Project Management

Design Thinking & Project Management

Design Thinking has emerged as a practical methodology for driving innovative outcomes. This blog aims to explore the intersection between Design Thinking and Project Management and to start a conversation on leveraging Design Thinking for contribution to the Project Management practice.

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Top PM Conferences

Top PM Conferences

Over the past two years I have been assembling a list of the top Project Management conferences that project leaders should consider to grow their careers and knowledge. This is not the ultimate list, but it will provide you with plenty of new ideas.

Plan ahead and save the dates!


Agile2019 (5-9 August 2019, Washington, DC) is dedicated to furthering Agile principles and providing a venue for people and ideas to flourish. The annual event is organized by Agile Alliance is touted as “where the Agile tribes meet”.

Women in Agile (5 August 2019, Washington, DC) is half-day workshop that strives to expand as a community and continue supporting, cooperating, and compassionately including all underrepresented groups in the Agile community. This event has coincided with the Agile2018.


PMO Impact Summit (September 2019, Virtual) is a multi-day virtual conference that has been planned to allow participants time to actually watch each presentation and to absorb the information. The conference brings together 35+ top industry experts to share their knowledge and experience around PMOs.

British Academy of Management Conference (3-5 September 2019, Birmingham, UK) brings together researchers seeking solutions in uncertain times. The annual conference offers a rich source of knowledge and an opportunity to find alternatives to the status quo in our understanding of management, performance, organizations and the nature of the challenges we face.

PMI India Project Management National Conference  (20-21 September 2019, Hyderabad India) is the largest PM conference in India. The two-day conference is a platform for business leaders from various industries to discuss how effective project management can be used to yield better results and help organizations make a higher impact on the region’s and the country’s economy. 

APM Women in Project Management Conference 2019 (26 September 2019, London, UK) aims to challenge how diversity can deliver better balance in the project profession. The conference will explore the role of diversity when embracing transformation and change and will offer tools and techniques that they can use to make their projects work harder and smarter.


PMI Global Conference (5-7 October 2019, Philadelphia, PA) is organized by the Project Management Institute and is the preeminent professional conference for project managers world-wide. The event focuses on the evolving role of project management. It is open to project, program and portfolio professionals and will discuss new ideas and approaches, while giving participants the opportunity to make new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

PM Forum (22-23 October 2019, Nürnberg, Germany) began as a small event 30 years ago and now has become the leading congress for project management in Europe. The international event is organized by the German trade association for project management (GPM), which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2019. Over 1,000 delegates are expected to attend.

Women in Project Management (WiPM) (24 October 2019, Dublin, Ireland) is a forum for women in project management to network with their peers, hone their skills and engage in the community as it develops, all while further promoting our profession. The conference is organized by PM Summit Ltd.

The Digital PM Summit (20-24 October 2019, Orlando, Florida) is organized by Bureau of Digital and brings together professionals who manage digital projects. The conference welcomes all methodologies and approaches, from Agile to waterfall and hybrid, offering new perspectives in a social networking-friendly environment.

Global Scrum Gathering (28-30 October 2019, Vienna, Austria) is organized by the Scrum Alliance and is organized around multiple themes, such as Champions of Agile, Community of Agile, Organizational Transformation, Scrum in Hard Places, Scrum Toolkit, Scrum in my Heart, and Scrum in Unusual Places.

Australian Institute of Project Management National Conference (20-22 October 2019, Melbourne) is the premier event for the project management profession in Australia. The annual conference is the platform for project leaders, both established and up-and-coming, to gain knowledge and share experiences on a range of areas that impact the management of projects today and in the future. This year’s theme is: (R)evolution.

FuturePMO (17 October 2019, London, UK) is 1-day PMO conference for practitioners at all levels. It is organized and run by Wellingstone Project Management, a leading PPM consultancy from the UK. The 2018 PMO Global Awards will be presented at this year’s FuturePMO conference in London. 


International Project Management Day (November 1, Virtual) is organized by the International Institute for Learning. IPM Day is an online conference that brings together professionals from around the world who are passionate about change, our future, and the important role of those in the project management profession. IPM Day is always on the first Thursday in November.

