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ISSUE 16: MARCH 2015


How do you measure success? Interactions between project complexity, management practices and outcomes

Achieving cross project learning

Digital Gateway relaunch

|||||| CONTACT US STAFF Deborah Hein Managing Director & CEO Diane Hope Business Manager Cathy Baljak Learning & Development Manager Kate Hubbard Executive Administrator ICCPM BOARD Chris Jenkins, Chair Simon Henley Kim Gillis Julie Dunlap Harry Bradford Mary McKinlay Chris Deeble Deborah Hein International Centre for Complex Project Management Ltd (ICCPM) PO Box 327 Deakin West ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA Level 2, Equinox 3 70 Kent Street Deakin ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA +61 2 6120 5110 Twitter: @iccpm LinkedIn: ICCPM Complex Project Management Discussion Group The views expressed by contributors to this magazine are solely their own and ICCPM accepts no responsibility or liability for these views.

© ICCPM 2015


CEO MESSAGE It is my pleasure to present our new look quarterly CONNECT magazine. In this edition we have some excellent pieces of work from ICCPM members Mr Jacob Williams and Ms Nillawan Thanakamonnan. Jake is from ATK in the US and is currently researching the Foundational Elements of the Project and Program Management field. Nin is from BAE Systems Australia and has agreed to share her master’s thesis with us on Achieving Effective Cross Project Learning. We also have the next edition of our opinion column looking at Project Success and Failure. This opinion piece is quite popular so if you would like to contribute please let me know. In January we farewelled Fred Payne as President of ICCPM USA. Fred has been involved with ICCPM since the very beginning and is part of the community that built the strong network that exists today. Fred is VP, Enterprise Program Management Office at Serco Inc. and we wish him the very best in his new role. I recently attended the Avalon Airshow as a guest of Lockheed Martin, thank you Raydon for the gracious invitation. This was a great opportunity to catch up with some very good friends and supporters of ICCPM. While at Avalon I was fortunate to speak with Warren King on his last day as the CEO of the DMO. We talked about his plans for the future and what his vision was for ICCPM. I’m pleased to report that we are on the right track for success. We wish Warren all the very best and look forward to once again working with Harry Dunstall as he takes on the role as Acting CEO DMO. Arrangements are well underway for ICCPM’s 6th Annual Conference which will be held in Canberra, Australia in October. You may be aware that we have not held a conference in the Southern Hemisphere so we are very excited at the opportunity to bring our conference to a new audience. The conference website is live and registrations and speaker applications are now open. In addition to the conference sessions, a number of preconference workshops are planned as well as social events to maximise networking

opportunities. We have been fortunate to secure some iconic Canberra venues, such as the Australian Institute of Sport for the Conference sessions, the Australian War Memorial for the Welcome Reception and the National Arboretum for the Conference Dinner. I am thrilled to announce that Mr Jeff Wilcox, Corporate Vice President Engineering & Technology for Lockheed Martin will be our Keynote speaker. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing, RiskIQ and the DMO as official sponsors for this year’s conference. There are still sponsorship opportunities available, if you are interested please drop me a line. I commend you to take advantage of the early bird and member offers and sign up soon. I hope to meet many of you in October. There are a number of ways you can participate in the CPM community including attending networking events and the annual conference, contribute to a future edition of CONNECT, send us links to interesting articles or websites, let us know what you are doing that might be of interest to others, or you can link directly with me and let me know what you think about how we can improve our service to you. Our membership program is ever increasing and I would like to welcome our recent members from England, USA, Australia, Sweden, and Scotland. Finally, I would like to acknowledge you our community of members, partners and supporters; it is because of you that we are here, doing what we are doing.



CPM OPINION COLUMN How do you measure success or failure of a project?

Interactions between project complexity, management practices and outcomes

12 - 15

20 - 22

Achieving effective cross project learning

16 - 17



Digital Gateway relaunch


ICCPM & IPMA renew alliance ICCPM renews important partnership agreements AIPM farewells National President Defence Materiel Organisation farewells CEO ICCPM Board Member profile


9 9 10





7 - 10



Derek Thompson


Zoya Patel


Vip Vyas


18 - 19



Call for Speakers



Programs & Courses

LINKS & EVENTS Food for thought




23 - 24




BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS 27 - 29 October 2015 Canberra, ACT Australia 27 - Education Workshops - QT Canberra 28 - 29 - Conference - Australian Institute of Sport





SPONSORS We are thrilled to introduce our sponsors for the ICCPM 6th Annual Conference. Their generous support will ensure the event’s success.

Your logo could be here!

Key Sponsor: Lockheed Martin Supporting Sponsors: RiskIQ and Defence Materiel Organisation Conference Dinner Sponsor: Thales Welcome Reception Sponsor: Boeing Defence Australia There are a few sponsorships still available so please contact us to take advantage of this opportunity. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS



Call for Speakers BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS How do you deliver solutions to complex problems? Come and share your story! We are now accepting abstracts for presentations at the ICCPM 6th Annual Conference 28 - 29 October 2015 Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia

Key Dates:

28 - 29 October 2015 - Building Capability in Complex Environments 30 June 2015 - Applications for presentation abstracts close 31 July 2015 - All presenters notified Call for Abstracts closes 30 June 2015 The 2015 conference will focus on the people and organisations that are managing complexity well; sharing what they do, how they do it and why the results are so successful. Presentations must align with the topic: Building Capability in Complex Environments and you may submit an abstract as a team or as an individual. Presentations should focus on how success was achieved and how capability was built (individual, team or organisational capability). They may be in the form of case studies on the challenges facing the project management profession in complex environments or innovative investments, practices or alternative projections on how the project management sector will need to adapt to address the challenges it will face in the future. All speakers will receive one complimentary full conference registration, which includes access to all conference sessions on 28 & 29 October, the Welcome Reception and the Conference Dinner.

