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Project Magazine - Feb 2014
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Project Magazine - Feb 2014

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See Interview with Steve Wake at ...

See Interview with Steve Wake at
About Project Magazine http://www.apm.org.uk/About-Project

“Listening is about engaging with the various communities and them engaging with us. This requires us to consider all parts of APM and beyond the current membership.

“The project management community is a huge earpiece that captures conversation from around the world. We can help that conversation by making
it easier to process and highlighting things of importance and value.

We want members to feel the impact of Listening, Learning and Leading at a personal level: it is what sums up a good project professional. This leads on nicely to learning. We need to learn from each other and, in doing so, learn as a profession.”

“We’re reshaping ourselves to our size, which is constantly increasing. The Leading exercise is across the whole community, which is quite a cultural challenge for APM. Within the project management community we set agendas and lead by example.

There’s also the reaffirmation that we’re involved with delivering public benefit. That’s part of our Chartered campaign – a Chartered body has to serve the public interest. It’s not easy to get the balance right which is why listening is so important.”

Steve believes the Listening, Learning and Leading model is very much about
engaging members, as well as non-members, and will ultimately support the
APM’s 2020 strategy.

Steve continues: “We won’t hit Listening and Learning concurrently; we’ll
start with Listening. For me, it’s about practitioners sharing information, all
around the community.

“We haven’t yet engaged with enough people. We recognise that we
need to do that to clearly identify, and to build on the Listening, Learning and
Leading model. The beauty of APM’s Five Dimensions of Professionalism is that it’s allowed us to package and explain what we already do and communicate it
better, and it identified the gaps and room for improvement.

“Looking at things in a different way, or through a different model, identifies
where we could improve, which builds on the theme of continuity and evolution.
“In saying this, I also recognise that we need to get into the public domain just
how our Listening, Learning and Leading approach is operating and how people
can engage: this is a key issue for the Board and a personal priority for me.
“Listening, Learning and Leading is who we are, what we do and how we do it.
“It’s our mantra and modus operandi.”

