Archives for August2013

APMP or PRINCE2 project management qualification – which one for you?

APMP and PRINCE2 are the two leading knowledge based project management qualifications in the UK.  But which one is right for you?  Here are some factors to consider.

Accrediting organisation Association for Project Management (APM) – 20,000 members based professional organisation APMG-International – private global accreditation company working under contract to the Cabinet Office
Syllabus source APM Body of Knowledge (52 topics outlined in BoK published by APM PRINCE2 Manual published by TSO c. 300+ pages.
Quality assurance APM’s internal structures and alignment to International Project Management Association (IPMA) Level D qualification UKAS accredited with authoring and review panels drawn from consultants and industry
Recognition Held in high esteem by industry because it is broad and rigorous. Principally UK based with c. 4,000 per year taking APMP. Huge international volume of c. 100,000 per year.  High pass rate has reduced its reputation in recent years.
Professional membership Free membership after taking the examination None
Syllabus focus Principles based principally with some techniques around 37 topics including life-cycles, organisation, risk, change, issues, earned value, leadership, sponsorship, communication, negotiation etc.) Process based (e.g. starting, initiating, directing, controlling and closing) principally with seven themes – business case, organisation, quality, plans, risk, change, and progress.
Study time Recommended 40-60 hours Recommended 30-50 hours
Exam 3 hours written paper in English. 10 questions from 16. Pass rate c. 75% Multiple languages.  Foundation 1 hour 75 multiple choice questions. Pass rate 99%+Practitioner 2.5 hours 8 objective choice questions.  Pass rate c.90+%
Open exam centres Four time per year in UK.  No remote proctoring. Every month plus on demand plus remote proctoring.
Cost of a single place including examination on a public classroom based course £1,000 – £1,500 £750 – £1,250

APMP is right for you if your organisation or its clients do not use the PRINCE2 methodology and you are interested in a broader more rounded and more highly regarded qualification from a  professional membership based organisation that you may wish to join.

PRINCE2 is right for you if your organisation or its clients use the methodology for its project management or you want a method focused project management qualification that is more widely known both in the UK and in some overseas countries, and is easier to pass and is slightly cheaper.

Susanne Madsen on VIP for project management leadership

Susanne Madsen is a valued contributor to The PM Channel and we were pleased to  record her talk recently for the APM London Branch meeting.  In her full talk on The PM Channel Susanne introduced the concept of VIP.   In the clip below, Susanne Madsen outlines her talk for you.


As project managers, many of us work on projects that are both business critical and complex, and which have a global and cross-cultural element to them. To successfully implement such projects, we cannot rely on project management certification alone which predominantly makes us good at planning and tracking the task-related aspects of a project. In addition, we must be able to build effective relationships, clearly articulate the project’s vision and build a highly motivated team.  Susanne Madsen says to become a successful project leader, apply the principles of the VIP model.

Lead with Vision: The greater clarity you have with regards to the future you wish to create, the easier it will be for you to serve your customer, deliver the desired end-state and provide focus and direction to the team. When you understand and take ownership of the strategy for achieving a successful project outcome, you are able to inspire and motivate the team and make the day-to-day decisions necessary to reach that future. To lead with vision, you should:

  • Fully embrace the goals, objectives and plans of the project
  • Visualize what the end state of your project looks like
  • Challenge the status quo by finding more effective ways of achieving the vision
  • See it the way the end users and beneficiaries see it
  • Feel it, taste it, and smell it
  • Take ownership, not just for delivering project outputs and capabilities, but for the ultimate business benefits
  • Draw your team into the vision by illustrating how each person fits in and matters to the project’s overall execution

When you lead with vision you become more than a manager of people and resources. You become an inspiration to the team and a change agent who monitors and delivers the ultimate business benefits and value-added services to the client.

Work with Intent: Working as a project manager can be stressful and the demand for your time will always be greater than what you have available. Successful project leaders know how to get the most out of the day as they constantly assess where their time is best spent. When you work with intent you focus on those activities that yield the biggest result for your project and for your customer. You avoid the trap of being reactive and firefighting, and you become good at delegating tasks which someone else could do just as well as, or better than, yourself. To work smarter rather than harder, you should:

  • Focus your time on pro-active activities such as planning, risk mitigation, quality assurance, relationship building and stakeholder management
  • Avoid fire-fighting and time-wasting activities
  • Concentrate on the 20% of daily activities that contribute to 80% of your results
  • Delegate administrative tasks, low level planning, project reporting and documentation – for instance to your PMO
  • Train and grow other people so that you have someone to delegate to
  • Consistently ask yourself what the most important use of your time is right now
  • Focus on people as much as you focus on tasks

When you work with intent and focus you lay the foundation for being a high performer. You spend your time where it is most needed and you are more likely to avoid a crisis situation and having to firefight in the present moment.

