order of magnitude or conceptual estimate, through a budgetary or design estimate and to a definitive or grassroots engineering estimate.
There is something in this analysis that is crucially significant. At each step, we can be very clear about the information that becomes available:
1)      initially, when there is only very early stage introductory information, the estimate provides an ‘order of magnitude estimate’, conceptual approximation or ‘wild guess’,
2)      once further information on resources, materials, suppliers, expenses and overheads has been collected, and when the objectives have been defined, a design or ‘preliminary estimate’ can be prepared,
3)      a ‘definitive estimate’ that becomes the baseline budget for the project is built upon a bottom-up analysis of each work package using the most detailed information available.
The PMBOK suggests that the ‘order of magnitude’ estimate varies within a range of +/- 50% compared with the ‘preliminary estimate’ between +/- 25% whilst the ‘definitive estimate’ is reckoned to be at +/ 10%.
The assumption is that the estimate at each stage is given with about 95 % certainty or two standard deviations from the mean.  Thus for a small project worth about 1 million €uros, this provides a 95 % confidence interval of:
-        500K and 1,500K €uros for an order of magnitude estimate
-        750K and 1,250K €uros for a preliminary estimate
-        900K and 1,100K €uros for a definitive estimate
The competitive challenge is to narrow that definitive estimate range of -10 % / +10 %. This is the estimate that is used for the budget baseline, for example in competitive bidding and defines the development costs in the final product. 
The only credible way to reduce this range is to improve the quality of the data that is used for the estimate. Inevitably this implies strengthening the estimate by using more complete and better historical data.
Unless an improvement in precision is implemented, in simple mathematical terms the damage could be significant:
With a -10 % / +10 % range of estimate on a contract worth 1,000,000 €uros, one standard deviation gives you 1,050,000 Euros and you would have an 84% chance of achieving this, and a 16% chance of exceeding it. If a competitor had reduced their range to -5 % / +5 %,   by using more reliable source data for their estimate, then they would have moved one standard deviation and have reduced their chances of going over 1,050,000 to a mere 2 ½ %
If your definitive range was – 10 % / + 10 %, and the competitor’s range was -5% / +5 %, and if you were to provision up to three standard deviations from the mean, you would need to provision about 11,000, whilst the competitor would be able to provision half as much. Therefore your competitor would be able to outbid you very easily.
In fact, it’s worse than that, because your inability to forecast more precisely means that you are more likely to underbid as well as to overbid. On more than 10% of bids you may bid too low and lose an average of 50,000 of possible revenues, and on a further 10% when you bid too high you may simply fail to win the business.  
One million €uros is a small project. Even ten such projects per year is a small company of, say, about 60 employees. If your estimates are imprecise, you are losing about €500,000 on project overruns per year and €1,600,000 in lost business.  Therefore, you will bid low as a matter of routine and very few of your projects will be profitable.
It gets worse. If the market is extremely price sensitive (price elastic) you may not win any bids at all, because you competition is able to bid lower and preserve a safety margin. If the market is price insensitive (price inelastic), margins may be higher, but you may still lose because of the variability in your own estimates and the need to cover the risks.
How to improve the precision of estimates:
(1)   Understand the price sensitivity of the marketplace. Does a point increase in price have an equivalent effect on demand, or are buyers more sensitive to other factors?
(2)   Analyse the relationship between the estimates and actual results (time, resources and costs) and evaluate underlying factors.
(3)   Analyse the variability of the estimates and includ the predictability of the risks (risks that occur compared to risks analysed) to assess the impact of risk on the estimates.
(4)   Analyse the sources of variability of the estimates with an aim to cover 95% of the risks.
(5)   Identify which risks re-occur from project to project and seek to eliminate them; in other words apply a process perspective.  
The aim is to reduce your previous 1 sigma limit, so that it now becomes 2 sigma, 2 sigma becomes 3 sigma, and so on. Thus only 1% of projects will now fall outside the –10% / +10% range, where as before it would have been about 5%., and only 5% will fall outside the -5% / +5% range where previously it would have been 32%. This is the significant benefit from applying the experience of previous projects.
This approach could also be used for agile development projects (i.e. projects where the scope is prioritised and the set of target requirments are allowed to evolve during the project.) A single sigma shift would introduce a greater degree of precision in terms of the number of high priority and medium priority functions that could be delivered within a timebox (i.e. before a deadline.)
Is it possible to half the range on a definitive estimate? If you can go from –50% / +50% to -25% / +25% thanks to the creation of a comprehensive Work Breakdown Structure and from 25% / +25% due to a detailed Project Plan, then it’s most certainly possible to halve the range again based on reliable and analysed historical data.

