Innovation, collaboration and resilience were among the topics covered at the latest Association for Project Management (APM) Fellows’ Forum.
The virtual event, which is exclusive to APM Fellows, included presentations and advice for delegates on issues affecting the project profession. Attendees also took part in polls and asked questions to presenters on the subjects being discussed.
Debbie Dore, APM’s chief executive, opened the event by welcoming delegates and providing a summary of how APM has adapted to the challenges of coronavirus to continue supporting the profession. There were also greetings from the association’s newest Honorary Fellows Amanda Medler and Professor Andrew Davies.
Rebecca Fox, head of membership at APM, said: “Our community of Fellows includes some of the most senior and influential figures from the entire project profession. With the many challenges posed by coronavirus, many see it as essential to connect with peers, share knowledge and keep up to date with best practice. This event featured content created by Fellows, for Fellows, providing a high level of thought-leadership from speakers who understand the issues faced by the profession.”
APM Fellowship recognises those who have made a significant contribution to the profession as a practitioner, teacher or researcher. In addition to the annual Fellows’ Forums, benefits include preferential rates on APM qualifications, publications and conferences, and the use of post-nominals FAPM to signify your status.
APM members who have held Full membership for at least 5 years or have 10 years’ project experience can apply for Fellowship status. Non-members with 10 years of project experience can also apply.
Extracts from some of the Fellows’ Forum sessions are below, or you can watch the recorded session here.
Risk and Decision Making – Sarah Coleman
“Since the organisational lockdown in March 2020, our professional lives have been rapidly reassessed in terms of how, when and where we work.
“Many of the [project, programme and portfolio management] community are used to working remotely but others have been forced to make the change to remote working and we see now that remote working is the norm. These observations have turned to discussions about skills, competencies and behaviours.
“As a profession, we are nothing if not adaptive. While we are expecting a future transition period, we’re well positioned to change at the individual level, and also to help our own projects, organisations and teams to do the same.”
Collaboration – Ian Cribbes
“Collaboration was almost taken for granted in the years leading up to lockdown.
“With the competition side of things, lockdown had a remarkable effect. Doing some research, we found that governments around the world called for a collaborative approach. More and more people were having to do business online. In most areas, conduct that would normally have been considered anti-competitive was – for the time at least – allowed. The UK government allowed supermarkets to share information on stock levels to alleviate shortages, for example.
“It’s safe to say the war against COVID-19 won’t be successful without cooperation from local, national and international partners.
“Perhaps we should re-word ‘collaboration’ to ‘putting aside differences, breaking down silos, adopting an open-minded approach and seeking the best solutions.”
Resilience – Tim Lyons
“Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to return to original shape or position after deformation’. How does that work for us? Project managers should be quite good at this because, after all, projects are about change. That’s what we do.
“Of course, the problem we have is that we’re changing in a very strange environment. Managing change through teams, for example, is very different now because we’re working remotely. The norms of human contact are deformed by social distancing.
“The values and beliefs of the workplace and that we bring to the workplace are probably unchanged. However, the way in which we apply those will have definitely changed.
“Behaviours are the minefield. When we’re meeting in a virtual space it’s easy for us to behave in different ways that we wouldn’t normally do. I would say ‘stay sane, stay curious, but stay polite. And teach resilience.”
Innovation and Creativity – Vicki Griffith
“What has struck me about lockdown is the amount of creativity and innovation we’ve seen.
“Not everyone could take their offering online. Supermarkets for example have had their own problems. Look at all the things that were rapidly rolled out like the markings on the floor and limiting the number of people in-store.
“We have all had to find alternative, creative solutions to all the problems we’ve faced. But the question is, how can we maintain this spririt of innovation going forwards?”