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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post: Is Your Voice Being Heard?

Our world is clogged with promiscuous noise offering everything from eternal youth to creating your own avatar on Facebook. We are bombarded  relentlessly with information through more channels than we could ever have imagined.

At work.  How many emails come into your inbox each day? How many unnecessary meetings do you attend?

Walking to get your lunch. Billboards, shopfronts, audio, people with flyers.

At play. Advertising on every website, on social media, in every game.

Well intentioned information that’s shared by others to help you with your work.

The point is, we are all so submerged in information that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be heard.

Ever been presenting an idea in a meeting to see people texting or checking emails? It’s ok, go ahead, I’m listening. Ever been giving a presentation to see glazed looks in eyes or worse, people nodding off.

To cut through the clutter we need 3 things.

  • To have a sense of purpose for each piece of communication.
  • To understand what information is relevant to your audience.
  • The ability to structure the information in a way that is easily followed.

You don’t set off on a holiday without a destination do you? Even our most carefree travellers who may say, I’m off to Europe, still have a destination in mind. Where do you want your audience to be at the end of your presentation? Having a clear purpose in your mind allows us to filter irrelevant information as well as keeping ourselves on track.

Let me show you what I mean. Say I am the headmaster of a school and my purpose is to motivate my audience of Year 11 & 12 boys to eat healthier food. 

So when I’m planning my presentation do I include:
a) information on how eating well can help you live longer
b) information on how eating well gives you guns
c) information on how eating well reduces pimples, makes you look better and helps you get girls

Get it?  Purpose acts as a filter when you plan your presentation or any other important conversation.

How do you know what is relevant to your audience? Do your research. And this can be as deep as you need. Who are they? Age? Gender? Salary? Interests? What do they know about your topic? What do they need to know? What motivates them? Where do they live? What do you imagine their lives are like? Walk in their shoes. Get in their heads. When you do, you will create content that nails your target every time. And that means you’re cutting through the clutter.

So thanks to your purpose you’ve got a whole heap of relevant information.

But if you throw it out randomly you will lose your audience.  The way you structure your information is critical. Your listeners need to be taken on a clear cut journey. There are several ways to create this structure but it will always need a logical flow. Let’s go back to our teenage boys.

Not so Great Structure

Better Structure



Simply by placing the benefit up front (in this case) you have the audience’s attention.

Do not confuse being an extrovert and being able to wing it casually in front of 10 or 1000 as being a great communicator. The fact that you’re the one asked to speak at weddings and funerals may just mean you are less scared of public speaking than anyone else.

To be a great communicator you need purpose, you need relevance and you need structure BEFORE anything else. But when you can rise above the noise and articulate well in a boardroom or a ballroom you are noticed and promoted. You are seen as confident and knowledgeable. You are heard and that means you can influence, getting more of what you want.

Lynne Schinella is a professional business speaker, corporate trainer and CEO of Ripe Learning. She can be contacted on 612 9929 8989 or emailed at

Friday, October 25, 2013

Life Skills through Project Management - Projects for Kids

This article celebrates International Project Management Day - November 7, 2013. One key theme this year is Life skills through project management – Teaching project management skills such as planning, organizing and leading to young people in grammar schools and high school. 

Managing Projects is tough, right? You need a lot of training, experience, an iron will and a cast-iron stomach in order to be able to deal with all of the challenges and complexities that your sponsor, stakeholders, vendors and customers can throw at you. And yet somehow, you manage to survive the experience, and take those battle scars with you as you strive to improve on the next project. Sometimes it seems that if you are not some sort of Superman, you won't survive.

Hardly sounds like fun - who would want to ever manage a project with a bleak future like that ahead of you, with all of your projects viewed as uphill battles?

Not all projects are like that - and in fact, many activities that happen in our everyday lives are, in reality, projects. The problem is that most people don't realize that fact - and yes, I even include the experienced Project Managers.

I also submit to you that managing projects does not have to be tough. It can be fun!

Not only can they be fun, but managing projects is so simple that a child could do it. They may not be quite ready to tackle your multi-million dollar project, but I assure you that children can - and do - manage projects every day. The big difference between their projects and yours is scale and language. But even at that, you may find yourself surprised at what 10-12 year old children (and even younger) can actually do.

Learning to manage projects successfully is an essential life skill - and you are never too young (or too old) to learn how to do it.

