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A delegate's reflections on 'Great programme managers listen, learn and lead', 29th May

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I attended the APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group meeting in central London last week, and was really pleased that over 80 people had turned up. The numbers attending gave the event a real buzz. I go to these events to learn something useful I can share with my consulting clients and delegates on my training courses so here are my takeaways from the event:

Fell in love with Sendsteps which gives audiences the chance to participate in presentations by voting from their mobile phone and seeing the results of each poll as part of the presentation slides reminded me how quickly things move on, as it was only a couple of years ago L&D teams were being asked to pay thousands for voting equipment where everyone was given their own keypad!

Patrick Mayfield gave a fascinating presentation on the behaviours that elite project managers exhibit. Patrick is one of those speakers I will travel far to listen to as he is thought provoking and entertaining and last night was no exception.

He has done a lot of research on alpha traits and has captured his ideas in his brilliant new book:
o Practical People Engagement
o His comment about understanding how the top 10% behave resonated me with me because of my executive coaching experience. I think it is essential to encourage people to be aspirational and to continue to develop their ability, but it is difficult to achieve this in abstract. Looking at examples of excellence behaviours and actions can give people ideas for things they want to try which appear attainable when they understand it is how others already behave.

Jane Sparrow

Jane Sparrow is also an author, who gave us a rapid run-through of the concepts in her book The Culture Builders

I really enjoyed her characterisation of different types of contributor to corporate life:
o The Investor someone who is passionate and enthusiastic about their work and seeks to develop their skills
o The Saver someone who does the minimum, comes to work, does the hours but doesnt put their heart and soul into it

It is a reinterpretation of McGregors Theory X and Theory Y motivational model, and she really made us laugh when she told us about a recent banking client who also added the Overdrafter who takes more than they put in, and the Bankrupter who takes so much energy and enthusiasm out of the team by being selfish that everyone feels diminished.

It was a brilliant night, and I really recommend the Programme Management Specific Interest Group join us for the next event on 18th June, they are always helpful, and there are lots of us so if you are having a hard time on your programme, there are people to chat to who will give you lots of support and morale boosting.


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  1. Edward Wallington
    Edward Wallington 17 June 2014, 12:54 PM

    The event was well attended, had lively speakers, and was engaging throughout!

  2. Matthew Kidner
    Matthew Kidner 06 June 2014, 03:31 PM

    I agree it was an excellent event with some fantastic speakers.  I also enjoyed the Sendsteps tool as it provided engagement and quantifiable feedback - i.e. I was in the 20% that gave answer B but 50% gave answer C.  Much better than a show of hands for both delegates and speakers.