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6 Sep 2020

PRINCE2 Canada

Posted by PRINCE2 Canada. Comments Off on PRINCE2 Canada

Welcome to the PRINCE2 Canada blog.  The PRINCE2 methodology is now established in Canada and PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications are becoming must-have certifications for many Canadian organizations.

Use the PRINCE2 Canada blog to learn how PRINCE2 can benefit you and your organization, how to gain certification and the essential features of the PRINCE2 methodology as well as stay updated with the latest information.

PRINCE2 Certification start here:

Get information on how you can achieve PRINCE2 certification in Canada and compare Instructor Led vs Online Training.  Use the Exams and Certification categories on your right to find recent posts relevant to the PRINCE2 qualifications.

PRINCE2 Methodology Information:

The PRINCE2 methodology is composed of 7 Principles, 7 Themes and 7 Processes which provide a clear road map through the project.

If you have a question, you can contact us.

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26 Jul 2018

PRINCE2 Training Courses in Canada – how do I get certified?

Posted by sjg21. Comments Off on PRINCE2 Training Courses in Canada – how do I get certified?

PRINCE2 Training Courses in Canada – how do I get certified?

The best way to get certified in PRINCE2 is to attend a course.  A good PRINCE2 training course can really help you to achieve your goal of understanding the PRINCE2 methodology and to gain the Foundation and Practitioner certifications.

So what is involved in a PRINCE2 training course?

You should think of the course as being split into 3 stages:

1) Pre-course preparation

2) Foundation course

3) Practitioner course

Each part is equally important and success in each part leads to success in the others

PRINCE2 training course preparation

A PRINCE2 training course is not the sort of event where you can just show up on the first morning and start thinking about the subject matter.  You need to put in some pre-course work.  Good accredited training organizations will provide the PRINCE2 manual in advance along with a reading list and sample exam questions.  This really makes a difference. As a PRINCE2 trainer, I have trained hundreds of people and the ones who put the preparation in are normally the people who do better in the exams.

This might sound obvious but it is not always easy:  you have a day job as well as attending the PRINCE2 training course.  Concentrate on the event – you only do the PRINCE2 training course once – work will still be there next week.

So to prepare make sure you have the official PRINCE2 manual in plenty of time before the course. The better you know the manual the better you will do in the exams.

Foundation course

This PRINCE2 training course is a 3 day event covering all the Principles, Processes and Themes of PRINCE2.  The aim is to get you to the point where you understand and remember all the details of the PRINCE2 methodology.  The course should include group discussions and exercises so you can share experiences and check you fully understand everything.  To help you prepare for the Foundation exam, which is taken on the afternoon of the third day, there will also be sample Foundation papers to have a go at.  This allows you to practice the style of questions you will be asked in the exam. Practice certainly helps with the Foundation exam.

The PRINCE2 Foundation exam is a multiple choice paper.  To gain the certification you need to pass the paper by scoring more than 55%.  It is closed book and you have 1 hour in which to complete the paper.  The paper will be marked on the day by the trainer or proctor.

Practitioner Course

Your final PRINCE2 training course runs for 1 more day.  This is usually straight after the Foundation course, but you can split it and attend separate events.  The aim of the Practitioner is to get you to the point where you can analyze and apply PRINCE2 to a realistic scenario.  To be able to sit the Practitioner exam you must have passed the Foundation exam.

The Practitioner course consists of an exam preparation day and the exam on the morning of the fifth day of the PRINCE2 training course.  The exam preparation day is exactly that – it is all about making sure you are as prepared as you can be.

On the preparation day you will work with a sample Practitioner paper so you get used to the styles of questions and the way they get asked.  You have to think PRINCE2!  The trainer will give you techniques of how to approach the paper and key words to look out for.  You’ll spend time on time management as this is vital and also key areas of the manual to focus on.  There will also be group exercises and discussions to refresh what you covered in the Foundation part of the course.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is in the multiple choice testing format, with more complex questions. To gain the certification you must score at least 55% on the paper. The exam is open book and lasts for 2.5 hours. Once the paper is completed it will be sent to the exam regulator to mark.

