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
Marjorie Anderson
David Maynard
Fabio Rigamonti
Emily Luijbregts
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy
Stephanie Jaeger
Moritz Sprenger
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield

Past Contributers:

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
David Davis

Recent Posts

How does your behaviour support you in achieving your goals? - PMIEMEA19 Recap

Networking, knowledge and insight: PMIEMEA19

Final Summary of PMI EMEA Congress 2019 – my 3 top Lesson’s Learned

Round up of Videos from PMIEMEA19

Agility, Generativity, Terrific TED, and a Sparkling Shiny Surprise! Terrific Third Day of #PMIEMEA19

Viewing Posts by Moritz Sprenger

How does your behaviour support you in achieving your goals? - PMIEMEA19 Recap

PMI EMEA 2019 is over and just slowly I start to realize what a great Congress it was. And foremost, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow project managers from many different countries and backgrounds, share experiences, and celebrate PMI's 50th anniversary. It has been a week since I arrived back home, enough time to organize some thoughts and reflect on the experience.

I initially attended the Congress to get more involved as a volunteer, learn from global thought leaders and practitioners, and to look out for inspiration. I have realized for why I am passionate about the profession of project management: It’s all about mind-set. Furthermore, it's the freedom of choice and personality to use a variety of tools, insights, methods, processes, and competences to achieve goals. The people I have met in Dublin all had these things in common: Personal drive, the willingness to communicate, being results driven, working passionately towards personal goals, and foremost: curiosity. These are exactly the traits that distinguishes a good project managers.

 

I can’t speak for the rest of the attendees, but inspiration is what I found. Most of the speakers transported a real passion for what they do and what they talked about. That’s probably the reason for why some sentences and learnings still occupy me every day at work.

 

Five key sentences from the Congress really got stuck and already made a difference in the way I look at projects in my organisations and at the effectiveness of project leaders today. I use these sentences to challenge my own thinking at work. They are thought anchors, not actual learnings. Maybe they will have an impact on how you go to work tomorrow, as well:

 

“People are drawn to their most dominant thoughts”: Change the way people think, then you can change the way people feel and act; it’s all about mind-set – Jamil Qureshi

 

“Key emerging competences in project management will be agility, customer empathy, advanced analytics, and curiosity”: Traditional roles will be disrupted by a more complex and uncertain environment organisations are embedded in, be part of that change – Hilary Baker

 

“Many companies measure how they implement change, but not the actual change itself”: A change is no longer a change when it is part of the DNA of the organisation. It is often difficult to attend change until full implementation as Management or Sponsors prioritise new initiatives, when change management projects are perceived to be completed. – Olivier Lazar

 

“The next big challenge will be to standardise terminology of agile beyond the small task group and define an integrated framework with the 3Ps: project, programme, and portfolio management”: The hype around agile methodologies is profound, however, they still fall short of providing an integrated framework in relation to the 3Ps on organisational level – Nicholas Clemens

 

“How does your behaviour support you in achieving your goals?”: The one who asks the right questions leads. The importance of coaching skills for effective communication cannot be underestimated for project managers – Maria Fafard

 

What do you think? Will these five anchors provoke your thoughts and actions, too?


Thank you Kristin Jones for providing me with the opportunity to volunteer as community correspondent at this years’ congress. I hope there will be a chance in the future to volunteer once more.

A big thank you also to my team of community correspondents, Emily, Stephanie, and Karthik – it was fun working with and learning from you. Hope to see you all soon.

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 22, 2019 05:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Serious Gamification, the power of 3Ps in an Agile world, RPA, and TED Talks at #PMIEMEA19 Day 3

What a last day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. The last two days have been packed and I am somewhat exhausted due to information overload. But there is still room for another full day of promising sessions and hopefully inspiring TED Talks.


After a very large and strong coffee I was energized for the morning session with Erik Agudelo. Erik provided some insights on his research on transformation projects: “50% of large organisational transformation projects fail. One reason is poor collaboration between small and medium sized projects in a company that are not visible to large and well-structured projects. The smaller unstructured and invisible projects can undermine, diminish, and oppose large-scale change initiatives”. These results led him to develop serious training and coaching games to better simulate the challenges of project collaboration.

