Frequent Q & As

In simple straightforward terms, how would you best describe your services?

They’re all geared to improve what I see as singularly the most important factor of a project – the communication. I deliberately try to focus and concentrate on the art and science of communicating effectively.

We know, especially these days, that a project manager needs to be good at a wide ranging number of disciplines and skills to be able to do his or her job effectively. Being able to plan for example and keep a tight rein on the purse strings.

For me though communications is the real key. If you can master communicating effectively as well as building and maintaining good working relationships, a lot of the hassle and grief associated with IT projects can be at least overcome if not completely avoided.

So to summarise, all of my services deliberately focus around the art and science of communicating effectively.

If you would like to learn more about the Services I provide then please click here.

What would you say are your main strengths?

Above all I would say turning around the fortunes of a project that has gone off the rails for one reason or another (usually down to the lack of communications!)

I always look to manage the various relationships associated with the project. Ensuring that key personnel are bought-in to the stated aims and objectives and that everyone is clear with what the project has to achieve. This also includes making sure everyone knows who is doing what, why and when.

To date I have succeeded in rescuing projects where relationships have broken down between the suppliers and the customer. Identifying what the customer sees as being acceptable and confirming it can be delivered.

I’ve also had great success in coaching and mentoring individuals at the coalface. Over the years I’ve taken a lot pleasure in bringing people on and improving their communication skills as well as introducing a best practise approach to both the verbal and written elements of running a project.

Click here to view some recent Case Studies.

Quite often there has been no choice but to carry out this coaching and mentoring in a ‘live’, tense and pressurised environment, as the project has demanded almost immediate actions and results.

Obviously the success of this approach depends largely on how it is conducted, how the individual receives it and how others interpret it. I always believe in a delicate and sensitive balance of tact and diplomacy, paying particular attention to the feelings and needs of the project manager involved.

I make every effort to practise what I preach with regards to communication, especially as I see this as being such an essential part of a project’s structure.

What are the main benefits you would bring to my project?

In a nutshell I would say clear, efficient and effective governance. I’d provide a firm hand at the tiller, clear vision of what we were trying to achieve and the direction required to get there. I’ve also a keen eye for quickly spotting and preventing the potential showstoppers.

I have an abundance of previous experience and knowledge of being on both sides of the fence. As a supplier and a customer which has given me a genuine empathy with business teams and what they’re trying to achieve. In addition to this I’ve an acute understanding of the trials and tribulations faced by a supplier. If necessary I’ll identify and negotiate a workable compromise where necessary.

I would actively encourage all of the project teams to get involved as appropriate. With the emphasis on key personnel, I would make sure everyone was kept in the picture and regularly updated on the progress and overall status.

The project would benefit from having a clear direction with everyone knowing what was expected of them. I would provide an approachable first point of contact, something often lacking in my experience.

The project’s progress would be accurately measured and tracked. I would ensure that everyone agreed on what success looks like and what has to happen for the deliverables to be accepted. The customer would feature heavily in this, as they will be the ones who accept the project when it has been delivered!

Stakeholders will feel comfortable and confident that the project is being controlled and run properly with relevant MI being provided to demonstrate this. Risks will be regularly appraised with appropriate mitigation, issues closely monitored and managed pro-actively.

Overall you can expect high standards to be set, but achievable ones. The work ethic will be that of not only being professional but also making time for a bit of fun as well, something very often overlooked and neglected in today’s demanding IT project environments.

Can you tailor a presentation for a topic or subject of my choice?

Yes, no problem! I do have two standard presentations that are based on the same theme as my key articles, “IT Project Failure – When Will We Ever Learn” and “How To Wear The 31 Hats of the 21st Century Project Manager!”
Click here to find these at Free Stuff.

I can easily tailor a presentation to a topic or subject of your choice for an organisation or company. It could be designed to fit in with an “awayday” type of event or activity. Perhaps for your colleagues with a specific theme to emphasise a particular point or message you are trying to get across.

For more information, click here to go to my contact page.

What type of coaching and mentoring roles have you done so far and how successful have they been?

One example was with a senior BA who had been promoted into a project manager’s role for a multi-million project still in its planning stage. It was for a leading high street bank and the primary objective was to migrate the bank’s retail network to a new platform. In all a total in excess of over 1800 retail outlets – no mean task, indeed a baptism of fire!

This was a great challenge for the both of us. In effect I shadowed the individual initially reviewing the structure and processes in place to manage the project. Then either replacing, enhancing or introducing additional measures for things like risk assessment, issue management, tracking progress and reporting on the project status.

This proved a very successful exercise. There wasn’t a lot of good news to start with as we quickly discovered the business requirements had not been understood properly. Thanks to our efforts the proposed migration strategy was proven ‘unfit for purpose’ and the original supplier was shown the door! At that point over £16 million had been spent with this supplier for what turned out to be an unsuitable solution!

A second example was where I was taken on to replace a programme manager who the customer had fallen out with. One of my project managers on the team had also been involved in a leading capacity in the earlier days of the project and had also struggled.

My task was to get this project back on the rails, at the same time coaching the PM in ‘best practise’, killing two birds with one stone. Working together we managed this and I was very pleased to leave the programme six months later with the project back on track and the PM a more disciplined and structured individual well versed in the finer arts of delivering a project and with a better appreciation of what real quality looks like.

What do you see as the most important part of a project?

A bit of a tough one this because there are a number of critical elements that go towards making a project successful. Planning is obviously very important, as is the financial side, but personally I think having a really good working relationship with all of the teams involved and facilitating effective communication is the most important.

To a certain degree this is down to opinion, but in my experience the rough edges and shortcomings of a particular project have been overcome where good working relationships and communication has prevailed. It is often the biggest contributory factor to building trust. Where there is unquestionable trust there is very often a successful relationship, warts ‘n all!

Do you only work in the north of England?

No, not at all, the projects I’ve worked on have been based all over mainland Britain. The locations have varied from Rosyth in Scotland and Newcastle in the northeast, to Milton Keynes and Watford in the south of England. I am pretty flexible with where I work and will base myself wherever is best for your project, also recognising the importance to minimise your costs as well.

Can you give an indication of the fees you would charge me?

There are a number of things that would determine the fee you would be charged. The most important elements would be the size and type of your project, the nature of the work, the amount of travel involved and general expenses for example hotel costs etc.

All of this would be discussed with you in greater depth during your free initial consultation. If we then decided to go ahead and work together, the fees and structure for charging would then documented in the proposal to avoid any confusion further down the line.

I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some great clients over the years and to date I’ve never had any problems with fees.

Thanks you for taking the time to read this FAQ page.
If you would like more information click here NOW to find out How I Work, or visit my contact page to request a FREE, no obligation, initial consultation.

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