Even a Child can do it

Project Management concepts are actually not that hard to understand, but you do need to consider the language you use when teaching children. Let's take a look at how one Project Manager tries to explain things to his 11 year old daughter, and ends up adapting his teaching so she can better understand and use some simple project management techniques to solve a big problem.

Extract from The Ultimate Tree House Project

6. This Means War!

When Amanda got home, she went into the kitchen to talk to her Mom. Instead, she found her father getting a drink of water from the tap. 

“Where’s Mom?” asked Amanda.

“She just went to the store to pick up some spices for dinner. We ran out.” Her father said. 

“What’s up, kiddo? You look upset.”

“Boys are stupid.” she said.

Her father raised his eyebrows. “All boys? Including me?”

Amanda looked at her father. Oops! “No, of course not YOU, Dad. You know, BOYS. Especially Ben.”

“Oooh, Boys. What seems to be the problem?” asked her father in a gentle tone.

“They just, they just….ooooo! They are so annoying sometimes!” she exclaimed. “I know how to do what they need to do and they won’t let me help them because I’m a GIRL.”

“And what do they need to do?” he inquired.

“Build a tree house. I mean, the rope ladder for it. I know how to make one, I learned it in Girl Guides. But they won’t listen. They are just dumb boys. They said that No Girls were Allowed, and that’s not fair!” she pouted.

“Well, what’s stopping you from building your own tree house?” asked her father, looking at her closely.

“I….what?” she stopped and looked at her father. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you seem to know how to do some of the things that these silly boys don’t know how to do, so why don’t you build your own tree house?” He looked at her with a sly smile on his face. “We have lots of wood left in the yard from the old fence, and you are welcome to use it to build your own tree house too.”

Realization of what her father was saying crept across her face like a sunrise. “Really? Can I? I mean us Girls? Can we?” she blurted out.

“Of course. Girls are just as capable as boys. Plus you will have a secret weapon!” he announced.

“What secret weapon?” she asked.

“Me!” said her Dad.

“Huh?” she looked at her father closely. “What do you mean?”

“Do you want to make a tree house like your brother?” asked her father.

“Yes! I mean no, the boys’ one looks silly. I want to build a better tree house than them.” She crossed her arms and raised her head defiantly. “I want to build a much better tree house than Ben and his gang.”

“Oh really?” smiled her Dad. “Are you willing to pay the price?”

Amanda suddenly looked uncertain. “What price? I don’t have much of my allowance left. It’s not Saturday yet.”

Her Dad smiled. “Not your money, Amanda. You keep that. The price I am talking about is taking the time to learn how to build your tree house the right way.”

“And what is the right way?” asked Amanda, now puzzled.

“As a PROJECT.” declared her Dad.

“Awww Dad, not work stuff!” groaned Amanda. Her father was a Project Manager for a local construction company. “Work stuff is boring!”

“Just wait and listen,” continued her father. “You need a bit of this work stuff in order to make your tree house better than Ben’s.”

He paused, noting his daughter’s scowl. “Not only am I going to tell you how to make a better tree house than Ben, I am going to show you that you can do it easier than him. Are you interested?”

Better? Easier? she thought. She liked the idea of that. “Okay Dad, tell me how to do it!”

“Well first, Mandy, I need to draw you some pictures.” her father replied. “Please go into my office and grab some blank pieces of paper and a ruler and meet me at the kitchen table.”

Amanda went down the hallway and entered her father’s “home office”. She opened the printer tray and pulled out five pieces of blank paper. She closed the printer tray and walked back to the kitchen where her father was waiting at the table.

“Have a seat, Amanda.” said her father. “No, not in your normal seat. Sit beside me so you can see what I am drawing.”

Amanda moved around the table to sit beside her father.

He pulled a mechanical pencil from his shirt pocket and drew some lines using the ruler and wrote some notes.

“There are four steps to every project,” her father spoke in a formal voice. “Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closeout. Well, five if you count Control, which kind of happens for the whole project.”

Amanda looked at the words. “Initiation? What’s that? And Execution – people don’t get killed on your projects, do they Dad?”

He father looked at the paper thoughtfully for a moment. “Initiation is getting things started. And no, honey, we don’t kill people. I think I might need to use some better words for you. Let’s try something else.”

He flipped the paper over, lined up the ruler and drew another diagram.

“Okay, how about this. Idea, Plan, Do and Finish Up. Sound better?” he asked.

“Much better, thanks Dad.” smiled Amanda.

“And then instead of ‘Control’ we have ‘Lead, Check and Correct’.” Her father suggested.

