Is Project Management a career option?

Project Manager

HPS has been part of the steadily increasing recognition of project management as a professional role across a wide range of industries and sectors. Many people will have had the chance to play the role of project manager as part of their existing jobs. Some may have just been temporary Project Managers looking to transition to permanent employment as full-time project managers.

If you are considering the benefits of embarking on a career as a professional project manager one well know APM speaker Paul Naybour has some thoughts to share with you. He is Business Development Director for Parallel Project Training and a Project Management Training and Consultant. He also runs the PM news site Project Accelerator.

The chief benefits as he sees them are that if you are someone who likes to be challenged and you don’t want to be in a repetitive job, project management is a good choice. You are likely to be doing something different every day, and there will be new challenges and new concepts to tackle. During a career as a project manager you will work on different projects, maybe in different industries, and face unique challenges and demands. If you thrive on the pressure you will excel in such a demanding environment.

You will meet and interact with new people so if you are a people person, this is definitely a career path to consider.  Projects often involve significant change, so being able to communicate and influence key people is critical. He says.

One of the great things about project management is that all the Project Management Skills you acquire are also useful in making a transition from a specialist role to a general management role. Just as many people transition into project management it is also possible to transition onwards into other roles. As a project manager, you will essentially have learnt the skills of a leader; you will master the art of communication, and time, people and resource management all vital skills for success.

Do British workers fear automation?

HPS Automation

Experienced Project Managers are having to deal with more and more automation but do British workers fear it? The digital Work Report 2018 suggests not as much as people think. The report was commissioned by Wrike a work management platform company. They surveyed just over 3,000 workers from across the UK, France and Germany. The new report even suggests that in many cases, employees would welcome greater automation in the workplace.

In the UK nearly half of those surveyed (45%) believe automation would give their company a competitive advantage. However, while 39 percent are considering automation tools for some of their job functions, just 4 percent of UK companies have an automation strategy for the whole company.

“The reality is that automation is happening, and that means people and machines are going to have to work closely together,” says Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in customer focus in the digital world. “Simply saying “I’m not really interested in digital” in today’s job market is the equivalent of saying “I’m not really interested in learning to read and write” fifty years ago.” She says.

Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike, said: “Automation isn’t something that should be feared. In fact, in an economy where businesses are increasingly being required to work faster and smarter, automation becomes the key to competitive advantage.” This makes real sense of the use of some Project Management tools and strategies. The survey found that just over half of employees claim that between 21 and 60 percent of their work is repetitive or ‘cognitively routine’. Clearly, those human resources could be put to better use.

Some 86 percent of the employees surveyed said they were interested in technology that could cut the amount of time they spend on routine tasks. The top three tasks people would like to see automated are file management and documentation (23%), routine processes and workflow (19%) and copying information between systems (16%).

Impact of the Internet of Things (IoT)

interconnection internet

So the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the dynamics of product functionality and delivery as more devices get interconnected over the internet. This will mean that PPM will have to take it into account. An estimated 6.4 billion devices were connected to the internet in 2016 up 30% from the prior year of 2015. Predictions are that an estimated 3.8 billion more devices will be connected to the internet yearly over the next 5 years excluding the 7.3 billion smartphones, mobile and PC devices.
These statistics alone make a compelling case, for a need to have a coordinated approach to business positioning in a complex and uncertain market driven by globalization, competition and regulations Oracle EPLM report.

Some would say the Internet of Things (IoT) is still embryonic and that there aren’t many opportunities. But already there are project managers working on the IoT. And there will be many more IoT projects in the pipeline for the future. McKinsey Global Institute researchers estimate the potential economic impact of IoT technologies to be USD$2.7 trillion to USD$6.2 trillion annually by 2025.

All of these projects create the need for programs and many companies will have a large overlap of IoT projects. A program manager will be needed to drive the strategy of the IoT program to benefit the company’s bottom line. It may even be likely that there will be sub-programs and maybe even more than one IoT program. The Internet of Things is so broad, it will be the program managers who define the benefit realisation plans and roadmaps and may even decide their program is too broad and needs to be subdivided or spun off into new programs.

