New Professional Recognition For Project Managers

Paul Naybour

In my last post I discussed the skills and qualities that project managers need to develop to be successful because they have such a varied role it can sometimes be difficult to know what skills are the most important. A good project manager will be able to engage just as effectively with senior management as with a technical department or the most junior team members; both in writing and via verbal communication.  They also need time management skills and budgeting skills, not to mention being able to manage change and mitigate risks. What’s more to be truly successful in a PM role you need to be able to do more than just follow processes and procedures because when the pressure is on (as it often will be) a PM also needs to be able to deal with conflict and put on a creative problem solving hat too.

So it’s pretty clear that a good project manager has to be adept at many things aside from what might be seen as the “standard” project management skills. Luckily PM courses these days do focus on skills, behaviours and attitudes, in addition to the methods and processes and there have been a range of professional project management qualifications around for several years to help develop skills and career opportunities.

Now after a long wait  it seems imminent that there will be the ultimate professional recognition for project managers that will, at last, give them much deserved recognition for the skills and training required in this role.

The APM (Association for Project Management) has been working hard to obtain chartered status for the project management profession in the UK over the past 8 years (can it really be 8 years since the formal application was first submitted?). It looked like it was going to be granted back in 2013 when the Privy Council unanimously recommended that a Royal Charter be granted to APM.

But, this decision was then challenged by the Project Management Institute (PMI) who sought permission for a Judicial Review of the decision. By July 2014 the review had been carried out and PMI’s claim was dismissed. Nevertheless the PMI appealed against the decision; this was refused by the judge handling the Judicial Review but PMI subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Eventually in November 2015 the Court of Appeal met to hear PMI’s appeal against the decision of the Government to award a Charter to APM. The appeal was rejected and PMI were refused permission to appeal further to the Supreme Court.

And just this month (October 2016) the final process has been triggered that will result in the association at long last being awarded a Charter.

The upshot of all this will be that the APM will become a chartered body in 2017, providing the opportunity for project managers to gain coveted chartered status. It is likely that there will be a straightforward transition to chartered status and professional recognition for project managers who already hold the APM Registered Project Professional (APM RPP) accreditation.

For those who don’t there is now a strong impetus to progress to chartered status and achieve more widely recognised accreditation of the professional status of a project manager.

Chartered status will confer global recognition on a par with the accountancy profession as project management transitions from just a job to a modern profession.

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