Conference: Zero Lessons from the Experts: Project Lessons [2013]

Andrew presenting the case study about Halley Bay’s weather station at Conference:ZeroAndrew Hubbard has been editor of Project Magazine since taking the helm in 2012. The magazine has been around for 38 years and began as Bulletin, a newsletter.
It has a circulation of more than 22,000 per month. This is mainly due to APM members, but it is also available to anyone with an interest in project managing, so it’s not just a membership magazine.
Andrew spoke at Conference: Zero, a virtual conference hosted jointly by APM and Pentacle. The Virtual Business School is led by Professor Eddie Obeng.
Andrew’s presentation focused on the key lessons he learned as an editor about how to do projects better. He’s also been interviewing some of the most important players in project management around the globe over the past year, which has given him valuable insights into how to achieve project success.
Andrew stated that 2012 was a pivotal years for project management. In the UK, we had the digital switchover and the Olympics. He can also interview people involved in the magazine and bring their experiences to a wider audience.
He said that “The profession is maturing,” but it is true that project management is experiencing rapid change. “The challenge after 2012 was how momentum could continue or be accelerated in project managing.”
Andrew explained the vision of APM for a world where all projects succeed. He said that some people see this vision as an impossible dream. There has been much debate about this vision in Project and elsewhere. Andrew is convinced that it’s possible.
He said that the most important thing was to learn from the successes of others and to help them succeed. By starting small with our projects, we can all work towards a world in which every project succeeds.
Learn from the experts
The Olympic park was free of any construction-related deaths and the overall project has been a great success. Andrew said, “This is what we want to shout about” even though Andrew was emailed last year by someone with ‘Games fatigue’ and asked if people would be able to stop hearing about the Olympic project management effort.
Network Rail’s program followed a 2-4-1 approach. This was one of the initiatives. Andrew explained that this involved 2 years of planning, 4 year construction and 1 Year of testing.
The executives were able to resist the temptation to immediately start the implementation, even if people wanted to dig the earth. The stage gates were used to manage the project and move it forward.
Andrew stated that the chairperson of the Olympic Delivery Authority had said the Olympics were “boring project management.”
Andrew says this lesson was learned from the Olympics projects: to be proactive. Andrew meant that it was important to spend enough time researching and planning best practices. Project managers from all sectors can find a variety of case studies and best practice guidelines on the Olympic Learning Legacy website.
People and pragmatism
Andrew also spoke about Dr Martin Barnes’s work, the ex-President and creator of the iron triangular (of quality, time, and cost). Andrew described their interview as “he is a pioneer.” “He is very passionate about his work.”
Dr Barnes stated that the formation of the triangle was not due to an epiphany moment. He said, “It was just commonsense.”
Andrew shared his practical experience, including the need for better project management and more human activity. “We are better than ourselves.”