Chapter Communications Blog

Editorial. July 2017

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Copy Editor.


Dear Members and Newsletter Subscribers,

Half of the year is already gone, like a bliss, to me it seems that yesterday we were celebrating New Year's Eve, it was snowing, and now suddenly the snow has melted and it is warm!.

Change, we live in an ever changing environment, there has always been change, but the speed change happens today has not precedent and there is no end to it.

We always face change, our family changes, if we have kids, they grow up and change, daily, trust me, and they also make us change.

Our work environment is also always changing, our colleagues, the company strategy, the requirements, the priorities, these are always changing, and they make us change.

Change needs to be managed, and how we handle it will make the difference between moving ahead of change or having to face it longer than wanted, that is if we want to manage it. 

I suppose that looking back we can think of many situations that have changed our life, and I am sure that we are all surprised by some of those changes, that if someone would have told us upfront about it we would have never believed them, but yes it happened and here we are today.

Change can happen and involve us indirectly, this type of change is normally harder to manage, as normally we do not expect it, and it will make us change.

The change that we initiate, in the beginning, for us, can seem easier to handle, but we have to be aware that this change will also affect others, and that they will also try to manage this change in a way that it is easier for them to handle, which does not necessarily mean it will also work for us.

Change can be perceived as something not good, as it means that something will not be the same again, I think that a good way to manage is and to make the most of it, and work for us is to think that a change will always bring something positive at the end, normally it works.

And of course, then, we also change.

Enjoy this month's newsletter, enjoy the weather, and enjoy the break.







PMI Switzerland Chapter supporting NGO in Kenya

Authors: Karolina Letowska, PMP; Agata Czopek, PMP


Kimilili, Kenya, Wednesday 8th of March 2017

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It is 4.30 am in the morning, Elizabeth the pre-school teacher leaves her mud hut to start her day. After a 60 minute walk on the rusty dusty road, she reaches the CBSM school in Kimilili. The next two days will be very special for her as she will participate in a training session. Karolina, a volunteer from Switzerland Chapter will lead the workshop for all the staff at CBSM School, in total 35 members.

Such an event is very special:  it is the first time somebody teaches them about Project Management. Yet the need is so high! They have to manage to provide a daily lunch for more than 800 kids, provide shelter for 30 orphans, build a new home for the boys...and a few walls collapsed lately in the classrooms too and urgently need replacing. Elizabeth wants to listen carefully; she wants to learn and use the newly acquired skills to help her students. She is highly motivated: is it a project to build a new Staff Room?” Yes, a very good life example of what matters to her. 


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Karolina cannot use a beamer, instead just an old blackboard and chalk. During preparation for the training, the electricity went off so the copying job could not be finished: on day one two teachers had to share the printed materials until the electricity is back on and the printing can be finished.  Everyday struggles in rural Kenya, nevertheless Elizabeth and her colleagues listen carefully, follow enthusiastically and smile.  

The CBSM staff members are very motivated and dedicated workers but often struggle with planning and managing their scarce resources. Teaching them basic project management principles can help to improve many aspects of their daily life.  

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The two day workshop based on PMI Educational Foundation resources “Managing Life’s Projects” provides the staff members with enormous power to face every day challenges of CBSM school in Kimilili.  


  Karolina and the PMI Switzerland Chapter were amazed about the amazing work the CBSM staff members are performing and want to further support the project. If you would like to get involved, please contact Karolina.


For further information on the project, please visit or watch the short introduction video on youtube

Asante sana for your support! 


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Event Report - "Are you curious about Design Thinking?"

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Are you curious about Design Thinking?

Dear Readers,

On Thursday 18th of May, PMI Switzerland brought to Basel, in Building 67 of Roche, a great event, facilitated by three speakers from Roche that really knew what they were talking about. I was truly impressed by the event and the subject, and I think all of the attendants were as well.

I must say that the event was sold out, given the interest in the subject,  and once again PMI Switzerland managed to impress the audience with a subject that many were not familiar with.

As said, all speakers work for Roche. These were Larisa Aragon Castro who works as Organizational Change Management Lead, Cihan Gedik, who is a Customer Experience Expert with a Chemical Engineering background, and Alain Bindels, who is Patient Centric Design Expert.

The subject of the event was related to Design Thinking, a proven problem-solving protocol that can be easily used by any business and profession to discover new opportunities. Design Thinking is often referred to as ‘outside the box thinking’, as designers are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods.

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Many companies from different industries make use of this tool to develop new products; even most probably many of the products we use on a daily basis were “born” thanks to design thinking.

The process essentially consists of 5 looping steps, Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

Once completed the team decides if the idea is mature enough to present it – Storytelling – to those involved in the company’s decision-making, so called upper management.

Essential these 5 steps are:

  • Empathize with your users
  • Define the users’ needs, their problem and what you know
  • Ideate by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype and start creating possible solutions
  • Test the solutions



Also in this link there is a short introduction to design thinking, what is it.


