Advanced Technical Knowlege

Chartered Project Professional Part Four – Knowledge, Professional Practice and Advanced Knowledge

The Chartered Project Professional Standard requires that applicants demonstrate that they have ‘The required breadth of project experience to meet the requirements of ten mandatory and two elective competences and have an advanced technical knowledge and are able to confidently evaluate and analyse theory of current practices and methods’.

Routes one and two permit you to demonstrate (either partly or fully) part of this through attainment of a ‘Recognised Assessment’. At the time of writing there is only one qualifying qualification namely RPP which exempts you from both the Knowledge and Professional practice parts of the application for Route 2. The only one exempting you from Route 1 is the APM-Project Professional Qualification. This will probably change, and it may be that the APM or someone else offers their qualifications for ‘Recognition’. Time will tell. Therefore, if you do not have RPP or APM-PPQ you will need to go through Route 3. This requires demonstration of both Knowledge and Professional Practice. You will be required to do this through the completion o

  • Nine mandatory competencies PLUS your choice of either budgeting and cost control OR financial management

AND

  • A further two competencies from a list of a further 15.

A quick scan through (the very good) applicants guidelines, will yield the basic list of these so it is not necessary to list them all here. Throughout these articles we will concentrate on each one in turn, helping you understand the base of knowledge required and examples of how you may be able to demonstrate this.

It is worthwhile talking a bit more broadly about the difference between the two areas.

Advanced Technical Knowledge.

It is proving a bit difficult to pin this down. At Parallel we have written a number of study guides and published many articles and run many courses. The breadth of knowledge in the diagram below is the horizontal axis and the depth of knowledge rises against the vertical one. The breadth of knowledge is what is in the syllabus (if one exists). The depth of knowledge is how you are able to do progressively more than just understand that knowledge but then apply and evaluate it. The diagram is illustrative only and not intended to cast any of the qualifications absolutely into a specific place or as filling a specific role. It is indicative. There are also more qualifications that are not shown here that could legitimately be considered for example the PRAXIS framework, the Best Practice Material such as Managing Successful Programme and so on. Each of these will have a different (but equally legitimate ‘take’) on the knowledge quotient. So, it is likely that you will need to prepare to present ones ‘Advanced Technical Knowledge’ through a greater ability to Apply, Evaluate and Analyse but also over a broader range of base knowledge.

Advanced Technical Knowlege

What this means is that there is space for an enlarged Advanced Technical Knowledge syllabus (The Missing Bit) which does not in itself appear as a single source (such as APM’s own Body of Knowledge). When we are writing our own take on this we will be combining in our articles not only the Advanced Technical Knowledge part alongside and at the same time as how to reflect the application of it. This is not a science and unlikely to be exhaustive, as it is a bit presumptuous and somewhat arrogant to believe this is in the gift of any one (or few) individuals. It is why Bodies of Knowledge and syllabuses are never going to satisfy everyone all the time and only generally form a core of information on which to draw and expand upon and hopefully apply.

So, lets develop this theme a little. Let’s assume that I know something, for example how to describe a risk. I may write “A risk is an event that should it occur will have an effect on the projects objectives”.

‘Tick’ knowledge.

To demonstrate Understanding I may need to explain to someone else perhaps the reason why it is necessary to manage risk. I may write “We need to manage risks because it means the company has a better chance of delivering he project successfully, there will be less overrun, and the stakeholders will be more confident and satisfied with the result”.

‘Tick’ Understanding.

So, then we need to Apply this knowledge (this also leads to us being ‘skilled’. We may choose to write “I convened a risk meeting to help understand what risks were evident for the project. I documented these in the risk log and asked my project office manager to review it on a regular basis. I established through the company general governance arrangements that there was a structured way of evaluating risk (probability and impact) and I worked with the team to establish a score for each one. I ensured there were owners for each of them and at the regular risk reviews that I chaired we ensured they were being dealt with. For example, it was determined that there was a risk that our prime contractor went out of business and it so happened that they did indeed go bust. We had a predetermined plan to re-employ the sub-contractors directly thus ameliorating the damage”.

‘Tick’ Application

The next level is that of an Analysis of that action. For example, “In hindsight it would have been better had we reviewed the risks in light of other building projects because we didn’t really have visibility of the top priorities. We had most of them on the risk log but the one that eventually surfaced (the main contractor going insolvent) should have been further up the scoring table. We didn’t therefore give it the necessary attention and of course missed some of the early warning signs and signals such as sub-contractors not being paid and late delivery of materials.”

‘Tick’ Analyse

The way we manged risk was predominantly that of the organisation generally. We had some difficulty as it was more geared towards the IT side of the business and so some of the fields and metrics were not really suitable and it would have been better to have had a specific scoring system just for my project. We could also have used more quantitative methods to help understand the trends associated with the way the risks were emerging and evolving. I went on a RICS project management seminar where just such a scheme was discussed.”

‘Tick’ Critically Evaluate

When you get into the application form itself you will only find one section for each of the competencies. What you write in here will be the Application aspects and almost inevitably become blurred and somewhat subjective but whatever you write, make sure they fulfil the requirements of the criteria.

Within each of these competence areas (remember there are 12 in total) you need evidence just four of the indicators. Some are more biased towards aspects of knowledge and some more towards Chartered Project Professional Application. Chose the ones you wish to evidence wisely as failure to hit them will jeopardize your application. The guidance from the APM is that there is no room for manoeuvre here so you must have 48 in total and this must be 4 from each, not 3 from one and 5 from another to compensate for example. Each will be marked in turn we will look at these in more detail later in further articles. You will need to develop a technique that allows you in the interview to have enough depth of knowledge to convince the assessor that you have that knowledge and that you applied it. When you submit your application, it is likely that the assessors will be looking for areas of weakness and these could form a significant part of what they ask you. They will do this with reference to the competence statements, so for example a weak score for Change Control may mean they use this as an indicator for whether to ask a question on that topic. We are not certain that this will happen, but it would seem to us to be very likely.

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