‘Coasts full of jobs, seas full of fish’ – Navigating the challenges of Stakeholder Management


 

The single thing that makes a project complex is when it involves stakeholders with conflicting requirements.   Project Managers can struggle to understand everyone’s requirements and then navigate a course through those requirements to deliver satisfied stakeholders.

For Aspira’s September (Thursday 21st)  Lunch & Learn offering, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Susan Steele, Chair and CEO of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).   “The marine is a shared resource.” says Dr. Steele, “The SFPA act as guardians to make sure that it is protected and fairly shared. Our vision is ‘coasts full of jobs and seas full of fish’.

A passionate communicator and multi-tasker beyond compare, learn how Dr. Steele approaches the challenge of dealing with different stakeholder requirements, finding a way to make those requirements align, with the goal of achieving a win/win for the stakeholders and for the project.

Susan holds an MBA, MED as well as a PhD. She has seven children. She is an avid sea swimmer, swimming every day in the sea. She is also a runner having completed over 70 marathons, ultramarathons up to 200km in length and ironmen distance triathlons. Susan holds a private pilot’s license. To register, please complete the form below.

Lunch & Learn Registration

 

Top 10 traits I most admire in a Manager

 

I have worked for a variety of managers to date and have met many more along the way!  As a result, I have experienced many traits I admire and some traits I dislike.  These are the Top ten traits that I most like in a people manager.

  1. Give credit in public – acknowledge your staff’s contribution and don’t pretend you do all the work!
  2. Promote people with potential – you should look out for the high performers and help them become the leaders of the future.
  3. Be honest about people’s performance – give constructive feedback – both negative and positive and don’t make false promises about salary increases that will never happen.
  4. Create a co-operative and collaborative environment where peers help each other rather – avoid “warring tribes” syndrome.
  5. Don’t ask your people to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself.
  6. Be respectful towards individuals.  People respond positively when treated with dignity and respect.
  7. Take the time to build team spirit.  Hold team meetings and build in time for team members to meet each other face-to-face.  This will dramatically improve their working relationship.
  8. Be supportive when your people make mistakes.  It’s easy to be nice when everything is going well, but great managers give support to their team members when things are going wrong.
  9. Trust your team to do their job – give clear direction and review progress, but don’t disempower your staff by micromanaging their hourly activities.
  10. Build relationships – work is about more than getting the task done, it’s also about building relationships with colleagues and stakeholders.  Great managers make an effort to connect on a personal level with their team members, helping to understand what makes them tick. And if they like Bruce Springsteen then that is a great start!

How many of these traits do you already exhibit?  At Aspira we do our best to demonstrate these traits, as I believe it is a key factor in any successful company.

I find this quote really good to guide my thinking and behaviours “People do not leave a company, they leave a manager”

Author: Mary Dwyer, Operations Manager, Aspira.

Project Resourcing and Staff Utilisation: A view from the bench, and the benefits of our virtual bench to our clients.

Using my regular football analogies in this blog, it occurred to me how the dynamics of staff utilisation in medium to large consultancies can have many similarities with the challenges of managing junior soccer teams. We featured our sponsorships of Cork City and Castleknock Celtic previously and my experience of managing under age teams has often helped me in my professional capacity as HR & Resourcing Manager at Aspira. I am under no illusions that Cork face much wider considerations and challenges but bear with me.

”Don’t you dare leave me on the bench!…..”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Aspira most of our staff work on in-house and external clients projects. They are specialist PMs, Business Analysts, Software Developers & Testers, System Admin and tech support professionals. As a consulting organisation, it is important that these staff are kept busy for their own personal job satisfaction as well as for the obvious commercial reasons. We hire staff who enjoy working with clients, have a sense of pride in meeting their expectations and feel comfortable with our policy of knowledge and skill transfer throughout project delivery. But there will be down time, and time on the bench….