Report on use of agile technologies to improve government IT performance

This report was published in March 2011 to encourage a new approach to IT development in UK government.


Activities and Exercises

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My contact details are:  irstokes @     0033 6 81 76 55 39

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Project Management Foundations


Acquire the skills, behaviours and understanding that will help to achieve business goals, meet and exceed stakeholder expectations, satisfy customer needs, respect deadlines, work to budget, deliver to quality and fulfill regulatory requirments



Because projects have become so important for innovation and change, organizations can achieve more return on investment from project management than in almost any other part of the business.  However, projects are complex, and present unique challenges, which means that the development of skills, the adoption of good practices and the need for improved cooperation is never ending.



Since this course presents good practices applicable on any project, it is as appropriate for project managers at client companies and sponsors of projects as it is for project managers at supplier and for project team members. 



  • Use good project management practices to make the most out of your projects
  • Optimise organisation and implementation within the team and amongst the project partners            
  • Integrate scope, time, cost, quality, risk, communication and stakeholder satisfaction



The instructor has experience in project management in many industrial sectors where change and innovation have been key factors, and has been consultant, facilitator, and project manager, manager of methods and quality, and trainer in large and small organisations. 



Review the nature of a project and project management

- Overview of project management

- Understand the role of project managers

- Recognize typical project challenges

Interactive session: Identifying the challenges of projects

- Set the framework of project management for better results

- Outline the project management process

- Understand the project life cycle and process steps

Define the project’s boundaries and purpose to meet your organisation’s business goals

- Describe and position the project, the critical success factors, principle objectives and risks

- Set the project scope, time, cost and principle objectives

- Determine what defines successful outcomes and how quality is measured and managed

Case Study: Defining a mission for the project (i.e. charter / terms of reference)

Perform an analysis of stakeholders, risks and benefits

- Analyse the influence, support and impact on key stakeholders

- Analyse risks and identify response strategies

- Prepare a communication plan in order to manage benefits and customer expectations

Exercise: Perform stakeholder analysis and risk analysis, produce a communication plan and a risk management plan

Structure and organize the project

- Develop the work breakdown structure and define work packages

- Allocate responsibilities using a responsibility matrix

- Develop estimating strategies to establish the overall cost and duration of work estimates

Case Study: Develop the work breakdown structure and define the work packages

Develop a project plan to manage the project

- Develop a comprehensive project plan to manage the project

- Define key project activities, determine dependencies and establish critical path

- Plan a schedule by setting clear milestones at the outset of the project

Exercise: Understanding critical path analysis methods

Case Study: Build the project plan, includ project budget and subsidiary plans, and establish a baseline for the project

Work on your management style to get the best results in a project team environment

- Recognize personal styles that contribute to effective teamwork

- Develop the attributes of teamwork that enable high performance

- Understand team management throughout the project life cycle

- Explore techniques to resolve conflicts and to handle pressures in a project team

Exercise: Group work on team development and conflict management

Effectively manage a project and control its progress towards successful results and to maximize ROI

- Set up a format and process to formally manage change requests, problems and incidents

- Explore criteria for decision making on change implementation

- Effectively manage a project and control its progress to meet targets

- Assess and manage the project performance at regular intervals

Case Study: Decide on appropriate responses to change requests, and manage project progress

Develop principles and methods to manage partners (managers, colleagues, suppliers) to optimize project team work

