Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

the day to day experiences of a consultant operating in weird and wonderful client situations

Project Management

M&A – bust as an idea or are we starting to differentiate between those who can and those who can’t?

Has the idea of growth through M&A finally been proven to be fundamentally bust or can we start to differentiate between those that are likely to fail and those that might succeed? Are there indicators which you might look for to identify potential success? I’ve been thinking about what might feature in those indicators….here’s my list: Personal track record of complex transformation (ideally in remedial situations) within the leadership and […]

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Collective or collaborative? What’s the best approach?

 The issues raised in a number of my recent blogs have led me to ask the question, is it better to use the power of the collective or the engagement of the collaborative in complex transformation. The nature of global corporates these days has changed with the increasing visibility, transparency and vigilance generated by regulators around the world. Each of these regulators bring different perspectives and pet requirements…but there are […]

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Motivation is, by it’s very nature, personal!

We’ve just come back from climbing up to the crater rim at Mount Rinjani, on the island of Lombok, Indonesia. At 2671 metres, it’s a serious walk / scrabble and with the different weather challenges of tropical rainforest at the bottom and relatively cold at the top(at least for us thin blooded tropics dwellers), challenging for all of us on different levels. It was a great family experience and one […]

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The Need to Automate the Innovation Process

Good article which points to some interesting trends going on in project management at the moment…not sure this is about software but I like the methodologies and findings.. There has always been a consistent call to automate the innovation process. Now it might turn into a stampede, based on real ‘digital’ need. We have made solid progress in the use of out-of-the box software for capturing ideas at the ‘fuzzy […]

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The subject matter expertise…of implementation

I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the creation of a new subject matter expertise…focused on the skills and requirements of  implementation or ‘getting things done’! In every part of commercial and creative life, we are faced with a significant contradiction. There is almost universal acceptance that ‘implementation’ is where things go wrong. Yet most of the focus, attention, and resource (financial and other) in any complex transformation project seems to rest with the design and […]

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The project based organisation

Following on from my blog last week, I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues around the ‘projectisation’ of corporations, a ugly but appropriate phrase which Thomas Martin uses to explain the next stage in corporate development. If you remember, what I tried to address was the perfect storm convergence of a disengaged and therefore unproductive workforce, a increasing pace of change and a significant uplift in complexity. So, how to deal with […]

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Implementing strategy – from the bottom up – part 2

Last week, I tried to illustrate a classic top down implementation process in terms of the key problems that companies face. This week I’m going to try and describe how I’ve seen it work from a ‘bottom up’ approach. This is altogether more challenging for two main reasons: 1) Organisations rarely design their future strategy with the most junior members of the workforce in control or with much influence. The […]

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Post merger integration – in every way, an oximoron!

There’s an magnificent irony to the expression ‘post merger integration’ which, as the M&A rollercoaster starts to speed up again at an alarming pace, I wanted to share with you. In fact every part of that phrase can be challenged… Post – the reality as any practitioner will tell you, is that the work starts a long time before completion and potentially announcement. Many studies have shown that if you start […]

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Do you take enough risk?

Do you take enough risk?. Good article on the nature of leading groups through a real learning experience by Michael. All of us have that experience of throwing out the plan and doing something fresh. It’s interesting for me that often this involves someone else in the decision making process…the support of someone who running the session with you in making the decision / taking the risk is often important. Which […]

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Have pity for program leaders of a post merger integration – they need your sympathy!

Imagine the following situation: You’re given the challenge to program manage a post merger integration, carried out in the public eye, with all of the details (cost, complexity, high level strategy) broadcast to the world. After a few months, you discover that actually there were a number of other people in the frame for the work, who for one reason or another, couldn’t take up the challenge! You’re given a thousand pages of diligence, written […]

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Agile – A change in methodology or something much deeper and altogether more challenging?

I’ve just spoken at an excellent conference on project management in KL. There were some truly interesting seminars on project recovery, risk, the danger of optimism in projects, and of course Agile. It is extraordinary what sort of reaction this topic generates amongst proven, seasoned project management professionals and the range was certainly on display at the conference. I saw everything there from fear and loathing, to contemptuous dismissal, to […]

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Are we always going to spend countless hours on planes to get to sit in meeting rooms with colleagues?

This morning, as I sit on yet another flight, this time from Singapore to Hong Kong, it’s ever more apparent to me that far from video conferencing and other forms of communication taking the place of international travel, planes are fuller than ever with business travellers flying short distances for a schedule of meetings, which from my own straw poll over the past 18 months, are mostly internal to their […]

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People in project management – the ultimate elastic band in terms of productivity!

With thanks to Toby Tester for this topic, I wanted to explore a subject which has been close to my heart for more years than I can say. How did we get to a situation where the presumption is that human capital productivity stays constant in periods of intense change? I know this blog is supposed to be a series of incisive commentaries based on personal consulting experience but the […]

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Bringing project management into the mainstream

With thanks for an excellent seminar last night by Thomas Martin of Forward Intelligence Group and previously Microsoft, and also a reflection from a number of other clients and colleagues, I’ve been observing an interesting series of phenomena in the last few months. A redrawing of some of the traditional boundaries between transformation and business as usual activities, specifically when it comes to allocation of CAPEX. It seems that there […]

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What value the functional qualification in project and programme management?

Now before you all bombard my blog site with death threats, this is not going to be a diatribe against the qualifications which are prevalent in the arena of programme and project management. I fully accept that these have a place and a value, and for someone starting out in the world of complex programme / project management, having the confidence of this type of certificate is clearly important and […]

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Transformation – the new business as usual!

For several years, I’ve been drawing the same picture…the one which illustrates that the percentage of a company’s activities related to business as usual versus that related to what I call ‘special projects’ has been changing over the past ten years, in favour of the latter.  By special projects I mean: mergers and acquisitions joint ventures new product launches new territories expansion significant change in strategy and subsequent implementation requirement […]

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What’s the value of a plan?

It may seem strange to those of you who know me that I’m in the profession of planning otherwise known as project / programme management. For years, my life was anything but planned, work opportunities seem to occur through a combination of chance and happy circumstance. Obviously it’s been easy to post rationalise my various moves (!) but the reality was very different. That was not however due to a […]

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