All Aspira staff have a training plan and we ensure that time is set aside to complete training courses, upgrade certifications, and also work on Aspira internal projects. This utilisation strategy needs to align with our clients’ needs. They value our resources, and generally retain them for at least 3-9 months or longer in some cases. Our software projects tend to have more control from our side so we can plan downtime better. One of our .NET teams will be coming off a major project over the Summer and our plans are already in place to update and appraise their training and certification needs before they are snapped up again on their next client assignment.

This coming and going of staff in our Dublin and Cork Offices is something we are very used to. I know that many of us are always wary of being thrust onto tender work when coming off a project, but our Subject Matter Experts are the very reason that we have won so many public sector tenders. They understand what clients are trying to achieve on their projects, and are able to articulate very clear and comprehensive approaches to tender responses and proposed deliverables. As they are our own staff, we can stand over their delivery and make our prices attractive to client organisations. We believe that this level of engagement with our consultants give them a greater sense of belonging to Aspira, and more aware of our overall objectives.

So this brings me back to my football team. All parents want their child to play, but there are 16 on the squad which means 5 on the bench. I don’t expect any of those 5 to be happy to be on the bench, and I need them to be motivated and ready to play when I need them. I also need to make sure that the 11 on the pitch are set up in the correct formation, give us the best chance to win the game, whilst all are playing in their favoured positions. As with any company project or in the ongoing running of a client’s business, not everything will go to plan in a football match. The opposition are stronger, break us down on the right or left wing, have a greater threat at corners or present any other risk to our hopes of winning the game. So I make changes to counter that. We may switch to a 4-4-2 formation, replace a more skilful player with a more physical player, or use a different more direct approach that requires your tallest player up front. In that brief 80 minute period, the team that adapt better to the pitch, use their resources the best, have the highest work rate, play to a plan, and take their chances…..will win. I want everyone to play, and everyone to feel part of the objectives of the Club and our team. There are only 11 players on the pitch at any one time, but all 16 will feel rewarded in their combined efforts. Our players roll on and roll off the pitch, in the same way that our consultants help our clients deliver their projects.

We pro-actively manage a bench of skilled Project Managers, Business Analysts, Test & Test Managers, Software Developers and IT Support staff who can react promptly to our client’s project demands. Whilst this may not be as urgent or immediate as replacing my injured right back with a suitable substitute, it can be a huge benefit to our client to have a highly skilled PM come onto a project at short notice, and have an immediate impact on a project rescue or simply in standing in for a sick member of staff. The same goes for our SW development team. Clients may not have the headcount clearance to have 10 developers full time, which is where Aspira can help.

Aspira also have a proven resourcing methodology that allows our clients to issue staffing requirements to us, for diverse technical skill sets that our skilled HR team can source from our associate database or through referral. Our excellent screening processes, and inhouse technical expertise and prior knowledge of our clients work culture allow us to shorten response and lead times to fit the need.

 

 

 

In many ways, our children, players, parents and the wider community are the customers of Castleknock Celtic, and this is how I see my role as a mentor. In the same way, our clients staffing needs and projects demands are the priority of our Resourcing team. Please call or email me if you require our assistance in sourcing your staff solutions over the coming months.

 Author: Russell Moore, HR & Resourcing Manager, Aspira.

Where’s Me Jumper: Putting smarts into Project Management !

Everything seems to be upgrading to a smarter version these days. Even jackets ! with Google and Levis recently announcing a collaborative effort in the upcoming release of their smart jacket.  Surely the days of losing one’s jumper at 0300 am in various establishments may be finally coming to end, solving one of the first world’s most pressing problems. The notion of such everyday items becoming smarter lead me to ask what new smarts are out there that could be applied to project management.

To make it easier and more efficient for project managers to manage projects and not get lost in a sea of complexity and change, I believe there are many new smart ways to improve project management performance. For this short blog, I have picked some of the PMI knowledge areas to see where “smarts” could be applied.

Project Time Management.

