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.
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.
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!
The Third Day with a Grand Finale
Education and Training,
Human Aspects of PM,
Nontraditional Project Management,
PM Think About It,
Reflections on the PM Life,
Categories: Best Practices, Change Management, Communication, Complexity, Education and Training, Ethics, Generational PM, Human Aspects of PM, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Mentoring, Nontraditional Project Management, PM Think About It, PMI, Reflections on the PM Life, Social Responsibility, Stakeholder, Talent Management, Teams, Tools, Virtual Teams, Volunteering
I can't believe the congress is over already. However there is so much we have learned, so much we need to digest.
Today I started my day by attending another session on Virtual Teams. Dr. Mike Oliver brought us the session #603 "Enhancing Virtual Project Leadership Effectiveness". He has worked many years from home and virtual teams have become second nature to him. However globally more and more PMs realize they can work anywhere, anytime. After laying out for us why we are having more and more virtual teams and what the characteristics are of virtual teams are, he helped us think through the challenges of virtual teams. The 3 interactive functions of the Complexity Leadership Theory
- administrative Leadership
- adaptive Leadership
- enabling Leadership
need to be balanced and the PM needs to know when to use which and how.
His practical tips:
1. Communication needs to be much more detailed, to ensure everyone gets the same message. Situations like the one in this video need to be avoided:
2. If budget allows, it is best to meet at least once physically with the whole team as early as possible during the project.
3. Set very clear rules that touch on meeting etiquette, use of social media etc
4. Build trust and keep affirming it.
In Session #609 "Governance: A framework for applying Agile Practices within Projects, Programs & Portfolios" Nicholas Clemens showed us that progressive elaboration has been part and parcel of the PMI Standards since the first PMBOK Guide. The use of Planning Packages helps tackle the unknowns. "Change is your job security", hence we best embrace it. Nicholas reminded us of the Movie "Dead Poet Society" and the central message that changing once standpoint can give us a totally new perspective.
In Session #614: "Collaborating with the Sales Team to delight your Customers" Neil Shorney gave us a refreshing insight into what Sales Teams and PMs think of each other, how they can complement each other and how they should work together. Sales People are not the ogres but the biggest source of information. Their job is:
3. Gain Commitment
They should provide all relevant project information through SPACE CHAMPS. If you ask the right questions following this acronym you get all the information you need. If you contact Neil through LinkedIn he will share the question list with you.
The Closing Session of the Conference was a series of TEDTalks, which were meant to build us up and help us focus on the possibilities not the problems. Often this is shackled by our belief systems and we need to overcome these.
Mona Chalabi showed us how with 3 simple questions you can check if statistics are trustworthy or not.
1. Can you see uncertainty?
2. Can I see myself in the data?
3/ How was the data collected? - was the sample size representative? For example a sample of 600 might not be big enough if you try to assess the entire population of a country like America. Where key words defined and do all understand it the same way?
Anab Jain visits the future for a living. No she does not have a time machine. However she and her husband are hired to imagine possible outcomes in the future. They then simulate these in extensive laboratory set-ups and simulations. With that they help clients to find ways of preventing the negative outcomes.
Mark Pollock & Simone George: Mark lost his sight with 22, when he met Simone he was "only" blind. Later he broke his back through a fall from a window. His biggest message is If you can't change the circumstances, you have to change yourselve". He is involved in amazing research and development of robotic walking aides and new approaches. He has seen the possibilities on his own body, including when well aimed electrical shocks made him be able to move his limbs again without the robotic exoskeleton. Now when he walks it is becoming less of the robot walking him and more of Mark walking.
He stressed that the Optimist often get frustrated along the way. A Realist however accepts the brutal facts and moves on. Be a realist when the going gets tough!
Julia Dhar showed us how debate is healthy if done right. Engage yourself respectfully, separate the ideas from the person and accept that you may be wrong. If there is conflict about an idea / a situation / an issue, have a face-to-face meeting and discuss in the prescribed manner. Practice intellectual humility.
To practice this in your team you can start by devoting 10min in every meeting to debating and idea or issue.
Ingrid Fentell Lee showed us easy ways to find joy. Joy is a little short blimp of "feel good right now" as apposed to happiness which is "feel good over longer time". Joy begins with the senses. Pops of color, rounded shapes, patterns, symmetry, abundance will put joy back into your life. This will then lead to your team being more alert, more productive and happier. Each moment of joy is small, but these joyful dots add up and have many positive long term effects. Look for joy in your life, don;t chase the elusive happiness. It will come by itself.