- Develop good practices for managing outsourced projects

- Use milestones, methods, measures and reviews to enhance visibility and deliver results

- Establish and develop communication skills to improve project partnering

- Review strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the critical purpose

Discussion debate: Management of partners on projects

Focus on methods and skills that improve and speed up your projects

- Evaluate emerging initiatives for improving, accelerating, optimizing and managing the project scope, cost and timeline

- Develop tactics to optimise personal time management and motivations

- Identify and respond to the differing motivations of individuals in the team

- Adopt appropriate communication and responses for managing differences

Exercise: Completion of a self-evaluation questionnaire

Close out the project, identify failures fast, and build on successes

- Close the project taking account of contractual, regulatory and administrative

- Learn from project successes and failures, and build project management maturity

Exercise: Review project closure from several different perspectives


Learning Method

 The course uses case studies as well as activities and learning games. 



3 days, either consecutive or 2 + 1


Benefits of the course

  • A solid grounding in project management skills and familiarity with good practices
  • Skills, behaviours and understanding that are commensurate with good practice
  • Enhanced comfort in the project management life cycle
  • Ideas discovered, developed and exchanged
  • Hands-on practice

Project Good Practices

Methods in Action

AgilePM Int√©gration ¬ę Parapente et Parapluie ¬Ľ (Scrum, Lean Start-Up, DAD, XP, BABOK, PMBOK, PRINCE2, MSP, PMO, Stage Gates, etc.)

Art des 'pivots'

L'art du ‘pivot’ est peut-être l'une des clés pour projeter l'innovation. Créer un MVP « Produit Minimum Viable », puis évaluer son intérêt auprès des clients, qui doivent être des pionniers ou des adopteurs précoces, et encore mieux si ce sont des leaders d'opinion. La question critique : « Recommanderiez-vous ce produit (ou service) à un ami ou un collègue ?»

Il y aura habituellement du travail supplémentaire à faire et parfois même un « pivot » radicale afin de s'attaquer à la question (problème, défi ) sous un angle différent . C'est ce qu'on appelle le « pivot ».  Dans « Lean Start-Up » Eric Ries énumère dix types de pivot. Ici, ils sont décrits en utilisant des exemples du monde de la restauration.

Et plus loin sont dans cet article, se trouve  neuf autres possibilités de pivot , inspiré par Osterwalder et Prigneur dans leur fameux canevas « Business Model Generation ». Et voici quelques commentaires supplémentaires sur l’acte de "pivoter" du magazine INC.


Une caractéristique unique devient l'ensemble du produit.

Il n'y a pas besoin de créer l'ensemble du produit lorsque le principal intérêt est d'un seul élément. Par exemple : Un restaurant décide de vendre un seul plat, ou type de plat (seuls les steaks, ou la crème glacée, des pommes cuits au four, des hamburgers, sandwiches, pizzas…)


Le produit entier devient une caractéristique unique

Il s'avère que les clients sont intéressés par beaucoup plus que l'activité de base proposé. Par exemple : Un restaurant décide d'offrir, disons, un service d'information, du wi -fi haut-débit, une aire de jeux,  des jeux vidéo et wii, une salle de réunion, une salle de sommeil, une boite de nuit, une salle de gym…

Besoins autres que prévus

Les bons clients, mais pas que ce problème

Les clients qui ont des véritables besoins ont été correctement identifiés, mais leurs besoins les plus importants sont ailleurs.  Par exemple : Les clients d'affaires qui viennent au restaurant sont à la recherche d'un endroit pour travailler et négocier avec des clients potentiels , ou les familles qui ont visité le restaurant aimeraient un endroit pour permettre à leurs enfants de jouer, ou des célibataires sont à la recherche d'un endroit pour socialiser après le travail.

Segment de la clientèle

Le bon problème bien identifié, mais pas pour ces clients

Le problème est intéressant et les solutions potentielles sont disponibles, du point de vue technologique, opérationnel et applicatif, mais pour des clients différents de ceux ciblés. Par exemple : Un restaurant propose des sandwichs pour les élèves et puis les gens d'affaires visitent.  Une pâtisserie / charcuterie est mis en place pour des familles, mais elle atteint une notoriété dans des guides touristiques. Un restaurant mis en place pour les conducteurs de camions près de l'autoroute devient une halte pour les gens ennuyés par la restauration des autoroutes.

