Project Management

The Critical Path

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Welcome to The Critical Path--the home for community happenings and events on! This is where you'll find community news, updates, upcoming events, featured member posts and more. We'll also be showcasing hot topics in the project management arena and bringing you interviews with industry experts. The Critical Path is our primary way of getting news out to members, so be sure to check back for updates!

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Marjorie Anderson
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield
Heather McLarnon

Past Contributors:

Carrie Dunn
Danielle Ritter
Kenneth A. Asbury
Craig Dalrymple
Rebecca Braglio
Kristin Jones

Recent Posts

Ask the Expert Webinar Series – “Agile for Rest of Us” - is Now On-Demand!

September 2020 Community News You Can Use

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Project Management

August 2020 Community News You Can Use

Community Transformation Update!

Join Us for the PMIEF 30th Anniversary Celebration!

Categories: PMIEF


Welcome to the PMIEF 30th Anniversary Celebration! All day long on Tuesday the 4th of August, we are celebrating the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) 30th anniversary by highlighting the Educational Foundation and how you can give back to your community through social good efforts.


We’re excited to open up our community today to all project professionals around the world to continue the conversation around making a difference through the use of project management. We have two LIVE webinars (open to all) and plenty of other content focused on how you—the PMI community of practitioners, PMI chapter volunteers, donors and more—have helped bring PMIEF’s mission and vision to life. Find out what content we have in store for you today by checking out the guide below! 


Content Type


Webinar (Live)

30 Years of PMIEF

Webinar (Live)

Tools for Teaching Career Readiness Skills in a Global Economy


The Impact of Giving Back Through PMIEF


Celebrating PMIEF's 30th Anniversary: How a Scholarship Helped an Infantry Officer Transfer to the Private Sector


PMIEF’s Partnerships Help Youth Build Life Skills


PMIEF by the Numbers


PMIEF Donor Spotlight: Teresa Burgess, PMP®


Find the Professional Development Opportunity That’s Right for You with PMIEF


A Q&A with Jim Snyder, Founding Member of PMI


PM4L, PMI Melbourne Chapter, and PMIEF: Shifting to Virtual Delivery During COVID19 


But wait...there's MORE!


TODAY ONLY: For those of you who read and comment on PMIEF’s content on 4 August 2020 here on, you’ll receive an exclusive badge!

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: August 04, 2020 07:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

What Background Makes a Good DPO?

Categories: communication

By Yunique Demann, Associate Director Risk – Data Privacy

The enactment of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) formalized the role of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) role to ensure there was senior leader in the organization who was responsible and accountable for driving the privacy program and upholding the rights of data subjects and their data.

The role of the DPO is to implement a data protection strategy that aligns with GDPR and other privacy laws that supports business objectives and reduces risk. The DPO oversees the development, implementation and maintenance of data privacy and data protection policies and ensures the organization processes personal data of data subjects (employees, customers, and other individuals) in a compliant way that reduces the potential for data breaches and protects the data throughout its lifecycle with that business. DPOs should operate independently, with full support from executive management all the way through to the board.

As the need for privacy professionals increases, the pool of qualified individuals with the knowledge and capabilities comes largely from two groups: privacy lawyers/legal privacy professionals and the IT privacy professional from an IT and/or security background. The privacy lawyer focuses on privacy laws and provides legal guidance and direction on compliance with those laws. IT/security privacy professionals have a good understanding of the law and can also provide guidance on implementation of privacy requirements. They usually have a deeper understanding of the security and risks factors associated with compliance based on their closeness with the business and can provide guidance on technologies, process and procedures that support the security of processing.

Both roles are effective and approach privacy from a different perspective, and both can function in the role as a Data Protection Officer (DPO). An effective DPO does not need to come from a legal background but a good understanding of law is a mandatory requirement for understanding privacy requirements.

