By APM, the chartered body for the project profession
Bringing you stories of how project professionals are adapting, pivoting and succeeding in a post-COVID world.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Contact us at email@example.com
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
Making sense of success and failure with Darren Dalcher
In 2022, APM is celebrating its 50th anniversary, so throughout the year we’ll be sitting down with some of the movers and shakers who have shaped the project profession across the last few decades. We’ll be asking them how the profession has evolved, where the untapped potential lies, and what the future might hold. In this episode, Andrew Saunders, journalist and regular contributor to Project journal, sits down with Darren Dalcher, professor of strategic project management at the University of Lancaster. Few people have studied project management as closely or for as long as Darren, who is also a director of the National Centre for Project Management, and co-editor of the 7th edition of APM’s Body of Knowledge. In a career spanning more than 25 years, Darren has become a respected voice for innovation in the sector thanks to his fascination with the power of projects and in particular why some fail and others succeed. If you enjoy this episode, look out for the spring edition of Project journal, out in March, which features extra material from Andrew’s interview with Darren. Please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 26, 2022
6 project management lessons we learned in 2021
It’s fair to say the past year has been another challenging one for project professionals, who have continued to navigate the complexities of the Covid pandemic, with schedules and budgets liable to change last minute and teams continuing to adjust to working remotely. Add to that the teething problems we saw following Brexit – and it’s clear that 2021 was a year in which project professionals had their work cut out. However, as our podcast guests have pointed out on many occasions, the most powerful lessons often emerge from periods of adversity. Many of the lessons learned during the first 18 months of the pandemic will feed into project plans and personal development goals as we move into 2022. So, on that note, in this episode of the podcast, Project’s online editor Mike Hine looks back at the past 12 months and presents some of the key project lessons of 2021, as told to us by our guests. So how did NASA put a rover on Mars amid a global pandemic? What are the untapped opportunities of project data analytics? And what might the UK’s vaccine taskforce programme teach us about how to streamline processes to enable quicker delivery when it really matters? Get in touch: email@example.com
December 27, 2021
Inclusive design for project professionals (From the Frontline)
In our From the Frontline season, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is meeting project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode she speaks to Mike Bradley, a senior research associate at the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge; and Neil Smith, inclusive design lead for HS2 Ltd and one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates. They’ll be explaining exactly what inclusive design is, why it matters for your projects and how to do it well.
December 16, 2021
From the Frontline: Managing a cutting-edge renewables project
In this episode, Project journal editor Emma De Vita speaks to Tim Rose, programme manager at Energy Superhub Oxford, a four-year, £40m demonstrator project to explore potential innovation in using batteries to support grid stability, electric vehicle infrastructure and smart renewable heating. It aims to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened, increasing to 25,000 tonnes by 2032. Part of the Superhub is the UK’s first grid-scale hybrid battery energy storage system, led by Pivot Power (part of EDF Renewables), which plugs into the National Grid. The project is part funded by a £12m Innovate UK grant to demonstrate a model for other towns and cities and to improve air quality and support Oxford’s plans for rapid decarbonisation. In this podcast, Tim shares his experience of working on a highly innovative, cutting-edge project at the forefront of climate action, and gives his advice to project professionals on what they can learn from projects like these – and the skills you need to work in the area.
November 25, 2021
Dynamic conditions for project success
In this episode, hosted by Mike Hine, online editor for Project journal, we take a look at the topic of dynamic conditions for project success. Project professionals and organisations are always on the lookout for ways to enhance project outcomes, but doing so can prove elusive. It’s a topic of great interest to researchers, too, and to that end APM has recently published the report Dynamic conditions for project success. The report identifies organisational, professional, and societal dynamic conditions that can enhance project outcomes and explores how project professionals and organisations apply them. We spoke to three of the research team from the Universities of Sussex and Southampton – Dr Nicholas Dacre, Dr David Eggleton and Vasilis Gkogkidis. Download the report here. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 11, 2021
From the Frontline: How to improve project performance
In ‘From the Frontline’, Project journal editor Emma De Vita meets project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode she speaks to the researchers behind Project X’s latest report, published by APM, called Rethinking Capabilities: Lessons for policy, scholarship and practice. Project X is an ESRC‑funded research collaboration between government, academia and industry representatives, aiming to generate unique insights into the performance of major projects and programmes in government. So why do some major projects perform poorly, and others perform well – and what can you do about it? We hear about some of the key findings and what you can do to put them into practice on your projects right now. On the panel: Dr Rebecca Vine is an assistant professor in accounting at the University of Sussex Business School Dr Dicle Kortantamer is a research fellow at the University of Brighton Dr Jas Kalra is an assistant professor in supply chain management at Newcastle University Business School Phillippa Groome is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex Read the research paper here. Find out more about Project X here. Get in touch with us: email@example.com
