Chapter Communications Blog

Author:Vinicius Cruvinel

Python Language and Project Management: Is that possible?

Yes. That is the first word you need to read in this article. Besides a very simple high language, Python can be used in many such opportunities, like data science or in GIS for example. Created by Guido Van Rossum, Python is an open source language which in nowadays become common used: you can estimate precipitations or even can produce a little game using Python.

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Figure 1 – The Sims 4 –mod support was done for The Sims 4 using Python

But let’s do it more seriously and focus in what matters for here: Project Management. How can Python be useful?

Python has a lot of already made libraries and modules, which can be applied to make any task you want in the management cycle, from create your WBS structure, make Gantt charts or even do communication reports.

The focus in the article #1 is not to start implement but to show that is possible to do, but below you can find a example of a very simple code to make Gantt charts using the library plotly.

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Figure 2 – Using the library plotly to make Gantt charts

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Figure 3 – The output from the code

You can code from the scratch and develop your own project management system - and that is the fun part, to customize as you need – or also can use some already done platforms like Odoo, a web based project management platform coded using Python and PostgreSQL that also has others functions like Kanban-style task-tracking view for agile teams.

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Figure 4 – screenshot from the Odoo platform

As already said, there is many possibilities to implement a nice and clean environment for project management.

Soon in the next articles we will start to understand more about the language and start making our first steps to develop a simple environment to create a WBS.

 

Getting a compass for sailing on the seas of transformation

Juhász Katalin

Author: Katalin Juhász

The Switzerland PMI chapter has hosted an inspiring event on 7th November in Geneva by Ricardo Viana Vargas, a renowned project management professional and expert of strategy implementation. Between 2012 to 2016, Ricardo was the Global Director of the Infrastructure and Project Management Group within the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). During this session he provided a first-hand opportunity to learn about the recently published transformation framework, the Brightline Compass. The method has been developed in collaboration with Professor Behnam Tabrizi, an acknowledged expert in transformation and a consulting professor at Stanford University.

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„Brightline™ is a Project Management Institute (PMI) initiative together with leading global organizations dedicated to help executives bridge the expensive and unproductive gap between strategy design and delivery.” Its target audience is the c-suit and its aspirants, who experience intensified pressure to guide their organizations through transformation.

As we pass by the frequently heard quote that „the only constant is change”, more and more discussions are gravitating around the pressing „urge for transformations”. The difference between the two lies in their pace and complexity. While change is perceived as a gradual evolution process, transformation refers to the quantum leap of performance increase achieved by the fundamental change of the way it delivers value to the customers while embedding this shift in the mindset of employees and the organizational culture.

The need that evoked the creation of Brightline Compass was the emerging demand for organizations (let it be corporations, non-profits or governments) to transform, driven by the fast pace change of consumer behavior, the exponential technology innovations, the paradigm shift in the way we work and the value set of the youngest generations.

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The stakes of making it right are high, as those organizations who don’t prepare early in time might easily find themselves in a similar situation like the one Blockbuster was facing in 2009 being challenged by the rise of Netflix.

 

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Who could foresee that the moderately declining revenues signal its bankruptcy, strike as soon as the following year?

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Brightline Compass is a framework providing guidance instead of prescription to better understand the components impacting the outcome of a business transformation. We have to acknowledge that the challenge is massive: how to structure the complex problem of finding adequate answers to the changing business environment. The beauty - and the difficulty at the same time - of this quest is that the adequate answer to these challenges often emerges as a result of an iterative process of continuously testing potential solutions.

In Brightline Compass I could discover approaches and methodologies inspired by project management, lean startup methodologies and change management amongst others. But as Ricardo emphasized, it is not the tagline of the method what matters. It’s about finding the combination of tools in our transformation toolkit which are most impactful at a given case.

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The Brightline Process strikes the importance of having a crisp and engaging vision providing adequate answer to the question: „Why this transformation is necessary?” It also builds on the importance of understanding changing trends of customer behaviors. When it comes to the operative implementation of transformations, it provides guidance regarding the transformation operation system, recommending a flat, adaptable and cross-functional organizational structure. The model emphasizes the importance of engaged advocates, volunteering to become change agents in the process from all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Finally, but not last the model also points at the need to align employee aspirations with the organizational vision, ensuring that people can wholeheartedly embark on the transformation journey.

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Being an organizational development expert, leading the employee engagement domain, personally I found it very delighting to see how much the model acknowledges the significance of employee commitment. Even so, that we know how much organizational changes inevitably pressurize the sense of security by the (harsh or silent) question of „How this change will impact me?”. While very often the risk of this hidden landmine is underestimated by senior leadership teams.

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 I am a firm believer of human adaptiveness however the pace of change happening these days seems to exceed our capacity to absorb it, which often results in fear and resistance from the unknown. The fact is, that want it or not, transformations are happening anyways, even if we welcome them or we resist. Actually the only choice we have is either to be prepared and help our organizations to do so or get hit by the tide. Of course there is no silver bullet, a „solution fits for all”, but I found the Brightline Compass as one possible framework helping us to prepare and drive through transformations. 

