As I prepare to say my goodbyes before handing over to a new chief executive, it is inevitably a time of reflection, but also excitement about what is to come for both APM and the project profession.
When I joined APM, the prospect of becoming chartered still seemed a long way off despite the efforts of many to ensure it happened, and outside of the profession projects only appeared to get airtime when they failed to meet expectations. However, from day one, there was a real passion among all those engaged with APM internally and externally about the power and importance of projects – and that was inspiring. The passion for delivering successful projects is the common theme around which many different views come together, and I have welcomed the willingness to share experiences, the honesty around the challenges faced and the relentless desire to improve.
Our growing profile
Being awarded chartered status in 2017 and launching the Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) standard in 2018 have made a big difference, and we need to thank those with the foresight and determination to make these things happen. They have given the profession a confidence and belief, not just for those who have become chartered, but in the overall standing and importance of what we do as a profession. As the 50th anniversary of APM approaches and we continue to expand our learning in the seventh edition of the APM Body of Knowledge, people have started to recognise that this is a profession with a history and one with an increasing opportunity to deliver benefit to society. It will always be a tough business to be in, as we are asked to push boundaries and deliver change in challenging times, but the potential for doing good remains. As sustainability is built into the heart of delivering projects, the opportunity to bring about lasting change is enormous.
Seizing the opportunity
There are so many things I am proud of that have happened in my time at APM: the increase in members; the impressive project management apprentices embarking on their career; the significant improvement in diversity and inclusivity; and the opportunity for our seasoned professionals to achieve the recognition of being a ChPP, sometimes very late in their career. Our events programme has continued to inspire and enthuse, and internally we have grown as an organisation, making APM a great place to work.
The last year has tested us all, but it has also put a spotlight on what the profession does well and how important a role it can play. Delivering such challenging programmes as the vaccine development and roll-out, the businesses that switched focus almost overnight to design and build hospital ventilators, the implementation of the furlough scheme – all showed that, with a clear focus, there is much that can be delivered. This puts us in such a strong position moving forward, but we need to seize the opportunity, adapt our approach and make the most of what technology can deliver in order to be a profession fit for the future – and one that inspires a diverse workforce to be a part of it.
With the support of the APM Board, the staff and all of you, APM has come through this year in a strong position, with an increase in members and significant progress made in transitioning to a digital environment. Over 12,000 candidates sat an APM qualification in the last 12 months on a system that wasn’t live at the start of lockdown, enabling candidates to progress, our training providers to keep working and our revenue to be protected.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your engagement with APM. There is much more to come and greater success to be achieved, and that passion for projects that runs through all of you will, I am sure, be valued enormously by my successor. Meet Professor Adam Boddison, APM's new chief executive.