Creating a Chartered body fit for the future

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APM Chair John McGlynn wrote a blog in January this year titled, ‘Chartered status – what next?’, beginning a conversation about Chartered status being the start of journey. As part of our work with APM and The Bartlett for the Future of Project Management, we’ve been thinking and talking about what kind of professional body APM might want to be, and what our customers/clients actually want.

Entering a new age as ‘the Chartered body for the project profession’ is indeed an exciting milestone, but of course it doesn’t make any sense for APM to look at the ‘elite group of chartered institutions’ it is joining as setting the benchmark for what good looks like. APM has a clean slate without years of baggage, old fashioned members’ views and inertia to fight. APM can launch itself as an innovative – perhaps even disruptive - professional body that is fit for the future rather than based in the past. 

Stealing some themes from the excellent ‘The Future of Professions’, some useful challenges for APM to reflect on include:

  1. Historically some professional bodies have tried to determine who can and can’t act with authority over certain activities. We need to recognise the increasingly pervasive nature of Project Management, and that it is empowering for human beings to solve their own problems with their own knowledge or insight acquired through research and enquiry.
  2. Considering the rapidly evolving role that technology is playing liberating specialist knowledge, we need to consider what is special or unique about Project Management knowledge to suggest that some or all of it can’t be made easily accessible and understandable on an open, online basis.
  3. In terms of delivering Project Management services differently, what can we do to make a profession that is transparent rather than inscrutable? Is there some Project Management work that could responsibly be passed along to non-professionals (the para-Project Manager concept)?
  4. In a technology based internet society, we must acknowledging the needs of the clients and that morally we ought to maximising access to the very best Project Management has to offer. With this in mind, how can we create and share knowledge in a more affordable and accessible way?

The idea behind the Future of Project Management (FoPM) is to produce something that really challenges people’s thinking - to jolt the Project Management profession beyond the day to day focus on current challenges, and think about the forces shaping our longer term future more proactively. Through a series of workshops, blogs, forum exchanges and PechaKucha presentations, FoPM has engaged with APM’s leadership, membership and Specific Interest Groups (SIGs). As a piece of future thinking I hope it can genuinely help and inspire APM decide what sort of professional body it wants to be. 

These are exciting times, and John’s says in his blog the journey is now fully in our hands.  APM is in an amazing position to set its own imaginative future agenda that could be revolutionary rather than evolutionary. 

Rob Leslie-Carter

Posted by Rob Leslie-Carter on 29th Mar 2017

About the Author

Rob Leslie-Carter is a Director with Arup based in London. He has worked around the world with Arup for 27 years, and specialises in the planning, set-up, leadership and delivery of complex infrastructure and property projects both on client side and as leader of multidisciplinary teams.

His project track record includes the Beijing Olympics Water Cube, the Laban Dance School in Deptford, New Acton Nishi in Canberra, Greenhouse by Joost in Sydney, and currently Europe’s biggest project High Speed 2. He is a regular speaker on leadership, project management, organisational culture and the future of work, and is a guest lecturer at the Bartlett at UCL and the University of New South Wales.  In 2009 the Association for Project Management named Rob in their annual 'Top 10 Impact List’, highlighting individuals who have the biggest influence on the Project Management profession.  

In 2017 Rob created and was lead author for the latest Arup Foresight publication  ̶  Future of Project Management (FoPM).  FoPM is designed to provide the insights, ideas and inspiration to help future proof the way we deliver change through projects. 

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