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Why is Agile becoming so popular in project management?

Agile methods and frameworks continue to take the project management world by storm. No longer confined to software development, agile approaches have become popular with a wide variety of organizations that need to be flexible and responsive as the pace of change continues to accelerate in business.

agile logoWhy so popular?

Essentially, the iterative and incremental nature of Agile allows organisations to keep their eyes on the prize – the product or services they are looking to launch – while allowing development teams to adapt their approach as they go. Typically two-to-four week ‘sprint’ work cycles, culminating in a review of progress made so far before the next phase of development, contrast sharply with timescales for traditional project management that stretched into months and even years. Frequently this resulted in the end product being obsolete before it was ready.

In a recent Benchmark Report* based on a survey of 2,000 project managers confirmed the growing popularity of Agile. In 2015 25% of the respondents indicated that they use Agile methods and techniques in their day-to-day roles, while 60% have some exposure to Agile and only 15% indicated no exposure. This is a 10% increase from the response provided by UK-based practitioners 12 months previously.

Amongst those Agile methods that have experienced an explosion of growth is AgilePM – a guidance, training and certification scheme developed by APMG International and DSDM Consortium. Training and certification is based on the AgilePM Handbook, itself a subset of DSDM’s all-encompassing Agile Project Framework. The AgilePM Handbook offers a complete framework for the management of an Agile project from start to finish.

We can take a look at the principles of DSDM’s Agile Project Framework as a good indicator to the rise in popularity of Agile approaches in project management. The eight principles support DSDM’s philosophy that:

“best business value emerges when projects are aligned to clear business goals, deliver frequently and involve the collaboration of motivated and empowered people”.

DSDM Consortium


Posted in Accreditation, Agile, AgilePM, Exams, Project Mgmt, Qualifications.

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Change in the age of disruption


A shared learning forum will hear from international thought leaders on the future of change management

APMG International is delighted to partner with the Change Management Institute on the 11th and 12th November for the Change Management Institute (CMI) 2015 Conference that aims to investigate emerging trends in organisational change. The conference, taking place at the RSA on London’s Strand, has assembled a program of international thought leaders in change to explore new concepts and challenge conventional thinking in a shared learning forum.


Posted in Change Management, Events, Exams.

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Conforming to the information security requirements of ISO/IEC 20000-1

ISO, ISO/IEC20000, Standards, Cyber Security


ISO/IEC 20000 is the standard for service management. It includes requirements for information security in clause 6.6, information security management.

Many organisations who wish to certify to ISO/IEC 20000-1 already have certification to ISO/IEC 27001. The question then arises about whether they automatically conform to the requirements of ISO/IEC 20000, 6.6?

The requirements for information security in ISO/IEC 20000-1

The requirements for information security management in clause 6.6 of ISO/IEC 20000-1 are aligned to the requirements in ISO/IEC 27001. Of course, the ISO/IEC 20000-1 requirements are only a subset of ISO/IEC 27001 because the focus of the two standards is different.

The requirements of ISO/IEC 20000-1, 6.6 can be summarised as:

  • establish, approve and communicate an information security policy
  • establish information security objectives
  • conduct information security risk assessments to a defined approach and using criteria for accepting risks
  • identify controls to manage the identified risks
  • conduct information security audits at planned intervals and review the effectiveness of controls
  • document, agree and implement controls with external parties accessing, using or managing service provider’s information or services
  • assess all requests for change (RFC) to identify risks to information security or impacts on the policy or controls
  • manage information security incidents, according to the ISO/IEC 20000-1 incident management procedure, and analyse them to identify improvements.


Posted in Cyber Security, Exams, ISO Schemes, Qualifications.

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A quick guide to COBIT®5: certification levels

COBIT 5 Logo
is an IT professional certification offered by select APMG accredited training organizations (ATOs). For those of you who may be deprived of time, this post serves as a quick, concise run-through of the certification – what it is, how it could benefit you and what level of qualification would suit you best.

What is COBIT 5?

COBIT 5 (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) is a framework owned and supported by ISACA. It was created to support the governance and management of enterprise IT. By undertaking the COBIT 5 certification you will gain invaluable insight into extracting more value from your organization’s information and technology and understand how to tie business goals to IT objectives.

COBIT 5 also provides the metrics and maturity models needed to measure whether or not IT has achieved its objectives. Furthermore, COBIT identifies the associated responsibilities of the business process owners as well as those of the IT process owners.

COBIT 5 achieves complete coverage of the organization’s IT management lifecycle by providing an ‘umbrella’ framework which is mapped to other frameworks and standards. This enables COBIT 5 to be applicable to organizations utilizing multiple IT-related frameworks and standards.


Posted in Cyber Security, Qualifications.

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5 reasons to attend the Understanding Agile Project Management webinar

This Friday APMG’s hosting a free-to-attend webinar with renowned expert in Agile Project Management, Melanie Franklin – delivering a comprehensive overview of the increasingly popular project management methodology. If you’re not yet convinced – Melanie herself gives five reasons on why you should attend:

agile logo

  1. Tipping point: Even those organisations who haven’t formally adopted agile project management are using the terminology. Recent research indicates that about a quarter of companies in the UK are applying or trialing an agile approach so we are moving towards the tipping point when agile becomes the norm and not the exception.
  2. CV relevance: Everyone is talking about agile but if it’s not on your CV you are advertising that you are out of the loop. It’s difficult to make the case that you are a project professional if you are not well informed about the biggest trend to impact our profession in a decade.
  3. Well informed: If you don’t know how agile works how can you join the debate on how, when and where it should be applied? Despite what some enthusiasts claim, an agile approach isn’t always the solution. Effective project management means tailoring our approach to fit the situation but if you don’t know about agile aren’t you in danger of only pushing for use of what you do know (which is probably PRINCE2?)
  4. Early benefits: Customers want tangible outputs from their project investment as soon as possible. Agile planning and delivery cycles will enable you to meet this demand. It is no longer acceptable to deliver only at the end of the project lifecycle. Success means being fast on our feet and getting our products and services in front of our users as soon as possible.
  5. Leadership authority: Lots of project team members already have an understanding of agile and see it as the best of breed approach. If you don’t understand what agile project management is and how it works you risk your authority being challenged by your own team!

