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APM Assurance and Governance SIG conference 2021: Project ring of confidence - Data driven governance and assurance

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APM Assurance & Governance SIG Conference 2021 - Data driven

Project ring of confidence - Data driven governance and assurance

Over 100 delegates attended this day of informative and stimulating presentations and discussions highlighting how quality and fast data contributes to good governance and assurance in today’s project world.

We started with David Dunning from Deepteam, providing insight to the drive for the Business Integrated Governance leading to consistent reporting throughout the organisation by having a single point of truth. This requires links through the organisation from strategy to project performance and back again via data. This will include key projects but also the lower priority projects which often contribute a high proportion of the organisations’ investments.

Lisa Kelsey from KPMG (the Networking sponsor) talked us through how the demands of the Boards regarding assurance are changing. They are ever-more interested in assurance, and its importance to proper governance is ever-increasing. Data will not only be something that will help with that but will also be something that in itself Boards need assurance over.

Richard Corderoy MD of main sponsor The Oakland Group, showed how increasing maturity of data led ultimately to less reliance on opinion and provided confidence in project reporting.
In the afternoon we had a tripartite talk from senior members from HM treasury, NAO and IPA showing how a vast amount of risk data can be mined and analysed to provide real insight information to support assurance.

Carole Deveney from the APM Governance SIG stressed that sponsors and project managers need different reports based on differing information and data needs to enable them to exercise their responsibilities. This is not always achieved as many sponsors are not clear on the role or their responsibilities (as explained in the APM governance publications) and continue to receive and accept standard project reports. A poll of the audience carried out during the session showed that this is less of a problem than anacdotes to date.

Adrian Pyne delivered a contentious but entertaining session to remind us that it was dangerous to be too fond of the exciting automation of AI at the expense of people and to ensure that AI must be an assistant not the master of projects. However, AI, when mature, will bring significant benefits.

The final round table session took audience questions which confirmed many of the points made and found a good deal of agreement amongst the speakers that well organised data, with good data quality and delivered fast / in real time really can contribute to more successful project outcomes.

With thanks to all the contributors and APM staff who marshalled us through the technology. The agenda for the conference can be found below and recordings from the day will follow shortly.

Post-event feedback from delegates has been excellent, 85% rating the conference programme as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. We had delegates from a wide range of industries including the Arts, Education and Professional scientific and technical, along with the more typical Construction and Defence; a fairly evenly distributed range of ages from 31 – 61+; and a nice mix of APM members and non-members.

Conference description
The ability to make fast, high quality decisions is essential in today’s fast-moving and volatile world. Projects, programmes and portfolios often become non-aligned with strategic objectives, disconnected from BAU, battling for resources that are limited, and struggling to deliver against a strategy that changes and is not well understood - often due to slow or poor decision making.

We need good quality, reliable data, delivered fast and that we can trust to enable good governance and reliable assurance, giving us confidence in achieving outcomes successfully. So how do we get that reliable source data and how best do we then use it within governance and assurance forums to radically increase the occurrence of successful project and programme outcomes?

Too often the data we collect is isolated in silos and not shared, leading to multiple versions of the 'truth'. Surely that can't be right? But how do we ensure that the right data gets to the right people at the right time to enable effective decision making? And how will artificial intelligence emerge to help, and how will we build confidence in that and machine learning?

This conference on Tuesday 25 May 2021 attempted to answer these and other questions so we can start to collect and use the right data for better decisions.

Review of agenda
Revisit each speaker bio and presentations synopsis.

  • 10:00 Welcome and scene setting, Caspar Bartington, APM, and Martin Samphire, APM Governance SIG chair
  • 10:15 Chocolate chip on top, or baked through the cake?, presented by David Dunning, Co founder, Deepteam
  • 11:30 Bridging the gap between the Board and what's really happening, presented by Lisa Kelvey, Partner - Major Projects Advisory, KPMG
  • 12:15 How project analytics can transform your governance and assurance activity, presented by Richard Corderoy, Managing director, The Oakland Group
  • 13:30 What data do sponsors need?, presented by Carol Deveney, Managing director, See Change International ​Consulting Ltd
  • 13:30 Data driven assurance, presented by Gary Flanagan, Deputy director for assurance and systems learning, Infrastructure and Projects Authority,
    Ruth Kelly, Chief analyst, National Audit Office and
    Kay Pate, Deputy head project & programme management function, HM Treasury: Government Internal Audit Agency
  • 14:30 AI and projects – Terminator or flight of the navigator?, presented by Adrian Pyne, Head of governance, MyMelanoma
  • 15:30 Final panel debate and close, APM SIG committee members and conference speakers

Headline sponsor - The Oakland Group

The Oakland Group The Oakland Groupdelivers project-based data analytics, governance, and process improvement. Helping businesses embark on the journey to get more from their data or allowing them to solve particularly challenging analytical problems.

Technology agnostic – we specialise in combining the best of new tech with the realities of corporate systems. 


Networking sponsor - KPMG LLP

KPMGKPMG’s Major Projects Advisory team support public and private sector organisations to maximise value from both major capital investments and from transformation programmes. We help clients to create Change that Matters and enhance delivery confidence by harnessing disruptive digital technologies that are changing the way projects are planned, built, and operated. We provide focused industry knowledge, multidisciplinary teams, and substantive experience in managing both the financial and technical aspects of major capital investments and transformation programmes.  Our methodology encompasses both “Doing the right project” and “Doing the project right” .


  #apmassurance  #apmgovernance





APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition reference

    Section Description
Establishing governance and oversight
Assurance, learning and maturity



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