April 1, 2021
In this episode, hosted by Project journal’s online editor Mike Hine, we discuss salaries and market trends within the project profession.
It’s been an enormously challenging 12 months for every sector of the economy. Project professionals felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from day one, with plans, teams and working practices suddenly thrown into disarray. Project and programme managers have risen to the challenge of the past 12 months by not only keeping existing work on track, but also spearheading crucial efforts to fight back against the pandemic and get the economy moving.
But despite the rising profile the project profession is enjoying, the last year has taken its toll. Indeed, COVID-19 permeates the findings of this year’s Salary and Market Trends Survey from APM, carried out in association with YouGov, which canvassed the views of over 2,500 project professionals in November 2020.
This episode delves into the findings and analysis in the survey in more detail, with a focus on salary, job satisfaction, diversity and inclusion, economic confidence and more. Thanks to the following interviewees for their contribution:
- Dayner Proudfoot, APM head of brand and communications
- Debbie Lewis, chair of the board of trustees for APM, and director of strategic architecture programmes at BT
- David Thomson, head of external affairs at APM
The Salary and Market Trends Survey 2021 is available to download in full now at www.apm.org.uk/salary-survey-2021
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March 24, 2021
In this final episode of the Project Innovators season, Project journal editor Emma De Vita speaks to Bent Flyvbjerg, the first BT professor and inaugural chair of major programme management at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
Bent is one of the big names from the world of project management. He works for the better management of megaprojects and this is the subject which we delve into here, from optimism bias when it comes to cost and benefits estimation to strategic misrepresentation by project champions (otherwise known as bending the truth to secure the go-ahead on a megaproject). The solution? In part, a technique called reference class forecasting.
Bent spoke to The APM Podcast in mid-March, when he shared his knowledge, expertise and practical advice on how megaprojects, and projects more generally, can be better planned and managed.
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March 10, 2021
In this episode, Project journal editor Emma De Vita meets Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, who is on a mission to champion project management as a central issue for every CEO. He is the author of Lead Successful Projects, published by Penguin, and he is also a Harvard Business Review author and has been recognised by Thinkers50 as an influential global business thinker.
Antonio is the co-founder of the Strategy Implementation Institute, and his day job is as director of the Program Management Office at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. He is also a former chair of PMI. He has vast global experience leading complex projects, and previously worked as Head of Project Portfolio Management at BNP Paribas Fortis.
Antonio spoke to us about why and how project management and project managers need to become more strategic if they are to innovate. Projects are the future of organisations, but project managers need to sit at the top table, he argues. CEOs need to accept project management as part of the strategic conversation within their organisation, and project managers need to learn new skills and think about their role differently in order for this to happen. Antonio kindly shares his thoughts on how this can be done.
February 24, 2021
As with many new digital technologies, the terminology surrounding project data analytics can be confusing or off-putting to busy project professionals. However, as we discover in this episode, the potential of project data analytics is huge – and there are several ways you, as a project professional, can begin to harness the practical benefits today.
So what are some of these benefits? And how can you begin to develop better project data discipline within your organisation? To find out more about the opportunities and pitfalls, Project journal’s online editor Mike Hine spoke to a series of experts from across industry, academia and beyond:
- Naomi Brookes, professor of complex programme management at WMG University of Warwick
- Oliver Cowey, project controls manager, and Samir Patel, head of data, Office of the Chief Information Officer, at BAE Systems
- John McGlynn, project delivery director for Atkins
- Martin Paver, chief executive of Projecting Success
Further reading: apm.org.uk; projectdataanalytics.uk
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February 10, 2021
In this episode, host Emma De Vita meets Susan Ferry, a project manager for change at Allianz, who led what she calls a ‘big bang transformation’ project that revolutionised ways of working for the global insurance company, fostering innovation through a no-blame culture where trust and honesty were paramount.
We spoke to Susan at the start of February to find out more about the Motor Engineer Control System project that she led in 2019, and why it was an innovative transformation project that garnered praise from APM. The aim of the project was to streamline the motor engineering repair, inspection and salvage processes, which included delivering app-based mobile workflow management for engineers. The project was a first for Allianz, and resulted in a fully integrated process that enabled an immediate inspection booking at the point a claim is raised. The ability for engineers to manage their workflow digitally and therefore remotely is proving its worth during COVID-19 lockdowns. The project’s wider benefits have exceeded expectations, and the hybrid approach that was taken ensured the project was delivered on time, to budget and to standard.