7th Art of Projects Conference (7 November 2019, Budapest, Hungary) is organized by PMI Budapest. Each year, this international event brings together hundreds of project, program and portfolio managers from around Europe for a full day of cutting-edge education, knowledge-sharing and networking. The Keynote Session this year will delivered by James R. Snyder the founder of PMI.

PMO Symposium (3-6 November 2019, Denver, CO) is organized by the Project Management Institute and provides participants access to executive-level networking, workshops and discussions. Participants will come away with insights that can be used to build resilient PMOs.

XIV International Congress PMI Poland Chapter (18-20 November 2019, Warsaw) aims to integrate and inspire participants with the latest trends and innovations in the world of constantly evolving styles of work, leadership and project organization. The slogan of this year’s congress is “Make the difference”, with a focus on agility and responding to changes in the context of digitization and increasing project complexity.

PMI MENA Conference 2019 (23 November 2019, Kuwait City, Kuwait; 24 November 2019, Manama, Bahrain) is a two-day conference organized by the Project Management Institute for professionals and practitioners around the Middle East and rest of the world to share experiences, reinforce core skills, and network with leading international speakers, industry experts and other practitioners across all areas of expertise.

Baltic Project Management Days  (28-29 November 2019, Riga, Latvia) is organized by the members of International Project Management Association in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Baltic PM Days is the central meeting point for project management professionals from the Baltic States, Nordic and other European countries.

Planned for 2020 but dates are not yet set 

PM-Summit 2020 (TBD 2020, Germany) will be the 3rd congress of all German PMI Chapters and is one of the biggest project management events in German.

New Trends in Project Management (TBD 2020, Poland) is organized by PMI GdaƄsk and focuses on the exchange project management knowledge and best practices in Poland and abroad.

APM Project Management Conference (TBD 2020, London, UK) will explore how the profession is Delivering Value in a Transforming World and transitioning from a position of facilitation to influence. There are three streams of focus: adapting to develop your career, working smarter in your approach to projects and how to develop your performance.

PM Summit 2020 (TBD Ireland) is about the creation of a Community of Practice for project, program and portfolio management professionals in Ireland. 2020 will be the 6th year of this even that brings together a diverse group of speakers and provides the opportunity for true knowledge transfer and the exchange of ideas.

Planned for 2020


Passion for Projects Congress (9-10 March 2020, Malmö, Sweden) is organized by the PMI Sweden Chapter and is Scandinavia’s largest project management conference. The event typically has 4 keynotes sessions and over 25 breakout sessions.

PMI Singapore Regional Symposium (March 2020, Singapore) is Asia’s leading conference attended by more than 800 project management professionals, executives, scholars and practitioners.


Change Management Conference (3-6 May 2020, Anaheim, California) is the annual meeting of the Association of Change Management Professions (ACMP). It brings together change management professionals to share the latest business solutions, explore best practices and trends, and offers networking opportunities.

International Scientific Conference on Project Management (24 April 2020, Riga, Latvia) is organized by the Research Institute of the Project Management of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics, University of Latvia, in cooperation with the Professional Association of Project Managers. The aim of the conference is to discuss results of scientific research in project management issues and the sessions are conducted in English.


LearnFest Caribbean (13-14 May 2020, Kingston, Jamaica) is a two-day fun and non-traditional development experience unfolded in a festive atmosphere.  Each year the LearnFest Caribbean conference gets bigger and bolder. The speakers are top notch and the delegates come from around Jamaica to attend.

PM Welt (May TBD 2020) is organized by Projekt Magazin and is the largest meeting of the German-speaking project management community.

UMD Project Management Symposium (May 2020, College Park, Maryland) brings together project managers from the Baltimore-Washington metro area, and abroad, for DC’s premier PM symposium. The PM Symposium is a great hub for scholars and practitioners to meet and share their latest technological/organizational achievement and cutting-edge vision.

Agile & Beyond (May 2020, Detroit Area) is a grassroots, volunteer-run conference that helps people learn about agile principles and practices, as well as covers topics that help make people and companies awesome.