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The event was addressed as a 5 act workshop, where each attendant tried and experienced the process, once they were presented with the actual process to be carried out in groups.

The workshop was very very fast paced, as the facilitators wanted the invitees to feel and understand the complete protocol.

For this each group was presented with a posters with pictures of the Project Manager they were going to work with by identifying her/his needs and therefore come up with a solution to these.

Act 1. Empathize with the Project Manager. Teams were asked to complete information regarding the Project Manager they were given, although some of the information may seem irrelevant, in Design Thinking all the available data can be used at some point of time.

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Act 2. Define the Project Manager needs. Each group had to identify the 3 biggest challenges the Project Manager faced at work, this would be the focus of the actual exercise, as we would later have to find a solution to this.

Act 3. Ideate how to solve the challenges just identified. At this stage Larisa, Cihan and Alain indicated that at this point, when thinking of solutions it was important to understand that all solutions should be thought of, no matter how expensive they may seem, or how unrealistic ,as ideas can later be polished and optimized.

That is when the attendants really became creative :) and started to brainstorm ideas that could possibly solve the Project Manager’s challenges.

Act 4. Prototype the solutions, each group member was asked for a couple of ways to carry out the solutions recently identified. The ideas suddenly had to become more tangible, realistic and logical as later during the act they were going to be presented and defended within each group.

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Act 5. Test the solutions. In this final stage of the protocol, groups were asked to decide which of the prototypes would be taken a step forward and proposed as the solution to the problem. Once chosen, the solution was optimized and improved within the team.

The last part of the workshop was the Storytelling, here a representative of each group was asked to present the group’s solution to another group, and this could be considered as selling the idea.

Obviously depending on how mature the idea is, there will be more or less questions that can trigger the loop to start again, or maybe to go onto development of the idea as it is...

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At the end, as it was a nice day, the event was taken to the terrace of the building, were Cihan wrapped up the workshop and gave start to the traditional Apero that follows every PMI Switzerland Event.

Here is the link to the presentation of the event.

See you at the next PMI Switezerland evet.



Editorial. June 2017

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Copy Editor.

Dear Members and Newsletter Subscribers,

How did you become familiar with PMI? Some might answer it was a question of time, others that they had it clear since decide to manage projects, for me it was just by chance.

It all started when the economic crisis hit Spain, the company I worked for stopped being paid and I was out of work, so I had to think what to do next. I sent my CV everywhere, looking for work became my obsession and work, I did not have that many offers in Spain, and therefore I had to broaden the search to Europe and the rest of the world, obviously, it was only a question of time.

At the same time, I decided to do a Master degree in Project Management, which is what actually made me aware of the different Project Management methodologies and certifications. I think we can all agree that until we become certified or decide to follow a methodology, we are already following processes that are quite similar to those that certifications or methodologies teach us, but maybe with less discipline or in a different manner.

This degree made me aware of agile methodologies used in Project Management such as Agile, Lean Thinking, Scrim, Kanban, and of course Price2, ITIL, and PMI, for which at the end decided to go for and obtain a PMP certification.

Since then I have been asked by many people what is PMI? What is the PMP? And many other questions or comments that we are all familiar with, especially the comments.

When this happens I try to provide the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time, I could truly go on for hours explaining what the PMP certification means to me, but normally this is not really, what people want to know, and sometimes the lack of knowledge can lead to preconceptions.

I think the way to stand out Project Management is by showing the benefit that a professional Project Manager can provide to a project, the experience, the knowledge, the discipline, the know how... if not why choose acquire one?

These and the values and behaviors are what make each individual stand out for themselves, to be recognized for their work.

I encourage everyone to support the profession on a daily basis, little gestures build up and at the end, all tie to make it evident that the reason for them was that we are professionals who follow the PMBOK somehow.

I hope you enjoy the weather and of course reading this month’s newsletter.




Message from the Board. June 2017

Carolina Thomaz

Carolina Tomaz, CAPM

VP Finance

Dear all,

Looking back over the past few months, I find myself evaluating what we have accomplished in terms of financial controlling and reporting.

As with the previous year, the budget was planned accurately, which is a clear indication that this process has been firmly established.

Concerning 2017, a number of improvements worthy of mention have been implemented. For instance, the monthly payment reports sent to the BoD members and auditors. They contain a detailed description of expenses incurred, which are invaluable to the BoD members when managing their budget.

Striving for further development, there are still many targets for 2017, like the budget reassessment due to take place in June. While the first aforementioned objective helps to maintain a healthy financial situation within PMI, the second will provide the institute with better-structured governance.

For this to be made a reality, new members have joined the Finance Team and the members of the Board have been actively participating in the controlling process.

The path for improvement has been laid out, hence, 2018 will find PMI standards on a sounder foundation.