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domingo, 21 de abril de 2013

ISO 21500 - A revolution for the PM world??

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar in Madrid about the changes in PMBOK version 5 compared to the previous version 4, and during the seminar, it was mentioned the key role that the ISO 21500 is expected to have in the near future in the project management world. In order to get a deeper knowledge of what is the ISO 21500 about and which one are the changes that it could bring to the project management world, I have attended some other specifics seminars about this topic and here I collect some notes and my conclusion.

First of all, what is ISO 21500?

ISO 21500:2012 provides guidance for project management and can be used by any type of organization, including public, private or community organizations, and for any type of project, irrespective of complexity, size or duration.

Its main goal is to provide project management best practices in order to increase the efficiency and maximize the return of investments made by the companies, which means that the focus of this Standard are the companies, and not the project managers, a significant different to the PMBOK for example.

It is quite remarkable that although there are already some Standards for Risk Management (ISO 31000) and for Quality Management (ISO 10006), this is the first Standard covering all the Project Management areas.

As of now, this Standard cannot be used for certification purposes. In the near future (around June 2013) it will be available for the certification of individual projects and the certification of portfolios and programs, but it will not available for the certification of companies.

New opportunities that could arise due to the ISO 21500

These are some of the possible new opportunities that may come due to the introduction of the ISO 21500.

  • Higher recognition of the project management value for the organizations, as a way to maximize the return of investments made by the companies. This could bring as well a higher recognition of the value of the Project Managers as key elements for the success of the projects.

  • The companies could start a transformation into “project oriented" companies once acknowledged the benefits of the project management excellence. As well, this could mean more and better rewarded job opportunities for the project managers.

  • It could be possible that in order to be able to bid for a contract, the companies will have to be compliant with the ISO 21500 which it means that there will be a lot of new opportunities in the market for implementing ISO 21500 in the companies. 

  • This ISO would help to have an universal "language" that would be used in the relationships between customers and providers. This would allow to the companies to have less entry barriers into other markets in the world.

  • As the projects will be able to be certificated by this Standard, new job opportunities as ISO 21500 certifiers will be available.

As main conclusion, this new Standard could mean a revolution in the project management world and in the companies, establishing a change in the ways of working towards achieving the company goals, and a change in the relationships between the companies, meaning for the project managers a higher recognition and rewards, and the creation of thousands of new job opportunities.

Hopefully the ISO will be widely implemented and accepted and all these things will happen! Let´s see!!

viernes, 5 de abril de 2013

Metrics visibility to the project team members

Today going through the posts of the people/organizations I follow in Twitter I have found one from Harvard Business Review titled "Project Managers should share their stress". Inmediately it has caught my attention and I have clicked it for reading it.

The article is based on the assumption that the project managers use to hide the information to the rest of the team members, keeping all the metrics for them and the sponsors, creating this an additional stress to us, PMs, as we feel we are the only one responsibles for the results. The suggestion in the article is to have weekly meetings with all the members of the team in order to show them the percentage of work completed and detailed financial information of the project.

From my point of view, this should be a common practice in all the project oriented companies. It is one of the basic points if we want  the team members to feel that they are not only just resources in an spreadsheet or a timeplan, if not that they are key for the success of the project. Moreover, apart from these metrics, we should present to the team members the big picture and how the project you are managing fits in the strategy of the company. In this way, the people working on the project will be able to realize the importance of the tasks they are performing and increase their accountability.

Not only progress and financial status should be visible to them, I use to share as well information like customer perception and satisfaction, steering management action points, sponsors feedback on the status of the project, escalations received, and so on. Basically all the information that will help them to feel more accountable.

A tool very helpful for sharing information are the project sharepoints. From my experience, when a sharepoint is implemented for first time in a project, the only ones who accesses it and shares information is the project manager. It takes sometime till the project team members start to check it on a regular basis. And more time, for making them to upload and share information on it, but at the end is proven to be worthy the time invested in "selling" to them the tool, mostly if the project team members are distributed in different locations and countries and it boosts the communication between all of us.

sábado, 23 de marzo de 2013

Networking workshop focused in projects

This week I have attended a workshop organized by the PMI Madrid Chapter, related to networking from a project management perspective, in order to find out if our networking skills are helping or damaging our projects, and how to improve our skills. The workshop was given by Pino Bethencourt, senior advisor to top leadership and founder of "Hill of Tara foundation".

