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.
Final Summary of PMI EMEA Congress 2019 – my 3 top Lesson’s Learned
Education and Training,
EMEA Congress Reflections,
Human Aspects of PM,
New to Project Management,
Nontraditional Project Management,
PM Think About It,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Agile, Best Practices, Career Help, Change Management, Communication, Complexity, Education and Training, EMEA Congress Reflections, Ethics, Human Aspects of PM, Innovation, Leadership, Lessons Learned, New to Project Management, Nontraditional Project Management, PM Think About It, PMI, Program Management, Project Delivery, Reflections on the PM Life, Stakeholder, Strategy, Virtual Teams, Volunteering
Hi everyone, thanks for following me all through the Congress and reading my blogs and Tweets about the Congress. It really has been a privilege to be Community Correspondent for the #PMIEMEA19.
It is a lot of fun, but also hard work. During all sessions you attend, you listen, take notes, tweet and keep your Social Media Updates going. That takes a lot of concentration. Even during the Networking events, you take notes and keep track of who you meet and what you do. Then in the evening when everyone orders their second beer in the Pub of choice for the day, you go back to your hotel room to write a blog about your day.
What an experience! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially tweeting on Twitter was a new experience for me. I only opened an account successfully about 1 month ago.
What an eventful few days it has been!
I was privileged to listen to Jamil Qureshi twice, once during the PMI LIMC Alumni Workshop on Sunday and then on Monday again during the Keynote. So much information in such a short time! Then during the Opening Session to hear from Jim Snyder, that his best memories are all about the people. Not the Mega Milestones and achievements, no, the people! Yes his best memories are about you and me. I actually agree with him. Yes in PMI events I have always learned a lot, but the best has always been the people. And you keep meeting again at events. For me they are also the go to Network when I need advice or help.
Meeting Sunil Pashara and seeing him attending sessions, mingling with people and freely networking with delegates was special. Knowing that he is a true citizen of the world, born & raised in Kenya, worked in almost every continent, living in London, working in Philadelphia. When we talk to him, he can relate.
Every session I attended, even then one I felt lost in, since the discussions used a Scrum Vocabulary, that is Greek to me, I took important lessons from. They are all in my notebook, but if I share them all, this will be a book.
So what are my 3 biggest lessons:
For both hybrid projects & virtual teams you need to scale your communication up a notch. Hence I will concentrate on improving my communication skills and my EQ skills, both will come in handy for both environments. I want to become a Project Motivator and of course I bought the book by Ruth Pearce during the Congress.
Hat’s off to the Host Chapter, the PMI Ireland Chapter for a job well done.
It was also very exciting to see and be inspired by live TED Talks. I am looking forward to seeing more of the new engagement between PMI & TED. Karthik had shared the links to all the original TED Talks, so you can watch them yourself.
This was for me the first time attending the PMI EMEA Congress. I had previously only attended PMI Africa Conferences, the first day of 2 PMI Global Conferences and a host of Leadership Institute Meetings (LIM, RLIM). What they said is true. Each Conference / Congress has its own character. In Africa it is all about Networking and the social events are attended by all, it is like a big carnival with learning sessions. In the US it is more about Business, and the Conference is so big (up to 5000 people), that you are happy to see your Network Friends. However it is fun, and somehow you do meet your friends. The EMEA Congress I had been told is all about the Learning and the PDUs. But in Dublin I saw that the fun counts as well in Europe and the parties were great. I think each has its big positive sites and I will definitely attend any of them again.
See you at the next Congress:
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?
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!
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.
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.
I will hopefully see you all soon.