Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Become a Registered Project Professional

Last night I went to a presentation by the APM about their new standard called the Registered Project Professional (RPP) which hopes to be the forerunner of the Chartered Project Professional (ChPP). RPP has been introduced because the APM are still waiting for their status as a chartered body to be awarded which they hope will be soon.

To become an RPP you will have to demonstrate the capabilities of a responsible leader, have the ability to manage a complex project and the ability to use appropriate tools, processes and techniques.

To demonstrate your capability you will need to evidence that you have knowledge and experience across 29 core competencies. This might sound like a lot but there are 47 competencies defined by the APM as important for effective project management!

To demonstrate your knowledge you will need to evidence the qualifications that you have in project management and related skills ensuring a breadth of coverage across all the areas. PRINCE2 alone does not provide this so if you have not yet upgraded your qualifications to include the APMP now is the time to do so - remember if you are a PRINCE2 practitioner then you can take the APMP with prior learning which takes 3 days instead of 5(

To demonstrate your experience you will need to put together a portfolio of evidence which is a brief description of how you have led and managed others in different project situations. I did say to the APM last night that I wished they had not called it a portfolio just when we are launching the new Management of Portfolio (MoP) course!

The total fees for becoming a Registered Project Professional are £595, paid in two parts, when you first submit your portfolio and again when you attend the interview to discuss your experience with 2 assessors, trained by the APM.

I spoke to several people who had undergone the application process during the RPP pilot and they all said that it was a really useful process for reviewing their career and helping them to identify all of their achievements. One of them also mentioned how rare it was to look back and really ask themselves ‘what bits didn’t I do so well, and how can I improve my approach?’

Tony Caccavone was one of the successful RPPs presented with his certificate last night, and he explained that it took about 35-40 hours to complete the portfolio of evidence and putting together the whole application. His approach was to ‘brain dump’ every project experience he could remember for the last few years, and then go back and assign the different examples to the different competencies. Tony has young children so he found it easier to come in early and stay late in the office to complete the application, but even then, it only took a few weeks, not a few months.

To maintain your status as an RPP you will have to commit to doing 35 hours of continual professional development each year but this is no different to the current recommendation from the APM for all of its members.

Applications for the RPP begin in early March, so I will be putting more information up about it then. Meanwhile, please post a quick comment to let me know whether you think it’s of interest as I am always keen to find out if what the professional associations are developing for us are really what we in the profession want/need.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Michael Porter (famous management guru – Porters 5 forces) has written an article in this months Harvard Business Review setting out how he believes companies should operate using long term value and not immediate profits as their goal.

Part of his argument is to stress the importance of the social value of an organisation i.e. what it offers its customers, the environment and the world around it. To me, social value is about the bigger picture, and how we are offering something more back to our customers i.e. added value.

As a company training company, our value is our specialist knowledge and all the tips, techniques and practical advice we offer to our learners. To me, social value is about how we make as much of this available to our economy as possible because ultimately, making things better is what drives everyone at Maven. We want to ensure that our clients improve their ability to manage projects, implement changes, control risks and deliver benefits.

That’s why we put so much effort into developing pre-course materials that allow you to prepare ahead of your course, so that when you are with us you are getting as much as you possibly can from the service you have paid for. We want to interact, to discuss your issues, and help you see them in the context of the best practice that’s available.

We believe that project management touches every area of our lives, and that if we improve the ability of everyone to deliver projects successfully then we are improving our environment. Ultimately, it’s this drive to pass on our knowledge (learned by making countless mistakes) that is the core of our value to you.

That’s why we make so much of our knowledge available to you – go and look at to see the free stuff that we regularly post for you to use. I hope it helps and keep the link close to hand as we are adding to it all the time. Or if you want to hear it first hand, come to my regular free briefing held every fortnight in London -

Monday, 17 January 2011

The future of project management...

Rather portentous title but I was at a lunch on Friday where part of my role was to explain where next for our industry. The imminent launch of the best practice guide for Management of Portfolios (MoP™) from OGC is leading us to question what happens next.

I think we are coming to the end of the development of best practice which dominated the last decade and a half, starting in 1996/1997 with the launch of PRINCE2, leading to the creation of guidance on risk management (MoR®) and Programme management (MSP®) and now finally MoP™.

I think that how best practice is applied and evidence of the improvements it creates has been a focus for several years and effective application of best management practice will continue to dominate the thoughts of those responsible for the operational management of our organisations. I am being specific about operational managers because I think there is still a distinction between these leaders and chief executives who operate strategic leadership, often in an unstructured way, but implicitly relying on the underlying management infrastructure, which is where best practice comes in.

I think organisational governance is growing in recognition and importance - probably becoming a senior management discipline for this decade.

Organisational governance has many definitions but I think it has two components - a structural/procedural piece and an interpersonal component which is the leadership ability of senior management to sell the benefits of applying the governance structure to everyone in the organisation, whatever their grade or length of service.

We need to explain how organisational governance is a key contributor to organisational excellence and how the best practice established at project (including technical and interpersonal skills), Programme (encompassing change and benefits management disciplines) and portfolio management (evidence based judgement and decision making) are interlinked.

I think this gives those of us involved in delivering projects and change initiatives plenty of scope for getting involved in shaping how our employers operate, and will ensure project management becomes embedded as a mainstream management discipline.

As always, let me know what you think, but if you want to want to know more, please go to or come and here me speak at one of my free briefings

Monday, 10 January 2011

Latest on MoP exams

Last Friday, along with 15 of my Maven colleagues, I sat the new Management of Portfolio (MoP) qualification. OGC are about a month away from launching their latest best practice management guide for identifying, prioritising and planning all the projects and programmes needed to achieve the organisations strategic objectives.

The guide will form the basis of a course and there will be a chance to sit a Foundation qualification and later in the year a Practitioner qualification. It is aimed at all those involved in the selection and delivery of business change initiatives including: members of management boards and Directors of Change; Senior Responsible Owners (SROs); portfolio, programme, project, business change and benefits managers.

Taking the exam reminded me how important it is that as trainers we repeat the instructions, help people stay calm and provide as much exam technique as possible to help people cope under these stressful situations.

I cannot believe how many mistakes I made on my application form, because although I thought I was really concentrating, a large part of my brain had gone into ‘panic mode’. The mistake that made my colleagues laugh the loudest was that I couldn’t even get my name right – I wrote my husbands name instead of mine!

Taking the exam itself was stressful as I never feel I can give as much time to each question as I want to, because I am worrying that I have not got enough time. I should have worked out how many minutes I had for each question and stuck to it which would have helped.

One thing that I do at the start of every exam that I do is to write a quick list on the question paper of the processes, or definitions or roles and responsibilities that I think I might need before I start answering questions. This reassures me that I do know what I am talking about and gives me something to check my answers against, particularly if I am starting to doubt the answer or it’s a sequence type answer where I need to get the information in the right order.

We won’t get our results until later this week, so wish me luck, and I hope it gives you some comfort to know that your trainer has suffered just as much exam stress as you are going through!