Tag Archives: Opdrachtgeverschap

Book review: Directing Change, Sponsoring Change, Co-Directing Change

photo-1APM, Association for Project Management, offers small APM knowledge booklets covering interesting topics in the field of project, programme and portfolio management. I received three related booklets:

  • Directing change. A guide to governance of project management;
  • Sponsoring change. A guide to the governance aspects of project sponsorship;
  • Co-directing change. A guide to the governance of multi-owned projects.

The first book, Directing change, explains how good governance requirements apply to the direction and management of your organisation’s portfolio. The governance of project management (GoPM) is a subset of the activities involved with corporate governance. You get an overview of 13 principles identified for the governance of project management. E.g. the organisation differentiates between projects and non project-based activities or project stakeholders are engaged at a level that commensurate with their importance to the organisation and in a manner that fosters trust. To comply with these 13 GoPM principles you get 44 practical questions that should help you to understand what you have to do to be compliant. These questions are grouped around four main components:

  • Portfolio direction; to ensure that all projects are identified within the one, sustainable portfolio;
  • Project sponsorship; to ensure that project sponsorship is the effective link between the organisation’s management board and the management of each project;
  • Project management capability; to ensure that the teams responsible for projects are capable of achieving the objectives;
  • Disclosure and reporting; to ensure that the content of project reports will provide timely, relevant and reliable information.

The second book, Sponsoring change, offers you practices regarding, or a framework for project sponsorship and more specific the governance aspects of the role of project sponsor (In other methodologies called project executive, project owner, senior responsible owner, business programme owner, business sponsor, etc.). The book explains:

  • Why every project needs a sponsor;
  • The organisational context;
  • The attributes for successful sponsorship;
  • What a sponsor does for the management board, the project manager and other stakeholders.

Dia1I often have discussions about responsibilities of the project sponsor and you probably too and this is a handsome overview to use. I summarized these activities of a project sponsor in a one pager. To download: Sponsor (responsibilities, 140921) v1.0

In the appendices you get a checklist to select a project sponsor and sponsorship checklists covering the governance responsibilities.

The third book, Co-directing change, answers the key question “How can boards be assured that appropriate governance arrangements are in place for projects in which they share ultimate control with other parties?” This booklet follows the same structure as the first book, Directing change. It starts with the overview of governance of multi-owned projects (GoMOP) and gives a set of 12 principles that an owning board should apply in every multi-owned project. E.g. unified decision-making or resolution of conflict. To comply with these 12 GoMOP principles you get 60 practical questions that should help you to understand what you have to do to be compliant. These questions are grouped around six main components:

  • Alignment; to ensure that the project is established in such a way that the succeeding components can have the effect expected;
  • Owning-organisation sponsorship; to ensure that there is an effective link between the senior governing body of each owning organisation and the management of the project;
  • Project management; to ensure that the team responsible for managing the project is capable of achieving the defined objectives;
  • Disclosure and reporting; to ensure that provision, sharing and use of information is supportive;
  • Risk and reward; to ensure clarity about the benefits and potential risk for owners and is essential to a sound governance structure;
  • Joining and leaving; to ensure that arrangements are in place to govern changes in ownership.

In the appendices you get an overview of multi-owned project models (e.g. joint venture, bidding consortium, alliance contracting, etc.) and the relationship between the principles and SOX.

If you are struggling with sponsor responsibilities in your organisation, these small booklets are definitely worth reading.

To order: apm publications

Book review: Being the project sponsor. A practical guide for executives

20695bbowI just came across a book about project sponsors. Being the project sponsor. A practical guide for executives by Ten Gevers and Bart Hoitink.

After reading the first pages, I was a little bit disappointed. Not because of what I had read but because of the fact that this was not a new book but a translation of their book Opdrachtgeven met resultaat. Handreiking voor opdrachtgevers aan projecten. That book was published in 2009 and besides one skipped paragraph about sponsorship in public organizations, this book is just a translation. To present this book as a first edition, 2014 without making any remarks or references to the old Dutch book is somewhat misleading. But looking back at my review in 2009, it’s still worthwhile for my English readers to give a review.