HAPPYPROJECTS 20 (7 May 2020, Vienna, Austria) brings together project management practitioners and academic researchers to share information about new theoretical developments and best practices, as well as facilitate networking with participants of other companies and speakers. This year’s main topic will be “Mindset & Methods”.


Project Summit Business Analyst World (multiple dates) is a series of conferences for project managers and business analysts. Participants can earn up to 26 PDUs/CDUs and the sessions are accredited by both PMI and IIBA. PSBAW Conferences are held in Orlando (April), Toronto (June), Washington, DC (June), Vancouver (September) and Boston (October). The Toronto event has their largest attendance.

PMI EMEA Congress (14-16 June 2020, Prague, Czechia) is organized by the Project Management Institute and gathers project, program and portfolio managers from around the globe. They are there to discuss best practices, identify new trends and reinforce core industry skills.

Project Management in Practice (June 2020, Boston, MA) is organized by Boston University and covers a wide range of topics of interest to both academic and business professionals. The two-day conference is also available online, and PDUs are available for attending the sessions virtually.

Resource Planning Summit (June 2020, Nashville, TN) is advertised as the premier thought leadership event for promoting best practices in resource management, demand management, capacity planning, and portfolio management across industries.

PMO Conference (June 2020, London, UK) focuses on portfolio, program and project offices. Attendees will learn about the latest PMO research, discover new PMO ideas and techniques, and network and share with other like-minded practitioners.

Keep learning and growing!

Connect with me on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

Posted on: July 17, 2019 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

What Goes on in the Mind of a Project Manager?

Have you ever stopped to think about the common characteristics you have with other Project Managers? In order to explain these to an audience of non-project managers, I generated a user persona to explain the goals, motivations, mindsets, and pain points of Project Managers.

The persona I generated is based off of interviews Aurora Melchor, a UX Designer, conducted with her team as well as additional data points that I added from my circle of colleagues.

GOALS: Keep everyone happy; Deliver value and project success; Predictability

MOTIVATIONS: Wants interesting, fun, and challenging work; Recognition and promotion

MINDSET: Likes problem-solving; Feels the urgency to “get stuff done”; Driven by accomplishment; Often does well “riding the wave” of change

PAIN POINTS: “My day is a fractured experience!”; Inadequate planning and poor estimates; Manual repetitive work across multiple applications; Having to do more with less; Risk, complexity, and uncertainty has increased (VUCA)


Let me know your feedback on this representation of a Project Manager.

 - What insights do you draw from the persona?

 - What can non-Project Managers learn from this persona?

 - Is there additional information that you recommend to include in the persona?

Connect with me here on Linkedin, at, or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

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Posted on: July 11, 2019 09:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Does a Specific Mind-set Drive Passion for our Work?

I am reflecting on my experiences attending multiple PM conferences over the last couple of months. My aim is to identify and share emergent themes that are bubbling up across the project management profession.

Moritz Sprenger's "Voices in Project Management" retrospective on the PMI EMEA Congress had a topic that stood out to me. Mortiz made the keen observation as to why we are passionate about our profession, it is the PM mind-set.

An excerpt from Moritz’ blog post: “I have realized for why I am passionate about the profession of project management: It’s all about mind-set. The people I met [at PMI EMEA Congress] in Dublin had these things in common: Personal drive, the willingness to communicate, being results-driven, working passionately towards personal goals, and foremost: curiosity. These are exactly the traits that distinguishes a good project managers."

Project Manager mind-set. Is that what attracts us to the profession?

I would love to hear if others agree whether it is the mind-set that drives passion for Project Management?

Posted on: June 11, 2019 06:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Reflections on PM Congress 2019 (TU Delft)

The PM Congress 2019 ran April 11-12 on the campus of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Netherlands. The conference had the provocative tag line "Adapt or Die", but its theme was the more-grounded "Research Meets Practice". There was good mix of academics, practitioners, and students from TU Delft in attendance at the conference. The organizers had the forethought to include several breaks during the two days and evening events to allow networking and sharing of ideas.

This edition of my retrospective will focus on the conference key note sessions.

