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"What remains is change; what changes remains."

(Michael Richter, German historian)

Organizations not only need to handle their everyday business at the required level of quality, they must also shape the future of their organization and ensure its sustainability. In order to do so, they must be able to complete processes of change effectively. Projects to implement such changes are an integral part of the business activity of any organization.

There is no benefit without risk. Anyone who launches a new project takes risks and makes a considerable investment in terms of human and financial resources. The steering and the supervision of projects at a higher level are therefore key functions of responsible corporate management. They must focus not only on the quality of project outcomes but also on the quality of how a project is carried out. Quality criteria include:

  • Support of the core organization's strategies and goals
  • Taking into account the interests of all stakeholders
  • Conscientious handling of risks
  • Efficient and sustainable use of resources
  • Clearly assigned roles for steering and management
  • Transparent and replicable project processes
  • Quality assurance with regard to project outcomes and compliance with standards and requirements

HERMES is an instrument that can, if used consistently, contribute towards the successful completion of a project. HERMES supports the achievement of quality criteria. HERMES creates the methodological foundations that enable projects to be carried out successfully and efficiently. The use of HERMES supports the management of an organization in steering and supervising projects at the higher level. HERMES can be adapted to take into account the special features and complexities of projects and the requirements of an organization.

The Swiss Federal Audit Office recommends the use of HERMES not only for IT projects but also for organizational projects. In fact, HERMES has been designated as a reference method in auditing projects.

The use of a method is no guarantee of the success of professional project management. It also takes project sponsors who are committed and responsible, project managers who are qualified and capable, and project teams who are motivated and willing to implement HERMES consistently.

Swiss Federal Audit Office -

Who says that project management methods are just theoretical?

The latest version of this proven project management method has been produced with the passionate commitment of numerous practitioners and methodologists.

While we respect the efforts of the many authors who have contributed to HERMES since 1978, it was decided to update HERMES and at the same time simplify its application.

Initially, we were not sure whether HERMES should be updated at all. Our market analysis indicated that other standards, such as PMBOK ®, PRINCE 2 ®, the ISO Standard, or the agile methods of development adequately address many project management issues. However, it was found that to apply a method to a specific project an organization needs something more: The method has to be oriented towards real projects with their outcomes, roles, and tasks. In this area, HERMES 5 has a clear advantage over other standards and offers users considerable added value.

For a project like HERMES 5 to succeed, it needs the wide support of HERMES users. In reaching their challenging goal, the FDF project team was able to draw on support at different levels:

  • A group of specialists in state, cantonal, and municipal administrations, research institutes, and educational institutions, as well as companies in the public and private sectors participated in this project and were involved at every stage, from identifying requirements to evaluating content.
  • Public workshops were held, during which users were invited to discuss the outcomes and give critical feedback.
  • A steering committee consisting of representatives of several federal departments as well as a Professor of Information Technology at the University of Bern was in charge of steering the project, issuing clear directives.

The project was marked by intensive, often controversial debate throughout. Obsolete elements were discarded, while new methodological concepts emerged: the scenarios and the modules, as well as HERMES Online.

I am greatly indebted to all those who contributed in some way to this project. Together, we have created HERMES 5, which will remain the leading project management method in this country for years to come.

HERMES 5 is alive! Contribute to its success and support the continuous improvement process. HERMES 5 is not a theory but a living method for practical application.

Hélène Mourgue d'Algue, Chief Officer, HERMES Method, Federal IT Steering Unit FITSU -