Having worked in project delivery for several years, I was pleased to recently be awarded APM chartered status. Starting this standard was a tough decision as the process can appear daunting. However, I firmly believe all project professionals would benefit from being recognised by it.
Choosing the pathway to chartered
There are various routes you can take to chartered depending on your existing qualifications. Having carefully assessed the criteria, I concluded that I was eligible for the Route 3 pathway. This route is aimed at project professionals who don’t have a recognised assessment but meet the eligibility criteria. It is substantive, consisting of a written submission, a knowledge-based interview and ethical test. As someone who likes a challenge, I was excited by the prospect of becoming a Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) at the end of the process.
The written submission
When starting the written submission, I listed all the projects and programmes I had worked on and any major achievements in each of these roles. This allowed me to create a list of examples which I could align with the APM ChPP competencies. Although it was difficult to filter which example would work best, I was impressed at how much I had achieved in each of my job roles!
Facing the fear of failure
My biggest fear throughout the application process was that I would be unsuccessful against the technical knowledge part of the interview. I’m not great at interviews in general, so it was important to feel relaxed on the day. Thankfully, I work in a supportive environment, and I was allowed to take time out of the office as study leave to prepare. It’s always reassuring when you receive encouragement from a senior management level into your personal development.
I felt relieved after the interview that I had booked it immediately after successfully passing the written submission stage. The interview tested in-depth knowledge of my examples, so it was key that these were still fresh in my mind at the time. A few weeks after the interview, I found out I had been successful first time.
Here are my top tips for those considering ChPP:
1. Always re-read your application: It is best to get a second pair of eyes on your application, preferably by someone who has also achieved chartered status. One way to do this is by becoming a member of APM and taking advantage of its mentorship pool.
2. Don’t rush towards submission: Always take your time with your written application and revise your statements at least twice to ensure you are fulfilling each assessment criteria.
3. Use concise language with a focus on risk and uncertainty: Your statements should be clear, with a focus on what you have done. Avoid using ‘we’ and focus on the ‘I’. Your examples will be strengthened if you can outline any risks that your project or programme faced. If there was also some ambiguity, be sure to include that.
4. Revision is key: One lesson from my interview was that I focused too much on areas which were unfamiliar, and this almost cost me my ChPP. For example, I was relatively familiar with risk management, so I didn’t revise too much on the topic. When it came up in interview, I went almost completely blank. My advice would be to ensure you at least commit to some revision on the obvious topics to ensure you are prepared.
5. Setting goals: I made use of goal setting throughout the standard application. Initially my goal was to work on two statements every few weeks. The written application felt tiring and repetitive at times but making use of applications such as Habit Tracker ensured discipline to complete my tasks.
6. Tailor the standard to you: Remember to work at your own pace, setting deadlines which work best for your own circumstances and learning style. Applying too much pressure on yourself can sometimes drain you of motivation when you need it the most.
The biggest surprise when completing the chartered standard was how much I ended up learning about myself and my own skills. I hope to use this to inspire others to challenge themselves and help others to become Chartered Project Professionals too. I firmly believe it’s always good to reflect on what you have done and most importantly, recognise all the amazing things you are capable of!
Find out more about becoming a Chartered Project Professional