“Ok, I guess…” Amanda wiggled in her seat. “You explain it first and I’ll tell you if we need different words.”

“Ok honey, that’s fine. So you know what an Idea is, right?” asked her father, with a wink.

Amanda sat up straight and stuck out her tongue. “Of course I know what an Idea is. C’mon, Dad!”

“Okay, just checking.” He smiled. “And you understand what Plan is, right?”

“Like when you want to do something but you are not sure how, so you have to think about how you are going to do it?” Amanda suggested.

“Right, that’s pretty close. Though at work, even when we pretty much know what we are going to do, we still take time to discuss it and see if we want to do it the same way, or if we want to try to do it a different way.” Her father replied.

“And ‘Do’?” her father asked, “That’s an easy one too. Not too hard yet, right?”

“Not too hard, Dad. I am Eleven you know…” she squinted up at him.

“Right, of course, you’re Eleven.” Her father drew out the last word.

“So ‘Finish Up’ is pretty obvious too, huh?” asked her father.

“Yeah Dad, our teacher keeps telling us to hurry and finish up our work.” She yawned. “Sorry, Dad, it’s kind of boring so far. I’m not a little kid. So where is the secret weapon part?”

“Almost there, I will speed it up a little. The bottom part is important. Well, all parts are, but that part is kind of a big part of my job at work, so at least I think it is important, anyway.” Her father paused and rubbed his eyes.

“Ok Dad, tell me…” she started.

“Ok, well the ‘Control’ part, or ‘Lead, Check and Correct’ as I wrote it for you, is important because it is how you make sure you are still doing what you are supposed to do – and will end up with what you wanted in the first place.” 

“Like when we do a quiz at school and the teacher tells us to check over our answers before we hand it in?” asked Amanda.

“Kind of like that, yes.” said her father.

“Ok Dad, that’s great. Thanks!” Amanda started to get up from the table.

“Hold on honey, there is a little bit more for tonight. I need to explain some more before we have dinner.” Her father motioned for Amanda to sit.

Amanda sat down.

“Now what did you see when you were watching your brother and his friends today at the tree?” asked her father.

“They were arguing and fighting over things. They didn’t seem to know what they were doing,” she said. “Each one of them had ideas they were saying but the others did not seem to be listening.”

“Hmmmmm,” said her father. “I think this might be what is going on then.”

He pulled out a fresh piece of paper and drew another picture.

“I think they went straight from ‘Idea’ to ‘Do’” mused her father. “That’s usually a recipe for disaster.”

“They weren’t cooking, Dad. They were trying to build a tree house.” corrected Amanda.

“Yes, dear, you are right. What I mean is, it sounds like they skipped Planning and jumped right into Doing. I see people try to do that a lot, and it rarely works out well. They usually fail.” Her father rubbed his temples.

“Fail? Like on a test at school?” asked Amanda, with a curious look.

“Different. Fail in a way that if a person does not do their job right, people can get hurt,” sighed her father. “Either that, or they waste a lot of time and money trying to do something that does not work like it is supposed to, and they have to redo things to make it work right.”

“Ok Dad, you said we were almost to the ‘secret weapon’ part…” urged Amanda, fidgeting in her seat.

“Well if you look at the drawing of what your brother and his friends seem to be doing, there is a part we said was missing, right?” he asked.

“The Planning part, right Dad?” said Amanda.

“Right. The Planning part is the secret weapon. All of the parts are important, but by far that is the most important of all.” Her father coughed, took a sip of water and then continued. “I am going to draw you one more picture, and that will be it for tonight. You have been studying hard.”

Studying? thought Amanda, She wasn’t studying – was she?

Her father pulled out his ruler and flipped over the paper. He set the ruler and drew another drawing:

“See the curve? That shows how much time and effort you should spend in each phase of your project. The curve can be a bit different depending on your project, but notice how there is a big part of it in the Planning section?” asked her father.

“Ummm...yeah?” yawned Amanda.

“Well, that is where you need to spend a lot of your effort, before you start really doing things on your project.” Her father watched her eyes closely. They were beginning to wander. He heard the front door open and then close. His wife was home; dinner would be ready soon.

“That’s enough for today, honey. You take these drawings with you, and go work on your homework for a few minutes. Then please wash up and help your Mom, okay?” Her father smiled at her.

“Yes Dad.” said Amanda. She stood up and then stretched as she walked down the hallway to her bedroom.

She has a lot to learn, he thought. This is going to be an interesting challenge. Boys against the Girls (…and Dad!)

