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?
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!
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.
Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn we will be covering the sessions live so you don’t miss a thing!