Project Management

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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.

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Cameron McGaughy
Dan Furlong
Emily Luijbregts
Priya Patra
Karthik Ramamurthy
Stephanie Jaeger
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Laura Schofield
David Davis
Drew Craig
Lorelie Kaid
Julie Ho
Brantlee Underhill
David Maynard
Fabio Rigamonti
Heather McLarnon
Kiron Bondale
Marjorie Anderson
Michelle Brown

Past Contributors:

Johanna Rusly
Deepa Bhide
Chris DiBella
Nic Jain
Karen Chovan
Jack Duggal
Catalin Dogaru
Carmine Paragano
Te Wu
Katie Mcconochie
Fabiola Maisonnier
Erik Agudelo
Jamie Champagne
Esra Tepeli
Mel Ross
Geetha Gopal
Archana Shetty
Randall Englund
Kristy Tan Neckowicz
Nancie Celini
Sandra MacGillivray
Sharmila Das
Gina Abudi
Greg Githens
Sarah Mersereau
Lawrence Cooper
Donna Gregorio
Bruce Gay
Michel Thiry
Heather van Wyk
Barbara Trautlein
Steve Salisbury
Yves Cavarec
Diana Robertson
Benjamin C. Anyacho
Nadia Vincent
Carlos Javier Pampliega García
Norma Lynch
Michelle Stronach
Sydni Neptune
Nesrin Aykac
Laura Samsó
Marcos Arias
Yoram Solomon
Cheryl Lee
Kelly George
Kristin Jones
Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
Annmarie Curley

Recent Posts

Presentation Recap: Building Better Connections and Boosting Team Collaboration with Storytelling

Presentation Recap: The Resilience Mindset: Tools for Navigating Uncertainty in a Post-Pandemic World

Presentation Recap: Leadership Advice to My (Even) Younger Self: Panel Discussion

Presentation Recap: Winning Customer Confidence by Designing a “Transparent-and-Tangible” Commercial Transformation Roadmap

Presentation Recap: Collaborative Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Presentation Recap: Building Better Connections and Boosting Team Collaboration with Storytelling

By Diana Robertson

I had a wonderful opportunity to present at the PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 on 6-7 October. This global event had over 42,000 attendees and included excellent speakers, virtual exhibits, and networking activities.

My presentation, “Building Better Connections and Boosting Team Collaboration with Storytelling,” focused on one of the most powerful communication tools know to humanity – storytelling.  I reviewed how to build rapport, establish deep connections with team members and apply storytelling effectively at the workplace. I am sharing a few of the questions from attendees, along with my responses.

Question 1:  Is any pre work required to frame the story and what needs to be achieved?

If you want your story to achieve a certain goal, then some prep in advance is highly advisable. Here is how you can make your stories bring you results:

First, think of a goal that you want to achieve through a conversation. Let’s say you want your boss to put you in charge of a new company project.

Then, think of a story that will help you during your conversation. For example, you know that your boss is looking for somebody with experience in organizing something similar. If you have such experience, this will be the story to tell. Make sure you illustrate the points your boss cares about the most, for example, that that project was a great success while being on a low budget.

If you don’t know what exactly will persuade your boss to select you above others, it’s worth doing some research too by either asking them or others in the company who might know what is it exactly that they’re looking for in a leader. You need that information to be able to select the right story.

Once this is done, it’s worth rehearsing it a few times. You can even test it on your colleagues and friends by asking them whether they understood the right message from your story. 

Depending on the circumstances, it could be either a short (2-3 minutes) or a long story (even for long stories it’s best to keep them under 7 minutes).

Finally, pick the right moment to share that story. If your boss is heavily stressed or in a great hurry, maybe it’s better to come back later.

So to sum up, depending on the importance of the goal you are trying to achieve, you may need to put some extra prep in. Having said that, once you get into the habit of telling stories for achieving results, you’ll find that your brain will get much faster when it comes to finding the right stories, to the point that you can even find them on the spot.

Question 2: Should story on story be based on the feedback from clients?

Customer feedback stories are some of the most effective ways to create impact, so it’s a great tool to use.