A lot of people still use Excel to manager project schedules. MS Project has been around for a long time and could not be considered new, however the new versions of Project Online certainly does bring a lot to the party regarding smarter scheduling. Ms Project online now allows Enterprise resource management (essential in today’s project matrix organisations), Portfolio Optimization, Anytime and Anywhere access via Browsers, Dashboard reporting as well as integration into Skype for Business and enhanced SharePoint integration. One thing having such new tools, I always advise for anybody working on MS Project to also take the MS Project Certification exam to make the best of such tools and to improve your scheduling skills

Project Quality Management

We all know quality is critical to any project. Many folk again still use Excel to record and managed defects. I would strongly advise using either enterprise quality / defect tracking tools such as IBM Rational Rose, MS TFS or perhaps use one of the many cloud based defect tracking tools to ensure you have a systematic process for dealing with defects and issue resolution. One should also consider the use if automated testing tools such as Selenium / Cucumber / Jenkins to save testing cycle time and to ensure consistent tests where appropriated.

Project Communications Management.

In a previous blog on Project Management and the Self-Destructing Project Update, I noted how the impact of the various social media platforms outside of work are beginning to have an influence on communication within the work environment. Many organisations already have begun to use enterprise-grade social media, although these business-focused tools tend to be a little different to the tools that flourish in the wild. For example, Yammer is deployed as a business-focused alternative to Facebook; various Instant Messaging tools such as Skype for Business take the place of WhatsApp and enterprise tools such as SocialCast are found in organisations as a replacement for micro blogging tools such as Twitter. It is certainly worthwhile to consider the communication channels that one can use these days in a project and perhaps cater better for the new generation of project team members.

Project Risk Management

Sometimes it is not a case of using a shiny new tool. We can become smarter too by learning more about how to deal with certain aspects of project management. Most project managers keep risk registers, but they are often static documents or repositories.  Dealing with risk is one of the most important jobs in any project and to this end I would recommend people taking the PMI-RMP certification in order to best equip one’s self to deal with topics such as risk process facilitation, risk monitoring and control as well as specific risk analysis skills. Learning more about how to deal with risk will make you a much more valuable project manager.

There of course many other new tools and techniques out there to help make our projects smarter and thus delivering increased value and the key is to ensure that you are aware of latest industry trends and products and methodologies that might make sure that you don’t feel “lost” at the end of your project and keep an eye out for smart jumpers coming to a Christmas near you.

Don’t be afraid to tell me my baby is ugly!

 

CEO Pat Lucey speaks on newstalk FM about how he set-up Aspira ten years ago following the closure of Motorola. This was his burning platform that inspired him to take the entrepreneurial leap to set-up Aspira with his colleague Colum Horgan.

Pat talks about the culture change from a multinational environment,  where you are somewhat protected from the trials and tribulations of the economy, to having to deal with the challenges and demands of running your own business. However, both Pat and Colum came from family businesses, so were aware of both the risks and commitment required, to make Aspira the success it is today.

Both the combination of their multinational experience, where there was a huge investment in people and their backgrounds of growing up in family businesses gave them the confidence and ability to lead their own company. Aspira employs nearly 100 people and has offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Pat advises that creating a new business takes more than just a good idea. You need to investigate thoroughly and look at all the available supports out there, including Enterprise Ireland, which is very helpful to Aspira. Importantly you need people to tell you ‘your baby is ugly’, if the idea is not good enough.

Don’t be reluctant about giving negative feedback. People often just casually say ‘oh, that’s a great idea!”, as they are afraid of upsetting budding entrepreneurs! So don’t be afraid to tell people their baby is ugly!

World Recognised Project Management

If you could have a qualification with the power to open doors for you into multiple industries as diverse as IT to Engineering to Big Pharma and more, in any country across the world where you wish to work, would you let that opportunity pass you by? Neither would we.

 

Not everyone is cut out to be a project manager. It takes a certain level of determination, grit and sheer force of will to oversee and guide a long and complex set of interdependent tasks to completion inside an allocated budget. This is what makes it so fulfilling as a career. Great project managers are detail-oriented, have excellent organisational and perceptive, pragmatic planning skills.
For driven individuals wanting to embark on project management as a career, the time is definitely now. Project management job opportunities are plentiful and the supply never seems to meet the demand. That’s why it’s such a bankable and dependable career choice.