As the authors stated, there are not that many books on project executives or sponsors.

To give a few (Dutch and English) including links to reviews on this blog:

Let’s now go back to their book Being the project sponsor. The book has been divided in eleven chapters (including an introduction). Every chapter ends with a checklist in the form of a mind map and five tips for the project sponsor.

The first two chapters focus on the project sponsor, his/her tasks and responsibilities. The next 5 chapters elaborate on the activities (how, when, with what) of the project sponsor during the life cycle of a project (from start to closure).

The last three chapters discuss the organization of project sponsorship in an organization, special forms of sponsorship and acting consciously. Three appendices regarding building blocks for the business case, core elements of a project plan and a health-check project sponsorship.


Chapter 2 Who is the project sponsor? gives you insights in different types of project sponsors e.g. the specialist, the passer-by, the elected project sponsor, the board and their corresponding consequences for the project or organization. The chapter explains the key characteristics of a project sponsor: a single, prominent person with sufficient commitment and time to do the job, with sufficient authority and being a well-balanced personality. Chapter 3 What does a project sponsor do? explains the focus of the project sponsor (what and why) as well as the project manager (How) including the related responsibilities (RACI). Also the consequence of being a project sponsor as well as a line manager and the potential dilemmas of project sponsorship in practice are explained. E.g. are you as a project sponsor at close quarters or remote, will you focus on the content or the process.


Chapter 4 to 8 will follow the project life cycle. It starts with the birth of a project. It’s the project sponsor who must set vision, goals, and expectations. He/She must make sure the deliverables are SMARTI described (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Transparent, Inspiring). Here we will build the business case to have an instrument for decision-making, communication and to direct. This step will end with the formulation of the assignment for the project manager.

Chapter 5 Focussing the project starts with the selection of the right project manager, the assessment of the project plan, containing the seven wh-questions (why, what, which way, who, with what, where and when) and determining the boundaries.

Chapter 6 Organising the teamwork is about the communication, the set up of a project board or steering committee, the project deliverable matrix, the stakeholder involvement and project assurance. As stated earlier in the review about their Dutch book, these topics, in my opinion must already be addressed during the focussing or initiation part of the project.

Chapter 7 Keeping the ship on course shows what you have to do to make the project a success. You must show your involvement, monitor progress, take timely decisions and keep your project manager and yourself focussed. I am going to use the picture with the iceberg regarding monitoring progress during my project board awareness workshops. It’s a nice picture to trigger some discussions (thanks for that). Above the water you see e.g. the business case, scope, risk, progress reports and under water you get a self-evaluation of yourself and your relationship with your project manager and the analysis of stakeholders (process and project).

The last chapter (8) in this block Concluding the project is about the, sometimes premature, project closure. It starts with the finalization and handover of the project products and the business case to get clarity about the benefits to be realized after going ‘life’. Followed by the evaluation and termination of the project including the formal release of the project manager and yourself as a project sponsor.


The last three chapters give you insight in some related topics. Chapter 9 Organizing project sponsorship gives insights how sponsorship can be governed or supported. How are projects positioned or anchored in the organization. Do you have to do it all by yourself or can you delegate project sponsorship, what is the impact of portfolio management and what kind of support can you get from different types of project offices. Chapter 10 Special forms of project sponsorship gives some background of working with multiple parties; the consortium, international project sponsorship, sponsoring a programme and some other forms of collaboration. The last chapter (11) From plan to action explains issues which influences project sponsorship. Based on the triangle dimensions (project, context and project manager) relate to you as a person. Project sponsorship is a personal matter and all dimensions must be balanced in themselves and in relation to the others to be successful. You can base your opinion on a set of questions and see where you have to take action or influence before you go ahead with the project.

The book is easy to read, doesn’t overload you with theoretical background and gives you practical tips, guidelines and step-by-step plans to make your project sponsorship a success.

Do we need preparation time for a project?

