On the evening of the 13 May 2020, around 75 excited sponsors, customers, mentors and team members attended the sixth South Wales and West of England (SWWE) Project Management Challenge Finals and Awards Night with four down-selected teams competing for the winner’s trophy.
The successful event was held virtually over GoToMeeting, and at the end of the night after four very impressive presentations, the Winners trophy was awarded to Team Aztec from Atkins who are based in Bristol. Team Aztec delivered a project to their chosen charity, Chipping Sodbury Rotary Club (CSRC) Health and Well-Being Event. Their chosen project was created by the recognition that changes in demographics (population growth and an ageing population) have put a strain on the NHS and therefore there is a need to advise and guide people to keep track of their own health and wellbeing.
The team worked hard with their charity to help to increase the community’s understanding of health and well-being opportunities. Previous events on this topic had declined in frequency due to poor attendance and a lack of interest so the support from Team Aztec has helped significantly to re-generate a commitment and cultural shift in the local community. Whilst the main event has now been re-scheduled to take place in Autumn 2020, due to the ongoing pandemic, Team Aztec has continued to upskill CSRC in social media marketing and progress other work packages in accordance with their delivery schedule in order to maintain the all-important momentum.
The other Winners award of the evening went to the combined team of AIRBUS and UWE, Team Equilateral. They won the Best Storyboard award for delivering a project to their customer, Headway Bristol, that focused on ‘Project Booster’ working with Headway Bristol to manage the improvement of their overall marketing profile in order to promote awareness and sustainment of the Headway Bristol objectives and opportunities within the local community.
The standard of the presentations on the night was, yet again, astonishing. All of the twelve teams competing in this year’s competition have obviously worked extremely hard and have gained lots of valuable experience and knowledge. All of the teams participating in the competition were asked to deliver outputs and benefits to deserving projects across the community and, importantly, were able to demonstrate and develop their own professional project management competences, understand critical success factors, develop their own personal behaviours and learn from their mistakes, as well as get a taste of what it feels like to be part of an integrated team delivering a real project.
The other finalists competing in the competition were; Team Babcock, who worked with the charity ‘Routeways’ in Plymouth to help create a society where children don’t suffer through disadvantage; Team Babcock DST, who worked with their charity ‘The Brightwell’ from South Gloucester which provides help and support to people with many different neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis; and Frazer Nash Consulting, who worked with their charity Penny Brohn in Bristol which is a cancer based charity focussing on helping individuals with mental, emotional and the spiritual aspects of cancer.
The runners up were; Turner and Townsend (Team Bookworms) who worked with their charity National Literacy Trust and the Baby Bank Network to improve the literacy skills of the ‘Younger Years’ age category (0-5 years old) in Bristol; a combined team from AIRBUS and UWE (Team Fly2TheFuture) working with their charity Fly2Help which is an aviation charity based at Gloucester Airport, dedicated to raising the spirits of people, both young and old, living in difficult personal situations and to inspire young people as they consider their future lives; a combined team from AIRBUS and UWE (Team Flying Pod) working with their charity FACE based in Bristol to deliver ‘The Pod in the Park’, a social enterprise started by FACE as a means to develop adults with disabilities and their future employability; a combined team from Turner and Townsend and UWE (Team Literacy Link) who worked for their charity the National Literacy Trust and Next Link, operating local domestic abuse support services in Bristol; i3Works who worked for their charity the Benjamin Pritchard Foundation providing support to families coping with the loss of a child; Jacobs, working with their charity Bristol Going for Gold working to help the charity to increase focus in a range of food action areas and Ultra Electronics (The Genies), working with their charity Make a Wish to improve their initial risk assessment approach to new cases.
The Project Board consisting of leader Bruce Phillips, Branch Chair, Martin Gosden, Newcomers representative Paul Johnson, South Wales chapter Chair Allan Reid, John Bone and Mark Townley managed three key assessment stages:
- Provision of a project plan in December 2019 that identified smart outputs and benefits to be delivered, associated resources, costs and key risks;
- Provision of a final report in March 2020 which demonstrated how the teams delivered the project outputs and benefits defined in the original project plan using a range of competences defined in the APM BoK; and
- The delivery of a 15 minutes presentation at the Awards and Finals Night.
Bruce Phillips, the SWWE Branch Committee member who managed the competition overall, said “The project board was unanimous in its praise for the significant effort shown by all entries in the SWWE branch’s sixth and very successful PM Challenge competition. Recognising the current strange circumstances that we all find ourselves in and the associated challenges that this inevitably brings, it is astonishing to see such a high standard from such young professionals and that their outputs are actually being consumed by very worthy causes indeed. Whilst winning the competition is ‘icing on the cake’ every member of every team is a winner as the competition is all about individual and collective learning and development. Every single member of each team should be justifiably proud of their achievements in delivering real benefit to the wider community and, equally as important, the development of their personal and professional competence for their future careers.”