Key Note presentations:

Prof. Lynn Crawford (Dir. of the Project Management Program at The University of Sydney, Australia) used a mind map visualization to organize her presentation themes: Forces of change, Research, Practice, and People. (Very nice technique that I will have to use someday!) Lynn challenged the conference attendees with the question: "Are project management practices behind the times?" Essentially our profession and its related training needs to move from a focus on technical skills to assisting project managers develop a variety of skills, abilities, and different mindsets currently not central to our profession.

Lynn also noted that we will move from project management to "project leadership". The usage of "Project Leadership" is a subtle change that I am starting to hear more and more as I attend international project management conferences. The evolution is one I welcome.

Marco Eykelenboom (Exec. Project Director at Fluor Corporation) addressed the complexity and challenges of the project management profession. Marco shared learnings, insights, and experiences from managing large, complex projects in the energy sector. One useful takeaway was the use of visual status reporting on Marco's teams. The teams at Fluor would generate one-page "Weekly Flash Reports" with pictures of the project's progress. These artifacts resonated with both stakeholders and team members. A second key insight from Marco's presentation were polling results to the question: "From your last successful project, what were the key success ingredients?"

Not surprising, the top three responses were:

  1. Team work / cooperation / team spirit,
  2. Communication / information sharing, and
  3. Relationships / trust.

Marco's last key takeaway for managing complex projects was to emphasize the focus on Mission, People, and Balance between human versus technical aspects of project management.

Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Gemünden (Chair for Technology and Innovation Management, Berlin University of Technology) shared research findings on the value of Project Management on innovation projects. The research focused on answering the questions: Does Project Management delivery value? Or is Project Management only a self-deception based on an illusion of control? Based on his research, "project organizing" does indeed create business value but with diminishing returns. Project Management creates higher value for more complex projects versus those with lower complexity. Hans Georg advised the audience that Project Management matters, but we cannot manage projects as we always have. Highly innovative projects need to be managed in a different manner. Ideation, user centric, and collaboration are more important than planning and controlling. Hans Georg correctly noted that current PM standards do not this as they have a focus on formalized processes as key success factors. 

Gerard Scheffrahn (Project Director at OT Osborne) spoke about project organizing and innovation, using Amsterdam's long-delayed North-South metro line expansion project as a great case study. Gerard encouraged Project Managers to spend the majority of their time in what Stephen Covey termed the "Circle of Influence”. In other words, PMs should focus on the decision making process and proactively work from the center of their influence and constantly expand it. Hearing stories about the complexities of building the North-South metro line were also interesting and enlightening.

Connect with me here on Linkedin, at, or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

Posted on: April 28, 2019 08:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Professional Development Day Volunteering

Last week, the PMI Pittsburgh Chapter held its annual Professional Development Day (PDD). The volunteer organizing committee rallied around the theme of "Adaptive Delivery", which served as a common thread woven though our speaker's topics and presentations.

The PDD is our chapter's largest event of the year and after staging it in the city's suburbs for the past 5 years, the event returned to downtown Pittsburgh. We found the central location boosted attendance and we actually had to cut off registration in advance of the event.

I played the role of both volunteer organizer and session speaker, so I had the unique vantage of what was going on behind the scenes as well as on stage at the PDD. 

Here are some observations that I made leading up to and during the day of the PDD:

  • It takes a lot of planning and volunteer hours to pull together an event like PDD or PM symposium - but it is well worth it!
  • Having a clear chain of command and defined roles and responsibilities keeps things moving along.
  • Having a balance of "thinkers" and "doers" on the volunteer committee is key. Too many of one type would cause issues.
  • The networking opportunities were awesome! I am now closer to my fellow committee members and had the chance to network with sponsor companies and well-known speakers. 
  • While it sometimes seemed like a second job, we could have fun too!
  • Spending social time with the speakers the day before the PDD made them feel more connected to our chapter. 
  • Reading survey feedback from attendees is both very humbling and rewarding.
  • Lastly, volunteering the PDD is a great way to become immersed in your local chapter's activities and recognize by the chapter leadership team.

Looking forward to an event bigger Professional Development Day (PDD) in November 2019!

Posted on: November 12, 2018 05:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

"Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing."

- Mark Twain