Leading lights from the world of project management converged in central London on Wednesday for the annual APM Conference at 8 Northumberland Avenue.
Speakers at the ‘Art of the Possible’ themed conference included Dr Ed Hoffman, chief knowledge officer and director of NASA’s Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership; project director of the Bloodhound jet and rocket powered car, Richard Noble OBE and social reformer Lord Andrew Mawson OBE.
The National Centre for Project Management’s Professor Darren Dalcher opened proceedings once again and set the scene for the day by introducing the three streams; Making it happen; From vision to reality and Reconfiguring project management.
In a rallying cry to delegates, key-note speaker Dr Hoffman said that we had to ‘increase the awesome’, and decrease the ‘suck’. He was paraphrasing a YouTube video that a space enthusiast posted, encouraging NASA and the US government to invest in mega-projects.
In the Making it happen stream, Richard Noble OBE outlined his vision for the Bloodhound SSC project, which aims to produce a vehicle that can accelerate from zero to 1,000mph and back to zero in just 120 seconds. Richard also described how getting public buy-in and ensuring that the Bloodhound was more than a vanity project was vital in getting it off the ground.
APM’s privileged position as an Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Learning Legacy Partner allowed for members of the team who delivered the London 2012 programme to present their stories of success on the construction of the Olympic Park in the From vision to reality stream. Simon Wright, ODA director of venues and infrastructure, and others, outlined the challenges that faced the team as they worked to deliver the most sustainable and safe Games' construction programme to date.
In the third stream, Reconfiguring project management, David Boyle, New Economics Foundation; Andrew Holmes, Silicon Valley Bank and Michelle Brownrigg and Jules Howard-Wright, Digital UK; were joined by Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, BNP Paribas Fortis. The speakers discussed their individual project successes, and how a reconfigured approach to project management – whether it be humanising a project or increasing the planning phase to avoid the unintended consequences of decision making – could help ensure project success.
Lord Mawson OBE closed proceedings with a speech about his successes with two community projects in East London. He said that when it comes to projects, micro detail – on a local level – can help achieve goals and deliver on a grander macro scale.