One of the things that makes a good PRINCE2 training course is the trainer. To be able to teach an official course the trainer needs to pass the exam at a higher level and then undergo a very tough observation and oral session with an Assessor.  And this happens every 12 months to make sure we are always up to the job!  For candidates it is a good guarantee that the trainer has a sound knowledge of the method and has good training skills.  If you are considering a PRINCE2 training course check how many courses the trainer has taught and how long they have been qualified – don’t pick a newbie!

Another benefit of attending a PRINCE2 course is that you will be able to claim PDUs at the PMI if you are a PMP.

As I said the best way to get certified – attend a PRINCE2 training course. Although as a PRINCE2 trainer I suppose I may be a little biased!

Next Steps:

PRINCE2 Training Courses

30 Jan 2018

I passed PRINCE2 – what do I put on my CV or LinkedIn?

Posted by PRINCE2 Canada. Comments Off on I passed PRINCE2 – what do I put on my CV or LinkedIn?

Login to your LinkedIn account and, using the top menu, click on Me and then View profile under your name. PRINCE2 on LinkedIn

If your Certification section is already active, just click on the Plus sign in the Accomplishments box.

…Otherwise you need to activate the Certification section.
At the top right of your screen, click on Add new profile section, then Accomplishments and the Plus sign next to Certifications.

A window will appear:

  • Certification Name:  For the Practitioner level type: “PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner”.
    If you have passed only the Foundation exam then use  “PRINCE2 Foundation Certificate”. 
  • Certification Authority:  start typing “PEOPLECERT” and then select from the drop down list the company in the sector of Education Management.
  • License Number:  this identification will be on the certificate you will download. (Optional)
  • Time Period:  Select the month and year in which you were certified. Then select an expiry date 3 years ahead for Practitioner. If you have passed only the Foundation exam then there is no expiry, just click the box ‘This certification does not expire’
  • Certification URL: leave blank

Click on the Save button and you are done!

You may also want to add the PRINCE2 title to your name, by clicking on the pen  next to your picture at the top of the profile and editing your name field.

For example: “John Smith, PRINCE2” or “Jane Smith, P2P”.

1 Nov 2017

The PRINCE2 exams

Posted by PRINCE2 Canada. Comments Off on The PRINCE2 exams

PRINCE2 examsThe PRINCE2 exams (6th edition – v.2017)

The PRINCE2 exams.  You cannot get away from them.  If you attend a PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course, you are going to have exams to sit.

There are 2 PRINCE2 exams – the Foundation exam and the Practitioner exam. So what is the difference?

Foundation PRINCE2 exams

The PRINCE2 Foundation exams are multiple choice papers.  You have 1 hour to sit the paper.  The exam is closed book so the only paperwork that will be on your desk is your question book and answer sheet.  This exam tests your knowledge and comprehension of PRINCE2.  Being completely honest with you it’s like a memory test – it shows that you can remember the key points in the PRINCE2 manual.

Passing the Foundation exam shows that you have a good grasp of PRINCE2.  It shows that you have gained a good knowledge of the key principles of the method and also the processes and themes.

So who should take the Foundation PRINCE2 exam?

People who are going to play apart in a project team either as a Team Manager or Project Support so they can get a better understanding of what the Project Manager is talking about.  I would also recommend that people who are going to sit on the Project Board take the Foundation course.  This is because it will give them a good grounding on what their responsibilities in the project will be and also let them know how their Project Managers are managing the project.

To be able to sit the Practitioner exam you need to pass the Foundation exam first.  The pass mark is 55%.

Practitioner PRINCE2 exams

Once you have passed the Foundation exam you will be able to take the Practitioner exam.  The Practitioner exams are also multiple choice exams.

The Practitioner PRINCE2 exams are 2.5 hours long.  They are open book as you are allowed your official PRINCE2 manual in the exam.  The questions are based around a project scenario and the exam tests your application and analysis of PRINCE2 in the given scenario.

The Practitioner exam is a big step up from the Foundation.  You not only have to have a good grasp of what’s in the PRINCE2 manual you also have to be able to show you could apply the framework.

So who should take the Practitioner PRINCE2 exams?