The event took place in the meeting room of a hotel where there were several round tables. Just after Pino introduced herself, she asked: "Please stand up all of you who are sitting down in a table where you already know someone from before". Not surprisingly, in all the tables stood up at least 2 persons. This is something very common in Spain. We always sit nearby someone we already know even if we are attending a networking event where we should meet new people!! Of course, Pino requested to everybody to move to tables where we did not know anybody else.

The first exercise of the workshop consisted on discussing in each table which one are the benefits and disadvantages of networking from our point of view. In my table, and I guess in most of the other tables as well, we had never thought about networking in a project context, as we assumed that it was embedded in the communication plan of the project. After some brainstorming we chose these ones:

  • Benefits:
    • Increase the commitment of the project team members
    • Facilitates the professional relationships (key to have a first face to face meeting with each member)
    • Having a good network helps to get quick access to subject matters expert

  • Disadvantages:
    • It can create internal groups inside the project trying to influence to the others
    • Inequality in the team members may happen, getting the ones who are networked benefits
    • Informal relationships could be not alligned to the project communication plan
After putting in common our thoughts we got from Pino her definition for networking:

"Networking is the art of starting and developing mutual beneficial relationships in an strategic way".

It is key to remark, that both persons must get benefits from the relationship. Networking in one way, trying to get something from the another person, not offering anything in change, it does not work.

Recently I have heard about a scientific experiment where it has been measured that the human beings get higher levels of personal happinnes when we try to make happy to other people. This could be related to the law of attraction: Whatever you give, you get it back.

The workshop concluded with an exercise where we had to get introduced to other people in the room that we did not know from before, and then get and provide feedback about the verbal and non-verbal communication and feelings experienced when talking to the other person.

In conclusion, a very interesting workshop where we got some basics for networking, that helped us to perceive what is networking from different angles and perspectives.

viernes, 15 de marzo de 2013

The benefits of Mentoring for Mentors and Mentees

Mentoring is a practice that is becoming quite popular in these last years all around the world as the benefits for the Mentors and Mentees are quite significant, The companies have measured and recognized the value of it, and are working on internal and external initiatives for spreading its use.

Mentoring has been used since the old times of our history. In fact, the name of mentoring comes from the old greek mythology. (Mentor was a close friend of Ulises who acted as a Mentor for his son Telemaco).

When talking to different people about what is mentoring, I have seen quite confussion between what is mentoring and what is coaching. I believe this is due to the popularity of the word Coaching and the role of the Coach in comparison to the less known word Mentoring and the role of the Mentor. Due to this, let me expose some of the "hundreds" of definitions available:

Mentoring: is a two-way mutually beneficial learning situation where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach. Mentors in either a formal mentoring program or informal relationship focus on the person, their career and support for individual growth and maturity. The Mentor has a deep personal interest, personally involved—a friend who cares about you and your long term development. As the Mentor is usually a more experienced individual, he/she can more easily facilitate reflection and problem solving, but generally refrains from giving direct advice or skill/knowledge transfer. 

The Mentor is both a source of information/knowledge and acts as a "Friend, Philosopher and Guide" towards the Mentee.

Coaching is a process whereby an individual gets support while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional result or goal. A Coach facilitates the development of specific skills for the task, challenges and performance expectations at work. The individual getting coached may be referred to as the client, the mentee or coachee, or they may be in an intern or apprenticeship relationship with the person coaching them.

Coaching may also happen in an informal relationship between one individual who has greater experience and expertise than another and offers advice and guidance, as the other goes through a learning process.

And the best way to see the differences between both are with examples:

Typical mentoring situations:
  • To support/advice for professional development over the long term (e.g. career exploration, moving around the organization, feedback on goals setting or gaining perspective on the organization, etc)
  • Guide the learner to grow in maturity / seniority
  • To give advise, for discussion and give feedback on a variety of sensitive issues (e.g. change in behavior, cultural/gender/racial awareness, etc) situations)
Typical coaching situations:
  • Developing a learner new in a position, new in a role or new at the company
  • Building skills within technical/business areas, methods and for specifically defined competencies
  • Individual career planning – what is the next step

The benefits for the Mentees are described above, but which one are the benefits for the Mentors? Why should I spend time doing this, that by the way, is a non-profit activity from an economical point of view?

Well, some of the benefits are:

  • Get visibility in the organization and in the community
  • Get recognition
  • Expand your network
  • Enhance your communication skills
  • Develops active listening
  • Helps you to review your past experiences and knowledge

And last but not least, in fact for me the most important, is the satisfation of helping to other people.

I have had the chance of experiencing the benefits of Mentoring from both sides, as a Mentor and as a Mentee. First inside my company, and later on as a volunteer in the PMI Information Systems Community of Practice.

Nowadays, as I strongly believe in the benefits of mentoring, I keep acting as a Mentor in my company, and I have recently joined the initiative launched by the PMI Madrid Chapter where I will work together with other colleagues of the chapter in the management of the mentoring program, trying to apply my own experiences, and the lessons learnt in similar programs by our colleagues from the Montreal Chapter and the Information Systems CoP.

I recommend of all you to promote these mentoring initiatives inside your companies and your associations, as the benefits for the persons involved, the companies, and at last, the whole society, are clearly significant and remarkable.

martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

PMI´s Pulse of the Profession

PMI has delivered this week the PMI´s Pulse of the Profession 2013. PMI's annual Pulse of the Profession charts the major trends for project management - now and in the future. It features original market research that reports feedback and insights from project, program and portfolio managers, along with an analysis of third-party data.

Many interesting conclusions can be extracted from this year´s report. Some of them are:

 - Organizations undervalue project management and put inadequate focus on talent development
 - Project success rates are declining
 - Only a small percentage of companies (~15%) report to have high maturity project management practices
 - Training and development in project management is declining
 - Only four of ten project managers say there is a defined career path for project management within their organization

Do you feel identified with these results?....

For access to the report:

PMI´s Pulse of the Profession 2013

viernes, 1 de marzo de 2013

First Steps MS Project Online

As mentioned in the previous post, MS Project Online is already available. Microsoft has launched an agressive market campaign, as it can be seen in several ads published in different medias these days.

Project Online is based on the Cloud. This has allowed to reduce the price of the license dramatically, and it has made possible to offer a more flexible licensing model, based in use per month per user.

In the following link it can be seen a video where a demo is performed describing the first steps on MS Project Online. Unfortunately it is only available on spanish.

Primeros Pasos Microsoft Project Online

One of the most remarkable features is the integration of Project Server with SharePoint what it facilitates the management of all the resources of the organization under the whole project portfolio of the company.

Most of the companies manage the projects independently having each project manager his own project plan in the MS Project Client. The move from this way of working towards the integration of the whole company project portfolio must be done in different phases based on the project management maturity of the company.

miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2013

February PMI Madrid Chapter meeting

Yesterday afternoon took place the PMI Madrid Chapter meeting that is hold on a monthly basis.

In the meeting, two main topics were covered:

- Microsoft Project Online and Project 365 (highlights of the main new features and a demo)
- Volunteering opportunities for working in "microprojects"

I will elaborate more the content of both topics in future posts.

In the meantime, more information about Project Online and Project 365 can be found in this link:

Project Online and Project 365 - MS

martes, 26 de febrero de 2013

What is OSS/BSS?

Last year I have been extremely busy leading an MVNO deployment for an operator in Spain and that is the reason why I have not been able to keep posting information in this blog. Once that project has been succesfully concluded, I will keep updating the blog with information that I think could be relevant for the PM´s.

My experience is mostly based in managing projects in the BSS and OSS area. For those of you who don´t know what is OSS/BSS, this video is very interesting!

What is OSS/BSS?

jueves, 21 de febrero de 2013

PMBOK 5th edition release

A new release of the PMBOK (5th edition) is already available for all PMI members. It can be downloaded at

The Fifth Edition continues to reflect the evolving knowledge within the profession of project management. Like previous editions it represents generally recognized good practice in the profession.

The major updates to the Fifth Edition are summarized below:

■ The content from Section 3 “The Standard for Project Management of a Project” has been
moved to Annex A1.  The new Section 3 addresses project management processes and Process
Groups as in previous editions.

■ A new Knowledge Area has been created called “Project Stakeholder Management” that
increases the focus on identifying and engaging stakeholders. This increases the number of
Knowledge Areas from nine to ten.

■ Four planning processes have been added to reinforce the concept that each major Knowledge
Area has a planning process focusing on how that area will be planned and executed.

A comparison between both releases can be found in these links:

PMBOK v5 - 47 processes

PMBOK v4 - 42 processes