Project Management

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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
Marjorie Anderson
David Maynard
Fabio Rigamonti
Emily Luijbregts
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy
Stephanie Jaeger
Moritz Sprenger
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
David Davis
Andrew Craig
Lorelie Kaid
Kiron Bondale
Heather McLarnon

Past Contributors:

Deepa Bhide
Nic Jain
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
Catalin Dogaru
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Sandra MacGillivray
Gina Abudi
Sarah Mersereau
Lawrence Cooper
Yves Cavarec
Nadia Vincent
Carlos Javier Pampliega García
Michelle Stronach
Laura Samsó
Marcos Arias
Cheryl Lee
Kristin Jones

Recent Posts

Knowledge Transfer Culture for Succession and Resilience

Formalized and Systematic Risk Management for Complex Projects

Pitching and Storytelling 101

Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: The Complete Project Manager

Driving a New Culture to Embrace the Digital Age

Viewing Posts by Heather McLarnon

Knowledge Transfer Culture for Succession and Resilience

By: Benjamin Anyacho, PMP

In a world of breathtaking changes, constant and quick learning of new things, openness to new ideas, and adaptation are no longer optional, but necessary. Learn or become irrelevant! Learning agility, versatility, feedback, knowledge exchange, making meaning of our experience, and collaboration are woven into the fabric of all high performing organizations. However, the way we learn and transfer knowledge has changed forever. Any profession or organization that ignores knowledge transfer and knowledge management will slip into inconsequence and oblivion. We can’t do that! Hence, the efficacy of a knowledge transfer culture. Friends, culture eats any strategy or idea for kahuna breakfast any day.

As hyper job mobility and the aging workforce have come to stay, the test of success is succession. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or disruptions such as the pandemic is our toughness, our resiliency. Knowledge transfer transcends handover-notes and must be intentional. You cannot force people to share or transfer their knowledge; instead, you must create the right knowledge transfer environment. Human interaction is the most significant enabler of the transfer of all human capabilities.

So, what’s the solution? A knowledge culture is one where knowledge has been identified as a significant factor of production, enshrined in the organizational strategy, celebrated, and rewarded. Knowledge transfer is not another program to be adopted, but philosophy in culture—and a way of life. Imagine,

  • Organizations that are most effective at knowledge management improve project outcomes by nearly 35%—PMI 2015 Pulse of the Profession
  • For the first time in our lifetime, five generations interface in the project management space!
  • Millennials will job-hop up to 20 times in their career—Education Advisory Board.
  • By 2029, the 76 million baby boomers retire and walk out with decades of knowledge and experience.
  • Employees get 50-75% of their relevant information directly from other people—Gartner Group/CIBC World Markets.

If these statistics don’t wake us up for strategic knowledge transfer, sleep inertia must have numbed us! There needs to be a direct link or action plan to get all these five generations, including those who think they know it all, to exchange knowledge. It may be challenging, but every one of them goes to the café—hence knowledge café, which could be face-to-face or virtual.

 I will be presenting a session entitled “Knowledge Transfer: Culture for Succession and Resilience that is Pandemic-Proof” on 20 October. This fun and intriguing session unravels how to create a culture of shared knowledge for succession, have the courage for learning agility, and produce a resilient comeback!

Knowledge transfer is critical in today’s environment of multiple generations in the workplace, a move towards project-based roles, a hyper-competitive global economy, and the incredibly fast pace of technology change. So, it’s time to create the right culture and environment, activate knowledge transfer tools, incentivize knowledge workers, bring everyone that knows something to the café.

  • The intangible values like knowledge are more important than the tangible capital in the factor of production.
  • Yet, learning and knowledge exchange should be as simple as walking into a café. We cannot learn at the pace of tortoise in a race-car-world of the knowledge revolution.
  • If we can’t keep up with footmen, what will happen when we race with automation, robotics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI)? We’ll be left behind. Skilled and experienced workers are screening within.
  • Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. You cannot get a high degree of participation unless there’s a breakout session, even if learning is virtual and social distancing is a new norm.
  • The presentation style is being replaced with a collaboration-style of learning. A 45-minute presentation with a 15-minute breakout session/questions and answers session is a one-dimensional exchange of knowledge. It must be replaced with a 15-minute presentation and 45-minute knowledge café, where learning is two-dimensional and inclusive. Hence, a high degree of social and emotional intelligence and a new knowledge environment is coveted.

In this session, attendees will gain practical skills for creating a knowledge transfer culture, learning agility for efficiency, and resilience in the new reality.

  • Gain tools for moving knowledge from the head to the hands of employees.
  • Identify practical applications to manage project knowledge intelligently, become a knowledge worker, and create a knowledge culture.

Interested in learning more and furthering the dialogue? Join me on October 20, 11:25 am - 11:57 am at the PMI Virtual Experience Series event for this presentation and take part in the question and answers with me and the rest of the PM community.