As I mentioned above this exam is about showing you can apply PRINCE2.  So the Practitioner course is really for people who are managing projects or could be managing projects in the future.  It is a tough exam. If you have experience of managing projects that will definitely help.

The pass mark for the Practitioner exam is 55%.

There you have it.  The PRINCE2 exams.  They are hard work but if you gain the certification they are well worth the effort.

PRINCE2 exams are scheduled regularly across Canada, or you can take an accredited PRINCE2 e-learning course

19 Oct 2017

PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam

Posted by Paul Atkin. Comments Off on PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam

PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam (6th edition – v.2017)

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is the second PRINCE2 exam.  It is a test of your ability to apply the PRINCE2 methodology and make appropriate judgements and analysis from a given project management scenario.  Like the Foundation exam, it is based on the PRINCE2 official manual:  “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.”  You have to pass the Foundation exam before you can take the Practitioner exam but this does not have to be on the same course.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is a 2.5 hour, 9 question paper based on a case study.  The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam covers the entire PRINCE2 syllabus and the questions will expect you to know how the Themes, Processes and Principles are inter-related and can be applied to real life situations.  A question based on the Business Case theme, for example, is only using that theme as a start point.  68 marks are available and you require 38 marks to be awarded a pass. You can refer to the PRINCE2 manual during the exam.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam uses an Objective Testing format and you choose the right answer(s) by marking A, B, C etc on a sheet with a pencil.  After the exam the answer sheets are machine read to produce your result.

There are 2 types of question:

  • Classic multiple choice: They are the same style as the standard question in the Foundation exam.
  • Matching: This type of question gives you 2 lists and you have to match the answer.  For example; List 1 might say: “here is a list of PRINCE2 documents” while List 2 might provide a list of PRINCE2 processes.  The task would be to match each document to the process where it is created or used.  Everything in List 1 will be used, but items in List 2 can be used once, many times or not at all.

After the exam, the papers are collected by the trainer or proctor and sent to PeopleCert International for marking.  The worldwide average success is about 75%. At Okazy Consulting we achieve a better rate of around 80-85% – ask your Accredited Training Organization to provide this information.

PRINCE2 Practitioner exams are scheduled regularly across Canada, or you can take an accredited PRINCE2 e-learning course

19 Oct 2017

PRINCE2 Foundation Exam

Posted by Paul Atkin. Comments Off on PRINCE2 Foundation Exam

PRINCE2 Foundation Exam (6th edition – v.2017)

The PRINCE2 Foundation exam is the first PRINCE2 exam.  It is a test of your knowledge and comprehension of the PRINCE2 methodology and is based on the PRINCE2 official manual:  “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.”  You have to pass the PRINCE2 Foundation exam before you take the Practitioner

The Foundation Exam

The PRINCE2 Foundation exam is 60 multiple choice questions in 1 hour.  It is closed book format and the pass mark is 55%.   or  33 / 50.

Most Foundation questions are of the standard multiple choice type. For example: “what color is a bus?” The possible answers would be “red, green, blue or yellow.”  You mark your answer, in pencil, on a separate answer sheet by shading in A, B, C or D as appropriate.

At the end of the exam the papers are collected and usually marked immediately.  The trainer or proctor has an acetate which they put over your answer papers and count up the scores.  The result is subject to confirmation by PeopleCert International but, in over 100 PRINCE2 classes, I have never seen a mark changed by them.

Almost everyone passes the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. The average pass rate on instructor led classes is 95% and slightly lower for candidates who have not taken training.  This does not mean it’s an easy exam.  Just that if you put the work in you will have a good chance of passing the exam.

If you are thinking of going on to take the Practitioner exam what really counts is your Foundation exam score.  You only need to pass the Foundation exam to be able to attempt the Practitioner exam.  Experience shows though that students who scrape through Foundation don’t usually go on to Practitioner success.  This does makes sense of course. If you don’t have the Foundation level of knowledge and understanding, you won’t be able to apply it at the practical level of the Practitioner.