October 29, 2021
From the Frontline: Fast and furious at net-zero Formula E
In ‘From the Frontline’, Project journal editor Emma De Vita meets project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode we meet Gemma Roura Serra, strategic planning director at ABB Formula E. Formula E is the world’s first all-electric single-seater car racing series, conceived to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and demonstrate leadership in the sports world by becoming the only sport to be net-zero carbon since inception. Its races are held in 12 city centres across the world, including London, New York, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Moscow and Beijing, where it debuted in 2014. The 45-minute races predominantly take place on 3km circuits and the cars go from 0–100km in 2.8 seconds with a max speed of 160 miles/hour. With over 20 years of experience in sports management, Gemma offers a strong hands-on background in the motorsports and events industries. In September she was promoted to strategic planning director focusing on calendar and event operations planning and roadmapping. In this podcast, Gemma shares her experience of masterminding a pioneering project with a sustainable message at its core. If you’d like a more detailed exploration of her work, please see Gemma’s APM webinar on Formula E, available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAOT9kbUIZI Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 07, 2021
From the Frontline: How to thrive in your career as a woman
In this special episode to tie in with APM’s annual Think Differently conference, Emma De Vita, the editor of Project journal, speaks to three ambitious female project professionals to talk about how to have a thriving career despite the barriers that organisational or team culture still persistently put in the way of individual women – women who might also be contending with bias around race or age. Change needs to happen, so let’s find out how to go about doing it from women who are all flourishing in their careers despite the challenges. On the panel are: Debbie Lewis, a portfolio programme manager at Fujitsu Services, and a speaker at APM’s Think Differently Conference Anita Phagura, a project manager with a background in transport who now empowers project managers to lead fiercely, authentically, and inclusively Emma Regulski, a programme manager at consultancy Faithful + Gould Get in touch at email@example.com Find out more about Think Differently at https://www.apm.org.uk/think-differently/
September 20, 2021
How to be a great communicator
In this episode, hosted by Mike Hine, online editor for APM’s Project journal, we’re looking at communication for project professionals. Communication is a vital condition for project success. However well-planned, a project will not run smoothly if stakeholders are left confused and under-informed as a consequence of inefficient communication. With an ever-growing array of comms tools at their disposal, the project manager has some important decisions to make – as well as timing their communications properly, they need to ensure the methods they deploy are appropriate for the message and the audience. Projects of all sizes therefore need to have a communication strategy – particularly those which are complex or have a large number of stakeholders. Joining the podcast for this episode are: Ann Pilkington, co-founder and director of PR Academy, a provider of education and training in communication Tim Lyons, a programme and project manager working on large system and infrastructure programmes; and a member of the APM People SIG committee Elizabeth Harrin, who has over 20 years’ experience in leading IT, business change and process improvement projects across financial services and healthcare Resources: Communication planning white paper, by Ann and Tim Engaging stakeholders on projects – How to harness people power, by Elizabeth Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 06, 2021
Contracts and collaboration in a post-COVID world
Contracts create legally binding obligations between the parties involved in a project. They describe the nature of those obligations and the actions that can be taken if they are not met. As such, the contract is a foundational document whose content will come to define the project and how the work unfolds. It is there to provide certainty and protection to the parties. But in a post-COVID world, there may be an opportunity for contracts to be used to create ongoing collaborative relationships, rather than simply defining strict requirements and being regarded as a tool to give parties leverage in the event of acrimony. To find out a bit more, Project journal’s online editor Mike Hine spoke to two experts: Sarah Schutte of Schutte Consulting Limited, an independent solicitor-advocate and consultant; and Richard Cairnes, director at Currie & Brown’s London project and programme management team. Further reading: The first instalment of Sarah’s webinar series for APM’s Contracts and Procurement SIG can be found here, and for information on part two (14 September), click here. Read Richard’s latest APM blog here. Read the APM Contracts and Procurement SIG white paper Procuring for Agile Projects here. Contact email@example.com
August 25, 2021
From the Frontline: How to make better project decisions
In ‘From the Frontline’, Project journal editor Emma De Vita meets project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode we meet Dr Natalie Marguet, a senior lecturer in leadership and organisational development at Liverpool John Moores University, and author of APM’s recent research paper Detect, Reflect and Adapt: Factors influencing critical project decisions. In this podcast, she shares the latest research into how project professionals can improve their decision-making. She’ll be giving practical advice on how you can become more effective in your work using simple techniques, as well as helping you to understand your personal decision-making style, how to adopt new styles and when to use them. Bad decision-making on projects has been identified as one of the key reasons for poor project performance, so every project manager has room for improvement and can learn from this new research.
