The Future of Project Management – Post Brexit, Apprenticeships and AI

Dada Enterprises, a business consultancy based in London, recently featured as one of a carefully chosen panel of speakers to explore the key forces impacting on future projects and organisations at the University of West London (UWL) Claude Littner Business School. This was as part of a special evening organised by AK Optimize Ltd to commemorate the inaugural West London Project Hub.

This packed event pulled together dynamic speakers who explored topics facing the Future of Project Management in the UK. From diverse topics such as Artificial Intelligence, PM Apprenticeships, and Future Talent management, How to deliver a major project like Thames Tideway, PMOs Delivering Strategic Value, Project Leadership and BREXIT and its implications for Project Managers.

The event kicked off with an opening address from Amerjit Walia, Director of Project Programs at AK Optimize Limited. Amerjit is both a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Association of Project Management (APM) who explained how this inaugural event was part of a strategy which aimed to make the UWL Claude Littner Business School a centre of excellence for Project Management.

Jonathan Norman, Knowledge Hub Manager at the Major Projects Association then followed to introduce the Major Project Knowledge Hub. The MP Knowledge Hub aims to improve major project initiation, delivery and innovation through the sharing of knowledge and good practice as defined by an active, global user community. It is an open access source of insight, activities and events designed to encourage knowledge-sharing, collaboration and better planning, initiation and execution of major projects, within the UK.

Post Brexit Project Management

Sachin Melwani, Managing Director of Dada Enterprises, who has penned ‘How to Brexit Proof Your Project Strategy’, gave an overview of the constantly shifting Brexit timeline, the various Brexit options available and the potential project delivery impacts. Crucially Sachin went further than most other commentators by explaining the operational impacts that Brexit and the practical measures that firms can take to mitigate them. This makes impact assessment a major priority, which companies should seek to push ahead with sooner rather than later. To fail to do so could also leave firms exposed to heightened contingency planning and transition costs as they scramble to be ready – and the cost of contingency planning at the last minute inevitably comes with a sizeable premium.

AI Reshaping the PM Fabric

The event which coincided with the National Apprenticeship Week 2019 set-up Caspar Bartington, Education Manager at the Association for Project Management (APM), Europe’s largest professional body for project management to explain the valued role that Apprentices can bring to organisations.

Steve Wells, acclaimed futurologist, then explained the core question of how humanity can be kept at the centre of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) story in the face of powerful technological shifts reshaping the world and straining the old social fabric. Steve put AI in the context of the other highly disruptive changes happening in the world in parallel – which are creating a more complex and multi-faceted business world (e.g. trade tensions, data security, war, terrorism, natural disasters).

Richard Lewis, Client Programme Manager at Tideway London then provided a dose of reality by explaining how topics like Apprenticeships, Brexit and AI were not just theories but ‘real’ issues that had to be dealt with at Tideway London to secure the resource base and improve safety management and construction planning. As Client representative for the Tideway programme (value £3.4bn) Richard reports to COO and is responsible for performance of the Programme Management Contractor. Acting as the key client representative to programme wide external stakeholders Richard chairs the Alliance Management team consisting of 3 Joint ventures. Richard gave an overview of the Tideway programme, its pioneering engineering initiatives and value for London.

Finally, Stuart Easton, CEO of Transparent Choice, author of the ultimate guide to project prioritisation which helps identify and eliminate 10% to 40% of waste in company’s portfolio explained how companies should measure strategic alignment constantly. This enables businesses to eliminate waste from their supply chains and eliminate the subsequent costs they incur, while allowing for heightened focus on key projects first. An AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) is “the way” forward, and no shortcut will work in its place.

Keep an eye out for the round table presenetations availble on the Dada website via this link.


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