Download the speaker pack here: 6 | ICCPM CONNECT



DIGITAL GATEWAY RELAUNCH The redesigned ICCPM Digital Gateway is open to everyone. We encourage you to try it out at The Digital Gateway provides quick and easy access to a variety of complex project management resources using an intelligent web-crawler developed by CSIRO. The initial version of the Digital Gateway was the result of collaboration between ICCPM, CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and University of Sydney. Agileware redesigned the look of the Digital Gateway. The Digital Gateway is a ‘one stop shop’ for the most up to date resources on complex project management and is accessible anywhere - from your phone to your desktop. The more the Digital Gateway is used, the more responsive it will become to search patterns, trends, individual user preferences and will produce results of those authors, institutions and publications of particular interest to the CPM and wider project management community.


The research themes are based on the Task Force Report published in 2011 and provide the categorisation and cross referencing methodology. The categories are Delivery Leadership; Collaboration; Benefits Realisation; Risk, Opportunity and Resilience; Culture, Communication and Relationships; and Sustainability and Education. You can use the Digital Gateway by browsing the categories, checking out the latest or most popular posts or by searching directly for particluar terms. The results can be filtered by category and article type and sorted by date. You do not need to create a login to use the Digital Gateway but if you would like to store searches and results it is recommended. If you already have an ICCPM username and password you can use this to login to the Digital Gateway. Please test it, and if you have any feedback we’d love to hear it.



ICCPM & IPMA RENEW ALLIANCE The International Centre for Complex Project Management (ICCPM) and the International Project Management Association (IPMA) have renewed their alliance to strengthen project management capability globally. In February this year ICCPM and IPMA formally renewed our alliance aimed at strengthening project management capability globally. The relationship between our two organisations has always been strong and a change in leadership of both organisations over recent times has seen the focus on cementing a lasting relationship become front of mind. Meeting for the first time at the lunch hosted by AIPM in Sydney the CEO of ICCPM and the then incoming President of IPMA took the opportunity to commence discussions around how we can actively support each other into the future. Some areas of focus will be how we can work together to promote each other’s education products in particular ICCPM’s new Complexity Awareness Program that is designed to introduce up and coming project managers to the concepts of complexity and how it appears in aspects of all projects. Our aim is to start to grow the Complex Program Managers of the future by building on the solid foundations of project management training and certification offered by IPMA and its associated organisations. We will also commence discussion regarding the potential opportunities around certification as it relates to Complex Project Management.

support and grow the project and program managers of the future to enable more success in the delivery of all projects and programs - not just the complex ones. Reinhard Wagner, President of IPMA is excited about the opportunities this alliance offers to the profession: “Our research clearly indicates that project and program managers are faced with an increasing complexity. Products, such as passenger cars or aircrafts, are created with multiple technologies, in a dynamic context with changing requirements and a supply chain across organisations, countries and cultures. This is why we need to better understand the complexity we are faced with and develop new approaches for the management of projects and programs in such a context. ICCPM and IPMA will jointly support individuals, projects and organisations in managing complex projects and programs.” The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) and ICCPM also work closely together in the area of complex project management and AIPM welcomes the alliance between ICCPM and IPMA.

The alliance agreement between ICCPM and IPMA allows the organisations to further each other’s mission through reciprocal exchanges such as publications, research and events and work together in a spirit of cooperation for mutual benefit of the organisations and their members. The theme of the 2015 IPMA Annual Conference “The way to Project Management in Multicultural Context” aligns with ICCPM’s 2015 conference theme “Building Capability in Complex Environments” and the sharing of knowledge from these two events will further strengthen the project management profession and provide lasting benefits for participants and organisations. ICCPM looks forward to a long and successful collaboration with IPMA. There are many opportunities for collaboration between our two international organisations heading into 2015. The focus for ICCPM this coming year is to finalise development of our complexity awareness education offering for initial delivery in Australia and then look to our partners to work through our global delivery options, IPMA have already indicated an interest in working with us on that front, which is a very exciting space to be in. The renewal and strengthening of our relationship is a demonstration of our commitment to


Reinhard Wagner, IPMA; Yvonne Butler, Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM); Steve Milner, formerly AIPM; Deborah Hein, ICCPM at the AIPM and IPMA President Lunch, November 2014.




ICCPM is pleased to announce the renewal of partnership agreements with BAE Systems, Thales and Boeing Defence Australia. These agreements provide access to ICCPM’s unique store of research, tools, knowledge and expertise to better enable their organisations and people to achieve and deliver projects and programs.

defence technology and science in Australia.

Boeing Defence Australia is Australia’s leading defence aerospace enterprise providing its customers with the right solutions at the right time and cost. It offers industrial cooperation across defence and commercial sectors, building relationships with the local aerospace industry. BAE Systems is a global provider of defence and security products to shape support services that meet the changing needs of their customers. BAE Systems is at the forefront of

BAE Systems has supported ICCPM since its inception in 2007 and Thales and Boeing Defence Australia are very long term supporters of ICCPM. The strengthening of support and renewal of these relationships is extremely positive and ICCPM looks forward to continuing the relationships both now and into the future. CEO of ICCPM, Deborah Hein, is positive about the renewal of these partnership agreements, “this is a demonstration of the strong support of our partners and recognises and affirms the value of ICCPM.”



Dr Steve Milner has resigned as National President of the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM). Dr Milner served on the AIPM Board for nearly seven years during which time AIPM appointed a new CEO and increased partnerships with international partners.

Warren King, CEO of Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) resigned his position on 25 February 2015. Warren served as CEO of DMO for four years.He will be succeeded in the interim by Deputy Chief Executive Harry Dunstall. ICCPM thanks Warren for the support and advice he has offered over many years and we wish him well as he contemplates his next challenge.