Understanding Agile Project Management is being held this Friday (11 Sep) at 13:00BST – register to attend here.


Posted in Agile, Events, Project Mgmt, Qualifications.

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Why non-verbal communication skills are important on the service desk

business people group with headphones giving support in help desk office to customers, manager giving training and education instructionsSmile, it’s a customer. Cliché, right? Helpful? Probably.

Here’s an exercise for you. Try saying “How nice to hear from you today!” in a warm and sincere way while pulling the grumpiest face you can imagine. Feels weird? It’s a little bit like patting your head while rubbing your tummy.

It just doesn’t feel right. And if it doesn’t feel right, it probably doesn’t sound right.  Humans are complex social animals with highly evolved communication skills. In face-to-face communication we “hear” more from the body language of the person we are speaking to than from the words they say.


Posted in Qualifications.

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What are PPPs and how can they help infrastructure funding and finance?

As APMG International readies itself to launch a brand new certification in partnership with the World Bank Group (WBG), funded by the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) it aims to foster a common minimum level of knowledge and understanding among the practitioners for Public-Private Partnerships. This makes it important to understand what are PPPs and how do they help governments improve infrastructure and deliver essential public services to grow their economies. PPPs enable the public sector to engage with the private sector to develop and operate public sector facilities and services. Their key characteristics include:

  • Long term – up to 30 years of service provisions,
  • Access to private sector finance,
  • The transfer of risk to the private sector and
  • Different forms of long term contracts drawn up between legal entities and public authorities.

Photo credit: WBG


Posted in Accreditation, Exams, Project Mgmt.

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The agile revolution continues!

agile logo
Demand for AgilePM® training and certification goes from strength to strength. Becoming a certified AgilePM Practitioner can enhance your career, demonstrating to employers you have the skillset to deliver projects in a world which demands speed, flexibility and discipline.

It wasn’t too long ago that Agile was rather an alien concept to project managers. It’s often been seen as lacking structure and governance, whilst suitable only for non-business critical projects and developments.

How times have changed in recent years. Job sites and descriptions for project managers are now littered with demands for experience and certifications in agile.

In truth, Agile has always been present in project management, just cleverly disguised. The logic behind Agile is intuitive; it’s about dealing with change as it occurs during the lifetime of a project. Agile concepts, such as improvising and adapting, have long been part of an effective project manager’s toolkit, despite popular frameworks and methodologies not giving them due recognition.


Posted in Agile, AgilePM, Exams, Project Mgmt, Qualifications.

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Top 5 tips for CESG Certified Professional applicants


The process to becoming a CESG Certified Professional (CCP) with APMG is managed online via a secure administrative system. Not only does having an online application keep the process simple, it gives you control over how quickly your application is processed. In fact, the fastest time in which an applicant has gone from starting the process to being awarded certification – has been a mere 12 days.

Below are our top 5 tips for processing your CCP application quickly and successfully.

  1. CCP Role
  • Selecting the right role and level to apply for is key. Currently there are 7 roles in the scheme, available at 3 different levels. There are four levels for the Penetration tester role. Generally, for the purpose of this certification a Practitioner works as part of a team, under supervision.A Senior Practitioner manages a team of practitioners, and a Lead Practitioner is operating at the corporate/board level, making strategic decisions. The roles are not cumulative so, for example, you could make your application at the Senior Practitioner level, without needing to achieve Practitioner first. You may also apply for more than one role with any combination of levels.
  • The best way to ensure you are applying for the right role at the right level is to review the role definitions in the CESG framework In the Guidance to CESG Certification for IA Professionals, page 12 has a table that lists the roles in the scheme and briefly describes the purpose of each role.The CESG Certification for IA Professionals framework describes in greater detail the requirements for each role and at each level. Then from page 52 onwards it gives examples of activities, behaviours or responsibilities expected for each of the 25 skills.


Posted in Cyber Security, Exams, Qualifications.

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Why Better Business Cases is great

Special thanks to guest author Dr. Fatollah Youssefifar, Programme Management Consultant.


For those working in the public sector – who are involved in creating business justifications for major spending proposals, the task of putting together consistent and cohesive business cases that can withstand independent scrutiny and meeting HMT requirements, often present them with extremely daunting prospects.

For those, whose task is to scrutinize the said business cases, in order to establish their validity or otherwise, ensuring their decisions are based on sound and robust business justification is equally challenging.

The reason for these challenges, on the part of both the producers and the approvers, of the public sector business justifications, is the fact that, until recently, there wasn’t a clear methodology for creating a robust and well-structured business justification, that could address all aspects of a well-reasoned business justification and, at the same time, be acceptable to HM Treasury and/or independent audit bodies, internal or external to the organization.

Hence, many public sector organizations have hitherto been left to their own devices, to create their own version of a robust and all-embracing business case, when putting forward justification documents for major projects. This has led to a multitude of interpretations of what constitutes a ‘well-reasoned’ approach to producing, and the content of, public sector business cases. This has resulted in a situation whereby it is believed that a great deal of public money is being wasted and many poor decisions are being made, based on deficient and inadequate investment justifications.


Posted in Better Business Cases, Project Mgmt, Qualifications.

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