Project managers, be proud: We should stand up and shout about our achievements

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Project managers, be proud: We should stand up and shout about our achievements.

Its not just a matter of feeling good about ourselves. Morale, self-esteem and public perception win business and breed success.

We lead the world, and we have a responsibility to our profession and our country to make sure people perceive us that way.

If we are take one lesson away from this years APM Conference it is the need to be more vocal in what we do, every time we do it.

Right now, anyone with a vague understanding of how project management contributes to our quality of life will probably have in mind disastrous defence procurements and follies such as the multi billion pound NHS central records database which the Government recently scrapped.

We get to hear when projects run late or over-budget. High-profile failures such as the Millennium Dome are damned even before they start. Where there is praise, it is typically reserved for heroic rescue attempts to turn around projects seen to be failing or stalling.

The resulting public perception is that project management is a wasteful indulgence and that nothing in Britain ever goes to plan. If only we could be like the Germans . . .

But its not true!

Take the London 2012 Olympic Games, for example. Reeling off the facts and figures at the APM event in London, it was hard not to be impressed by Jeremy Beeton from the Government Olympic Executive.

It is almost unheard of for an Olympic complex to be completed even a month ahead of the games let alone a whole year.

The 12bn project will play host to 1,118 individual events, including 46 world championships, over five weeks. The world will be watching.

It is a showcase for British design, engineering and ingenuity and, more importantly, a shining example of British project excellence.

So how do we capitalise on the Olympic project and maximise the opportunity to promote pride in our country and our profession?

In many ways our stock has never been higher. The Olympics project continues to receive a positive press; stadia have been completed in record time, ahead of schedule and on budget, and all this in the lead-up to APMs 40th anniversary.

Our profession needs a cheerleader somebody to ignite a sense of pride and passion.

Just think of London Mayor Boris Johnson. Never one to do-down the capitals or his own achievements, he famously told the worlds media this summer: The Olympics venues are already so ready we might as well call a snap Olympics tomorrow and catch the rest of the world napping.

Boris knows that talk like that builds pride and, most importantly, enhances reputation and wins business. London is a global brand and the Olympics can only serve to enhance it.

But it doesnt stop with Boris. When the worlds developers want the very best in architecture innovation, technical skills, track record and relentless ability to deliver on a grand scale they look to Britain. The likes of Norman Foster and Richard Rogers have made it that way.

We need to do the same for project management. Raising our game must go hand and in hand with raising our reputation.

To steal a word from a conference speaker, we need to stop being so British and to shout about every success that we achieve.

For a full report on the APM conference including interviews and opinions by James please see the November issue of Project magazine.

Posted in Olympics
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Posted by James Simons on 9th Nov 2011

About the Author
James Simons is publishing manager at APM. He has previously edited APM’s Project magazine for 3+ years and has a background in trade journalism. He has worked in communications and managed both print and digital publications.

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