PRINCE2 Foundation exams are scheduled regularly across Canada. Or you can take an accredited PRINCE2 elearning course

17 Sep 2017

PRINCE2 Exams in Canada

Posted by Paul Atkin. Comments Off on PRINCE2 Exams in Canada

PRINCE2 Exams in Canada (6th edition – v.2017)

To gain PRINCE2 certification you have to pass the PRINCE2 exams.  There are 2 options of how to do this in Canada:

  1. PRINCE2 Training Courses
  2. Online learning and self study

PRINCE2 Training Courses

Training courses are run by Accredited Training Organizations.  The Foundation and Practitioner is usually a 5 day class.  Unlike PMP prep classes, PRINCE2 training courses include the Foundation exam being held on Day 3 and the Practitioner exam on Day 5 as the most common arrangement.

The benefit of the training class is that you get 5 days with a PRINCE2 Approved Trainer.  PRINCE2 Trainers are independently assessed every 12 months, so you know you are going to get someone who knows the material to a very high standard.  You need to do some pre-course preparation but, other than that, you just need to turn up and work hard for 5 days.  Doing it this way, most people pass their PRINCE2 exams in a week.  Training courses with PRINCE2 exams are available in several provinces or in virtual mode.

The training course is the best quality option and certainly the fastest way to the certification but, if you don’t want to lose 5 days earning time or prefer a flexible solution, you should consider self-study.

Online learning and self study

Self study may be pure “time with the book” or  be combined with an accredited PRINCE2 online learning package.  In both cases, the ‘good book’ is the PRINCE2 official manual:  “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.”  If you are sourcing a copy yourself make sure you get the most recent edition (6th) which is the latest version of the methodology.

Exams can be taken online from home 24/7 whenever you are ready (webcam required).

The downside of self-study is that it can be too flexible.  Many books and e-learning packages sit on the shelf uncompleted, so you have to be disciplined.  The best way is to set your exam date and then work towards this deadline.

 

 

15 Aug 2017

All About PRINCE2 Version 2017 (6th edition)

Posted by PRINCE2 Canada. Comments Off on All About PRINCE2 Version 2017 (6th edition)

This latest evolution of PRINCE2 has been developed in close consultation and collaboration with project-management professionals (practitioners, organizations, the AXELOS accredited community, academics) from the widest possible range of sectors and cultures. PRINCE2 has always been rooted in real-life experience. This update, which once again consolidates a wealth of knowledge gained in the workplace, can be trusted to provide practical, authoritative and relevant guidance to anyone managing a project in today’s environment.

What are the main changes to PRINCE2?

The PRINCE2 update will see a new edition of the PRINCE2 manual, plus updated training materials and Foundation and Practitioner examinations. This update does not change any of the fundamentals of the method – PRINCE2’s overall structure of seven principles, themes and processes remains unchanged. But the emphasis and treatments within these have shifted.
The main changes to the guidance are a greater emphasis on the following areas:

  • tailoring PRINCE2 to the needs of organizations and project environments;
  • the principles that underpin PRINCE2;
  • a greater link between the themes and principles;
  • the restructuring of the ‘Themes’ guidance to accommodate specific examples of tailoring;
  • the practical application of the method and guidance, with numerous examples, hints and tips.

What are the changes to the exams and certification process?

As you can see in the table below, the PRINCE2 Foundation exam has less questions now and requires a pass mark of 55%. As for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, the type of questions has been reduced to two and there are also less questions.

The validity period for a PRINCE2 Practitioner has been reduced to 3 years, but candidates who succeed in passing the Practitioner exam version 2017 now have two options for renewal of their certification, either retaking the Practitioner exam or continuous assessment.

PRINCE2_Version2017

I am a Practitioner under version 2009, what happens to me?

Rest assured, your current PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate will remain valid until the end of its 5-year period, after which you can re-certify under version 2017 by taking the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. But it’s well worth familiarizing yourself with the updates.

How does the Re-Registration process work?

The revised PRINCE2 2017 update Practitioner certificate is valid for 3 years. There are 2 ways in which a candidate can maintain their qualification:

  • Retake the exam at the end of the 3 years, or
  • Subscribe to AXELOS membership within 3 months of passing their Practitioner exam. On signing  up to the membership program, they will immediately be awarded a PRINCE2 digital badge. They must then maintain their digital badge for the 3-year period by remaining in membership and logging 20 CPD points each year to maintain their badge. At the end of the 3 years, if their badge has been maintained for that period, they will be issued a new certificate with an extended expiry date of 3 years. This process will then be repeated to maintain their certificate.
  • To support candidates who want to remain current, AXELOS will be including one year’s PRINCE2 Membership with every PRINCE2 2017 update Practitioner exam. Once a candidate successfully passes their exam AXELOS will contact them with details of how to activate their membership and claim a digital badge.