Dia1How successful will you be as a project manager or organization if you immediately start with the execution of your project? Why do you want to spend so much time in starting up, in initiating your project? Your project executive, your sponsor would be happy if you say, that you will directly start with the delivery in stead of creating documents, plans etcetera or not? I hope your executive knows that in the preparation you will build the foundations for success. And this has nothing to do with an agile or waterfall approach. When your scope of what is to be done isn’t clear, when you have no plan how and when products will be delivered and at what costs, when risks are not identified or when you have not thought about the proper risk responses, there is one thing you will know for sure. Your approach is a guarantee for failure.

How many projects are in progress without a business justification, without clear roles and responsibilities defined, without processes to manage risks, issues and changes or to monitor and control progress?

If you can manage a project without setting your project objectives, your project controls, in terms of Cost (€), Time, Scope, Quality, Risk and Benefits, you will be a genius. I wish I could watch a discussion between you and your project executive if he wants you to have the project ready two months earlier. How are you going to convince him, without knowing your project objectives? Good luck I would say. For me it’s not a question, proper thinking or proper preparation will be key to be successful.

Photo is from Andrzej Buryan (http://aburyan.com)

Project in trouble, who is to blame: Project Manager or Project Owner?

138 the consequencesI came across a picture of one of my favourite photographers Gilbert Garcin called consequences. This reminded me of last week’s project board awareness workshop which I facilitated. We discussed among other things roles and responsibilities of the project executive.

Who has to leave when a project is in trouble, or at risk? When the situation can’t be solved? In most cases you see that it’s the project manager who will be accused. But is this always correct?

Before you can take such a step, you must ask yourself:

  • Did the project owner, the sponsor, enough to support the project manager?
  • Was the project owner available when the project manager needed him?
  • Was the project owner aware what kept the project manager awake? Did the project owner make a step forward to help solving the issue?
  • Did the owner enough to communicate the business case to the organization to create a sense of urgency fort his project? to generate commitment for the project?
  • Did the project owner made decisions when needed?
  • Could the project owner explain what is happening in the project?
  • Did the project owner give a clear mandate to the project manager?
  • Did the project owner control the project manager?

If one or more of these questions are answered with no, you have to ask yourself if replacing the project manager will solve the problem.

A dinner for two, or two separate one’s?

This is my contribution to the second #PMFlashBlog focusing on Project Management in the Netherlands. I see in the Netherlands some focus points.

  • More and more organizations look at or work with agile approaches (e.g. Scrum) besides the use of waterfall methods (e.g. PRINCE2) or use a combination of PRINCE2 and Agile.
  • The same organizations are struggling with the governance for projects using agile. How to direct, how do we know where we are standing, are we still in control, when will we get the requested products?
  • Where are we standing with the benefits? Are we getting the benefits?

In this blog post I will look at the governance part (applicable for agile as well as waterfall approaches) and I will use the picture Menu à deaux, from frank Kunert, published in the book Wunderland. To make this picture, frank created “an arrangement of two people who have nothing to say to one another, who avoid all points of contact, even avoiding eye contact. They nevertheless maintain a token coexistence by opting for a table for their ‘shared’ meals built so cleverly around a corner that neither sees the other, though they can see their own television. The only thing the two share visually is a candle in the middle of the table.”

Menu a deaux (Frank Kunert)

Where have I seen this situation? Have you ever been in the situation that it’s difficult, or almost impossible to meet your project executive or sponsor? If there is no possibility to have informal meetings, have a cup of coffee or dinner together, how would one knows what the other one is thinking, what keeps one awake? How can you react if you don’t know? What will happen if your view on the project is a different view than the other has?

They have to work together; they have to become a team. Of course you could argue that not every project manager can do the job for each project owner. One size fits all is definitely not the case. If possible the project owner has to choose the right project manager. But let’s be honest for many organizations this is not that simple, there are just a few project managers and the one who just finished his/her job will be the first candidate for the next project. And be careful, one of the project success factors is the match between project owner and project manager. Not all leadership styles from the project manager as well as the project owner will lead to a successful project owner – project manager combination.

I see more and more emphasis on having the right combination of project owner and project manager. Do you see this too?

