2010 APM Conference: New Ways of Working Stream

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Posted by APM on 11th Nov 2010

APM Project Management Conference
21 October 2010
The Brewery, London

Authored by: Adrian Dooley (stream chair)

The new ways of working stream was an eclectic mix of presenters with seemingly diverse subjects which somehow converged into a common message.

The morning started with David Whitmore and Roy Staughton talking about relationship management. David observed that the APM Body of Knowledge, 5th editioncovers risk management, value management, et al but doesnt contain the key area of relationship management. He went on to list numerous examples of failed and successful projects where the participants clearly explained the role of the client/contractor relationship as the biggest contributor to success or lack of it.

Following a presentation that emphasised partnerships and collaboration, Dr Jon Broome then explained the workings of the NEC3 form of contract. As one participant observed, the idea of contracts in a culture that is often adversarial didnt seem to complement the partnership/collaboration ideal. Jon explained the modular nature and flexibility of NEC3 and maintained that a common set of contractual values supported the collaborative environment. Counter to traditional ideas, Jon also suggested that the flexibility of NEC3 made it suitable for use in the agile environment.

Our third speaker Keith Richards then went on to dispel many of the myths that have grown up around the agile approach and provided a balance to those he saw as agilistas and their extreme application of the philosophy. Whereas David and Roy had focused on collaboration at the client/contractor interface, Keiths presentation emphasised the collaborative nature of agile at the project team level.

After lunch Elizabeth Harrin wove a path through the jungle of new social media and how these many be used to support project teams. She homed in on a number of objections that are voiced about wikis, social networks etc., and pointed out that the objections are not specific to social media. They are issues that can arise in any team and need to be managed. Throughout the presentation she used the term agile in the generic form to show that social media was a manifestation of the way society is now communicating and networking with greater agility.

Finally, Lawrence Clarke talked about the impact of social media on business culture and working practices. He described how business culture is changing and how project management needs to become more flexible in order to deliver the kind of projects that business now wants. He also referred to the agility that is needed in the modern business world.

And so we came full circle. As society becomes more agile in its means of communication greatly enhanced by the new social media business reflects this. If project management is to remain the vehicle of choice for delivering change, then it must adapt and make use of these new ways of working. This inevitably means greater emphasis on collaboration and partnership working. Even areas as traditional as contracts need to respond to this changing environment by becoming more flexible and responsive.

Presentations from this stream can be found below:

David Whitmore and Roy Staughton - Are relationships putting your projects at risk.pdf

Jon Broome - Delivering successful projects with NEC3.pdf

Keith Richards - Corporate strength agile.pdf

Elizabeth Harrin - Managing projects with social media.pdf

Lawrence Clarke - Social media, business culture and working practices.pdf

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