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.

About this Blog

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Cameron McGaughy
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Jack Duggal
Saurayan Chaki
Danielle Ritter
Marcos Arias
Dan Furlong
Karen Chovan
Lawrence Cooper
David Maynard
Deepa Bhide
Marjorie Anderson
Michelle Stronach
Nadia Vincent
Sandra MacGillivray
Laura Samsó
Cheryl Lee
Emily Luijbregts
Karthik Ramamurthy
Sarah Mersereau
Nic Jain
Priya Patra
Yves Cavarec
David Davis
Fabio Rigamonti
Gina Abudi
Kristin Jones

Past Contributers:

Catalin Dogaru
Carlos Javier Pampliega García

Recent Posts

Interview to Thomas Walenta, PMI Board of Directors

What from PMI Global Conference will you put to work this week?

What I've learnt at #PMIcon17

The Agility of PMI

#PMIcon17 - A round up.

Conference - Day 1

It's been Day 1 of #PMIcon17 and I think most of us now have sore throats from speaking so much! It's been a fabulous day of learning about our peers and helping with their queries. A few of my highlights from today:

  • Helping Anne who was struggling with knowing the way to go with her career progression and what was the best next step to make
  • Coaching Chris in understanding the agile methodology and what agile is and isn't
  • Chatting to Brian regarding cultural issues and the different types of cultures in his team

The most exciting thing about today was seeing how much passion my peers have in their careers and how much they are looking to learn over the next two days of conference.

If you can't secure a 1-1 slot, please feel free to come by the booth as there are normally a group of us sitting around, ready to chat!

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: October 28, 2017 05:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Benefits of Collaboration

Collaboration seems to be a word thrown around quite a bit. But what does it really mean and why do it? How successful is the practice being implemented? And what avenues are there to do so?

Business has been, always, a form of competition - who can make the most, who can do it first, the fastest, who will own the market?

Often big business drives out the small players, seemingly having lower operational costs by pooling corporate resources, moving to more online, complex data management systems and other such strategies. But is it really a better way to do things?

It's definitely not the only way.

One great strategy is to maintain a specialized focus in business, and then pool small complementary companies to work together to accomplish a larger set of goals. Utilize primary project managers to engage the respective teams in the coordination and collaboration efforts, for all activities required to achieve the goal.

When smaller distinct companies collaborate together on a project, they are forced to engage a lot, to understand the big picture, to be clear about each other's roles and responsibilities, and to understand how each groups' work impacts the others.

There is a greater driver for the lead to have done more research at the front end, to really find and approach the most applicable service or technology providers to work together - those who might bring forward the best potential solutions and flexibility to adapt and integrate to meet the needs of others too.

Such teams work together to assess the whole scope of the project together, to identify the best options and approaches to move forward, to challenge each other and identify improvement and optimization opportunities, and to refine the scope and the objectives or targets of a project collectively.

Perhaps because they don't know each other as well, because the lines of accountability need to be more defined, because each groups' distinct approaches need to be fully understood in order to define all of the relevant risks for that project. Or maybe its because, in order to compete with larger firms, these companies are determined to show great value to their clients.

Whatever the reasons, these projects typically have great outcomes - innovative and unique solutions, better performance and reduced costs for the client.

In the realm of practicing collaboration, we have been shifting ever-more into the use of technology - chat tools, databases and common-use spreadsheets of project information, and project management software platforms of various sorts - where everything can be compiled in one space, including emails, chats, reports, gantt charts, and more.

But is the use of technology helping us to collaborate, or just to consolidate information in one place?

In many cases, our reliance on technology is diminishing our abilities, or willingness, to just get in the same room and talk. Over and over again, PM performance reports surface indicating that we still struggle with:

- visibility of what people are working on, and how far along they are in their assigned work,

- finding information within the system, when we need it most, and

- actual communications, whether that be between teams, or within!

At PMI Global, I'll be presenting about several strategies and tools that can be utilized to get back to basics - true, live, communications and collaboration - in the sense of healthy conflict, co-creation and building on each others' knowledge and experiences, to put the best solutions forward. And to reduce the amount of rework that might otherwise need to be done when we haven't worked in this way!

My talk is titled "The Necessary Culture for Soaring Performance" and I am happy to be sharing these strategies with you, to help improve the performance of your own projects!

If you can't make it to my talk, or if you just have some questions about this that you would like to chat about, I'll also be available at the "Ask the Experts" booth - you can book a 1:1 time with me (or others!) to gain some valuable insights!

Happy travels to all that are coming to Chicago, and can't wait to see you all there!

...

Regarding a question asked about collaboration strategies and agreements to help make it happen, I noted I would attach a picture to indicate the span of options... not an easy question to answer, but it does occur, so have faith that it can be done!

image produced by Canada Mining Innovation Council

Posted by Karen Chovan on: October 25, 2017 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

I've Learned

Right after the Global Conference, I will be flying out to Vancouver to give presentations at ProjectWorld.  One of my presentations is on Influence and Advising as a Project Manager. This is my closing slide.

As a project manager, we are frequently in a position of advisor or influencer.  We need to understand our interactions have long term impact.  Not only for our self, but also our organization.  It's the feeling of value required in the trust relationship.  

The last bullet is most important, there may sometime be the "drop the mic" moment where you win a heated discussion - but the odds are good you will still need to work with that person - so give them an opportunity to save face.  That 15 seconds of satisfaction might be the prelude to months of resistance.  

Dave

Posted by David Davis on: October 05, 2017 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Making a Difference: What are the behaviors we would exhibit?

