Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category


In this article we will discuss the pros and cons of APM, PMI and PRINCE2 for individuals and organisations wishing to develop competence in project management and how they can be combined into a common approach which delivers a holistic approach giving organisations who deliver project for clients a real competitive edge and a more effective approach to project management.

Project managers have a wide range of choice for project management trainingincluding certification and non certification courses. In the certification arena that have choice between
1. PMP qualification from the USA based Project Management Institute (PMI)
2. PRINCE2 which is the project management method sponsored by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC)
3. Qualifications from the International Project Management Association (IPMA), which vary from country to country but are represented in the UK by qualifications from the Association for Project Management.

A range of other project related qualifications exist targeted at the needs of specific sectors, such as ITIL.
As an alternative many organisations develop their own bespoke training programmes which are targeted at the specific needs within that organisation. Often these are supplemented by top up certification courses.


  1. A range of qualifications from introductory to advanced project management.
  2. A pragmatic approach to project management based on a published Body of Knowledge.
  3. Competences include leadership and management of teams.
  4. Very strong within certain sectors in the UK including defence, infrastructure, telecoms.
  5. Links to professional development.

  1. Most widely recognised global project management qualification.
  2. Computer based test can be administered from anywhere in the world.
  3. Detailed comprehensive body of knowledge (PMBoK) available in many languages.
  4. Requirement for experience and formal training add value to qualification.
  5. Formal requirement for CPD to maintain certification.

  1. Most widely recognised project management in the UK.
  2. Increasing value in the international market.
  3. Clear and simple step by step process to follow.
  4. Detailed and comprehensive PRINCE2 manual.
  5. Need for ongoing certification to maintain credibility

  1. Only recognised strongly in the UK and other parts of the commonwealth.
  2. Examinations and certification are not computer based making logistic more difficult outside the UK.
  3. Body of knowledge lacks the detail in the PMBoK and PRINCE2 manual

  1. Not widely recognised in the UK.
  2. Highest level of qualification in the PMP with no options for further development beyond this knowledge level.
  3. Need to learn the PMBoK way for working which may not reflect practice in your organisation.

  1. Method only works in a PRINCE2 environment. It can be hard to apply PRINCE2 to general project management.
  2. Excludes the important area of people leadership and management.
  3. Only strongly recognised in the UK

Looking to the future it would be good to see these different standards combined into one common approach. Parallel Project Training recently did this for one of its international programme management consultancy clients with offices around the world. It can be relatively easily done, especially since the release of the new 2009 PRINCE2 manual.
Combining the best of all three approaches into one common method?

It is relatively simple to produce a combined method that meets the requirements of all three approaches. A detailed analysis of the APM and PMI BoKs reveals that they have much in common. The high level nature of the APM Bok is helpful here because its knowledge areas are very similar to the PMI BoK. The fourth edition of the PMI BoK increased this similarity because many of the changes brought it is much closer to the APM BoK in the areas such as risk management.

PRINCE2 is slightly more difficult to integrate, because it has a much wider definition or project management and views the project from the perspective of a client organisation. It is much more concerned with the formulation and management of the project business case, governance structures and interface to the users in client business to ensure the benefits are realised. This is understandable because of its roots in national government. It pays less attention to the mechanisms for the delivery of the project.

The PMI Bok however views the project as more of a delivery process for the scope defined on the project charter. It pays less attention to the processes used to formulate the project charter in the first place and the governance of the project by the client. PRINCE2 is however very weak on the delivery mechanisms such as resource planning
However these two approached (PRINCE2 and PMBoK) form a useful complement, with PRINCE2 clearly describing the processes for the formulation, governance and control of the project charter (project brief) and business case. The PMBoK described in more detail the processes to turn the project charter (project brief) into deliverables. By the way the APM BoK covers both these processes although at a high level.

Any multinational organisation that can demonstrate compliance to all three of the major international standard for project management has both a real competitive edge but also a more holistic approach and effective approach to project management. For more information contact Parallel Project Training.


Morten Hansen, management professor at UC Berkeley, describes the traits leaders need to help their organizations thrive in times of chaos and uncertainty.


Do you consider yourself as someone who’s “in charge?” Do you manage and motivate other people to accomplish a task or get work done, other than yourself? If so, you’re probably in some sort of managerial role. But are you a leader? Believe it or not, there is a difference. Managers, well, manage people. They sort out what it is that has to be done, and then make sure the right people do it. Leaders, however, share a unique vision with people and supply the necessary values and skills to move people to really want to accomplish things; leaders touch people emotionally. If you consider yourself a leader, or are interested in becoming one, you must first understand that becoming a good leader is a process, one that never ends. Here’s a few tips (actually 99 of them) to guide you on your journey to becoming a better leader and manager.


