Agility, Generativity, Terrific TED, and a Sparkling Shiny Surprise! Terrific Third Day of #PMIEMEA19
Dia daoibh ar maidin! (“Good morning all” in Irish/Gaelic)
Agility, Generativity, Terrific TED, and a Sparkling Shiny Surprise!
These phrases bring out my key learnings from what I felt was a terrific third day of #PMIEMEA19 at delightful Dublin.
Agilely Vaulting Over Waterfalls – Sripriya Narayanasamy and yours truly.
My day three started the same way that day two had ended: Presenting an EMEA Congress session on a completely different topic..
Many PMs mistakenly think that Agile and Waterfall are like oil and water that don’t easily mix, However, as Jesse Fewell, Agile Evangelist once wrote, “Many of us have been told that agile approaches are an all-or-nothing collection of techniques. However, true agility is defined by the agile manifesto… Don’t fall into the trap of only-this and only-that. A little agile can help anyone!
I presented two stories of Walter the Waterfall PM and Agata the Agile PM to highlight eight points on how Agile techniques can be used in Waterfall projects and vice versa:
Creating Collective Value through Generativity: A Leadership Approach for Complexity
Stefano Setti, President of the PMI Northern Italy Chapter spoke of the challenges project managers face in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world. Emphasizing the difference between “Complex” and “Complicated, he spoke of the relevance of Complex Adaptive Systems to project managers.
The speaker then discussed “Generativity,” a term coined by Erik Erikson in the book “Childhood and Society.” Generativity denotes “a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation.”
Comparing Erikson’s work with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, he said that both conceive a person as moving from a “self-centered” to “other-centered” orientation.
Stefano emphasized the importance of “Servant Leadership” in Agile projects, mentioning 12 key virtues.
He concluded by stating that the real mark we can leave as leaders is to have project team members grow and flourish.
Closing General Session with Roberto Toledo and TED Talks curated for PMI
Roberto Toledo, member of PMI’s Board of Directors, opened the closing session.
Stating the vision statements of PMI (Making Ideas a Reality) and TED (Ideas worth spreading), he mentioned that this partnership was indeed “a match made in heaven!”
Session attendees were then treated to five fabulous TED speakers, each enchanting us with amazingly amazing and practically useful ideas.
I’ve added brief summaries. You can view the entire talks in their entirety through the YouTube links I’ve added for each speaker:
Mona Chalabi emphasized the importance of being skeptical about numbers. She said it was important to determine whether one could see uncertainty and relate to data. She said it was also critical to check the veracity of data by carefully looking at whether sample sizes were representative.
Mona also showed us excellent examples of how information could be effectively presented to us, including, visuals, voice, animation, and so on.
Interested? Watch a full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwwanld4T1w
Anab Jain started with the startling statement, “I visit the future. Not one future, but many possible futures. I don’t have a time machine!” She spoke about how she’s almost like the Avengers’ Dr. Strange, working to visualize many possible outcomes of the future based on current trends.
Anab gave us details of how she created a case study of a possible future lawsuit based on trends in genetics, insurance rates, and crime.
Fascinated? Watch more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYjWLqE_cfE
Mark Pollock & Simone George This amazing couple’s extremely inspirational and moving story brought most in the audience to tears. Simone had met Mark when he was blind. They fell in love and married. Tragedy struck when Mark fell from a second-story window, taking him to the doorsteps of death.
Mark and Simone narrated the extraordinary story of how he miraculously survived. He spoke about how realism, determination, and an undying spirit helped him achieve what doctors had said was impossible. He exhorted attendees to follow his mantra: “When the going gets tough, succeed as a REALIST rather than fail as an OPTIMIST!”
You can watch and get inspired by this amazing story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvfydcUeXls
Julia Dhar spoke passionately on the importance of healthy debate. She spoke about her journey from her early stages of debating to being a motivational TED speaker. While it was important to convince the audience of one’s extreme position, she said it was key to be “intellectually humble.”
Julia exhorted project managers to disagree respectfully, separate ideas from personalities, accept that they could be wrong, and find common ground.
Learn more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phgjouv0BUA
Ingrid Fentell Lee spoke about her experience as a design student. She narrated how terrified she felt when a group of professors examined all her design work in a full year. When one of the professor’s verdict was “your work gives me joy”, she could not quite understand.
Ingrid said there was a difference between “joy” and “happiness. While “joy” was a little "feel good right now, " “happiness” was "feel good over a longer period of time." Joy could begin with sensual insights such as pops of color, rounded shapes, patterns, and symmetry
She stressed the importance of actively and frequently looking for several small moments of joy rather than keep searching for elusive long sequences of happiness.
To get more on Ingrid’s excellent advice, you can watch her talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_u2WFTfbcg
The session ended with a very sweet surprise. Roberto Toledo spoke about PMI’s “Global Celebration of Service” pledging 50,000 hours towards the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) 17 Sustainable Goals.
If you didn’t watch, you really missed something!
Roberto Toledo announced that PMI volunteers all over the world had exceeded the 12-month goal of 50,000 hours of Celebration of Service in under five months! “We’re doubling in Dublin,” he said, adding that the new goal was now 100,000 hours.
Confetti was showered on the delegates and hundreds of coloured balloons of various descended on us. We erupted with applause. For a while, we all became kids, throwing the balloons at each other and enjoying every moment of the sweet surprise!
In addition to tweets by @PMInstitute @ProjectMgtCom and @PMIEvents, we provided regular updates through Twitter handles of our team members, @heykristinj, @Em_the_PM, @StephanieJaeg10, @moritz_sprenger and yours truly, @KarthikPMO.
