It’s time for everyone involved in the project profession to take the next step in their career-journey

Posted On: 
25th June 2019

Tim Banfield, Chair of the Association for Project Management’s (APM) Projecting the Future Group writes ahead of APM’s conference this week in Manchester.

Association for Project Management’s (APM) Projecting the Future Group
Credit: 
APM

If the project profession is to continue thriving in a fast-changing world, we must actively shape its future. APM’s conference in Manchester this week marks the launch of a new campaign to start the conversation about how this happens.

The world in which we work is changing fast. We see it everywhere around us. New technology creates unimaginable opportunities – and it will transform working life over the coming years. Sustainability and the threat of climate change demand that we find clean routes to economic growth and the quiet revolution in human health and longevity are giving more of us the prospect of longer lives, but our social care systems are creaking.

In this changing world, what is the role of the project profession? And how do we build our readiness so that we don’t just survive, but thrive? These questions are at the heart of Projecting the Future –an exciting new campaign launching at the APM Project Management Conference in Manchester on 26 June.

Running throughout the coming months, Projecting the Future will be a ‘big conversation’ about the profession in a fast-changing and complex world – one that will be tasked with leading transformative change from digitisation and the creation of ‘industry 4.0’, to the delivery of major infrastructure. We can see the pace of project work gathering momentum all around us, as professionals of all backgrounds spend more and more of their time working on delivering change, rather than simply managing the status quo.

Project professionals should be leading the way and actively shaping the future. We must be ambitious. I believe we need to be better at showing how we add value to the benefit of business and society as a whole. We need to challenge long-established ideas about managing and valuing the benefits of projects. And we must challenge ourselves too, thinking about the skills and mindset we will need in the years ahead. If tomorrow’s digital economy is ‘Industry 4.0’, what does ‘PM 4.0’ look like?

It’s time for everyone involved in the project profession to take the next step in their career-journey and be widely recognised for their leadership and delivery. How we do that is the focus of Projecting the Future. Over the coming months we’ll be reaching out beyond the boundaries of our profession: talking to project sponsors and decisions makers (our members) as well as to experts and leaders in the fields that will be influenced by our profession in the years ahead.

We don’t claim to have all the answers, or even to have thought of all the right questions – which is why we’re keen to hear from those involved in the project profession about the best, most exciting and innovative approaches to project delivery that are being developed and delivered, helping to exemplify what the future could be.

Whatever your perspective, we welcome views and input. Whether commenting on the content that we’ll be publishing – starting with a discussion paper (published on 26 June) – by joining the conversation on Twitter, or APM’s LinkedIn group, joining our webinar, or by helping us develop new case studies; every contribution will be important. There will also be numerous chances to provide feedback on key issues – either electronically or in person at APM events around the country in the months ahead.

We can be immensely proud of the project profession’s evolution to date but at the same time we must be ambitious to achieve more. We should be able look at major businesses and public sector organisations in 10-15 years’ time and see as many chief executives with project experience as we see with financial or legal backgrounds today. It will be a long journey, but the conversation we’re kicking off next week will be an important step on the road.

To get involved, sign up for the Projecting the Future – a Big Conversation webinar on 1 July.