Chapter Communications Blog

Sebastian Dutkowski, PMP

Author: Sebastian Dutkowski PMP


On January 22nd the chapter held an event at the HWZ in Zürich dedicated to discovering how Tai chi could possibly relate to project management.


Event tai chi 1


Tai chi, as some of you might know, is a Chinese martial arts sport, but some of its schools focus primarily on health effects and aesthetic appeal. This is similar to Japanese Kata, which is mostly known due to Karate.Those schools of Tai chi, because of its slow movement, can sometimes be perceived as closer to yoga and as a form of dance as a pose to martial arts. Practitioners of this kind of Tai chi will try to keep physically balanced while doing strenuous exercises. For example, they might try to do a particular exercise while standing on one foot only. Practitioners will also try to perform all of their movements with finesse.  

So is the work of the project manager. We project managers make moves, we push people when we stand behind them, we pull them when we are in front. We embrace them when we are with them. Sometime we leave them on the ground and go high above the clouds to understand the big picture.Project management, from the moment of project initiation until project closure is a dance where project managers are making sure that things move forward, that his/her people do the right things and that his/her stakeholders help, if possible, or in same cases, stay out of the way.


Event tai chi 2


The night was moderated by Julia Posselt who is an independent coach with plenty of experience from Banking and Pharma, by Norun Laahne Thomassen who is a coach with tons of experience in coaching individuals but also whole teams in the corporate environment, and by Gail Corbett-Smith who also works as a coach in the corporate environment but also takes care of individuals with traumatic experience.


Event tai chi 3

When we entered the room we saw empty space divided into 5 areas labeled “front” for the front area, "behind" for the rear area, "beside" for the area on the left, "field" for the area on the right side, and “within” in the middle.As you might guess those fields are the places where a project manager might find him/herself while doing their work.Some people assume that the project manager is always in front leading his people. This is correct most of the time; after all we speak about leadership, leading, followers, resources and so on.

But this is not always the case. Just as a general officer plans his/her next battle, so is the project manager often beside his people who are at that moment marching towards the battlefield. The general will assume the position on a hill overseeing the battlefield shortly before the battle far behind his/her troops, and sometimes will charge the enemy using his/her most valued soldiers when the time comes to use them.


Event tai chi 5


For project managers there is time to do planning while the team is prototyping and trying to understand requirements. Later in the project, the project manager is positioned high enough to see the big picture of the ongoing project, assess events that might have an impact on the project like discoveries, breakthroughs or opportunities and threats due to other projects. Sometimes it is even necessary for the project manager to work hands-on with project deliverables, should it be documentation, testing or programming.

We started the event sitting in a U-shaped row of chairs. We did not spend much time sitting, however, and in fact we only actually sat during the introduction of the moderators. From then on we had to walk, chat, make gestures, and engage in discussion all while standing and usually far removed from our initial starting point.


Event tai chi 4


Our first task was to position ourselves in the field where as project managers we feel most comfortable. It was a tough task and not only for me but also for some other people. In my project management style I do not have any comfortable position, I change depending on the situation, people in my team, requirements, deadlines and phases of the project.

I feel good when people know what to do and do it with only minimal input from my side. I do not hesitate to jump in to help solve difficult problems. I can make technical decisions when needed while at the same time I try to have dedicated experienced technical leads make such decisions. I will conduct testing myself if we are short on testers but also to better understand the solution we develop.

The session took about 45 minutes to complete, but honestly it felt as if it were only 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the participants were quite surprised when it ended. It was not the end of the event though, we all went to chat and do some networking during the follow-up Apero.

If you think that a project manager’s place is not always in the front but sometimes in another position, and would like to have more information about the topic I encourage you to read the following material here and here and check our event announcements. It is possible that we will have something on this topic again sometime this year.

If you think that you or your team might need some coaching I encourage you to contact Jualia, Norun and Gail
Big thanks to the Zurich event team for organizing this great event.



Adi Muslic 100x100

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Happy New Year!

You have heard it many times in the last couple of weeks and certainly you asked yourself what this year would be like.

This year will certainly be marked by the trade war, Brexit, EU-Swiss negotiations and many other events that we cannot even foresee. There will also be many factors in your surrounding environment that you will need to take into consideration when planning or delivering your projects. The awareness of the world around us is one of the skills we will need in 2019.

We can foresee with high certainty that the trend of changing business models will continue with larger use of AI and machine learning. The more we know the more we want to change. This also means that we will need to be in the front rows leading and promoting change. The earlier we start the earlier we get comfortable doing it. Attend PMI events to get inspired. Share your experiences and help others.

I wish you many very happy project moments in 2019.

Adi Muslic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Copy Editor

Irina Petkova 100x100

Author: Irina Petkova, PMP

Dear Members,

Another exciting year full of events has passed for all of us! I truly hope you enjoyed what we have offered you, learned many new skills and tips, created fruitful connections, and were excited and enthused each time to come back.

The statistics for 2018 show we have achieved our goal with at least 8 events per region and overall attendance of 1,250+ participants which is a 7% increase from the last year.