AIPM has appointed Mr Ian Sharpe as Interim National President for the remainder of the National President’s term. Ian has been a member of AIPM since 2006 and a National Director since 2013.


Thales aims to create a safer world, working in aerospace, ground transportation, security, defence and space assisting customers to obtain the best solutions in challenging environments.

Please visit the DMO website for more information: http://www.



ICCPM BOARD MEMBER PROFILE Simon Henley is a founding member of ICCPM serving a five year period as the initial Chair of the Board. He continues as a contributing member of the board in his role as the Deputy Chair. Simon is a highly accomplished leader and innovator with proven skills in delivering very complex nation-critical projects in an international environment, working across government, research and industry. Simon has been engaged in senior executive appointments up to and including highly active board membership of the UK’s two major Defence Agencies, P&L responsibilities in Industry, and CEO of a multinational Joint Venture company delivering a major engine development programme into a multinational aircraft programme. Simon served in the Royal Navy for 32 years, retiring in the rank of Rear Admiral. During his career he served in operational roles supporting front line squadrons on several helicopter types and Sea Harrier, and towards the end of his career specialised in future logistic support requirements for new aircraft and ships, and then in major project acquisition. He served as the UK lead in the US/UK Joint Strike Fighter Programme Office.

His last job before retirement was as Technical Director and head of Programme Management for the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. Simon subsequently joined RollsRoyce as Programme Director for new programmes in Defence Aerospace, with responsibility for development and transition to production of the LiftSystem for the F-35 Lightning 2 programme, the UK elements of the F-136 engine for that aircraft and the TP400 engine for A400M, and the propulsion systems for the Mantis and Taranis unmanned programmes. Later he expanded his portfolio to include all Rolls-Royce military helicopter engines. In 2010 he was seconded to the Rolls-Royce/Snecma/MTU/ITP joint venture Europrop International as President, responsible for the development, certification, and introduction to service of the TP400 engine for the A400M aircraft, culminating in the delivery of the first aircraft to the French Air Force in 2013.

SYSTEMS THINKING AND COMPLEX PROJECT MANAGEMENT SHORT COURSES Canberra 9 - 11 June Brisbane 8 - 10 July For more information, and to register: This course is designed to introduce leaders and enabling staff to the concepts of systems thinking to manage complex projects. The course will benefit senior and aspiring project managers,key project managment staff, commercial managers, supply chain managers, portfolio managers and key advisors independent of sector or program type. By the end of the course, participants will be able to: • Make sense of complex problems using soft systems methodology • Challenge project/problem boundaries and ‘taken for granted’ assumptions using critical systems heuristics • Use the viable system model • Apply new approaches to working on complex projects and programs.




PROGRAMS & COURSES ICCPM delivers education programs and courses to business and government to improve organisational capability, bring about change and lead to successful delivery of complex projects and programs. ICCPM education products currently include a Complexity Awareness Program and a Systems Thinking and Complex Project Management course. ICCPM offers a variety of continuing professional development courses for complex project managers including: • ICCPM Complexity Awareness Program (15 days) • Executive Masters of Business in Complex Project Leadership/Strategic Procurement provided in collaboration with QUT and DMO (3 years part time) delivered by QUT. • Systems Thinking and Complex Project Management (3 or 4 days) delivered by QUT • ICCPM Implementation Planning for Complex Programs • Complex Program and Project Leadership Foundations Unit • ICCPM Complex Project Management Planning Program • Complex Adaptive Leadership Foundations Course • Executive Short Courses and Workshops

COMPLEXITY AWARENESS PROGRAM The Complexity Awareness Program has been developed to aid participants to identify, assess and treat the various aspects of complexity found in any environment and is aimed at anyone who has a requirement for a foundation level of knowledge and skills within the world of complexity. Each course has been designed to provide participants with a clear set of benchmarks to support both initial competency achievement and ongoing professional development.

For more information contact Cathy, ICCPM Learning and Development Manager about your training needs: / / +61 2 6120 5110





We asked contributors to this editions CPM Opinion Column to provide insight into their personal measures of success (or failure) in projects and to relate these to a particular project they worked on; and why they deemed it to be a success.




“Answering the question, ‘what is a successful project?’ is a project in itself.”

This CPM Opinion Column looks at success (or failure) of projects and different methods and measures of evaluating success. The common theme throughout the four contributions is that people are the most important factor in determining success or failure of projects. The technical or financial measures of success in a project are important (but only to the extent that the project can be said to be complete). It is the end users and those involved in the life of a project that are both key to its success during, and in the measuring of success of the project at the completion. All of our contributors noted that the success of a project may not be immediately visible or tangible and a project may be classed as a failure in the short-term and then, once it has time to ‘bed down’ and the benefits of the new software/system/ technology/infrastructure/building become apparent, it will be classed as a success.

Susanne Madsen is based in the United Kingdom and is an author, project leadership coach and brings a wealth of experience in leading large change projects in corporate environments. Boyd McCarron is a Senior Executive at Cordelta in Canberra, Australia with over 20 years project management experience in federal government. Mark Phillips is based in the United States and is the author of Reinventing Communication. He has spent 17 years building a project management software company and consultancy. Dr John Davies is a subject matter expert in relationship contracting and procurement law. John is a project manager with post graduate law, business, and systems engineering qualifications. If you would like to suggest topics for future opinion columns please send them to If you would like to be

Although it is agreed by the contributors that people are key to evaluating success or failure, personal measures of success (and failure) are just that and the different methods of evaluating success or failure detailed in these contributions demonstrate the variety of personal measures.

considered as a contributor to a future column, please contact Deborah Hein with your CV, biography and an example of your writing. Please note that preference is given to contributors who are part of the ICCPM network.

The contributors in this edition come from a variety of backgrounds and locations, all with extensive project experience.