Roberto Toledo, of the PMI Board of Directors brought us the great news that the pledged 50,000 hours of community service for the UN global sustainability programs has already been reached! The Goal has now been doubled. Lets all work together to reach 100,000 hrs - check on PMI.org for details, or ask your chapter!
For the past year, PMI has been going undergoing a strategic transformation to be able to support Project Managers in every aspect of their career journey.
This has really made me think about myself and my own career journey and I've asked myself: What am I doing to invest in myself? What am I doing to become a stronger, better Project Manager? Here are a few suggestions that I'd recommend
1. Develop your career strategy
One thing that I'd recommend you start with is looking at where you want your career to go. If you can see where you want to be in 3,5,10 years then it'll help you analyse how you can get there. Do you want to move towards Program Management? Diversify your skills as a Project Manager and become an expert in a specific area (agile/ transformation etc)?
2. Know your resources!
Your PMI membership can be a great way for you to know and utilise resources at your fingertips. Free On-Demand Webinars, Virtual conferences, in person conferences and great Career Development blogs are all available for you to be able to support and help you along the way. Don't forget that there are many Vendor offers available for you that might be useful to find available resources.
When it comes to the renewal cycle for PDUs, I try to plan to achieve a minimum of 20 PDUs every year. Within that, I break it down into topic areas where I want to personally improve and then I look for resources that can support me in this area. So it could look like this:
4. Ask the right questions:
Here's a few questions that might help you understand / learn where you want to develop/progress to:
Why is this important?
I completely agree with the PMI strategy of focusing on the individual Project Manager and their career path. It's important to remember and really look long term about our career path and how we can get there. I also think that it's important to have this discussion with your company/ manager about where you want to go and how you want to develop.
During my recent yearly discussions with my boss I discussed that my interests over this year have developed and change and this is where i'd like to move/develop towards. My company appreciates that I take control of my career path and let them know how this will link with their wider strategy/organisational goals.
When it comes to career planning, I think that it's important that you take the time out of your daily work to think really hard and honestly about the answers and work out what's best for you in your long term career. What does your career plan look like? How do you plan your career development? One great thing is that the PMI will be there to support you on your journey and keep providing you great opportunities to help you be the Best Project Manager that you can be!
Are you a champion of change? Do you set a good example to your team, your colleagues and your company for how change should be managed? During the recent PMI conference, I've been learning more about what i can do to become a champion of change and using what I've learnt at the conference to benefit me and my projects. There was a lot of great presentations and keynotes and for me, it really motivated my desire to push myself to become a better change advocate and "Change-seller".
During this blog post, I'll give you some ideas for what you can do to become a champion of change and what you can do to make a difference within your own "world" but I'd also like to start a discussion in the chat about what YOU do already to make change work in your projects? What helps makes you unique?
Here's some of my suggestions:
1) Be active, open and transparent
Change is scary and frightening for most people. But not for you! You thrive on change and to do this, you are active about communicating the change and being transparent about what's going on. This has to happen with everyone you see in your working day to be successful!
2) Show the value
With any sort of change management, you're on a PR selling mission. One way to promote the change is to show the value to the interested parties. Make it relevant to them and relevant to what they need to know and it'll help you get the message across. Perhaps ask yourself the question: "What's in it for them?" and "Why is this important for them?". This always helps me think about how I can best show them the value.
3) Communicate, communicate, communicate!
One thing that you can't do enough of is communicate. Communicate in an effective manner, in the right ways (for your industry, company) and look at the best way of delivering your message. Communication doesn't just need to be verbal! A recent idea was to communicate the upcoming project go live over the company screensavers. So that every time you shut your PC or were idle, you'd get a visual showing you the Go Live date and some important graphic information. It's given us an additional way of communicating to people and something that they'll see several times in their day. If you can make it eye catching, all the better!
4) "Be the change you want to see in the world" - Ghandi.
This is true for many areas of your life and especially when it comes to projects! If you're stalling, being negative, talking negatively then it'll transfer to your team and that's not worth it!
5) Look at what you can do differently
Try different things, different strategies to see if your team/ organisation reacts to that more positively. When I'm coaching Project Managers I say: There is more than one way to get from A to B, if the first way doesn't work, then try another way". Sometimes to see what could be done, you need to think outside of the box for what might work with your team. This could be different visuals, broadcasting in different ways, using other media (instead of powerpoint slides, use video).
Being a champion of change is something all of us can strive to achieve and strive to accomplish. How do you make yourself a champion of change? Let's connect and discuss more.