Who are you and what do you do?
I am a consultant and trainer in Best Practices, including PRINCE2, MSP and P3O. I have a lot of real life experience with the ‘change’ part of organizations, little with Business as Usual. I work as a consultant in different levels of change: from strategic innovation down to delivery. That means that I have set up Project Management Offices, did some Portfolio Management and lots of Project Management. Often I worked in the delivery of these projects, however I also have experience in the ideation and conceptualization.
Being a trainer and a consultant, I believe that the quality lies with real life experience. I could not train others in something that I did not experience myself.
How did you arrive in your current position?
I started giving trainings because it basically helps me learn. I find it extremely interesting and rewarding to learn from others and to see how they do their work. With the trainings I provide, I enter worlds that I did not know that existed. This helps me to become a better trainer and consultant and helps me grow professionally.
Being a trainer also pushes me to explain the methodology in a clear way and this helps me understand the methodology better with every course I give. The participants of the course always challenge me with questions and critique and that helps me to constantly improve myself.
As a consultant and trainer in Best Practices, where do you see the current problems in the world of Project/Programme/Portfolio Management?
I am convinced that many organizations have great Project Managers that have the correct skill set to perform their role. They know how to write a project plan, follow the plan and keep budgets under control. It all looks great on paper, however the projects do not deliver. This is often because the organization around the Project Manager is not supportive enough.
Strange enough, the answer to solve this problem is simple; PRINCE2. As often believed, PRINCE2 is not just a Project methodology. PRINCE2 is a Project organizational methodology that includes the overall organization.
Projects are always unconventional and problems will arise. Often the Project Manager is seen as the one responsible. But if he does not have the correct structure supporting him/her, we cannot blame him/her. Everyone involved in the project has a certain responsibility and PRINCE2 helps to create this awareness and provides structure.
Once PRINCE2 is in place, is all solved?
No, PRINCE2 is the start of the answer. PRINCE2 is a tool that will help organizations back on track. However, as every organization is different, there are always some parts missing in PRINCE2. To really get projects to deliver, we need to create some form of co-creation between the ‘change’ part and the ‘business as usual’ of the organization, everybody needs to be included. The organization needs to put a support base in place and everyone should be aware about the project management approach and method the organization has chosen.
Training employees for PRINCE2 will help to create this support base. I am convinced that having them get the certification will even help convert the more skeptical ones. But some organizations need more than just training, they need the help of a consultant to help them to change.
Can you share a situation where the adoption of PRINCE2 helped solve a problem?
I was invited to give a PRINCE2 course at a production company, I gave the Foundation course during the Summer and at the end of the year I gave the Practitioner course. The overall attitude towards PRINCE2 was very skeptical at first. But when I came back for the Practitioner course, I was astonished by what I saw. They implemented PRINCE2 and tailored it to their needs. They divided the roles, drew the processes and they did an incredible job convincing even the ones on the shopfloor to work accordingly.
The company was not reaching the international standards and via a top-down approach it was urged to follow a PRINCE2 course. The training I provided was very different (and challenging for me), as the questions and situations sketched were all very practical. But once they started applying PRINCE2 the international expectations were met.
Your take on PRINCE2 and its future?
PRINCE2 might be old fashioned, but it is still very worth it. I think over the coming years we can see some revisits of the methodology but it will not be too different in essence. I am convinced that it is the most practical and fast solving method for Project Management issues. PRINCE2 has a very simple approach and a strategic view, it does not only focus on the delivery of the project. This is what organizations need now but will also need in the future.
It would be great if there would be an active Project Management community like the one that exists for other Best Practices. This would help to create an intercompany support base and would also make intercompany cooperation easier. Plus it would provide a great opportunity to learn from each other.
I am not sure what my future will bring. I am currently residing in Hong Kong but I do not know till when. One thing that is for sure is that I love what I do and will keep on doing it, as long as I can keep on learning. I will work as a consultant and trainer and hope to inspire others. I will also actively seek to participate in a PRINCE2/Project Management community. For example the PMO Usergroup that QRP International organises twice a year. This event is created to talk about all the issues PMO’s encounter and to increase intercompany cooperation.
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