Architecture entreprise

Choix de marges élevées et faible volume, ou faible marge et volumes élevés

Une marge élevée et un faible volume suppose que l’on cible un créneau spécifique, et cela pourrait tout aussi bien être minimaliste qu’embelli,  populaire ou de luxe.  Par exemple : Des saucisses n'ont jamais été perçu comme un produit de luxe, mais la cuisine grand-mère, et de bons ingrédients soigneusement mélangés peuvent créer des marges élevées pour un produit traditionnellement populaire.  Des produits à faible coût peuvent dégager toutefois une marge élevée et permettre à payer des salaires élevés grâce à la standardisation maximale pour un marché bien ciblé. Alternativement, une faible marge et un volume élevé peut transformer un produit haut de gamme en une marchandise ordinaire en identifiant des façons de créer des économies d'échelle.


La plate-forme devient plus importante que le produit

Lors de la vente à un marché en développement rapide avec des niveaux élevés de concurrence, il peut être judicieux de consolider une plate-forme et des installations qui peuvent être rendus vendable à d'autres acteurs de l’industrie, et de traiter ces acteurs comme des partenaires plutôt que des concurrents.  Par exemple : Un concept de communication de la part des serveurs à partir des tables d’un restaurant, une base de préparation standardisée, un système de gestion des stocks automatisé, des nourritures pré-préparées, ou une technologie de conservation sous licence.

Capture de la valeur

Une partie intrinsèque du produit et non pas seulement une caractéristique

Une partie intrinsèque du produit est l’une qui est fondamentale pour l'identité du produit et n'est pas seulement un ajout ; des roues plutôt que sur le toit ouvrant. Cependant, une fonction comme la navigation par satellite peut passer d'une fonction de la périphérie à une fonction au cœur du produit si les voitures sont capables de se conduire par elle-même.  Par exemple : Une approche alimentaire bio- nutrition et de santé devient partie intégrante de chaque produit et pas seulement proposé en option, comme le léger en sucre ou libre de sel.  Ou bien, la nourriture bio combine sa fonction spécifique et distinctive de santé avec le thème de la gourmandise .

Moteur de la croissance

Collant, viral ou payant

Soit le développement se réussie grâce aux recommandations et le bouche à l’oreille, ou les ventes et la fidélisation des clients, ou bien en investissant dans le travail commercial et dans la publicité.  Un restaurant pourrait développer la présence sur un site web bien reconnu afin d’obtenir des conseils de consommation, ou de créer une communauté de clients.


Accès au marché

L'Internet a rendu possible d’autres chemins d’accès aux marchés.  Par ailleurs, le leasing peut remplacer l'achat,  l'auto-assemblage peut remplacer des produits préfabriqués, le téléchargement peut remplacer la location, l'achat peut remplacer le partage, ou vice-versa. Par exemple : Le restaurant est la solution la plus évidente pour la restauration.  Toutefois, cela pourrait être sous de nombreuses formes telles que des cantines d'entreprise, des repas à domicile, la livraison par camionnette, des collations nocturnes, des repas dans des bars, des cafés de voyage tels que les aéroports et les navires, ou quelque chose de façon significative de nouveau comme un casse-croûte avec une table de pique-nique gonflable.


Evoluer les technologies pour développer la compétitivité

Des ruptures innovantes dans les produits et les services peuvent être soit tirées par les clients ou poussés par la technologie.  Si le client tire, le client exige la satisfaction d’un besoin urgent qui dépend d’une adaptation de la science ou de la technologie. Si la technologie pousse, le savoir-faire est disponible et l'application sera développée dès lors que les clients peuvent la comprendre, l’adapter et implémenter des solutions potentielles. Par exemple dans l'approvisionnement alimentaire et la restauration, les fours à micro-ondes, mélangeurs d'aliments , grille-pain , machines à puce , machines à café , des repas préparés à l'avance , de nouvelles façons de conserver les aliments , les aliments nutritionnels ...