For those who have seen my webinar on Organizational Agility you know that I am facilitating a book series called The Agility Series (you can find more on it over at www.TheAgilitySeries.com). 

The way I get content is by inviting people to answer a series of questions on the topic. I use the input I get which I augment with some ancillary research and my own ideas to write the final copy. So I was wondering what I could I do in the using the same approach leading up to the Congress on October 28-30. So with that as the backdrop, here is the question I have for the PMI community:

If we want to make a difference in our work and as people in our communities, what behaviors might we exhibit?

You have until October 15th to answer the question – that should be enough time for me to go through the results and get it ready to share in a blog post prior to the congress.

I am also throwing it out to my fellow experts to participate in the exercise and to help me sort through what we get in response to share with the rest of the PMI community.

So what say you all?

Here is the link where you can answer the question – you can offer up to three separate responses of the behaviors you feel would help you to make a difference.

It`s a single question survey and no need to ponder too deeply so you should be able to do it in a minute or less.

GO!

(BTW - it's an anonymous survey)

Also feel free to share with your colleagues and other professional contacts. The more the merrier!

If you will  be at the congress come on by anytime and talk to me and the rest of the experts about the results of the question and the blog post it will spawn.

If you’d like to talk strategic intent, adaptive strategy, back-casting over forecasting, outcomes over outputs, any of the agilities, or pretty much anything you think I may be able to help you with in making a difference in your world, here is my availability during the conference:

  • Saturday the 28th from 1:30 to 4:30
  • Sunday the 29th from 3:00 to 5:00
  • Monday the 30th from 9:00 to 12:00

You can also connect with me at:

  • https://twitter.com/cooperlk99
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrencekcooper
  • www.TheAgilitySeries.com
     

 

Posted by Lawrence Cooper on: September 27, 2017 02:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Making a Difference: Change For Free!

This post is unabashedly about adaptability and agility.

We all want to make a difference. We also want the things we work on and create through our work to make a difference. In order for the things we create to make a difference to our business clients, they have to reflect the knowledge and insights of what is needed we gain as we work on creating products. This recognizes that we can't know everything up front. 

One of the challenges with traditional approaches is how to address change to reflect the new knowledge and insights  that the business acquires along the way. We know how it works - create a change request, fill in all the necessary sections to talk about what the change means to cost, schedule, scope. risks, who needs to approve, etc. It gets even more complicated and onerous, and expensive when we are dealing with vendors. It often makes you wonder if it's even worth the effort as most changes get rejected due to their cost or schedule implications anyway. Near the end of the project the change requests are often focused on removing things from the project to stay within budgets, timelines, or both.

In my experience, some the things that get dropped under such conditions can have significant value, while some of the things that were done early on actually had far less value, as the delivery approach is not based on an incremental highest value first model.

However, when agile approaches are practiced correctly, change can be free. No really. They can be free.

How can I possibly say that?

Let's use Scrum as the premise. When teams use Scrum they do the highest value things first. The backlog has everything they know so far about what they intend to build into the product. It is a statement of intent though - it is not cast in stone. It can be changed for the next and future Sprints based on new information, changes in team and business understanding of what is possible with the product, as well as priority changes of what is highest value by the business and the Product Owner.

The Product Owner is the one that talks to the business about what the product mus do, how long it will take to build it (the number of Sprints) and the cost. It is not uncommon to fix the number of Sprints and hence the costs at the outset. A good reason for doing this is so that everyone develops a laser-focus on what is truly of highest value first. The premise for this post is this was done.

The Sprint demo is where the business gets to see what was done so far in the latest increment of the product. They also get to reflect on the choices so far about what is in the product. Their reflection is also about what to do next.

  • They can continue based on the backlog grooming and hence the highest value items at the top of the backlog
  • They can choose to redo the priorities of what's highest value based on what is already in the backlog
  • They can choose to add new things to the backlog as highest value and hence will need to be done next

The team has a cadence to which it develops and delivers.  If you can agree on the number of total points that the product will contain based on the agreed number of Sprints, then any changes you need to make along the way, as long you drop items with the same number of points as the ones you are adding, then the actual cost of a change is free.

This is one of the ways to look at what is so paradoxically different about the thinking in agile versus traditional approaches. It forces you to really think about what matters most and to truly get the idea of being adaptable to what emerges. If something emerges that  has a higher business value than what you had previously identified then it must take precedence. 

Remember it's about what is valued most, not everything that may have value. What is valued most is based on what we currently know, which can be quite different than what we knew a month or two ago.

So whether it is an internal Scrum team, or one that as put in place through a procurement process, if you're really willing to focus on what has the highest value and willing to drop items that are of lesser value, then you should be able to make changes for free!

Jeff Sutherland, co-author of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the Scrum Guide first suggested the idea of change for free in a class in the Netherlands in 2006.

What do you think - can we do a better job of facilitating others to make a difference today so that our organizations benefit now and continue to do so in the long run?

If you’d like to talk strategic intent, adaptive strategy, back-casting over forecasting, outcomes over outputs, any of the agilities, or pretty much anything you think I may be able to help you with in making a difference in your world, here is my availability during the conference:

  • Saturday the 28th from 1:30 to 4:30
  • Sunday the 29th from 3:00 to 5:00
  • Monday the 30th from 9:00 to 12:00

You can also connect with me at:

  • https://twitter.com/cooperlk99
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrencekcooper
  • www.TheAgilitySeries.com

Posted by Lawrence Cooper on: September 23, 2017 09:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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