Project Management

PMI Global Insights

by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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.

About this Blog

RSS

View Posts By:

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

Past Contributors:

Deepa Bhide
Chris DiBella
Nic Jain
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
Catalin Dogaru
Te Wu
Jamie Champagne
Esra Tepeli
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

The PMI Virtual Experience Series Delivers You a Roadmap to Success

Striving for Inclusivity? Agile Can Help!

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

Presentation Recap: Make It Safe to Think Different

Presentation Recap: Conversational Intelligence Software Will Boost Meeting Productivity

Viewing Posts by Emily Luijbregts

Presentation Recap: Leading Virtual Teams

By Emily Luijbregts

PMXPO is one of the most established virtual conferences around.  This year it was brought into the #ExperiencePMI series, had over 60,000 registered attendees, and provided some great highlights and speakers.

In 2020, I took part in the Twitter Takeover for PMXPO to follow and tweet my experience of the event. This year, I was a speaker and had a different experience where I could spend time joining video chats with our participants, answer questions from my session, and participate in the After Hours Dueling Pianos session. Having so many people attend a conference can be daunting, and trying to make a presentation that can apply to many of the attendees was also incredibly difficult!

 

I am using this blog post to share several questions raised during my session along with my responses.

Question

Response

How do you stay focused on the meeting you are in and not multi-task?

This does take discipline. Consider putting on “do not disturb” on your Teams/ Outlook or close outlook when you are in meetings so that you are not disturbed by the notifications.   You can also practice Active Listening as a soft skill to keep focused on the task.

How do you facilitate retrospectives virtually?

I manage this as a normal workshop and use collaboration tools to gather feedback and get them to actively participate.

How can you make retrospectives effective, e.g. avoiding blame or encouraging others to speak up?

I think that having clear expectation management at the start of a session is critical. I would then facilitate a positive discussion with the team and when something negative does occur, that you try to adjust the comment into a constructive comment.

How does this work for you if you are in a service industry working with clients?

I try to keep the same foundation rules as with my ‘internal’ team but some things may be more formal (e.g. staying at my desk rather than walking on a call but that can be open to negotiation).   The biggest difference is ensuring that all information remains professional, courteous, etc.

What other tools do you use for collaboration?

I use Microsoft Teams, Conceptboard, and Miro.

How can you manage uncooperative team members?

This can be a challenge. I try to work through why they are not cooperating, what the reason could be and what I can do to manage them more effectively. This involves talking to them, understanding their motivations and getting them involved in the discussion.

What virtual tools do you use for teambuilding?

I’ve done a few different things. We have used Kahoot for quizzes, Skribbl.io for Pictionary.

What do you do if someone uses personal information shared during team building against the person who shared it?

This would be something that I’d pick up with the individual and discuss why this was happening.

What are the most important soft skills that you’d recommend for training?

This would depend on the individual and their improvement points. I think everyone can use skills around conflict, time management and listening.

Do you have any tips for managing virtual teams with difficult time zones?

You need to realise that you cannot be everything to every time zone and pick the hours that you can work with both time zones and manage this as effectively as you can.  If you’re based in Europe, working with Tokyo and Los Angeles, consider working certain days a little earlier to work more with Tokyo and then the next day a little later to accommodate Los Angeles.

Why do you think that it’s the Project Manager’s responsibility to train people? Wouldn’t this be the function of their Direct Manager?

As a Project Manager, we have a unique role and position to be able to suggest trainings/personal development to line managers/HR for team members. I actively coach my team and encourage them to look for training and learning opportunities both within and outside the project.

Do you foresee businesses selling off or breaking leases for permanent businesses?

Yes, that has already happened in a few European cities, and I do think that as we move forward the way that we work/collaborate will be more hybrid than before.

Do you pre-plan the well-being calls with your team?

Yes. I tend to put a 15-minute meeting on the agenda so that they’re prepared, and we can set the time aside without rushing.

How do you overcome people’s reluctance to share or have personal communication or relationship?

I try to share a bit of my personal information/read the team to learn what’s good to share such as a sport that you like, something you watched on TV, etc.

What if some of your team are customers? Do you have any suggestions for how to handle it?

Keeping clear ground rules is vital for this and making sure that everyone understands the rules. We can still work together, share knowledge, share information about ourselves and still have a positive working relationship.

Did the team develop the rules together or were they set by the leader?

I always encourage the team to develop and set the rules themselves.

What steps do you take to set expectations early on in the partnership?

I would set expectations in the Kickoff meeting and first meetings with the client and teams. This can be in the form of Ground Rules but could also be “guidance” for how you want to work together.

Not just your team, but how do you manage a client with who you must work virtually?

I handle them in nearly the same way, but I also guide on some clear expectations for what they can expect from me as a vendor (e.g. how we deliver invoices, what to expect regarding project reporting, etc.).

Have you ever had to host a second kickoff because the direction of the project has shifted so much that it’s essentially become a new project?

Yes. This was the best way to do it. After a major change request, we did a “reorientation” meeting to realign the scope, timeline, and potential changes to working practices. This helped us refocus.

What should I do if my company keeps sending meeting requests for outside business hours?

