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
David Davis
Andrew Craig
Lorelie Kaid
LORI WILSON
Kiron Bondale

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

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My parting thoughts on PMI's 50th anniversary Global Conference

My impressions from day one of "Ask an Expert" at #PMIcon19

Ask The Experts -- at the global conference

What Does an Invitation to the ‘Ask the Expert’ Panel Mean to Me? #PMIcon19 #Inspiration

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)

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)

Rethinking the Charter

Since I retired after 26 years in one company, I have had assignments in various PMOs in different industries.  I’ve been in the energy sector, the insurance sector, credit card services, industrial/manufacturing, and now healthcare.  Every industry has struggled with the project charter.  What does baselining it mean? Does it ever get updated? Who should issue it? And the list goes on.  And while PMOs in all these industries try to invent the perfect process – we are ignoring one important aspect.

The project charter, as defined by PMI, does not meet the needs of today’s business!

Before you call me a heretic and an incompetent – hear me out.  The problem I have with the charter is it becomes a reformatting of existing information, bloated, and redundant – and it doesn’t provide the project team with the most important information it needs.  Shouldn’t the charter give the team a definition of what success looks like?

I propose the charter should be extremely streamlined.  After all, how many people, let along executives, will read a 14 page charter?  Many charter templates contain information that is already in one artifact and will no doubt be included in another.  I propose we throw away the bloated all-inclusive charter of today and replace it with a simple charter.

Project Organizational Wrapper

You need to have the organizational wrapper of project control structures.  If the project pipeline has a defined Demand Process and there is a demand id, it should be in the charter.   This should also be aligned to the business case information – what went into the approval, and other justifications.  No need to repeat them in the charter – they already exist in a corporate database of record.  If information is in two places – that doubles the risk of inconsistency, confusion, and delay.

If you have an integrated project management system (IPMS) that tracks project work in process – then that project id should be there. Projects assume titles and identify from the ideation phase through project initiation.  That title, or name, should be included in the charter because that’s the lingo that has defined the initiative.

Should be results focused

Once the project is ready to kick off, the work initiative needs to be focused on the results.  If your organization is mature enough to be doing Benefits Management Realization, the charter should map directly to the benefit register.  The next section of the charter should be:

What does success look like?

Quite simply – what is the vision in reality?  Knowing what success is far outweighs the value of several scope bullet points.  The definition of success can be expressed in several ways including:

Critical success factors

The essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project.

What can we do in the future that we can’t do now?

How do we measure success?

Not calling for specific key performance indicators here, but should have an idea of how we will measure success.  It also provides requirements for the product and what are the critical success factors.

External/legal requirements

If you are driven by a legal requirement or an industry standard (HIPPA or an ISO requirement comes to mind) than that should be identified.  The charter must identify conformation to external factors.

What benefits are being realized?

Again, if you have a mature benefits realization process, then the entire benefits quantification/qualification should be in place and your project is delivering outcomes and capabilities to realize the defined benefits.

Organizational RACI

The charter must be able to identify all the organizations that are impacted by the initiative.  After all, how did you get high level estimates for the business case if you didn’t have a means of identifying organizations involved?  This RACI should then be driven to know which groups need to receive and approve the charter. 

Time Frame

What time frame is expected for the organization to start to realize benefits?  Let’s avoid the charade of bottom up estimates and defining the schedule after you have all requirements defined etc.  We are driven by budget cycles and funding is only approved to last so long.  This isn’t to say those things can’t and shouldn’t happen, but at a Charter level – the approval has a defined end time.  This also helps define the scope.

I have purposely omitted several pieces of what is considered part of a charter.  Not that I don’t think they are important, I do, but they belong in defined sections of the project plan.  There is no need for budget as that should already be in the business case approval – and I don’t know if it directly contributes to the definition of the outcomes and capabilities.    Scope is implied in what success looks like and the Critical Success Factors.  If during requirements definition, a question is raised that doesn’t directly support the definition of success, than it is out of scope.  Assumptions, risks, issues, and constraints are all important, but they live elsewhere.  The charter should identify the future state, not dwell on the challenges of the present state.  And the charter should be a onetime document that is not modified or have addendums.  It initiates the work – other artifacts ebb and flow during the project life cycle.

In closing – the purpose of the charter is to authorize the project manager to start delivering on the project.  It is not to cut and paste from all over to make an all-inclusive summary of all business intelligence that justified the project.  I propose to make it a lean document focused on the outcomes and capabilities and the definition of success.  Items that have a workflow/life cycle (risks, assumptions, issues, etc.) do not need to be in a charter, they are taken care of elsewhere.  A lean, concise, and easy to read charter allows the team to focus on delivering within the success criteria.

