Systems Engineering and Project Management (SEPM) Joint Working Group


The Systems Engineering and Project Management (SEPM) Joint Working Group is a collaboration between INCOSE UK and the Association for Project Management (APM) and was established after a joint workshop held in January 2013. The joint workshop was hosted by the APM Chairman Mike Nichols and the INCOSE UK Past President Mike Wilkinson and as a result, it was decided to create a joint working group to explore how the two organisations could work together in order to:

  • Help Project Managers understand and appreciate Systems Engineering
  • Help Systems Engineers understand and appreciate Project Management
  • Help both PMs and SEs think systemically when working on projects

An inaugural kick-off meeting of the JWG was held in July 2013 where the aims and objectives of the working group were discussed, individual workstreams were identified and the governance of the JWG was established. The working group is co-chaired by John McGlynn (APM) and Doug Cowper (INCOSE UK).

The original aim of the SEPM joint working group was to develop and promote good practice and guidance dovetailing SE and PM and promote systems thinking across the wider decision making community in the UK (and to influence developments internationally) in order to support the improved delivery of complex projects and avoid common pitfalls. The original set of objectives were:

  • To set out the benefits of better ways of working between SE and PM through a well thought out and compelling value proposition
  • To provide practical advice and guidance on how SE and PM can work better together throughout the project lifecycle identifying roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, the competences that they require to fulfil those roles and what shared culture and behaviours they will need to adopt
  • To communicate the benefits of improved working between SE and PM through the production of guidance material, education and training and the use of practical case studies from real world examples
  • To promote the benefits of systems thinking across the PM, SE and wider decision making community.


About Us

The Systems Engineering and Project Management Joint Working Group (SEPM JWG) was 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 (INCOSE UK and the APM). This has been successful to the point that the APM wanted to make it one of their Special Interest Groups (SIG). These groups have a standing within the APM that allows the group access to APM resources (money, website, etc) and allows the group to influence things like the APM Competency Framework. Therefore it made sense to become a SIG. The reason the group went for the title of Systems Thinking for the SIG was that the group did not want the Engineering term to exclude all the non technical Project, Programme and Portfolio Managers that would benefit from applying systems thinking to their Projects, Programmes and Portfolios. This was one of the group's core objectives to get more systems thinking (and SE) into projects.

Click here to go to the APM ST SIG Website.


Working Group Aims

The aim of the SEPM JWG has been further developed:

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

  1. Develop the Project Management BoK for Systems Thinking with particular
  2. Emphasis on good practice and guidance to enable P3M and Systems Engineering
  3. 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
  4. Provide an active forum for the community of project management and systems thinking professionals to debate and share experiences, ideas, tools and techniques.

The SEPM JWG has 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 APM SIGs and the wider APM membership to help foster the links and relationships that lie at the heart of systems thinking.


Further Information

If you would like further information or would like to participate in the SEPM JWG, please contact the co-chairs via the