Chapter Communications Blog

Event report - “Cultivating Your Creative Confidence”

Chiara Nenci
Author: Chiara Nenci, PMP

Cultivating Your Creative Confidence, Basel, 21st March 2017

What is creativity, can it be developed and are we all capable of being creative?

We explored answers to these questions, and more, during a highly interactive session with our speaker Eli Fumoto - coach, facilitator and PMP.

Creativity typically leads to something original, meaningful and useful. Literally anything intangible or object-like satisfying those qualities can be claimed to be creative. As such, creativity is deeply embedded in our everyday life and as human beings we continuously use it, often unconsciously, to pursue our personal and professional ventures.

Creativity is also highly complex and hard to quantify. And even though we are all able to be creative, we are not automatically so.

Creativity is in fact a “habit” that can and must be exercised in order to flourish. The brain is quite obviously the “muscle” that must work out to develop capabilities such as diagnosing gaps and difficulties and seeking solutions.  So if you think you are not creative, you may simply not be training your brain enough. But how can we change ourselves from being lazy practitioners to creativity advocates and habitués? 

Eli Fumoto explains how to make creativity a daily habit.

An exploration of our personal attitude to creativity, our learning style and our own preferences could be used to identify a set of individual creative habits, which should be practised daily in order to build our confidence in being able to increase our creativity.

In order to develop what Eli defined as “our own creative device”, we must:

1) Have a deep level of self-awareness;

2) Observe what happens around us;

3) Use enough time and the appropriate space to reflect;

4) Be committed to change and learn.

Creativity is thus a high expression of our truest, most authentic self. It seems in fact that human beings become fully engaged, efficient and resourceful, only when they think on their own and have complete control over their decision power: as an example Eli mentioned that people often read self-help books but never implement this written advice, possibly because it originates from the authors’ individual habits, not from those of their readers.

Following the sharing of these ideas and guidelines, Eli paused and gave the opportunity to each attendant to identify and write down 3 creative habits to be implemented in one’s daily routine. 

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The attendants writing down their creative habits.

Further into the evening, we were introduced to the concept of “thinking environment” – a high quality communication flow happening between two persons. Working in couples, one person listened with sustained attention and without interrupting the other’s speech; then the roles of listener-thinker vs. speaker were switched and eventually both expressed appreciation for each other.  While practising this little exercise, we directly experienced how the creative engagement of the listener increases as he/she must listen without distraction, emitting a sound or turning away from the speaker. In essence, it is a “think before speaking” approach which limits the expression of insecurities and fosters better collaboration. While sharing afterwards experiences and challenges encountered during this exercise with the rest of the audience, many were highly appreciative of having been listened to, or found it very challenging having had to remain silent; some used their creativity to find about what to say, while others used it to break the rules established for each role!

At the end of Eli’s highly engaging presentation, we were all left with the following closing remarks:

- Everybody is creative, each in his/her own unique way, and at any age

- Creativity must be constantly exercised

- Project management is a highly creative profession. The PMBOK offers standardized guidance but it is up to the project manager and the team members to find the best way to drive their unique project. By showing the most creative and committed self in an environment where the quality of communication is high, a project manager can establish strong collaborative ties and truly set the team on the path to success.

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Lucy Osoegawa, the host of the event, thanking Eli for the inspirational talk.

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The conversation on creativity continued during the networking aperitif.

For additional questions on the event or other inquiries, please feel free to contact Eli via:
LinkedIn    https://www.linkedin.com/in/elifumoto  
Mail:         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Website:  http://www.eli-fumoto.com

Link to the presentation here.

How to rescue a troubled project

CarmeloDimotta
Author: Carmello Dimotta, PMP
 
Tuesday, 21st of March, 2017, 18:30
Location: PwC Zurich, Birchstrasse 160, 8050 Zurich.

How to rescue a troubled project

Interesting topic, that raised my interest already when I came to know about this event. And Marc Lahmann, director of the Transformation Assurance Division, and Manuel Probst, senior project manager at PwC Switzerland, have definitely met my expectations. You find so many whitepapers and articles about problem solving. The PMI also teaches various techniques to analyze and resolve problems. But I was happy to have the opportunity to attend this event and enrich my project management tool set.

That many projects - or even most of them - face a failure during their lifecycle, is well known. Project failure can happen and it does especially nowadays, that the definition of success has changed. The standard project management triangle of scope, time and cost is not enough to define key performance indicators. The so-called "added value" and "stakeholders expectations management" have become even of more importance. The overall project context has become more complex and, with this, also the ways to handle difficult situations.

In the today's environment, the project can be in one of the following stages:
- challenged, normal project management zone. Each project, per definition, can be considered a challenge
- struggling, when the project shows first signals of deviation from baselines
- troubled, it's clear that the project shows signals that something can go wrong
- critical, the project is close to fail
- failure, no options or ways to bring the project back to normal.

The bad news is that projects can quickly go from challenged to troubled. The good news is that troubled projects can be rescued. Key is to have a clear strategy, a structured way to assess the situation and apply the recovery process. A process that, basically, consists of four steps:
1. Direct report of the emergency, answering the what, when, where questions and informing the stakeholders about the issue
2. Anamnese, initial high-level pre-assessment, that helps to bring the project back to trackable
3. Diagnosis, going deeper to the fundamental layer to identify the root cause and plan the recovery
4. Therapy, inform the stakeholders about the recovery and execute it.

