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DHL senior project manager "You dont have to be a subject matter expert" - [Video]

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Martin Monaghan, senior project manager at DHL spoke to the audience of the sold out APM Project Management Conference 2015 sponsored by 20|20 Business Insight about big project myths. 

He dispelled the myth that you have to be a subject matter expert in order to be an outstanding project manager.

Martin said that it is more about “looking at the core competencies that people need in order to be able to challenge people in projects” and that “it should be very people focused and not just about the hard deliverables.”

“Young people can be good project managers and you don’t have to wait for people to be subject matter experts, the world’s changing at a very fast pace and we don’t have time to wait for people to become technical experts,” added Martin.

“It’s about developing people in the right way and I hope that people go back and look at how they recruit and develop their talent and take a different approach with the changing world.”

Martin was joined by Kate Rooke and Andy Cooke, consultants at PA Consulting who discussed blending project management and system engineering skills to enhance a project. 

Kate said that “although the disciplines have developed their own frameworks and processes, the really great solutions that you’ll get will be when they come together.”

Andy went on to say that he believes that by “understanding and using the strengths of the different disciplines, overall we can get projects to deliver in much more efficient and effective ways.”

A selection of the full presentations recorded at the award-winning conference is available to view until 1st July on the APM website courtesy of the PM Channel.

Catch up on the speaker presentations.



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  1. Adrian Pyne
    Adrian Pyne 25 May 2015, 06:56 PM

    A welcome re-statement of this old debate. As a professional who has led, rescued or consulted on projects(etc.) in more than a dozen sectors, I heartily agree that PM professionals need to be developed.An old debate? Well in 1993 whilst in BT I analysed all the internal job adds for PMs for the previous year. Nearly 90% of them failed to mention PM experience at all, but focussed on the technical. Which brings me to the fly in the ointment, or rather, two flies. One is employers who focus on the subject matter knowledge/expertise rather than the professionalism. the other is recruitment agencies who follow employers wishes, rather than seeking to provide what they NEED, i.e. professional PMs.In part this is a challenge to APM's marketing people and others who need to engaging with our Corporate members and the major recruiters.