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Project Magazine - Feb 2014 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. I N T E R V I E W T H E P R O J E C T Project editor Andrew Hubbard meets with APM’s new chairman Steve Wake along with APM chief executive Andrew Bragg to get an update on the association and find out about future aspirations. I n November 2013, members voted in a new-look APM Board which voted Steve Wake, acknowledged as one of the leading global experts in earned value, as its new chairman. “I was very surprised at being made chairman, having only rejoined the Board a year ago,” says Steve, who believes the transition of the new board has gone extremely well. “It’s very much a new Board, with just four members remaining from the Board of the year before last. Nevertheless it has all the strength and experience required to keep APM moving forward.” As a result of his appointment, Steve has stood down as chair of the APM Planning, Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group (SIG), and from his position on the SIG Steering Group. After becoming chairman, Steve said that he would be focusing on “Listening, Learning and Leading”. He says: “These are words we want APM to stand for. Listening, Learning and Leading aims to open up conversations to engage with the project management community.” So what is Listening, Learning and Leading? “It’s not really a shift in emphasis,” he explains. “We’ve looked at what we’re doing and want to do: Listening, Learning and Leading helps with stakeholder understanding and improvement. “As we know, some models are more helpful than others in providing a way of packaging things to make them easier to explain. The Listening, Learning and Leading model helps us articulate our understanding and communication. “We take great pride in 2013 being a record year for the APM community which indicates we’re already doing things well. The Listening, Learning and Leading model should help us pick up the pace even further.” LISTENING, LEARNING AND LEADING Steve explains: “Listening is about engaging with the various communities and them engaging with us. This requires us to consider all parts of APM and beyond the current membership. “The project management community is a huge earpiece that captures conversation from around the world. We can help that conversation by making it easier to process and highlighting things of importance and value. We want members to feel the impact of Listening, Learning and Leading at a personal level: it is what sums up a good project professional. This leads on nicely to learning. We need to learn from each other and, in doing so, learn as a profession.” On Leading, Steve says: “We’re reshaping ourselves to our size, which is constantly increasing. The Leading exercise is across the whole community, which is quite a cultural challenge for APM. Within the project management community we set agendas and lead by example. There’s also the reaffirmation that we’re involved with delivering public benefit. That’s part of our Chartered campaign – a Chartered body has to serve the public interest. It’s not easy to get the balance right which is why listening is so important.” Steve believes the Listening, Learning and Leading model is very much about engaging members, as well as non- members, and will ultimately support the APM’s 2020 strategy. Steve continues: “We won’t hit Listening and Learning concurrently; we’ll start with Listening. For me, it’s about practitioners sharing information, all around the community. “We haven’t yet engaged with enough people. We recognise that we need to do that to clearly identify, and to build on the Listening, Learning and Leading model. The beauty of APM’s Five Dimensions of Professionalism is that it’s allowed us to package and explain what we already do and communicate it better, and it identified the gaps and room for improvement. “Looking at things in a different way, or through a different model, identifies where we could improve, which builds on the theme of continuity and evolution. “In saying this, I also recognise that we need to get into the public domain just how our Listening, Learning and Leading approach is operating and how people can engage: this is a key issue for the Board and a personal priority for me. “Listening, Learning and Leading is who we are, what we do and how we do it. “It’s our mantra and modus operandi.” RECORD BREAKERS At the end of 2013, APM proudly reported record individual membership numbers of more than 20,000. APM chief executive Andrew Bragg expresses his delight at the milestone. “The record membership numbers together with the strong corporate membership highlight the continual relevance of what we do. “We have more than 40 leading organisations with APM corporate accreditation, which is excellent support and demonstrates professionalism in action.” Other recent achievements include APM’s increasing international engagement with International Project Management Association (IPMA) and COMMUNITY S T E V E W A K E J O H N G O R D O N R O D B A K E R M A R K M C K I N L AY S U S I E B O Y C E C H R I S T I N E B U R T S A R A H C O L E M A N C H A R L E S E G B U A L A N M A C K L I N M O N I C A S A S S O K E V I N B A R T O N J O N A T H A N S I M C O C K N E W A P M B O A R D CHAIRMAN DEPUTY CHAIRMAN 14 FEBRUARY 2014 15FEBRUARY 2014 I N T E R V I E W : S T E V E W A K E A N D A N D R E W B R A G G
  • 2. 20,000+ 500,000UNIQUE ANNUAL VISITORS TO APM.ORG.UK INDIVIDUALAPMMEMBERSHIPRATESURPASSED20,000IN2013 ORGANISATIONS WITH APM ACCREDITATION for Chartered status.” Government departments continue to embrace project, programme and portfolio management, with a number of high-spending Whitehall departments seeking out APM corporate accreditation. Andrew explains: “This is a result of huge effort from APM on behalf of the profession. That’s how we’re engaging with government in a successful way, and where government leads, others will often follow.” Steve adds: “For me, the charter doesn’t make us professional − we’re professional already. We could never have attempted to go for Chartered status without being professional already. It will push the profession even further. Everything we do supports, legitimises, corroborates and reinforces the claim for Chartered status. It demonstrates our dedication to the professionalisation of project management.” 2020 STRATEGY At the beginning of 2012, APM announced its aspirational vision of: “a world in which all projects succeed”. The “ambitious, challenging and radical” vision, it says, is one that reflects what society expects. The debate around the vision came alive soon after the announcement, with some arguing that it could stifle innovation, and others describing it as vital to move the profession forwards. In Project magazine [November 2013], a number of practitioners and academics came together to discuss just whether a world in which all projects succeed is an ambitious vision or an impossible dream. On the current status of the 2020 strategy, Steve says: “We’re on track. We’ve got a mission to provide leadership and commitment in organisations that share our passion for improved project outcomes. There’s a whole planning process that sits underneath that. We’re approaching it as a portfolio, and it’s on track, under the strict governance scrutiny of the board.” One of the current areas of focus is research to give an in-depth picture of success in projects. “There will be a lot of research,” Steve says. “This will allow us to represent