You can read an in-depth account of the workings of this award-winning project in the forthcoming spring issue of APM’s Project journal, out in March.
January 25, 2021
From Deepwater to drones – in this episode Project editor Emma De Vita meets Benjamin Hooper, programme and project manager at Heathrow Airport, whose project won APM’s 2020 Overall Project of the Year. The project, to create a counter-unmanned aerial system (or anti-drone system) embraced innovative ways of thinking and managing for the project team, who were tasked with finding an immediate solution to the drone threat in the airport’s airspace. They only had days to fix the problem, so the pressure was immense and the usual project life cycle was jettisoned for more responsive, collaborative and agile processes.
Ben was able to draw on his experience of working as a subsea operations engineer in the Gulf of Mexico when the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill happened, when he suddenly became part of the crisis management team there. It’s not something he’d ever wish to happen again, he says, but being thrust into the emergency response team was a pivotal moment in his career.
Read Ben’s in-depth account of the workings of the anti-drone project in the forthcoming spring issue of APM’s Project journal, out in March.
January 8, 2021
In the Project Innovators season of podcasts, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is talking to project professionals who are leading projects in an innovative way at a time when many of us are hoping the world of work and projects can be reset for a post-COVID world.
In this episode we meet Jo Stanford, head of corporate portfolio office at Health Education England, to discuss how she’s leading the collaborative development of the project profession in the NHS. It’s no mean feat. Not only is she trying to knit together a network of project managers across 40 NHS organisations, but she also needs to identify who is doing project work in the first place. It’s a tall mountain to climb, but the ultimate prize is not only to further professionalise project management in the NHS and have it better recognised, but also to create a collaborative network of support and best practice.
Jo is a true innovator and there are many lessons others can learn from her about how to raise the status of project management within organisations, formalising and professionalising it and creating a strong network of supportive peers.
December 22, 2020
Resetting projects in a better way for a post-COVID world means capitalising on the best minds. Cognitive diversity, as explained by Matthew Syed in his book Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking, pays.
In this episode, Project editor Emma De Vita discusses diversity and inclusion with Jenny McLaughlin, a project manager at Heathrow Airport, who is also its disability network lead. Jenny is innovative in the way she threads inclusivity through every part of the projects she manages. She says project managers are the best people to deliver change, and with true support from Heathrow’s executive team, she’s showing what diversity means for projects when you take it beyond a cursory tick-box exercise.
By asking difficult questions every step of the way, she and her team are creating a sense of belonging for everyone on a project. How is she doing it? And what lessons can she share with other project managers who are serious about making inclusion real? Listen to find out more.
December 4, 2020
In this episode, we look back on 2020 and reflect on some key project management lessons from a turbulent 9 months.
Soon after the first UK lockdown in March, we founded this podcast to share the stories of project professionals who were managing, adapting and pivoting their projects to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We dubbed series one ‘Crisis Talks’, and each episode was presented by Project journal editor Emma De Vita. Our hope was that we would end up with a valuable resource during a time of crisis for project professionals, who were doing their best to navigate a situation that almost none of us had imagined happening. What we ended up with was a chronicle of work and life through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic endures – but the advice given in the 'Crisis Talks' series will be relevant way past 2020. In this episode, we’ve picked out the best nuggets of wisdom from the first series of this podcast – with topics ranging from mental health to delivering to seemingly impossible targets.
November 6, 2020
In this episode, our topic is how to be a great project leader. We pin down exactly what it means to lead a project and how this role is evolving to reflect the changing nature of projects and obviously in 2020, the pressures of the Covid pandemic. In this podcast, host Emma De Vita, editor of Project journal, asks how a project leader needs to behave to be highly effective, and what mindset you need to thrive in this role.
APM’s 7th edition of its Body of Knowledge defines project leadership as: providing vision, direction, feedback and support so people can do their best work. And to do this in an environment of change and uncertainty. Project leadership is usually performed with limits on a project leader’s power requiring them to adopt a style that builds team and wider stakeholder commitment.
Our panel discusses in-depth what this definition means in practice, giving lots of advice on how you can become a better project leader, particularly during these challenging times.
On the panel are:
- Gordon MacKay, project management capability lead at Sellafield and author of a forthcoming book on project leadership for APM.
- Mike Bourne, professor of business performance, action, execution and implementation at Cranfield School of Management.
- Claire Fryer, director of behavioural management and executive coach at Costain.