If you would like to join the ICCPM network and enjoy the many benefits available, please visit for information on membership of ICCPM or contact us at admin@


Susanne Madsen Project Leadership Coach

Boyd McCarron Senior Executive, Cordelta

It is not uncommon to measure success and failure of a project according to a narrow set of parameters such as time, cost and quality. Time, cost and quality are important considerations, but only in light of whether the desired benefits were realised. In isolation time, cost and quality may not mean much.

One organisation’s triumph over inexperience in project management.

The way I measure success and failure is first and foremost by assessing if the client achieved the short and long term objectives they set out to: Did the project lead to a change in behaviour, business growth, increased customer satisfaction or any other strategic benefit? Sometimes this cannot be answered on the day of delivery, but only months after the project delivered its tangible outputs. The second consideration is the cost at which the benefits were delivered. How long did the project take? How much money was spent and which other costs and dis-benefits did it bring about? This becomes a question of whether the business case still stacks up! But there is more to success and failure than what can be measured in the business case. What about the subjective perceptions of the client and stakeholders? Did they perceive the project to be successful independently of what the business case stated? To my mind success has an objective as well as a subjective angle to it. The customer’s subjective perceptions must be taken into consideration. Some years back I was leading a two-year IT project for a big financial institution. The purpose of the project was to introduce better risk management controls across their systems so that the regulator would allow them to hold less capital as a buffer, thereby freeing up monies in the firm. This highly complex project was originally forecast to take 18 months, but turned out to be more problematic than expected. It ended up taking 22 months to implement, cost more than originally estimated and had its fair share of problems and disagreements along the way. These conflicts and overruns however were far outweighed by the quality of the solution and the benefits that followed. Two months after the changes had been implemented the firm was granted permission by the regulator to lower its capital buffer to such an extent that the business unit became significantly more financially viable. Had we measured the success of this project purely according to time, cost and quality on the day of delivery, it would have failed on the first two counts. But considering that the business case was still valid and the expected benefits were realised within months of the implementation, it was perceived as successful – not just by myself, but also by the clients and stakeholders.

By traditional measures the project failed.


Each year, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service processes thousands of alleged breaches against the Australian Customs Act – many hundreds of which become investigation cases involving the execution of warrants, seizing and storing evidence and prosecutions against offences resulting in fines, penalties or reparation orders worth millions of dollars. In 2007, a project was initiated to address current and future inefficiencies and capability gaps in the legacy investigations case management system and business processes. The Case Management System for Investigations (CMSI) project outcome needed to enable the organisation’s strategy to move away from federated IT systems and manual, inconsistent business processes in all Investigations offices across Australia. The success of the CMSI project was very important for the ACBPS because previous attempts to deliver the project themselves had failed and they were left sceptical as to its achievability. After two years of false starts, the ACBPS invested in external Project Management expertise. A blended approach involving a range of methodologies was used including: PRINCE2® and PMBoK; Co-design; Agile; and ITIL®. The decision to use a blended methodology approach was made by the Project Director and Project Manager in consultation with the Project Steering Committee. The approach was embedded into the software and services contract and combined industry and market maturity by targeting Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solutions from suppliers with proven relevant experience. This combination of COTS and supplier experience was called “product and vendor pedigree”. While seemingly small at a budget of $3.6M in value, the relative scope and complexity of the CMSI Project exceeded all of their assumptions and expectations. The project spanned three financial years, involved a virtual project team with members located around Australia, approximately 250 active stakeholders, involved 10 separate contracts and contributions from approximately 116 individuals. By traditional performance measures, the project failed. Excluding the initial first two years of effort, the actual project schedule outcome was 1.35 times the original business case and the project’s capital budget was exceeded by 1.6 times. But, with underspends achieved in the Employee and Supplier budgets, the final project budget outcome was an 18% underspend. The final outcome? The project met all of its business objectives and delivered the ACBPS’ first national standard for investigations case management – contemporary on an international scale, and improved their ability to handle the increasingly global and diverse nature of threats to Australia’s border and trade facilitation. For the ACBPS, the project’s success represented a triumph over inexperience in project management. At the final meeting, the project steering committee acknowledged that the CMSI project had exceeded project performance expectations and made a significant contribution to the development of the organisation’s project management maturity. In 2010, the CMSI Project won AIPM Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAA) at Chapter and National level. Personally, I measure project success by client satisfaction. The client was delighted!


Mark Phillips Management Consultant and Author of Reinventing Communication People. It is all about people. Successful projects positively impact the people involved with them. Failures negatively impact people. The people involved with a project is a broad spectrum. It includes stakeholders, people working on the project, managers and the intended customers for the project deliverables. I call these project participants. It may seem idealistic to target a win-win across all project participants. It does happen. I see it all the time in my daughter’s kindergarten. Everyone wins in successful kindergarten class projects. The students, the teachers, the parents and school administration. It also happens in successful non-profit, community projects. The beneficiaries of the project win. The volunteer participants win. The administrative organisation wins as does the community. These projects create win-wins. They also accomplish their outcomes with less friction, lower budgets and often tighter timelines than commercial projects. Yet, when we move to commercial or large scale projects these outcomes become more difficult to attain. Friction increases, budgets grow out of proportion and timelines elongate. It becomes challenging to deliver outcomes that benefit intended customers. And rarely do all project participants win. What happens when we move to commercial or large scale projects that make success so difficult to attain? We lose sight of people. We rely on process to deliver intended results. But processes don’t deliver projects, people do. We rely on forcing mechanisms and incentive structures to motivate people to work. But forcing mechanisms are prone to misalignment. What motivates one person may actually stifle another. People are not mechanical. It is impossible to structure just the right series of incentives that move everyone exactly the way they need to move. The urgency and importance of commercial and large scale projects drives us again and again to traditional approaches, facilitated by technology. We are taught that processes and forcing mechanisms are shortcuts to success. They are not. The data is abundantly clear on the track record of traditional project management to deliver success. Technology cuts both ways. It makes it easy to scale management approaches across large groups of people. It also amplifies the shortfalls of processes and forcing mechanisms. Putting people first takes time. It takes the right environment and a different management approach. But there is a positive net gain in schedule, budget and customer satisfaction. It increases morale and team cohesion. It also enhances capacity for innovation. This isn’t a new idea. The literature is rife with exhortations on the importance of people. But now technology has caught up with the needs of modern projects. We can use technology to create management approaches that do put people first, that account for the non-mechanistic nature of human decision making.

