APM Women in Project Management SIG – Winter Newsletter 2020
- Welcome message from our Chair
- Events update
- WiPM vision and strategy
- Profile of an APM ChPP – Tell me about you - Adeline Daly
- Upcoming events of interest
- A book we like
- And finally...
1. Welcome message from our Chair
Welcome to the APM WiPM SIG winter newsletter. 2020 is now in full swing and it promises to be an exciting year for the SIG. In the newsletter, I have taken some time to reflect on 2019 and all that we have achieved and also set out the SIG's 2020 vision. I am looking forward to working with the committee to make it all happen.
There are a lot of exciting events in the pipeline for this year's International Women's Day. The theme is Each for Equal. I hope that you will be able to come along to an event near you and support the SIG.
We are also working on this year's conference so watch this space in the next newsletter for a sneak preview of what we are planning.
I will keep my introduction brief as you will hear from me again in the newsletter. I wish you all a happy, prosperous (and slightly belated) New Year.
APM WiPM SIG Chair
2. Events update
In November 2019, the APM held an awards ceremony for its Volunteer Achievement Awards programme to recognise and reward the invaluable contribution volunteers make to the association’s success. The winners for each award category were selected by the Volunteers’ Steering Group from the entries and nominations received. Adeline Daly, last year’s APM WiPM SIG Chair won the Special Achievement award. This is a discretionary award for the individual who has made a significant contribution to APM and its goals through volunteering, particularly over an extended period.
The award was collected on behalf of Adeline by committee member Adetoun Ayilara.
3. WiPM vision and strategy
The start of a new year, not to mention a new decade, is quite an exciting time. On 1 January, I make a list of New Year's resolutions about what I want to achieve in the next twelve months. Usually about losing weight, getting fit, trying to get promoted and being a better person/ parent/ project manager. I also look back on the goals that I set myself a year ago and see what I have achieved over the last year.
At the start of the year I was thinking about what the APM WiPM SIG would like to have as our New Year's resolutions and reflecting on what we have achieved over the last twelve months.
Big wins in 2019 (or 2020 hindsight?)
The 2019 conference was a roaring success. The number of participants increases each year and 2019 just reached over 600; the atmosphere at the event was absolutely buzzing. The keynote speakers were really inspiring and Claire Lomas's talk has prompted one of my own personal goals for 2020, to run the London Marathon.
The SIG organised six different International Women's Day events all around the UK with the theme of better the balance. These were very well attended and a lot of positive feedback was received. These events set the bar very high for this year. No pressure!
Our previous Chair, Adeline Daly won a Special Achievement Award at the APM Volunteer Achievement Awards. This award is for making a significant contribution to the APM through volunteering. Well done Adeline, you absolutely deserve this!
Goals for 2020
Build on the success of last year's conference. Briony Bragg will be the Chair for this year's event and she is starting work on pulling together an exciting programme.
Celebrate International Women's day in style. This year's theme is Each for Equal and will focus on an equal world is an enabled world. The committee are working with a number of branches to arrange events all around the country. So far we have confirmed events in Bristol and Cambridge with others in London, the North West and South East. We are hoping to run seven events this year so keep an eye out on the APM events page and the event digest email.
We are working with the APM to set up a mentoring scheme for women wanting to work towards chartership.
get in touch. We are dealing with each individual request so please bear with us.
As you can see we have a lot of aspirations for 2020. Watch this space in the 2021 January newsletter to see how we did.
4. Profile of an APM ChPP – Tell me about you - Adeline Daly
Why did I decide to apply for chartership?
I am great believer in personal development and always wanted to qualify with a PM qualification. When becoming the Head of Programme Management, now a role model, the pressure to get a PM qualification were increasing. I was espousing the virtues of PM as a career, building a development framework internally, and enthusiastically encouraging people to engage with their own personal development while thinking when I will take time to go for a qualification myself.
As the new chartered standard was being released in 2017, I would closely align our internal PM development framework and its associated development centre (a similar process to chartership application that involved a written submission and an interview) to the chartered standard layout. That way I would be forced to make a start on the paperwork required and go through a similar interview process, plus I would be setting up the function to be aligned to the new standard and ensure they had a way to collect evidence to prepare their applications in the future. That was a great start to build up my confidence in achieving the mean to be PM qualification. Between you and me, it still took me till spring 2019 to apply and make it real.
What did I find most difficult about it?
The whole process of putting the paperwork together was like an archaeological dig through my career. The challenge is talking about yourself and your achievements. Who else can do better than you describing all successes and less glamourous experience? Believe me, having to dig back through my various roles and projects trying to select three that would give me maximum coverage of the competences took me forever. I used the newly in place programme, to test the internal development centre and the process took the best part of three weekends of non-stop effort. This involved choosing which projects I would use and writing up statements against each of the competencies. Once again, all efforts were awarded as the internal development centre worked as a safe environment open for constructive feedback, acknowledging that progress was required on my written work and where further details were missing especially when I didn’t hit the points they were looking for!
In this particular moment in time, I want to thank Simon Henley and Paul Erricker for their support and guidance. I was lucky enough to get some really useful feedback once I had my first draft that guided me on that point. When all the drafting aligns to a satisfactory standard, I was aiming to submit my application as soon as all is refined. All it needed was quite a lot really, it felt like skimming the best out of the best.
