None of us are strangers to the virtual workplace and its challenges after the year we’ve had. Keeping our teams motivated. Finding new ways to connect and learn from our peers. And of course, prioritizing which virtual content out there will provide us with the most value to help us work smarter, and be most worthy of our time.
When PMI launched the Virtual Experience Series last spring, our goals were simple. We wanted to provide our global community with moments of inspiration and hope, with tools of the trade that could be implemented during a disruptive time, and with organic and meaningful ways to make connections with each other.
We did that — and we won awards for it! So now, the task is to build on our success and continue to serve you with what you need from PMI, now.
Our purpose with this year’s virtual events? Deliver our global network of project professionals (that’s all of you) with a roadmap for the future of your work — creating tangible opportunities to network, learn and develop as leaders in today’s multicultural workplace as we move forward into 2021 and beyond. It’s that simple.
You can participate in our next installment of the PMI Virtual Experience Series on 2 June, and build your power skills, hone your business acumen, and master new ways of working.
Here’s what we’ve got planned:
We are so excited for this powerful virtual event, because we know how much magic happens when our incredible community comes together from around the world to share these experiences. We’ve had past attendees tell us they’ve never felt more connected virtually — and that is something we are truly proud of and will continue to strive for.
Join us. Register Now and we look forward to seeing you there!
Stay tuned for details on more 2021 Virtual Experience Series events coming up in October and December.
By Priya Patra
It’s a new world, new challenges, and new solutions! The nature of our projects has changed, and so have our teams. We have crossed the chasm of geographical boundaries to anyone, anytime, anywhere – the future of work.
According to the PMI report “A Case for Diversity” being able to draw from a spectrum of backgrounds and experiences fuels innovation—unleashing perspectives that might otherwise go unconsidered.
Diversity and inclusion are on the agenda for all organizations nowadays. Leaders within the D&I movement realize that D&I is more than just cultivating a strong pipeline of diverse candidates. It is more about creating an inclusive workplace that not only brings in diverse talent but also knows how to create avenues for success.
In this session, I will be addressing how we can build an inclusive workplace with Agile using these SCRUM values - courage, focus, respect, openness, and commitment.
Why values? Values drive behavior and, of course, our behavior reflects values. Values take precedence in people’s interactions and collaborative work.
I will be sharing a series of anecdotes that relate my experience of navigating personal bias through an effective tool – my value wall! What is a value wall? They say that if you can make it visible, then you can recognize it and make an attempt to solve it! The SCRUM values were placed on a virtual wall where we had each team member write up how we are demonstrating the value in their working day.
Recognizing these moments was a very critical step for me to understand my own personal biases.
Are you interested in learning more about how Agile SCRUM values can help to make your workplace more inclusive? Please join me on June 2 at the PMI Virtual Experience Series when I look forward to taking this discussion forward and responding to your questions.
By Sydni Neptune, PMP
The PMXPO session I presented on 25 March 2021 with PM Solutions Research Editor-in-Chief Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin entitled “PM Maturity and Agile Capability: Meet Up!” had a lively group of attendees, and their questions came in so fast and furious that we had trouble answering them all during the session. We welcome this opportunity to follow up on some of these questions. They show that the theme of our presentation was a timely one, addressing the kinds of issues that project managers are facing in today’s organizations.
Q: Any suggestions for transition to Agile in the middle of a Waterfall project?
A: Transitioning to managing work and team in the middle of any effort is absolutely doable! User Stories will need to be created for remaining work, sprint cadence will need to be defined, and so on. Agile roles need to be defined (including Product Owner), ceremonies need to take place, co-location of the team/resource allocation (developers need to be 100% to the product effort or the team needs to have appropriate time allocations to support agile development, ceremonies, etc.). Required training for the learning curve in a new methodology and way of doing work/interacting, new and very different team roles, and supporting sprint cadence, etc. should be considered. What I would caution teams to consider is calculating/documenting the benefit in changing approach mid-stream, given there is a training/learning curve that will affect budget and timeline.
Q: Great discussion and insights, but isn't Agile just another way of doing project management? Is the comparison really between Agile and Waterfall (and Wagile)?
A: The agile approach can facilitate more flexibility for the business value with increased speed-to-market, iterative feature delivery, fail-fast-and correct mentality in development with shorter development/test cycles for a deliverable, etc. Done well and right, this approach breeds more satisfied employees feeling empowered to make a difference and better job satisfaction. Utilizing Agile methods is not the only way to achieve these measures; however, utilizing the principles and ceremonies, and practicing them as they should be, has built in rigor that WILL achieve desired results.
Q: How do we do a pure agile methodology when we are implementing large software products for large organizations?
A: "Pure agile"" as described in textbooks requires organizational changes. Product Owners own/prioritize the backlog, teams are co-located and allocated to the product effort 100%, the team is delivering something to the customer after every sprint, etc. I believe the result of the organization change and work teams and delivery is powerful; however, many organizations are not willing to commit to such changes. This is why many companies turn to a "hybrid" of Agile methods and traditional project management.
