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Project management awakened: Inside the APM Body of Knowledge

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An exclusive interview with the authors of the definitive handbook of modern project management.

Since APM was awarded its Royal Charter in 2017, the APM Body of Knowledge (APMBoK) has provided an authoritative statement on project management and the foundation on which the profession is built. The seventh edition was officially launched at the APM Project Management Conference held in London, after many months of hard work by a dedicated team of experts and professionals.

I caught up with one of the editors and two members of the writing team of the APMBoK 7th edition.

The strategic project manager

First up, co-editor Professor Dalcher, chair in strategic project management at Lancaster University Management School, explained that the most important issue that he wanted the new edition to convey was the strategic nature of project management, and how it has earned its place at the top table of an organisation.

“It’s not just a vehicle for change, but a vehicle for meaningful change,” said Dalcher, so project management goes much further than the simple execution of a project. Finding true purpose and meaning through the project is particularly important to the younger generation of project managers.

He was also keen for the new edition to convey how much influence the right culture and ways of working on a project can bring to its success.

Project manager, risk assessor

BoK writer Philip Bradbury, PMO manager at Transport for London (TfL), has also shared his experience of working on the edition (he wrote 12 chapters over six months). His biggest interest lay in writing about risk management. “One of the key messages I wanted to get across in the APMBoK is that a risk assessment is not a one-time exercise but should be ongoing throughout the project,” he explained.

Find a common language

Co-writer Dale Shermon, chair at the Society for Cost Analysis and Forecasting, contributed particularly to the section on the APMBoK on integrated planning, including the subject of risk analysis and cost estimation. What he found interesting about working on the APMBoK were the different language and acronyms that project professionals use from different sectors or areas of expertise. The challenge was to find a common language that spoke to all.

One matter that interested Shermon was the tendency for project professionals to not generate risk management reserves then draw down on them when an issue occurs. “People just wing it”, he said.

Project management as a life skill

With the launch of the seventh edition of the APMBoK, now might be the opportune time to refresh your knowledge and discover current best practice for every aspect of your profession.

“The launch of the seventh edition provides an opportunity to take stock and reaffirm our position both in the profession and consider our role in society. We ask you not only to engage with it, but to challenge it, expand on it, bring your experience, knowledge and ideas as we support the profession in realising our long-term vision of 'a world in which all projects succeed, and project management is a life skill for all'”, wrote APM chair John McGlynn in the foreword.

You can purchase a copy of the APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition here

Brought to you by Project journal.


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