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Programme Management SIG February 2017 newsletter

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APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group newsletter - 2017 update and New Year’s resolutions


A belated Happy New Year. Wow! 2016 seemed to come and go without blinking!

We had a successful year in 2016, the highlight being our publication of the refreshed Introduction to Programme Management, 2nd edition.  This was a significant piece of work for those involved and a huge thank you goes to the team that enabled this.  We delivered two webinars during the summer and I see this as a continued way to maintain our ability to communicate to a wider audience.

During 2017 our focus is to look at reinvigorating our engagement with Higher Education and Corporate members – for me these are key domains to our future, including those who are involved in educating our future programme managers, and those who employ them.
We continue to progress our understanding and application of communication technologies, how these can be used as an engagement tool as well as in programmes.  Not only do we use the web a lot (don’t we all!), but also social media and also video – maybe we will get into vlogging!
We had a January branch event in York, a successful book launch in February, and our highlight in March is our Annual Programme Management conference, this year hosted by Rolls Royce.  This is a great opportunity to hear from leaders and peers in programme management, and importantly to network and gain new acquaintances.  I look forward to seeing you there.
We have recently had a couple of our committee members stand down and I would like to thank them for their contributions over the years.  Colin Parker and Andrew Gray have certainly helped to streamline the way the committee works and driven forward our understanding and application of programme management.

We continue to welcome your input, comments and feedback, especially as we aim for increased engagement and views on direction of travel.

Twitter: @APMProgMSIG   #apmprogm
Website: APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group (APM ProgM SIG) micro-site

Ed Wallington
SIG Chair

Introduction to Programme Management, Second Edition published

Nearly a decade ago, the APM published APM Introduction to Programme Management.  Although many elements remained highly informative and relevant it was decided that a ‘refresh’ of this publication would be highly beneficial to industry practitioners both in the UK and internationally.

The Programme Management (ProgM) Specific Interest Group (SIG) publications team are delighted to announce the publication of its second edition, and those that attended our annual conference in March 2016 received a complimentary copy in November the same year. 

Programme management is not about delivering large and complex projects: it is about delivering change – in the physical, professional, business, societal or organisational environment.  It is about understanding the organisational and strategic context in which programmes exist, the differences and relationships between portfolios, programmes, projects and business as usual activities. This guide highlights some of the important aspects to understanding successful programme delivery.

The new guide bridges a recognised knowledge gap amongst non-practitioners and those involved in change initiatives that would like to understand the purpose, structure and dynamics of programmes being delivered within their organisation.  Rejuvenating the guide has presented the opportunity to take account of recent developments and thinking within the discipline and has allowed new aspects to be introduced - agile, systems thinking and programme assessment models for example.

A big thank you goes out to the many contributors including the APM publications team.  The second edition is also dedicated to the memory of Paul Rayner, past SIG Chair and lead author of the first addition.

More information is available on the Introduction to Programme Management 2nd edition.

Andrew Kelleher MAPM RPP
SIG Publications Lead committee member

ProgM Annual Conference 2017
Preparing for Collaborative Global Success

With the start of the New Year swiftly vanishing in our memory, this year’s Programme Management SIG Annual conference is now just around the corner. We are delighted to be hosted by Rolls-Royce at their Heritage Centre in Derby on Thursday 2 March 2017.

This conference explores the challenges we face as a profession in a world of ever more complex programmes.  Practitioners need to manage: differing norms and behaviours, increased expectations that projects will be delivered well, the culture of short-termism whilst all the time providing transparent evidence of efficient delivery; geographically dispersed and culturally diverse remote working teams.

Join some of the profession's leading programme practitioners to share insights, ideas and techniques on how to best prepare for success in global and highly collaborative programmes.  The conference has a mixture of theory, applied good practice and real life experience. A flexible interactive agenda will allow you to pick and choose the workshops and sessions you wish to attend, with takeaways for everyone to digest and use in programme delivery.

Featuring a wide range of speakers from across the industry including Tom Taylor, APM vice President, Alasdair Stirling CBE, Head of Future Submarines at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Mark Prockter, Director of Programme Management at Rolls-Royce. 
Additional speakers and speaker information can be found on the event webpage.

