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Collaboration is the key to a strong professional body

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It is quite a feat to be entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. At the APM Conference Stephen Carver managed to be just that.

Amidst images of the Teletubbies and the film Gladiator he threw a ball into the audience. He then asked people to pass it around so as many as possible could touch it within a given period. The ball was tossed from one person to another around the venue. The challenge was then to see how fast that group of people could touch the ball in order. The penny eventually dropped (but not the ball) as the participants grouped together on stage and put their hands together and touched the ball one at a time to illustrate that the fastest way to achieve an objective is to work collaboratively.

As part of the boards strategy development, we were challenged to define APM. Are we a professional body? A membership body? A thought leader? Synthesising these roles has allowed us to settle on the idea of a trusted professional community working for the common goal of successful project management.

Six board members and nine from the executive at Ibis House attended the joint branch and SIG forum in London at the beginning of November. The vitality, commitment and diversity of APMs volunteer community was impressive and on full display all showcasing their recent output and future plans. I felt proud to be able to witness this energy, commitment and leading edge progress.

There has been some discussion about the term APM headquarters and whether it suggests a hierarchy in the relationship between the executive and the members. Its been suggested that perhaps it should be renamed as a support centre here to respond to requests from the members.

These terms seem to suggest that, as with Stephen Carvers analogy of the fragmented team, we are throwing the organisations objectives back and forth from our executive to the membership and back again. As part of a trusted professional community collaborating for a common goal, the executive must both support the members and at the same time be responsible for implementing the strategy we set as the board of trustees, elected by the membership. All of this must be achieved as a team in a co-ordinated way. It is both a headquarters and support centre, which is why, in fact, its known simply as Ibis House.

The members influence on the associations direction is primarily through the board. At our recent AGM, two new trustees, David Hart and Keith Robinson, were elected to the board alongside Mike Nichols and myself (thank you!). Along with the rest of the board we will listen to,and represent your interests in the coming year, balancing all of the competing opportunities and pressures. The executive will continue to implement APMs strategy by amongst other things, delivering high quality qualifications and accreditation, publications, journals, conferences, events, and, of course, this website. Throughout this process we will try to keep you informed on what is going on, and how it helps to achieve the objectives of our APM.

At the AGM, APM President Dr Martin Barnes built on this theme of cooperation by highlighting the importance of collaboration across the community to reach our common goals. That so many examples of APMs delivery for the good of the profession result from such effective collaboration, from branch and SIG events right through to the new Body of Knowledge refresh programme. All of these activities are a great source of pride for the whole of the APM and the profession of project management in all it's forms.

At the board meeting the following morning, the power of collaboration was in evidence as the board continued with the executive team to work on the draft of our 2020 strategy -watch this space!

The first meeting after the AGM is characterised by getting organised for the year ahead. The meeting was chaired by Dr Martin Barnes CBE, and the newly convened board quickly set about its business.

Mike Nichols was elected to continue as chairman and I was more than happy to be elected deputy chair. We will once again benefit from the experience and foresight of Jonathan Simcock, who has once again been co-opted to the board alongside Charles Egbu, who provides an essential link to our academic community.

The association and the profession of project management has benefited hugely from the collaborative work we have all done in the last few years. We look forward to seeing more benefit from it in the years to come as we all continue to drive the profession forward.


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