Advice | Telstra Careers |

6 ways millennials are reshaping the project delivery workplace

By Peter Moutsatsos April 26, 2018

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are now entering the workforce in large numbers. By 2020, millennials will form 50 per cent of the workforce. Why is this significant? Because millennials have the numbers and the right collection of new skills that will shape the way projects are managed and run for years to come.

Consider this: Millennials have grown up with fast broadband, smartphones, and social media as the norm and expect instant access to information. They will enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.

Saying that we don’t understand or know what millennials want is becoming increasingly irrelevant as there is a 50 per cent chance that the person sitting next to you is a millennial. Project organisations have to understand this in order to be able to attract and retain the right talent in what will be a highly competitive market for millennial talent.

Attracting the best of these millennials will be crucial to project delivery and strategic success. I have observed a number of changes on our larger projects to suggest their influences are already shaping the workplace and mainly for the better.

So, how do leaders attract and retain the best and brightest millennials so that they can work on strategic projects required to drive business forward?

The top 5 project management accreditations in Australia
Advice |

The top 5 certifications for project managers in Australia

By Peter Moutsatsos March 27, 2018

Behind every successful project is a highly skilled project manager who probably holds some form of certification. Project management certifications have long been a way for project professionals to demonstrate their level of knowledge, experience, and competency; to lead, plan, budget, schedule, execute and deliver complex projects.

There are a number of options for project management certifications out there and it can be confusing as to which one to pursue. There are no right or wrong certifications, but some carry more significance than others. Below is my pick for the five best choices in Australia.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP is the ‘MBA’ of project management industry certification. It is internationally recognised and also has world-wide recognition across all industries. As a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the owner of the PMP certification and ensures that the PMP remains relevant with advancements in methodologies and business expectations.

As a result, the requirements and process is quite rigorous. The PMP is an exam-based certification that tests your ability to apply the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Prerequisites:

  • Four-year degree plus three years (or 4,500 hours) of project management experience, plus 35 hours project management education, or
  • Five years (7,500 hours) of project management experience, plus 35 hours project management education

Find more information on becoming a Project Management Professional here.

2. Registered PM (RegPM)

A Registered Project Manager (RegPM) is Australia’s national certification program. The Australian Institute of Project Management is the owner of the RegPM certification program. Where the PMP involves an exam, the RegPM involves an assessor determining your level of competency and capability to deliver certain outcomes.

The process also involves submitting the necessary artefacts to prove your competency and capability. The RegPM has five different certification levels, depending on the type of work you are performing, ranging from team members who work on projects through to portfolio executives who monitor a series of projects.

Prerequisites:

  • Five years’ experience in projects is recommended in order to have the necessary artefacts and experience
  • Become a member of the AIPM
  • Apply for RegPM assessment
  • Be assigned an assessor and submit the necessary evidence within six months of application
  • Pass the assessor interview and artefact review

Find more information on becoming a RegPM here.

3. Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

PRINCE2 is both a structured project management method and a practitioner certification programme.  It is most common in the UK, Europe and Australia / Asia Pacific.   A PRINCE2 certification is most useful if you want to work on government or large enterprise projects.  AXELOS is the key organisation that provides PRINCE2 certifications and they provide two main levels, Foundation and Practitioner. At Practitioner level, there are PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certifications.  Although AXELOS does not directly provide PRINCE2 training, they do maintain a list of approved PRINCE2 training providers.

Prerequisites for PRINCE2 Foundation certification:

  • Complete the 3-day PRINCE2 Foundation certified training course
  • Pass the AXELOS PRINCE2 Foundation Certification exam

Prerequisites for PRINCE2 Practitioner/Agile Practitioner certification:

  • Obtain the PRINCE2 Foundation certification.
  • Complete a 2-day PRINCE2 Practitioner Certified training program.
  • If you are a current Project Management Professional (PMP), then you can skip this and apply to go straight to the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam.
  • Pass the AXELOS PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification exam

Find more information on becoming a PRINCE2 here.

4. Certified Scrum Master

The use of agile techniques is a current trend and one of the most popular agile techniques is Scrum. There is a growing number of IT and project professionals seeking scrum certification to remain at the forefront of this trend.  There is no national or international main body when it comes to Agile or Scrum, however, the Scrum Alliance has become the defacto organisation and it issues the Certified Scrum Master certification.   The Scrum Alliance also offers other certifications and promotes user groups and learning events.

Prerequisites:

  • A general familiarity with scrum concepts
  • Attend a 2-day Certified Scrum Master course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer
  • Sit and pass the CSM exam
  • After passing, you are required to take out membership with Scrum Alliance

Find more information on becoming a Certified Scrum Master here.

5. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)

One of the better recognised qualifications that advances on project management certification is the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) certification.  MSP certified professionals can demonstrate a more advanced skill in effective leadership and strategic control of large initiatives that transform organisations, through the application of programme management.  Due to the more senior nature of this certification, it tends to attract project professionals with more than 5 years project experience.    AXELOS is the main organisation that sets the MSP exams and issues the MSP certification award.