the voice of the profession. There has to be evidence to back up what’s happening. “We have a community of around 550 corporate members now who, I believe, will provide an excellent source of research data for the UK. There’s a lot of data kicking around in other countries but I want to harness some hard research in the UK. The more data we can get that’s localised, the better. “Research is going to be a big focus. It underpins the raft of knowledge we have. We need the evidence to say ‘that’s a really great thing to do’ and we will only achieve our aspiration of ‘a world in which all projects succeed’ if we can capitalise on this research.” THE DEBATE CONTINUES The debate around APM’s vision is ongoing. The majority seem to agree that the vision is an excellent aspiration to hold, but that it may be difficult to actually achieve it. Andrew says: “It’s good that the debate is happening, and not just within the APM. It’s good to remember that it’s an aspiration and it’s not an objective. “There are many examples of organisations which set a deliberately unreasonable goal in order to radically change behaviour and mindset in order to create aspiration in others. APM can learn from their success. For instance, London Olympic Park’s 2012’s Zero Harm initiative contributed to the 2012 Games being the first modern Olympics without any fatalities during construction. “If we can give people confidence to approach their enterprises through successful projects, then we have a clear link to prosperity and growth in jobs. “If we are inhibited by the fear of failure we won’t deliver projects with confidence. There is a risk we could become so risk averse that we don’t accept the challenge. That will affect growth. “I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to embrace that aspirational vision. It’s in our nature to make projects succeed.” Project management in the UK has much to offer other professional communities and APM has been working closely with the International Project Management Association to increase that engagement. This ties in with Steve’s Listening, Learning, Leading model. “We can share lessons learned with our colleagues overseas, and embrace best practice from them,” says Steve. It is clear to see that there is huge synergy between APM’s numerous projects. As Steve explains, key to success will be managing these as an effective portfolio, including the development of APM’s Five Dimensions of Professionalism, the Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management, The Body of Knowledge+, the 2020 strategy or Listening, Learning, Leading. The future growth and development of the profession will very much depend on the ability of the wider, global project community. Whatever the future may hold, the message from APM is clear: pull together to achieve greatness. THE APM COMMUNITY IS HELPING THE PROFESSION ACCOMPLISH SOME AMAZING THINGS. HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES TO HELP DELIVER A WORLD IN WHICH ALL PROJECTS SUCCEED. M A R T I N G O S D E N Martin has carried out many APM roles over the last few years. He is currently chairman of the APM South Wales and West of England Branch and the Branch Steering Group. He contributes an enormous amount of time to the association. M A R Y M C K I N L AY Mary is a leading figure in project management and a member of the APM Board. She has devoted hundreds of hours to the association and is a key figure in the planning and running of the APM Conference and Awards. N I C K J O H N S Nick is chairman of the APM’s Specific Interest Group Steering Group and also an APM Awards judge. He contributes many hours to APM and always provides constructive and challenging input. S A L LY - A N N E C O U P A R Sally-Anne is the secretary of APM’s Scotland Branch and contributes much of her time to the organisation and functioning of the group. While relatively new to the profession, she approaches her commitments conscientiously and with good humour. HIDDENHEROES “EVERYONE HERE IS UNITED IN WANTING TO ATTAIN CHARTERED STATUSFOR THE PROFESSION.” the rising popularity of APM’s website – apm.org.uk – now attracting around 500,000 unique annual visitors. These are substantial achievements for the association and the profession. The challenge for APM is to not only sustain the momentum, but to build upon it. Volunteer recognition is crucial. Andrew and Steve both praise the hard work of those who devote time and expertise to the pursuit of an even better profession. But there are other areas too. Andrew says: “We are building on themes around knowledge, standards and engagement and developing the infrastructure to do that further. We’re engaged in a refresh programme for existing qualifications to ensure they are up to date. “We’re also enhancing our knowledge assets and in particular looking at the web- enabled Body of Knowledge+ concept. We see this as important as it will create rich structured material for the profession to use.” There has been a concerted effort from APM to make project management a career of first choice, and it seems to be bearing fruit. Andrew explains: “We’ve got some successful school initiatives coming through, and we’re heavily involved with the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiatives. There’s a real synergy in what we are doing.” Steve agrees: “We want to catch people from an early age and bring them through so we have a seamless profession. There used to be a youth training scheme, which would see people learning as volunteers. It was fine but what we want to see is young people being paid as they learn the fundamentals of the profession. “This is something the Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management is offering young people now and is proving increasingly popular. “2013 has been a record year in so many ways – our challenge now is to make 2014 even more so.” CHARTERED STATUS APM’s quest for Chartered status began in 2007, building on the wide recognition that project and programme management are vital contributors to the UK’s economy. Having set its key priority as: achieving Chartered status for the profession, APM remains committed to this goal and is not allowing any delay in securing Chartered status to dent the concerted momentum of APM activity around increased professionalism. This commitment is evidenced by the “drumbeat of delivery” of the regular and timely launch of new products and services which lie within APM’s direct control. Andrew says: “Everyone here is united in wanting to attain Chartered status for the profession. Among the many benefits which Chartered status will bring to the profession is the acknowledgment of project professionals as experts in their field, offering a clear differentiator between professionals and others. Chartered status will also clearly raise the profile and value of project management.” Andrew adds: “The case for Chartered status has been made by the profession and is compelling. “One of the things that has shone through in our recent annual report is the drumbeat of delivery − everything we do reinforces the fact that the profession and APM are ready for Chartered status. “Project management now reaches out way beyond the sectors such as construction and engineering which once dominated the landscape. You can see that through the successes of the 2013 APM Awards, where B&Q and Royal Mail were among the award winners. It’s another endorsement of the case 16 17FEBRUARY 2014FEBRUARY 2014 I N T E R V I E W : S T E V E W A K E A N D A N D R E W B R A G G