Good business notes

Taking notes is vital to remembering and keeping track of developments. With multi- layered complex project management the task can sometimes seem overwhelming. Good notes not only keep the project on track they can be vital for contractual compliance when a project is looked back upon later. This is where Oracles Primavera Unifier comes into its own.

Oracles Unifier Document Manager Overview maintains all the files and documents for a project and the notes you add to it. Each project/shell includes its own Document Manager, as well as another Document Manager residing at the company level.

The manager ensures that employees and project/shell members are always using the most current versions of documents. Files in the Document Manager are stored on the Unifier file server. In Unifier, they can be organised into a “folder” structure to categorise them and make them easily available, much like a filing cabinet.

The Document Manager can be integrated with all other business processes so users of Unifier can initiate a business process directly from the Document Manager and automatically attach notes,  files and folders into it. In addition, you can design a business process to automatically publish its records, along with their comments and attachments, to the Document Manager.

If Unifier is used to its full potential it can produce a detailed audit trail of the record information through the entire business process. You can store documents directly in a node, or organise them into folders under a node. Users can upload, download, revise, or mark up all project documents from this node with check-in/check-out, document lock, and revision history features for version control. It’s hard to imagine how Project Managers manage without it.

Project Management risk 

Every business will be familiar with strategies for how to manage risk.  All project management practice will involve some element of risk management which also requires good risk assessment and analysis. Any efficiently run project wants to ensure the minimum number of surprises.

Of course the future can never be predicted with certainty, but good project managers can apply simple and streamlined risk management process to attempt to predict the uncertainties in any projects and minimise the occurrence or impact of these uncertainties. Of course sometimes the unpredictable occurs, so having plans to mitigate a crisis is also important.

Key to developing a really good analysis and assessing how to avoid crisis situations is to never forget learning from past mistakes. Also using your full team is important as project team members at various levels identify and handle risks in different ways. But to make this truly effective a structured risk management, framework is vital.

Without a framework you could end up with incomplete impact evaluation, leading to lack of knowledge about the overall impact on the project objectives, like scope, time, cost, and quality, the identification of secondary or new risks arising from the already identified risks. Possible lack of transparency and a communication gap within and outside the team.

For any project an effective risk management framework ensures, active and focused risk identification and management. Project progress, with the least amount of deviations or surprises, in line with project and organisational objectives, as well as early and effective communication of project issues to organisation and project stakeholders

Effective and early risk identification and management secures the achievement of project objectives whatever your business.

Preparing for a stress free Christmas

Sometimes years just fly and once again the Christmas period is upon us.  With Christmas decorations hanging from our desks the promise of the office party and a good old Secret Santa adding stress to the overload of mince pies being shared around can sometimes dampen the Christmas spirit.

Depending on your business Christmas can be a very busy or very quiet time of the year but it is unlikely to be completely quiet especially as we all operate in a more global world. On top of that there are seasonal illnesses and absences that heap demands for both employers and employees.

Both personally and professionally many find it difficult to juggle all their commitments. But it’s important to try to stay ahead and to not let your project suffer over this period.  It makes sense to try and get ahead and track your workload. It is important to try and stay one step ahead and plan adequately in advance.

It can also make sense to minimise any back-office work in what you are trying to achieve as everyone is busy at this time of year, although this is where technology at our fingertips can really come into its own, easing the burden of so many tasks from accounting, collecting customer data, to  automating business transactions.

If you prepare in advance and manage your own and your teams workload efficiently in the run-up to the Christmas break, then you’ll hopefully will have less to contend with when you get back. Organisation, proper tracking and planned strategies are key to enjoying your leave, so you can hit the ground running at the start of 2018.

Ethical and Responsible business strategies

At Hyde Park Solutions it is widely recognised that the growing phase for companies to become responsible and ethical in their practices is hard. It is important for businesses to classify what strategies they are supporting and to categories those investments up front.

Making sure you have a fully functional Portfolio Management tool in place is critical to manage your investment portfolio. Oracle’s Primavera Portfolio Management (OPPM) system is one such system and is invaluable is helping organisations’ classify and categorise investments and supporting projects to enable reporting on organisational strategic achievement.

A good portfolio management tool enables organisations’ to categories investments into what strategies they support and enable, and what benefits they should deliver. Chief executives are answerable to three main groups: the board, shareholders and regulators and will have a requirement to report on progress of those ethical and responsible business strategic investments.

However with Social Media exposing business practices, new generations of consumers are demanding more than just products and services; a growing number of them seek assurances that companies are responsible and ethical. This means that protecting the environment, preventing exploitation, and treating suppliers and employees fairly are all of interest to consumers and so organisations’ need to be able to classify investments/projects to provide demanding consumers and regulators.

Going forward an ethical approach to business can not only be profitable, but can also often be a requirement of discerning customers eager to safeguard the planet and protect workers. In response business leaders around the world have hired top people, set targets and created structures to reduce negative impact and augment positive ones. Each company has its own footprint – product suite, area of operations, headcount and so on – so each has its own unique opportunity to effect change.

Making sure you are finding the most effective way to be and to prove you are ethical and responsible requires the help of high quality portfolio management tools, such as those developed and implemented by HPS.

Chartered status for Project Managers to be celebrated

Looking back over 2017 a couple of important events and changes come to mind.  One to remember and celebrate is the event which saw the Association of Project Management achieve Chartered status and of course Hyde Park Solutions were in attendance to witness this accomplishment.

Achieving chartered status for the APM puts the Project Management profession on an equal footing with Engineers, Architects and Accountants who are also vital to so many projects.  It will also be great for the professionalism of Project Management, as it will result in Project Managers becoming more valued and assured in their work.