If you want to use them as a means to sell your products/services to new clients, it’s best if you share that feedback in a storytelling format as well. So if you sell educational courses, don’t just quote the customer saying “it was an awesome course, loved it”, but find feedback that’s more similar to this: “before taking the course I used to be (problems & issues), but having taken the course I (some results)”. The second version bares much more persuasive power, especially if the problems mentioned were serious and the success achieved was impressive.

I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.

Posted by Diana Robertson on: November 02, 2021 08:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Presentation Recap: The Resilience Mindset: Tools for Navigating Uncertainty in a Post-Pandemic World

By Kelly George, PMP
Founder & CEO, Real Resilience, LLC

I presented at the award-winning PMI Virtual Experience Series, an international event held on 6-7 October 2021, and I am proud to have shared the virtual stage with many other amazing featured speakers!  Over 43,000 people attended from around the globe!

My presentation, “The Resilience Mindset: Tools for Navigating Uncertainty in a Post-Pandemic World,” focused on how the work landscape is shifting post-pandemic and on ways to build resilience as leaders within teams and organizations.  Maximizing human potential is the future of work, and in order for teams to thrive, building emotional intelligence and fostering a work culture that includes psychological safety is key. Sustaining the values of emotional intelligence and psychological safety requires the resilience mindset—an understanding that resilience is relational, and collective leadership maintains the necessary group accountability for consistent “pulse checks,” throughout the organization. I would like to expand here on doing a pulse check to identify your team’s psychological safety. Pulse checks include asking the following questions: Are we intentionally living our organizational values daily? Is there visible support and alignment from stakeholders? Is our organizational culture open and does it allow for input from all team members equitably?

  • Problem: The pandemic accelerated planning for the future of work and emphasized that thriving enterprises need to nurture human capital. Prior to the pandemic, organizations did not appropriately plan for the future of work.  In order for people to deliver their highest value, including innovation and creativity (human attributes that technology cannot replace), psychological safety and well-being must be integrated into workplace policies and culture.
  • Query: As it becomes clear that human capital is a key driver of thriving teams, how can organizations begin to integrate psychological safety practices and well-being into the workplace?
  • Takeaways: The Resilience Mindset is a practical solution to humanizing the future of work and offers a sustainable way to manage constant change and uncertainty. Human interaction and connection ask us to stay present and honor the following principles: (1) prioritize emotional intelligence; (2) lead with empathy; and (3) understand resilience is relational, and sustainable resilience requires collective leadership. The Resilience Mindset is most effective in psychologically safe spaces and in environments where there are no punitive consequences for critical questioning, risk-taking, and failure.

The Resilience Mindset in Real Time (aka Present Time)

How do we apply “emotional intelligence”? – Develop a consistent practice and process. 

First, begin by observing yourself and others. Here are some thought-provoking questions to aid the observation process: What do you respond to most in your work environment? What triggers activate a stress response? What triggers activate joy and meaningful experiences?

Second, reflect on the experience. Here are some questions to aid the reflection process: What are the physical or emotional cues associated with each trigger? What items are you most concerned about more than you care to admit? What are your most comfortable modes of communication? Why?

How do we apply “empathy”? —For me, empathy begins with implementing kindness with yourself and others and having the willingness to be vulnerable.

How do we apply “psychological safety”? — Develop a practice and culture of trust and confidence that provides a sense of belonging and empowerment where the entire workforce can thrive. Make space for different experiences of the world, including diversity of lived experience and identity.

Trust is built through authentic relationships and being your authentic self. Being your authentic self encourages others to be their authentic self. Be accountable to yourself and others. If something is said or discussed that does not sit well, investigate it and find an opportunity to address it in a tactful, respectful way. These are the tools to navigate dissenting opinions and drive courageous conversations. This may be uncomfortable for a moment but developing a practice of stepping out of one’s comfort zone is part of the process for the good of the whole.

Additionally, Amy Edmonson has a series of seven questions that can be used as a starting place to determine whether your team members consider the work environment psychologically safe. Ask team members to anonymously respond to these questions on a scale of 1 to 5, where “strongly disagree” is 1 and “strongly agree” is 5. [1] Be sure to thoroughly discuss responses.

  1. If I make a mistake in this team, it is held against me.
  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
  4. It is safe to take a risk in this team.
  5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
  6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
  7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions, and I would like to respond to them here.

  1. With so much uncertainty around supply chain management in the post-pandemic era, how do you manage such uncertainties in project forecast as it relates to managing stakeholders?