August 10, 2021
From the Frontline: Lessons from the pandemic for better programme management
In ‘From the Frontline’, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is meeting project professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode, we meet Emma Willson, who leads the National Audit Office’s Major Projects Delivery area of focus. She has worked at the NAO for almost 20 years, auditing a wide range of government programmes, from welfare reform to large-scale defence equipment projects. The NAO audits every government department and some arm’s length bodies, like the BBC, and a large part of its work is looking at major government projects, like Crossrail, HS2, Test and Trace and the government’s vaccine roll-out scheme, to consider whether they represent good value for money. The NAO also seeks to share lessons in how programmes can be better managed. Its reports include initial learning from the government’s response to the pandemic, and a report on learning from projects done at speed. We spoke to Emma to find out more about the valuable lessons for project management that the NAO’s unique position affords, in particular to reflect on the successes and failures of the pandemic when it comes to project delivery.
July 26, 2021
From the Frontline: Life on Mars? Project managing NASA’s Perseverance mission
In our From the Frontline season, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is meeting professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this episode, we meet Jennifer Trosper, project manager for NASA’s Mars Perseverance project in its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Jennifer has worked on NASA’s Perseverance programme for eight years. When Perseverance finally landed successfully on 18 February after launching on 30 July 2020, there was a lot to celebrate. The Perseverance rover, complete with onboard helicopter, cost $2.4bn dollars to build and will cost another $300m to land and operate in its first year on Mars. Its mission is to seek signs of ancient life on Mars and bring samples back for further investigation. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
July 12, 2021
New approaches to lessons learned – capturing the right lessons in the right way
In this episode, hosted by Project journal editor Emma De Vita, we explore why getting lessons learned right is incredibly important to project success. We also look at the main challenges around lessons learned, what knowledge you should aim to capture and how to best share it. As APM’s Body of Knowledge 7th Edition makes clear, knowledge is intangible and complex. It encompasses much more than documents or information. It exists in people and can be tacit and difficult to express. What’s more, a supportive culture in which knowledge and learning are valued is essential for effective knowledge management. On the panel for this episode are: Ellie Carswell, a graduate project manager at programme management consultancy Faithful+Gould Dr David Eggleton, a lecturer in project management with innovation studies at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, and co-author of upcoming APM research on project success Neil Turner, a reader in project learning at Cranfield University Get in touch with us at email@example.com
June 25, 2021
The evolving definition of project ‘success’
In this episode, hosted by Project journal online editor Mike Hine, our topic is project success, and how the definition of success is evolving to fit the challenges of the 2020s and beyond. At a time when the country is looking to build back better post-pandemic, projects will play a major role in determining the UK’s economic future. They are truly vital to the UK’s success on many fronts. But with so much riding on these projects, we need to ensure they succeed. Historically, projects have notoriously struggled to hit their targets. So perhaps it’s time to revisit the very notion of project success. What constitutes a successful project? What are some of the most fundamental factors that underpin success? And has the project profession moved beyond the age-old metrics of time, cost and quality? Thanks to our panel of experts: Katie McConochie, founder of training consultancy Learn Change Mhairi Creanor, education and skills project manager at Zero Waste Scotland Aga Gajownik, founder of Scrum Educational Experience and Innovation & Integration All of the contributors to this podcast are presenting at APM’s Power of Projects Conference, which runs from 7-11 June, with a focus on redefining project ‘success’ for a post-pandemic world. Sign up or listen later on-demand at https://www.apm.org.uk/event/power-of-projects-2021/ Send us your feedback and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 08, 2021
Announcement: Power of Projects 2021
APM’s Power of Projects conference is a virtual event, running 7–11 June, with a focus on redefining project ‘success’ for a post-pandemic world. Across the week, you’ll have access to practical tools and learning that will help you become a better project professional, whatever challenges you face. As well as 30 expert speakers across 28 sessions, there are also opportunities for on-camera networking and group discussions. You can check out the full Power of Projects programme at apm.org.uk – it’s totally free for APM members, and only £25 for non-members.
June 03, 2021
From the Frontline: Leading the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce
In our From the Frontline season, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is meeting professionals who are working on cutting-edge projects, and academics whose research is at the forefront of project management techniques. In this first episode, we meet Nick Elliott, who was director general of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce for the UK government from its inception in April 2020 until the end of last year. Before that he was an army bomb disposal expert, MD of Network Rail’s national supply chain and deputy CEO of Defence Equipment & Support at the Ministry of Defence. He is now a director at consultancy Turner & Townsend and a Fellow of APM. Nick and Emma spoke in early May about the brief he was handed at the UK Vaccine Taskforce – ‘to make things happen’, which must surely be the understatement of the year.
