Succeeding in projects start with the notion that a project is a work form where multiple knowledge areas and scientific disciplines meet. A project really is a multi dimensional force field, and neglecting any element of a dimension can potentially result in delays, cost overruns or even total project failure.


The first dimension is about control versus creation. The project team creates unique results within constraints like time and money. The second dimension is about people versus methods. People run projects for other people. This requires ‘hard’ techniques for estimation, scheduling and planning, but also 'soft' people’s skills to lead, motivate, empower, and create synergy within the team.


The third dimension is about the strategy versus operations; projects are the vehicles of change enabling organizations to realize their vision, through the implementation of a carefully chosen strategy. The strategist at the top must connect with the people on the shop floor and share a common understanding of what must be achieved and why.


The times that a single project manager can effectively lead a knowledge type project are over. Due to increased technological complexity, globalization, and fast-changing requirements, everyone on the team must share and take responsibility for the success of the project. To achieve this, the HYVES framework is based on capability thinking.


A capability is the ability of people and assets to achieve a result or an outcome. Capability thinking starts with defining capabilities, results and outcomes in width, and then work backward to identify a solution to implement. Capability thinking is technology-free, instead of taking existing processes or technologies as the starting point for improvement, the opposite approach stimulates thinking out of the box potentially resulting in breakthroughs.


Organizational capabilities and their outcomes can be modeled using a Capability Breakdown structure (CBS). A CBS is also a useful technique to model software requirements as it bridges the gap between Use Cases and User Stories. The Capability Canvas is a conceptual model that describes the internal workings of a capability, used for capability design or improvement.


Organizations have core capabilities that work together to deliver the essential value that represents the raison d'être of the organization to its customers. Project capability can be broken down into:



Strategic project capability is the ability to define, select, prioritize, and authorize the right projects given the situation and needs of the organization, including the allocation of strategic resources. Tactical project capability is the ability to sequence, initiate and oversee the active project portfolio to achieve maximum and timely project benefits.


Operational project capability is about the ability to run a project effectively and efficiently on a day to day basis. This implies achieving the expected results with minimum effort, lead time and waste while maximizing the anticipated benefits. To do so, you will need creation and control capability that work seamlessly together. Creation capability produces the required results, and control capability ensures that this takes place within the pre-agreed constraints such as time and cost.


The key to effective operational project capability is to strike a balance between the creation and the control effort. Note that the control effort itself does not directly create the necessary project results but merely influences which results are being created and how. The control effort potentially saves time and money, but it inevitably costs time and money! Remember that the project manager’s salary and all hours booked by the team members on planning meetings all come from the same budget.


In project work, the team’s control effort goes at the expense of the time aviable for creation activities. This statement raises some intriguing questions:


  • What is the minimum acceptable control level for a project?
  • What project areas must be controlled?
  • How can you know, that you, in fact, have control?
  • How can this minimum acceptable control level be achieved?


Taking control of a project is about taking control over information, and this statement applies especially to managing uncertainty in projects. The Project operational model, (or Meta Data model) defines the information focus areas at the operational level, integrating control and creation.


Inherent uncertainty is a result of the fact that there never will be a complete picture of the entire stakeholder landscape including all their expectations. This lack of information propagates like a domino effect; unknown expectations will result in partially defined or overlooked deliverables, which means that there will be missing activities in the plan. Missing activities again leads to unknown time and cost elements introducing the need for reserves.