Q: Can a project manager be a Scrum master and Product owner? If a company isn't apt to hiring 2 new people to fill the Scrum master and product owner roles can a project manager fill them, and both coach the team and have the perspective of the client/business goals?
A: The roles of a Project Manager and a Product Owner are entirely different. If the Project Manager truly is empowered to define and prioritize the backlog, this may work but most likely the Project Manager cannot represent the business need appropriately. Does this question stem from the scenario where the project does not have a collaborative business partner and therefore someone needs to step in and fill the Product Owner role? Think through this situation well. This means the Project Manager is signing off on the sprint deliverables and can represent all of the business needs, i.e. decisions. In a traditional PM methodology, the Product Owner is a similar equation to the Business Stakeholder and/or Project Sponsor. Budget and business decisions are the responsibility of the Product Owner. Rarely have I heard of a Project Manager empowered to make these decisions.
Q: Understanding the methodologies is key ... but does the leading Program Manager really need to be CSM certified?
A: The answer is NO. Certification provides formal acknowledgement that the practitioner has completed training/learning for scrum master role and has practiced as a scrum master. However, Agile methodology can be learned and practiced by those not certified. I do encourage certification as it requires a formal learning of the Agile methodology that will always benefit the practitioner/leader.
Q: How do you bridge the contradiction between "Agility" and "Rigorous adherence"?
A: Great question! Many people can't wait to get out from under adherence to policies/standards and procedures and think "doing Agile” will provide flexibility and not require such rigor. Those with this mindset do not understand Agile well and would be surprised to find that most often, and if done as the agilist evangelists preach, there is more rigor with Agile (i.e. ceremonies, velocity, etc.).
Q: How do you achieve successful agile methodology without a dedicated team?
A: Teams can incorporate Agile methods within a traditional project environment resulting in a hybrid approach (traditional PM and Agile approach). If the team does not consist of 100% dedicated resources, you can determine a velocity output based on current allocations from your team members. When this approach is used, a commitment from all team members is required to meet the established velocity.
Q: Am I correct in understanding that tracking metrics such as SPI and CPI is more difficult that other methodologies?
A: Agile methodology utilizes different metrics that measure an equivalent to SPI. For example, a burndown chart will reflect the amount of backlog remaining and progress in 'burning down' the backlog. Cost/Budget is typically tracked on a planned vs. actual chart. Suggestion: Have you thought of a burndown type chart for cost?
Q: Is Agile a methodology or framework?
A: Agile is a methodology and can be used within various frameworks, i.e. Sprints, Kanban, SAFe Agile, Scaled Agile, etc. More than that, it is a way of thinking about how to get work done, and a mindset that values speed, flexibility, teamwork and value.
I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details on this and other sessions.
By Norma Lynch, PMP
I recently presented at PMXPO held on 25 March 2021. This was a great event with 62,000 global attendees and included featured speakers, exhibits and networking activities.
My presentation “Make It Safe to Think Different” focused on the five steps to make the environment safe so that team members are comfortable expressing themselves and thinking different. In most organizations today, people are holding back far too often – reluctant to say or ask something that somehow may make them look bad. They sit in silence instead of collaborating openly with each other, sharing their knowledge, voicing their concerns, asking questions, admitting mistakes and thinking different.
Making the environment safe for candid conversations and diversity of thinking is one of the key drivers for high performing teams. The following are the five steps to make it safe to think different:
During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions that we didn’t get a chance to cover, and my responses are below.
I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be available on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.
By Bruce Gay, PMP
On 25 March 2021 I had the opportunity to present at the PMI Virtual Experience Series PMXPO Event. This global event had over 62,000 attendees and included excellent speakers, virtual exhibits, and networking activities.
My presentation, “How Conversational Intelligence Software will Boost Meeting Productivity,” focused on the promise of automation and AI in helping our profession become more efficient in managing information and insights arising from meetings. I also shared a vision on how project leaders can influence the direction of solution development through our active engagement with industry vendors.
Digital transformation is hard. Even in the forward-looking profession of project management, we spend countless hours documenting and distributing meeting notes and action items for our teams. What if we could automate these processes to leverage AI and machine learning so that our focus could be applied to higher-value tasks, such as relationship building and strategy?
I am pleased to say that help is on the horizon. There are emerging technologies with the potential to boost meeting productivity that project leaders should harness for our companies and for our own career growth. These early-stage companies are applying conversational intelligence (CI) plus machine learning algorithms to automate processes around meetings.
My PMXPO presentation provided an overview of available CI platforms, as well as key features and workflows in this space. While the emerging solutions show promise, they are still very early stage. I also shared lessons learned from piloting a CI solution at my organization. My team found that true automation is lacking and the vendors working in this space need to continue to train models for better results.
I concluded the presentation by calling on fellow project leaders to take control of our destiny to form a Conversational Intelligence (CI) Working Group for meeting productivity and task automation tools.
A Working Group would have many benefits for our profession and would:
a) Inform industry requirements and standards
b) Create community and enable sharing of information
c) Assist vendors with refining their solutions, and
d) Ensure that our voices are heard in the product development process.
If you want to watch any of the PMXPO presentations again, they will be available on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.