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Geetanjali Bhat

Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP

“The Funny Lazy Project Manager” - An event title we all were surprised and curious to hear about. A Funny and insightful, extraordinary workshop given by Peter Taylor. 


I was really keen to listen to what all is this about. Being a project manager, definitely a project manager cannot afford to be lazy. How can achieve the deadlines? How can we accomplish tasks? All these questions were in my mind, as I heard the title being presented as “The Funny lazy Project Manager” I am sure you all would be thinking in the same lines.

A project manager can be successful with a 35 to 40 hours week , another project manager can be just as successful with a 50 to 70 hours week. An analysis was made by Peter Taylor , the level of delegation , way they were involved in many things triggers the success.

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“Progress isn’t made easier by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something”- Robert Heinlein. Peter Taylor states, it’s not about being lazy or sitting in a comfy chair, drinking coffee and letting all the team members do the work, its about the “Productively Lazy”.

Peter Taylor states about 80% and 20% rule. According to him, 80: 20 rules generally works. In most of companies today, 80% of revenue came from 20% of customer base in many organizations one of them is Microsoft. In our personal lives too, 80:20 rule works well.

We must think about what is that 20% of our work that delivers 80% benefits. The most important to prioritize them. Focusing on the most important first and then moving to next important one, things will move more better. We start feeling more achieved, and more positive in reaching our goals.

Working efficiently and effectively is the keyword for all. Same is for a project manager, but along with efficient and effectiveness comes in the form of leading people in right direction. With managing people, comes the responsibility of understanding the potential and capacity of each person in the team. This is defined by Peter Taylor as the “The Intelligence of Laziness” where types of persons in a team can be categorized as:
• Lazy
• Diligence
• Smart
• Non-Smart

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Selecting the right person at the right time for their capability and potential is an art which can lead to great results
Further to his talks, he says that the project manager can gain more while bringing humor to the work and day with the team. He explains of how Humor can bring in that excitement to work and give more to our projects in our professional lives.

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As a listener to this great talk, I would like to summarize that if we apply the art of productive laziness with a little humor and fun to our professional or personal lives, I am sure we can achieve bigger goals and milestones that we set for ourselves more successfully. Today, I would be going back home and thinking about the 20% work which can give me that 80% of benefits and how I can apply more humor and fun to my work and connect more with my team and people!!!

 

Regards,

 

Geeta

 

 

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Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

We are in November, warm sunny days are behind us. This does not mean that we can be less warm when dealing with clients or stakeholders. Having experienced recently some situations where I as a client have not received replies nor answers to my queries reminded me again how important is to make an effort to reply even briefly.
Client focus does not stop when there is no direct interest or business opportunity. It is a permanent engagement. Ones in touch with a client we are committed to a long relationship. If we break it, it is very unlikely we will have a second chance.

A couple of weeks ago, my former colleague contacted me asking for guidance. I was happy to help and am looking forward to hearing from him again. Friends, colleagues, family, stakeholders, clients could be all regarded as clients. Keeping existing clients is much easier than finding new ones. Hence making the clients happy or at least satisfied is very important. A tricky part is managing all these relationships. With so many ways of communication responding to all requests might become a challenging task. Just have a look at groups that you follow on Linkedin. Any group that does not have a dedicated content manager will most likely be inactive and without any interesting information.

If our role is to communicate with the clients we must dedicate time and resources to keep it open, active and interesting. We will know it works if we receive feedback. If there is no feedback I suggest investigating why. Interesting and well-targeted subjects will certainly help. Not over-communicating helps too. So let me stop here.

I hope I made this November a little bit warmer for you. Wish you great client experiences.

Best regards,
Adi

 

 

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Author: Loïc Hascher, PMP, PMI-ACP

 

Volunteering has always been at the heart of PMI. It's thanks to all our volunteers at PMI Switzerland that we are able to provide all these events, newsletters and other services! But to those who are always giving, there is also a time of giving back. And this is what we used to call the "volunteer day". This yearly event is organized as a training for volunteers, but this year, we decided to do it differently. And for the first time ever, this day became a co-creation exercise for our strategic goals at PMI Switzerland for 2020!!

Who best to ask what they'd like to do next year than those who will actually make it happen? This is why a group of 30 highly motivated people gathered in Bern last Saturday and spent the day together, brainstorming on new ideas, elaborating new initiatives and building teams to make them happen. Six key areas where identified: Career opportunities, PMI Branding, Events, Knowledge Sharing, Chapter Organization and Networking. And for each of them, several ideas listed, discussed and agreed upon.

My purpose in writing these lines now it not to give you a full overview (this will come later), but rather a little teaser. Imagine for example new types of events, co-created and delivered from members to members. And this on any topic you might like... Doesn't it sound interesting? If yes, stay with us for more... coming soon!

Regards,
Loïc, VP for Membership