Stephen Wise Blog

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Unlock the Power of Project Management: for Business Leaders

1. Stewardship

Acting as a diligent and responsible guardian of the project's resources and interests, prioritizing ethical considerations and the welfare of all stakeholders.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Regularly review and optimize resource allocation.
  • Uphold ethical standards and transparency in all project activities.
  • Foster an environment of mutual respect and integrity.

How to Measure

  • Conduct stakeholder satisfaction surveys.
  • Monitor resource utilization rates against benchmarks.
  • Track ethical compliance through internal audits.

Real World Example

A project manager at a construction firm ensures that all materials are sourced ethically, labour is fairly compensated, and the environmental impact is minimized, reflecting stewardship in action.

2. Team

Building a culture that promotes accountability and respect among team members, enhancing collaboration and project success.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Encourage open communication and feedback.
  • Define clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
  • Recognize and celebrate team achievements.

How to Measure

  • Evaluate team performance through regular reviews.
  • Measure team morale and engagement through surveys.
  • Assess the clarity of roles and responsibilities via feedback.

Real World Example

A software development team implements agile methodologies, fostering a collaborative environment where each member's contributions are valued, leading to innovative solutions and high team satisfaction.

3. Stakeholders

Actively engaging and collaborating with all parties impacted by the project to understand their needs and align expectations.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Identify and map all stakeholders early in the project.
  • Establish regular communication channels and updates.
  • Involve stakeholders in decision-making processes.

How to Measure

  • Track stakeholder engagement levels and feedback.
  • Monitor the alignment of project outcomes with stakeholder expectations.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of communication strategies.

Real World Example

In launching a new product, a company conducts focus groups with potential customers (stakeholders) to gather insights, ensuring the final product meets the market’s needs and expectations.

4. Value

Ensuring that the project delivers outcomes that are beneficial and offer tangible value to the organization and its stakeholders.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Align project objectives with organizational strategy.
  • Implement value management practices to prioritize features based on their return on investment.
  • Regularly review project deliverables to ensure they meet user needs and business objectives.

How to Measure

  • Use performance metrics to assess the project's impact on business goals.
  • Conduct post-implementation reviews to evaluate the realization of benefits.
  • Gather feedback from end-users and stakeholders on the value received.

Real World Example

A healthcare provider implements a new patient management system to improve service delivery. The system reduces wait times, improves patient satisfaction, and streamlines operations, demonstrating clear value to both the organization and its patients.

5. Holistic Thinking

Recognizing and managing the interdependencies within the project and its environment to make informed, comprehensive decisions.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Employ systems thinking to understand the project's context and interrelated components.
  • Facilitate cross-functional collaboration to leverage diverse perspectives.
  • Conduct regular risk and impact assessments to anticipate and mitigate systemic issues.

How to Measure

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of decision-making processes through outcome analysis.
  • Track the frequency and impact of unintended consequences or systemic issues.
  • Assess the level of cross-functional collaboration and integration.

Real World Example

A multinational corporation launching a global marketing campaign uses holistic thinking to consider cultural sensitivities, legal requirements, and market conditions in different regions, ensuring a cohesive and effective strategy across borders.

6. Leadership

Inspiring, guiding, and fostering an environment where the project team can achieve their best work through effective leadership.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Develop leadership skills such as empathy, communication, and problem-solving.
  • Set clear visions and goals for the project team.
  • Provide support and resources for professional development and problem resolution.

How to Measure

  • Assess leadership effectiveness through team feedback and performance metrics.
  • Monitor the achievement of project milestones and team objectives.
  • Evaluate the growth and development of team members over the project lifecycle.

Real World Example

The project manager of a software development project leads by example, actively resolving impediments, facilitating knowledge sharing sessions, and encouraging innovation, leading to the timely delivery of a high-quality software product.

7. Tailoring

Customizing the project management approach to best suit the project's unique context, ensuring methods and practices are appropriate and effective.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Assess the project environment to determine the most suitable methodologies (e.g., Agile, Waterfall).
  • Adapt processes and tools to meet the project's specific needs and challenges.
  • Involve the team in the tailoring process to leverage their insights and buy-in.