 

 

Please sign up for a 1:1 with me while at the PMI Global Conference! We can talk about PMOs, healthcare project management, teaching project management, or any other topic related to project management!

To schedule a 1:1, use the SIGN UP button on this page.

Posted by David Davis on: October 21, 2017 06:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Who's in Your Bullpen?

Who's in Your Bullpen?

Recently I had the privilege of working with staff from my local county government as part of a two year training program they host for “emerging leaders.” Over the first year their emerging leaders attend half-day sessions on various leadership topics, and my workshop was the last in the series. Then, during their second year of the program they are assigned liaisons as they break into teams and run county-wide projects while continuing to meet together monthly to compare notes, share lessons learned, and grow as a leadership team. Each team member is assigned work in areas outside of their current work area in order to further develop their knowledge of the county and how they conduct their business.

Coming from a healthcare background, I compare it to a fellowship program where administrators and physicians serve in various areas of the hospital for a year to help guide them toward the area where they are best suited.

I asked one of the program leaders what led to this initiative, and he reported that a sharp analyst discovered that over 30% of the county’s current leadership is eligible to retire today. That is nearly 1/3 of their leaders! Fortunately for them (and us, as county residents), our county council agreed to support a program whereby current county employees, who have shown a propensity toward leadership, would be trained, mentored, and groomed for future leadership positions within the county.

Our county is developing a bullpen…leaders who, when the time comes, can step up to the mound and assume control of the game.

We have a similar approach at my employer, although it is not purely a leadership program as much as it is a staff development program. Over the past year our leadership in IS (IT, analytics, and informatics) has observed that we have a vast pool of highly skilled workers that we are overlooking – our interns and administrative fellows. We have interns in our department every year, but we have never been allowed to invest in training for them. Once they graduate, our assumption is that they will leave our department and find full time jobs. Although several of my interns have been hired by our department, it was not due to any structured approach to helping them find a fit but rather that they just liked what they were doing as an intern. I have been lucky, as one third of my PMO staff are former students who served as interns with me prior to graduation.

But, we can’t just depend on luck! So, we are now developing a more formal internship program within our department, investing training time and dollars in their development, encouraging them to work in multiple areas over their internship with us, with the goal that a higher percentage of them will want to continue working with us after graduation. And not because of dumb luck, but because they have had a chance to experience real work and grow as employees through training and experience we offered.

Part of this program will include administrative fellows, those masters’ prepared students who work in our operations areas of the hospital for a year before deciding on their chosen career path. This year the organization offered them a two-day course in the fundamentals of project management, and they are scheduled to attend a follow-up two-day course that will give them hands on experience using such basic tools and techniques as multi-voting, conducting a lessons learned, performing a risk assessment, and developing a WBS. After that, they will be working on projects with the PMO where they will be able to experience the benefits of managing a project using the many tools and techniques that we find valuable.

We are building a bullpen for our PMO…staff who can step into a job upon graduation that they know they will like (because they have tried it out), and that they can do (because they have done it), and are ready to be successful (because we have trained them and they now have experience), and, of course, to make our PMO be successful.

Do you have a development program to ensure a continuity of talent for your leaders, for your project managers?

So, I ask you again, Who’s in Your Bullpen?

Please sign up for a 1:1 with me while at the PMI Global Conference! We can talk about PMOs, healthcare project management, teaching project management, or any other topic related to project management!

To schedule a 1:1, use the SIGN UP button on this page.

 

 

Posted by Dan Furlong on: October 20, 2017 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

ATA Risk Question

ATA (Ask to Answer) for the Risk expert Mr. Maynard.

I wonder if there is a formal explanation for something I call “Organizational Accepted Risk”.  There are many risk items that I personally don’t call out in my risk mitigation strategy because the Organization automatically accepts the Risk and will deal with it when it occurs.  I mention it in my governance document, but not in my Risk Plan. Some examples of these risks are listed below:

  1. A team member leaves the organization (whatever the reason: resignation, layoffs, death, etc.)  It definitely can impact my deliverables, but.
  2. A cyber attack.  I do a lot of network projects and there is always the risk of a cyber attack taking resources (wanacry is one example).  We deal with it, but it can cause a jeopardy.
  3. Funding cut.  I treat this as an issue when and if it occurs and requires the project plan to be reviewed.
  4. Act of God – there are lots of things that can happen to disrupt the project.  Fire, hurricane, tornado, zombie apocalypse.  I don’t call these out as specific Risk items as we just accept them.  The probability is low for some areas (not too many hurricanes in Ft Wayne) 

My question: “is there an accepted best-practice for handling Organization Accepted Risk” and could you direct me to it?

Posted by David Davis on: October 10, 2017 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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