Partenaires clés

Identifier les partenaires qui peuvent emmener votre offre à un autre niveau ou un autre lieu

Au lieu de rivaliser contre d'autres acteurs dans votre domaine, s'allier avec eux, approvisionner d'eux ou vendre à eux. Une fois que le champ est encombré,  il se peut que tout un nouveau marché se développe. Vous pourriez commencer à vendre aux concurrents le genre de services que vous savez par expérience serait utiles.  De même que si la concurrence fait baisser les coûts, vous pourriez en profiter en utilisant leurs services afin d'étendre votre offre, et pour trouver de nouveaux clients ou pour agir comme une vitrine commerciale pour d'autres entreprises dans le secteur. Par exemple : Vous avez un restaurant qui s’allie à d'autres restaurants pour fournir des services ou pour s'approvisionner, ou vous associez avec un hôtel, un supermarché, un fournisseur de produits alimentaires, un fournisseur de cuisines équipées, une agence de voyages, une autre chaîne de restaurants,  un club de sport ...

Activités clés

Identifier les activités dans votre processus qui créent et qui ajoutent le plus de valeur pour les clients

C'est peut-être que l'un ou deux des ingrédients du produit ou du service global que représente l'activité qui est la spécificité la plus recherchée par les clients et avec la plus de valeur ajoutée, pour eux.  C'est peut-être la capacité de concevoir, fabriquer, livrer, de soutenir, d'acheter ou de vendre. En demandant aux clients vous pourriez être en mesure d'identifier les activités qui sont les plus importantes pour eux.  Par exemple : Dans les aliments et boissons préparation, le développement du service et du relationnel, la sensibilisation aux préférences et à la culture du client, le divertissement, l’éducation, la relaxation, l'approvisionnement ou la sous-traitance.

Ressources clés

Identifier les compétences clés, des actifs, des capacités ou des capacités sont essentiels au succès

L'entreprise peut avoir réussi une niche du marché en matière d'expertise spécifique, avoir accès aux ressources de production, une plate-forme logistique, infrastructure importante, un emplacement spécial. Tous ces éléments peuvent donner un avantage concurrentiel, ainsi que faire monter des obstacles d'entrée sur le marché.  Par exemple : Le restaurant peut employer des chefs célèbres, des performeurs talentueux en tant que serveurs, des experts de la nutrition, des artistes et des organisateurs, des entraîneurs, des masseurs, ou le restaurant peut être établi dans un lieu historique ou situé dans un emplacement unique.

Valeur ajoutée

Identifier où la valeur est créée et perçue par le client

Une expérience client ordinaire peut devenir mémorable, voire exceptionnelle avec l'ajout de certaines finesses, juste un geste délicat ou quelque chose de plus fondamental.  Par exemple : Les restaurants sont décorés dans certains thèmes, ce qui rend la cuisine visible, ou la fourniture de produits issus de l'agriculture naturelle.


Développer des relations avec des tiers qui peuvent fournir des renseignements, des informations et un soutien

Les guides du consommateur, les autorités locales, les organismes de réglementation, les associations professionnelles sont autant d'exemples de relations qui peuvent aider une entreprise à développer un réseau et à déployer ses ailes. Par exemple : Des guides des restaurants et des sites touristiques, des agents de santé et de sécurité, les autorités locales…


Développer des chemins originaux, différents et appropriés d’accès au marché

L'Internet offre un canal évident, et en fait il offre plus qu'un seul canal unique, parce qu'il existe beaucoup de différents sous-canaux, tels que ceux qui impliquant la publicité, les réseaux sociaux, l’adhésion, le commerce électronique et des micro-paiements. D'autres canaux peuvent envoyer un courriel, échanger l’achat pour la location, ou vice versa, libre-service ou service personnalisé, ou vice versa. Si les constructeurs automobiles offraient des véhicules à monter sur l'Internet, ou des meubles étaient à louer, les canaux des voitures de location et des meubles prêts à assembler auraient changés. Par exemple : Un restaurant qui permet aux gens de chauffer des produits à micro-ondes, ou de choisir la nourriture qui est ensuite cuit dans un wok, sont en train de changer le canal en quelque sorte, tout comme les services de livraison à domicile et les aliments congelés.