About “#PMFlashBlog – Project Management Around the World”

This post is part of the second round of the #PMFlashBlog where over 50 project management bloggers will release a post about their view of project management in their part of the world. Beginning with North America then followed by Europe & Australia bloggers will post their view each Monday for several weeks until we have gone around the world.


The complete list of all participating blogs is found here so please go and check them out!”

boekrecensie: De stuurgroep aan het roer

kwdZojuist de laatste boekenaanwinst van KWD Resultaatmanagement via Luuk Ketel ontvangen. Een vlot lezend boekje over De stuurgroep aan het roer. Voor en door projectmanagers. Precies lang genoeg om tijdens de vlucht van Amsterdam naar Luxemburg uit te lezen. Het boekje is geschreven door Ir. Eugene Penders, Drs. Arjan Jonker, Drs. Ing. Gerard Meijer en Prof. Dr. Ir. Fred Heemstra. Het boekje is opgebouwd in een 7-tal hoofdstukken en een literatuurlijst. Mocht je denken dat literatuur over stuurgroepen beperkt is dan brengt deze lijst je wellicht op andere gedachten.

Het eerste hoofdstuk laat zien dat theorie over en praktijk van stuurgroepen vaak ver uit elkaar liggen. Kijk maar naar projecten met meerdere opdrachtgevers, opdrachtgeverhiërarchie, onduidelijke mandaten voor klankbordgroepen, en (niet sturende) stuurgroepen bemand met een leger aan meepraters, tribunezitters en mandaatlozen. Kortom genoeg stof die een boekje rechtvaardigt.

In het tweede hoofdstuk komen een 9-tal karikaturen van stuurgroepen, zoals de dictatoriale, de over aanwezige of de bijpraatstuurgroep, aan bod die op ironische wijze laten zien hoe het niet moet en gelukkig ook een, de sturende stuurgroep, die wel effectief kan werken. Het hoofdstuk wordt afgesloten met dertien manieren om als stuurgroep lid een stuurgroep te saboteren, die je uiteraard moet vertalen in gedrag dat juist het succes van het project moet vergroten.

Het derde hoofdstuk beschrijft waarom we een stuurgroep nodig hebben, wat is een stuurgroep, wat zijn de taken, verantwoordelijkheden en bevoegdheden van de stuurgroep, en hoe ziet de samenstelling van de stuurgroep eruit. Uiteraard komt hierbij de theorie over stuurgroepen zoals beschreven in PRINCE2 aan bod. Het hoofdstuk wordt afgesloten met een overzicht dat taken en samenstelling van de stuurgroep afzet tegen de fase (definitie, ontwerp, …) waarin het project zich bevindt. Waarbij uiteraard aangegeven wordt dat continuïteit van een aantal leden van de stuurgroep wel gewaarborgd moet blijven.

In het vierde (inleiding tot) en het vijfde hoofdstuk komen de valkuilen en het verbeteren van het functioneren van de stuurgroep aan bod. Aan de hand van een verbeterframework kan de stuurgroep haar eigen volwassenheid bepalen en wat men moet doen om naar een volgend volwassenheidsniveau te gaan. Dit model wordt uitgebreid beschreven in een ander boekje van nagenoeg dezelfde auteurs: Professionaliseren van projectmanagement. (zie ook: https://hennyportman.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/boek-review-professionaliseren-van-projectmanagement/ ). Ik zelf gebruik dit framework als discussiekatalysator bij mijn project board awareness workshops die ik regelmatig houd met managementteams. Hierbij plotten de MT leden, als stuurgroeplid of opdrachtgever, het volwassenheidsniveau van de stuurgroepen waaraan zij deelnemen. Parallel daaraan vraag ik alle projectmanagers om hetzelfde te doen voor de stuurgroepen waaraan zij rapporteren. Beide resultaten leg ik over elkaar heen en de verschillen vormen een dankbaar instrument om de discussie met de stuurgroepleden mee aan te gaan.

