Is Programme and Project Management a Profession?

In this third piece about PPM Practitioners and professional membership we take a look at their views around the ongoing saga of “is PPM a Profession?”

As a reminder the first two pieces in this review of the PMBR Survey data looked at membership levels amongst PPM Practitioners and then involvement and expectations from their membership.

The first question we asked is “Are you aware that the Association for Project Management (APM) are trying to achieve Chartered status?” which gave us a response of 56% in the affirmative. Looking across the job roles we saw the following response levels:

 

PPM Role

Aware

Portfolio Manager

69%

Programme Manager

65%

Programme/Project Office Manager

61%

Programme/Project Management Consultant

55%

Project Manager

53%

 

By gender, the awareness was 60:40 for the male respondents and 50:50 for the female cohort. When the response was viewed by age group the 50+ cohort had the highest positive response at 58%, with the under 34’s recording 53%.

Having segmented the respondent group, we then asked those in the know to share their views on the following series of questions based on the override of “With the PMI’s opposition to the APM’s application for chartered status now in the open, what are your views regarding the following statements;”

 

1. Project Management is not a Profession; the application should be rejected by the Privy Council. – 86 % of our respondents disagreed with this statement (61% strongly) with 6% in agreement and 8% offering no view in either direction.

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

91%

5%

4%

PMI

72%

19%

9%

 

2. This is a turf war between two organisations looking to protect their revenue streams. – Just 9% of the group disagreed with this statement against 64% who indicated agreement, with the balancing 27% offering no view in either direction.

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

10%

22%

68%

PMI

9%

19%

72%

 

3. Neither the PMI nor the APM have enough members in the UK to stake a claim for “ownership” of the profession. – 30 % of our respondents disagreed with this statement (8% strongly) with this statement against 32% (8% strongly) who were in agreement and 38% offering no view in either direction.

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

39%

37%

24%

PMI

31%

26%

43%

 

4. Whatever the outcome, the case for raising professional standards in project management is overwhelming. – Just 4% of the group disagreed with this statement against 88% (46% strongly) who indicated agreement, with the balancing 8% offering no view in either direction

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

4%

5%

91%

PMI

5%

9%

86%

 

5. The introduction of the pan-sector APM Registered Project Professional (RPP) standard is a major step forward for the profession. – 10% of the group disagreed with this statement against 63% (18% strongly) who indicated agreement, with the balancing 27% offering no view in either direction

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

8%

19%

73%

PMI

29%

29%

42%

 

6. Whatever the outcome, Chartership will not impact the vast majority of companies and individuals who deliver projects. – 33% of the group disagreed with this statement against 44% (9% strongly) who indicated agreement, with the balancing 23% offering no view in either direction

 

Associated to:

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

APM

39%

23%

38%

PMI

30%

27%

43%

 

 

So, what does all this mean?

 

Overall it is a concern that just 56% of the respondents who provided the data for this years Arras People Project Management Benchmark report (2013 PMBR) are aware of an initiative that, should it be successful, could have a major impact in the PPM field here in the UK.

An 81% response from those who indicated APM membership suggests one of two things; firstly that there is ongoing confusion regarding who the APM are! We continue to see practitioner confusion between the APM-Group and the APM (Association for Project Management). An alternative view would be that the APM are not marketing this effectively within their membership group, never mind the wider UK PPM community. Whilst this may be part of the “APM’s dignified silence” approach, which has been their standard response since this initiative was launched back in 2007, in terms of stakeholder management (20,000+ of them?) this still feels like a hard pill to swallow for me as a PPM practitioner.

In terms of the questions posed, the response highlights the differing views of practitioners based on their allegiance to either the APM or PMI (Project Management Institute) and the ongoing struggle with the question, ‘are we a profession or are we professional in what we do?’  86% of 56% (48%) disagreeing with the statement “Project Management is not a Profession; the application should be rejected by the Privy Council”  gives no one organisation a glowing endorsement that they are talking on behalf of all UK PPM practitioners, especially when combined with the response to question 3 “Neither the PMI nor the APM have enough members in the UK to stake a claim for “ownership” of the profession” which only 30% disagreed with. As worrying is the fact that only 33% of this knowledgeable sub group disagree that Whatever the outcome, Chartership will not impact the vast majority of companies and individuals who deliver projects.

Recognition of a “turf war” by practitioners is maybe the biggest worry, as we can not ignore the fact that both the APM and PMI have brand and revenue streams to protect. Maybe in the long run this precludes both parties from being the true representative of the UK practitioner.

So, is it time for the arrival of an agnostic white knight to form a body which recognises the value that they both the APM and PMI can bring as contributors’ rather than “owners” of the PPM profession here in the UK?

To carry on the discussion take a look at the following stream on the APM LinkedIn group (you need to be a member to access it) Is the Problem with/between PMI and APM at Institutional Board Level Only

 

 

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Comments

    1. Interesting piece Tom – Though you could substitute many different bodies and groups into “project management” and come up with many similar comments, observations and reasoning’s?

      It would though, be interesting to see the APM and PMI issue some quantative research on how their particular brands of PM have impacted the successful delivery of projects, the level of rewards reaped and what measurable elements made the difference!

      It has been my personal view for many years that an awful lot of money has been spent on PM by many organisations over the last 10-15 years and whilst the sellers got rich many of the spenders are yet to see any real and sustainable benefit from that spend!

      Shame it is “anon” rather than delivered up front with a name. We are free, I am not a number and last time I checked freedom of expression had not been outlawed!

      Be great to hear your view and those of others, it is certainly worth a read.

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