 

However, it is absolutely essential to have a professional – and industry recognisable – credential to your name to secure a lucrative role in Project Management. When it comes to Project Management training; what differentiates Aspira from all the rest is simply this: our training is more than a credential – it is effective, insightful and will give you actual techniques and templates to work with in your project management career. That’s why Aspira’s project management training is such a beneficial device to help enhance your ability to make the transition into project management.

 

Our industry experts have crafted a diverse set of project management course options which cater specifically to the differing needs of those in search of powerful incisive training. Whether you are looking for an introduction to project management essentials or become a recognised Project Management Professional (PMPTM) certified by the PMITM, or are looking to train your staff to be the best Agile Scrummasters on the market, Aspira has precisely what you need in our range of project management training options

 

All of our courses use the latest edition (5th Edition – March 2013)PMBOK® Guide as the core reference. By the end of our courses our trainees leave with a detailed understanding of Project Management terms, concepts and methodologies. Trainees are presented with real world project challenges providing opportunities to exercise their knowledge and skill before completing the course. Aspira project management training results in competent and confident project managers armed with all the skills and abilities required to effectively and methodically manage any project.
To talk to us today about the project management course that best suits your needs, you can contact us on: training@aspira.ie or direct call on: +353 21 235 2550

 

The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

The Hare And The Tortoise: A Case For Slow Project Management

For many years now, I have read this book at the behest of my young son (who is a huge fan of the tortoise) and despite numerous attempts on my behalf to change the story /ending on the fly, to add an element of the unexpected, the demand is always there to ensure that tortoise always wins, which of course he/she does every night.

Recently I started to wonder what does this fable offer project management and watching Trump attempting to launch a huge amount of his promised policy decisions in a quick initial burst of activity, the thought came to my mind of the need maybe to adopt an approach that I might term “Slow Project Management” and that maybe by slowing down as a project manager you might actually complete the project faster!

As mentioned in a recent post, the start of a project is the most critical (particularly in terms of requirements and the business analysis role). Taking some time out and slowing down is also just as important to the Project Manager, especially at the start of a project.

One simple way to do this is to treat the project kick-off process with as much care as possible and don’t be afraid to re-run or have a number of phased project kick-off meetings if you are not entirely satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and what you want to get out of it in terms of setting the project up for a good start.

Another effective method that we often use in Aspira as project managers, is running our “Pre-Mortem” workshop in the initiation phase of a project where we imagine the project as a failure and then working backwards to understand how it might have failed and documenting into a RAID or a similar tool that output of that process. This is run separately to kick-off meetings and again, although it does take some extra time, we find the process does help to identify potential future problems and allow mitigations to be planned and hence improve project success.

Taking such time outs along with increased reflection will perhaps protect against the over confidence of the “Hare” project manager and in the long run get you the destination faster.

Good Night, Sleep Tight!

For more information on Services Aspira Provide go to our website at www.aspira.ie. Alternatively, if you have any queries contact Aspira directly by emailing us on info@aspira.ie.

 

Created by:      Jerry Giltenane

Company:         Aspira

Position:          Professional Services Director

Lean in and become a ScrumMaster

Most software development teams are either agile or leaning towards agile. Scrum has revolutionised IT and has trended significantly in recent years and qualified ScrumMasters are the new software development accessory.

In today’s highly competitive environment there are increasing demands for rapid release of software iterations with a focus on quality at affordable costs. By embracing the Scrum Agile methodology and mastering the skills of the ScrumMaster you will see both the passion of scrum teams and their increased productivity unleashed within your organisation.

The ScrumMaster is relentlessly focused on leading the development team to success and ensuring their path to delivery of their goals is clear.

Aspira’s world class training will take you to the heart of what being not just a good, but a great ScrumMaster really means. So lean in to our two day ScrumMaster training course and you will learn to:

• Understand the principles of Agile and how to implement the Scrum Agile Method

• Learn how to estimate and create a realistic plan so that project commitments will be      delivered

• Increase your team’s productivity, and balance their workload

• Build up your capability to deliver early prototypes and projects

• Learn how to manage change when implementing Scrum in your organization

Aspira are approved education providers by the Project Management Institute, the International Institute of Business Analysis and Scrum Alliance. This means our Training has been audited by the PMI® and the IIBA® and meets their strict quality requirements. Click here to talk about your Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certification.

