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Land of a Thousand Posts: 2010 – PM Values and Certifications

How to Manage a Camel, the official project management & recruitment issues blog of Arras People, has just passed a grand milestone: today marks our 1,003rd blog post!

So there you are, once again: proof that the odometer has, in fact, turned over. See you at 2,000, perhaps four years from now (give or take)?

Continuing our weekly Land of a Thousand Posts series in marking this landmark, we here at The Camel continue the series today with two prescient, highly-relevant blog posts we wrote in 2010, having already covered in similar fashion the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in recent weeks.

A fisherman at One Thousand Island Lake pulls out a couple of posts from 2010, one on the Values-Based Interview and another comparing APM qualifications with PRINCE2. Background image courtesy king damus @Flickr, re-used with permission

Here’s a glimpse at what we remember about 2010:

  • The first series of televised debates for the office of Prime Minister, followed by the eventual election of David Cameron and a Coalition government
  • Kraft Foods took over Birmingham-based Cadbury’s for £11.5 billion
  • The Equality Act takes effect, requiring equal employment and services treatment regardless of gender, race, health, disability, sexual orientation, belief and age
  • Amidst pledges to raise the cap on university tuition three-fold, the Coalition Government faces a series of protests from students

As for this blog? We offered a grand total of 231 posts, a new annual record. More importantly, this WordPress blog moved in-house with the revamped and updated Arras People website you see today. With this, we now had search functionality that allowed website visitors to find posts from Camels past on the matters that concerned them most. It’s undoubtedly been nice to be inside this umbrella.

Also in 2010, we published our two most viewed blog posts, which we’ll share bits from today: from guest posters Lucidus Consulting dated 29 March, it’s APM or PRINCE2 Qualifications – one or both?

PRINCE2 is a method supported by eight project management topic areas known as components; the examinations test knowledge and application of the method and NOT a generic understanding of project management. APM through its IC examination tests knowledge of 27 of the Body of Knowledge topics. APMP tests knowledge and basic application of techniques across 37 topics. APM tests generic/general project management and NOT the application of structured method.

If this explanation still doesn’t answer the question then the following three examples might help:

  • One of the key tenets of the PRINCE2 method is the use of tolerances and reporting by exception; in the APM examinations this is just one of many ways of reporting.
  • APM examinations emphasise the need for strong people or interpersonal skills as laid out in section 7 of the Body of Knowledge; PRINCE2 being a method does not address people skills at all.
  • PRINCE2 requires that a schedule is prepared for a project but does not give detailed information about how to prepare a schedule or the principles of scheduling; APM require that candidates can prepare and interpret a schedule that reflects the scope of the project and the required resources.

Another simple analogy might be comparing the situation to owning a car. PRINCE2 would say that the car needs servicing every 10,000 miles, that you need to check the tyre pressures and water before you leave on a journey and that fuel should be replenished when the warning light comes on. PRINCE2 would not tell you how to do all of these activities, but APM would. Knowing what to do and how to do it are equally important.

Why is there confusion and does it matter? You could say there is confusion because people just don’t understand the differences and therefore make random choices as to which qualification route they take. However we think it is actually more complicated than that. PRINCE2 qualifications are very popular with thousands of people taking examinations each month, not only in the UK but also in places such as Holland, Australia and New Zealand. Many organisations, particularly in the UK, will only employ Project Managers and project staff who have passed one or both of the PRINCE2 examinations. In some sectors a PRINCE2 qualification is no longer a nice to have but a must have; it seems if you have passed PRINCE2 you are considerably more employable. But PRINCE2 is about applying a method not understanding the full range of project management topics and therefore many people can become PRINCE2 Practitioners with little or no knowledge of some of fundamental project management principles, tools and techniques that fall outside of the scope of PRINCE2.

 

Our second post comes from 10 September 2010, when I emphasized Things to Know About the Values Based Interview

Sit down for but a moment and take a look at the outward traits you bring daily to your working situation. When I say ‘outward’, I’m asking you to take particular notice of whether or not you portray a solid value system in the way you operate in your working environment. For instance…

  • Are you collaborative?
  • Do co-workers look at you and see “accountable worker”?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Do you easily respond to challenges with an opportunistic vigour?
  • Do you know everything already, or do you make it a point to improve?
  • Do you have good planning and prioritisation skills?
  • Can you manage relationships effectively for the betterment of a project?
  • Do you show commitment to a company’s ethos and purpose?

Should one be able to answer with affirmed confidence these questions, they’ll likely be strong candidates for vacancies that require values based interview, value-based interview (VBI).

The eight bulleted points above are loosely paraphrased from the traits that the NSPCC are looking for when they conduct a VBI with a candidate. The children’s protection charity cited the VBI as a valuable interviewing resource for public sector/charity institutions due in part to findings of the Warner Report in 1992, “Choosing with Care”, which the NSPCC writes:

…made a number of recommendations in relation to developing more sophisticated methods of recruitment for those who work with or for children. The report stated that “employers should use preliminary interviews as a standard part of establishing a fuller picture of the character and attitudes of shortlisted candidates for ALL posts in children’s homes.

Based on those and other revelations from the report, the NSPCC added they subsequently “began to look at developing value-based interviewing (VBI) to assess candidates’ values, motives and attitudes to work in a child-centred environment.”

What caught your eye about project management in 2010? What has changed for you since then? Heck, what do you think of the issues raised here today? Talk with us about it, either here or at our LinkedIn Group today.

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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Director of Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialists. You can find out more about Arras People and follow me on Twitter and Google

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