Focus on People: Too many project managers hide behind their desk and mainly communicate through emails and status reports. To become a project leader you must connect with people and build strong relationships. This is true for your team members as well as your stakeholders. Your team members need to feel personally motivated and connected to the project’s vision in order to perform at their best. Likewise, the project stakeholders are a source of great support and can contribute tremendously towards a successful project outcome if managed correctly. To build strong relationships with people, you should:

  • Seek to understand what drives and motivates each of your team-members
  • Spend time with them on a one-2-one basis and really listen
  • Utilize people’s strengths and give them work which is interesting and purposeful
  • Identify the project’s most powerful and influential stakeholders
  • Engage them on a regular basis through short face-2- face sessions
  • Ask about their concerns, suggestions and understand their success criteria
  • Draw them into the project in a way which suits their interests, skills and preferences
  • Expand your comfort zone by interfacing directly with the sponsor

When you connect with people and find out what motivates each person do their job even better, you can align the individual’s aims and purposes with that of the project and create a truly motivated and highly effective team. Likewise, when you consider your stakeholders’ priorities, concerns, and success criteria, they will start to trust you and become allies who actively work to support you and your project.

Susanne Madsen is project and programme manager, mentor, and coach with over 15 years of experience in managing and rolling out major change programs. Susanne also holds several qualifications in the area of personal performance and corporate and executive coaching and is the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook – Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential.  To find out more about Susanne, please visit her website and blog at  You can also follow Susanne on Twitter: @SusanneMadsen.

TfL’s approach to investment governance of projects

Arnab explains the issues with investment governance within his organisation, TfL and the three principles that shaped the improvements to the processes.

In a second video, Arnab outlines the continual improvement journey for sponsorship with London Underground (part of TfL) including bringing it closer to the projects.

Arnab Banerjee is Programme Manager, Continuous Improvement at Transport for London (TfL). He has spent his whole career in heavy engineering – firstly in power generation and now transport. His previous roles have spanned tendering, sales, strategy and organisational development in international environments.  His current passion, in addition to change management, is knowledge management and how to create a culture of user-led improvement – particularly in an ‘old’ industry. He firmly believes that ‘mechanics drives culture’ and is always eager to hear from successful knowledge projects.

Arnab is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, has a Masters from Imperial College, London and a MBA from the University of Warwick.

David Hancock on wicked problems in project management

David Hancock was interviewed recently by The PM Channel.  He describes the different type of problems that a project may face and how knowing the difference between them is important to project managers especially in the concept phase.

Watch David Hancock explaining about these different types of problems on The PM Channel here.

Dr David Hancock is Head of Risk and the Project Services Functional Head for Transport for London with responsibility for the project services of the £15 billion capital portfolio of underground and surface transportation projects across London. He is an internationally renowned author and thought leader on risk management and was Director of Risk and Assurance for the London Development Agency under Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson’s leadership. He was responsible for creating and delivering the risk management system for the successful £4.2bn Terminal 5 Project at Heathrow, considered industry leading in risk management and the Copenhagen Metro. He champions the case for rethinking project management as a social interaction rather than delivery through the application of process and developed the concept of Risk Leadership. He is a Fellow of the Association of Project Management, Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, and was Public sector risk manager of the year in 2008.

David Hancock is the author of the bestselling book “Tame, Messy and Wicked Risk Leadership” published by Gower in 2011. He is a member of the programme committee for the Major Projects Association and a visiting Fellow at Cranfield University in their School of Management.

David Hancock also described how Heathrow T5 can be used as a case study in a second video for The PM Channel.

Craig Stansfield with David Bright – Improving IBR outcomes through self-assessment

David was the Managing Director of BMT Hi-Q Sigma Ltd, a consultancy that delivers sustainable change and improvements in organisations’ control, assurance and governance of their projects and programmes through the implementation of systems engineering, project control and programme management solutions. Since April 2013 he became the Sector Director, Defence for BMT group with involvement in all BMT Companies that support the defence market.

Craig joined Thales Transportation Solutions in 2012 taking up the post of Project Controls Manager on the signalling upgrade programme to the London Underground’s Jubilee and Northern Lines. This comprises the design, installation and testing of Thales’s proven Seltrac Transmission Based Train Control (TBTC) system delivering improved reliability and increased train capacity through improved signalling.

See this and other talks from EVA18 Project Control on The PM Channel.

Graham Court with Graeme McNaught – Defending business performance by deploying earned value counter measures

Graham Court has held executive positions in Planning, Supply Chain, Project Management, IT, Finance and manufacturing in a range of industries including defence electronics, shipbuilding, commercial aircraft production, computer manufacture, and has consulted on Lean and MRP in a number of process and discrete manufacturing businesses.

