Project Management

PMI Global Insights

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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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Cameron McGaughy
Dan Furlong
David Maynard
Emily Luijbregts
Priya Patra
Fabio Rigamonti
Marjorie Anderson
Moritz Sprenger
Karthik Ramamurthy
Drew Craig
David Davis
Kimberly Whitby
Lorelie Kaid
Laura Schofield
Stephanie Jaeger
LORI WILSON
Brantlee Underhill
Heather McLarnon
Kiron Bondale
Michelle Brown

Past Contributors:

Johanna Rusly
Deepa Bhide
Chris DiBella
Nic Jain
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
Catalin Dogaru
Carmine Paragano
Te Wu
Katie Mcconochie
Fabiola Maisonnier
Jamie Champagne
Esra Tepeli
Mel Ross
Geetha Gopal
Randall Englund
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Sandra MacGillivray
Gina Abudi
Sarah Mersereau
Lawrence Cooper
Bruce Gay
Michel Thiry
Heather van Wyk
Barbara Trautlein
Steve Salisbury
Yves Cavarec
Benjamin C. Anyacho
Nadia Vincent
Carlos Javier Pampliega García
Norma Lynch
Michelle Stronach
Sydni Neptune
Laura Samsó
Marcos Arias
Cheryl Lee
Kristin Jones
Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
Annmarie Curley

Recent Posts

Presentation Recap: From Organizational Agility to Business Agility: A Real Experience of Digital Transformation

Presentation Recap: Driving Innovation through Diversity

SPARK: How to Ignite It for Greater Connection, Meaning, Purpose, and Impact!

How to Succeed in a Disruptive World

Do You Know that Your Feedback Can Be Worth a Million Dollars?

The PMI Virtual Experience Series Delivers You a Roadmap to Success

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:  

  • An ambitious future-focused program featuring more than 30 speakers that crosses several global time zones with live closed captioning for sessions in six languages: Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Russian and English.
  • A Mainstage featuring a bombshell lineup including TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year Gitanjali Rao, tech entrepreneur Nora Bavey, humanitarian Derreck Kayongo, wicked problem solver Tom Wujec, author Porter Braswell, and more!
  • 18 breakout sessions taking you inside today’s megatrends, sharing essential strategies for organizational agility and transformation, and driving innovation, diversity, and real progress, both inside your orgs, and out.
  • A ton of networking. We’re curating industry—and topical—chats fostering opportunities for you to find each other and connect on a professional and personal level.
  • And if you happen to be new to the world of project management, we have a whole suite of content created for rising leaders. Check it out.

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.

 

 

Posted by Michelle Brown on: May 05, 2021 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Striving for Inclusivity? Agile Can Help!

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.

  • A value moment is when we lived by the SCRUM values.
  • A whoops moment is when we failed to live by the SCRUM values.

 

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.

Posted by Priya Patra on: May 04, 2021 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

What Our Attendees Asked: Questions About Everything from Pure Agile to Waterfall (and Hybrid!)

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.

Posted by Sydni Neptune on: April 27, 2021 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Presentation Recap: Make It Safe to Think Different

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:

  1. The first step is to establish trust and rapport between project team members – we need people to get to know each other on a personal level. We need people to do less telling, more asking and better listening.
  2. The second step is to set the stage for candor and curiosity. To do this, we need to reframe failure as success if we learn from it. We also need to emphasize that there is a lot of uncertainty and interdependence in the important work that they do on teams. Therefore, people need to be alert to potential threats and issues and feel comfortable speaking up about them.
  3. Next, we need to ensure that everyone’s voice is in the game, and so we need to invite participation that people find compelling and genuine by being humble and curious.
  4. Then and only then can we encourage innovation. We need to encourage the mindset of creator not critic. We need to welcome diversity of thinking. We want the team to embrace the notion of building up instead of tearing down.
  5. Finally, to ensure that people continue to feel safe and to think different, we need to thank people for their engagement. This is a critical step as it reinforces a climate of safety and ensures that people will continue to feel safe and 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.

  1. 1. Can a company’s climate change without personnel change?

    A company’s climate or culture is “the way we do things around here.” It is set by its leaders. So as employees, we look at what they reward and measure. We look at how they treat people. We look at how they respond when they are challenged. We look at how they react when mistakes are made. This guides our thinking and behaviour.  So, if the personnel you refer to are the leaders of the organization, then the culture will not change unless they leave or they proactively change the way they do things around the company.

     
  2. 2. When the PMO doesn’t control the hiring/firing at an organization, how can they protect employees who challenge processes/norms?

    As leaders within the PMO, we should be focused on ensuring that the PMO goals are aligned with the business and company goals and that the PMO will significantly impact bottom-line results. Therefore, we need to create high performing teams where it is possible and permissible to speak up. We should encourage teams to create a team charter where they decide the norms and processes for working together, because when people are involved in the creation of anything, they are more committed to it. We should then support our teams in carrying out the work of the PMO and we should have their back.

     
  3. 3. At what stage does feeling safe occur? Does it occur across stages?

    Feeling safe or not feeling safe depends on how people are treated at all stages of team formation. It depends on how conflict is managed and will determine if people feel safe about speaking up. People will begin to feel safe if they feel their voice is being heard even when they are challenging the current thinking. However, feeling safe can stop in an instant, if someone were to challenge the status quo, admit a mistake or voice a concern and the response was a severe reprimand or a torrid of abuse. Then, people will possibly opt for silence the next time.

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.

Posted by Norma Lynch on: April 26, 2021 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Presentation Recap: Conversational Intelligence Software Will Boost Meeting Productivity

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.

Posted by Bruce Gay on: April 26, 2021 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
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