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: October 06, 2020 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Formalized and Systematic Risk Management for Complex Projects

Categories: SeminarsWorld

By: Esra Tepeli, Ph.D., PMP

Risk management is a growing concern in project management. Nowadays, we understand more the importance of having a robust risk management strategy. Due to uncertainties, project managers have difficulties reaching  project objectives in terms of time, resource, cost, quality and safety. The most difficult part is to identify and assess the uncertainties with their possible impacts on the project objectives. However, “risk” can have another dimension called “opportunity”. For this reason, structuring a risk management strategy that includes not only risk events, but also opportunities will be beneficial for the corporate strategy. 

Developing a strong and reliable risk management strategy can be quite difficult for complex projects. Complex projects may have a long and complex life-cycle, multiple stakeholders with a complex organizational plan, and contractual complexities. For these types of projects, identifying and assessing risks is a tough task, depending on the project’s characteristics and the environmental conditions, also feedback on similar risks can be inadequate.

In addition, a gap can be observed in the application of risk management methods in practice. For instance, in the field of construction projects, risk management is underestimated because project managers do not always have enough time to devote to risk management. However, the loss can be very critical for companies if a bad strategic decision has been made due to a lack of risk analysis, especially before the contracting phase.

For complex and strategic projects, it is important for the project stakeholders to identify and assess all the potential risks throughout the project life-cycle and establish an effective risk allocation framework. An objective, reliable and practical risk management process is essential for successful project implementation.

Taking into account the above facts, we have developed a formalized and systematic risk management approach in order to identify and assess project risks in a dynamic way and to take adequate action plans throughout the life-cycle of complex and strategic projects. The findings should enable the project stakeholders to establish a more efficient risk management framework in parallel with project management and to achieve project objectives.

The formalized and systematic risk management process has been developed on the careful analysis of complex projects to ensure its ability to deal with real projects in operational conditions. Besides, the views of a wide range of experts from all major players in complex and strategic projects have also been considered. The process will enable users to identify and assess project risks in a dynamic vision covering the entire project life-cycle, in parallel with project management, and to propose a response plan for risks deemed critical. The identification of risk events is based on a multidimensional and formalized project analysis, which intends to make a more objective, reliable and effective risk identification because each project is unique, has specific factors and needs to be analyzed separately in its case.

In summary, the formalized and systematic risk management process has several added values:

  1. The process covers the entire life-cycle of a complex and strategic project and is adapted to the very long project life-cycle.
  1. It proposes a dynamic risk management approach, adapted to the evolving nature of complex projects. The elements of risk identification and assessment are updated with the project’s progress in a dynamic approach.
  1. It proposes a formalized and systematic approach of risk management with identification of risks, assessment of risk impacts in terms of cost delay, quality, safety and, the proposition of action plans during all the project life-cycle in order to mitigate and eliminate negative risks or transfer them to another project stakeholder.
  1. The risk management process is undertaken in parallel with the project management process and the risk assessment data is integrated into the project simulation, which provides a real-time project simulation with cost, time, quality, safety risk impacts in comparison with the project objectives.
  1. The model is designed and developed in partnership with the final users (practitioners) to favor its use in real operation conditions and to ensure its efficiency by integrating their expectations from a risk management tool.

The method and tools were developed in close collaboration with project stakeholders, and their applicability was tested on several projects. The process has been tested by a variety of stakeholders to improve its use under different operating conditions and develop rich feedback for a variety of complex and strategic projects. In particular, the systematic approach for (Risk Identification), proposed in the model, in combination with the multidimensional project analysis received good feedback from practitioners. The ability of the prototype to approach with real context and to provide useful answers, such as a risk response plan, has been verified.

If you are interested in adopting new risk management models and tools in a dynamic and systematic approach, connect with me during my course Formalized and Systematic Risk Management Process for Complex Projects at SeminarsWorld® Virtual on 5-7 October. I look forward to discussing Risk and Opportunity Management with you!

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: September 25, 2020 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pitching and Storytelling 101

By Vibhu Sinha, PMP

Why should we care about learning how to pitch? Can you think of a situation where you want others to look at the world from your perspective? Perhaps you want your business sponsor to provide funding for a new project; perhaps you want to embark on an acquisition as part of an inorganic growth strategy and you need to convince the Board that the acquisition is worth undertaking; perhaps you want to convince the interviewer that you’re the right candidate for the job; or on a personal note, perhaps you want to convince your children that eating popcorn is bad for their health. All of these situations require making your stakeholders (even if they’re your children) appreciate your view of the world or your vantage point. If you can envision the possibility of being in the midst of one of these or other similar situations, you will need to learn the skills of pitching.

