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
Kristin Jones
Danielle Ritter
Dave Garrett
Craig Dalrymple
Kimberly Whitby

Recent Posts

Don't Miss These Unique Opportunities at PMI Global Conference 2017 - Ask the Experts & PM Wars!

PM Wars Tournament, 28 - 31 October, PMI Global Conference

Where the Gurus Are!

October Community News You Can Use

Ask the Expert Returns to PMI Global Conference!

Connect with Fellow Chapter Members with One Touch of a Button!

Categories: chapters, community, member

Would you like to connect with your fellow chapter members here in the community with the touch of a single button?

We’ve made it easy for you! Click here to create online connections AUTOMATICALLY with other members of your local chapter. You have the ability to strengthen your local connections by:

  • Recognizing accomplishments
  • Collaborating on content
  • Sharing knowledge through online discussions

Create a sense of community for your local chapter all through!

Also, be on the lookout for your local chapter leaders who may invite you to connect and continue local conversations, globally.  Help them recognize the contributions of people like you, highlighting how local experts are impacting the global community by making them a part of your network.

Haven’t completed your profile? Let your colleagues know who you are! Get started today! Here’s how:

Click here to:

  1. Upload a photo
  2. Provide a basic profile description
  3. Select a unique URL

Take these simple steps to begin reaping the rewards of this active community today!

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: November 10, 2016 07:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Recognizing Outstanding PMI Chapters Around the Globe!

Categories: chapters, member, PMI

PMI recently honored 11 finalists and three winners during the Chapter Awards Ceremony in September at the PMI® Leadership Institute Meeting 2016─North America in San Diego, California, USA.  These chapters were recognized for their volunteer efforts, for motivating chapter leaders, and for their contributions toward achieving PMI’s goals. 

Here are the finalists and winning chapters in each category!

Category I (25-300 members)

The four finalists in this category were as follows: 

PMI congratulates all of these finalists and the winning chapter, PMI Southern Italy Chapter. You can view a video featuring all four of the finalists in Category I below. 

Category II (301-1,500 members)

The four finalists in this category were as follows:

PMI congratulates all of these finalists and the winning chapter, PMI Buffalo, NY Chapter. You can view the video featuring all four of the finalists in Category II below: 

Category III (1,501+ members)

The three finalists in this category were as follows:

PMI congratulates all of the finalists and the winning chapter, PMI Montreal Chapter. You can view the video featuring all three of the finalists in Category III below: 

For more information about PMI chapters or to see how you can get involved with your local chapter, please click here. If you are already a chapter member and would like more information about the PMI Chapter Awards Program, please contact Chapter Support at

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: October 28, 2016 09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

To Ask, Answer or Observe...

I have been following a fascinating conversation started by one of our highly active community members, Mr. Stephane Parent, on the topic of those who ask questions and those who answer them within the community.  He posited that both are valuable ways of contributing to the community, and asked his colleagues how they felt about the way that these two trends play out on

The discussion (linked here: has been energetic and responses from other members validate that, yes, both actions create a more healthy community environment.  Of course, one member also pointed out the very real “third trend”:  those who log in and neither ask, nor answer.

In responding to this “third trend”, several have mused that members who are not actively participating in such discussions are difficult to connect with and that it is hard to feel a sense of connectivity to a silent community segment. 

But does that mean that our silent members are not contributing to our community?  It may be easy to draw that conclusion, but I wouldn’t start sketching it too soon.

Most communities, both online and in-person, have what community managers often hear referred to as “lurkers”.  These individuals do not tend to voice their opinions, respond to questions, or ask them in the public forums.  They quietly log in or enter a room, listening to the conversations, picking up resources, watch presentations and make notes, and quietly leave.  They may go almost completely unnoticed, but they are still part of the community and most would tell you that they feel engaged by the community. 

There is actually a commonly understood ratio of community member “types”, particularly online, and it usually looks like this 1:9:90.  For every 100 members, you generally have 1 highly active contributor who tends to generate and lead activity within the community, about 9 frequent participators who respond to and interact with community activity, and about 90 members who quietly observe and rarely raise their voice.  This is not a hard and fast ratio, but there are always higher numbers of “lurkers” than there are active contributors, and we are no exception.

There may be many reasons that this happens – even within a community of peers, not everyone is comfortable asking a question in a public forum, particularly if you feel that you are surrounded by subject matter experts who may perceive the question to be “simple”.  And, no matter how long they may have been practicing within the profession, some members may not be confident that their experience translates to actual expertise.  Circumstances can impact responses, and the best practice that works 99% of the time for them in their situation, may not be at all effective in another. 

But our silent members are still here to learn from one another and, while they may not be very vocal in the public threads, that doesn’t mean they are not highly engaged within their own network.  Their contributions may not be visible to the community at large, but they may have immeasurable impact elsewhere. 

