Project Olympus is a Platform for Discussions

27 november 2017

Day 2 of the IV Annual Conference Project Olympus saw roundtables focused on various aspects of project management.

Practical tools for the successful completion of large-scale transformations in management were "gathered" from the participants in the Roundtable on Leaders and Technologies of Sweeping Changes by Pavel Shestopalov, Advisor to the Head of the Analytical Center . Advisor to the CEO of the Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) Alexander Nikolayev shared how the ambitious project for the restructuring of the Russia's entire road industry based on a Malaysian technology known as Big Fast Results was initiated. Mr. Nikolayev put an emphasis on the "true north" tool, which means exact formulation of the final goal, suggested that any non-outcome-oriented objectives and spendings be abandoned, changes be allowed to be planned by the future "changers" and an opinion of local changers on the problem solution paths be listened to. "By the way, Malaysia recognized the doubling of individual income in 10 years – from USD 8,000 to USD 16,000 — as the true north," the speaker noted.

Arman Evniev from Kazakhstan shared the project office experience in working towards the mission of modernizing public mind. "Unless we change our mind, we won't be able to build a new economy," the speaker is sure. The conclusion which can be drawn from his speech is that even ideological programs can be implemented through the use of project management methods.

Career lifts and the implementation of a regional "agent of change" institution were recognized as important tools. Experts were also equally of the opinion that external consultants should act as moderators and stick to the role required for a specific project.

"Individual expertise means the application of knowledge, skills and abilities in order to achieve your desired outcomes," said President of National Project Management Association SOVNET Alexander Tovb when opening the Roundtable on the Models of Competencies and Assessment of Expertise of Project Activity Participants." Furthermore, the model of competencies is an essential element of project management system, the expert believes.

During the event, specialists highlighted the key specific features of models of expertise and certification, such as PM STANDART, IPMA, SOVNET, PMI, MPS, as well as experience in developing competencies in the field of project activities of the Primorye Territory and RANEPA International Master's Programs Center.

"The project competency assessment application system should target different generations of people and be open to change," Advisor to the Head of the Analytical Center Yury Trubitsyn believes. The professional said that by changes he meant values and motivators, information handling methods and forms, production process data values and the ways of incorporating them into the work process.

During the Roundtable on Arrangements for Assessment of Project Management Maturity within Federal and Regional Authorities, Head of the RANEPA Project Management Center Oleg Bilev spoke about the maturity index, which includes a five-element assessment: how participants and team develop, how the project management office performs its roles, how participants are motivated, etc. In the opinion of experts, a correlation between the maturity level of project activities and actual results does exist, but the necessary preconditions for the best effect are in place. For example, no meaningful results can be achieved if senior management opposes and rejects the project methods, the formalization of project activities should be the first step, automatically improving compliance standards. No doubt that competencies, culture and an adequate organizational structure are also important; they are among the factors affecting the pace of transformations. "The critical aspects in the implementation of government programs include regular and inevitable actions, which produce the required cumulative effect," noted Yury Kim, CEO of Project Management Assessment and Development Center, Autonomous Non-for-Profit Organization. "It is far from certain that all regions need a high level of maturity of project activities, in some regions it would be enough to maintain the maturity level which is necessary for effective work."

The participants in the Roundtable on the First-Hand Best Practices shared their experience in both project implementation and description. The current phase of project management practices shows the signs of shaping methodology and tools for building knowledge management in project activities, aimed at achieving the best results. "The description of practices alone is a great achievement," believes Oleg Lavrov, Chairman of the Management Board, KM-Alliance Association. "There are more than 30 of them already."  The expert disagrees with the common opinion that a practice born under any specific project can never be repeated. "Best practices are repeated, drift among industries, create cross-functional ties," Mr. Lavrov believes. Any practice undergoes 4 development stages: knowledge search, retrieval and creation; formalization, arrangement and documenting; transfer, storage and exchange; knowledge re-use.

The Roundtable on Regional Project Management Offices — Current Status and Prospects hosted reports by the finalists of a competition in the implementation of regional projects on the basis of a non-commercial partnership and a Pension Fund Office. According to a specialist from Leaders Club for Business Initiatives Promotion, Nonprofit Partnership, authorities are not in eager to support business initiatives as they are not well structured. "Measures which may help resolve the existing situation include the engagement of business and official political leaders to create a single image of the future, as well as joint efforts to prepare the Regional Development Strategy, programs and projects," the expert believes.

Breakthrough projects and "growth areas" simply cannot rely on old institutions, the discussion participants emphasized. However, a widespread development of new projects should be avoided, experts believe. New institutions should be built so that they result in new "growth areas" based on the broadest possible involvement of human resources and talents.

During the Roundtable on Flexible Approaches in Government Projects — Success Stories, Risks, Regulation and Prospects, experts discussed the experience of "pioneers" in applying flexible approaches as part of government activities and projects, as well as the Agile Subgroup's outcomes and action plans.