Planning & Strategy

    1. Understand what the core principles of being a leader are. It’s not about power, but rather about installing direction and influencing others to follow that direction.
    2. Do you have the character traits to be a successful leader? If not, can you learn them?
    3. There are different ways of managing people; Develop a leadership style.
    4. As a leader or manager, you’re constantly soaking up information. Know how to properly collect that information.
    5. Know how to use proper coordination between people and technology.
    6. As you build your machine, know how to maintain it.
    7. Constantly analyze progress.
    8. Be prepared. Not every disaster will involve nature, but the process of preparation can be the same.
    9. Use prevention methods, keeping filth out of not only your trash cans but out of your employees as well.
    10. If a bomb does drop, be ready to recover from it and move on.


Team Building

    1. Know how to hire good employees.
    2. During the interview process, make sure to ask the right questions.
    3. Compensate: know when and how much to pay your team.
    4. Build trust; this has to work both ways (you trust your team and your team trusts you.)
    5. Develop and communicate your vision so the team can help achieve goals.
    6. Show commitment to those goals and ask the same from your staff.
    7. Understand the core value of employee inclusion and it’s effects.
    8. Interdependence – making sure your employees are sharing responsible principles.
    9. Guide your team by being a strong influence, and let yourself be influenced by other leaders.
    10. Control the climate or the feel of your organization.



    1. Make sure you are aware of proper etiquette, especially amongst other business elite.
    2. Ethics play a huge role in both the workplace as well as your company’s image in your industry.
    3. Strong public speaking abilities will help you get the message across to larger groups.
    4. Keep your employees up-to-date with things they need to know.
    5. Don’t be shady with your team.
    6. Be aware of not only your body language but everyone else’s as well.
    7. Improve your listening skills.
    8. Speak clearly and concisely.
    9. Develop your ability to negotiate.
    10. Make sure to keep your cool when dealing with difficult situations.


Build Trust & Confidence

    1. First, be sure to really understand the definition of trust.
    2. Try to believe in your team, and work extra hard to find the good in people.
    3. Reduce your sense of competition, as well as the same within the company.
    4. In order to accept new people, things, and ideas into your life, you’ll need to have an open mind.
    5. Appear more creditable and real by allowing yourself to show a little vulnerability.
    6. Be prepared to face your fears, because doing so will conserve your energy and empower you.
    7. Know your strong points and when to use them.
    8. Work hard to improve on your weak points and shortcomings.
    9. Look at yourself in a different way.
    10. Exude confidence and your charisma will draw people to you.


Time Management

    1. Setting goals will help you focus on getting important things done first.
    2. Have an action plan you can use to achieve those goals.
    3. Stop procrastinating, and you’re attitude about work will change.
    4. You can’t do it all yourself; know when and how to delegate work.
    5. Get rid of any and all kinds of distractions while working.
    6. Keep track of your life by writing things down.
    7. Learn to say no; you’ll save lots of time focusing on the most important tasks.
    8. Just like in college, you can’t party and study at the same time. Try to keep a schedule.
    9. Know your bad habits (and how to break them) .


Being Responsible

    1. Show character by being responsible for your actions.
    2. Be responsible for your name, brand, and company.
    3. Make sure you practice what you preach.
    4. As a responsible leader, you must always be aware of what you’re saying.
    5. Create responsible employees, but also be responsible for their actions.
    6. Assume responsibility, even if something is not your fault.
    7. Take care of your health. If you don’t care for yourself, why would anyone think you care at all?
    8. Teach responsibility to others, including your children.
    9. Constantly work on building a strong team.
    10. Showcase social responsibility.


Never Stop Learning

    1. Continue to build your leadership skills by reading management and leadership books.
    2. Subscribe to some of the many business and management magazines on the newsstand today.
    3. Keep a leadership blog to document your learning.
    4. Don’t feel ashamed to take some online leadership courses; it’s always good to brush up on things.
    5. Attend management seminars.
    6. Find yourself a mentor; their wisdom will prove to be priceless.
    7. Hone your skills through community involvement.
    8. Don’t be afraid to learn from your employees and associates.
    9. Embrace new technology, for it will only help you grow smarter.
    10. Understand and learn from yourself.