In my opinion, the best antidote to uncertainty is current, real-time updates. There are many data tracking tools like Smartsheets, a web-based program that allows multiple users to access status updates. Tools that can house information and provide stakeholders access and visibility to real-time information via dashboards or reports can be useful. Lastly, I suggest bi-weekly checks with stakeholders to ensure they receive the necessary information (in accordance with the captured expectations in the communications plan) and whether there are any outstanding questions or concerns.


  1. Nice concept on emotional intelligence. Is there any way we can track and understand the level of emotional intelligence on a daily basis?

I would start with the “ground rules”— more specifically, how team members relate to one another on a daily basis. For example, observe and assess interpersonal dynamics when asking questions or gaining clarity on weekly and monthly goals. If your team has not yet discussed “ground rules” – typically discussed during initial team formation – set aside some space to reconnect now and discuss what the “ground rules” are, especially in the context of the new hybrid work environment. The HBR has a quiz that can help team members understand where they are in the present moment with regard to emotional intelligence. This quiz[2] is free and provides some helpful tips to continue exercising your emotional intelligence muscle.


  1.  How is psychological safety different than the 5S concept (A Place for Everything and Everything In its Place) of Lean Six Sigma? Can we consider it as a safety measure?

The concept of the 5s (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) of Lean Six Sigma refers to managing physical space. Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology to identify the root cause of an error. Psychological safety speaks to the cultural environment within the team, among stakeholders, and organizations. The focus of psychological safety is for team members to feel comfortable sharing ideas, whether fully formed or still in the ideation phase. Team members should feel empowered to take ownership of mistakes as a learning process and be able to ask questions without feeling that there may be consequences for questioning things or sharing dissenting opinions. The goal is to have a team that is high-functioning, with everyone expressing their full human potential with agency and choice.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

In my opinion, psychological safety stands as a humanity safety measure (translation: employee well-being). Employee services and well-being typically fall under the business function of human resources (HR) and Employee Business Resource Groups (ERG). However, this measurement is limiting. Human beings require interactions that address validation, acknowledgement, and witnessing of all the true elements of the lived experience to thrive at work and in communities. If you check your “humanity” at the door before entering a workplace, virtual space, or any space, I think you would be considered a robot, right?


The full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022.  Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.


[1] Source:


Posted by Kelly George on: October 28, 2021 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Presentation Recap: Leadership Advice to My (Even) Younger Self: Panel Discussion

By Geetha Gopal
Head of Infrastructure Projects Delivery and Digital Transformation
Panasonic Asia Pacific

I had the honor of moderating a featured Rising Leaders panel discussion with two of this year’s PMI Future 50 honorees, at the PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 on 6-7 October 2021.

Future 50 is an annual list which features 50 rising leaders using bold and innovative thinking to transform the world through notable projects. Our two Future 50 panelists, Hanan AlMaziad, PfMP®, PgMP®, P3O, PMP®, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, KSA, and Jie Li, Project Management Office Head of Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute, shared their thoughts on how they are transforming their ideas into reality. Hanan and Jie Li are proving to the world that young people are actively shaping a better future.

When asked the question, "What is the one piece of advice you would give to your (even) younger self?," they provided diverse responses with so much humility. Li candidly recounted his very personal early career experience of being in the quality department and once signing off a lower quality deliverable by mistake. When he was worried about this discovery, he received timely advice and guidance from a senior colleague on how mistakes should not bring us down but must be acknowledged, faced boldly, and addressed. Li mentioned that this was a great lesson for him which he tries to practice consciously.

Hanan shared her experience of working harmoniously with the different generations at the workplace and learning from each other. She has great hopes for the future in the healthcare industry.

When asked about the important role diversity plays in making a big project successful, Li mentioned that including a younger generation in his program teams was a major contributor to its success. He recounted how job shadowing was effective, and his best practice recommendation was to pair different generations together for better outcomes.

Here are my key takeaways from these two wonderful young leaders: 

  1. We always don’t get the opportunities we seek, and life puts us on unexpected paths. It is important to take up the opportunities that come our way, be the best we can be through commitment and passion and push forward. Success will follow.
  2. By striving to be the best version of ourselves, we define our growth, inspire others in the process and help in the organic growth of others around us.
  3. We must embrace the younger generation into the workforce and facilitate a collaborative environment among the different generations.