How to Measure

  • Review project outcomes to assess the fit and effectiveness of the chosen approach.
  • Conduct retrospectives to gather team feedback on processes and methodologies.
  • Measure project performance against initial expectations and adjustments.

Real World Example

A project manager leading a complex software integration project combines Agile practices for development with traditional Waterfall methods for client approvals, tailoring the approach to balance flexibility with necessary controls.

8. Quality

Integrating quality into both the project processes and outcomes, ensuring that deliverables meet the required standards and expectations.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Define quality standards and criteria at the project's outset.
  • Implement continuous quality assurance and control measures throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Engage in regular reviews and testing to ensure deliverables meet established standards.

How to Measure

  • Track and analyze defects or non-conformance issues.
  • Conduct stakeholder surveys to gauge satisfaction with the project’s outcomes.
  • Measure the effectiveness of quality improvement initiatives over time.

Real World Example

An automotive manufacturer implements a zero-defect program for a new vehicle launch, incorporating rigorous testing and quality checks at every production stage, resulting in a product that exceeds industry safety standards.

9. Complexity

Navigating and managing the various complexities within the project, using knowledge, experience, and agile responses to ensure success.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Apply complexity assessment tools to understand the project's complexity dimensions.
  • Use adaptive and flexible project management approaches to respond to changing conditions.
  • Cultivate an environment of learning and improvement within the project team.

How to Measure

  • Evaluate project performance in relation to its complexity factors.
  • Monitor the team’s ability to adapt to and manage unforeseen challenges.
  • Assess the effectiveness of problem-solving and decision-making processes.

Real World Example

A technology firm managing a large-scale IT infrastructure overhaul uses an adaptive project management approach to navigate technical, organizational, and operational complexities, achieving milestones through flexible planning and problem-solving.

10. Risk

Identifying, analyzing, and managing potential project risks proactively to minimize their impact and capitalize on opportunities.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Develop a comprehensive risk management plan.
  • Regularly identify and assess new risks as the project progresses.
  • Implement risk response strategies and monitor their effectiveness.

How to Measure

  • Track the number and severity of risks that materialize.
  • Measure the success of risk response actions in mitigating impact.
  • Evaluate the return on investment for opportunities pursued.

Real World Example

During the construction of a new office building, the project manager implements early weather-related risk assessments and contingency planning, avoiding delays and cost overruns through proactive measures.

11. Adaptability and Resilience

Maintaining flexibility and a capacity to respond effectively to change and challenges, ensuring the project's ongoing viability and success.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Encourage a mindset of flexibility and openness to change among the project team.
  • Implement agile project management techniques to allow for rapid adaptation.
  • Build contingency planning into the project's strategic planning processes.

How to Measure

  • Assess the project's ability to adapt to significant changes without derailing.
  • Monitor recovery times from setbacks or challenges.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of contingency plans when activated.

Real World Example

A global event planning company swiftly adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning to virtual events, leveraging technology to maintain engagement and deliver value to clients amidst unprecedented challenges.

12. Change Management

Effectively managing and facilitating change within the project and organization to achieve the desired outcomes and future state.

Good Practices to Implement

  • Establish clear communication plans for all change initiatives.
  • Involve key stakeholders in the change process to gain support and mitigate resistance.
  • Regularly review and adjust strategies in response to feedback and outcomes.

How to Measure

  • Monitor the speed and effectiveness of change implementation.
  • Track stakeholder engagement and support levels throughout the change process.
  • Assess the achievement of change objectives and overall impact on the project.

Real World Example

A software company implements a new project management tool across its development teams, using structured change management processes to ensure smooth adoption, with training sessions, feedback mechanisms, and ongoing support facilitating the transition.


Project Management Institute. (2021). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® guide) (7th ed.). Project Management Institute

American in Paris

Focus on Outcomes

Traction Tips

A weekly action idea to improve traction on your important initiatives by Stephen Wise.

  The new and wonderful musical, An American in Paris, is doing the rounds. It weaves multiple love stories with a Jazz and Ballet fusion leading to true love outcomes.  

Milo falls for Jerry, who's in love with Lise, who is engaged to Henri. Lise shares mutual affection with Henri but falls in love with Jerry. Jerry's friend Adam is also falling for Lise. Lise the ballerina, is oblivious she is the focal point of all the story lines. Despite the complications, true love wins out in the end. In the opening scenes of the musical Jerry sets his strategy to find and win Lise. However he gets lost, becomes indecisive, and is distracted by other interests. Has this ever happened to you in business? Getting lost in the details, uncertainty over the correct next step, or being distracted by new opportunities? Unfortunately, I see it every day. So, here is my guaranteed formula for success. 1. Focus on driving the outcomes 2. Accept Uncertainty 3. Agile Mindset

Focus on outcomes

Craft a hi-level plan. List the activities required to achieve the desired outcomes.

Accept Uncertainty

Accept uncertainty. Our ability to achieve goals proscribed in the plan can vary significantly.

Agile Mindset

Re-work your plan frequently.  Consider changes in the environment and your leanings along the way. Switch around your priorities. re-evaluate desired outcomes to reflect new realities.

Weekly Traction Action

Fuse the improvisation of Jazz with the perfection of Ballet to manage your corporate outcomes. Your weekly action: 1. Ensure all your desired outcomes have an accessible, hi-level, end to end plan. 2. Schedule regular times to evaluate whether you are on track and make course corrections to get back on track. I recommend or implement these actions all the time on client initiatives. Hopefully, it will work to improve outcomes for you too.

I love Email

Please send me an email and tell me about if you have success or trouble with this action. I’m always interested to see what can happen out in the wild.  

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

5 Secrets of Successfully Implementing Strategy

It is common to find a cultural divide between the strategy folks and the implementation folks inside an organization. As comparison, Strategy thinking is intellectual. Strategy development is sophisticated and often done off-site by executives. A completed Strategy is polished and presented by the top executives. The Strategy is locked for the year. And, Implementation thinking is practical. Plan development messy and done by managers. Planning assumes that all the tasks and dependencies can be identified and

 solved. The plan will change every day based on progress and issues that occur. 

Strategy Execution Success 

Strategy-Execution-Success[/caption] How can the organization ensure the outcomes from the implementation meet the needs of the strategy?

  1. The Strategists include the implementers in the strategy development process.
  2. One of the strategists assumes accountability for the successful initiation, planning, execution, and closure of each of the plans as well as active involvement in selected risk mitigation and issue resolution.
  3. The implementers ensure that a business case is provided that links the forecast benefits and risks of the strategy to the forecast resources and constraints. Viability of the business case should be validated periodically during and after implementation.
  4. The implementers select appropriate tools and methodology to plan and execute the detailed tasks necessary to achieve the plan.
  5. The implementers ensure the accountable strategist is aware of progress and risks and engaged for collaboration and assistance on all unresolved issues.

Increased collaboration between Strategists and Implementers is low-hanging fruit for improving outcomes. Leaders among the strategists and leaders among the implementers who reach across to each other and increase their mutual overlap will see desired outcomes increase significantly.

Stephen Wise

Two themes for Portfolio Agility

I have seen the future and it is agile. The agile I am talking about is not a tool, or methodology, or a movement. It is the outcome when Project Managers have discussions with Sponsors on how to go faster, or how to beat competitors, or how to win new business. Portfolio management is listing, prioritizing, selecting, and controlling business ideas/investments in the context of the top success drivers and constraints affecting the business. In my experience, many projects are handed to the Project Manager that have risks or budget or schedule issues that the PM can’t even quantify. Unfortunately, these very items are likely to be the root cause of missed expectations, budget overruns or schedule delays. Our challenge is to enter into an ongoing conversation to ensure the right investments are being made at the right time. We need to develop and design a new way of thinking to respond to the needs of the business. Here are two themes to help support this change: 1. Focus on enhancing the collaboration and communication between the person managing the work (Project Manager) and the person who wants the work done (Sponsor).
  • Create visibility anytime and to any desired level of detail.
  • Speed everything up so that we can see business benefits/failures faster.
2. Gain trust by eliminating multiple sources of data/truth by bringing data integrity into the project and program environment.
  • Ensure culture is conducive to increased reporting.
  • Communicate better about those things that people care about.
I first head the following from an industry research analyst, “We need better brakes … so we can go faster”. How true! By investing in portfolio management skills and tools to improve communication and data quality, the organizations we support will have improved agility to amplify successes and reallocate resources from underperforming projects.


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