Fees: free

Many business executives feel that project management practices have not moved on for many years. This view is supported by figures published by PIPC* in 2008, which reveal that as many as 60% of projects fail to deliver any tangible business benefits, worse than PIPC’s measure of 58% in 2005.

Despite the rise in employment of project managers in recent years there is a perceived gap between the theory and practice of project management.

The inaugural Project Management Student Conference at Westminster Business School, University of Westminster will focus on building the bridge between the theory and practice, which is seen as key to improving project management outcomes. Leading academics and business practitioners will gather to share techniques and standards, creating a dialogue between the worlds of theory and practice.

Hosted by Project Management Student Network Society and supported by the Association for Project Management, the event will feature guest speakers Susanne Madsen, Peter Taylor, Dr Elmar Kutsh, Dr Mark Gannon and Edward Wallington.

By attending, professionals will have the opportunity to meet and confront their opinion and experiences, enlarging and enriching personal views on project management. It is also a rare opportunity for students to further their knowledge and have their questions answered by leading project management experts and understand the reality of practice better.

Speakers’ Biographies 

  • Susanne Madsen is a project management leadership coach, trainer and consultant and the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook - Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential. She has over 15 year experience in managing and rolling out large change programmes of up to $30 million for organisations such as Standard Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. Susanne is a PRINCE2 and MSP Practitioner and a qualified Corporate and Executive coach from The Coaching Academy. She is also a Member of the Association for Project Management (APM).
  • Dr Elmar Kutsch - Being uncomfortable is both a challenge and an opportunity for Elmar. As a passionate Skydiver his interests, both privately and professionally, revolve around management of the unexpected. Elmar's first real exposure to the rather paradox world of uncertainty began in 1998, when he held a variety of commercial and senior management positions within the Information Technology (IT) industry. Working for one of the biggest IT service providers in Germany he was responsible for the successful delivery of a number of large projects, including major roll- out and outsourcing strategies. Clients included the Commerzbank, the Deutsche Börse (German Stock Exchange) and the Polizei Rheinland Pfalz (State Police Rheinland Pfalz). His passion for the management of uncertainty in projects then led him to pursue a career in academia. In 2001, Elmar won a prestigious Doctoral Studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to complete his PhD in Project Risk Management at the University of Bath. He then served as a lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Surrey and has been at Cranfield since 2007. Over the past few years, Elmar has become deeply involved in the development of Graduate Programmes and Customised Executive Development, providing common-sense, intuitive, and deliverable based methods for planning and executing projects. He is a visiting professor at IÉSEG (France) and is associated with Umeå University (Sweden) as a guest researcher. He also publishes widely on aspects of Risk Management, Resilience and High Reliability Organisations. 
  • Dr Mark Gannon is a Senior lecturer in Project Management at the University Hertfordshire Business School. He has gained over twenty-five years of industrial experience from working within the transport, construction and defence sectors. Whilst working within the transport sector he has developed a wide range of Project Management, Commercial and Analytical expertise through working on some of the largest and most innovative Private Finance Initiative/Public-Private-Partnership (PFI/PPP) projects undertaken in the United Kingdom. Expertise has been gained from working within the public and private sectors and covers: policy formation, stakeholder management, political risk, contractual and financing models for delivering investment, business cases and investment decision-making, risk management, procurement strategy, contractor selection, barriers to productivity and workforce engagement. Mark is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Member of the Association of Project Managers and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. 
  • Dr Edward Wallington has previously been a Programme, Project and Business Development Manager in Central Government, managing the development and support of Enterprise GIS based management information systems and a portfolio of associated projects. Ed utilises APM and PRINCE2 methodologies to manage and control projects. Ed Wallington has undertaken research projects with the aim of understanding issues and requirements, investigating options and delivering solutions to support and enhance management and business decisions at strategic and operational levels. Ed regularly contributes to blogs and online discussion forums, and has written a number of publications for academic and professional bodies, see his publications page for further details. Ed is also a guest lecturer speaking about project management and management information systems. 
  • Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In the last 3 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 20 countries and with new books out including ‘The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell’, ‘Strategies for Project Sponsorship’, ‘Leading Successful PMOs’, and ‘The Thirty-Six Stratagems: A Modern Interpretation of a Strategy Classic’ - with a number of other book projects currently underway. He has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’ and he acts as an independent consultant working with some of the major organizations in the world coaching executives, PMO leaders and project managers.

* According to the Global Project Management Survey conducted by PIPC, project management is only developing in terms of utilisation, not evolution, since in the last 10 years the percentage of projects failing to finish on time and budget has proved to be stable at 31% (2005). These figures are worsening and in 2008 the percentage of projects failing to provide any type of benefit raised to 60% (PIPC, 2008).

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