Professional ScrumMaster courses – Earlybird price is €750 and includes exam fee

• Cork on 13th & 14th September 2016
• Dublin on 25th & 26th October 2016

Requirement Gathering – Overcoming Obstacles Along The Way

One of the crucial first stages of any project is the seeking out and to collect all-important business requirements. Establishing an entire set of needs at the beginning allows for superior planning, shorter delivery cycles, authentic estimates of project costs, along with
increased client satisfaction and the better adoption of the end product or service.

One of the main duties that a business analyst will perform is to successfully bridge the gap between the technical and business requirements. They are expected to fully comprehend the requirements of the company within the given context, then adjust these needs with the objectives and goals of the organisation. It is also essential that these results be communicated to either a development team, stakeholders or perhaps both.

In order to accomplish this successfully, the project requirements must be clearly and concisely written, in a way that is entirely comprehensible to both groups of people. It is expected that the business analyst, project manager or whoever is responsible for the analysis will have to deal with conflicting views and opinions from the stakeholders; there will frequently be challenges along the way to working out the exact plan and obtain a crystal clear picture of exact requirements.

1. Not defining the success criteria clearly
It is entirely natural for stakeholders to be aware that there are issues which need to be addressed, but not to fully comprehend what they require as a solution. One key element to help them to reach this point and address the issue is to break the project down into bitesize pieces. There are numerous collaboration modelling tools, which allow this – providing the clients with a high-level overview of the vision.
What is key, is to try to fully ascertain what they like, you can ask them to give you examples of products they prefer, and to elaborate on why they like them. Making the requirements fully quantifiable and conclusive.

 

2. Stakeholders may have a conflicting interest or priority
When introducing a new process, system or product, it is essential that it adheres to the requirements of multiple groups of stakeholders, these could be senior management, investors or even end users of the product. It is possible, and almost probable that these groups of people will have conflicting priorities or views on this. We have found one of the best ways to tackle this challenge, is to always have an assigned authority within the business. This is somebody who can take charge of the negotiations, and also who has the final say in making the decision. Without this person, it is often exceptionally challenging to resolve this type of conflict.
This part of gathering requirement is crucial, it ensures that any proposed terms are not out of scope, nor do they promote any individual agenda – as opposed to the overall company vision at the heart of the project.
3. Stakeholders who are over forceful or do not speak up
If you are dealing with this issue, rest assured – it is likely that it is nothing at all to do with your project. These issues are frequently experienced to be political issues within a business. People might even be afraid to get pinned down by expressing their views or solutions. Sometimes, the project may be of particular importance, and as such this will be driving everyone to want to be involved and have a say. Participation from stakeholders, along with active communication is a recipe for success when we look at the requirement gathering processes. Having these key people provide you with honest, open information will first mean you having to establish rapport and trust. Being well prepared for these meetings, listening whilst you are in them and learning from them will imply professionalism, interest and will also enable you to understand their challenges, which will enable to you focus on solving their issues.

4. Stakeholders may have a change of heart
From time to time, this can happen. It could be that the initial project requirements have not been entirely understood, or communicated, or perhaps, over the course of the project – they have evolved. Realistically, the only way you can approach this objective or challenge is to remain flexible and try to embrace the change. Any amendments will need to be correctly prioritised and there will most likely be new budgetary and timings which would need to be relayed and confirmed with the client before any modifications can take place.

5. Stakeholders insisting on a specific solution
This challenge will often surface when the stakeholders are limited with their technical knowledge in specific areas, if they had a particular technology in a past project work well for them, or perhaps, they are just unable to articulate in a concise manner what requirement they are needing to address. An ideal way to deal with this is to aim to divert their focus back to the definition of what the system should do. One way to do this would be to ask a question such as “if you were to have that system in place, which one of our problems would that specifically solve?”. Essentially it will be the technical team who work out how the system will do what it needs to, not the stakeholder.