 Thank you Erik for all the practical examples and the fun and interactive session. You transfer passion for what you do, and this really engaged the audience.


I will remember the second session for a very long time and will certainly address the key take-aways in my own organisation. Nicholas Clemens is training governmental officials to be able to manage multi-billion dollar projects.

 

“PMI can take credit for one of the most important element in supporting the profession: developing a worldwide acknowledged standardised vocabulary for project, programme, and portfolio management.” Nicholas now urges PMI to standardise terminology for agile practices beyond the small task group level. Agile will and does transform the way organisations manage the 3Ps. During his session he checked how the four prominent agile methodologies cover the 4 levels of organisational governance (Scrum@Scale ®; Large-Scaled Scrum (LeSS®); Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®); Disciplined Agile (DA)).

A top take-away of that very interesting session: Check on what level you operate and tailor your approach within the 3Ps, apply focused agile processes where best suited, and avoid the baggage (overhead).

 

At lunch I met Miranda, a project manager from the states with a very difficult but rewarding challenge: To develop a PMO for a university online library. Great to hear that she will visit my home town Hamburg for a conference next month.


The third session raised the highest amount of questions from the audience, as it is something that affects all project managers: Robotic Automation of Project Processes and its effect on the PMO. Robert Allen and Rhys Lancaster provided a good testimony on how they have transformed their customer facing PMO. “We have made the decision to invest in a really flexible platform, on which we are able to quickly and without much coding effort automate processes through effective machine learning.” However, they pointed out three very important pre-requisites: You need to have structured and quality data, you need to have very mature processes, and the more repetitive they are, the more value you can create by automating them.


And finally: TED Talks!

The three talks I were able to attend were astonishing. They inspired me to change the perspective, become realistic about the world we live and work in, accept this world, and from this new stance: Make the world better for me and everyone around me one step at a time. Nothing is impossible: Mark Pollock’s story is incredible - he became paralysed and now is fighting together with his wife to cure paralysation within his lifetime. Accepting the circumstances and being realistic about the probability of success he fights a new fight everyday – and is again enjoying life.


All in all, it was a great experience. I have a learned so much from fellow project managers and speakers. I will go back to work with a long bucket list of things I need to address.

Thanks to Kristin, Emily, Stephanie, and Karthik for their correspondence and support during the three days.

I will hopefully see you all soon.

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 16, 2019 07:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Coaching as a powerful tool, the cat-metaphor on agility, and the crux in project monitoring at #PMIEMEA19 Day 2

What a second day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. Not only did the sun shine again in Dublin. PMI also celebrated it’s 50th birthday with us. Half a century of caring about the people and the profession; I am happy to have witnessed just over a tenth of that time. PMI also brought on a stage the most incredible Irish a-cappella-band for the evening celebrations. They would certainly be in the final of any X-Factor show.

Here my short and punchy summary of the key take-aways of the three sessions today with Maria Fafard, Leonor Viturro, and Anderson Gordon – three very inspiring speakers.


It was the first time Maria Fafard spoke at a PMI Congress, and it will not be the last. As an Executive Coach, Maria’s goal was to emphasize the value of coaching techniques in project management.

“What’s wrong with you?”

Does this question ring a bell? Avoid this question if you want to effectively coach. Coaching is essentially about helping the one being coached to change their beliefs, and with it, their behaviour. Because you touch the belief system of a person, the strongest tools in coaching are open powerful questions: How is your behaviour serving you to achieve your goals? Ok, you received feedback from peers, how are you going to use it? Why is this important to you? A common misconception: As a coach “you are not there to be liked, you are there to give a service. Kindly and firmly state what you observe”, says Maria.

Maria also highlighted to overcome the urge to provide a solution that worked for you in a similar situation. Descriptive support will not provide a change of the belief system in the person being coached. People are not vested in the success of a solution that was brought to them from external. 


