Stuart Easton

Stuart is CEO of TransparentChoice and is a veteran of the software space. His back ground includes stints working on reporting and data analytics and he is passionate about improving business outcomes for his customers. Stuart lives in the UK and enjoys hiking, mountain biking and playing with his kids. He also enjoys playing guitar... but his family would rather he didn't.

Recent Posts

You can make projects go faster by slowing down! 

Getting the most from your projectMy son has recently taken up running. I keep telling him to pace himself, but he doesn’t. He blasts out and, after a couple of hundred meters, has to walk for a bit. Then he’s off again.  

He gets to the end. He’s exhausted and his dear old dad is already there, waiting for him.  

Did dad sprint? No, I certainly did not! 

I ran steadily and slowly, but I beat him. 

How did an overweight, middle-aged guy beat his teenage son? Well, I know something that he doesn’t. I know a little about the theory of constraints… and what I know can transform your project delivery flow. 

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Einstein and the Strategic Advantage

Sustainable advantageMany organizations see project prioritization as a budgeting exercise, but it’s not. Or at least, it’s not only about budgets… in fact, it’s not even mostly about budget. 

Project prioritization is about strategic alignment and sustainable competitive advantage. 

In this blog, I’m going to steal a little technique from Albert Einstein to understand how project prioritization can become sustainable competitive advantage. 

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PMOs and the Saddest Excel Joke…

Many PMOs have a tool that they like to use for all kinds of jobs. It’s called Microsoft Excel.

When I was young, I always thought that the hammer was the right tool for any job, but my dad taught me that there’s a "right tool" for each job... and it's seldom a hammer.

You’ve no idea how much damage I did to his vintage motorcycles with that hammer. 

 

And the PMO's fondness for Excel does a lot of damage. Spreadsheets waste resources, end careers and even kill whole companies. 

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Your decisions undermined daily!

This isn’t the usual article about decision-making. You know the type; “you need better data so invest in Big Data or artificial intelligence is the answer to everything.” No, it’s about how your people are making it impossible to make reliable decisions… and you probably don’t even realize it. 

All because of something called Noise. 

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The Meg – Why Megaprojects Fail

undefinedI’m writing this blog in the depths of Covid-lockdown and Netflix is relentlessly pushing their series; The Meg. 

The Meg in question is a Megalodon – a giant prehistoric shark. Ruling the seas for around 13 million years, the Meg was an absolute monster… I mean, just look at its tooth! 

The Meg could chomp you down for a starter, then swallow your whole boat for a main course! 

Of course, the Netflix Meg is CGI-generated. Technology has brought back to life this long-extinct monster. 

There’s another kind of Meg that can chew you up just as effectively as Megalodon, if you’re not careful. The Meg in question is a megaproject.

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PMO Cluedo - Murder in the Boardroom?

PMO CluedoYour portfolio is being murdered...

We've all played the game Cluedo, right? (It's called Clue in North America and Detetive in Brazil).

It's a board game with the goal of finding the murderer, the weapon and the room in which the murder happened.

So let's play PMO Cluedo and find the murderer!

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Is your CEO driving a Clown-car?

ceo clown carIf you read this post on Linkedin  and its associated comments, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the CEO drives a clown-car to work and that the rest of the exec team spend all day throwing custard pies at each other 

In summary, the post mentions research that looked at  117 projects. Of those projects, 80% of the projects suggested by senior managers failed while 80% of those suggested by mid-managers succeeded.

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Corona virus: An opportunity for better collaboration

 

 corona image

I'm scared that someone I care about will get ill. I'm fascinated to see how fast it's spread. I'm frustrated at people panic-buying toilet paper. I'm terrified of being stuck at home with the kids for 2 months. I'm simply fed up of the whole thing.

Whatever your reaction to the novel corona virus, COVID 19, relatively few people are looking at it and saying, "I'm excited - this is a real opportunity for us to improve some core processes!"

But that's just what it is.

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Project Prioritization: Gotta do it Right!

This blog is going to be pretty short and it's aimed at PMO leaders and at the executive management layer of the organization. Here's the message:

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Project Failure is Fun!

Projects fail for all kinds of reasons. For once, we're going to have fun looking at some of the causes of project failure.
But first... Project failure is a waste. It's a waste of money, sure. But it's also a waste of people's lives. When a project fails after 6 months, there is a team of people whose energy, focus and passion has just been wasted... and that's not funny at all!
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How to Identify PMO Value Proposition?

 

PMO Value blog
“I DO NOT LIKE THEM, SAM-I-AM.
I DO NOT LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM.”

And thus battle commences between the PMO and its stakeholders.

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Projects Fail - Blame the PM?

Strategic Alignment is the solution

Over 50% of projects fail.

Of course, if we had good project managers, we’d never have failed projects, right?

Not right.

We now know that PMs should not carry all the blame for failed projects.

Research suggests that many projects are doomed to failure long before project managers even get involved. Around 40% of the “cause” of failed projects occurs before projects are even initiated.

Since a PM cannot normally travel back in time and get involved in a project in which they are not yet involved (there’s a sentence for Terry Pratchett fans!), I’d suggest someone else should be driving that particular pre-execution bus.

And that someone should be the PMO (or EPMO).

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Another project failure? Time to align projects to strategy

Alright, let’s make this quick - I know this hurts. As a profession we still fail far too often. Project failure is a major source of waste and frustration in most organizations. Here are a few interesting nuggets of information:

  • Only 37% of organizations deliver projects on time more often than not. In other words, 63% of organizations deliver more than 50% of their projects late! (UK data, Source: Wellingtone)

  • The number of projects that are lost hook, line and sinker (“Failed project, budget lost”) has stubbornly remained above 30% for the last 6 years. (Source: PMI Pulse of the Profession 2017)

  • 85% of organizations have a PMO (Source: State of the PMO, 2016)... but given that most organizations can’t even deliver half their projects on time

  • The most common factor (37%) behind project failure is a lack of clear goals (or even a lack of alignment to corporate goals - source: PMI Pulse of the Profession 2017)

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8 Benefits of Strategic Alignment of Projects

Okay, everybody talks about the importance of the strategic alignment of your project portfolio. Your portfolio exists to support your business strategy but in this blog, I want to look at things the other way around. Let’s assume we’ve already aligned our portfolio to strategy - what benefits would we see?

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Project Prioritization Matrix: Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes

In this blog I often talk about the project prioritization process and the best method of implementing it. In this article I would like to share some ideas on how to use the prioritization matrix to prioritize projects in a way that gives you a chance to succeed.

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