Conference on soft skills

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Posted by APM on 3rd Aug 2010

On the 14th and 15th of July 2010 the APM Risk SIG held their biennial conference on soft skills in St Albans with around 60 people attending on each day.

The workshop on day 1 was facilitated by Julia Godwin and explored the interpersonal side of risk management by:

  • Workshopping how to counteract different cultural blockers of effective risk management
  • Learning more about facilitation, which we then all used throughout the day with observers and feedback
  • Looking at behaviours we might encounter when managing risk and workshopping how to counter.
  • Practicing interpersonal soft skills by giving and receiving difficult news
  • Producing the Top 10 Tips for several useful risk scenarios using facilitated workshops.

The workshop finished by determining the barriers to implementing our own learned lessons.

Photos of the output from most of the above are available to download below. The intention is to document selected aspects of the above and make that available from this page in the future.

Day 2 was a multi-stream conference with presentations and workshops on a variety of different aspects of soft skills for people undertaking risk management:

Simon Reynolds opened the presentations with his session about his experiences in the construction of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth (left) and the complex stakeholder management issues that he experienced as part of this project.


Ken Newland
then spoke about the impact of soft issues in risk during the bid phase and looked at how soft skills such as communication affected risk analysis when making bids and asked such questions as whether it was better to lose a bid than win an unsuccessful contract. 

Sheilina Somani then presented on behalf of the APM People SIG about their work on their upcoming publication The lens collective. Sheilina spoke about how the issues raised in the publication can help effective risk management.

Penny Pullan of Making Projects Work Ltd. delivered a very interesting workshop about improving the effectiveness of risk workshops, meetings and telephone conferences.

John Hepworth spoke about how Being soft does not have to be hard which looked at the qualities of a successful project leader, situational leadership, going the extra mile and dealing with conflict in project teams.

John Zachar followed with his talk entitled Who is going to ruin my day? which dealt with many aspects of stakeholder management.

Ranjit Sidhu then spoke about Risks and reality which asked whether following good process was enough to achieve successful risk management.

Julia Godwin facilitated a discussion on The PM as risk coach - what do you need and what do 'they' need for effective risk management

Fred Murray-Webster hosted an interactive workshop about 5 steps to learning soft skills

The final presentation of the day was given by David Hillson on the subject of Risk management, Maslow and memetics which looked at the how we can improve the adoption of identifying and managing risk opportunities.

All these presentations can be downloaded below. 

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