Role-Based Mentoring

The Queensland University of Technology recently completed a study entitled "Creating Value In Project Management Using PRINCE2". The research found that the PRINCE2 method was perceived as "robust, comprehensive and pragmatic" and "underwrites project success". The only criticisms related not to the method itself but to organisational shortcomings in relation to the implementation and governance of PRINCE2. More accurately a lack of Leadership.

One of the most underinvested areas of portfolio, programme and project management is the role of the project leader, programme director or senior responsible owner. While many hundreds of thousands of project and programme managers have been trained in methods such as PRINCE2 and MSP, little support, both in terms of publications and training exist for those people who sit at the most senior level. This not only causes problems within the programmes and projects themselves but also increases the amount of stress and frustration experienced by the Senior Executive.

ILX has created, in conjunction with UK Central Government, two support services. Firstly, a training programme designed for senior responsible owners, project board executives and programme directors. This programme does not focus on the method steps but concentrates on two key areas: Firstly, the practical skills and governance steps that the senior executive will need to display in order to lead a programme effectively and secondly, this programme answers the question "What is an appropriate level of my involvement?".

The programme would use a combination of self-assessment (using a recognised external standard), a structured face to face interview, a review of programme documentation and the observation of programme meetings to produce an SRO personal profile.

This would in turn lead into an SRO Progression plan containing key areas for development. These plans could aggregated into an overall SRO Mentoring strategy for the Department which would incorporate any specific high level goals or perceived weaknesses.

The remainder of the process would be cyclical and would comprise of a series of one-to-one and group coaching sessions which would focus on key areas of expertise. These may include Masterclass sessions or individual coaching or in some cases a combination of the two. In addition, each participant would be able to arrange for telephone and email support as appropriate to address specific needs.

A typical mentoring programme would be covered by a confidentiality agreement between the Mentor and the SRO and only generic lessons would be fed back to the wider group.

While this programme has been introduced for Senior Responsible Owners and Programme Directors, the principles have also been applied at lower levels within the PPM hierarchy.

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