There is another role that can become a DPO – compliance officer – but he or she must demonstrate independence when overseeing the privacy function. Under GDPR, the DPO must be free from conflicts of interest. In a recent case, the Belgian Data Protection Authority fined an organization €50,000 for failing to ensure the DPO was free from a conflict of interest. Therefore, in meeting requirements specific to GDPR, although the DPO may fulfill other tasks, the tasks related to compliance must not result in a conflict of interest.

The career trajectory for a privacy professional also can evolve into becoming Chief Privacy Officer (CPO). The person in this role should be comfortable with owning the privacy program as it pertains to developing policies and liaising with IT/security and vendor management. In this role, the IT privacy professional may have a head start, but this in no way excludes the privacy lawyer from creating these relationships and gaining the necessary knowledge.

With the introduction of ISACA’s new Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) certification, privacy professionals have a new opportunity to assess their privacy-related skills against a new globally recognized standard. CDPSE is the latest credential from ISACA for those who participate in the design, implementation and management of technology solutions that store, process and transport personally identifiable information (PII).

Having a formal certification provides the external validation that those performing in the function as a DPO are qualified and meet a recognized criterion for managing a privacy program. IAPP and now ISACA are leading the way in developing internationally recognized certifications in this area, although there are multiple country regulation-specific certifications for privacy around the world.

As someone who has come from a security background, I have found my background has been a complement to my current role as a DPO and has helped me collaborate with the IT and security teams in supporting the privacy program. I choose to pursue additional post-graduate qualifications for navigating the different privacy laws and gaining legal skills. The certifications available now can better equip privacy professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their DPO roles.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the ISACA Now blog. For more on ISACA’s new technical privacy certification, visit

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: July 30, 2020 03:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Virtual Experience Series Delivering Value, Creating Change & Advancing the World™

We are navigating a present and a future defined by challenge and change. As we step forward, we embrace the great potential and opportunity ahead of us. As project professionals, we cultivate and activate teams, we foster action and progress, and we catalyze innovation.

We make reality.

Let's. Get. To Work.
Hosted by journalist, television host, and Executive Producer TAMRON HALL— join us
for a groundbreaking new series, created to deliver you the tools, ideas, and inspiration
you need to drive your project career forward.

Members, you’ll find a new PMI experience designed for your personal growth and connection to each other (and yes, you’ll earn plenty of PDUs)!  

For those new to our community, welcome to the innovative, rewarding project world—creating impact and transformation across industries. These events are crafted to help you boost your career. Or pivot to a new one. 

Single Event Pass: $99
Series Pass: $359  

Single Event Pass: $149 
Series Pass: $899

Consider a PMI Membership and save $400 on a Series Pass! 

Our monthly virtual events begin in July and continue through December 2020. They are crafted to:

Hear from unexpected (but familiar) voices on the power and influence of project management.

Gain insights from project pros around the world.

Connect with peers and mentors and meet renowned authors. Amp up your personal brand, polish up your professional profile, and visit our job board.

Watch incredible stories of project impact and experience a few surprises that we have up our virtual sleeve!

Pleases click here to register for this newly created virtual event experience!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: July 15, 2020 07:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Shared Ownership in Projects. The Team Performance Domain.

Categories: standards

By Giampaolo Marucci – PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition Development Team Member

In some languages there is no direct translation of the English word “accountable.” For example, in Italy we translate it as “responsible.” That is, in Italy, we translate “accountable” and “responsible” with the same word: “responsible.” But we know, also in Italy, that “accountable” and “responsible” have different meanings.

In Italian, we interpret responsibility as the act of taking charge of the execution of work that someone asks for. Accountability is the awareness of paying someone for damage caused by wrong decisions or getting the reward for good decisions. Accountability requires that the accountable people respond to any of the activities delegated to responsible people. Responsibility does not include accountability, while accountability can include responsibility. In both cases, someone is responsible or accountable to someone else.

Historically, accountability for a project has been assigned to a single person inside a context. For example, a project manager is usually accountable to the Sponsor for the success (or lack of success) of the project. While the project manager may delegate responsibility to members of the project team, the project manager maintains accountability. But, looking at how some organizations have been structured during the last couple of decades, in some cases, accountability in a project, product, or service to customers or the public, has been assigned to more than one person. In the Team Performance Domain in the PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition we refer to this as shared ownership. That is, there are contexts in which the outcomes from the work are assigned to the more than one person, or the team as a whole.

