23 Aug 2011

Best Management Practice – an Introduction

Posted by Paul Atkin

Best Management Practice – an Introduction

Many Canadian Project Managers know about the PRINCE2 methodology but few are aware that it is part of group of well established best practices for Portfolio, Program and Project Management (PPM).  Best Management Practice standards include:

MoP – Management of Portfolios

P3O – Portfolio, Program and Project Offices

MSP – Managing Successful Programs

PRINCE2 – Project Management Methodology

MoR – Management of Risk

Each standard is based on a common PPM Glossary so you only need to become familiar with the terminology once. Most standards are not new. They’ve been through several refreshes so you benefit from mature guidance which has been developed from successful best practice around the world. All standards are free to use and include ready to use templates, processes and how-to steps that can be put to immediate use.

Training by specialist Accredited Organizations is available and Foundation and Practitioner certifications are common to MoP, P3O, PRINCE2 and MoR. MSP certification goes one step further and features an Advanced Practitioner qualification.

MoP – Are we doing the right projects and programs?MoP_Logo

At the Portfolio level, MoP is based on 5 flexible Principles along with Portfolio Definition and Delivery cycles to help organizations align programs and projects with corporate strategy. MoP supports successful business change by making sure that benefits delivered by programs and projects are aligned to strategic objectives.

The newest of the Best Practice Standards, MoP was released in 2011 and MoP exams have already been taken by Federal Government employees in Canada who recognize the benefits of a Portfolio Management approach.

P3O – are projects and programs done right?P3O_Logo

The Portfolio, Program and Project Offices (P3O) guide provides senior management with the information to identify the most beneficial programs and projects for the organization, as well as providing support to the programs and projects that are undertaken.

While most organisations change constantly senior managers often have no idea about the impact of these changes in terms of what they cost, when they will deliver and which ones actually support corporate strategies.

P3O enables an info-flow and good decision making by supporting project and program delivery with accurate and timely information. The roles and responsibilities of the PMO staff are described and the guide provides 21 role descriptions that are ready to use. For the organization, value is safeguarded by providing a benefits tracking service, which is often overlooked.

P3O certifications have been gained by Canadian PPM specialists in Western Canada and Ontario as large organizations are realizing the value of clear guidance for their PMOs.

MSP – co-ordinating projects and delivering transformational changeMSP_Logo

MSP recognizes 3 types of program in the journey from old to new ways of working. Programs may be:

  • Vision led – which is top down and focuses on strategic opportunities requiring a radical transformation of the business
  • Emergent – often the bringing together of a previously uncoordinated initiatives which may be better managed together
  • Compliance – the ‘must do’ programs where avoidance or failure would have negative consequences

MSP recognizes that a program is more than a sum of its parts and consists of many diverse stakeholders. MSP concentrates on the benefits that must be achieved for the organisation and its governance model includes roles to both run the program and integrate new products, services and change with business as usual.

A Transformational Flow is used to describe the program journey from identifying and defining the program through to managing tranches, delivering new capabilities and realizing benefits.

MoR – Managing Risk from top to bottomMoP_Logo

Risks – uncertain events – are common to all levels of PPM and operational management. MoR provides established guidance to manage risk both to ensure survival and provide competitive advantage in dealing with inevitable uncertainty.

Risk management is one way an organization establishes internal control and demonstrates good corporate governance and MoR’s systematic approach will help achieve compliance with standards such as Basel II or Sarbanes-Oxley.

MoR uses a number of enabler including appropriate context, stakeholder engagement and a supportive risk management culture to achieve measurable value in risk management based on a “prevention not cure” approach. This approach is delivered using a series of described strategies, policies, reports, plans and records. The MoR process itself is based on an Identify – Assess – Plan – Implement – Embed/Review cycle with a constant theme of Communication.

MoR is popular in the Canadian Health sector where organizations committed to PRINCE2 have taken MoR to improve both risk management and their maturity in using Best Management Practice standards

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