APM BoK 7 consultation: your views shared

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The APM Body of Knowledge benefits hugely from the input of the profession and we are pleased that the APM Body of Knowledge consultation process has been conducted professionally and fairly and that we have heard from a wide group of interested parties, not just those who have a passion about a specific aspect of the profession. The diversity of views and input received helps us improve what is produced.

The seventh edition proposes to continue in the spirit of previous editions, collaborating with the project community to create a foundation for the successful delivery of projects, programmes and portfolios. To provide access to everyone and ensure a broad range of views fairly, APM ran an eight-week online consultation, from 26 February to 20 April. Participants were invited to rate the proposed structure, as well as make suggestions on the range of topics covered. Over 400 people took part, sharing more than 1,500 comments and providing numerous supplementary documents. 

As we move forward to commence writing, we will look at the detail from all these submissions, and we will also consider the partially completed submissions recognising that they may not fully reflect individuals’ views. Thankfully, none of the findings and suggestions that we have read so far come as a surprise to us. There are a few areas where what is being asked for by you is what we intended and already have in mind. For example, engaging and influencing stakeholders not just analysing them; dealing with the interpersonal skills required by project professionals and an appropriate focus on benefits (identification through to realisation).

By far, the most problematic aspect of APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition will be how we resolve the ‘agile’ matter. We are adamant that any binary ‘waterfall vs agile’ language is counter-productive and we need to find alternative ways talk about agile in project management.

It is good that the inclusion of this language around agile in the proposed structure consultation has brought forward creative ideas from the profession. We have received many balanced views about how to achieve the benefits of an iterative approach where scope and quality is the variable, without denouncing approaches that prioritise trading time and cost to complete scope to the right quality. We already have some ideas how to move forward and we have selected practitioners who use agile approaches in their work to be part of our writing team.

We have selected a writing team that covers the breadth of the profession and whose experience broadens our personal specialisms: namely, my doctoral research and experience in organisational change, risk and decision-making experience, and recent practitioner experience as director, change portfolio for Associated British Ports, and advisor Professor Darren Dalcher’s academic credentials and successful track record in practitioner development. This team, as well as the editorial team, will be announced to you shortly.

In summary, we have good insight from the consultation and nothing we have seen so far gives us major cause for concern, although we will be paying close attention to how we might improve the structure and address any concerns raised during the consultation. We have a writing schedule that provides opportunities for early engagement and feedback and we are confident that if we hold the process and provided that no major issues emerge from the detailed feedback, then we will be able to deliver a high-quality APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition by spring 2019.

Read the consultation report


Ruth Murray-Webster

Posted by Ruth Murray-Webster on 26th Jun 2018

About the Author

Ruth is a Director of Potentiality UK providing leading-edge risk and change consultancy services to clients across sectors. Ruth was formerly Director of Change Portfolio at Associated British Ports; Director of the Risk in the Boardroom practice for KPMG LLP and 10 years as a Director of Lucidus Consulting Ltd. Her work on risk appetite and risk attitude with David Hillson is widely published. Her doctoral research focused on the accomplishment of planned change from the perspective of the recipients of change rather than change agents. Ruth was awarded Honorary Fellowship of APM in 2013 for her contributions to risk and change.

Ruth was Editor of the 7th edition of the APM Body of Knowledge and is a member of the APM Professional Standards and Knowledge Committee.

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