Interview with Tony Appleby


Interview with Tony Appleby

Chair, Board of Directors
Project Management Institute

Interviewed by Ipek Sahra Ozguler
International Correspondent
Istanbul, Turkey


Tony Appleby is the managing director of the Project Strategy Consulting Group, specializing in organizational maturity and the delivery of strategic transformation. He has led engagements on six continents, partnering with executive and country leadership teams to achieve business objectives through improved operational capabilities and strategic performance management. He is also focused on expanding organizational project management process excellence to government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

He is a member of numerous professional organizations and holds a variety of specialized credentials across multiple disciplines, including governance, audit controls and organizational development. He served ten years on the board of directors for a manufacturing concern and is an active member of the U.S.-based National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and a Chartered Director and Fellow of the U.K.-based Institute of Directors (IoD). He is an experienced public speaker and has given presentations around the world on organizational project management and strategy execution best practices.

Prior to consulting, he spent over 20 years advancing his practical knowledge of project and change management across a variety of industries and disciplines. He has directly managed complex, global high-value projects in the healthcare, engineering, technology and research sectors. Mr. Appleby is also a long-time PMI volunteer, having served on the board and as president of the PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. He has also supported several global PMI committees and task forces over the past decade, including serving as a member of the Ethics Member Advisory Group and as the Region Mentor for Southwest North America.  During his board tenure with PMI, he has served as Chair of the Audit Committee, as Secretary/Treasurer, and as a member of the Strategy Oversight Committee.

Mr. Appleby is a former military officer and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in international business. He is passionate about volunteerism and has been helping nonprofit and professional communities since his youth.



Ipek Sahra Ozguler (Ozguler):    Tony Appleby, thank you for accepting the interview invitation of the PMWJ. Please tell us about yourself for PM World Journal readers to get to know you.

Tony Appleby (Appleby):         Well, let’s go back in time a little bit and explain how I came to be the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Project Management Institute (PMI).

I was lucky to learn about PMI very early in my career. Back in the early 1980s, as a newly minted project director for an engineering firm, my colleagues and I were struggling to achieve consistent success with our projects. And our vice president noticed. Being told “improve or you’re out” can be a big motivator!

My team worked together to research techniques to improve, and that’s when I first learned about PMI. We were able to get our hands on an early edition copy of the PMBOK® Guide – the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. And it inspired me because there were so many things in there that we had not considered. So, I took it upon myself to own the project management methodology at the company and I truly enjoyed that experience.

Fast forward many years, my family relocated from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West Coast and I used the move as an opportunity to make a career shift – from engineering into project management – because I enjoyed taking ideas and turning them into a reality.  My first employer was a healthcare company and I was tasked with an IT project. While I was eager, I soon realized I was in over my head.

Remembering PMI as a resource, I learned the local chapter had learning and sharing opportunities nearby. I soon connected with a community of project managers who provided me with the information and tools and templates that I needed to be successful with the project. Soon afterwards, I was offered a program management opportunity, which was exceptionally large and very complex, and with a lot of risks. This time, I knew when my boss asked me if I was up to the task that I could do it because I had the backing of my PMI community to assure my success. And I was successful. So, I began to give back and have been engaging and volunteering with my local PMI chapter for more than 20 years. PMI was – and is – at the heart of my success.  It’s been a primary driver and supporter of my career.

Ozguler:        Your passions are organizational project management and helping organizations across the globe achieve their business objectives. You have been involved with project / program management and organizational change management engagements on six continents, working with the senior leadership and country executives of Fortune 500 / Global 2000 companies, international not-for-profit associations, and governmental entities. Could you give more information about them?

Appleby:       As I have continued to advance in my career and have done more consulting, I have developed a deep passion for helping organizations achieve their business objectives.

Organizational project management provides entities with the opportunity to realize their goals and outcomes in a more efficient and effective way. And many groups need that kind of help. PMI’s own data indicates that in recent years, organizations wasted almost 12 percent of their investment in project spend due to poor performance and that number has barely budged over the past five years. Worse, almost half of all strategic initiatives across the globe are considered unsuccessful. The Pulse of the Profession®, a global survey conducted by PM), reveals that around $1 million is wasted every 20 seconds collectively by organizations around the globe due to the ineffective implementation of business strategy through poor project management practices. This equates to roughly $2 trillion dollars wasted a year!


To read entire interview, click here


How to cite this interview: Ozguler, I.S. (2020); Interview with Tony Appleby, Chair, PMI Board of Directors; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue II, February.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/pmwj90-Feb2020-Ozguler-Interview-with-Tony-Appleby.pdf



About the Interviewer


Ipek Sahra Ozguler

Istanbul, Turkey



Ipek Sahra Ozguler graduated from the Istanbul University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and from Middle East Technical University with an MSc degree in Software Management. As a project manager, she has more than 10 years’ experience in various areas such as portfolio management, program management, project management, software management, business analysis. She became a certified PMP in January, 2012 and a certified SCRUM Master in 2014.

She has managed a variety of projects across manufacturing, defence, FMCG (Cola Cola), insurance (Euler Hermes), audit (Deloitte), telecommunication, ICT and aviation sectors and gained broader insights. In addition, she has worked as international correspondent for the PM World Journal since 2014.

Ipek is based in Isanbul and can be contacted at ipeksahra@gmail.com.  Her portfolio is published at the http://ipeksahra.strikingly.com/.

To view other works by Ms. Ozguler, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/ipek-sahra-ozguler/