Become a role model

    1. Maintain a positive attitude – always.
    2. A great leader portrays strength before power.
    3. Lead by example.
    4. Demonstrate acts of chivalry.
    5. Treat customers and coworkers with respect.
    6. Be sure to dress for success.
    7. Always encourage others; they will probably encourage you back.
    8. Be calm and show patience in your efforts.
    9. Know how to properly manage life’s disappointments, both inside and outside of work.
    10. Value all life.


Know When to Be Real

    1. Show your employees (and customers!) that you really do care about them.
    2. Know that it’s okay to share your emotions from time to time.
    3. Allow people to see your shortcomings.
    4. Try not to sugarcoat things because you’re afraid of conflict.
    5. Do not lie to your employees about what’s going on.
    6. Times will come when you have to put your foot down and correct employees when they are wrong.
    7. Be sure to look and learn from your employee’s vantage point.
    8. Promote job “ownership”, even if it entails seeing the ups and downs of business.
    9. For everybody’s sake, make sure you have a life outside of work.
    10. Have fun at work! It will show.


Give Back

  1. Make it a point for you and your business to donate to charity.
  2. Or, start your owncharity or benefit.
  3. Help your employees learn and develop.
  4. Good leadership means sharing your knowledge
  5. Give raisesto your team; just be mindful of how you do it.
  6. Recognize good performances and award it.
  7. Give your employees discounts and perks.
  8. Use your skills and knowledge to write a book.
  9. Reach out to youth and become a teacher.

    You may be thinking to yourself, “how can I learn how to be all of these things?” You can’t, at least not all at once. Understand that becoming a better leader can only be done by growing, learning and practicing. It will take a lot of time and even more effort, and is not going to be learned overnight. Just make sure each and everyday, both at work and in your personal life, that you take the time to better yourself as a person and strive to make the world around you a better place as well. People will start to take notice, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming that great leader you always wanted to be.

By Jessica Stillman

New research out of Stanford reveals cool threats beat angry words when it comes to negotiating.

Negotiation Table

If you based your negotiating style on what you see in movies, you might think shouting while being a lawyer is the way to go, but luckily entrepreneurs have more solid information to go on than the imaginings of Hollywood screen writers. Recent research conducted by professors out of Stanford and INSEAD rigorously compared the effects of showing anger (whether real or feigned) in negotiations with the effects of cool but open threats.

To do this the team ran a series of four experiments, asking study participants to negotiate first with one another and then with a computer program, which the test subjects were led to believe was actually a human negotiating partner, testing how many concessions an angry negotiating style was able to wring out of opponents versus the number of concessions won through clear but collected threats. What were the findings?

“Our results say that anger isn’t as effective as a simple threat in getting people to concede,” Margaret Neale, a Stanford professor of organizations and dispute resolution who participated in the research told Stanford Knowledgebase, which goes on to explain the details of the later computer-simulated negotiation experiments:

When the computer made angry statements (and made them late in the negotiation, before rounds 5 and 6), it was able to elicit an average of a little more than 14 concessions; in the threat condition, on the other hand, the average number of concessions was higher — about 15.5 when the threats came late in the negotiation. The same pattern of threats trumping anger held with expressions of anger or threat in earlier rounds, although both types of statements proved less effective than when delivered closer to the end of the negotiation.

Remarkably, even though threatening negotiators got their counterparts to concede more, they created less ill will than did angry negotiators: In a follow-up study, the participants rated the threatening negotiators as more likable than angry negotiators.

Further questioning of participants revealed that threatening but collected negotiators come across as more poised and confident, which led those across the table to believe their threats were thought out and serious. Meanwhile, angry outbursts were often perceived as a passing storm of emotion – a hissy fit in everyday language — that a savvy negotiator could simply wait out.

The takeaway from the research is clear. Forget the movie stereotypes and ditch the theatrics and emotional outbursts if you’re trying to get the most out of a negotiation. Instead, calm but clear threats late in the game appear to be the most effective – and as an added bonus, this approach will probably mean you’ll even be seen as more likeable at the end of the negotiation.

Do these research results jive with your real-world experience of negotiations?

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist. @EntryLevelRebel

Not every employee is capable of selling products or services to potential customers. The selling process requires an employee to possess a particular set of interactive and persuasion skills, as well as a compatible personality profile (garrulous, self-confident, unafraid of rejection, etc.). While some employees enjoy the challenge, most want no part of it and only a minority are neutral about the idea. For those tasked with a selling job, it’s typically a reflection of individual personality that would generate success or struggle.

