Chartered Project Professional Elective Competence 16

John Bolton

ChPP (Chartered Project Professional) candidates must be able to demonstrate experience that satisfies the specific Professional Practice assessment criteria. They will also at interview need to demonstrate their advanced Technical Knowledge and understanding against the stated Technical Knowledge assessment criteria. Here we look at ChPP Elective Competence 16: Frameworks and Methodologies.

Aspiring Chartered Project Professionals who do not already hold a recognised assessment for professional practice must be able to show that their experience satisfies the specific Professional Practice Assessment Criteria with a written submission. As part of this they will also need to show competence in twelve competence areas. Ten of these are mandatory and two are selected from a selection of 14 Elective Competencies. The one we are looking at here is ChPP Elective Competence 16: Frameworks and Methodologies.

Introduction to the Frameworks and Methodologies competence.

From the APM Competence Frameworks and Methodologies is:

“The ability to identify and/or develop frameworks and methodologies that will ensure management of change initiatives will be comprehensive and consistent across different initiatives. (In this context ‘framework’ means the parameters, constraints or rules established to standardise delivery). The appropriate adoption of specific frameworks and methodologies for the management of change initiatives provides the benefits of standardisation for all aspects of governance, planning and control, and management. The benefits extend beyond individual change initiatives as the use of common frameworks and methodologies help develop a community of expertise and promote effective communication.”

Previoulsy mentioned was the term ‘change initiative’, which can cause confusion. This was a phrase introduced back in BoK 6 where it was used to describe collectively Projects, Programmes and Portfolios. The nature of these is that they introduce change, why do a project, programme or portfolio if not to change something?  As far as ChPP is concerned everything is a project, so don’t get confused with change initiative and change management or change control (common mistake).

Choosing this competence as part of a ChPP application will appeal more to the heads of profession, project office, programme and portfolio managers as they are the ones that are more often involved in the implementation of the methods and procedures rather than the project managers who are more often in a position of complying with them. That is not to say to Project Managers to not try it, but take care when dealing with the various criteria, especially.

What needs to be demonstrated for ChPP?

The APM have helpfully split this important subject into a set of key criteria that must be demonstrated. And these are as follows, not forgetting that you only need to demonstrate four of them: –

PP1.1 analyse potential frameworks/methodologies for the management of projects

The decision about how to run a set of projects (NB plural, not just one project) is not normally taken by the project manager. Therefore, they need to be familiar with the project and conversant with the governance frameworks and methods that govern it, they will probably not be the ones who stipulate it. Project managers would probably not voluntarily undertake project reviews for example it they were not mandated. The choice of which to use therefor usually comes down to one of 3 choices; use a publicly available methods (e.g. PRINCE2), use an in-house method developed by individual organisations or thirdly a hybrid of the two.

It is this last one that is most common, whereas individuals go on training courses to be taught methods, when they return to the workplace there are numerous specific facets that will impinge on their ability to fully deploy ‘the book’ version. So this competence requires the ChPP candidate to ‘analyse’ different methods which is something that will require knowledge of multiple options, hence the assertion that it is probably something done at organisational rather than project level.

PP1.2 determine internal and external contexts which could affect the use of a framework/methodology

Typically, a project manager will be required to undertake some form of contextual analysis at the commencement of a project. This will determine the influences (external and internal) that they need to be cognisant of and thereby able to accommodate or ameliorate. A typical manifestation of this is the undertaking of a PESTLE or SWOT analysis. The criteria though demand the applicant consider these factors in the deployment of a method. They may consider that because of the PESTLE analysis it would be inappropriate to use a highly structured method as the organisation is a very dynamic requiring lots of flexibility in its project management (a motor racing team perhaps).

PP1.3 identify the underlying framework/methodology principles that will suit the management of projects within the organisation

Where an organisation is more bureaucratic in nature (for example a government department) there will be more acceptance of more structure and process. Similarly, where there is a highly regulated business (for example aviation, rail, etc) where higher emphasis on safety will dictate a similar approach. With a more dynamic and flexible business there will be a lower level of tolerance generally for the imposition of ‘chapter and verse’ methods, being seen as causing delay and cost. Th ChPP applicant will need to show how they accommodated the specific needs of the business within which they are working.

PP2.1 define the processes, standards and guidelines to implement the framework and/or methodology over the lifecycle of projects, adopting these from existing sources, or developing them as required.

So this brings me back to the concept that a method is never implemented a) in totality and b) ignoring the context of the business. This competence is how the ChPP accommodated these demands and implemented a way of working for one (or many) projects and where they derived that information from.

PP2.2 reflect on the strengths and limitations of a framework / methodology making refinements as required based on experience

A feedback loop on any process is a worthy principle. It would be daft to continue with a process or method that was manifestly inappropriate or inadequate. As projects begin to use these methods and procedures there must be a reasoned evaluation of the progress and effectiveness of these use of it. The aspiring ChPP will need to show how they did this.

What does a good submission look like?

Project3: During my company wide implementation of the new ‘Bingo’ project management method, I drew on my own experience and that of the quality department from the business. I undertook a PESTLE and SWOT analysis where I invited the key stakeholders (heads of department, senior programme managers and the new PMO team) to look at the needs of the business and the nature of each of their projects. I wrote a whitepaper evaluating the various option and ended up with just two, adopt PRINCE2 or write our own.

In addition, I facilitated numerous workshops to bring the competing interests together and eventually I was able to coalesce a body of support for writing a simple but effective home-grown method. I determined that the business was not receptive to what was perceived as a bureaucratic method that was too complex for their needs. I headed up the project to write such a method, which I did by bringing together mixed discipline groups of project managers, finance, procurement and other specialists.

After that, I included all the good work already existing (for example the well understood procurement process), blending this into the framework of a project so that the touch points between the two were clear and could be demonstrated to show value. I recruited a pilot project to trial the new processes and between me, the PMO and the project manager, developed an issue list for areas to improve / change. I worked closely with these individuals and together released version 2 of the method.

250 words – WARNING – I am not suggesting that this would be successful, I am not the assessor who will be assessing it, but I wouldn’t mind betting it has a strong chance of being suitable.

Please remember for ChPP Elective Competence 16 – What YOU did, lots of I, me, and my.

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