The APM Podcast
VUCA, hybrid and adaptability: reflections on BoK7

VUCA, hybrid and adaptability: reflections on BoK7

September 8, 2020

In this episode, our topic is the APM Body of Knowledge. The seventh edition of this core text for the profession was published in 2019. One year on, the book’s co-editors – Dr Ruth Murray-Webster and Professor Darren Dalcher – co-host an episode that reflects on the changes and updates made to the seventh edition.

They discuss the considerable challenges and responsibilities of updating what they describe as a “foundational knowledge document” for the profession. They consider the background and context to BoK7, the significant changes it introduced and the future of project-based management in an uncertain world.

Ruth and Darren have written about their belief that a chartered profession does not require black and white ‘rules’. Instead it needs reflective professionals who can think about and devise ways to navigate a messy context in a nuanced way.

Listen now to take a deep dive into the fundamentals of the project profession in 2020 and beyond.

The Golden Thread: recognising the contribution of project management

The Golden Thread: recognising the contribution of project management

August 25, 2020

This episode explores the findings from The Golden Thread, a research series by APM and PwC. The first Golden Thread paper was commissioned to throw light on a profession that has been hidden and undervalued for too long, and to prove that the size of the project profession in the UK is significant and growing. Two follow-up reports focused on fast-growth sectors for project management (including health, pharma and life sciences, SMEs, and charities) and regional hubs, including the Northern Powerhouse, the Heathrow Corridor and Cambridge’s Silicon Fen.

In this podcast, host Emma De Vita (editor, Project journal) asks: what’s the big-picture take on project management in the UK? Is the profession given the serious recognition it deserves? And what does the future hold for project management amid the ongoing global pandemic?

On the panel are:

  • David Thomson, head of external affairs at APM.
  • Andrew Edkins, professor of the management of complex projects and former director of the Bartlett Real Estate Institute at UCL (Andrew was also on the Golden Thread academic advisory panel).
  • Tony Mulvahil, a consultant, coach, trainer and educator for project managers in the world of SMEs, and case study participant for The Golden Thread. His consultancy is called Planning for the Best.
Crisis Talks – Joanna Rowland, HMRC

Crisis Talks – Joanna Rowland, HMRC

August 10, 2020

In the Crisis Talks season of podcasts, Project journal editor Emma De Vita asks project professionals to share their stories of managing, adapting and pivoting their projects through lockdown and now as restrictions are eased.

In this episode we meet Joanna Rowland, director of HMRC’s COVID-19 Response Unit, responsible for the department’s strategic approach to the pandemic. Joanna is the senior responsible officer in charge of delivering the chancellor’s flagship economic interventions, the Job Retention and Self Employment Income Support schemes, as well as the new Eat Out to Help Out and Job Retention Bonus schemes. Joanna is also the head of the project delivery profession for HMRC and a Fellow of APM.

She has been at the heart of the government’s response to the pandemic, so it was a privilege to get some time with her and ask her what it’s been like to be in the thick of it. Read more from Joanna in the upcoming autumn 2020 edition of the Project journal.

Crisis Talks – Andrew Higson, Balvac

Crisis Talks – Andrew Higson, Balvac

July 27, 2020

In the Crisis Talks season of podcasts, Project journal editor Emma De Vita asks project professionals to share their stories of managing, adapting and pivoting their projects through lockdown and now during this next phase as restrictions are eased.

In this episode we meet Andrew Higson, a project manager at Balvac, part of the Balfour Beatty Group, which is a specialist in the repair, strengthening, refurbishment and protection of buildings and civil structures.

Andrew manages the successful delivery of infrastructure projects. His current project – Palatine Road – is being undertaken on behalf of Highways England. It involves significant temporary propping to facilitate critical repairs to 15 piers, which carry both carriageways of the M60 across the River Mersey in Greater Manchester.

Andrew is also a keen mountaineer and founder of the Black Dog Outdoors mental health charity, which promotes the benefits of outdoor recreation for mental wellbeing. He explains why now, more than ever, it’s important to spend time in nature.

 

Crisis Talks – Paul Hilton, Mott MacDonald

Crisis Talks – Paul Hilton, Mott MacDonald

July 13, 2020

Our Crisis Talks series explores how project managers are adapting and pivoting to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Emma De Vita (editor of APM’s Project journal) speaks to Paul Hilton, programme director at global engineering, management and development company Mott MacDonald.

