Have you registered for the 13th annual PMXPO Virtual Conference scheduled on 26 March 2020? If not, I urge you to take a sneak peek of our Keynote Speaker, Cara Brookins, a bestselling author who rebuilt her broken family by building her own house watching “how-to” videos on YouTube. The subject of an upcoming movie, Cara shares her inspiring story filled with determination, passion and grit. Cara shares tactics to blend an imperfect mix of personalities, talents and temperaments into cohesive, unstoppable teams. CLICK HERE to register!
As always, YOU are driving force within the Community, and we cannot thank you enough! Continue posting your intriguing subject matters or questions in our various Discussion Forums. We want to hear about them all, and help you get to where you're going today and tomorrow. Your feedback and ideas are most welcome!
To better serve the ProjectManagement.com community as well as the PMI community as a whole, our Digital Experience team has launched a navigation change that is across all PMI branded sites. This change gives a more streamlined navigation experience with access to all PMI brands via the 9 dot menu in the top left hand side of the navigation bar. With this change the sites are now what we call “responsive”. We have done away with the standalone mobile version of the site and the desktop version will now transform to a mobile version, depending on the size of your browser window. This responsiveness of the site will still allow you access to all aspects of the site regardless of the size of the window; nothing should be hidden off screen. As with any changes, if you find anything that doesn’t look quite right, let us know! CommunitySupport@pmi.org
Busting Standards Myths
Over the past few months, members of PMI’s Standards Member Advisory Group (MAG) and PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition Development Team have blogged on the standards transformation journey at PMI and, in particular, observations and thinking around the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide. There is much more to come as the work continues. However, as this work has progressed, we have heard a few observations and rumors. Take a minute (well actually 10 minutes) to watch this video as we bust a few myths. Enjoy!
by Maria Isabel Specht, PMBOK® Guide-Seventh Edition Development Team member
When I retired from the petroleum industry after 31 years as a researcher and project manager in Venezuela’s hyper-inflated economic conditions, it would have been easy for me to accept my son’s offer to support me and stay at home. Instead, I took on the new phase of my life with a curiosity that has left me continuing to develop as a project manager, an educator, and even a mom and a grandma. That journey, and the growth I’ve experienced, have inspired me to develop a new project management mantra: projects are led by people, done by people, and made for people.
I entered my retirement with an intellectual curiosity that led me to pursue education in neuro-linguistics programming (NLP). I realized that I could still improve the way that I communicate, even after a full career in a competitive industry. I learned to develop active listening skills that allowed me to do something I call “designing my conversations.” This means I work to listen and respond in my interactions, and to understand the unique circumstances of the people I communicate with. It also means I focus on achieving specific goals through my conversations. My colleagues at NLP School noticed my interest and recommended I consider additional training as an ontology coach. I began to have a realization: communication and project delivery are deeply related.
I began applying more of my communication tools in project environments. With the help of two philosopher mentors, I envisioned projects as a net of conversations. In these conversations, people are bringing their own backgrounds, their emotions, their fears and their personal goals. By understanding the people’s motivations, I am able to listen and understand better–and this has led me to better project outcomes. When project leaders view their projects as nets, they can coordinate efforts and understand impacts across the project. They become more effective.
On the other hand, when I looked into projects that showed no success, I considered that there must be something we were not considering. I asked myself, “What if we are not considering that a main focus of projects is people?” The success of projects is based on people–and people can be successful if they have empowering conversations.
As project leaders, we need to endorse our team members by actively listening to them and valuing them. We have an opportunity to create this environment on our teams, which will increase the team’s effectiveness and lead to better outcomes. Even though we are in a hostile economic environment in Venezuela, we are still having fun on our project teams because we have a sense of community, we are working in collaboration, and we deserve it.
I see messages about the communication processes – emitters and receivers, but what about the emotions? I propose that a fundamental principle of project management is to nurture a project environment that values individual commitment, collaboration, and communication.
Now, I work at the university level as a “divergent teacher”—I do not deliver a master class of lectures to my students. I teach my students, aspiring mechanical engineers, through projects. And as I teach them, I encourage them to apply active listening techniques and to design their conversations. Sometimes, they apply these skills on our in-class project teams. Other times, they take these skills into their personal lives and report out on communications with their others. I joke with my students that even my son is one of my stakeholders. The next generation of project leaders will be more impactful—and better off—if they are able to navigate in the complex web of project communications using active listening and designed conversations. This leads to the coordination of actions for making decisions, building relationships, evaluating new possibilities, and creating new realities.