The arrival of the Charter, which is printed on vellum and sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm, confirms the creation of the Chartered body. Significantly the Chartered body is a different organisation to APM. The assets of the current charity are being moved into the Chartered body so that it operates fully and most importantly can fulfil its obligations. This is largely an administrative process, but it will mean transferring members, contracts, offices, IT, people, intellectual property and so on into the new body which plans to be active from the 1st April 2018.

Once the Chartered body is operational, their priority will be to focus on the creation of a Register of Chartered Project Professionals. The standards and processes required for the Chartered Project Professionals register will go through a process of public consultation before it is launched.  Part of these consultations will involve decisions about APM’s Registered Project Professional (RPP) status.

Benefits of a really good web design

Whether you are at the forefront of portfolio and project management like Hyde Park Solutions (HPS), a large global multi-faceted business or a SME, a really good website design and effective online strategy is vital.

In our 21st Century digital world your website is far more than an opportunity to display your business card on the web. It is a worldwide interactive extension of the company that should reflect your brand and values. But its value goes way beyond marketing your business online.

Nowadays there is no other better way to communicate with your customers and team than by linking your website to social media.  Social media spreads the “service” role across any organisation through; Procurement, Distribution, HR, Sales, Operations, Management, Ownership, every employee in every department can be kept up to speed and nurture customer relationships.

Of course it also needs to work as an Informational Hub containing useful information about services and products, tools and software. By simply providing information, you can develop effective communication and a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with customers on a truly global scale. And you can continue to optimise this as Google provide better and better data and analytics.

It is also an influential platform where news and views relating to the core of the business can be discussed and shared putting your business in the right place at the right time. HPS are delighted with their new web design and are keen to continue to improve delivery of useful information and engagement online.

Nuclear Clean up

It is a good thing that the UK is to end its outsourcing of nuclear clean-ups and will probably sort out its own radioactive mess after the contract for decommissioning of atomic reactors collapses. The recent Magnox fiasco, involving 12 Magnox nuclear plants, has drawn attention to the business of nuclear decommissioning and its heavy burden on the public purse. A burden upon which we as tax payers should not contribute to organisations hefty profits, when we as tax payers are fronting all the risks.

It now seems fairly clear that the decommissioning Britain’s first generation of atomic reactors will be brought back “in-house” by the UK nuclear clean-up agency after the collapse of a £6.2bn outsourcing contract that exposed “fundamental failures” in the organisation.

A report by the National Audit Office recently stated that there had been some real bungling in one of the largest contracts awarded by the UK government. The criticisms raised “serious questions” about how to manage large, complex procurements. Interim findings had revealed a catalogue of human errors and systemic failings.

There is no doubt that to project manage enormously complex projects like the decommissioning of 12 nuclear plants a whole host of rigorous and robust portfolio project management needs to be in place. A final decision has not yet been made but industry figures say the most likely outcome will be for the NDA to create a new subsidiary to take control of the Magnox clean-up programme.

A subsidiary is good news as it keeps the business in the UK but whomever gets the task will need to clearly define what order they are going to do the projects in and have systems that work so as to enable them to properly manage the clean-up.

Women in Project Management 2017

The APM National Conference for Women in Project Management 2017 was a great day for all who attended with Keynote speaker, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE setting the tone for a host of interesting presentations including; The progressive project professional: what does that look like? Stream presentations: Career challenges, Broadgate Suite 2 Delivery (sponsored by Hyde Park Solutions), Broadgate Suite 1 Demystifying Agile, London Wall Suite and Catherine Holmes and Steph McGovern closing the day;.

Delegates from HPS found the event engaging and empowering. “I enjoyed Maggie’s speech the most. It was engaging and empowering. Maggie was enthusiastic and what she said was relatable on a level. Even though I have no ambition to fly into space she made it seem possible for me if that’s what I wanted. For me her having dyslexia was an inspiration as it is always seen as something to hold people back and sometimes used as an excuse but its not when you really know what you want and work hard to get it,” said Laura Smith.

“The highlight for me was the second session on Demystifying Agile .It was extremely informative with hands-on pointers and both Gary and I left the session highly motivated to adopt certain components of the methodology.” Thought Daleen Strydom from HPS.

Carol Mitchell also commented, “The guest speakers I found most inspiring were Steph Mc Govern her candid speech really made me feel that with the right attitude anything could be possible. As well as Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock MBE who really made me re-think and revaluate my own goals and aspirations.”

HPS strongly support women in project management and look forward to more events of this kind.

Stansted Airport Project

Stansted Airport has heavily invested in expanding their capacity but in 2017 the queues have been worse than ever. Perhaps a more comprehensive Project Management programme could have prevented some of this? Getting the right Project Management programme in place is key to being able to bank the benefits of time and money spent on developing any business.

Thinking big is great as long as you have the tools to manage it. There is nothing wrong with the vision to grow Stansted airport to better serve the region. This would include attracting a wider range of airlines and new routes, particularly to the USA and Middle East. Indeed this kind of expansion is vital to sustaining the prosperity, jobs creation and developing real investment in the area.

So Stanstead’s plan to look at ways to make efficient use of the current single runway, develop and improve surface access links, as well as strengthen their community engagement programme is all good. Of course this has to be done alongside being mindful of the environmental impacts, ensuring there is some balance between growth and sustainability. But that doesn’t make it an easy project to manage.

A business like Stanstead Airport certainly has the investment to manage this kind of development and growth in customers. But to reap the benefits it has to be Project Manged with precision. Hyde Park Solutions offer the kind of complete bespoke Project Management programmes that can help even the most challenging of projects deliver on all fronts.