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Women in IT Awards: the results

Women in Tech Awards

The inaugural Women in IT Awards were held in London on Thursday and I’d been nominated, with my colleague, for work on a large IT transformation project at Spire Healthcare (the project forms the major case study in my book, Customer-Centric Project Management). This photo is of us just before dinner was served. It was a glitzy night at Grosvenor House on Park Lane.

Ben Rossi, editor of Information Age which put the awards together, opened the evening after a champagne reception.

“Only 16% of IT professionals are women,” he said, “half what it was some years ago. Only 39% of women feel looked after by their industry compare to 61% of men. There are not enough people like you.”

He went on to say that the awards demonstrate the role that women can play in the vibrant world of technology. “Nothing is going to change unless there is a strong level of accountability,” he added.

Steve Garrett, Chairman of Salesforce, also gave a brief address. “Only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women,” he said. “For the past 15 years women have earned more degrees than men but rates of women in IT have remained stubbornly low.”

He continued: “When women demonstrate the skills to succeed in technology that creates the conditions to inspire others.” He talked about how the industry needed all the innovators and professionals it could get to keep up with continuing economic and business change. “We dare not rely on or exclude a group,” he concluded.

Women in Tech collage

The winners

Maggie Philbin hosted the event introducing the finalists and the award presenters. The winners are:

Advocate of the Year: for a company that has run initiatives to support women in IT – Network Rail

e-Skills Initiative of the Year: for a company that has run a programme to encourage women and girls to build their digital skills and consider a career in ICT – Royal Bank of Scotland

Innovator of the Year: for a company where a woman was integral to the success of a program of corporate innovation – Unruly

Business Leader of the Year – Helen Lamb at Fujitsu

Public Sector Deployment of the Year – London Borough of Camden, although Exeter College got the biggest cheer as we were on their table!

Private Sector Deployment of the Year – Tesco

Future CIO of the Year – Colette Mullan at BT

IT Transformation of the Year: for a company that has done a major successful IT transformation where a woman was an integral part. This was the award we were up for but we were beaten by the worthy winners – Royal Mail.

CIO of the Year – Anna Barsby at Halfords Group

Editor’s Choice: for a company that has done something exceptional to encourage women into the tech industry – FDM Group

Salesforce Woman of the Year: for a woman who has demonstrated IT excellence and innovation, shining a light on what can be achieved in technology – Emer Timmons at BT Global Services

Betty Webb standing ovation

A standing ovation for WWII codebreaker Betty Webb, who worked at Bletchley Park

The highlight of the awards ceremony was easily the presentation of the Security Champion of the Year award, presented by Betty Webb, one of the codebreakers based at Bletchley Park during WWII. She spoke briefly about having to keep her work a secret for 30 years and wondered whether that would be possible nowadays. They had no choice at the time, she said, or we wouldn’t have been sitting here in comfort today. Read more about the secret projects and amazing work of women in IT during the war here. The award was won by Cath Goulding of Nominet.

Despite not winning, it was a lovely evening, and inspiring to be surrounded by so many stories of wonderful IT projects and women achieving huge career success. If you’ve got the chance to enter professional awards you should definitely go for it. It’s a great experience to be a finalist, and you don’t have to win for it to be an achievement listed on your CV!


Video: Agile Awards 2012

In this video you’ll see the Agile Awards 2012 event in London and a couple of the awards being given out. Read more about the evening and the award winners here.


And the winner is… UK Agile Awards 2012 winners

Agile Awards

At the Agile Awards. They made a real effort on the room and tables.

I attended the UK Agile Awards on Thursday night, which was a good evening. Master of Ceremonies comedian Steve Punt cracked an Agile joke during the first few minutes which went down well. There were 8 awards, and the winners were:

Most Valuable Agile Innovation of 2012

Won by The 10 Second Build. This award was presented by Brian Henley from emergn who gave quite a long speech about his company. Luckily this didn’t set a precedent for future presenters. Emergn were also nominated in this category for their Value, Flow, Quality tool, and while the award sponsors had nothing to do with the judging and were allowed to enter the category they were sponsoring, it probably would have been a bit embarrassing if he had been presenting the award to someone from his own company.

Best Agile Newcomer

Emma Hopkinson-Spark

Emma Hopkinson-Spark picking up her award for Best Agile Newcomer

Won by Emma Hopkinson-Spark from United Health, who was praised for her impact, delivery and leadership skills as well as her understanding of agile methods and her coaching ability. Presented by Rob Smith from Indigo Blue.

Best Use of Agile in the Public Sector

Won by The Ordnance Survey Goose Team for their online e-commerce platform. They seemed very pleased by it. The award was presented by Ian McKenna from Project Success.