Often people perceive that pitching is about looking sharp, memorizing facts, and making an impression on the audience by demonstrating their business or analytical acumen. It is not so. These attributes will help but they will not “move” your stakeholders. Often people also perceive that pitching is about using elegant words and flowery phrases. It is also not so. Pitching is about telling a story…a story that only
you can tell. What do I mean by “a story that only you can tell”? It means that the level of authenticity, passion and relevance you would bring to your story, no one else would.

Perhaps you have been narrating stories your whole life or perhaps you’re new to it. The good news is that from the perspective of Behavioral Psychology, storytelling is less of an art and more of a science. There is a “formula” to storytelling that can be mastered and applied to pitching. And the formula is universal – applicable across industries, business sectors, geographical boundaries and cultures. 

If you’re interested in learning more, join me on October 20 at 11:25 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) at the PMI Virtual Experience Series, where we explore the concepts behind storytelling in greater detail and participate in Q&A. This presentation was originally scheduled for 3-hours under the category of “hot topic”, in the format of an in-person workshop, at the PMI EMEA Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, earlier this year, but with the onset of COVID-19, we transitioned to a 25-minute session at the Virtual Experience Series. Ergo, I will make my best effort to answer as many questions as I could within the allotted time.

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: September 23, 2020 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: The Complete Project Manager

Categories: SeminarsWorld

By: Randall L. Englund

Success in any environment largely depends upon completing successful projects, and successful projects get done by skilled project managers and teams, supported by effective project sponsors. That depends upon building the Right Set of Skills for Greater Project Success. The integration of knowledge and skills makes the difference in achieving optimized outcomes. A Complete Project Manager integrates key people, team, business, technical, and organizational skills. It becomes possible to apply an organic analog from molecular chemistry and share insights, experiences, and examples intended to motivate action towards embracing an integrated approach to the complete project manager mindset.

While many professionals develop their craft through advanced education and on the job experiences, there comes a time when an enhanced skill set and a new perspective about working with people is necessary to advance to the next level of performance. How do you move beyond this plateau? We suggest a holistic approach to open eyes, minds, … and doors, so that changed thinking can be applied immediately within each organizational environment. The “right” set of skills to achieve “completeness” depends on individual starting points, aptitude, attitude, desires, and supporting context.

Many people are not aware of the need for them to change their thinking and how this mindset inhibits their performance. In time it becomes necessary to adopt, adapt, and apply a different approach, leading to more consistent, timely, and quality results. This can happen because project managers apply necessary leadership, influence, sales, and negotiating skills that had previously been overlooked or underapplied. With the conscious application of these skills, project managers get recognized through achieving business outcomes that had before now eluded them. The goal is to achieve greater levels of personal satisfaction and professional advancement.

The missing ingredients that will move professionals from good to great are the next generation of skills, mindsets, and processes that transform your performance as a project manager or sponsor. To become a more Complete Project Manager means integrating key people, team, business, technical, and organizational skills. Develop the leadership, learning, means and motivation (L2M2) to advance both personally and professionally.

The PMI SeminarsWorld® session on “Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills: The Complete Project Manager” offers the opportunity for participants to share insights, experiences, attitudes, examples, stories and passion to motivate action. Now being offered virtually, participants immediately begin to apply these practices up, across, and down the organization, especially in politically charged situations. The goal is to assess and then integrate the knowledge and skills that make the difference in achieving optimized outcomes, increased satisfaction and bottom-line results. Close the talent gap between what is possible and what actually can be accomplished. This becomes real through a complete project manager mindset that is applied regularly, focused on integrating concepts and skills to create value.

My belief is that all leaders need to create healthy environments for people to consistently and sustainably achieve project success. Sponsors can do a better job of guiding and supporting project teams, and project managers can expand their people skills. My approach includes the behavioral, technical, business, leadership, influence, negotiation, political, conflict and change management aspects that create an environment for project success. The goal is to get greater, optimized results from projects underway or contemplated in the organization. An organic approach learns from nature and implements project, program, and portfolio management through tapping the inherent power of people to work in harmony, have fun, and be more productive. My co-facilitator (and co-author) is Alfonso Bucero. Alfonso believes in and demonstrates passion, persistence, and patience as his motto for everything in life. We bring complementary styles, experiences, and insights that we thoroughly enjoy sharing with others. Both of us come from practitioner backgrounds and now work with project professionals in all industries and functional areas, world-wide. Our goal is to create the right environment to “grow” people to produce their best work.

Completeness taps your passion, persistence and patience. Achieving outstanding projects and organizational skills requires passionate belief in your project. That takes time and dedicated effort. A complete project manager needs to persist, much like an infectious mosquito, to all project stakeholders and use your patience to get those results.

