ViewPoint Model (VPM)

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ViewPoint Model (VPM)
Zsolt Nyiri, Other, Netherlands

Project & Investment scenario modelling tool, using multi-stakeholder predictive analysis for complex investment projects.

The ViewPoint Model (VPM) is a project scenario modelling tool, using multi-stakeholder predictive analysis[1] for complex projects and initiatives. The scenario models take a systemic view of complex projects including stakeholders' driving forces with the associated mental models in a strategic scenario planning[2] process. The VPM concept and instrumentation are inspired by Russell Ackoff[3], Pierre Wack[4] and Peter Senge[5]. The VPM reflects on the notion that stakeholders' mental models influence the course or discourse of plans.

Notable features of the ViewPoint Model versus traditional scenario planning systems is that the scenario planning aspects entail forecast and backcast capabilities. The entire method and tool sets are wholly rooted in systems thinking and system dynamics modelling. The ViewPoint Model methodology and its applied non-linear tool sets' key differentiator is the inclusion of stakeholder's viewpoints in the system dynamics computational models.

• History
• Related research and observations
• Theoretical applications
• Theory in practice
• References

The VPM instrument was created in response to various analyses by large auditing firms[6][7][8] as to why complex programmes fail. One of the suggested causes is the absence of stakeholders' viewpoints in strategic scenario models of complex projects. VPM includes the stakeholder dynamics in planning by considering continuous learning, communication, commitment, leadership style and scenario planning. The ViewPoint Model was conceived at the Institute for Strategy and Complexity Management in 2005.

Related research and observations
The concept of the ViewPoint Model was inspired by systems thinking, system dynamics and scenario modelling. These concepts have been built into the VPM Model. The developed insights by Pierre Wack from his work at Royal Dutch Shell[9] was that scenarios for decision-making had to connect with a world view, which included their assumptions, beliefs and concerns for unfolding a future state that is of practical use and can be communicated with decision-makers. The VPM holds the notion of the existence of multiple truths in perceptions and that management will respond in a deterministic manner through their belief system. The belief system forms the building blocks of the paradigm to which stakeholders adhere.

Theoretical applications
There was a perceived need for a systemic inquiry model[10] to be developed that can record mental models of stakeholders and subject the data to multi-dimensional cross impact analysis. Such data is to be included in the system dynamics models as to represent the tangible as well as the intangible stakeholders' driving forces. The system dynamics models are to be played out over time and to provide evidence of the driving forces that cause project under-performance or failure. The VPM requires the development of a non-linear computational tool (impact analyser) that integrates the various soft and hard system analysis and that enables the inclusion of the driving forces, which possibly affects the transformation requirements. Thus, integrating a stakeholder’s viewpoint, including the stakeholders' think styles, in the forecast calculations and measuring the impact of the soft systems on transformation results in terms of risk, time, benefit, prioritization and cost exposure.

Theory in practice
The Institute for Strategy and Complexity Management (ISCM) applied the VPM methodology for the first time commercially in 2007. This was in a work-study performed for KPMG governmental clientèle in Australia. Its forecasting aim was to create an evidence-based scenario report, concluding whether an undesired project situation was able to be rescued from project failure or not. Similarly, another work study was conducted in 2012 for a defence force programme. The work study observer was the International Centre for Complex Projects Management (ICCPM).

Video: Example of Scenario Planning in Practice


1. Kirsi Aaltonen; Jaakko Kujala; Laura Havela; Grant Savage. "Stakeholder dynamics during the project front - end: the case of nuclear waste repository projects" (pdf). Project Management Journal. 46 (6): 15–41. December 2015/January 2016.
2. Schoemaker, Paul J.H. (1995). "Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking". Sloan Management Review. 36: 25–40
3. Ackoff, Russel (1974). Redesigning the Future: Systems Approach to Societal Problems. John Wiley & Sons Inc. pp. 237–240. ISBN 9780471002963.
4. Thomas J., Chermack (2017). Foundations of Scenario Planning: The Story of Pierre Wack. Taylor & Francis Ltd. pp. 3–6. ISBN 9781138190191.
5. Senge, Peter (2006). The Fifth Discipline. Currency Doubleday. pp. 171–198. ISBN 9780385517256.
6. Planning for Success (pdf) Deloitte & Touche.
7. Project Management: Improving performance, reducing risk (pdf) PwC.
8. Climbing the curve (pdf),KPMG.
9. Wack, Pierre (1985). "Scenarios: Shooting the Rapids". Harvard Business Review. 63: 3.
10. "Systemic Inquiry" (youtube), Systemic Excellence Group.
11. Work study summary to video below, ISCM.
12. ViewPoint Model concept video, ISCM.

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