Please follow, like, comment, and retweet our continuous coverage on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KarthikPMO), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/kramamurthy) and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/forkarthik )
See you soon with a wrap-up of my overall experience with #PMIEMEA19!
Meanwhile, have a great day, or as they say in Irish, “Bíodh lá maith agat”
Keep smiling, keep shining, and keep inspiring!
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:
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.
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.
Now I am looking forward to a great 2nd day.
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#PMICon18 Ask the Experts
Calculating Project Value,
Education and Training,
Human Aspects of PM,
New to Project Management,
Nontraditional Project Management,
Categories: Agile, Best Practices, Calculating Project Value, Communication, Complexity, Earned Value, Education and Training, Government, Human Aspects of PM, Innovation, Leadership, Lessons Learned, New to Project Management, Nontraditional Project Management, Procurement, Program Management, Project Delivery, Project Failure, Project Planning, Project Requirements, Risk Management, Scheduling, Strategy, Talent Management, Teams, test, Tools
Several of the experts have created graphics that illustrate areas they can help with. I didn't want to be left out, so here's mine! Think about making a reservation (online here) to talk to one of us or just stop by and see if there's a slot open.
We'd love to talk to you.
Life after NASA
I’ve rambled on about NASA and the great things I learned while growing up there in other writings. But, I’ve had a life after NASA too. A group of us decided we could help troubled projects, programs and operations turn-around their troubles. So, we left NASA-Houston (and other places) and moved to Orlando, Florida (why not?) to start a company.
Most of our work came from companies both large and small that had won US Government contracts and weren’t able to perform. Why them? Because there are very strict Federal procurement laws in-play that pretty much insist (legally) that for a fixed price contract, you MUST finish what you started. It doesn’t matter what it takes, it must be finished and meet the customer’s needs.
At first, that was our niche. We’d swoop in, understand the problems, give the poor company a bid for our services, put some of our key people in place and do our best to recover the project. We never had one fail! It was clear that after a few years of doing this, we saw the same reasons for failure over and over. There were a few creative ways in which companies crashed while performing a project but not many.
Well, word spread. We started taking on commercial contracts (a different world from Federal contracts). Surprise! Commercial companies made nearly the same mistakes in their projects and programs as Government-suppliers. There’s a continuity there, that would be an interesting study to do.
Mistakes that stick out in my mind:
What’s common in these stories? (there are many, many more)
The flip side of this was companies that had people planning down to the minute every action the project team should take. Bathroom breaks, lunch… whatever. That’s just plain silly and won’t work.
These are all true. I could get a group of people on the phone to explain these and much, much more.
I’d better stop now – I want to create a nice chart like my best buddy EM THE PM did.
-- Dave (or DAM PM [my initials are DAM] not to be outdone by EM the PM)
Calculating Project Value,
Education and Training,
Human Aspects of PM,
New to Project Management,
Nontraditional Project Management,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Benefits Realization, Best Practices, Calculating Project Value, Change Management, Communication, Communication, Complexity, Education and Training, Generational PM, Government, Human Aspects of PM, Human Resources, Innovation, Leadership, Lessons Learned, New to Project Management, Nontraditional Project Management, Project Failure, Project Planning, Project Requirements, Reflections on the PM Life, Risk Management, ROI
This is a backward blog posting!
This will be my final post before leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning. So, I wanted to do this one more like the way I think about things – BACKWARDS. Instead of telling what areas I can help with, I thought I’d ramble about what areas I like to talk about! I guarantee it would be an entertaining discussion. Just make select an open appointment here: then wander over, say hello and lets just talk about one of MY favorite things.
1. Project failure. I know more than I ever wanted to know about this. There was a group of us that Left NASA at the same time and moved to Orlando to start a company dedicated to turning around troubled projects, programs and operations. When we started, we thought we’d seen just about all the problems that project can get into. WRONG. For the next 5 or 6 years we only worked on turning around projects that were at least 100% over budget, perhaps 3 or 4 years late, had irate customers… or simply failed to deliver anything of value.
It’s not easy to judge project failure! EVA won’t do it. It’s a very subjective thing. “Could anyone have done better in the same situation?” is a basic test, but there are many more.
So, we fired, hired, replaced, improved… bought contracts, had contracts “novated” to us, and were very successful ending up with a stand-along building and 70 employees. There’s a lot of trouble out there! There were project mistakes made that I didn’t think cold be made. We worked on Casino projects, entertainment projects, airline projects, and many other types.
Our group learned a lot! I love to talk about a failed project and how it can be recovered. Number 1: be ready for stress. We called being personally ready “the full wax job.” Exercise, diet, mental toughness, how you dress… no kidding! But you need to be prepared.
2. Working with a team that has widely diverse skills. If the team gets diverse enough, sometimes you can’t understand what the other people are saying. I’ve managed teams with theoretical physicists, mathematicians, brilliant engineers and more – of course, they were totally convinced they were ALL CORRECT, don’t even think about doubting their work. This was great fun. I loved it and learned a whale of a lot about things they didn’t teach me (a humble engineer) in school.
3. Project risk. How to think about it, how to predict it, how to anticipate it, how to communicate it, how to budget for it, how to look for the often-neglected positive risk. It’s CRITCAL that project managers and their teams master this skill. I’ve had friends die a horrible death because we (in a larger sense) didn’t manage risk well.
4. Have the courage of your convictions. Tell people what you believe, tell the bosses what your project team believes. Don’t fall into the trap of “drinking your own bath water” or the “echo chamber.”
Well, I feel better! Wander over and chat with me!
-- Dave Maynard
GOING TO THE 2017 PMI GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO?
Don’t forget about ASK THE EXPERTS!
Stop by and talk to Dave Maynard or one of the other experts. There’s more information about it at https://tinyurl.com/y7ff8f3g