Posted by: kerrywills | May 22, 2015

Diligence leads to Transparency

In my second book I identify eight guiding principles of running programs; two of which are Diligence and Transparency. I believe that there is a relationship between these principles which I was reminded of on a program that I have recently taken over. This program has 18 delivery teams and uses a mixture of different delivery methods which is resulting in having information in multiple places, tools and formats. The end result is that it is very hard to understand progress for work that spans these delivery teams (e.g. insufficient transparency).


As I dig into it the root cause seems to be not having milestones and dependencies in a common place and not updating the progress against those milestones consistently. This is a critical step which needs to be remediated before we can implement better PMO processes. We can’t provide dashboards or reports of key delivery activities if the underlying data is not accurate or maintained.

So, in this case, we need to ensure that the structure is correct, we have identified the authoritative sources of program information and that it is maintained properly (diligence). Then we can ensure that we have the right mechanisms for transparency. Both of these are critical for managing the program.

  • Diligence without transparency means people are doing the right thing but no one can see it
  • Transparency without diligence yields no insight into how the program is actually doing
Posted by: kerrywills | May 15, 2015

Assessing IT Projects

Well it looks like my new book will be out in June. Attached below is the summary of the book.




Companies invest billions in technology projects each year, yet their success rates remain surprisingly low. Industry benchmarks suggest that only 15-20% of projects are completed on time and on budget.

Project failures can impair an organisation’s capability as well as having significant commercial, compliance and security ramifications, which in turn could cause reputational damage and long-term financial losses. It is therefore critical that projects meet their objectives. One way of ensuring that they do is to conduct assessments or audits at key points during their lifecycle.

Product overview

Assessing IT Projects to Ensure Successful Outcomes is a comprehensive reference guide that focuses on the assessment of IT projects. Organised into five main sections (Approach, Plan, Collect Information, Assess and Recommend, Package and Present), interspersed with case studies based on the author’s extensive experience delivering projects, the book provides exhaustive guidance on structuring and conducting an IT project assessment, from planning to presentation.

Assessing IT Projects to Ensure Successful Outcomes includes guidance on:

  • Types of assessments and project approaches, including the difference between a project and programme assessment.
  • Determining a suitable assessment approach, developing a plan, preparing inventories and planning for logistics.
  • Information collection and assessment, including identifying and addressing challenges and gaps.
  • Project scoping, change management, schedule management and cost management.
  • Key roles and focus areas, including team responsibilities and necessary documents, for each project stage.
  • Communication strategies to ensure all stakeholders are kept appropriately informed of a project’s progress.
  • RAID (risks, actions, issues, decisions) management to address risks and issues that arise, actions that must be performed, and decisions that need to be made throughout the project’s lifecycle.
  • Compliance with standard frameworks.
  • Intangibles, such as adapting to company cultures and reacting to cultural conflicts, resource and team dynamics, perception and reputations, and morale.
  • How to package and present an assessment’s findings and recommendations in a suitable manner.

It also features a detailed summary section containing checklists for assessing all stages of projects – including typical roles on a project team, details of interview responsibilities by role, and a list of necessary project documents. This information can be used either reactively as an easy reference to assess projects, or proactively as a checklist of the considerations and activities required to plan and manage a project.

Although principally aimed at professionals who are assessing projects – such as internal auditors, framework auditors, project assessors or external consultants – Assessing IT Projects to Ensure Successful Outcomes can also be used by project managers looking for a comprehensive view of approaches for managing projects, or as a means of preparing for an assessment of their project.

Posted by: kerrywills | May 8, 2015

If a tree falls…

There is a philosophical question that “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – if it does fall, how does anyone know since there is no one around to hear it.


I have a similar philosophical question – “If a project plan exists but isn’t used to manage the project, does it really exist?” I see on many projects that a plan gets created early on but, surprisingly, a lot of times it does not get maintained or used to actually manage the project. This boggles my mind since projects are aggregations of activities with dates and the plan is the tool for which to manage those items.

Without the management of a plan, it won’t just be a tree falling – it may be a career or reputation falling and THAT WOULD make a sound. Question answered.



Posted by: kerrywills | April 30, 2015

East Bali Poverty Project – A Case in Project Management

I have spent the last two weeks in Indonesia for a work-sponsored leadership program. The second week we spent working with the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) who are helping the poorest village in Bali, Ban. This program is focusing on improving the village people and helping them to help themselves.


After seeing the village and discussing the program, it struck me that they were managing this work like any IT Program that I have ever run. They had PMs and sub-projects (e.g. health, education, agriculture, etc). They had plans with activities which included materials and lobal (for example to build toilets). Their risks included floods, barely drivable roads, malnutrition and severe poverty.


Unlike many of my projects, these projects have real consequences on the lives of those impacted. It was amazing to see and experience and recognize that our profession could transcend thousands of miles, languages and cultures. A plan is still a plan!


Posted by: kerrywills | April 24, 2015

Getting to Tian Tan

I am part of a global leadership program where I work and in the final year of the program we take a global journey. So I am writing this posting from my hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. Before going to Indonesia, we took a day-long layover in Hong Kong. As I did research for what to do there, I came across the Po Lin Monastary which houses a 100+ foot bronze Buddha and determined that was something I wanted to see.

Like any other project I have run, I had to create a plan to meet my objective. So I created my plan and understood the activities to get there…

  • Walk from hotel to Ferry dock
  • One water ferry from Kowloon Island to Hong Kong Island
  • One water ferry from Central pier to Lantau Island
  • One bus ride from Lantau Island/Mui Wo to the Monastery
  • Climb 200 stairs to get to Buddha


I researched the ferry schedule, fees, and other logistics and came up with a plan. As we proceded along the plan, like any, there were a few challenges that we didnt plan for (e.g. exact change for bus, none of us spoke Cantonese, etc) but we were successful and it was worth it.

So having a good plan made us succesful!


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