Monday, 17 February 2014

Getting to ZERO: A World in Which All Projects Succeed

Would you like to be part of a world where every project succeeds? Of course you would. The Association for Project Management (APM) certainly does - and they know a thing or two about the subject.

Pentacle the Virtual Business School, led by Prof Eddie Obeng, joined forces with APM in 2013 to host a conference with an unashamedly idealistic objective - to work out how to eliminate failed projects altogether.  Their aim was effectively to get to ZERO – or create a world in which all projects succeed.

To put together the conference was a six-month project in itself, starting in mid-April 2013. And so this and subsequent blogposts chart the attempts of APM and Pentacle to plan, organise, host and deliver a one-day conference in mid-October 2013.

The reality for APM and its 20,000 members is that: –

Many projects fail;
Successful practice in project management is frequently ignored; and
Professional project management skills are in short supply.

Part of the reason for project failure comes down to the flaws of traditional working environments. So APM and Pentacle agreed to try something radical – to conduct all elements of preparation for and the hosting of the conference itself within QUBE - a revolutionary, completely immersive, virtual environment for business. QUBE is a highly effective way for business people to go online to run their companies via board, planning and delivery meetings and in the process to innovate, collaborate and have fun. It’s like a company headquarters on the web, with new ways of sharing ideas plus great tools and techniques to help get things done.

APM and Pentacle decided to start by holding regular planning meetings, called Drumbeats, in this virtual environment. They enjoyed some obvious anticipated benefits from using QUBE  - the two organisations were based in different locations and this saved on travel time – but quickly discovered other significant gains. The conventional business wisdom is that face-to-face meetings are preferable and more effective than telephone or video conferencing, but the working group quickly discovered that there were aspects to virtual working in QUBE that created more productive meetings, with the virtual environment helping to focus attention to the task at hand and with few distractions. This helped the team move more quickly and effectively.

So how did working on QUBE help? Click here to find out.

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