From artificial intelligence to Brexit – APM Chief Executive, Debbie Dore talks project management in UK business and being an ambitious organisation

From artificial intelligence to Brexit – APM Chief Executive, Debbie Dore talks project management in UK business and being an ambitious organisation

From artificial intelligence to Brexit, project management is at the heart of UK business – Chartered membership body the Association for Project Management is being radical in its approach to CPD – and they want you to join their team

The Association for Project Management (APM) is an award-winning registered educational charity with over 27,000 individual members and 500 corporate partners, making it the largest professional body of its kind in Europe.

Following a landmark two years, the APM is evolving.

Debbie Dore, CEO at APM
Photo by Ryan Cowan

The receipt of their Royal Charter in 2017 marked a significant step for the organisation’s development and 2018 saw them announce their first cohort of Chartered Project Professionals (ChPPs) covering nearly 50 different sectors.

These milestones have helped lay the foundations for APM to build on their success and perfectly sets up 2019 to be another transformational year.

Leading this exciting transformation, since being appointed as Chief Executive in August 2018, is Debbie Dore and with more than three years’ experience at APM, she, more than anyone, recognises the impact the organisation can have for project management.

“The Royal Charter is the single biggest step forward that the organisation was waiting for,” Debbie says.

“Having received the Charter, we carried out a massive consultation with government and corporate organisations and individuals to see what they wanted the standard to be.

“That’s so important because now we can sit at the table with chartered engineers, scientists or accountants and show that project management is an equally sound professional career.”

Working closely with the Board has been a crucial part of APM’s success and Debbie identifies the importance of having an ambitious strategy that matches her own and supports her leadership.

“They recognise the need to invest to deliver that ambition but then are quite challenging about the value that we give to the profession and how projects are delivered – that is key for us,” she adds.

“They want us to grow internationally, too. We want APM to become the organisation that everyone involved in project management looks to; either for advice, guidance, training or research.”

New Directorship

The innovative shifts in the APM has also increased their need for internal expansion.

The implementation of three new Senior Leadership Team roles, Head of Education & Lifelong Learning, Head of Human Resources and Head of Technology, aims to bring innovative thinking and methods to help deliver their ambitious strategy.

With good, functional heads already in place, she hopes to build on the current talent and bring in brave individuals that bring a consistency to the workload, replicate their intent and lead APM in a strategic way.

“Currently, the workload is spread across a lot of people; so bringing that consistency of style, and working together efficiently, can be hard at times,” Debbie adds.

“The new roles will bring in new capability to help lead the teams going forward.

“Any fresh ideas that they can bring, and a clear sense of ambition to do something different, is important as this new team is going to help us move on to the next phase.

“Bringing these ‘Heads of’ in will help combine all of these functions, get the most out of people and give them the confidence to try new things that they may be a little bit hesitant about.”

Luminary Leadership

When discussing leadership, Debbie displays a knowledgeable air and passion towards her vision for APM and the industry.

Prior to APM, Debbie had international experience working on the board at Swets Information Services, managing teams in 26 countries, but when speaking about APM’s culture it’s clear why this was a perfect match.

“We have an open and collaborative style – there’s very little politics. So, in that way, it helps having that small company focus so you can be more open and honest,” she explains.

“It’s about being that unified team who feel comfortable to say what they really think about things.”

Having specialised in project delivery and organisational management throughout her career, speaking about what values are important when leading a team show why they have been on an upward curve since she became Chief Executive.

“Communication is always the critical part for me and giving people time. If you spend time with them, then very often come up with the best answer or solution,” adds Debbie.

“Also, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. They want to see you stand with them on things in that way, and to be open and honest.”

When delving deeper into her management style, it’s clear she’s always been about people and very customer-focussed; in other words, one of the luminaries of the project management industry.

With APM in positive transition, their vision for this profession is to ‘reflect what society expects: a world in which all projects succeed with project management as a life skill for all’, a vision, which by 2024, will significantly raise the number of ChPPs.

On the future, Debbie explains: “I hope by that time we’d be approaching 7,000 ChPPs, instead of 400, and that would mean that new people coming in feel this is a first-choice career.

“There’s a huge audience that haven’t heard of APM and don’t know what we do. I would like is this sort of recognition to grow and for us to have a bigger impact than we do already.”

The Association for Project Management is recruiting for a Head of Education & Lifelong Learning, Head of Human Resources and Head of Technology.

For more information and to apply, visit recruiting consultants, Peridot Partners dedicated microsite and apply by 18th Feb 2019:

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