There are two MSP certification levels: Foundational and Practitioner.

Prerequisites for Foundational certification:

  • Anyone working in a programme office, business change team or project delivery team
  • Complete the 3-day MSP Foundations course
  • Pass the AXELOS MSP Foundation Certification exam

Prerequisites for Practitioner certification:

  • Pass the AXELOS MSP Foundation Certification exam
  • Complete the 2-day MSP Practitioner course
  • Pass the AXELOS MSP Practitioner Certification exam

Find more information on becoming a MSP here.

Project Management at Telstra
Advice |

The 12 fundamentals for project success at Telstra

By Peter Moutsatsos March 5, 2018

Each year in our business, around 900 project managers and 170 project sponsors oversee approximately $4.6 billion worth of capital projects around the world.

Despite the diverse nature of the projects carried out across networks, consumer products, small and large businesses and government, there exists a core set of project fundamentals that can lead to successful project outcomes across all our projects. These fundamentals are informed by insights derived from post implementation reviews and key stakeholder interviews across all of our business units.

When understood and used effectively by project sponsors and project managers, these fundamentals can act as both lead indicators for project success and as a code of professional conduct for your project workforce. Furthermore, these fundamentals support our agile ways of working principles, so they can be applied to any sort of delivery method.

The 12 fundamentals are grouped into four categories: Role Clarity, Front End Loading, Experience and Assurance.

Role clarity

Alignment

Alignment is key. Having clarity on what you are setting out to do and having everyone aligned on the business or customer outcome is a key success factor. Ensure that all project team members and stakeholders are aligned to the project objectives, the goals of the project and the values and methods to which the project is being delivered. Stop and check for alignment regularly.

Single point of leadership and accountability for project outcomes

Act as the person accountable to deliver the project outcomes. This includes the ultimate responsibility for decisions on implementation and fulfilling the promises made to seek approval. If you have two sponsors or two project ‘leaders’, fix it – this will erode accountability and will result in people bypassing you for decisions.

Collaborate on Expectations and Goals

Collaborate, clearly outline and communicate expectations and goals to the project team members. You cannot over communicate in a project. Utilise daily stand-ups, floor walks or whatever you need to get expectations and goals in front of the team at all times. Take a pulse check each week – ask “Do I understand what is expected of me this week and why I need to complete it?”

Front end loading

Optimise the Solution

Albert Einstein once said “If I had an hour to save the world, I would first spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only 5 minutes finding the solution.” Too often we are too eager to get started on building something when we don’t yet know what we are trying to solve.

In a rush to build something, we end up delivering a product few people want and have spent far too much money on getting it out the door. After all, the right answer comes from asking better questions. It takes discipline and courage to investigate all possible project options and pursue the most optimised project solution. The most optimised solution ensures the best outcome for Telstra, its customers and minimises waste in delivery.

Adequate Planning

The key word here is adequate. This logically follows from the finding above. Don’t over plan for the phase you are in – undertake only sufficient analysis and planning to meet the phase objectives. Your aim is to achieve a significant level of accuracy and confidence in being able to move forward to the next phase of work. This includes making sure you have the resources allocated to you in order to move to the next phase successfully.

Manage Upwards Effectively

Manage requirements, expectations and perceptions from key business decision makers. Seek guidance on a regular basis from the key business leaders so that you can give confidence and direction to the project team.

Project Management at Telstra

Experience

Consistency and Discipline

Ensure consistency and discipline in keeping all project scope/features, schedule, cost, risk and other information up to date and transparent in systems, dojos, war rooms or any other common environment. The more you share, the smaller the perception that you are forming a moat around your project.

Don’t neglect your stakeholders

Ensure consistent, concise and unambiguous information and communication to stakeholders at all times. This includes producing status reports on a regular basis and to the satisfaction and needs of stakeholders, and inviting them into showcases at every opportunity. You are likely to run into the same stakeholders again on another project, so don’t walk away from your project with a bad reputation.

Applicable project experience

Demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience required for the project. This includes knowledge in the delivery way of working and in the product/content itself. If you don’t have it, make sure you obtain it during the project.

Assurance

Independent reviews

Subscribe to independent reviews to tap into knowledge and experience so that the project can benefit from progressing into the next phase with greater confidence. Think of it like servicing your car every 6 months, rather than having to call a tow truck one night. Make the reviews proactive so that they occur in parallel to getting ready to move to the next phase.

Manage Change

Once you have agreed on a set of features or scope for the upcoming cycle or phase, keep changes to a minimum. Manage changes in a disciplined way so that everyone knows there is a proper process and so that the impact to deadlines, budgets and benefits are understood before those changes are carried out.

Manage Risk

Risks are measured uncertainties that could impact your project. At every opportunity, you should assess the risks against your project and make decisions accordingly so that the project is delivered with minimal unmitigated risk events.