What are CPD points?

CPD stands for Continuous Professional Development. One point represents one hour of activity/study. These can be obtained through:

  • Professional experience where you have applied the learning from your certification in the workplace. This could be in preparing documents such as a business case, a PID, a risk register etc. or it could be from mentoring a junior colleague. 5 CPD points from the 20 required in a year must be obtained from professional experience.
  • Training and qualification gained from undertaking training (there does not need to be a formal qualification at the end of the course or need to be an AXELOS qualification but it must be relevant to your certification)
  • Self-study – time spent reading relevant articles, case studies or listening to webinars. Community is divided into 2 categories: passive is time spent reading community content, such as LinkedIn or AXELOS community discussions and community active is time spent actively participating in such discussions or writing blogs for the community.

What happens if I forget to log my CPD points or allow my membership to lapse?

Your digital badge will expire and your certification will expire according to the date on your certificate. You will receive a subscription renewal notice a few weeks ahead of your expiry date and this will also inform you if you need to record further CPD points for your badge to be extended on renewal. You can re-join membership later and claim a digital badge but the new badge will not be back-dated.

Can I submit multiple years of CPD points to remain current?

No. CPD must be claimed equally across each of the 3 years, therefore equaling 20 points per year. If you fail to log the 20 points in any given year the digital badge will expire at the point of subscription renewal, even if you renew the subscription. It is important that candidates see CPD as an activity they undertake on a regular basis rather than cramming into the final year.

I have a Foundation certificate under version 2009, can I upgrade to Practitioner under version 2017?

Yes. If you register for our Practitioner Upgrade package, we will send you a new manual as well as preparation material to get ready for the Practitioner level class.

4 May 2017

Project Status Meetings – It’s a Love/Hate thing

Posted by prince2guest. Comments Off on Project Status Meetings – It’s a Love/Hate thing

Project Status Meetings – It’s a Love/Hate thing.

We hate going to the project status meetings, but my how we get upset if we can’t go to one.  How many times have you asked someone how a particular aspect of your project is going and the response is “Well, we had a meeting.”  I once read that a meeting is no substitute for progress.  How true.

PRINCE2 does not support regular project status meetings.  It uses the Principle of Management by Exception instead.  Regular team/project status meetings, regular Project Board/Steering Committee meetings – NO MORE!”  When my PRINCE2 instructor said this, my first thought was “Good luck with that in our meeting obsessed culture.”

Project Status Meetings

Most dislike the idea of going to a meeting because the vast majority of meetings don’t really accomplish anything concrete.  People sit around the table discussing without making with any decisions or concrete actions to accomplish once the meeting is over.

Many times our “weekly” team/project status meetings are used for an around the room marathon answering the question “What did you do this week?”  The project manager is usually scrambling to write things down and at any given time half of the people in attendance are not paying attention.  Rarely are serious problems or issues raised in the discussion as people don’t like to admit in public that they are having difficulties or ask for help.

I have heard project managers say “I have to hold the meeting or else I won’t know what is going on in the project.  Team managers/members don’t want to fill out any sort of report showing their progress because it takes away from their work.”  The reality is, if it takes a team manager/member more than 10-15 minutes per week to complete their status report (Checkpoint Report in PRINCE2 terminology) then the report is too complicated.  Also, the meeting itself is likely to take more than the same 15 minutes.

When a team member/manager writes their own checkpoint report, they take ownership of the information.  It provides a trail of information for the purpose of lessons to be learned in the future.  If a team manage/member is having difficulty, a discussion can be held in a private setting. Also, the checkpoint reports should not contain any surprises.  Issues should be raised on an as needed basis.

There is a book I reference many times when teaching project management courses called Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To and What You Can Do About It by Ferdinand F. Fournies.  In it, he says that often people are rewarded for NOT doing what they are supposed to do.  When you (PM) hold a meeting to discuss status and you (PM) take the minutes, you are in fact rewarding the team for NOT preparing their own checkpoint/status reports.