For more information on Aspira’s Business Analysis services check out our website or contact us on info@aspira.ie

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to

The famous Richard Branson quote that he penned in 2014 goes “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to”. The statement from the founder of Virgin Atlantic carries a lot of meaning, and it should undoubtedly be the driving force of every entrepreneur. Let’s take a closer look at these words from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Branson’s statement has two parts. The first part talks about proper staff training and the second about retaining your staff members. As business people the question we need to ask ourselves is, is this truly possible in the real business world? Here’s how to use Richard Branson’s principles to get the best out of your business.

Nurturing Better Skills

The influence your staff has over the success of your business is enormous. By offering your staff the right training, your customers will benefit from high-quality service. And what more would any business want to achieve than customer satisfaction and a widening market? The success of your business begins with how you treat your staff members. Armed with the necessary skills, their productivity will undoubtedly be raised, and they will learn to work independently. This is advantageous to your business because it means you will have self-driven employees who are filled with the passion to deliver nothing short of the best results.

With The Right Treatment You Will Keep Your Staff

Once they’ve gained independence, it is possible that your staff will develop the urge to leave as they begin to feel that they can do so much more by themselves. They’re hungry to take on new challenges, and they certainly want to rank high in the staff hierarchy. What can you do at his stage? Most importantly remember that it is inevitable to lose employees when they feel they have increased their qualifications and experience and now have all it takes to take on new ventures by themselves. The answer of course lies in the way you treat your staff. If you manage your employees well, you will certainly retain many of them and this is so beneficial especially if you have taken them through training that’s geared towards bettering your business. It is very regrettable to train your staff appropriately and then after all, many of them walk away endowed with the skills you passed to them. Think about the competition they will cause when they are hired by a rival organization. Therefore, as entrepreneurs, valuing our staff is key to our success.

The Advantages of Professional Certification for Career Starters and For Maintaining Employability through Your Career

In the modern workplace, an interplay of several factors is essential to achieving success. Of course, you need the right qualifications to make your way into the system in the first place, and then you need to develop several skills in order to maintain productivity and be of true value to your organization.

The question of certification can be confusing. One might wonder just how important it is to get professional certification. Probably you’ve heard of people who are skilled and can do very well in a particular field but for some reasons, they are not certified? Therefore, you might ask yourself if you really do need professional certifications. The answer is yes. Professional certification speaks volumes of what an organization expects of you. It makes a clear statement about what your capabilities are to the employer and what potential impact you will have within the business. Professional certification also determines how much you will earn from a job and the value of certification cannot be underestimated. Being an accredited certified project manager as opposed to being a manager of projects will ensure you earn more and give you the opportunity to advance your career.

The concept of employability is critical for any worker. It refers to the ability to remain relevant in the workplace and retain high levels of marketability. Maintaining employability has to be the goal of any employee and it is only achievable if  you focus on keeping your skills current to allow you to adapt to the constantly changing workplace.. However, for someone who paid attention to employability, there will always be a source of hope lingering somewhere. What most people don’t understand is that it doesn’t take so much effort to be employable. It just needs adapting some habits like learning new things over a period of time and honing your skills. Taking a part time course is such a great addition and above all, updating your resume will help you a great deal.

Project Management Experts On Call

Project Management as a business discipline is the ability to deliver any particular project result using certain guiding principles. It can also be defined as the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. Aspira has a long track record of delivering project management as a specialist service to enterprise organisations and companies globally.

Often in larger organisations Aspira Project Managers are on hand to work with many different strategic business units in completing assigned packages of work. The initiation of a project often starts with gathering the project team and selecting the project manager, who will then oversee communication and plan the different parts of the project including the executing and controlling activities. In this article we will look at some guiding principles of project management, will review some methodologies within project management and consider some projects where these methodologies can be applied, such as Mobile, ICT and Change Management.