Paul lives in Singapore and oversees the delivery of 13 Future Cities projects across nine cities in six countries in South-East Asia. The programme aims to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. It prioritises the needs of girls, women and the most excluded people in these communities and is aligned to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Paul began work on the programme when it kicked off in 2019, and has carried on leading it through the COVID-19 crisis while Singapore has been in lockdown and his local teams in the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have been contending with the pandemic. The 13 projects range from a smart ticketing transport system in Ho Chi Minh City to an earthquake and tsunami warning system in Surabaya. Paul tells me about the challenges of managing the programme as the world heads towards a new normal, and how being an expat has made him more resilient to the trials of the COVID-19 crisis.

Crisis Talks – Hannah Gledhill, Hotel Chocolat

Crisis Talks – Hannah Gledhill, Hotel Chocolat

June 29, 2020

Our Crisis Talks series explores how project managers are adapting and pivoting to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Emma De Vita (editor of APM’s Project journal) speaks to Hannah Gledhill, senior project manager at Hotel Chocolat.

The British chocolatier has small project team focused primarily on product development. Just prior to lockdown, it had begun a process of transformation, working closely with the Kaizen Institute to foster a culture of continuous improvement and greater efficiency.

That commitment to transformation has continued throughout lockdown, despite the mounting challenges, as Hannah explains. Hotel Chocolat experienced the same initial challenges as many businesses – unfamiliarity with virtual technology and practices, and a period of uncertainty around which projects would be affected and how.

However, as Hannah explains, the team was already geared up to go through “an element of pain” as it kick-started the Kaizen transformation to become a slicker operation. They hadn’t bargained on a pandemic, perhaps, but the period of uncertainty has provided a test of their new culture.

Listen now to hear how Hannah and her team emerged from the initial crisis management phase and kept the nation happy in lockdown through the medium of chocolate.

Crisis Talks – Sonia Sharma, Channel 4

Crisis Talks – Sonia Sharma, Channel 4

June 15, 2020

Our Crisis Talks series explores how project managers are adapting and pivoting to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Emma De Vita (editor of APM’s Project journal) speaks to Sonia Sharma, head of planning and corporate PMO at Channel 4.

Sonia explains the challenges of working within an organisation of low project management maturity, where staff are sometimes resistant to the structures and governance she is trying to implement.

Prior to lockdown, Sonia had been working on building up the enterprise PMO, while in February Channel 4 had kick-started a significant transformation programme. When COVID-19 hit, the organisation experienced a “chaotic” few weeks, with staff unsure how to react. The wider picture for the broadcaster looked challenging, with major events such as the Paralympics postponed, leaving Channel 4 facing a revenue hit and the task of rescheduling through the summer.

After a difficult few weeks, Sonia found that staff managed to adapt effectively to new ways of working. She relates how her team approached the prioritisation of their portfolio, a shift in the pace of work, the challenges of a virtual workforce, and more.

Through the crisis, Sonia has kept a focus on achieving a lean state and maintaining it at the broadcaster, with senior executives growing in their awareness of the importance of project management.

Risk, resilience and outliers: How COVID-19 changed project management

Risk, resilience and outliers: How COVID-19 changed project management

June 8, 2020

What is the future of project management as the world moves into the next stage of the COVID-19 crisis? And what are the risk factors and opportunities going forward, both for individuals and the profession? Taking a future-focused approach, in this episode, we hear from APM’s chief executive, Debbie Dore, and president, Sue Kershaw, about the ‘new normal’. From remote working to people management, Debbie and Sue explore why collaboration, communication and innovation are more important than ever – plus the renewed focus on fundamental skills such as change and adaptability.

Crisis Talks - Lizzie Meadows, Quadram Institute Bioscience

Crisis Talks - Lizzie Meadows, Quadram Institute Bioscience

April 22, 2020

In episode one of our first season, Crisis Talks, Emma De Vita (editor of APM’s Project journal) speaks to Lizzie Meadows, a project manager at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), whose biorepository project went live just as coronavirus hit the UK. The project has since been able to provide crucial resource and support to QIB genome sequencing scientists’ contribution to the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium.

Lizzie’s project to launch an electronic platform to manage human tissue samples – in collaboration with Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS and the University of East Anglia – went live on Monday 23 March, the day the UK went into lockdown and everyone’s world turned upside down.

Lizzie talks about how thinking unconventionally, relying on a team who went way beyond what was expected, and never saying ‘never’ were key to its success.

This podcast is brought to you by APM, the chartered body for the project profession. For more information on how to join APM, visit apm.org.uk

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