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Masterchef meets Master Project Manager

In the series Masterchef; The Professional (Series 6 Episode 3), Michel Roux Jr sets a challenge. He advises the chefs that they have a basic recipe but it is without any weights or measures. From this they have to cook a classic dish. What could be simpler?

The Association for Project Management publish a Body of Knowledge. Aligned with this is a competency framework which enables a project manager to assess their own level of skill. The framework is divided into

  • 30 Technical Competencies
  • 9 Behavioural Competencies
  • 8 Contextual Competencies

For each competency the scoring is divided into Knowledge and Experience, and there are a number of questions to be answered per competency.

An example of this is the Behavioural Competency for Communication. There are six questions. The first of these says:

  • Effectively communicates to stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle enabled by the analysis of stakeholders’ and team members’ communication needs and preparation of a communication plan.

Another Behavioural Competency is for Leadership. Question 2 of this competency says:

  • Determines what leadership style is appropriate for the particular situation, individual or group and adapts style as appropriate.

These are methods and techniques analogous to the chef’s ingredients. Further constituents (ingredients) in the business system project mix can include software, resources (people), hardware, and communication infrastructure.

When we start our project with you, we have the ingredients; as Michel Roux says, ‘all the ingredients but none of the weights and measures’.

MasterChef is an excellent analogy to liken to project delivery. At initiation of the project we are asking a series of questions so we work out the right weights and measures, for example:

  • How to we communicate effectively with the different stakeholders (Behavioural Competency for Communication)?
  • What is the leadership style appropriate for the situation (Behavioural Competency for Leadership)?
  • What software modules are required (system specific question relating to solving a business problem)?

The work at project initiation is to ensure the recipe is correct. During project delivery, like cooking, it is regularly tested, the chef tasting the food, the project manager using quality assurance techniques to ensure a quality solution.

This is more than cooking by numbers. It is not just following a recipe. Projects are complex environments, the more ingredients the more complex the problem. Complexity can grow at an exponential rate.

Touchstone Energy experienced Project Managers and Project Team are there to work with you in planning, delivering and bringing to fruition a great project. One that has all the right ingredients, with the correct level of input, refined and honed to meet the specific business need, recognising the cultural considerations, time-lines for delivery and resource availability. So that on go live it is met with critical acclaim, a masterpiece in business problem solving, a magnum opus of system implementation.

You are investing your time and money. Do you want a Michelin Star meal or a cheap dish?


By John Chapman

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