Het zesde hoofdstuk gaat in op het kenmerk opdrachtgever en projectmanager uit het verbeterframework. Voor zowel de opdrachtgever als de projectmanager worden een aantal stijlen weergeven en daarnaast een overzicht met zinvolle combinaties van opdrachtgever- en projectmanager stijlen. Hierbij is de best performende combinatie een geboren leider als opdrachtgever met een democratische projectmanager. Jammer alleen dat we in de praktijk het niet altijd voor het kiezen hebben.

In het laatste hoofdstuk komen een aantal nuttige tips in de vorm van do’s en don’ts voor alle betrokkenen aan bod. Bij de PM zitten deze do’s en don’ts o.a. op de relatie, op communicatie, en op verwachtingen management. Op een PM congres opende Gerrit Koch eens met vanuit Aikido afkomstigde statements:

  • Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered.
  • Those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
  • Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.

Kortom organiseer als PM de besluitvorming en waak voor verassingen in de stuurgroep.

De opdrachtgever moet op zijn of haar beurt onder andere zorgen voor een zo klein mogelijke stuurgroep die is afgestemd op de projectomgeving waarbij de juiste leden zijn geselecteerd en die hun rol en verantwoordelijkheid nemen.

Conclusie het lezen meer dan waard en bruikbaar voor zowel het stuurgroeplid als de projectmanager.

boekrecensie Projectmanagement voor opdrachtgevers

pmvogAfgelopen week een presentie exemplaar van het boekje Projectmanagement voor opdrachtgevers 5de druk van Michael van der molen gekregen.

Hij had mij, bij het herschrijven gevraagd hoe ik tegen bepaalde principes aankeek, wetende dat ik regelmatig workshops houd voor stuurgroepleden.

Het resultaat mag er wezen. Waar in de eerdere versies het meer een opsomming van een vijftal principes was, ligt er nu een eenvoudig en krachtig model waarin vier principes naar voren komen. In het model zien we de vier principes waarbij deze principes te positioneren zijn langs de lijn van projectsturing en bedrijfssturing en anderzijds langs de lijnen van resultaat en verantwoordelijkheden. Ik ga dit zeker overnemen in mijn eigen workshops en heb vast een eerste aanzet gemaakt van een plaatje waarin deze principes naar voren komen. zie hieronder of: PBA (principes, 131208) v1.0

Uiteraard beschrijft het boekje nog steeds de stuurgroep, de aansturing van de projectmanager, omgaan met kwaliteit, onzekerheden en documenten en hoe als opdrachtgever om te gaan met mogelijke overschrijdingen.

Daarnaast is een hoofdstuk over het inzicht krijgen in baten toegevoegd.

De vorige versies hadden als titel PRINCE2 voor opdrachtgevers en bij de vijfde druk is PRINCE2 vervangen door Projectmanagement. Dit kan prima, de gegeven principes zijn in lijn met PRINCE2 maar kunnen, of moeten, ook bij andere aanpakken door de opdrachtgever gehanteerd worden.

Is er dan niets negatiefs te zeggen over dit boekje? Dan moeten we zoeken. De op de voorkant genoemde aansluiting op ISO 21500 vind ik wel heel magertjes uit de tekst naar voren komen. In de inleiding komt het aan bod en in de woordenlijst vind je de relatie tussen PRINCE2- en ISO 21500-termen. Ik had graag gezien hoe de rol van de opdrachtgever nu naar voren komt in ISO 21500.

Dia1Tenslotte geeft Michiel in het begin van het boekje aan dat ook de opdrachtgever zijn/haar handelen moet afstemmen op de omstandigheden en niet alleen volgens het boekje moet werken. Waar heb ik dat meer gehoord? Ik vertaal het PRINCE2 principe ‘Op maat maken’ vaak met het toepassen van gezond verstand maar dit zet de deur toch weer open om ook voor principes van succesvol opdrachtgeverschap toch weer naar vijf principes te gaan. Het laatste woord is aan de schrijver.

Conclusie revisies van bestaande boeken koop ik niet vaak, maar deze revisie is het aanschaffen, lezen, en toepassen, meer dan waard.
Bestellen:Projectmanagement voor opdrachtgevers