The APM Project Management Conference Manchester 2019, which takes place on 26 June, is all about gazing into the (very near) future. The way that we work is changing across all sectors in exciting and intimidating ways – project managers need to understand how they, their teams and their stakeholders will work in order to continue delivering effective projects.
Here’s a selection of the things that you’ll learn if you attend.
What the internet of things means for manufacturing
The FT’s former manufacturing editor and author of The New Industrial Revolution, Peter Marsh, will breakdown the trends that are shaping the manufacturing sector beyond 2019.
Automation, the brink of a 5G revolution, the Internet of Things – and a few high profile trade wars – are shaping manufacturing’s future. It’s a challenging environment, but new technological developments could make projects in this area really exciting.
The skills project managers will be gaining – and giving
Tim Banfield will be chairing a discussion at the conference called Projecting the Future. This will kick off a ‘big conversation’ between APM, its members and stakeholders about the future of the project profession. The panel will look at topics such as how the profession can thrive in a world of robotics and AI, climate change, and a rapidly ageing population.
Jo Stanford, head of the Corporate Portfolio Office at Health Education England and panellist at the discussion, says that project management needs to share its knowledge with non-PM people: “So many people charged with undertaking ‘change’ projects just don’t have the skills and experience, so the more we can open up our expertise for them, the better.”
Stanford says the future of the profession depends on opening things up the other way, too. “APM is keen that project management isn’t just treated as a technical skill,” she stressed. “Even construction and engineering projects need all those human dimensions. And for many more experience project managers who learned their skills in the pre-digital age, understanding how younger people relate and communicate is also important.
“The future isn’t just about the new skills we need to acquire and new tools – it’s also about new ways of sharing skills with non-project management professionals and gaining new sensitivities to the human dimensions of our work.”
How to level the PM playing field
Hollie Woodard has one of the most challenging – and rewarding – jobs in engineering. She’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Volkerwessels UK – a rail and construction firm that’s tackling gender bias in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Through ‘inspiring the future’ organisation, Hollie volunteers in schools talking about challenging stereotypes. She was also voted ‘one of most 20 inspirational women in rail’ by her peers in 2016 and in 2018 was shortlisted in the Northern Power women ‘one to watch’ category.
“My previous role as a project manager in the rail industry, being often the only female in meetings or on site, has helped me really want to have that passion for wanting to make the picture look quite different in the future,” Woodard says. But her drive for inclusive work environments is also born out of an understanding that organisations need all the skills available to them in key positions if they’re to deliver great projects.
What you mean to the UK economy
If you missed the Golden Thread report that the APM commissioned with PwC Research – a snapshot of the project management profession and its contribution to the UK economy – the firm’s Head of Quant Julie McClean will be on hand to run through the findings.
“For the first time, we have a holistic estimate of the shape and size of the UK project profession and the significant contribution the profession makes to the economy,” she says. “Project management generates £156.5bn in gross value-added to the economy and employs 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers. The project profession really is a ‘golden thread’ permeating through every aspect of the UK’s economy, shaping projects, keeping them on track, driving quality, using budgets effectively and ensuring investments are successful.”
How to manage one of the biggest sporting crowds in the world
Projects can be tough to manage with the tightest and most professional teams. But project managing four weeks of the most high-profile sporting events on the planet with a team of 15,00 volunteers? That demands real discipline. Linda Moir was Virgin Atlantic’s Director of In-Flight Services when she was drafted into the London 2012 team to lead the Games Makers crews that welcomed nine million spectators to the capital. So her take on keeping at-scale projects on track will be invaluable.
It’s going to be a great day, and an important sense-check on how the profession makes progress. See you there.
Brought to you by Project journal.