PMI Switzerland Chapter Social Good team workshop with Medair

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Author: Ka Yi Hui, PMP

On Friday 26th October 2018, the PMI-Switzerland chapter social good team (Agata Czopek, Ph.D., PMP; Devendra Rana, PMP and Ka Yi Hui, Ph.D., PMP) held a 5-hour project management training workshop at the Medair headquarters in Ecublens, Canton Vaud.

Medair is a humanitarian organization inspired by Christian faith to relieve human suffering in some of the world’s most remote and devastated places. In 2017, Medair served more than 2.1 million people in 13 countries. The staff in the Switzerland headquarters play an essential role in facilitating and supporting the teams in the local target countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

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In 2018, they welcomed the new CEO, David Verboom, to further Medair's mission. New initiatives are rolled out to improve efficiency, impact and flexibility, so the organization can grow and better adapt to the increasingly challenging and changing contexts in which it operates. As the need for managing projects increases, that’s where we jump in and promote the best practices in project management and the activities in the PMI Switzerland chapter.

We were happy that the whole organization showed great interest in project management. The 20 participants came from different departments, from logistics to finance, marketing and human resource. We covered the project management fundamentals, like the typical project cycle, the benefit of project management and avoiding scope creep. They also took the chance to work on their internal project planning template as an exercise. The participants were engaged in the discussions and Q&A session.

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Medair not only provides humanitarian aid in areas with on-going crises but they also respond to emergencies like the Tsunami in Indonesia. The staff in the HQ are always ready to travel to the field and help those in need. This dynamic nature of their work poses a unique challenge for the organization when it comes to managing the human resources in projects. Because of that, we dedicated a session in the workshop focusing on this topic.

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To practice the project management principles they have learned, we played the entertaining tower game (provided freely by PMIEF), where the participants built a tower with plastic cups and bamboo sticks. With their creativity and pragmatic approach, all the teams were able to complete the task on time, with spared resources, good quality, and some laughter. After the game, we reflected on the process together, discussing different leadership styles, teamwork, communications and what makes a successful project.

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Finally, we would like to thank Andrew and Artur from Medair for helping us to organize the workshop. We look forward to going back there next year!