May 26, 2021
Why sustainability should be on every project professional’s agenda
As governments worldwide set targets on reaching net-zero carbon, project professionals are being tasked with rethinking working practices to cut emissions. Everything from planning to procurement to team structures is being re-evaluated to meet sustainability targets. But it’s worth remembering that sustainability encompasses more than climate change. It means balancing the environmental, social, economic and administrative aspects of projects to meet current stakeholder needs, without compromising the needs of future generations. Far from being an additional burden on project professionals, sustainability presents an opportunity for them to demonstrate their value in aligning with corporate strategic objectives around net zero. By embedding sustainability within every aspect of their projects, project professionals can make a big difference and boost their visibility to the organisation’s leadership. In this episode, Mike Hine, online editor for APM’s Project journal, speaks to three experts working in the field of sustainability to find out more: Paul Mansell, independent major projects adviser Giulia Jones, sustainability manager, Mace Stuart Johnson, director, Stuart Johnson Consulting Further reading: Find out more on APM’s resources page Prof Peter Morris, Climate Change and what the project profession should be doing about it: a UK perspective Projecting the Future, challenge paper 2, Climate Change, Clean Growth and Sustainability Get in touch at email@example.com
May 13, 2021
Your salary and future prospects revealed
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 Get in touch with the podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org – and don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts.
April 01, 2021
Project Innovators: Bent Flyvbjerg on how to make your project a success
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. Don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts.
March 24, 2021
Project Innovators: How to bring strategy and projects closer together
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.
March 10, 2021
How to make better use of project data
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 Don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts.
February 24, 2021
Project Innovators: Award-winning transformation with an honest culture
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.
February 10, 2021
Project Innovators: How to deliver under pressure (and win an award at the same time)
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 25, 2021
Project Innovators: How to professionalise through collaboration
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.
January 08, 2021
Project Innovators – Jenny McLaughlin, Heathrow
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 22, 2020
Lessons from lockdown – the best of 'Crisis Talks'
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.
December 04, 2020
How to be a great project leader
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.
November 06, 2020
Project Innovators – Matthew Moran, The Open University
In the ‘Project Innovators’ season of podcasts, Project journal editor Emma De Vita is speaking 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-19 world. In this episode she speaks to Matthew Moran, Head of Transformation at The Open University, and occasional lecturer in the OU Business School. Matthew is one of the educators on the ‘Project Management: Beyond the Basics’ course on FutureLearn, a collaboration between the OU and APM. He is also an advisor and consultant to a number of education institutions and edtech startups and companies. Matthew is writing a book on hybrid project management for APM, aiming to help project managers to do hybrid better. Instead of being irreconcilable opposites, he argues that project managers need both linear and agile for projects of any degree of complexity – and that the best results are achieved when we acknowledge the need for both, and when we aim to get the best of both (by understanding and making trade-offs between the upsides and downsides of each).
October 16, 2020
Project Innovators – Caroline Raynor, Costain
In the ‘Project Innovators’ season of podcasts, Project journal editor Emma De Vita will be speaking 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 in a better way for a post-COVID-19 world. In episode one, we meet Caroline Raynor, project manager and principal archaeologist for the Costain Skanska JV, who designed and led the Saint James’s Gardens excavation in London's Euston as part of work for HS2’s London terminus. It is the largest archaeological excavation of a burial ground in Europe, and HS2 as a whole is probably the largest programme of archaeological works driven by a single project in recent times. Caroline has pulled off an amazing feat in that she not only borrowed lean principles from the world of manufacturing, but also actively encouraged a far more gender-balanced project than the norm, with a 43 per cent female demographic on-site. Emma spoke to Caroline at the end of September just as the BBC's Britain’s Biggest Dig series began airing – the first episode of which was all about the Saint James’s dig. Catch it on iPlayer.
October 02, 2020
VUCA, hybrid and adaptability: reflections on BoK7
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.
September 08, 2020
The Golden Thread: recognising the contribution of project management
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.
August 25, 2020
Crisis Talks – Joanna Rowland, HMRC
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.
August 10, 2020
Crisis Talks – Andrew Higson, Balvac
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.
July 27, 2020
Crisis Talks – Paul Hilton, Mott MacDonald
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.
July 13, 2020
Crisis Talks – Hannah Gledhill, Hotel Chocolat
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.
June 29, 2020
Crisis Talks – Sonia Sharma, Channel 4
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.
June 15, 2020
Risk, resilience and outliers: How COVID-19 changed project management
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.
June 08, 2020
Crisis Talks - Lizzie Meadows, Quadram Institute Bioscience
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
April 22, 2020