Changement dans le traitement des clients

Changer l’approche pour les clients et les clients

L'ensemble du processus de service à la clientèle peut être analysé et mis à jour à chaque étape, à partir de quand le client prend connaissance d'une offre, au moment où le produit est acheté, livré, utilisé et recyclés. Par exemple : Un restaurant pourrait vendre des coupons ou offrir des vivres gratuitement à certains moments, permettre à un repas gratuit pour une quatrième personne. Quand les gens peuvent acheter autant qu'ils peuvent manger, ou qu'ils s'inscrivent sur une plaque, l'approche a changé. Même lorsque la nourriture arrive sur une bande transporteuse, la notion de service a changé. Et lorsque des nouvelles technologies sont introduites afin d'améliorer le lien entre l'appétit et la consommation, alors l'expérience client a déjà été réorganisée.

Centres de coûts

Évaluer et analyser la structure de coût par rapport au modèle de la valeur

La structure des coûts peut être améliorée lorsque les inducteurs de coûts ne sont pas alignés avec la valeur perçue par le client. Par exemple, la viande crue est coûteuse pour préserver et peut ne pas plaire aux goûts de certains consommateurs. Les épices peuvent être coûteux à fournir et ne pas être totalement appréciée par les clients qui ne sont pas habitués à la cuisine piquante. Dans l'autre sens, lorsque la valeur appréciable par un client n'est pas traitée, peut-être une cuisine ouverte et visible, un hors d'œuvre ou juste un sourire sur le visage des employés, sont des aspects qui produisent beaucoup plus de valeur que le coût.

Sources de revenus

Analyser et évaluer les clients, les contacts et les lieux qui peuvent contribuer au chiffre d'affaires

Dans la distribution, la locale et l’emplacement sont critiques. La même chose peut être dite pour un autre lieu perçu, que ce soit en termes d'une page web ou d’une image de marque.  Les clients contribuent à ces impressions et sont influencés par les décisions qui sont prises. Une analyse des comportements des clients et de leurs choix d'achats peut augmenter la compréhension et faciliter les choix organisationnels. Par exemple : Les environnements qui peuvent convenir à un ‘take-away’ des pizzas, un restaurant de hamburgers et de la bière ou un bar à sushis peuvent différer considérablement. Même le choix des mots utilisés pour décrire ces lieux peut résonner plus ou moins avec l'expérience qui est promu. 

Energizing Activities

Firey energizers

Here there are seven pages of many types of active, team-based and easily accessinle energizers, stress-reducers and ice-breakers. 



Preview project games

Energizers are very useful in workshops and training courses, because most people do not enjoy sitting down and listening for long periods.  Instead they prefer to get up and get active by actually doing something.

This collection of carefully prepared ideas includ exercises for teams, exercises for individuals, action energizers, eam activity energizers, thinking energizers, relaxation energizers, icebreakers and advice on stress. 

It is truly essential to have some such resources available and at hand when you need to facilitate people in groups.


AgilePM Certification

AgilePM certification

Veuillez payer pour AgilePM Fondations examen avec PayPal

 170 EUR



Thinking Caps

Thinking cap

Sixteen thinking roles, guidelines and team observation tool.


Preview project games

Many people will be familiar with the six thinking hats of Edward De Bono.  In this set of material there are sixteen thinking hats. The sixteen hats incorporate psychometric caps, such as those that are oriented towards relations, ideas, structure and action.

Other roles are the ethical angel, the devil's advocate, honest broker and the blue-sky thinker.  All of these thinking roles are described and given cap colours.

The set of materials contains guidelines for applying the thinking caps in different ways, and a team obersevation tool to help you to observe and assess whether the thinking caps have been used suitably according to the challenges which you face. 


