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APM Systems Thinking Interest Network

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Welcome to the APM Systems Thinking Interest Network.

Ready to make a difference? Dive into our network and become part of something truly special. Whether you're passionate about volunteering, seeking valuable resources on Benefits and Value, or eager to network with like minded project professionals at our exciting events, there's a place for you here.

Volunteer opportunities await. Join us to create positive change! From webinars to networking events, there are countless ways you can contribute your time and skills to make a difference.

Discover valuable resources. Empower yourself with knowledge and tools to drive progress forward. Explore our resources below filled with insightful articles, practical guides, and useful tools designed to support your career.


Systems thinking Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing inter-relationships rather than things, for seeing patterns rather than static ‘snapshots’. Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing the ‘structures’ that underlie complex situations. 

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation

The Interest Network has emerged from a Joint Working Group (JWG), established in 2013 between APM and the UK Chapter of the International Council for Systems Engineering (INCOSE UK).

The JWG set out to foster and encourage better integration between project management and systems engineering, drawing on industrial and academic expertise from across the two professional bodies.

The Systems Thinking Interest Network will continue the strong relationship with INCOSE UK, supporting (and supported by) members of both communities.

Aims

The Systems Thinking Interest Network is a natural development of the JWG whose aim is now:

“To promote systems thinking as a methodology to improve delivery of complex change initiatives“

  • develop the Project Management Body of Knowledge for Systems Thinking with particular
    emphasis on good practice and guidance to enable P3M and Systems Engineering
    to work efficiently and effectively in the delivery of complex projects;
  • introduce systems thinking as a recognised competency for project managers;
  • promote systems thinking as a methodology in a broad range of change initiatives and help organisations deliver more effective outcomes with fewer resources;
  • provide an active forum for the community of project management and systems thinking professionals to debate and share experiences, ideas, tools and techniques.

We have a strong agenda in continuing the development of both guidance material and deeper research in line with its aim, and in reaching out across the other Interest Networks and the wider APM membership to help foster the links and relationships that lie at the heart of systems thinking.

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Members can now connect with us on the APM Community

APM Members* can now connect directly with other members of the network, discuss network topics, join network events and fulfil their volunteer roles within the APM Community.

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Apply to be an APM Interest Network Volunteer

This ongoing volunteering opportunity offers a chance to support and facilitate knowledge sharing and production of thought leadership content in the network's area of interest.

Volunteers can be a member or non-member of APM and can apply to join a team at anytime.

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Featured resources

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Systems Thinking: How is it used in projects and project management?

Systems thinking is not a new technique for project management, but neither its application, nor understanding of its benefits, is widespread. Interviews and two surveys have been conducted to explore the use of systems thinking in project management. 

What is systems thinking?

Systems thinking is an approach to problem solving which takes into account the overall system as well as its individual parts aims to:

  • capturing the right requirements, ensuring a system addresses the right problem and the right need, considering all stakeholder requirements;
  • understanding the hierarchy and boundary of a system;
  • building in system resilience, robustness and flexibility;
  • understanding emergent behaviours and properties of a system both positive and negative;
  • avoiding development of unintended consequences;
  • defining, understanding and managing the interdependencies of the whole system and across its boundaries;
  • help understanding of complicated, complex and chaotic problems.

Integration of Systems Engineering and Project Management (Joint Working Group Reports)

The members of the JWG have generated a range of reports and guidance as a result of their work aimed at both the P3M and Systems Engineering communities looking at key areas and issues around the overlaps, integration and tensions between the two disciplines.

SE/PM Fusion Guidance

In addition to our main publications, the ST has also developed some short guidance on key SE / PM “fusion areas” – points at which the SE and P3M disciplines overlap and where greater understanding will provide value and benefits.

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