In the afternoon Leonor Viturro demystified organisational agility and described the three basic layers of agility needed in today’s organisations to respond rapidly to change: (1) Project Agility, (2) Personal Agility, and (3) Agile Decision Making, of which Personal Agility is the pre-requisite, and also the most difficult to obtain in organisation. Leonor applied a metaphor of a cat to distil the key characteristics of personal agility:

  • A cats’ flexible spine: Constantly review your set of beliefs, as a belief system always restricts choice and options
  • A cats’ curiosity: Understand and learn from your context to be able to apply the right leadership approach in a given situation
  • A cats’ vestibular system for orientation: Define your career growth through developing a clear vision beyond factual goals and know what motivates you.

In order to increase organisational agility, starting to push processes to become agile (project agility) will most certainly fail, if the other levels are not addressed (personal agility and agile decision making).


The last session of the afternoon was highly engaging and sparked a lot of discussion. Anderson Gordon introduced a systematic approach to project monitoring: He extended the common Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to include the importance of studying the data being collected and then using the insights to constantly review and adapt the monitoring system.

Anderson mastered the task to facilitate discussion and lead the audience to come up with the key take-aways themselves. He showed examples of performance indicators that lacked completeness and were rightfully challenged by the audience. Performance Indicators should combine two set of criteria: CREAM and QQT. Meaning Clear, Precise, Economic, Adequate, and Monitorable indicators, which can be collected in the right Quality, Quantity, and Time.

And don’t forget to evaluate the indicators you have selected before adopting them.


Let’s see what day 3 holds ready for us.

 

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 were we will provide live coverage from the sessions.

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 14, 2019 07:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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

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)

Preserve enthusiasm and multiply value after #PMIEMEA19

Categories: Communication, PMOs

How do you multiply value from attending the EMEA Congress this year?

All conferences and technology festivals I have been to specialized in a specific field of technology or market, which I deem not to be my core field of expertise. Attending these events, I took the initiative to learn from the best. It helped me to put the work I was doing as PMO into perspective. Most importantly, my communication with experts on projects has become more effective. I believe this was mostly due to the fact that I made an effort to show genuine interest in the complex work they were doing.

That will be different this year at the PMI EMEA Congress. It’s a first for me to attend a PMI Conference. I am expecting an energy boost; a wave I want to keep on surfing. The difference now: the subject matter of the conference is not the field of expertise my current project as PMO is embedded in (Logistics and Flows). I expect limited enthusiasm of the project team in receiving detailed conference reports or being confronted with a healthy portion of PCSD (post-conference stress disorder - John Bonini offers some advice to avoid afflicting your team after such events in his blog post).


I thought about three things that will help me to preserve my enthusiasm, share my experience bit by bit, whilst not afflicting anyone around me:

1. Commitment from management to present my top 5 take-aways in 4 weeks time

Advice and expert knowledge picked up from speakers, workshops, or conversations during a conference tend not to have a daily-news-type expiry date. I requested to present to management a couple of weeks after the event, sufficient time to step of the conference roller-coaster, reflect on what I have experienced, and bounce back some ideas with project team members.

Furthermore, „knowing you will be required to present the information you are gaining at a conference with the team back at the office can help you focus on takeaways and practical interpretations of what’s being presented, instead of what you don’t like or the lacking presentation skills of the presenter", as Lee Odden puts it in his blog.

2. Create and populate a diary of quotes, pictures, slides, notes, and key take-aways

I have set up a digital workbook, which will let me organize all the data I collect, including business cards that will be exchanged. I want to be able to refer back to a given information instantly. Setting up the workbook prior to the conference lets me populate it live and at the end of each day, so nothing slips my mind.

3. Multiply the value of the conference by sticking to some established advice

Scanning some very useful blog articles on how to make advice stick, it's all about sharing your experience in any form suitable to your target audience, formal or informal. As a project manager I know you are trained in knowing what words, voice, and situation to choose best to get your message across. A coffee or a lunch sets a good scene for me.


Do you have any advice on how to multiply value from attending PMI EMEA Congress? Comment below and let the community now.

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

Follow me as well on Twitter or LinkedIn for live-updates during the conference.

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 10, 2019 07:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
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