Straw Games

Straw tower construction site

There are almost as many ways to use plastic drinking straws as a building material as for plastic bricks.  Straws are lighter and more flexible.  This kit with guidelines and ideas will set you up to create project design, innovation and management sessions that are suitable for all kinds of training and workshop events, both indoors and out of doors. 


Preview project games

The Straw Game is just what you need to run a creative micro-project team experience, providing a fun and enjoyable moment whilst practising some real project skills. There are many variants to the straw tower or bridge.  And you can run the project in an agile fashion, for design and customer interaction, or as a traditional engineering, procurement and construction project with a contract and a specification.

By using the straws as a construction material you can provide different constraints for logistics, security, fabrication and cost engineering, with sufficient risk, adequate change and occasional incident, and all within a tight deadline, if requird.  This set of materials will give you lots of ideas for the preparation and facilitation. 

This game is very scalable. Straws are very light to carry around in a suitcase and so you can organise small to large workshops with a few teams of three or four individuals, right up to teams of ten or twelve who integrate their sub-modules and compete with other teams. You could even run a session composed of many hundreds of people. 


Project Steps

Project steps

Project Steps is an activity that enables a relatively quick practice of team synergy and cooperation which develops the ability of the individuals in the teams to improve their results thanks to teamwork. 


Preview project games

Project Steps is a kind of ‚Äúsurvive in the project activity‚ÄĚ.¬† It is an exercise that develops the idea of synergy. Participants first decide individually on a sequence for ordering steps in a project management process. Then the participants group into teams and pursue the process by working together. This means that individuals practise how to benefit from each other‚Äôs understanding and experience.

If the group works well, the team results should be better than the individual results and discussions should be energizing, rather than enervating and tiring. The activity also encourages the participants to take another look about how best to facilitate a team decision process and the conditions and attitudes that encourage teams to work together productively. 


Project Portfolio Activity

Project portfolio button

Project Portfolio analysis creates the platform for project portfolio management. It is an important critical success factor at enterprise level. This is an activity that encourages the participants to adopt portfolio reasoning and understanding.


Preview project games

People in the company need to know which projects are in the pipeline, and the purpose and priorities associated with each project.   The organisation must ensure that the project portfolio contains the right balance and a suitable risk profile. 

The Project Portfolio Activity is designed for people who are learning, investigating or developing their project portfolio management understanding and capabilities. The Moloko International dairy company is faced with the challenge of articulating a vision, organising its portfolio and aligning its vision and strategy.

Participants use a multi-dimensional matrix analysis process in order to obtain their portfolio and to make a presentation to the executive team. 


Transversality Game

Transversality game

The transversality game can make a great contribution to an organisation that is improving the ability of its staff to work effectively across organisational boundaries.  This product offers you a method (the transversality index), a tool for thinking about transversality and a game that puts the stress on cooperation under pressure.


Preview project games

Transversality is a word used for working across functional boundaries, for integrating disciplines and even for working in inter-cultural teams.  Usually transversality suggests horizontal communication and cooperation.  The skills of working across boundaries are just as important vertically up and down the organisation, and between different organisations. In all of these cases, an effort is necessary to understand the other parties and to invest in collaboration.

This activity is about teams that must share resources in order to succeed, but the resources are not evenly distributed. The teams must bother compete and cooperate, which is similar to many kinds of business situation and human interaction. A number of different variants are suggested to help you adjust the concept and use the game in different ways.  

There are two other resources contained within this product that can help to develop the theme of transversality: a transversality matrix to explore and develop the different kinds of actions that stimulate and encourage transversality; and guidelines for how to create a transversality index, quiz or questionnaire within an organisation based upon different people’s understanding of the constraints and contributions of other departments than their own. 


Flying Eggs Micro Project

15 EUR

Communication Games

  Communication games

 4 EUR

Estimating Games

Estimating Games


Motivation Exercise

Project Motivations Exercise

2 EUR : Ian Stokes, Project Leader and Advisor

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