I will fully acknowledge that there is value in face time for larger teams and for geographically dispersed teams. These meetings serve the purpose of team building.  These meetings should be to discuss common success and common issues and this perform problem solving conversations.

If you absolutely have to have a weekly team meeting, all I ask is that you remove the status part of it, keep it to under 30 minutes, and be sure to have clearly defined outcomes and follow on actions for each meeting.

As PRINCE2 originated in the UK you might take another tip from that country: the Queen takes her Privy Council meetings standing up!

By Julie Grabb B. Math, PMP, PRINCE2 Approved Trainer

24 Nov 2016

Controlling a Stage in PRINCE2 – Project Manage like a Meerkat

Posted by sjg21. Comments Off on Controlling a Stage in PRINCE2 – Project Manage like a Meerkat

Controlling a Stage in PRINCE2 – Project Manage like a Meerkat

You’re the Project Manager and the next Stage of your PRINCE2 project has just been approved.  Your Stage Plan has the green light, your Team is ready to go…

What happens next?

In PRINCE2 this is the trigger for the Controlling a Stage process.   This process covers the “what and when” of the Project Manager’s work during a delivery stage.  Controlling a Stage in PRINCE2 is about managing the work of the Team Managers using Work Packages.  It’s about reporting stage status to the Project Board, dealing with and escalating issues and risks and generally keeping a sharp eye on things.

If you come from a technical background there’s a real temptation to get involved in the detail.

But stay detached: good Project Managers act like Meerkats.  If you’ve ever watched Meerkats you’ll have noticed that, while the others are PRINCE2 Manage Like Meerkatrunning around doing the day to day busy work (the Team Managers), one of them is always standing on its back legs; watching, checking, scanning the horizon for signs of danger.

This is the Meerkat using PRINCE2: they’re present and available, but not involved in the detail.  They’re focussing on the wider picture.

Control the Stage, don’t deliver it

So the Controlling a Stage process in PRINCE2 can be successful, the Project Manager needs to step back and away from the detail to look at the bigger picture and decide if the stage is still on track.  Or, in PRINCE2 terms, to ask: “are we still within tolerance and can I continue to manage this stage without escalation?” PRINCE2’s Controlling a Stage process provides a list of activities, inputs and outputs to do this successfully.

Once we have had stage authorization from the Project Board we can start to hand out work to the Team Managers.  We do this by authorizing Work Packages for the Team Managers.  In PRINCE2, the Project Manager creates Work Packages to provide Team Managers with the information and authorization to build and test the project’s products.  The Project Manager does not need to be involved in the day to day delivery of the products; they delegate limits and then stand back. It’s a key part of PRINCE2’s Manage by Exception Principle.

Managing the day to day work

A Work Package includes information such as the joint agreements on timescales and costs, the tolerances set by the Project Manager, reporting arrangements, problem handling and escalation procedures, as well as copies of the relevant Product Descriptions.

The Work Package is the responsibility of the Team Manager to carry out the work and provide progress reports to the Project Manager in regular Checkpoint Reports.  The format and frequency of the Checkpoint is documented in the Work Package.

Every so often the Project Manager will need to report stage progress to the Project Board.  This is done by the Project Manager creating a Highlight Report for the Project Board.  The frequency of the Highlight Report will be documented in the Communications Management Approach.  And Highlight Report should be just that – giving a high level view of the stage.  It’s not a detailed report – it shouldn’t take a week to write!

Dealing with stuff that happens

Now if a project goes exactly to plan then the issue and receipt of work packages makes it all sound simple.  But, as we know, life is not like that.  No plan survives implementation and as a Project Manager you will have to deal with issues and risks as they occur.

You may have to escalate them if they exceed your level of authority.  This is where PRINCE2 uses controls such as the Issue Report, Exception Reports and Exception Plans to control situations as the arise and PRINCE2 has well defined activities to capture, analyze and, if required, escalate the unplanned to the next level of management.

Remember: Meerkats control stages better – they’re away from the detail and able to see and think in a wider context from the team at ground level.