The Project Planning stage includes estimating the duration for a project to reach completion, breaking down that project into its constituent work packages and allocating that work into a series of achievable milestones. Once the plan is approved, we move into the Executing phase. This is generally where most resources and most cost is eaten up on a project, so it is is especially important to have a solid plan so that the execution is as efficient as possible. Throughout this time the project is monitored and controlled by the project manager, who communicates progress to all stakeholders, including the team members and project owners and senior management.

IT Projects are often completed as part of wider business projects. IT and software development organizations are a particular area of challenge for project managers. The requirement to regulate and control the creation of new applications and software has led to the growth of specific project management certifications and protocols for the IT and software development areas.

“There are several approaches to project managing and one which has become increasingly popular in the IT world is the Agile methodology.”

The Project Management Institute® is the world’s leading professional body for the project, program and portfolio management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI® delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world. PMI® has globally recognized standards, and certifications which are the most widely accepted measure of professional competence as a Project Manager – in some countries it is seen as the only option for project management career development.

The PMI organization incorporates other related sources of knowledge: Human Systems International (HSI) provides organizational assessment and benchmarking services; while ProjectManagement.com and ProjectsAtWork.com create online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives.

The PRINCE 2 Project management methodology has also contributed to the certification and education of Project Managers. PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and some other countries. The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management.

Key features of PRINCE2 include its focus on the business justification for the project and on defining an organisation structure for the project team. It has a product-based planning approach with the emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages. One benefit of PRINCE2 projects is that the team and the project normally has a flexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project.

There are several approaches to project managing any project and one which has become increasingly popular in the IT world is the Agile methodology.

Agile is growing in use as it can be cost effective and easily organised system. Self organised teams form a large part of the process, which appeals to people who enjoy autonomy and ownership of their commitments. It is also reliant on constant feedback. There are different flavours of Agile, with Scrum being the most popular. Scrum promotes daily stand-up meetings which encourage the team to focus only on the essentials and avoid waste.

“Communicating clearly both outside and within the company will help to ensure that the transformation happens easily and with as few challenges as possible.”

Project Management is all about delivering change, and can be used as a tool within the business sphere of change management. The particular skill of Change Management as is often required during turbulent times in businesses, where senior management within an organisation seek to align and manage the culture, people, values and behaviours of that organization to achieve a tactical and strategic objective. Often change management specialists can help keep a stable environment while these objectives are deployed. Communicating clearly both outside and within the company will help to ensure that the transformation happens easily and with as few challenges as possible.

There are some basic principles for the successful implementation of change management within any organisation. These include starting at the top, ensuring all levels within the company are involved within the transformation, always articulating the formal case as to why the change is needed. Individuals often question the need for change because it is difficult and can be hard to understand. Having a specialist change management manager can ensure that the process is not only smooth but fair to all employees.

Mobile optimisation of all software and project management tools continues to be very important for organisations as many team members are using mobile devices. For project management this is something that continues to attract discussion as organisations strive to be efficient while giving employees a strong sense of work/ life balance.

The ongoing trend continues in 2016 where project management sees the increasing popularity of remote teams. Virtual team members, working from different locations and using mobile collaboration technology will become the new norm. Aspira often work with clients in-house, on-site or on remote teams. The needs of the clients and team members within client locations are always considered before a decision on location for teams should be made.

In addition to the increasing geographic spread of team members another trend is emerging where Bring Your Own Device ( BYOD) is more popular. Costs associated with ensuring each team member has the same device and understands how to work it can be cut by allowing each employee to use their own devices for work projects by adding IT software and programmes. Ticketing software within the organisation however has to be resourced to help with the IT Help Desk as this often gets busier after the implementation of a BYOD policy. Often Project Managers will seek to combine the ticketing software for IT projects and the regular project management software in use within the organisation.

Project Management is an exciting and continually evolving area within the IT and ICT sectors. It is an area of expertise and continual development for Aspira. Our specialists regularly push boundaries within the various projects which they lead in client organisations and within our own project management portfolio.

For more information on Project Management services contact: info@aspira.ie