To make sure you stay up-to-date with information about the conference, be sure to follow the ProgM SIG twitter @apmprogmsig and use the hashtag #Progmconf2017.
Finally remember to book your place.

James Lesingham
SIG 2017 Conference Project Manager committee member

2017 Resolutions for the year - an update from each workstream

Resolutions for 2017

Social media has provided an opportunity to promote our content using multiple communication channels. The ones that typically come to mind are Twitter, Google, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, email, and web pages (such as the APM web site).

For 2017 I anticipate that live streaming will become more popular and is likely to be part of the communication strategy for many programmes and projects.  Facebook announced in 2016 the option for live streaming. Twitter with Periscope provided this in 2015 and have recently updated their Twitter app to allow for instant streaming.

What does this mean for us as programme managers? Video is a very visual medium. With pre-recorded video we can amend the footage, have a number of re-takes, and perhaps use an autocue to help our eloquence.  However live broadcasting will be much more unforgiving. A wrong word, an incorrect gesture, a statement taken out of context will be there for all to see, and if recorded available on replay again and again and again.

If you have ever seen Street Theatre, which must be one of the most difficult forms of entertainment, (to build an audience, keep their attention, and then get paid at the end), you will notice they are always acting. The Stage is everywhere and the actor always on show.

My resolution for 2017 is to consider that I am always on the stage (metaphorically speaking). In that context am I acting in a way which shows my best side?  Come the day that I am captured on a live broadcast, the live streaming of an event, my language, mannerisms and so forth will be unconsciously competent and not require thinking about. I will be able to focus on the message not the communication medium.

John Chapman
SIG Communications Workstream Lead committee member

Thought leadership

These are very exiting but challenging times for programme management.  To meet the ever-increasing demands on the profession the ProgM SIG publications team are currently developing proposals for a series of thought leadership papers to be published during 2017/18.  In the short term we are planning to explore topics such as Brexit and Agile within the context of the programme management discipline.

We also want to consider the growing concern that there needs to be more focus on the long-term societal outcomes of programmes and megaprojects believing that our historic short-term focus on time, cost and quality has not produced significant performance improvement.  For this reason we plan to publish a thought leadership body of work centred on how we manage ‘legacy’ believing that it is what we leave to society after the programme or project has disbanded that ultimately determines its success.  Is it possible to develop a model that places social sustainability and legacy management firmly at the centre of the programme or megaproject rather than simply being considered as a ‘bolt-on’?

As part of understanding what social sustainability and legacy management means to programmes, we will be considering how other contextual programme management structures - for example those that deal with change, benefits, risk, stakeholders and assurance, fit around our new central theme of legacy management. This will provide a great opportunity to collaborate with other Specific Interest Groups.

I will, of course, provide updates as our proposals develop but in the meantime as lead author I would very much welcome your views and contributions.

Andrew Kelleher MAPM RPP
SIG Publications Lead committee member

Developments in education

The aim of the “Higher Education” workstream is to strengthen ties with higher education institutions and to create and maintain a network joining academics and industrial practitioners. We want to raise awareness of programme management courses and qualifications, to increase the profile of the APM community amongst students and to work with higher education institutions on research and thought leadership projects.

During 2017 we will reinvigorate the national relationships with academic institutions and the regional branch networks formed in prior years, making sure that what we are doing is aligned with the APM education network activity and supporting the ProgM and APM strategies.

Target activities for 2017 include:

  • SIG members survey on preferred topics for research projects.
  • First programme management SIG joint research project with higher education organisation.
  • Development of programme management courses and qualifications list.
  • Presentations to students on programme management competencies and APM publications

We are always looking for volunteers to assist in this activity, as this greatly helps us to make the progress and impact we want. So please get in touch if you would like to help and contribute, whether from an academic community or otherwise.