For compensation practitioners, having the right person involved in the selling process can be more important than the compensation program itself, because dangling potential rewards in the face of the wrong person can be a waste of money and represents lost business opportunity.

It’s All About Motivation

Success in the selling process depends on the right motivating elements aimed at the right employee personality. To do this correctly within a sales compensation program requires the design to take that into account, to focus financial rewards toward whatever engages, whatever motivates the employee to perform in the manner the organization wishes.

Costly mistakes can be made when an organization assumes that all employees will react in the same fashion to the same stimulus.

Have you considered what motivates your sales employees? Chances are that not everyone would have the same answer.

  • Money: Everybody’s first response is that all you have to do is offer the opportunity for a cash bonus and the employees are off and running. But in chasing the almighty dollar, employees could also drive your company in the wrong direction – even off a cliff – because they may take the path of least resistance (difficulty) and greatest financial reward. If those activities fail to align with what the company needs to assure business success, money is not only wasted but used to reward behavior that could be detrimental to the company.

Do you really want to reward the sale of a money-losing or low margin product?

  • Mission: Especially prevalent with not-for-profit organizations, many employees have a “fire in the belly” belief in what the organization espouses, be it products, services or awareness. This internal value system often provides motivation enough to ensure concerted efforts. In such a scenario, money is deemed less important (though not dismissed) as a motivator. Employees are already motivated by the worthiness of the organizations mission.

Helping others or helping a cause can be reward enough for some employees.

  • Brand identification: If you identify with the organization’s offerings and have a belief in what you are selling, you’re already halfway to becoming an effective sales representative. For these employees the ingrained belief in what they sell is already present; they just need a bit of training.

Employees are proud to be associated with a particular product or service. They’re always wearing the logo shirts and are the organization’s biggest fans.

  • Self-motivation: Here the employee possesses an internal reserve of self worth that helps to make excellence its own reward. It’s a state in which success in one’s endeavors is self-fulfilling. The reward system for these employees is often a nice addition, but isn’t necessarily the prime motivating factor.

A certain level of performance would be forthcoming, no matter what financial rewards are offered.

  • Challenge: The mindset here is the joy of climbing the hill, especially if there’s a pot of gold at the peak. Similar to self-motivation, some personality profiles relish a good challenge, and if you provide a reward for goal attainment, so much the better.

For such employees, the game is always afoot. They enjoy breaking down barriers, solving problems and grabbing for the brass ring.

  • Competition: The fierce desire to be better than others; where winning (which means that others lose) is critically important. Note: such employees might not be effective team players.

Sometimes this motivational factor is less about achieving company goals than simply doing better than other employees. Like a loose cannon, these players may have their own definition of winning, which may not be synonymous with yours.

The takeaway point here is to understand what motivates your employees and then to place your rewards in front of them in a fashion that leads and directs their behavior.

If you design your incentive program with the wrong assumptions about what engages your workforce, you’ll risk missing your targets, misspending your financial assets and perhaps not even achieving the required level of success – regardless of the money paid out in rewards.

Designing A Better Carrot

When putting together the elements of your incentive program it would be worth your effort to focus rewards in a manner that recognizes the type of activity and performance you’re aiming for. That sounds like a simple and straightforward concept, yet is all too often missed by plan designers.

  • Change in behavior: Providing an incentive opportunity should hinge on performance that you would not ordinarily receive. Don’t waste money paying extra for what you can gain for free.
  • Longer term focus: Building relationships is often just as important as making a quick sale. Repeat and additive sales are much easier to achieve than finding a new customer.
  • Worthwhile rewards: If the reward isn’t deemed worthwhile (“why should I put myself out for so little?”) the motivational factor will be diminished – leaving you with only employee self-motivation to rely on. In such a case your incentive plan would be viewed as worthless.
  • Reasonable targets: If the employees don’t see their performance targets as “reasonably attainable,” their effort and engagement will suffer. They should have an expectation that they can succeed and that they can reach their target. Without that belief, no incentive plan in the world will be able to stimulate the right degree of motivation.

To motivate sales employees to achieve a win-win solution, where they deliver the right performance and achieve financial rewards while the company achieves operational success, you have to push the right buttons. But always be mindful that it’s not as easy as simply waving a dollar bill.

Chuck Csizmar is the Founder & Principal of CMC Compensation Group,an independent global compensation consulting firm whose expertise lies in helping companies manage the effective and efficient utilization of financial rewards for their employees. He also maintains a popular blog on compensation at his website