You can read more of the story in The Ultimate Tree House Project, including additional lessons taught to the young PM by her father - and of course, what happens to the children and the Tree House!

*International Project Management Day 2013 Special*

For a limited time (through November 8, 2013) you can download the eBook version for FREE. Click here to get The Ultimate Tree House Project eBook now! Enter code: AG89C

See the International Project Management Day website discounts page for other offers:

The Ultimate Tree House Project - Project Kids Adventures #1
ISBN 978-1482558135 (220 pages)

10 year old best friends Ben, James, Tim & Tom find the perfect tree in a forest near their school and begin to build the Ultimate Tree House. Things start with a bang, and get even worse when Ben's sister Amanda discovers them working on their secret tree house. Next thing they know, the girls are building their own - in the same tree - and it looks even better than the boy's! How are they doing it? What is their secret weapon? After the accident, everything changes and the boys are forced to team up with the girls - as if that would ever work! 
This book introduces basic Project Management concepts to children through an entertaining, funny story and simple lessons taught to one of the children by her father who is (of course) a Project Manager. She applies what she has learned and suddenly the girls are leaping ahead of the boys who had just "started building" - without a plan. 
Come join this unlikely band of tree house builders - four girls, four boys - as they end up working together to try and complete the Ultimate Tree House Project! This book is targeted at children ages 8-12.

You can also visit the Project Kids Adventures series companion website for free resources and fun activities for children, parents and teachers.

This series has been designed to support classroom programs, but is also suitable for independent reading and as fun bedtime stories.

Click here for Parent/Teacher Notes and School Curriculum Applicability

Note: Discounts are available for bulk orders and classroom programs. If you would like to run a pilot program in your school, please contact us at

Coming soon: The Scariest Haunted House Project - Ever! Project Kids Adventures #2 (Read the free preview here

I hope you enjoy the book.

Good luck with your projects (no matter how old or young you are), and remember to have fun doing it!

Gary Nelson, PMP

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Have YOU Exploited your Project Team Today?

Let me ask you an important question:

Have you Exploited your Project Team Today?

Wait a minute, Exploit your Project Team? You are probably thinking - He can't be serious. That's a horrible, evil thing to do, right?

You probably also have visions of unfair wages, an evil boss, overworked and under-appreciated staff, things like that. Unfortunately, that does happen - but it is not what I am talking about.

You really should exploit your team - and a trip to the toy store made me come to view this as a viable management approach. 

Wisdom from the Toy Store

While shopping for a birthday present for one of my children, I came across the following toy that you first assemble, and then play with:

"Exploiter"? My initial reaction was to take offense at the words on the box. My second reaction was to take a photo. Translated instructions from a foreign country are often quite humorous, but it is less common to have the label or name of a product be so obviously "wrong". It was one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it moments.

I paced around the store, agitated, thinking about what a poor message this was giving to our children - nobody wants to be exploited, and if you exploit someone, you are obviously a bad person - right?

When I came back around to that shelf, I saw that there was more wording on the box, so I pulled out my phone and took another photo:

Well, now wait a minute - "As a Team, We Can Accomplish Anything"? That does not sound particularly evil. In fact, it sounds like a good Leadership message. Maybe I wouldn't complain to the store manager just yet.

I left the store empty-handed but with my head full of questions. How could there be such a disconnect on the product packaging? What was going on? How could we reconcile the negative and positive messages?

I looked up the definition for this troublesome word, one that is most often used in a particularly negative light.


Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsplɔɪt, ɛk-/
[with object]

    1 make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource):500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology

    2 make use of (a situation) in a way considered unfair or underhand:the company was exploiting a legal loophole
    benefit unfairly from the work of (someone), typically by overworking or underpaying them:women are exploited in the workplace

This was not a problem of definition or even interpretation - the manufacturer most likely looked up the word in the dictionary, saw the positive English definition (Make full use of and derive benefit from a resource), and decided it was a great name to use for their product. Maximize benefits? Make full use of resources? Great lessons to teach our children, without a doubt.

Did they miss the mark on appreciating the common (negative) usage of the word in English-speaking countries? Absolutely.

Some words just get a bad rap - they are neither good, nor bad, and they can sometimes be both. What is important is how they are used. 

So - not really an evil toy, then.

But how does this apply to projects and managing teams? Should we exploit our teams?

The answer is yes - not only should we, but we must, in order to have successful project outcomes. We just need to stick to the positive definitions.