John Davies Principal Consultant, Parallax Project Management Answering the question, ‘what is a successful project?’ is a project in itself. This stems from the fact that success means very different things to different stakeholders. Even within my own frame of reference there are subjective elements to defining success. Whilst some may rightly claim that that the Channel Tunnel, Sydney Opera house, or Denver Airport’s Baggage System were all financial and programmatic failures in the true sense, there would be many who would take a contrary view. For example; members of the public may deem such projects as successfully delivering iconic infrastructure, the project initiators who extracted success fees for implementing the projects would likewise claim success, and those with a nationalistic bent could claim that jobs creation trump any implementation costs. Some timid project managers would even claim that a successful project is one that avoids an unfavourable audit. Success is therefore subjective as observed by Karl Marx, ‘value is determined by value, and this tautology tells us that we know nothing about value’. This brings me back to the question of what is a successful project? My first step in answering this question is determining who is accountable for defining ‘success’ and delivering the ‘benefits’. The project business case, assuming it is crafted appropriately, will clearly define the benefits and under what assumptions. I therefore judge project success upon realisation of these benefits. Nonetheless, I am alert to the fact that defining benefits is a process prone to mischief, especially in the public sector where quantitative benefits are often eschewed in the place of more qualitative or ‘soft’ criteria such as industry development or local employment opportunities. Consequently, we can only judge project success if there is a robust, business case with realistic and measurable benefits. Achieving these benefits is not the only consideration for gauging success. Simply delivering the planned outcomes does not demonstrate that the courses of action taken on the project were optimal. That is, could there have been a faster or cheaper way to achieve the same level of benefits? It is most difficult to retrospectively claim that an alternate course of action could have delivered better outcomes than what was ‘successfully’ delivered. As observed by a former Commonwealth Auditor General, ‘it is very easy to demonstrate that a project has failed to deliver value for money but most difficult to state that a project has delivered value for money.’ In summary, success is in the eye of the beholder. In all cases it is wise to refer back to the original business case and underlying assumption when evaluating project success. From my experiences, the most successful project I have worked on involved substantial investment in prototyping, trade studies and early works to validate the assumptions made in the business case. As a result of this investment, the scope of work was significantly reduced. Whilst the benefits were curtailed, significant waste was avoided, expectations of end users were better managed, and unused resources were diverted to better causes.

We can now put people first in a systematic and scalable way. We can benefit from a deeper understanding of people and technology. We can advance our management approaches and consistently deliver successful projects. Putting people first. It certainly is time consuming.




ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE CROSS PROJECT LEARNING The following is a synopsis of research conducted by Nillawan Thanakamonnan as part of her Masters in Project Management with the University of South Australia. The final Masters thesis will be adapted for an eBook and published by ICCPM in the coming months. My research topic was on achieving effective cross project learning with a special focus on practical application. Unlike previous researchers in this field, I wanted to move past the theory and identify current best practice by way of innovative tools and techniques that can be used by organisations to uplift their learning from experience capabilities. By having over a decade of industry experience before commencing my research, I was able to leverage academic processes to address a real industry need. Cross project learning is a capability that many organisations have heavily invested in but have not been able to achieve effectively. In order to understand why this is the case, I have reviewed over 60 journals, surveyed 150 people within my organisation and interviewed five project management subject matter experts from Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The table summarises the traditional approach to cross project learning versus new thinking required to solve the problem. For cross project learning to be effective across organisations, there needs to be a culture that supports learning. This learning culture predominantly needs to be driven by senior managers. Once the people’s mindsets, attitudes and behaviours are conducive to learning, systems, both formal and informal, can be put in place to facilitate and capture that learning. Without a learning culture, people have a natural predisposition to resist change, therefore efforts to promote cross project learning are likely to be rendered futile. Once the organisational culture is in favour of learning, dedicated initiatives need to be executed to lift the organisations cross project learning capabilities. The initiatives need to be managed as a project with clear goals, deliverables and be subjected to monitoring and control. The deliverables of the initiative will be dependent on the gaps determined within the organisation and will vary between organisations. During the course of my research, subject matter experts consistently pointed out that in reality the demand for


high productivity and compressed release schedules will always take precedence over time spent on lessons learned activities. Therefore any solutions to address effectiveness of cross project learning will need to be cost effective for the organisation to implement, simple for people to use and integrate well into people’s daily routines. As an example, to promote conversations and sharing of ideas, lowering of office partitions may be more effective than having designated monthly meetings aimed at sharing.

Career Overview

I hold a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering with the Adelaide University and a Masters of Project Management with University of South Australia and have worked at BAE Systems for the last 13 years. My career with BAE Systems has been extremely rewarding and diverse since starting here as a graduate software engineer. I transitioned to become a test and integration engineer and began leading test and integration teams. This opened up a huge opportunity for me to travel and work around the world. I was able to understand how my industry works from different



perspectives; from England to the United States. Everything about my engineering career was exciting; from the travelling to being able to work on expensive complex systems, anything from fighter jets to satellites. This was the highlight of my early career! After being a team lead for several years, I chose to jump streams from technical to managerial so I took the initiative to complete a graduate diploma in Project Management in my own time. This equipped me with the knowledge necessary to make that leap from engineering to project management. I am grateful to a few inspirational leaders at BAE Systems who were able to overlook the lack of experience in light of determination, commitment and potential, I became a Deputy Project Manager, successfully delivering my first project in excess of $10M. I now lead business processes helping me understand how BAE Systems operates and is integrated. I was able to work for and be mentored by senior executives in the business, solidifying my management skills and building invaluable networks. This is the second major highlight of my career. With their coaching and support, I pursued a Masters in Project Management.