This is where I practice discipline. Depending on the project/organisation, be firm about availability for “connect moments” and be strict about your availability and time to switch off. The only times I am flexible is where it is a one-off event and/or time zones dictate it as a necessity. I then indicate that a consequence of this late connect moment will be a later start time the following day.

With distributed teams, there would be someone in a time zone with an ‘awkward’ hour when a meeting is set. How can we accommodate everyone?

This can be difficult and something you might want to consider when looking at the location of your distributed teams. I have often had days where each team switches their day by 1-2 hours so that we have more time to work together. This helps us remain connected but gives us the time to work during “normal” hours.

If the team uses Jira to track work/sprints, how do you handle a situation in which a team says they prefer working via emails and they don’t like and won’t be using Jira?

I think you need to agree on the tools that you’re going to use, when and why. If your company uses JIRA, then you use JIRA. There’s no discussion. What you can choose to do is either train them on JIRA so that they’re aware of all of the functionality or clearly agree on what should be maintained in JIRA, and what can be done in an email (e.g. all status changes and comments must be done in JIRA but a secondary communication via email is acceptable).

How can I get my team to just turn on their camera for ONE meeting a week?

I would make an agreement that for one single meeting a week, they can have their cameras on and for other meetings it’s non-mandatory. I show a little flexibility as I understand that people may not like being on camera, but for Team Meetings it’s a mandatory rule.

What will the online quizzes be about?

Anything! Look at what your team is interested in and tailor it accordingly, e.g. technology questions, questions about culture/travelling, etc.

How do you handle a team that isn’t responsive to any of these ideas?

Very good question! I would aim to try different ideas and ask them what they want/how they like to work. If I’m able to understand this, I can think of ways that they like to work more effectively.

If you have a team that is slammed and they feel like this is all ”fluff”, how do you get them to engage and show the importance of these soft skill interactions?

It can take a bit of a leap of faith, but you can just show them through active participation and the benefits that it can bring to a project. I have managed a very hostile team before and setting clear expectations and asking for their trust for a set period helped.

I work with a virtual team and we really struggle with the language barrier. Have you got any advice?

This can be difficult. Depending on the level of language skills, consider having one or two key contacts who are more fluent be the “mouthpiece” between the teams and help the communication flow productively.

 

The rest of the virtual event had some great content and really made me think about my role as a project manager and leader. What did you think of PMXPO?  If you want to watch any of the presentations again, they are available on demand until 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: April 14, 2021 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Networking, knowledge and insight: PMIEMEA19

It's been a week since PMIEMEA19 and since I've been back at work, I've had the chance to really let the conference sink in. I think it's really important that after any conference or intense knowledge gathering, that you allow yourself time to process all of the knowledge that you've received and see what what you can learn from in your daily life.

I've been really fortunate to be part of a great group of correspondents who really have shown such different sides to the conference which I really hope the online audience has found useful.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the conference.

  1. Everyone is a potential ally. The first session with Pat Lucey and Norma Lynch gave me some of the biggest takeaways from the conference with regards to influencing potential stakeholders. Since the conference, I've been trying to see how I can really influence those around me and in what ways would be the most beneficial to my projects. The slight shift in mentality has really affected how I talk to people and look at them from a more positive mindset.
  2. Seize every opportunity when it happens: This was something that came up during both the TEDTalks but also the offsite experience at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. During the TEDTalks we were inspired with tales of human perseverence and endurance, whereas The Teeling Distillery we learned about utilising the opportunities that appear in your industry. For me, this has really hit home about changing my outlook towards any opportunity that could appear (both positive and negative!).
  3. Understand the impact of your network: There are great things that can be achieved with utilising and understanding your network and it's capabilities. After listening to some of the talks and attending the different networking events that were available, it's really made me appreciate how valuable the contacts are in my network and who I could really call on for advice/support. During one of the lunches, we were having a discussion about issue resolution and it was a 'live' coaching session with some of the most experienced Project Managers I know. You couldn't buy this sort of knowledge! It also highlighted to me that there are networking opportunities available everywhere! During lunch, at the coffee machine, walking to the bus etc. You can really use this to your advantage in furthering my first point: Everyone is a potential ally.
  4. What can you do to simplify your life? On the last day, Dan Lefsky presented his topic on which technology we can use as Project Managers to reduce down the complexity of our communications and to make our lives easier.

Since the Conference, this has really been on my mind and I've been talking to my colleagues about how we can be more effective and efficient in our communications both externally and internally. This has started some really positive discussions and I'm really pleased that I'm working in a team where this behaviour is encouraged.

If you've not already had a look, I can recommend the videos that I have uploaded sharing my perspective of the conference. Please comment below if they are the sort of videos that you like to see or if you'd like to see anything else.

Perhaps the most important thing for me coming from this conference was just how inspiring a profession I am a member of! This was made very clear during the closing keynote when we were told that PMI has surpassed the initial plan of 50,000 hours of volunteering. If you want to read more about the Global Celebration of Service - please check out this website and see how you can contribute.

What's next?

This conference has given me a new appreciation to share ideas and experiences that we have in our projects and daily lives. Since the conference, I've already looked at the 1% of change that I can make to become a better Project Manager.