On your projects, you should definitely make full use of and derive benefit from your resources, starting with your Project Team. Your project team is critical to your project success; they have the skills and expertise to get the job done. 

However, you should steer well clear of the negative definitions - make use of (a situation) in a way considered unfair or underhand, or benefit unfairly from the work of (someone), typically by overworking or underpaying them. You should, instead, always treat people fairly and respectfully, and show them they are valued.

Remember also that your project team actually extends out beyond the dedicated core group you have assigned to your project; your extended project team includes your stakeholders, customers, and other subject matter experts - essentially, anyone that has some involvement with your project can be considered part of the project team, and someone you can look to for help, decisions or advice.

If you are scratching your head on a problem that you and your immediate project team do not know the answer to, make sure to exploit the extended project team to get your questions answered so that you can move on to the next challenge. Make effective use of your available resources to help you reach the goals of the project.

"Big deal", you say - "I am already using my project team to get the work done".

True, you are certainly using your team to deliver your project deliverables, and work with vendors or customers. But you may not actually be exploiting them fully, in order to achieve the maximum benefit from their efforts and abilities.

There is nothing draconian about this; in the end it comes down to good leadership, and getting to know your team - their behaviours, strengths, skills - and desires.

How to EXPLOIT Your Team

How will you know if you are properly exploiting your team (and yourself)? Here are some key tips to make sure you are doing it properly - i.e. with the positive usage of the word EXPLOIT:
  • (E)nergy: Do your team members have passion for what they are doing? It is a good idea to understand what tasks they are really interested in and care about. They may not yet have the full set of skills, but if they have the drive they can learn those fairly quickly. In addition, they will often produce a better outcome than a dis-interested person who has the required skills out-of-the-box.

    Tip> Assign people to tasks that they have energy and passion for, and they will usually exceed your expectations.
  • E(X)perience:  Do your team members have the necessary experience to understand all the ins-and-outs of that particular area? If no-one has much experience in that particular area, does their other experience or skills make them the best fit for their particular role on the project? Can you bring someone (even on a short term basis) to help fill in that experience gap as your team ramps up? Remember that projects generally introduce new ideas to an organization, so you can't expect to start your project with a full set of experts in all areas.

    Tip> Try to ensure you have the necessary experience within your team in order to competently approach the project tasks; if there are gaps, work to fill them as best you can.
  • (P)lanning: Are you scheduling and coordinating  their assignments effectively - i.e. are you, as the Project Manager, doing your best to optimize the planning of the project, including maintaining full awareness of dependencies as you sequence activities for the short and long term? Are your team members following the plan?

    Tip> While you are planning, engage all available members of the team for their input. You need their expertise and wisdom to create a realistic, effective plan - and you also need their buy-in to the plan. Building it together with them helps accomplish that.
  • (L)everaging Resources: Are you and your team appropriately utilizing the other "experts" on the project (i.e. the extended project team)? This includes involving your Stakeholders and other key groups as needed in order to support the project. 

    Tip> Look to the wider team to help you solve some of the bigger problems. You may not be able to get much of their time, but they can often help you by providing guidance, sharing wisdom and helping you make decisions.
  • (O)pen to Change: Are you adapting to changing conditions, or are you "sticking to the original plan, no matter what?" At the beginning of your project, your planning would have been primarily high-level, and based on a number of assumptions. Along the way, additional details and complexity emerge that will need to be dealt with - either by adapting the plan, or figuring out how to work around them. Some changes may end up altering your project significantly, while others may take you on a different path to the same destination. However, if your map is no longer current, you may no longer know how to get "there" from where you are now.

    Tip> Check your plan on a regular basis, and update the details for the next stage (or the next several months) as you go along. Detail day-to-day and week-to-week planning will of course be more tactically focused, but always keep the strategic goals of the overall plan in mind.
  • (I)nform: Keep your team up to date and in the loop of what is happening on in the wider project and when things come up that will affect their area. Of course, you need to keep your stakeholders and Sponsor regularly informed as well. One of the most important aspects of every successful project is  open, honest communication. A well-informed team is more confident, has higher levels of trust, and produces better results.

    Tip> Communicate widely, and communicate often. You will need to tailor  communication to be appropriate for your audience, of course - but communicate you must, for the full duration of your project. Failure to communicate can attract unwanted dragons to your project.
  • (T)rust: Do you trust your team members to do their best, with the interests of the project at heart? Do you have the trust of your team? Do your stakeholders and the sponsor trust your ability to get the job done, and complete the project successfully? If the answer to any of the above is "no", you have a long, steep road ahead of you. Trust is an essential element of working together effectively. Without it, your team may feel you are exploiting them - with all of the full negative implications of the word.