 Being the first Saudi to hold the Triple P certifications, Hanan is a great example of how by focusing on our goals with the right efforts, women can achieve tremendous things and be role models for others. Li, who wanted to join the automotive industry but was offered a nuclear role in which he has grown to such heights, is a stellar example of the rewards of passion and making the best use of our opportunities. I believe the younger generation will continue to grow to greater heights through such passion and commitment.

 I want to respond to one question we received from the audience. The question was, “In addition to the skills you discuss, how important is luck to success?” I quote the Latin proverb - audentes Fortuna iuvat - “As the wise have always held, fortune (luck) favors the bold and the brave!”

 The overwhelming response and feedback we received post event gives me a sense of deep satisfaction that this topic was truly impactful and inspirational to the next generation. Many thanks to PMI for putting together such a wonderful topic and event and for the opportunity to participate! The presentations from this program will be on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.

Posted by Geetha Gopal on: October 27, 2021 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Presentation Recap: Winning Customer Confidence by Designing a “Transparent-and-Tangible” Commercial Transformation Roadmap

By Sharmila Das, PMP
Senior Consultant, TCS

I presented at the PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 event held on 6-7 October 2021.  This was a great event with featured speakers, exhibits and networking activities.

My presentation, “Winning Customer Confidence by Designing a ‘Transparent-and-Tangible’ Commercial Transformation Roadmap,” focused on the following: Contract outsourcing behavior is undergoing a sea change in today's world. “Pay for what you get” is the industry buzzword today. This changing industry dynamic has led to an evolution of customer mindset and expectations. Most organizations exhibit strong intentions to embark on a commercial transformation journey shifting from managed capacity to managed output and outcome-based commercial constructs along with their Agile transformation. In an effort towards moving up the commercial value chain, customers expect IT vendors and service providers to put their skin in the game through a bonus-malus framework for business/IT outcomes achieved. Hence, IT vendors and service providers are now constantly on the edge to reposition themselves as a “strategic partner” to their valued customers.

So how do we bring about customer delight here? What is that solution which customers would love to internalize enterprise-wide to undergo a seamless commercial transformation? 

 In an effort to reinforce collaborations with customers and win their confidence, we bring forth a well-integrated and compelling solution that will build a robust ecosystem of estimation governance, Agile key performance indicator (KPI) management, and a transparent commercial transformation roadmap.

The key takeaways of my presentation are:

  • The different flavors of Agile contracting models along with the controls or guardrails to make each such model a win-win for both parties
  • A patented estimation model that forms the core engine of innovative pricing model
  • A step-by-step commercial transformation plan.

I want to take the opportunity to respond to a question submitted by an attendee:

Question:  What methods do you use to ensure the value proposed is realized over measure phase?

The Commercial Transformation solution framework has an in-built KPI management framework that identifies, defines, measures, and baselines the different team performance KPIs, which in turn helps provide insights on the value proposed versus realized. At the ground level, we have metrics like the say-do ratio measured for each team to help understand what entities are proposed for delivery versus what has been delivered.

Also, the Commercial Transformation solution framework uses a value quantification and management framework that attaches business value to the delivered output (measured), thereby helping customers understand the value being delivered at the end of an iteration/release/phase against what has been proposed.


I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022.  Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details. 

Posted by Sharmila Das on: October 27, 2021 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Presentation Recap: Collaborative Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

By Archana Shetty, PMP
Founder and CEO, WELEAD

I recently presented at the PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 event on 6-7 October, which was an amazing opportunity to learn from fellow speakers and participate in exhibits and networking activities.

My presentation, Collaborative Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, focused on how project leaders could use the collaborative leadership model to address the challenges that leaders are experiencing right now, such as low team morale, burnout, decrease in engagement, disconnection, stress, anxiety, deteriorating culture and other salient issues that leaders face during uncertainty and rapid change.

The collaborative leadership model helps leaders build and sustain high-performing, value-creating, self-organized, resilient teams that thrive even in uncertainty. Applying the framework ultimately increases resiliency, talent density, collaborative work, a high-trust culture, employee engagement and customer delight.

Many of the participants appreciated these key takeaways from the presentation:

  • Building blocks of Collaborative Leadership
  • Mindset of collaborative Leaders
  • Practical tips & techniques to foster effective collaboration

During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions especially around appraisal and feedback, and I would like to expand on that topic here.