Chris Beach
SIG Higher Education Lead committee member


The ProgM corporate workstream is planning to increase engagement over the coming months with our corporate members. We will initially be reaching out to you using the Corporate Members Leadership Group with the goal of achieving closer working relationships. The ProgM SIG would like to know your thoughts, concerns, lessons learned and ideas for the future; specifically, what can the APM ProgM SIG do for you?

We would like to engage with you on a broad range of topics such as ‘what are your Brexit thoughts?, how can programme management good practice support you through times of uncertainty? and what are the main challenges you face in recruiting good programme managers; can the APM help address the UK skills shortage?’.

We would also like to open up dialogue opportunities for future ProgM events, presentations and networking. 

If you would like to get in touch please don’t hesitate, and we look forward to working with you.

Chris Yewdall
SIG Corporate Workstream Lead committee member

ProgM events calendar

Introduction to Programme Management, York, 23 January 2017
The presentation provided an introduction to programme management, supporting the launch of our revised APM Introduction to Programme Management 2nd edition.  Chris Yewdall and Ed Wallington discussed fundamental principles including: what a programme is, how it works and how to review progress. They also explored the changing environment in which programmes exist, their relationship to the strategic context of organisations, frameworks and ways of working.  The theory was supplemented with an active case study for ‘real life context’.

The York event was the first in a series of events supporting the publication of the updated APM Introduction to Programme Management which brings new insights as to what programme management is all about. The publication is an ‘easy read’ for executives, for those relatively new to programme management who have a thirst for knowledge and for the project management community who should, and need to, understand how their project management skills play into the ‘bigger picture’ – as described by Sir John Armitt in the book foreword.

Book Launch – APM Introduction to Programme Management, Birmingham, 2 February 2017, write up
The keynote speaker Roy Hill began the evening presentation giving the introduction to programme management, supporting the launch of our revised APM Introduction to Programme Management 2nd edition.

They discussed fundamental principles – what a programme is, how it works and how to review progress. The content went on to explore the changing environment in which programmes exist, their relationship to the strategic context of organisations, frameworks and ways of working.

Annual Programme Management Conference, Derby, 2 March 2017
In our increasingly connected, globalised and digital world, the need for collaboration to deliver project and programme success is growing.

This conference will explore the challenges we face as a profession in a world of ever more complex programmes. 
Practitioners need to manage: differing norms and behaviours, increased expectations that projects will be delivered well, the culture of short-termism whilst all the time providing transparent evidence of efficient delivery; geographically dispersed and culturally diverse remote working teams.

Places are currently still available and full conference details are available on the APM events page.

Future events
Further events, including webinars, will follow throughout the year, so please keep a watch on the APM email alerts and the Programme Management SIG micro-site.

Volunteer profile – Chris Beach

Why did you decide to become a volunteer with APM?
I’ve been a member of APM for many years and had prior involvement with the Portfolio Management SIG committee however my level of involvement had become difficult due to the combination of work and undertaking an MBA.
I was still keen to be able to contribute to the development of the profession and in particular the development of knowledge and best practice in programme management.

In 2016 I wanted to be able to strengthen the connections between my teams at work and the APM and through discussion with Ed Wallington (Programme Management SIG Chair) I put myself forward for election onto the Programme Management SIG committee in June last year with three main aims:

  1. To strengthen my connection to the profession and influence the development of programme management practice and approaches.
  2. To learn from others in the profession, through a wider peer network, insight into lessons learnt and innovations being used to drive successful programme delivery. 
  3. To share my knowledge and experience to others in the profession and help others embed good practice into their organisations and promote the work of the APM.

What benefits have you gained from being an APM volunteer?
I’ve already been able to meet new people within the profession and broaden my network.  I’ve also recently taken the lead on the Programme Management Higher Education workstream which has allowed me to start developing a strategy for greater alignment between the APM Programme Management SIG and the education organisations providing the training and upskilling of our members.

What would your top tip be to an APM member looking to become a volunteer?
Reach out to a member of one of the SIG or branch committees to see how you could volunteer to support on a planned activity or workstream that you are particularly interested in.  There are always opportunities for people of all levels of experience to get involved in the work of the SIGs or the branches and even if you can only give a limited amount of time it can still add value to the profession.



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