PMI Global Insights

by , , , , , , , , , , ,
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.

About this Blog

RSS

View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Dan Furlong
Danielle Ritter
Marjorie Anderson
David Maynard
Kristin Jones
Fabio Rigamonti
Emily Luijbregts
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy
Stephanie Jaeger
Moritz Sprenger

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
David Davis

Recent Posts

How does your behaviour support you in achieving your goals? - PMIEMEA19 Recap

Networking, knowledge and insight: PMIEMEA19

Final Summary of PMI EMEA Congress 2019 – my 3 top Lesson’s Learned

Round up of Videos from PMIEMEA19

Agility, Generativity, Terrific TED, and a Sparkling Shiny Surprise! Terrific Third Day of #PMIEMEA19

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:

  • Customer Engagement. Waterfalls projects see drastic drops in customer engagement after scope is defined. Increased levels of engagement can help project teams be more flexible, and avoid late-stage changes which can be extremely expensive!
  • Minimum Viable Features (MVFs) to deliver phased Minimum Viable Products (MVPs): Project Managers can get great results from grouping the customer’s highest-priority features into shorter project phases. This way, the clients actually get quicker value for money.
  • Avoid the ICU! Incomplete, Unclear, and Complex scope can be perilous for projects. Walter could effectively leverage user stories for the most critical 20% of requirements to derive advantages for 80% of project scope.
  • Poker, Anyone? Inaccurate Time, Cost, and Resource estimates imperil project success. Waterfall PMs can leverage the power of the “Wisdom of Crowds” to increase the accuracy of estimates, stakeholder buy-in, and sponsor confidence.
  • Meetings are events where the minutes are kept and the hours are lost! Countless hours are lost in unproductive meetings full of long monologues, arguments, and conflicts. Walter could derive considerable benefits from the agile technique of short, effective stand-up meetings.
  • Bonus Methods: I also briefly mentioned Ownership, Kanban Boards, “Just-enough” documentation, and Gamification as Agile techniques that could be effectively leveraged.

  • Don’t miss the forest for the trees: When there are several agile projects/sprints within a program, teams risk the possibility of the “big picture.” Kick-off meetings and frequent reinforcement of the overall program goals can really help.
  • Don’t Desert Design Discipline: Design discipline could be a casualty in environments of extremely high pace. Increased peer reviews and quality checks could go a long way in improving the quality of deliverables.
  • The Deadly Disappearing Design Dependencies! Missing dependencies between Agile projects, programs and sprints can be really deadly. Increased coordination between teams could help reduce these issues.


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.

What had happened in under five months? Watch here: https://youtu.be/jHvny4MlYPw and here: https://youtu.be/FfOz9s0frlg

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!


I hope you have enjoyed the continuous coverage of the EMEA Congress 2019 by our team of Correspondents Team of Emily Luijbregts, Stephanie Jaeger , Moritz Sprenger, and me, Karthik Ramamurthy.

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!

Posted by Karthik Ramamurthy on: May 16, 2019 06:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

#PMICon18 Ask the Experts

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. 

-- Dave

Posted by David Maynard on: October 01, 2018 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Preparing for PMIEMEA18

#PMIEMEA18 is coming up very soon and there are a lot of preparations going on in advance. As someone who will be speaking at the conference for the first time, I'm really excited to be able to present my topic to the audience but I'm also extremely excited to be presenting alongside some absolutely fantastic speakers and knowledgeable experts there!

I'll also be there as part of the Social Media crew helping to bring the conference to those who are unable to be there in person. I'll be sharing my personal experience and highlights from the sessions that I'll be attending and allowing you to follow the conference online.

Before you come to Berlin:

Make sure that you've read through the entire conference schedule so that you've got an idea of what you're looking to attend. I'd also recommend bringing enough Business cards to share out with people at the networking events. 

Monday:

The conference doesn’t end there. Please don’t forget to check out the evening networking opportunities. The evening events are not only a great way for you to mingle with your other Project Management counterparts but they’ll also be a great way to learn more about Berlin’s fascinating history!

Tuesday:

Tuesday is going to be a packed day but it'll be a busy one for sure!

Wednesday:

Wednesday morning kicks off and it’ll be a packed final day of the main #PMIEMEA18 conference!

#PMIEMEA18 has a packed program that will definitely give you the advantage. It’ll give you the tools to develop your skills and broaden your mindset. Moreover, it’ll give you the opportunity to meet other Project Management colleagues and enable you to widen your network.

So, which sessions are you looking forward to?

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: April 26, 2018 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Backward Expert

backward

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

Sign Up Now

Posted by David Maynard on: October 26, 2017 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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)
ADVERTISEMENTS

"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"

- Nathaniel Hawthorne

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors