This year’s winners of the APM Project Management Awards demonstrate how it pays to be in the vanguard of change – whether that’s working on projects that will change things for the better or embracing change in the way projects are run. Delivering change and transformation was the name of the game in 2022.
Joy in work
The Overall Project of the Year award was given to Heathrow Airport for its Firemain Replacement Project. Heathrow showcased excellent risk and contingency planning in delivering a project that “stressed project management to its limit”, as the judges commented, and also ensures the continued safety of one of the UK’s most critical pieces of infrastructure.
The PMO of the Year award, meanwhile, went to another critical infrastructure project – BT’s Openreach Fibre and Network Delivery Project Management Office (PMO), which aims to connect 25 million UK homes with fibre broadband by 2026. Not only was the PMO tasked with delivering a business-critical transformation programme, but the team itself went on its own successful transformation journey.
The PMO was praised by judges for “finding the right team and generating joy in the work itself through bringing value and improving the organisation’s projects”.
Motivation through empowerment
Finding joy in the work you do might not be something you’d expect judges to look for, notice or praise, but it’s striking that a defining characteristic of this year’s award winners is the high motivation of project teams experimenting with new ways of working and new project management methodologies.
Take, for example, the winner of the Innovation in Project Management award – Atkins’ Cyber Resilience Programme, delivered for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Established to reduce cybersecurity risk, each project team within the programme was empowered to adopt ways of working to suit the nature of their work and was encouraged to use innovative methodologies.
Given the freedom and support to think outside the box and take ownership of projects, the Cyber Resilience Programme encouraged an innovative culture resulting in the development of a variety of creative and high-profile initiatives. For example, in a first for the MOD, the team implemented a 30-day bug bounty programme (where individuals are rewarded for reporting software bugs, especially security vulnerabilities) to expose vulnerabilities in one of its applications before they could be exploited by UK adversaries.
Bug bounties were pioneered by Silicon Valley techies, and the MOD’s adoption shows just how far things have moved, and on such a critical project too. As the judges commented: “The need for this programme is very high, and not just in the special areas of the MOD, but in all society. This was a great example of how a response to this threat can be mobilised and organised with a spectrum of measures.”
Courage to do the right thing
Another project worthy of high praise is BP’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim Quarters and Utilities Platform, which won the Safe Project Management award. The judges commented that the project showed an “excellent result in a challenging environment” and “courage shown to do the right thing”. The offshore facility’s megaproject has become a demonstrator for new ways of working to elevate safety standards on-site, delivering exceptional results in a Chinese shipyard.
Finally, in a profession focused on delivering projects that are of real benefit to society while continuously improving itself, it pays to point out those individuals who, by setting the bar high, become an inspiration to their peers.
Among those highlighted were Young Project Professional of the Year Rose Young, Portfolio Delivery Manager, Gift, at No 7 Beauty Company; Project Professional of the Year, Alexander Darvill, Integrated Project Team Leader, Project Orpheus at Rolls-Royce; and Nick Smallwood, Chief Executive Office of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award. Smallwood has worked tirelessly to enhance the role and understanding of projects at the highest levels of UK government and exemplifies the power of projects to benefit society.
You might not work alongside these particular individuals, but there will be people in many project teams with their level of ambition who care deeply about the work they do and who deserve to be celebrated. Perhaps you and your peers could find yourselves on the podium next year?