It may well take years for companies and internal business units to determine what IoT will do for them and how they will drive it. But either way, this requires a lot of project management, starting in the research and development stage and going through development and upgrades. HPS can help you look at the impact of the internet of things on your business.

Complex Projects and Cutting Costs

Any Portfolio Project management PM will be looking at even complex projects and looking to cut costs. It might seem even less likely with construction and engineering projects but The University of Texas System Shares Best Practices for Managing Officials at the University of Texas System don’t just imagine this they’re already embracing it.

Chris Macon, manager of program control systems for the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC) says. “We feel we are already building the world of tomorrow,” His remarks echoed the core theme of the Construction and Engineering Program at Oracle Industry Connect 2017, where his presentation was delivered. His presentation which explores how the OFPC is bringing the future to life with the help of Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Unifier is available on demand from Oracle.

Oracle’s technology helped them oversee a $6.2 billion capital improvement program, building modern classrooms, health care and research facilities, advanced computing labs, and other future-oriented resources. “Over the last decade, the OFPC completed about $8.6 billion in projects; Primavera Unifier and Primavera P6 were utilised in all of that,” he says.

The importance of using historical data in Project Management

In the presentation, Macon says the reports his staff produces with these Oracle applications “is one of our greatest assets” because, in addition to the latest data, the analyses can draw from 10 years of archived information for trends and historical insights. In addition, they were able to optimise funding using Oracle Primavera’s reporting and analysis capabilities.

“If we know what our funding sources are and what our cash flow is, we can predict when we will expend one source and when we need to start expending another,” he explains. “The flexibility of the system allows us to do this.” For example, Macon notes that cost reductions are possible by delaying bond purchases until they’re actually needed. If you want help with Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions to drive business transformation for your organisation HPS can help.

Advanced Procurement for PPM


Procurement is an important element in the success of most Portfolio Project Management situations. And Oracle Advanced Procurement is the integrated suite of applications that dramatically cut all supply management costs. Oracle Advanced Procurement reduces spending on goods and services, streamlines procure-to-pay processes, and drives policy compliance.

HPS know that unlike some of the competitors to Oracle that force customers to choose between the benefits of on-demand products and on-premises deployments, only Oracle gives customers the flexibility to choose. Oracle also lets buying experts automatically create sourcing events from requisitions or expiring agreements.  Only Oracle provides true Centre-Led Procurement by decoupling the physical and logical location of key procurement activities

Oracle Procurement Command Centre Plus (PCC) enables procurement departments to optimise procurement performance. PCC Business Suite Information Discovery in-memory technology has advanced capabilities to rapidly accelerate purchasing responsiveness and strategic actions. It’s targeted 360° view into the Source-to-Pay process and drive action, means advanced procurement teams can align procurement operations. Once they can do this, in addition, they can fine-tune the aligning of supplier capabilities to business needs. This, in turn, improves category management and identifies cost-saving and cost avoidance opportunities.

The application of PCC elevates the procurement’s role within your company and within the PPM team. It becomes easier and easier to manage supplier capabilities to offer differentiated solutions to suit your customers.

Traditionally, procurement teams have been considered a bit more of a support role. This has led to the perception that procurement teams can be disconnected from the business, and cannot keep pace with the rapidly changing business needs.  Procurement alignment with PCC to other business functions can be a key enabler for business success by leveraging supplier expertise and partnerships

Oracle Procurement Command Centre Plus equips your business with tools to support this transformation by allowing you to become masters of purchasing information. Hyde Park Solutions work with Oracle to enable you to implement strategies that ensure performance across your Portfolio project management is optimised.

PPM Private Cloud grows and grows

Private cloud

Does a “public cloud” support the degree of customisation typically demanded by most PPM enterprises? This is a common refrain from HPS clients. Indeed there are a huge number of cloud choices available for clients seeking a solution tuned to their business. Private clouds offer solutions that deliver the combined advantages of the public cloud and an on-premise deployment.

