Monday, April 28, 2014

Would you be comfortable with an independent audit of your CV?

  1. Go for it - you'll be lucky to find a spelling mistake
  2. I'm okay about this - there's supporting evidence for most of it
  3. None of the above
Some people might regard me (and many of those who share my views) as somewhat idealistic, potentially a little naive or maybe just unhelpful. I don't.

I don't fib on my CV. Never have, never will - and there's plenty like me too. Other views do exist and they always will.

To some extent, some hiring managers can afford to be somewhat relaxed about this - they either outsource the effort to validate the CVs or structure the interview to mitigate the risk.

If that was really an optimum way to work however - they'd have been no horse meat scandal. We'd accept 'mis-labelling' as a cost of doing business and move on. But then the horse meat scandal had two victims - those who (like me) might have been partial to the odd 'Shergar pie' now and again and also the legitimate farmers and retailers who's margins were either driven down or eradicated by one product masquerading as another.

And so it is in the professional arena. We have hiring managers who are being misled (examples too numerous to quote) and job seeking professionals who are being squeezed by candidates with less professional integrity. And, when an individual is prepared to concede in the national press that not only have they lied on their CV but they'd to it again - that's a problem.

For the time-being though, all I can do is help my clients sift CVs and seek to validate in interview their content. This experience has acquainted me with business analysts who can't analyse and technical specialists who aren't special at all. Which is fine up to a point. I do however reflect lamentably on all the CVs which were passed over because they didn't measure up to someone else's masquerade.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

PMs probably aren't normally distributed

I probably ought to start out by suggesting that the content below isn't supported by a shred of evidence. Now, unhindered by the need for proof, let's move along.

Let's create some arbitrary boundaries namely; does not meet requirements, meets requirements, exceeds requirements.

In the illustration below I've taken the (arbitrarily selected) profession of plumbing and assumed three equally sized buckets into which professional plumbers could be slotted in.

But wouldn't all professions be similarly distributed? No - take the example below
Here we've got a safety critical role. Constant audits, training and re-examination ensures a very different distribution. I might expect the profession of pilot to be an even more rarefied example.

So what next? I'm probably least able to speak to the profession of teaching. However, it's public sector - there's more support and management for staff yet reach the standard required. There's also less emphasis (and funding) to exceed requirements.

So what's a reasonable position to take for the profession of project management? Here's my 'gut feeling' on the distribution of project managers across the capability range.

So how did we get from our nice orderly world of plumbing to the highly eccentric world of project management? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A brisk whisk of risk

I've been in around change for a while. If you're reading this, I hazard you may have been too. 

I'd like to ask three questions about risk.

  1. How much value or benefit do your current risk management activities add to your project or programme?
  2. How many of your programme's issues were initially identified in the risk log?
  3. Have you ever worked on a change initiative particularly beset by adversity (our nice word vicissitudinous springs to mind)
I'm guessing that in at least some (if not in most or even all cases) the answers were somewhat in line with "no idea, none, and yes of course".

So, putting my imaginary project sponsor hat on "What the hell are you spending my money on?".