Consider the mentor who logs in and reads new content, follows discussions, and watches webinar presentations, and may be sharing all of this with a new practitioner in his or her company.  Or the PMO Director who is not very visible online, but brings a wealth of knowledge back from to her colleagues looking for tools and resources, helping develop his or her team and connect them with peers who can, in turn, help them develop themselves.  The consummate talent scout who is helping a chapter build out a local, industry focused program by reaching out to great speakers and authors.  And finally, some members may be facing very challenging issues which require discretion and cannot be addressed on a public forum – while these members may not post their questions on the discussion boards, they may be drawing upon their community network offline to seek help and talk through scenarios.

We may often tend to think of as our community, however, as the Community Engagement team, we prefer to think of it as the “home” for our community – because we know that the website is only one of many places that the professional project management community gathers.  And this means that community members may have different comfort levels, needs and modes of engagement in the different spaces where community meets, whether in the forums, in a virtual event, at a chapter meeting, or industry conference or even when they just decide to get together on their own. 

When you look at our community in this way, it might surprise you to learn just how chatty our “silent members” are in these other spaces, and how they are contributing in ways we don’t see online.

Posted by Danielle Ritter on: July 20, 2016 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Member of the Month: Meet Bruce Harpham

Categories: community, member


We are super excited to reveal the first of a series of monthly posts recognizing our most active community members. Each month we’ll be posting an interview with a community member who has gone above and beyond contributing to and bettering the community on

Our very first Member of the Month is Bruce Harpham, PMP®. Bruce recently received his PMP® (congrats). I’m sure you’ve seen Bruce around the community – whether he’s answering questions, writing in his blog, or conducting a webinar, Bruce has been a major contributor. We recently sat down with Bruce to find out what led him to the project management community.

1.      How did you get involved in project management?

I became involved in project management for a few reasons. I had some projects assigned to me over the years and found that work highly satisfying. In 2014, I worked on a taxation project with a project manager with a PMP® – his disciplined approach made an impact on me. Finally, I started interviewing project managers and exploring the field on my website at

2.      How do you stay inspired to be the best project manager you can be?

I seek inspiration and instruction from several sources. I believe in the power of professional associations - a topic I explore on my website and presentations. In addition, I make continuing education a priority (e.g. self-study, evening courses and PMI® Chapter events).

3.      What is one thing you wished you'd known when you first started out in project management?

Ah, where to begin? I would have to choose stakeholder management. It is an area that can make or break project success. For example, the stakeholder identification and analysis techniques explained in the PMBOK Guide® have been valuable. Absent that process and discipline, it is easy to miss important stakeholders.

4.      It's Friday at 4 pm and your boss just told you that you've been assigned to work on a project - on a different continent! You leave at 9 am tomorrow. What are the next five (5) things that you do?

Wow! Thankfully, this has never happened to me. Here are the some of the ideas that come to mind.

1.      Communicate with my family. I share as much detail as I can and think through how this assignment will impact family plans and responsibilities. If I will only need to travel for a week, that would be manageable. Longer travel requirements would require more analysis and negotiation.

2.      Start information gathering. Specifically, I would seek high level answers on the following point: project purpose, project budget, project duration and prior relationships. If I know other people involved in the project, I get in touch with them.

3.      Complete travel preparations. I would check with my organization’s travel provider to obtain the best flight and accommodation possible under the circumstances.

4.      Evaluate impact on my current context. How does departing for a new continent impact my family? How does it impact my colleagues? In all likelihood, I would start to delegate work to other people so that I can focus on the new assignment.

5.      Get an early night. It’s a simple practice that makes the difference.

5.      You’ve come to the realization that an important project you are currently managing is going to be a massive failure. Somehow, every red flag has been missed or ignored and it’s far too late in the game to turn things around. Maybe you inherited the mess, maybe you’re the cause of the failure, or maybe it’s just the way things turned out. Either way, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. What types of things do you do, mentally, physically, or even spiritually, to cope until the project is over?

This is a challenging and frustrating situation to be in.

Here are a few of the practices I would use in this context:

1)      Discuss the status with the project sponsor. If the project is truly beyond recovery, then it makes sense to discuss options with the sponsor (e.g. project cancellation, significantly adjust deadlines or scope)

2)      Maintain my Weekly Review practice: If my personal management system falls apart, the crisis will only get worse.

3)      Reach out to my network: There is great value in getting an outside perspective, when feasible.

4)      Proactively manage stress: Remind myself to continue exercise and healthy eating. In fact, I would increase my physical activity if I could (e.g. go for a walk during lunch each day).

5)      Ask for support from the project team. As project manager, I rely on the project team. I may ask the project team for their suggestions and ideas on recovering the project before making a decision.

Please introduce yourself to Bruce below in the comments and add him to your network. To connect with Bruce outside of the community, you can find him on Twitter at @PMPHacks and on LinkedIn.

Is there a community member who you think deserves some recognition for their contributions to the community? Let us know! Email the member’s name and a brief explanation as to why you think he/she should be featured in our Member of the Month to

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: May 12, 2015 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Love can sweep you off your feet and carry you along in a way you've never known before. But the ride always ends, and you end up feeling lonely and bitter. Wait. It's not love I'm describing. I'm thinking of a monorail.

- Jack Handey