Graeme has a background in electronic systems design and manufacture, technology sales, project management and project services. He has operated across many market sectors, including defence, aerospace, manufacturing, medical and nuclear.

Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, is an international leader in electronic and information technologies for defence systems, aerospace, data, infrastructures, land security and protection and sustainable ’smart’ solutions. The company provides C4ISTAR systems (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance), integrated products and solutions for airborne, land and naval applications delivering mission critical systems for situational awareness, self-protection and surveillance based on proprietary radar and electro-optic sensors, avionics, electronic warfare, communication, space sensors and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) solutions. From the design, development and production of state-of-the-art equipment, software and systems to through life support, Selex ES partners with its customers to deliver the information superiority required to act decisively, complete missions and maintain security and protection for operational effectiveness.

See this and other talks from EVA18 Project Control on The PM Channel.

Lee McDonagh – The LOCOG vision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games

The LOCOG vision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was to ‘inspire a generation’. This was interpreted into a vision by the ODA ‘to deliver an Olympic Park and all the venues on time, within an agreed budget and to specification, minimising the call on public funds and providing for a sustainable legacy’. Now working on the Legacy project transforming the Olympic Park into Queen Elizabeth Park, Lee McDonagh, Associate Director at Mace looks at how Mace is carrying this vision forward, the impact to the project is having on Stratford and East London as well as how the project has challenged and changed the perceptions of UK construction industry; its ability to deliver, successfully, large scale international infrastructure projects.

Lee has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry working on projects as diverse as the widening of the M25, the construction of a Jubilee Line station, the extension of an airport terminal and the delivery on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. His responsibilities has included roles as a site engineer, structural engineer and planner and he is currently leading the project controls team for the London Legacy Development Committee where Mace is leading the legacy transformation of the Olympic Park into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

See this and other talks from EVA18 Project Control on The PM Channel.

Hugo Minney – What’s in it for me? Benefits realisation management and staff motivation

The APM Holy Grail is that all projects succeed. In the context of benefits management and benefits realisation management, this means that all planned change contributes to the success of the organisation.

Benefits Management is the framework for managing and monitoring, but to actually drive success, we need the engagement and enthusiasm of motivated employees. So how can you get this, without spending more money?

We’ll discuss the present and future of Benefits Management, especially as it relates to staff motivation.

Dr Hugo Minney is a consultant with expertise in Business Intelligence and Business Transformation and with extensive experience across a number of industries including IT Services, Utilities, and UK Healthcare. He’s worked in Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, NHS Modernisation Agency, Improvement Academy for Health and Social Care, and the Information Centre for health and social care. Hugo is a fully accredited SROI consultant and a GP Practice manager within a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as well as his own business consulting into organisations.

See this and other talks from EVA18 Project Control on The PM Channel.

Cath Convery – Facilitation, the glue that is needed for management and project success

Organizations are having to change to keep pace with the economic conditions of a global market. Cath’s presentation focuses on the skill of facilitation, something that is taking greater prominence in change programmes but also in other areas of business. Whether it is a meeting (big or small) or a training session someone has to focus on the shape of the day and the collection tools that will be in place. Facilitation is becoming the skill that is the glue between project management and the extraction of data to resolve “wicked” problems.

Cath is an experienced Education Technologist who works predominantly in the Defence Sector. As an Education Technologist Cath is frequently brought in to projects as a project, programme or change lead and for the last 2 years has been a routine facilitator with the Niteworks Partnership a unique MOD/Defence Sector collaboration which assists the MOD with decision support. A highly effective training and development adviser who champions innovation and customer needs in providing services across the full range of media.

See this and other talks from EVA18 Project Control on The PM Channel.

APM IC online and exam online

APM IC online course and exam for £125

Study online for APM IC Introductory Certificate with online exam for only £125!

Get a fundamental awareness of project management terminology and contribute to project success with the on demand APM IC online Introductory Certificate solution.

Take the APM IC online course and exam anywhere and at any time using the excellent training materials on The PM Channel and the new APM IC online exam.

The price of £125+VAT represents a huge saving of 30% on the current price. But hurry because our offer only lasts until the end of August 2013.

Candidates will have access to the full APM IC online course materials for 12 months on The PM Channel.

Click here to discover the APM IC online modules on The PM Channel

Candidates will be able to complete the online examination by utilising remote live proctoring from 1 October:

• Candidates can choose time and place for exam (24/7, 360 days a year)
• Secure delivery with locked browser, invigilating throughout and immediate indication of result
• Verified exam result and electronic certificate within 3 working days

 Having sat the APM IC exam at the beginning of the year, and then test ran the APM IC online exam in July, I am delighted to say that this convenient, flexible approach really is the future for e-learning. Although it is still administered under strict exam conditions, it does seem to take most worry and stress out of the equation. The best part is most definitely not having to wait a few weeks before you receive your results as they appear instantly!