In May 2015, I undertook an ARCADIS Quest to Singapore and Hong Kong from the UK. I had two main objectives in my Quest. I wanted to learn how Arcadis is managing programs of work around the world as Program Managers and how different Project Management Offices (PMOs) are being run globally. I wanted to bring the learnings back to the UK to feed into the program which I am working on in the UK.
When I had decided on my key topic areas, I spoke to a wide range of people. I spoke with those who had undertaken Quests and to my Line Managers in the UK to focus on what structure the Quest might take and how I could get the most out of the program in the time allowed. This led me to focus on my ideas and so I got in touch with Oliver Barrow from Singapore to discuss what shape the week could take. I asked Oliver if he wanted be my host as we are both working in similar roles in a PMO. This helped me to submit my application with clear objectives. This clarity in objectives was crucial in the structure of my Quest whilst I was away and in using the information that I had gathered after the Quest.
Oliver and I had several calls as we moved towards the Quest dates to agree on the meetings and planning and then… the big day arrived! I met and discussed programs and PMOs with an astounding number of people both in Singapore and Hong Kong. They all had such valuable contributions and were exceedingly willing to share their thoughts and experience on a range of topics. This enabled me not only to achieve my learning goals – of understanding more about different types of programs management – but also to see different templates which are used to achieve different objectives and the different challenges which the different programs were facing. I was fascinated in particular to hear about the difficulties which arouse when managing an Asia wide program, with different languages, currencies, exchange rates and time zones to cope with. As a contrast to the UK wide programs which I am currently working on, which doesn’t encounter any of these issues.
As a conclusion to the week; the team took me to my first Dim Sum restaurant a delicious and highly enjoyable end to an excellent week!
A huge thank you
My Quest was absolutely fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I learnt so much more about different cultures, working etiquettes and project and program management in a global context than I had even considered. My colleagues and their clients were exceedingly generous with their time. I especially would like to thank my host, Oliver Barrow. Thanks for the time, effort and energy you’ve put in making my Quest even more worthwhile undertaking. Next to that, I would also like to express my thanks, not only to the people who I met whilst away, but also to the Lovinklaan Foundation for sponsoring the programs and for approving my application.
Georgina Ablett, EC Harris