After the interactive presentation, at the apero, I could also share my experience with my colleagues and learn from theirs. We were discussing on how to practice the learnings and I had the feeling that we all were looking for ways to develop new issue management techniques. Risk management can be used as mitigation and reduce the likelihood that project issues can arise. However, it's quite normal to face troubled situations in a project and each project manager should have a clear strategy to bring the project back on track. Many thanks to Mr. Lahmann and Mr. Probst for sharing a solid technique to keep available and use when necessary.

Kind regards,
Carmelo Dimotta

Event Report - Managing Stress and Emotions @ Work

David Fowler

Author: David Fowler, PMP

Event Report - Managing Stress and Emotions @ Work: Concrete Tools

Tuesday 4th April

"We are going to explore our minds, let go, be cool !"

Anyone who thought they were going to just sit back and listen to Frédéric Kerautret talking about stress management was in for a surprise: “Everybody stand up for our first exercise”. And there we were, staring into the eyes of our neighbour for an uncomfortably long period of time.

It was an excellent icebreaker and introduction to a highly interactive event. The key message was that we connect with many different groups of people in our daily work. How do we cooperate and behave with these people? In order to understand each other better, we must first work on ourselves.

 

Frederic 1

 

Frédéric guided the audience through tools and techniques to manage emotions, increase self-awareness and improve behaviour towards others.  Several  excercises kept the audience fully focused, concluding with a “Lion” and “Tiger” workout to shake off the stress of the day and prepare for the apéro.  

Whilst not all the answers could be provided in a short presentation, there were plenty of topics to whet the appetite and leave the audience eager for more.

 

Frederic 2

 

Message from the Board. April 2017

 

YannSteimer

 

Yann Steimer, PMP

We don’t need an accurate document, we need a shared understanding – this quote from Jeff Patton at one of his Agile 2012 session could be a good summary of one of the very positive aspect of introducing Agile in your organization.

Last Tuesday, I had the chance to attend a Swiss Corporate Network Group whole day session on "Scaled Agile". It's one of the privilege we have at the board of PMI is that we always have 2 seats available at those sessions. In two words, the SCNG is an association with representatives from all the 1'000+ FTEs companies in Switzerland that have an interest in project management; you will find there the big banks, pharmaceutical companies, large IT providers, … They meet 3 or 4 times a year and pick interesting subjects and share best practices during full day sessions.

It's really funny how agile is trendy since a few years and as we learned at this session, it is still a "word" for most people. I even have a few examples in my practice where customers demand that the project managers we provide are agile certified and have concrete experiences. And when we arrive there, we discover that they do "iterative waterfall" that they call "agile".

And this was not the case of the companies that presented at the event; not only had those companies years of experience with agile teams and also experienced "scaled agile" that is a way to apply agile methodology at the program and portfolio level. So coming back at the title of this article, there are 3 main benefits:

  1. That documentation is no longer so critical with agile as the whole team is on-boarded and with the daily meetings, the understanding of the whole group increases. In the traditional approach, there are one or two guys writing the specifications that have the global overview of the project. They gave the example of a complex regulatory project where at the end of the project, the whole offshore Indian team could explain to top executives the content of the project in details.
  2. That today not implementing agile will drive your best resources away as this is the latest trend on the market and your most talented people want to be at the edge
  3. That is allows to drastically reduce the time to market. Also here, they showed an example of a project that would never have been delivered on time with the traditional waterfall approach.

And just as a final confirmation that this topic is key, I had this morning a company information session where they stressed how the market digitalization is so linked with this methodology. And where else than this chapter can you learn about this ? so join our events and become a volunteer as I let you guess what the topic of this year's volunteer day will be.

Regards,

Yann

VP Volunteers

Editorial. Abril 2017 Newsletter

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

 

Angel Carlos Martinez Arteaga, PMP

 

Dear Members and Newsletter Subscribers,

The first quarter of the year is already gone, time flies. It seems that spring is also here to stay.

Communication is a skill that if mastered, it can help us a lot to progress our projects, it can save time, misunderstandings, it can connect a team. In my years working in Project Management, I can state that nothing in a project is more important than effective communication.

PMI identifies four ways to communicate, formal or informal, verbal or written. Each of them needs to be used at the correct time, and we all know that this can be complicated to determine.

Think about how verbal and nonverbal communication will influence your communication planning. Use e-mail for routine simple communications, and insist on face-to-face meetings for problem solving and conversations about complex or complicated topics. 

Most of the time of the Project Manager is spent communicating; therefore, it is a key skill for the PM.

Moving forward, in our day-to-day, I have not to say that the world moves because of communication, it is necessary, a given.

So the trees and the bees have effectively communicated to us that Spring is here, this communication has been very effective as it was easy for Mother Nature to make us understand us so.

Let us be effective and communicate a little bit more. 

I truly hope you enjoy reading through the Newsletter, and in case there might be questions, please do not hesitate to raise these.

Regards,

Angel Carlos