Today the micro-unit of success in an organization is no longer an individual but a team – it’s the cohesion and bond within a team that creates energy. When done well, it has the potential to fuel an entire organization. It’s the law of chemistry - energy is released when bonds form. 

As leaders, we have an incredible opportunity to create bonds, to create an environment where teams can thrive. One of the pieces in the puzzle of creating a thriving environment in my collaborative leadership model is feedback. How do we provide feedback, aka “have a thrive conversation,” using the collaborative leadership model?

Feedback is typically given during the annual performance review process once or twice a year. The appraisal is then linked to a bonus or financial incentives. Annual appraisals are generally conducted through the lens of fixing the gaps – What has gone wrong? What needs to be done to fix the weakness? The conversation typically revolves around the gaps. This is draining for both the manager and employee. It’s no wonder that most people dread appraisals.

There was a time in organizational history when this was useful because there wasn’t any feedback back then. Feedback was introduced as a tool in 1950’s with the noble intention of improving performance.

If you are like me, you would want feedback to legitimately get better, but when these conversations happen once or twice a year, they are not very useful because either it’s too late, or too generic or out of context. Appraisal then becomes just a formality, a checkbox to tick.

Organizational psychologist and Stanford professor Bob Sutton once told the New York Times, “If performance evaluations were a drug, they would not receive FDA approval. They have so many side effects, and so often they fail.”

To really help people improve and grow, they need to know how they are doing while they are doing. Imagine raising the flags and penalizing the players after the football game is over!

That’s why I would like leaders to look at appraisals differently. Instead of providing feedback on performance once or twice a year, make it a habit to help people learn, grow and improve over the course of the year. Make the process a rewarding experience and use the medium to motivate and develop people. Make the conversations specific and often via individual and team interactions. Recognize people not only for their individual achievements but also for their behavior and collective achievements. Reward collaboration; make it a two-way conversation with individuals and have open discussions with the team.

Here are three tips to turn the appraisal process into a “thrive conversation”:

  1. Be Curious. Show a genuine curiosity for their work. What do they like about their work and what do they find challenging? What support do they need to make their work meaningful? 

Ask how well did they work together? How frequently did they demonstrate values that are congruent to the organization? How well did they support one another? Also, do not be afraid to tell the truth. Provide candid feedback in the spirit of helping them grow. Bring the observed behaviors to the open – positive or negative – and ask them how that can be improved. Allow them realize their strengths and how they can improve rather than tell them how you do it because your skills, strengths and experiences are different.

  1. Connect their contribution to the Purpose.  Make them feel that their work matters. Show them their strengths and talk to them frequently about how they are making a difference in the larger project and beyond. Connect their contribution to the purpose, why their work matters. From research from the Corporate Leadership Council, we know that emphasis on strengths is linked to a 36% improvement, while emphasis on weaknesses is linked to a 27% decline.
  1. Demonstrate Compassion. Exercise compassion by genuinely listening to their concerns, areas of struggle and helping them move forward. Instead of punishing a person for not doing well, dive deep into what is getting in the way. Make it safe for them to fully express themselves. Make them feel seen and heard. Take action by providing resources, offering support if they are going through a difficult time, removing a bottleneck, etc. (whatever is relevant for them at that time), that shows them that you are helping them succeed and thrive.

This process leaves little room for people to pitch against each other. When you can apply the “thrive conversation” of collaborative leadership, it becomes a learning process, growing and thriving together. The focus shifts from ME and competition towards WE and collaboration. When people feel more connected, it increases their overall well-being. This way you are also contributing to the greater good of humanity.

We need project leaders to model these behaviors because people don't listen to what leaders say; they pay attention to what leaders do. It takes courage to turn the tables. But it’s time to change. If not now, when?

We often underestimate how much courage we have and how much we can change. We need inspiring leaders like you to question the existing process, to challenge people, to move them, to inspire them, and there is nothing more thrilling than igniting the spark.

Be the one who ignites the spark, be the force for good. Be the hero in people’s lives.

Now, let’s make this actionable What micro-step can you take to create a “thrive conversation” and a better experience for all?

I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.

Posted by Archana Shetty on: October 26, 2021 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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