About the author

I was raised in Darwin where my parents owned and operated a family restaurant throughout my schooling days. Watching both parents’ work 12 hour days, 7 days a week provided me with a solid work ethic and a love for fresh food. I have converted my suburban home into a mini ‘farm’ where I grow organic vegetables and egg laying hens wander freely. This lifestyle has led to my successful food blog (www.nillawan. com) and my appearance on Channel 10s TV show Recipe to Riches as a category semi-finalist late 2013.

Traditional Thinking

New Thinking discovered through this research

Documented text

Social Connections Conversations

Tools focus

People focus

Information (facts & figures)

Story telling (personal & emotive) Communicate value proposition

Push systems (databases & generic training courses

Pull systems (internet forums & mentoring)

Process emphasis (written policies & procedures)

Governance emphasis (project management boards & phase reviews)

Make lesson sharing activites Embed into culture so it part of planned work becomes routine practice Reward and recognition

Personal satisfaction. Cultivate the new generation’s predisposition to share information

Risk averse view of information disclosure

Trust view to information disclosure

Focus on technical knowledge

Consideration for managerial knowledge as well

Tacit and explicit knowledge classification

Intellectual capital theory that considers knowledge as organisational, people and social capitals

Table 1: Cross Project Learning: traditional thinking vs new thinking

Do you have something to say about complexity, projects, programs, people, or research? If you would like to be included in future editions of CONNECT, contact us with your suggestions and abstracts. CONNECT is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. Deadline for submissions is the 1st of each publishing month.

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RiskIQ is a company focussing on Organisational Risk Leadership. RiskIQ takes a positive view of risk seeking to maximise performance in uncertainty rather than working on risk management per se.

In over a decade of research and consulting, RiskIQ has developed a unique systems thinking approach to risk and uncertainty. “Organisational Risk Leadership” is focused on helping decision makers to understand the uncertainties and complexities they face and to make the best decision possible in that context. It recognises that the sources of risk that really matter are those that are NOT in the risk register, so the approach also provides tools and techniques for finding the deep root causes of hidden risks and for dealing with risks that are important yet too sensitive to document in a risk register. The approach was developed by Dr Richard Barber and continues to have strong links with academia. RiskIQ delivers part of QUT’s Executive Masters in Complex Project Management (EMCPM) and is collaborating with ICCPM on Certificate level training and in research. At the same time, RiskIQ works with diverse organisations such as Thales, Defence Material Organisation, Power and Water Company in NT, Department of Conservation in New Zealand, and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in Queensland. Its work includes risk framework development, organisational health diagnostics, governance reviews, leadership development programs and systems audits.

RiskIQ takes a very broad and positive view of “risk”; so rather than managing risk it seeks to maximise performance in uncertainty. From a systems thinking perspective this means that building an organisation’s capability to be adaptive and resilient is the most important risk management work of executives. In the long-term, strategic success is closely bound to what the organisation is capable of and the other side of that coin is long-term sub-optimised outcomes, or failure. Consequently, RiskIQ is often working with leaders to enhance their capability to perform core work well despite complexity, rather than working on risk management per se. RiskIQ has associates in Brisbane, Canberra and in New Zealand. It runs regular free “Best Practice in Risk Management” sessions in Brisbane, as part of its desire to engage with the latest thinking. It is about to commence a series of ‘systems thinking in risk’ seminars for senior leaders in Wellington, New Zealand. RiskIQ can be contacted at or email

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AROUND THE NETWORK Derek Thompson Partner employee member of ICCPM Derek kindly provided the following feedback: “I have had the pleasure to attend three courses with ICCPM over the last 12 months, being: • Systems Thinking – which focuses thinking at a holistic level in complex environments • Benefits Realisation Masterclass – provides methodologies to realise the potential from investments • Empowering through effective communication – provides skills that focus on awareness of our real messages and proposed strategies to get the best out of interactions with others All three of these courses dealt with understanding and utilising systems to achieve outcomes. The application of the methodologies to real world examples in the classroom was encouraged, which provided valuable experience on how the methodologies and systems can be used in our workplaces. As a result of attending these courses my perspective of organisations has broadened. Previously my major understanding of organisational ability to deliver output was based upon process and business systems, however I now have a greater appreciation that systems are powered by people and in fact people themselves form a complex adaptive system. If the people who power the organisation do not understand the vision, direction and purpose of the organisation - there will be a disconnect between business functions and intended outcomes. I hope to continue my learning around addressing complexity as it is providing a broader foundation for my current role and empowering me to use differing methodologies and skills.”

Zoya Patel 2015 ACT Young Woman of the Year Zoya was a member of staff at ICCPM and made a significant contribution to our organisation during her employment. Zoya was recently named 2015 ACT Young Woman of the Year for her work that enables and celebrates the incredible diversity of feminist writers and artists in the ACT through publications, websites and public events. Last year she was also awarded the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers Fellowship, and an Edna Ryan Award for making a feminist difference in the media. Editor-in-chief of Lip Magazine from 2010-14, Zoya is the Editor of Feminartsy, a publication she founded last year that explores gender through the lens of personal stories and creativity. Zoya currently works in communications at YWCA Canberra and is completing her Master of Communications.

Vip Vyas Alchimie Asia Vip Vyas is the co-founder and Managing Director of Alchimie Asia. He has an extensive track record, spanning 18 years, across industry sectors and geography in working with leaders and leadership teams to produce game-changing results. He has particular experience in building high performance alliances, joint-ventures and strategic consortia where performance depends on building collaborative environments that satisfy a diverse range of stakeholder interests in complex settings as well as facilitating strategy sessions for various industry associations seeking to influence government policy. Within the oil and gas industry, Vip has advised, consulted and been a thought partner to many national oil companies, major operators and contractors on impacting Strategic, Organisational and major CAPEX Project performance. Most recently Vip has been focussed on de-risking performance of large, complex projects and increasing project certainty and is authoring a book on the subject.

We’ll be profiling members of the ICCPM network in this space; if you would like to appear or suggest someone for a profile in a future edition please get in touch.




INTERACTIONS BETWEEN PROJECT COMPLEXITY, MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND OUTCOMES Jake Williams is a program manager in aerospace and defence industries in the US. He is currently researching the foundational elements of the project/program management field with the results to be published in 2016. Introduction

I am a program manager in the Aerospace and Defense industry in the United States. The progression of my career into the field of program management is not unique. I began my career on the technical side of the industry as an engineer and then went to business school. Armed with the technical knowledge from my professional background and my newly acquired business knowledge I was ready to take on the world. It is at this point, that my career path deviated from the norm. Unlike most people who start with small projects and work into large complex programs, my first non-technical position was to lead a very large effort. A company that had been awarded a contract to develop the booster for the rocket that would replace the Space Shuttle made me an offer to be the program manager for the development of the avionics. This was a great opportunity, but it was extremely large and complicated and it would be my first real exposure to program management. I had a strong technical background in the field and an MBA, what could go wrong? So I took the job.

The Program

There were multiple challenges on this program starting on day one. First, NASA had not developed a new man rated launch system since the late 1970s. The Shuttle and International Space Station gave NASA a very deep understanding of the issues and challenges associated with human space flight. Turning that into requirements for the development of a new launch vehicle was difficult and time consuming. Second, the company that hired me had a history supporting the Shuttle, but as a rocket motor provider, not a systems integrator. This presented the largest set of challenges. Not only did we have to deal with very complex technical requirements, we had to learn how to develop and manage the entire system and keep NASA satisfied. It was an intensely challenging and complex environment. Through the process of developing the system, our team tried multiple strategies to plan and execute the scope of work that we had been given. I realised three things. First, in aerospace


it is important to have a strong technical understanding of the product or system you are managing, but technical skill is not enough to lead a program. Second, business school is really good at providing a very top-level overview of specific areas of business management. It does not provide the learners with the systems view that is necessary to integrate and manage the entire business/project. Third, managing projects is more than just the simple application of tools. It was these three things that lead me to ask questions about the nature of program management. So, four years ago I decided it was time to get answers. The path I chose was to pursue a terminal degree in business management with an emphasis in project management. The culmination of this process is a research project and I have selected a research project that allows me to explore the questions that set me on this path.

The Research

The research that I am doing is really focusing on the foundational elements of the field of project/program management. In the field, there is this foundational assumption that the use of the tools and techniques associated with project management will improve project outcomes. The problem with this assumption



Figure 1: Basic high level theoretical model used for this study.

The research builds on the basic premise that project management practices mitigate the effects of project complexity and leads to better project outcomes (see figure 1 above). In other words, project management practices help manage complexity and lead to better project outcomes. It sounds really simple, but there are several challenges when investigating these relationships. The primary challenge is that project complexity, project management practices, and project outcomes are difficult to define. These concepts are multidimensional and messy. To deal with these issues, the study draws upon definitions and measurement frameworks established by other researchers. The three factors that form the basis of this study have been extracted from three different studies. First, the definitions and measurement is drawn from the work published by Besner and Hobbs (2012). Besner and Hobbs provide a framework for project management practices that is based on 95 tools and techniques associated with project management and group them into one of 19 different groups. Second, the definition and measurement of project complexity is taken from the work published by Maylor, Turner, and Murray-Webster (2013). Maylor et al. provide a framework for project complexity that is built around three types of project complexity: structural complexity, socio-political complexity, and emergent complexity. Third is a paper by Papke-Shields, Beise, and Quan (2010) which provides the framework for measuring project outcomes and includes indicators for the projects ability to meet cost target, time target, technical specifications, quality requirements, client satisfaction, and business objectives. The measurements from these three studies have been combined into a composite survey instrument that will be administered to project managers who will provide feedback on their most recently completed project. The data generated from this survey will then be placed into a path model that


I had a strong technical background and a MBA. What could go wrong?

is that there is data that suggests there may be more things contributing to project outcomes than the simple application of a set of tools and techniques (KPMG, 2010, 2013; Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2004, 2007, 2012; Project Management Institute 2012a, 2012b; Standish Group, 2009; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2012, 2013a, 2013b, 2014). So, going into this study we know that the foundational assumptions that project management practices improve project outcomes has merit, but does not guarantee success. There may be other factors such as project complexity, leadership, organisational strategy, and organisational project management maturity that need to be considered. The study that I am conducting takes one of these additional factors, project complexity, adds it to the model and will evaluate how project complexity, project management practices, and project outcomes interact.

will be used to evaluate the relationships between the factors associated with complexity, practices, and project outcomes. The results of the path analysis will yield more insight about how complexity, practices, and outcomes interact and are related.

Where this is going & what will happen next

The study is nearly through the academic approval process that will allow for data collection. I anticipate that data collection will begin in May and the results include in my dissertation which should be complete by the end of the year. After I complete the dissertation process, I would like to publish the results and then use the data to contribute to some of the bigger picture efforts being put forth that are looking at other factors such as leadership, organisational maturity, and business strategy as elements that influence project outcomes. With this study I fully expect issues such as world peace and alleviating hunger in the third world should be achievable. After publishing my dissertation I will begin the development of my Nobel Prize acceptance speech. I will then focus my efforts on preparing for a semi-retired life of lecturing and appearance on the Daily Show and Graham Norton show.