Best Use of Agile in the Private Sector

Won by Red Gate Software who were praised as a ‘truly Agile company’. The Chairman of DSDM Consortium presented the award, saying that 2012 is “the year that Agile comes of age.” “Let’s not let too much process get into Agile,” he added.

Best Agile Team

Sponsored by Tata, Telefonica UK won this award. They started with a team of 40 and the goal of reducing ‘customer lost hours’ although it wasn’t explained what they are. O2 created a collaborative and learning environment and the team has now grown to 220 people, all working in an agile way.

Best Agile Coach or Mentor

Won by John Wright from Indigo Blue who has 10 years of experience at a range of levels from PMO to CXO. He was praised for his ability to lead by example.

The Agile Special Recognition Award

Went to Dave Putman, but I don’t remember why. I’m sure he deserved it.

Most Value Agile Player (UK)

Keith Richards

Keith Richards getting ready to present the Most Valuable Agile Player award

This award was presented by Keith Richards, who won the award last year. He talked about Forrester research saying that 27% of companies were agile and said he disagreed. “Mature agile at enterprise level is extremely rare,” he said. He added that this was a great awards night because it was good to see people doing Agile well and being with people who have worked in an Agile way for a long time. “Maybe we are the fast moving water,” he said.

Keith predicted that there will be a meteoric rise in Agile adoption and accreditation, and said that it is the Agile project management certification from APMG is the most requested product that the organisation offers.

Keith presented the award to Shaun Smith from Barrens Consulting, who was praised for his coaching, team engagement, collaborative skills and ability as a mentor.

I attended the awards as the guest of APMG.

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February: News round up

Here’s the round up of news from the world of project management this month.

New Major Projects Leadership Academy

Said Business School

Said Business School, Oxford, home to the new Major Projects Leadership Academy

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford will design and deliver a new Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA) for the UK public sector. The MPLA is designed to develop a cadre of world-class major project leaders within the Civil Service “to direct major government projects of high complexity and cost, such as the Olympics,” although frankly it’s a bit late for that.

The Academy expects to take 50 people through the one-year programme every year, starting in October. Students will attend 3 residential modules, blending practical and theoretical learning, masterclasses and mentoring. They will address three primary themes:  Major Project Leadership, Technical Understanding of Major Project Delivery and Commercial Capability.

“As you would expect from Oxford, the Academy programme is intellectually rigorous,” said Dr Paul Chapman, Academy Director at Saïd Business School. “But it will also focus on the practical skills necessary to develop senior practitioners that can deliver very large and complex projects on time and on budget. We will be drawing on our considerable experience of working with senior project practitioners from around the world, as well as our research insights in developing the first programme of its kind for the public sector.”

Sounds good. But the proof will be in successful delivery and long-term cost savings. By developing and retaining the skills of senior project leaders across government, the Academy should reduce the need for expensive external consultancy and equip civil servants with the right skills to deliver value for money projects.  The plan is that in the future, no one will be able to lead a major government project without undertaking this development course. I expect the National Audit Office will be watching this development closely, so it will be interesting to see how the Academy improves the delivery of government projects.

Happy Birthday APM!

APM logoAPM is 40. They are organising a series of events and activities throughout 2012 to celebrate, including a photo contest for pictures that sum up your favourite project or programme in one image. The plan is to display all the pictures later this year in a show of what project management can achieve. Think your project is worth celebrating? Email your photo and a couple of words of explanation to myproject@apm.org.uk or submit it via Twitter using #myproject.

They are also naming some new Honorary Fellows, having a conference and holding awards although they do that every year. I wonder if they will be making them extra special this year. I guess we’ll find out.

New qualification: PRINCE2 Professional

If you are one of the people who pooh-pooh PRINCE2 as it doesn’t have an experience requirement, sniff no more. An advanced PRINCE2 qualification, snappily called PRINCE2 Professional is now available.

“The qualification has been developed in response to demand from PRINCE2 Practitioners who want to prove they can apply PRINCE2 successfully,” said Nikki Kelly, Product Development Manager, APMG-International, the developer of the qualification. “We’ve also responded to industry feedback which says that organizations want to hire PRINCE2 qualified project managers who are competent – not just knowledgeable. PRINCE2 Professional will be suitable for those who can show their practical experience of applying the method. We hope it will become the new standard to which all professional project managers will aspire.”

The UK now has proper competition between two standards, each hoping to be the one to which project managers “aspire”. Registered Project Professional is also experience-based, but only requires a 45 minute interview. PRINCE2 Professional requires project managers to work on a case study for two and a half days, while being watched by expert assessors.

I couldn’t find a cost for this never-ending job interview, but I imagine it will only be cost effective for companies to charge a fair amount. Advantage Learning says that 30% of PRINCE2 Practitioners would be interested in this qualification, so let’s see what the take up and feedback is after a few cohorts have gone through the mill.


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