More and more private clouds are a popular option for enterprise clients. The thing about a private cloud is that it can be implemented in various ways, including a hybrid cloud solution. Hybrid solutions offer  IT/business decision-makers to define the level of internal IT resources and support needed.

So why are clouds advantageous?

All clouds have advantages and the growth and popularity of cloud-based enterprise applications have only been growing. If you are not using the cloud in your business very soon many say you will be left behind. Getting to grips with cloud technology as a small, medium or large enterprise is vital.

The key attributes and benefits of clouds are that they can be implemented very quickly – initial set-up/configuration and ongoing provisioning for new users can be done in much less time, with much less effort. Clouds also enable scarce IT resources to be deployed “where needed most” meaning that internal IT resources can be dramatically minimised and allocated to internal projects that directly drive revenue and income.

Clouds are also more and more reliable and scalable unlike old-fashioned on-premise deployments, many clouds are hosted in Tier-1 data centres. This means that they are constructed to be massively scalable and offer world-class availability, security, and disaster recovery as well as business continuity services.

For any kind of portfolio project management, clouds are without a doubt the most cost-effective tool available. Clouds offer flexible licensing plans, require no long-term contract lock-ins, provide a scalable what-you-need, when-you-need-it approach, and require virtually no internal IT staff allocations for support or ongoing maintenance.

Project Management and social systems?

HPS social systems with PM

For any successful project management, social systems are vital. Everyone knows good project management depends on clear roles and responsibilities, teamwork and communication between the people involved.  But APM’s Body of Knowledge, in its foundational knowledge resource, suggests a need to reflect on the emerging view that projects are social systems.

The editor of the 7th edition of the APM Body of Knowledge is Ruth Murray-Webster who is well versed in social systems. Ruth is currently Director, Change Portfolio and Group Head of Risk at Associated British Ports. In her role there she is responsible for coordinating the approval and delivery of an ambitious portfolio of change to processes, systems, behaviours and ways of working. She also delivers a risk and change consultancy services via her company Potentiality UK.  Previously, Ruth was Director of the Risk in the Boardroom practice for KPMG LLP following 10 years as a Director of Lucidus Consulting Ltd. Ruth was awarded Honorary Fellowship of APM in 2013 for her contributions to risk and change.

There was a time when projects were believed to be rooted in a ‘product’ mindset. Projects were viewed as complex largely because they were big, costly and technically difficult. Some still are but what makes them even more complex is large numbers of stakeholders. What you might call socio-political complexity really increases the challenge for the project manager.
When you have complex interactions between people or other variables on a project it becomes very difficult to plot a straight line path towards outcomes. One solution is to use a programme approach, “a framework that expects the outcomes to be created in iterative tranches or chunks of activity”. But small changes in behaviour from one stakeholder can have a large effect on the overall project. And that is before there are political, often hidden, agendas; factions; conspiracies; unexpressed requirements and/or emergent changes in context.

Solutions to social problems need to be explored creatively, recognising inherent subjectivity, not just worked out technically or objectively says, Ruth. If you’d like to explore project management and social system ideas further, the APM Systems Thinking SIG is a great place to start.

Project Complexity – PM’s need to be equipped to take on new challenges

Project Management

The APM Scottish conference speakers represented some of the UK’s most complex and high profile projects. As project complexity grows so the project management profession needs to grow its body of PMs equipped to take on the exciting challenges of the future.

One of the key questions of the conference was how do we give those starting out in project management the confidence and resilience to tackle some of the most complex projects of today? According to Andy Macintosh Andy Macintosh, Project Management & Business Improvement Director for BAE Systems Naval Ships the average age of a NASA team is just 26.
“Young PMs can do great things through process, guidance and mentoring to grow their energy, drive and confidence,” said Neil Fraser, Engineering Development Manager at Diageo International Supply Centre about the challenges of project managing and developing new teams in challenging environments as he switched from developing whisky to tequila.

Developing confidence to project manage was a strong theme of the day. If we are to succeed in the projects of tomorrow, there is a real need to give emerging project managers the confidence needed to take control. Part of this involves working with a diverse range of teams and addressing the complex project needs of the today.