Besner, C., & Hobbs, B. (2012). Contextualization of project management practice and best practice. Newtown Square, Pa.: Project Management Institute. Geraldi, J., Maylor, H., & Williams, T. (2011). Now, let’s make it really complex (complicated). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 31(9), 966-990. doi:/10.1108/01443571111165848 KPMG. (2010). KPMG New Zealand project management survey 2010. Retrieved from IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/ProjectManagement-Survey-report.pdf KPMG. KPMG.

(2013). Project management survey 2013. Retrieved from


ARTICLES IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/KPMGProject-Management-Survey-2013.pdf Maylor, H. R., Turner, N. W., & Murray-Webster, R. (2013). How hard can it be?: Actively managing complexity in technology projects. Research-Technology Management, 56(4), 45-51. doi:10.5437/08956308X560212 Papke-Shields, K. E., Beise, C., & Quan, J. (2010). Do project managers practice what they preach, and does it matter to project success? International Journal of Project Management, 28(7), 650-662. doi:/10.1016/j.ijproman.2009.11.002 Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2004). Boosting business performance through programme and project management. Price Waterhouse Coopers. Retrieved from com/us/en/operations-management/assets/pwc-globalproject-management-survey-first-survey-2004.pdf Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2007). Insights and trends: Current programme and project management practices. Price Waterhouse Coopers. Retrieved from us/en/operations-management/assets/pwc-global-projectmanagement-survey-second-survey-2007.pdf Price Waterhouse Coopers. (2012). Insights and trends: Current portfolio, programme, and project management practices. Price Waterhouse Coopers. Project Management Institute. (2012a). PMI’s pulse of the profession: Driving success in challenging times. Newtown

Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Project Management Institute. (2012b). PMI’s pulse of the profession in-depth report: Organizational agility. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Standish Group. (2009). Chaos Report (Application Project and Failure). Boston, MA: The Standish Group International. United States Government Accountability Office. (2012). NASA: Assessment of large-scale projects (publication no. GAO-12207SP). Retrieved from United States Government Accountability Office. (2013a). 2020 census: Bureau needs to improve scheduling practices to enhance ability to meet address list development deadlines (publication no. GAO-14-59). Retrieved from http://www.gao. gov/products/GAO-14-59 United States Government Accountability Office. (2013b). Defense acquisitions: Assessment of selected weapons programs (publication no. GAO-13-294SP). Retrieved from United States Government Accountability Office. (2014). Space acquisitions: Acquisition management continues to improve but challenges persist for current and future programs (publication no. GAO-14-328T). Retrieved from http://www.

Choosing Change

Presented by international guest Susan Goldsworthy If you want to survive and flourish in today’s world, you must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances. Sudden changes in markets, society, government policy and the economy mean we have to be change-focused. During this workshop you will explore what it takes to turn people’s behaviors into results and drive effective change in your organisation.

For: GSB Corporate & Government partners, program participants & alumni Date: Tuesday 28 April 2015 Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm Venue: QUT Canberra, Level 1, 2 King Street, Deakin ACT, Australia Cost: Standard registration $770 (inc GST) Alumni and group discounts apply

Find out more and register here

Susan Goldsworthy is co-author of the award-winning books Choosing Change and Care to Dare. Susan combines experience from sports (she is a former Olympic finalist), business (former Vice President Communications Tetra Pak) and neuroscience (Executive Masters in Neuroscience of Leadership and MSc in Coaching & Consulting). She has in-depth corporate and academic experience in helping people and organisations turn knowledge into behaviour and create the conditions forBUILDING healthyCAPABILITY high performance. 22 | ICCPM CONNECT IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS


FOOD FOR THOUGHT Radical wisdom for a company, a school, a life Ricardo Semler

Team-Building Exercises for Problem Solving Mind Tools

Better toilets, better life Joe Madiath

Identifying and Acting on Early Warning Signs in Complex Projects PM Perspectives

10 myths about psychology: Debunked Ben Ambridge

It’s All About The Trust Leading in Context

Team-Building Exercises for Creativity Mind Tools

Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast Tom Wujec

Team-Building Exercises for Communication Mind Tools




CALENDAR 16 - 17 April Bright Challenge Project Management Games Lisbon, Portugal

28 April Choosing Change Canberra, Australia

6 - 7 May Project Governance and Controls Symposium Canberra, Australia

11 - 13 May PMI Global Congress London, United Kingdom

9 - 11 June Systems Thinking and Complex Project Management Course Canberra, Australia

15 - 17 June 12th Annual IACCM Europe Forum London, United Kingdom

28 - 29 July 6th IACCM Australasia Forum Brisbane, Australia

1 - 3 September Systems Thinking and Complex Project Management Canberra, Australia

29 September - 1 October IPMA World Congress Panama City, Panama

6 October IACCM Americas Forum Nevada, United States

11 - 14 October AIPM National Conference Hobart, Tasmania

27 - 29 October ICCPM 6th Annual Conference Canberra, Australia

8 - 10 July Systems Thinking and Complex Project Management Course Brisbane, Australia




ICCPM also recognises the support of the following organisations: AIPM Hudson APM IACCM APM Group IPMA ARPI MinterEllison CSIRO The PM Channel DAU SEGroup Gower Publishing SKEMA


In the June edition... • CPM Opinion column focussing on leadership • ICCPM 6th Annual Conference update • Book reviews • Member profile and much more!


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CONNECT No 16 March 2015  

ICCPM's quarterly magazine

CONNECT No 16 March 2015  

ICCPM's quarterly magazine