Thank you for trusting us and always motivating us to deliver better service to you.

Of course these achievements would not be possible without the diligent, daily efforts, and time and loyalty of the events regional teams led by Stefan Vesenmeier, Larisa Aragon and Gessami Sanchez Olle (Basel), Prasanth Nair and Aristeidis Matsokis (Zurich), Thijs Wijnands and Julia Ovcinnikov (Romandie).

Sincere gratitude to them and their teams for making our events’ experience in Switzerland memorable and unique.

We've also faced challenges, and to address them we need your support. To organize even greater events we need to combine our efforts in finding opportunities for more sponsorship to our events.

We will be happy to be guests at your work premises where you, your colleagues and other members can benefit from our professionalism to handle all small details before, during and after a great evening event is delivered to you.

Please reach out to any of the volunteers in the events team that you know to take this step further.

Thank you again and Happy New Year to you and your families.

Interim President

 logo kerzerslauf

Kerzerslauf 2019

Saturday, 16 March 2019, it is!

Move into action and join our PMI Swiss Running Team

 Streckenplan 19

What's in for you as PMI member? 

You are invited for an après-run apéro in Kerzers from 15 to 17 pm opposite the train station at "Club Cafe Bahnhof".

Club Cafe Bahnhof
Bahnhofplatz 16
3210 Kerzers

For the apéro, register through Eventbrite after logging in to

 PMI Running Team 2018 org

For the run, register individually and directly at the event website: 

Closing date for registration is Monday, 24 February 2019.

Who: PMI Switzerland Chapter members
What: We are targeting fun at the the 15 km run; and now available at the same event are also 10 km and 5 km runs
For the apéro, register through Eventbrite after logging in to
For the run, register individually and directly at the event website:
By when: For the run, closing date for registration is Monday, 24 February 2019


Value driven by ambition. Here 3 good reasons for your WHY. 

  • Getting fit, being fit, staying fit… not only for Project Management but also for yourself. 
  • Proving that performance measures, metrics and goals are a Project Manager's juicy game… that goes beyond status reports. 
  • Sharing your love for running with your PMI colleagues from all regions in Switzerland. 



Daniel Rodellar 100x100

Author: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

We closed 2018 with a great event in Lausanne on 6 December by Sally Fisher, founder of AH!HA moments. Sally was a former lawyer with Linklaters and Consulting Partner with Deloitte, who now runs her own international leadership development practice.

The new year 2019 starts now and the resolutions lists are popping up... I have a proposal for you to add on your resolutions for 2019 based on this thought-provoking confidence event!

Instead of subscribing to the gym and give up after first sessions, experiment the following: at the end of the week, on your commuting home, roll back the whole week and look for successes. Write them down, as this will be your evidence basis when you lack confidence.


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It will confirm and illustrate:

  • When have I been in a similar situation and succeeded?
  • What did I do that can help me now?
  • If I did it previously, why did it or did it not work now?

Sally led an engaging and entertaining exploration into how we can build more confidence and develop our ability to more consistently deliver peak performance under pressure.

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She shared her career experience defined by peaks of confidence and periods of crisis of confidence, with the goal to understand what drives the peaks.

How much of an edge do we need to have to get a promotion? Just 5% can make a change! Sally asked us to name an achievement that meant something to us obtained on last week. It took some time to get everyone answering that question. It is important to recognize success!! Are you looking for what you could do better or celebrate what your teams do well?

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The impostor syndrome was first found in Hollywood actors. Most of the people experience this when they get promoted. You need to identify what your trigger is for loss of confidence (feeling unprepared, not knowing how to answer, etc).

Once in this situation, we have the choice on how we respond to it: we could back away from the opportunity, we could simulate we know the answer, etc. You need to recognize the feeling that your body triggers and then DOUBT YOUR DOUBT!

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Take a workout mentality to work, like you do with physical fitness, and it will make you stronger with time. Embrace the pain and welcome the challenges.

We agreed that it is quicker to identify what is worrying us than successes. When we worry we tend to try to solve all the problems, but we should start with the first action that we could take. And solve it, step by step.

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Sally shared the amazing story about her reading of the horoscope one month that was said “Everything you touch will turn to gold!” With this message, everything was so easy because she acted as if it were true, and she did plenty of first actions that ultimately delivered results. It is about your mindset and your physiology (body language).

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You believe what you tell yourself! We did an exercise about repeating sentences like “I’m weak and tired” versus “I’m powerful and strong!” and our body reacts accordingly. Master your mindset and act, because the environment can be toxic. You could for example repeat 3 times “I’m strong, I’m powerful and I’m calm” (the last one to avoid breaking anything or being too aggressive…).

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We ended the event with some questions from the audience related to how to position yourself for a promotion (by formulating it as: how could I help them make the best decision?) and also related to the impostor syndrome (move towards your trigger – physically, remember your successes database and smile, then get back to normal…).

You can find Sally online at her company's web page:

Before leaving, remember: at the end of the week, while commuting home, roll back the whole week and look for successes. Write them down, as this will be your evidence base when you lack confidence. And doubt your doubts!

See you next event!