“It is easy to get lost in … complex projects if you don’t have very good management information in place and professional skills for interpreting that information.” One slide quoted from Sir Amyas Morse, National Audit Office by Michael Moore. “Much like chartered accountants, we need the conviction to take control, say ‘no’ sometimes,” said Andy Macintosh.
The Scottish conference made it very clear that the demand for project professionals is growing and if we are to meet that demand we will need to build and grow opportunities to learn and develop. With the right skills and the right training project managers of the future will be tested against some of the most complex projects ever seen.

Addressing the complex project demands of the future core to the next APM Project Management Conference on Wednesday 25 April at Central Hall Westminster. Book now.

DevOps ecosystem – the role of new technologies


Padmini Murthy recently wrote about the DevOps ecosystem partly based on a recent survey. It’s all about the role new technologies play in supporting DevOps, like automation and machine learning. New technologies are rapidly shaping the way companies address Security and Application Performance Monitoring and they need to be used effectively.

The survey also found that 57% of companies have already adopted, and another 36% are planning to adopt modern monitoring in the next 12 months. There are real commonalities between security and performance monitoring.  Both are using real-time monitoring of transactions.  Both use machine learning to translate massive amounts of data into IT and security insights.  Both are correlating data across an entire transaction in real time to quickly find performance or security issues.  Both are summarising normal and abnormal behaviour automatically.

This commonality is what’s behind the design for Oracle Management Cloud.  It unifies all the metadata and logs files in the cloud.  It normalises the information on a big data analytics platform and applies machine learning algorithms to deliver IT Ops and Security dashboards pre-built specifically for security and performance teams with insights in real time, and automatically.

So it’s time to stop denying there is a problem. Ops teams are constantly bombarded by “false Signal” alerts.  They need to eliminate operational information silos and put all operational data (security, performance, configuration, etc.) in one place, and let today’s machine-learning-powered tools do the heavy lifting. It’s important to monitor what really matters, the end-users. Over 70% of IT issues are end-user complaints. And use your logs, logs are everywhere, but most organisations don’t use them, overwhelmed with the amount of data involved. Next-generation management clouds are designed to ingest big data at enterprise-scale to cope with today’s log data volume and velocity.

HPS can help you get your systems in place. Once you have your data in line planning becomes an everyday activity.  With Oracle Management Cloud you will have all the data you need already available it’s just time to use it.

APM – Powering the Pipeline for Project management

APM April conference 2018

The APM Scottish Conference 2018 sponsored by HPS highlighted the importance of powering the pipeline for project management. In an environment where businesses will need far-reaching change to survive, the focus has to be how to get the right people with the right skills to project managing the complex projects of the future?

Raising awareness of project management as a profession and demonstrating the diverse opportunities on offer throughout the world and across every sector of industry is vital. Caspar Bartington, APM’s education manager spoke about work with organisations including Lloyds Bank and BAE Systems to paint a picture of what it’s like to work in leading projects as a young apprentice or graduate. There are also new routes into the profession including the Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship on the horizon.

Dr Helen Wright suggests that as a profession Project Managers need to do more that offers routes if they need to inspire the next generation too.  “How do you build the pipeline? You have to delve right down to help people find ways of understanding and how they access the profession” she said. And we need to ensure the conditions are right said Sara Drake, APM’s chief executive, Millennials represent 35% of the UK workforce. By 2020 it will be 50% of the UK workforce. “There is clear evidence from other professions that chartered status can act as a beacon to attract new talent into our profession – both younger entrants and those from other sectors or returners to work.” She said.

While it is clear the visibility of the profession is increasing and the demand will grow, the day highlighted that simply attracting new project professionals to the pipeline wasn’t enough. They need the confidence and resilience to perform at a world-class level in projects that are the most complex ever seen.

HPS are delighted to support APM to do all they can to keep building this pipeline the next APM Conference supported by Hyde Park Solutions sist the APM Project Management Conference on Wednesday 25 April at Central Hall Westminster. Book now