The most important in your application is that you make the project descriptions really clear and provide hooks in there which link to the competences you are going to use those projects to cover. Then when you move onto the individual competence statements be sure that you are covering at least four professional practice criteria in each of your answers and there is no point going to town covering one or two and forgetting about the rest!
Preparing for the interview was a different challenge as I had no clue what they were going to delve into, there was enough time between submitting my application and the interview to get ready for the second part of the initial objective: obtain chartership. I spent time going back over my application so that I knew it inside out, I literally took this so seriously that I could recite by heart the chartered standard and had extra examples up in my sleeves (from the same three projects) in case the ones I used didn’t cover all angles that might be asked. I made sure that all answers follow the STAR technique (situation-task-action-result) against each professional practice criteria so it would be clear for the interviewers what I was trying to get across. I am delighted to share with you that the interview process was one of my favourite part: how often do you get to talk about yourself for two hours!
That said I did absolutely sweat on the result for three weeks as I had no clue how I had done, other than I had debited all I knew about project management in no longer than two hours.
What do I think I will get from it?
The take from the whole process is the feeling that actually I have achieved so much in my career, and this entire journey did boost my confidence and self-esteem: I realised that I have a large knowledge about project management. Now I have the chance to reflect on the things I had done, what had gone well, what not so well and what I had learned, such a good feeling.
Like many other women in male dominated environments I suffer a lot with imposter syndrome and going through this process has really helped me validate myself to me internally, and of course the external recognition of getting chartered status pushed that even further.
In the longer term, I feel both as an individual and an employer that the chartered standard will become “the norm” and be given the same level of recognition as an engineering chartership. Of course, this will take time; to remind you the standard is not even two years old yet! It should become a mark of the calibre of work a person has done (and the learnings they have taken from that work), and not simply a qualification anyone can study for and attain which gives no indication of how good or otherwise they may actually be at the job.
I envision it becoming a standard criterion on job applications as a basic qualification as project management grows as a career of choice.
- Do not procrastinate – the sooner you get started the sooner you will finish! Start collecting your evidence now, just open a word document and title a page for each competence and start entering in evidence you know you already have. Even if you delete this in the future and put in new evidence that is more relevant it gets you into the discipline of keeping an evidence log so that when you are ready to apply all you need to do is tidy it up. This constant evolution of evidence is like the approach used by engineers once they graduate from University and are building their portfolio towards chartership, so basically, it’s never too early to start!
- Look for those projects in your portfolio that cover the broadest range of competences – maybe start with a grid of the competences along the top and a list of your projects down the side and tick where there is a match. This will then guide you which three or four to choose (I ended up only choosing three).
- Be clear and concise in your project writes up, demonstrating clearly what you were responsible for not what the “team did”. Remember people reading your application will likely not be from your industry so make it all as transparent as possible.
- Be ruthless in how you use the word count for each competence - ask yourself if each sentence is really covering one of the professional practice criteria? If not delete.
- Get someone to proofread your application as you are going through it (no need to leave it until you have an entire bible for them to read once you think you are done). Especially if they are not project related people, just given them the list of competences with their profession practice criteria and ask them to see if they can see evidence of at least four of the criteria in your writing for each competence.
I wish you all good luck with your own journeys to Chartership.
#Takethefirststep #ChPP #GetChartered
5. Upcoming events of interest
International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020
Together, let’s all be #EachForEqual
This is an annual global event that celebrates the achievement of women all around the world and promotes the benefits of a more balanced and equal society.
Planned for March 2020 and organised in collaboration with other SIGs and branches and other organisations, we have events across England, so check the location and topics below and book your place.
- Cambridge - WiPM International Women’s Day 2020 celebration: an equal world is an enabled world, panel speakers
- Derby, East Midlands - APM Midlands branch: International Women’s Day 2020
- London - APM Woman in Project Management Roundtable
- Newport - The Power of Empowerment
- Canterbury - Flexible Working, How to do it and How not to do it - a panel of project managers share their experiences
- Bristol, South East and West of England branch - Why Project Managers should put Diversity & Inclusion in Pole Position
6. A book we like
Help me - can self help books really change your life
by Marianne Power
In the day and age of social media, amidst a constant struggle of trying to keep your life as perfect as everyone else's seems to be, 'Help me - can self help books really change your life' is a refreshingly frank and honest depiction of one woman's year long experience living each month according to a different 'self help' manual.
This is a journey which sees her walking on hot coals, plucking up the courage to ask for a date in a cafe, finally facing her finances and going on a self help retreat with a group of strangers. From a project management perspective Marianne's planning skills are top notch, reading a new book each month, executing its advice and taking on board every piece of learning experience along the way. It is only when her relationships with close friends begin to break down and she has to deal with a death in the family she begins to prioritise what's really important to her.
What really resonated with me was how so many women will relate to Marianne in that we should be seen to be 'living our best life' each and every day. If we all sat down and had a chat about what was really bothering us on a daily basis we would realise half the time all our problems are pretty similar to everyone else's.
The SIG want to promote building confidence in female members of the profession, using our platform to help each and every one of us succeed (without the need for a vision board!). A fun light hearted read, but also very thought provoking.
Each quarter we will include links to articles, webpages, blogs and book reviews of interest to the members of our community. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
7. And finally...
Vicki Griffths, Chair
Estelle Detrembleur, Secretary
Briony Bragg, Conference lead
APM Women in Project Management SIG committee members