In our series, The Aha Moment, we chat with influencers in the PM & PPM space and get to know them better. We ask a bunch of questions, some biz related and some not so biz related, in order to understand what makes them tick and find their aha moment.
This month’s feature is Project Management mastermind, Professor Adam Boddison OBE – CEO of the UK’s Association for Project Management – the world’s only chartered membership organisation for the project profession. Read on to learn how his background in the education and charity sectors has shaped his impressive career portfolio, positioning him as an innovative leader in both education and enterprise:
Q. What is your job title and in which industry are you working in?
A. CEO of the Association for Project Management.
Q. What led you to this career?
A. I have always been drawn to organisations that have societal benefit at their core. My background has been in the education and charity sectors, but APM has allowed me to have a pan-sector influence through improving project delivery.
Q. In your experience, why do projects fail or fail to meet their deadlines?
A. There is an old adage that projects don’t go wrong, they start wrong. Whether it is failing to meet deadlines or underperformance on scope or budget, the problems most likely stem back to the planning phase. The pressure that sometimes comes from leaders who want to get ‘spades in the ground’ as quickly as possible can have a problematic influence on the planning process.
Q. Why should every organization have a PMO?
A. The PMO can be a powerful driving force supporting effective project delivery. Indeed, we have a PMO Manager at APM supporting the delivery of our internal projects. However, there are many different types of PMO with no one approach that works in every organisation. The important point is that leaders embrace a projectified mindset and approach, as part of the strategic decision making.
Q. What’s the most difficult thing about managing stakeholder expectations?
A. Stakeholder engagement is not just about the stakeholders themselves, but also about their interactions with each other and the wider context. Stakeholders do not exist in a vacuum, so securing alignment of expectations can be challenging.
Q. Have you read any books, articles or other resources that changed your perspective on project management?
A. There are so many excellent books, articles and resources that I’ve accessed over time, so it’s incredibly hard to narrow it down to just one. The book I’ve been reading most recently is Hello World by the mathematician Hannah Fry, which is about how to be human in the age of the machine. It’s both informative and funny. Well worth a read.
Q. If you were the host of a late night talk show, who would invite as your first guest?
A. I’ve always been fascinated by Derren Brown. His understanding and blending of neuro-linguistic programming, psychology, statistics and magic to create illusions would make for a great conversation.
Q. What fictional place would you most like to live in?
A. Well it definitely wouldn’t be Albert Square at Christmas, because there’s always some terrible tragedy that happens there! I quite like the idea of living in Neverland from Peter Pan. The pirates are a risk, but eternal youth is a decent reward.
Q. What’s one song or artist that you’re embarrassed to admit you like?
A. I confess to being a fan of The Killers and Brandon Flowers. In fact, when I was a secondary school Maths teacher, I used to play the song Human at the beginning of each lesson I taught on Friday to get warmed up for the weekend.
Q. Spring, summer, fall or winter?
A. Summer, 100%. Nothing beats a long summer evening with a beer by the barbecue.
Q. What is your go-to Karaoke song?
A. I prefer to sing my own songs… but if it’s karaoke, then I’d go for Candy by Paulo Nutini.
If you want to connect with Adam and gain more inspiration and insights from his professional project management network, look him up on LinkedIn. Thank you Adam for hanging out with us and answering our burning questions!