Think-Feel-Act, Design Thinking, Governance, AI in PM, and the importance of Sponsorship at #PMIEMEA19 - Day 1

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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What a first day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. A single blog post won’t suffice to cover all the learnings of one day. I chose to pick out some of the key points that stuck in my head of each session I attended – so here it is:

“Most of people define themselves through what we actually do: I am a Project Manager, I am a Fire Fighter, I am a School Teacher. Also, most organisations define themselves through what they sell, and not what customer values.” Jamil Qureshi told the story of a Fire Fighter, who, given the question what he did for a living, said: “I let the future take place, I build communities”. He believes that if he saves a family or a house from a fire, that family can live happy lives and the house will remain to exist. The firefighter defines himself through what he thinks and feels, rather than what he actually does, namely fighting fire.

 

Jamil made an important point: It is all about perspective. We are drawn to our most dominant thoughts and feelings. If we change the way we think and feel about something, we can change the way we act.

 

 

Denis Vukosav is a passionate project manager from the banking industry. That industry may not be known specifically for their ability to deploy Design Thinking and Agile methods in their projects, but Denis is challenging this: “When Design Thinking and Agile methods merge, you can combine best of both worlds. Design Thinking devotes an entire process step to developing customer empathy, which is often minimized within the agile framework for the benefits of speed.” You can make your projects become more successful by incorporating the needs of the customer with design thinking early on in your projects.

 

Denis continues to investigate how Design Thinking will enrich project management processes and will talk again at the global Congress in September. 

 

Michael Knapp presented his research findings from a study on the importance of governance in 3P (Portfolio, Programme, Project Management) in managing innovation in organisations. “One common mistake management and project managers often do is confusing governance and management. Management is about the execution of tasks and processes. Governance is about decision-making.  Today, we have good standards and processes defined for the execution, and research shows, there are very little standards and processes on Governance in organisations.” The lack of maturity and metrics in governance can often lead to barriers to manage innovation effectively. If a project manager experiences the following barriers, there is a high chance that these symptoms are the result of a lack of governance maturity: Under-funding, culture clashes, sclerosis, politics and poor alignment, lack of strategy and vision, and lack of executive commitment.

 

“The best thing you can do as a project manager working in innovation is to grab management and sponsors and drag them down to the shop floor where the action takes place basis”, said Michael. This will make them start to rethink their commitment.

 

 

What will the future of work look like for a project manager? The next session I attended was organized as a panel discussion formed by three industry leaders in their field of expertise (project management). Hilary Baker from Airbus, Jim Robinson from the Ministry of Defence UK, and Dieter Butz from Bosch.

 

“Knowledge management, empathy, and anticipation are probably the key competences that distinguishes a good project manager from any future AI-driven tool in the profession”, says Hilary. Jim adds, that: “Hard project management skills such as scheduling, risk management, planning, and reporting the right information may become less manual, but need to be understood by a PM”. “Role perceptions will constantly change, and we need to change with the changing needs of the organisation to stay competitive, as an organisation, and as an individual”, concludes Dieter.

 

The gist of the talk for me: Now is the time to rethink standard role models in a project in order to shape the profession in 2030. AI will support, but cannot compete with the human intuition, passion, and creativity of a project manager.

 

 

Olivier Lazar, one of the very few people in the world holding each PMI certification, made an inspiring talk about the role and the need of the sponsor in a project.

 

“41% of projects fail because there is a lack of sponsorship”. Especially in Change Management the role of the sponsor is inevitable. The project manager does not have the credibility to effectively sponsor change and convince negative influential stakeholders.

 

Furthermore, he stresses a vital point: “The project charter is a contract between the organisation, the sponsor, and the project manager. It is the accountability of the sponsor to write and own the project charter”. This is sometimes forgotten. Olivier reminds us that the Initiation Process Group of the PMBOK 6th is owned by the Sponsor.

 

The sponsor is a tool to the project, a good project manager applies this tool effectively in their projects.

 

 

Now I am looking forward to a great 2nd day.

 

Don't forget to follow my fellow Community Correspondents for updates during PMI EMEA 2019: Emily, Stephanie, and Karthik.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn we will be covering the sessions live so you don’t miss a thing!

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 14, 2019 03:38 AM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Great post, Moritz. Beautifully brings out the essence of the fabulous first day!

Great updates of PMIEMEA2019 day one. Thank you!!

Thanks @Moritz for sharing. Great sessions you attended and great write-up. Looking forward to your next post

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