This can be the case with a high performing team that is stable, empowered, and self-organized. Ownership for the outcomes from the project are shared by the team as a whole. Stable teams move from formation and grow into a high-performing team by passing through four stages: Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing. The length of time for the team to grow into the performing stage can vary based many variables. (You can refer the Tuckman “Team development model” for detail on this. The PMBOK® Guide refers to it in the section “Models, Methods, and Artifacts” of the PMBOK® Guide - Seventh Edition.) Following, you can see some of the characteristics that are usually present in high performing teams where ownership can be shared:

  • Stability: the team is stable with little turnover. Members of the team enjoy working inside that team.
  • Trust: each member of the team trusts each other.
  • Wholeness:  the team can commit themselves to the work to achieve the project’s vision. They do not need external support to do the required work and they are able to communicate with all the other stakeholders with transparency, giving and receiving frequent feedback to learn and improve their way of working.
  • Cross-functionality: if needed, each member of the team can do the work of other members of the team because, each member is a generalized specialist (someone says, each member of the team owns “T-Shaped” or “M-Shaped” competencies).
  • High experience: members of the team have great experience in their generalized specializations, and they all are also experienced in project management principles and performance domains.
  • Self-organization: they know several possible ways of working. They can choose their way of working based on the organization and external context. They can adapt their way of working to be effective inside the project and inside the organization. They are able, and they prefer, to self-assign the work to themselves. They know their rights and their responsibilities to the organization.
  • Small size: the team is relatively small. One of the variables that affects the complexity of a project is the team size. A project can be assigned to a team or several teams (in that case we could talk about a “Program”) but each team should be relatively small in size. A lot of theory has been written on this, for instance, in psychology you can refer to Miller’s Law (the magical number 7) and we need to consider that the number (N) of bi-directional communication channel between persons in a team is  N*(N-1)/2 — it grows exponentially.
  • Personal accountability: each member of the team is accountable to each other. That is each member of the team has the courage, respect for others, and transparency to own their actions and the impact of their actions on the other members of the team.

Having such a performing team, an organization can assign them a project and let them self-organize to decide their way of working, choose and evolve their processes and practices to adopt inside the project, and configure processes and practices based on the organization’s policy. The organization can give to the team, as a whole, rewards or penalties for success (or lack of success) of the project.

In other words, the organization can let the team not only be responsible for the work but also own the outcomes to the organization. High performing teams with shared ownership is described inside the Team Performance Domain in the PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition.

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: July 07, 2020 03:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Register for our next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything!" Webinar- featuring PMI Events!

While we are disheartened about the reality of not meeting face to face during PMI live events this year, we want you to know that “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” With that said, have you heard the buzz about the new series of virtual events that PMI is developing? YES, new and exciting things are happening in the PMI Events World and we want you to be part of it!  How can you? Simply register for our next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything!” webinar, What’s All the Buzz about the Virtual Experience Series?, scheduled Wednesday, 22 July 2020 at 3:00PM EDT.

As you may know, the format of this series of webinars is executed through non-PDU bearing webinars, meant to encourage conversation with various PMI departments. Simply put, community members, like yourselves, having a one hour Q&A session with a particular PMI department. We are so thrilled to have Gina Alesse, Julie Ho and Michelle Brown from PMI Events, discuss the specifics of The Virtual Experience Series: Delivering Value, Creating Change & Advancing the World™ that will feature monthly virtual experiences from now through December 2020.

Register for FREE at  We certainly hope you will join us!

As always, our project is YOU. Your successes and setbacks, your passions and peeves—we want to hear about them all, and help you get to where you're going today and tomorrow. We hope these webinar series guide you in the right direction. As always, your feedback and ideas are most welcome!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: June 25, 2020 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."

- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.