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,
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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:
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!
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!
Interesting how even at a conference, where you mapped out your session attendance, everything can change suddenly. In this case it made for a slightly different, yet fun day.
Initially I had wanted to start my day attending one of 3 offsite sessions that were on offer: A visit to the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI). Since I worked the first 24 years of my career in the medical field and the RCSI won an award last year during the PMI Award Gala, I really wanted to attend this outing. However the offsite sessions are very popular and I was late trying to register. So I put my name on the waiting list. The waiting list was only for the Session at the Teeling Distillery. So I kept my fingers crossed and waited. Late last night I got an email, informing me that I had managed to get onto the Distillery Tour. So both @Emily & myself got to take part in this treat.
Did you know that there was a time when Dublin had over 40 distilleries, and then there was a time there was none? Until Teeling decided to open a small distillery again in Dublin in 2012. The tour takes you right into the distillery and you can see the entire process from end to end.
Did you know that Irish Whiskey is triple distilled, Scottish Whisky (note the difference in spelling) is double distilled and American Bourbon is only distilled once? Did you know that Whiskey gets its color from the wood of the casks it is stored in, while it matures? That's why older whiskey has a darker color.
We learned all about the 5 step process of making whiskey and the different kinds of whiskey. What is the difference between Blend, Small Batch, Single Grain and Single Malt. In the end we got to taste 3 of the Super Premium Whiskeys Teeling is famous for.
We were back to the Dublin Convention Center in time for lunch. I used the lunch break for more networking and meeting new people. One of my techniques is that I often either open a new table and sit there waiting to see who will join me, or purposely go to a table where I know nobody and join them. You end up meeting wonderful people and having deep discussion about project management in general, the sessions attended during the conference or your experience in your career as a project manager.
In the afternoon I attended a session by Dirk Doppelfeld and Nataliya Wiedemeyer about creating your virtual Band. Virtual Teams have their own challenges and the fact that you do not see each other face to face brings a whole lot of unique issues. It is very important that you pay special attention to and effort to getting to know each other, setting clear rules, reconfirming peoples attention and scheduling time for bonding. Dirk & Nataliya shared a set of 11 processes that help you assess the Virtual Team Maturity and position yourself for better collaboration. A great and practical session!
During the afternoon break I got into a discussion with Jim Snyder about progress in the medical world and how robotic surgeries are being done. He has amazing knowledge about it and it was great to discuss with him.
Unfortunately that made me miss the beginning of the next sessions and I found all the 3:15pm sessions full to capacity. So I was unable to attend any session. Instead I had another great discussion with Dirk Doppelfeld about Project Management Training, REPs and our experiences with classroom and virtual training.
As Jim Snyder said during the opening sessions, PMI is about the people. I could not agree more, even PMI Conferences are also all about the people. You meet amazing colleagues and peers, you have deep discussions with strangers.
The day ended on a high note again, we had the #PMI50 celebration party. It was good fun with great food, great drinks - lots of Guiness - and fun entertainment.
And true to his word Sunil Prashara was there, mingling with all of us, enjoying himself and chatting with many of the delegates.
What a great day at the conference! Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
Let us know if you want us to talk in more detail about some of the sessions we attended or those we want to attend tomorrow.
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!