If you're looking for a similar development opportunity, then I can highly recommend the PMI Global Conference. This conference will not only build on the great networking opportunities but also fantastic knowledge sessions that you can participate in to develop your skills as a Project Management Professional. This year's conference is being held in the home of the Project Management Institute; Philadelphia. Make sure that you're there to take part in the networking, knowledge and support over the three days.

Signing off from an amazing 3 days and a wonderful experience!

 

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: May 22, 2019 09:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Round up of Videos from PMIEMEA19

One thing that I asked the community before the conference was what would like they to see during the conference? What was the best way to share the conference with you all? The feedback and answer that came from several of you was that you wanted to see various points of the conference via video. To be able to have this in a format that could be watched by everyone, I have uploaded to Youtube all of the videos and would really appreciate your feedback.

Are these the videos that you wanted to see? Would you want to see any others/different ones?

- Emily.

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: May 17, 2019 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

The grand Finale - Day 3 of PMIEMEA19

Today was another packed day and you could see that everyone was getting tired but was still energised to take part in the sessions and contribute.

Session 1: Cutting Edge Project Management: the future of Technology in Project Management - Dan Lefsky

My first session was with Dan Lefsky. I have a great admiration and respect for Dan as not only does he provide a lot of practical advice but he really goes all-out in a session including some wonderful live demos to see how things could be done in reality. During his session on: Cutting Edge Project Management: the future of Technology in Project Management, he showed possible technical solution to build out your solutions within your company. He really challenged us with how we work today and what the limitations could be in the future with regards to the reliability of data/ questioning the data that we have. This really resonated with me during the TedTalks Closing keynote as one of the presenters was talking about how we can critically look at the data and studies that we see in every day life.

Dan gave me a few minutes of his time to record a short video about his session. You can find it here.

Networking lunch:

During today's lunch session, I sat with some of my peers and discussed 'conflict resolution'. This came about as one of the table was working during lunch on an escalation and asked the table: How would you handle this sort of situation? Where a vendor is more focused on the contract than delivering the project? It really gave a lot of valuable insight into how other Project Managers would handle the situation and we had quite a lively debate!

I also managed to catch up with Laurel and got her insight into the conference, you can view the video here

Ted Talks - Closing Keynote:

I will first admit that I am a massive fan of TED Talks and regularly use them to learn about new topics/interesting topics. During this closing keynote, PMI and TED partnered together to cover a series of talks that covered every aspect of Life, Career and the possibilities of the future.

This end to the PMIEMEA Conference was not just an inspiring end to a fantastic conference but also an amazing opportunity to be inspired to what is really possible.

In the final closing, we found out that the goal that PMI had set itself at the start of the year to record 50,000 hours of volunteering had been met ALREADY! So they announced that it was going to be increased to 100,000 hours. I really hope that you'll get involved in the Year of the Volunteer to be able to contribute to the UN Goals. This is my video of volunteering for PMI when I was in Philadelphia earlier this year.

Over the next few days, I'll be writing a summary post of my time at PMIEMEA19, so if you have any questions, please feel free to write them below and I'll answer them in the summary post.

Do you want to know what the food was like? What was it like to network with so many people? How were the breaks? There's nothing off limits! 

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: May 16, 2019 03:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Interview with attendees : #PMIEMEA19

Good afternoon everyone! 

One feedback and request that came from you (our online community) was that during the conference, you'd want to hear more about the conference from those that are attending and getting a "real" insight into what it's like to attend the conference. So, this is what I've done!  I've spoke to a few people over lunch about their conference so I can give you the latest insight. 

Question: Why did you come to PMIEMEA19?

Hani: I wanted to get more experience from other project managers, companies, and get some specific examples that I can bring back to my company. 

Collette: Im looking to earn PDUs and learn more about which career direction might suit me best/next. 

Abdul: I wanted to share my experience with like-minded individuals

Question 2: Have you enjoyed the conference, so far? 

Hani: Yes, on the whole. I'd like more practical examples from the topics and not just generic slides etc.

Collette: Yes, definitely. I didn't expect it to be this good! The networking sessions really surprised me as Ive got to know a lot of different people from different organisations and countries. I've made some new friends this past few days! 

Abdul: Yes. I liked the variation of topics and learning more from some excellent speakers. 

Question 3: What has been your key takeaway of the conference? 

Hani: Focus! I've learned a lot of lessons learned and got a lot of things I can take back to my company. 

Collette: Look at the opportunities that exist that I'm not really seeing at the moment. 

Abdul: What I can do better in my projects towards the future of project management but also what tools I could use in my project later on. 

Summary

This summary was just a quick chat over lunch but I hope that this has given you a little insight into what attendees have taken from the conference and why they attended. What else would you like to know? Comment below!

Here are two videos that I've made today with other attendees at the conference: 

Laurel: https://youtu.be/FPDiNqdtTUE

Dan: https://youtu.be/coIFN7XkZIg

Off-site visit review: https://youtu.be/9Qs8Bfi8L8s

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: May 15, 2019 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
ADVERTISEMENTS

It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.

- James Thurber