    Tip> Do everything you can to build trust within your team, as early as possible within the project. Of course, you will need to earn (and continue to earn) their trust, which starts by being authentic (do as you say you will do), and communicating openly and honestly. You also need to show that you trust them by letting them do the tasks you assign them - without second-guessing or micro-managing them. They will make mistakes, yes - but provide guidance and support instead of judgement, and you will earn their respect and begin to develop a good team with healthy levels of trust.


Exploiting the project team and other resources in a positive way is what most successful Project Managers already do. We usually call it by other names - good leadership, good planning, and good project management.  

Don't be afraid to use the word, and educate the masses about its other use. Exploitation is neither good, nor bad - it is the intention behind it that makes the difference.

One final definition: 
Pronunciation: /ˈɛksplɔɪt/

    1 a striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act: Against all odds, the project team delivered the project successfully, on time and within budget. The Project Sponsor shared stories of the team's exploits, and they became famous throughout the land.

Well, we can all dream, right? :-)

Good luck with your projects, and remember to fully exploit your project teams (to everyone's benefit) each and every day.

Gary Nelson, PMP

Friday, October 11, 2013

Guest Post: A Brief, Yet Concise Explanation of all those Project Management Standards, Frameworks and Methodologies

Maybe you are a little confused by all these project management documents and credentials you keep stumbling across in your quest to understand the profession and further develop yourself as a project manager. Well I’m going to try and explain the situation to you so you understand exactly what a standard, framework and methodology is and how they are different from each other. This will be a brief explanation and if you want more detail just do a search on the internet.

Let’s start the explanation with a diagram. The diagram shows standards, frameworks and methodologies in descending order of influence and importance.

At the top you have ISO21500 which is the newly introduced international standard for project management. It took 7 years to develop and involved all the project management organizations around the globe and as such represents a truly comprehensive, standardising and unifying approach to project management. It is still early days for this standard as it was only released in 2012 and as such it is a guiding standard only and not a normative one. We expect it to become a normative standard sometime in the next 5 years and when it does you can start certifying your organisation as ISO21500 compliant. Until then it represents a fantastic guide for professional project management and you should probably make yourself very familiar with it as it will probably become standard you need to comply with sooner or later.

The next layer down is made up of framework documents and their associated credentials. Here you have project management body of knowledge’s’ which capture what is considered good professional project management practice across the entire project management profession. The largest example of this is the PMBOK® Guide from the Project Management Institute (PMI) which is a global organization. Frameworks contain much more detailed information about project management processes, tools and techniques than standards such as ISO21500. The Association for Project Management (APM), which is largely based in Europe, also has its own Body of Knowledge as well. Despite this extra information they do not present specifics ways of completing projects - that’s a job for methodologies which we cover soon. There are many similarities between the PMBOK® Guide, APM BoK, and ISO21500, but also a few differences mainly around slight naming and content differences of some processes and process groups. We would expect these differences to be ironed out over the next few years. PMI offers the Project Management Professional (PMP®) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) credential, and APM offers its own 4 stage certification for project managers. All of these credentials are framework credentials and are at a much more senior and detailed level than methodology credentials which we cover next. I recommend all project managers plan on gaining a framework credential at some point in their career - the sooner the better.

At the bottom of the hierarchy are specific project management methodologies developed from frameworks which in turn align with standards. Each methodology can be traced back to a particular framework document, and its ancillary documents such as extensions to the PMI PMBOK® Guide. Each methodology is particularly suitable for different projects based on industry, size, value, complexity and risk. For example Scrum is great for fast moving iterative IT projects, Prince2 for low complexity IT projects, and Method123 for defined complex projects from a range of industries. There are usually no, or very little, prerequisites needed to gain a methodology certification so they are generally not any guide to a project managers experience, ability or seniority. My opinion is that you should only look at becoming a certified in a particular project management methodology if your organization is actually going to use that methodology appropriately. Otherwise I strongly suggest getting a framework credential such as PMP® and gain the skills needed to develop your own project management methodology.

Anyway, that’s the explanation over. I hope you found it useful and you now feel more informed about standards, frameworks and methodologies.

Sean Whitaker, PMP, PMINZ Fellow

Reprinted with permission - original article at