Projects are hard. By definition, projects are about non-routine activities. Many of them are large and complex; they may involve many people, often from different backgrounds and increasingly with different languages and cultures. Amongst all of this, it is easy to get lost, to overlook important trends or to misunderstand each other. So projects fail. Graham Oakes' Project Reviews, Assurance and Governance is about learning from your mistakes and understanding what's really going on with your projects. In order for reviews and assurance to provide you with this information and learning, you need to perform them effectively and that is the purpose of this book. The core of the book is built around a number of models of project review processes and governance, all derived from practice and interspersed with case studies drawn from practitioners, project management literature and from practices in other industry. The result is the blend of the conceptual and the practical needed to make your project assurance process sympathetic, relevant and rigorous for your organization and the range of projects and programmes which you undertake.
Graham Oakes helps people untangle complex technology, relationships, processes and governance. As an independent consultant, he helps organizations such as Sony Computer Entertainment, The Open University, the Council of Europe and the Port of Dover to define strategy, initiate projects and hence run those projects effectively. Prior to going independent, he was Director of Technology at Sapient Limited, where he ran the project review process for the UK Business Unit. Before that he was Head of Project Management for Psygnosis Ltd (a subsidiary of Sony), where he ran Independent Project Assurance teams working across the UK, Europe and the USA. Graham writes a regular column for EvaluationCentre.com (now part of the National Computer Centre), and occasional articles for publications such as the Financial Times, Free Software Magazine and Project magazine. He was a medallist in the British Computer Society IT Consultancy of the Year Awards for 2007.
'These days it seems barely a week goes by without some big IT Project in the news, normally for all the wrong reasons - the thing that links them is the dreaded F-word, no not Gordon Ramsay but Failure. It's a sobering fact that over 60% percent of IT based projects are judged to be failures. In other words, what they delivered fell short of what they set out to deliver...Part of the Answer, according to Dr Oakes, lies in conducting Project Reviews, you know, that part of the project that gets squeezed in at the very end of the project lifecycle (this is assuming it happens at all). In his book Project Reviews, Assurance and Governance, Dr Oakes makes a compelling case for taking Project Reviews more seriously. He argues that far from being something to be slotted in if you have time, Project Reviews are a critical part of the project and fundamental to ensuring you learn from your mistakes and keeping your projects on track.' Andrew Hatton, IS Project Manager, Oxfam GB ’The book provides good guidance on the role of PMO in reviews, assurance and governance, recognising the various dimensions of a PMO and the different positions it can sit within the organisation. It takes time to look at the potential areas of conflict and the need for a level of independence which sometimes cannot be provided by the PMO. What I found particularly interesting was the governance matrix (which I hadn't seen before). I think this is an excellent tool to identify and articulate the role of the PMO. I found the book very easy to read, got some practical hints and tips about reviews and it made me think in more detail on PMO's role in governance.’ APM PMO SIG Newsletter, February 2014