Dada Enterprises, a business consultancy based in London, recently featured on a panel of speakers to explore the key forces impacting on future projects and organisations at the University of West London (UWL) Claude Littner Business School. This was as part of a special evening organised by AK Optimize to commemorate the inaugural West London Project Hub.
This packed event pulled together dynamic speakers who explored topics facing the future of project management in the UK. The diverse topics included artificial intelligence, project management apprenticeships and future talent management, how to deliver a major project like Thames Tideway, PMOs delivering strategic value, project leadership and Brexit and its implications for project managers.
The event kicked off with an opening address from Amerjit Walia, Director of Project Programs at AK Optimize, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Association of Project Management (APM). Walia explained that the inaugural event was part of a strategy which aims to make the UWL Claude Littner Business School a centre of excellence for project management.
Jonathan Norman, Knowledge Hub Manager at the Major Projects Association, then introduced the Major Project Knowledge Hub. This Knowledge Hub aims to improve major project initiation, delivery and innovation through the sharing of knowledge and best practices as defined by an active, global user community. It is an open access source of insight, activities and events designed to encourage knowledge-sharing, collaboration and better planning, initiation and execution of major projects within the UK.
Sachin Melwani, Managing Director of Dada Enterprises, author of ‘How to Brexit Proof Your Project Strategy’, gave an overview of the constantly shifting Brexit timeline, the various Brexit options available and the potential project delivery impacts. Sachin then shed light on the operational impacts of Brexit, and the practical measures that firms can take to mitigate them. He argued that impact assessments are a major priority, and companies should seek to push ahead on them sooner rather than later. Failure to do so could also leave firms exposed to heightened contingency planning and transition costs as they scramble to be ready – and the cost of contingency planning at the last minute inevitably comes with a sizeable premium.
The event, which coincided with the National Apprenticeship Week 2019, was set-up by Caspar Bartington, Education Manager at the Association for Project Management (APM) – Europe’s largest professional body for project management.
Steve Wells, acclaimed futurologist, was also on hand to explain the core question of how humanity can be kept at the centre of the AI story in the face of powerful technological shifts reshaping the world and straining the old social fabric. Steve put AI in the context of the other highly disruptive changes happening in parallel which are creating a more complex and multi-faceted business world (e.g. trade tensions, data security, war, terrorism, natural disasters).
Richard Lewis, Client Programme Manager at Tideway London, provided a dose of reality by explaining how topics like apprenticeships, Brexit and AI were not just theories but ‘real’ issues that had to be dealt with at Tideway London to secure the resource base and improve safety management and construction planning. As Client Representative for the Tideway programme (valued at £3.4 billion), Richard reports to the COO and is responsible for the performance of the Programme Management Contractor. Acting as the key client representative to programme-wide external stakeholders, Richard chairs the Alliance Management team consisting of three joint ventures. Richard gave an overview of the Tideway programme, outlining its pioneering engineering initiatives and value for London.
Finally, Stuart Easton, CEO of Transparent Choice, an expert in project prioritisation, explained how companies should constantly measure strategic alignment. This enables businesses to eliminate waste from their supply chains and eliminate the subsequent costs they incur, while allowing for heightened focus on key projects. Easton explained that an AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) is "the way" forward, and no shortcut will work in its place.