In contrast, many or perhaps most of us are incomplete when it comes to skills that lead to consistent project successes. As a consequence, project failures are all too common. We suffer from missed deadlines, insufficient resources and support, missed commitments, surprises, unhappy team members and customers, career stagnation, unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, perhaps even depression. We think we are doing our job, after all, we were trained as professionals, but we appear myopic and blind to the bigger picture. Struggles are all too common. We are victims of politics, disappointed that our ideas are not accepted, and do not get others on our side. Strategic goals are a foreign concept. No wonder we are stuck on a plateau. We often feel incomplete because of our continuous desire to improve. We strongly believe that continuously moving forward needs to be cultivated by every project manager.

There is hope. When operating in our strengths, regardless of being introverted or extroverted, quiet or loud, we can get along with others, share the credit, and complement each other. When we pair up with people and team members who possess complementary strengths and skills, we become more complete. Opposites can thrive in exquisite harmony.

It seems that the only constant thing in our society during the 21st century is change—technical changes, paradigm shifts, project manager behavioral changes. We need always to be ready to change. We can do so because of a belief that all of us are excellent. Today is a wonderful day to start; if you dedicate time and effort to open your mind and face new possibilities, tomorrow will be even better.

This organic molecule serves as an assessment tool and a summary of the complete project manager skillset:













We look forward to interacting with like-minded individuals to engage in continuous learning and productivity. Join us at SeminarsWorld®

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: September 18, 2020 04:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Driving a New Culture to Embrace the Digital Age

By: Steve Salisbury

“Things are moving so fast we can’t keep up!”

Even in this season of Covid-19, things are moving fast. In the last few months, Brooks Brothers, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, J Crew, and many other retail powerhouses filed bankruptcy. Even Walmart and Walgreen’s have announced they will close stores. Brick and mortar are giving way to the digital age. Amazon continues to grow at breakneck speed. Over ten years, Amazon’s revenue has increased about 12 times, whereas Target Stores’ revenue has increased about 1.2 times.

When we look at the retail industry specifically, and others more generally, it’s clear that traditional organizational structures are falling short. They are unable to keep pace with the demands of the digital economy.

The advancement of the Internet over the past two decades has taught us that we must run our organizations differently for our businesses to thrive, and perhaps even survive. This digital transformation is inevitable. To successfully move into the future, leaders need to strike a balance between organizational hierarchy and cross-functional coordination. While there still needs to be accountability for results, organizations need to be able to move faster to achieve these results.

In the late 1800s, Fredrick Taylor pioneered the idea of specialization to speed production. Before this, companies employed craftsman to build one product at a time. This was slow, tedious, and drove enormous variability in the quality of the end products. Taylor pioneered greater efficiency through organizational structure and discipline. No one person produced a product any longer. Through a structured organizational design, different workers had responsibility for small components of the product’s fabrication and construction. In time, this expanded to other parts of the organization. Payroll clerks computed payroll check amounts, and accounting wrote the paychecks. Order-takers received phone calls from customers who wanted to place orders, a warehouse clerk prepared the product for shipment, and a transportation clerk shipped the product to the buyer. All this structure drove phenomenal efficiency. One Fortune 150 company drove $160 million of annual cost out of their supply chain through these efficiencies. Throughout most of the 20th century, organizations employed Taylor’s ideas to drive more and more cost out of their production.

However, this specialization drove hierarchical adherence which in turn promoted cross-functional dysfunction – especially during times of change. If leaders wanted to deploy a new product design or improve business processes across the organization, they ran into huge amounts of resistance. This led to lots of failure of organizations to achieve results in desired time frames, if at all.

This means that organizations must reduce their dependence on hierarchical adherence and drive more toward teams that work more effectively cross-functionally. People in these organizations must operate at higher levels of cross-functional collaboration, requiring greater trust, healthy dissent, and greater ability to engage in informal accountability.

This starts at the top. The leader of the organization must be willing to give up traditional command and control in favor of a more facilitative approach. She must be passionate about her organization’s mission, must be humble, and must demonstrate greater trust and willingness to engage in healthy dissent.

In addition to these personal characteristics, these leaders must also:

  1. Hold their leadership team accountable to strip away the armor and work cross-functionally – more than ever. She must model and require more openness, more willingness, and a greater propensity to challenge each other.
  2. Promote and model the idea that employees across the organization work together more effectively to drive these outcomes and are willing to challenge each other to do so.

All leaders must give up the old command and control mentality that Fredrick Taylor inspired. They must become more of a coach, helping direct reports, and the entire organization drive to these new behaviors which in turn drives to a greater culture of cross-functional effectiveness. This is especially true now that more and more people are working remotely. It falls on leaders to help keep the team together and moving forward to achieve purpose.

Interested in learning more and furthering the dialogue? Join me on October 20 , at the Virtual Experience Series: A New World View: Our Global Impact and take part in the question and answers with me and the rest of the PM community.


Posted by Heather McLarnon on: September 11, 2020 05:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."

- Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles, 1961



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