Author: Ka Yi Hui, PMP
On Saturday 27th April 2019, despite the wind and rain, more than 20 PhD students and post-docs from the Life Science Zurich Young Scientist Network(LSZYSN) participated in a 5-hour project management workshop organized by the PMI-Switzerland chapter social good team (Agata Czopek, Ph.D., PMP; Ana Zelaia, MBA, PMP, Ka Yi Hui, Ph.D., PMP and Veronika Galic) at ETH, Zurich.
Life Science Zurich Young Scientist Network(LSZYSN) is a non-profit organization created and run by a group of graduate students & post-docs of the University and the ETH Zurich. They aim to contribute to the local and global life science community by bridging the gap between academic research and industry. They host events like Zurich Life Science Day, Career chats, Company visits, and Life Science Week to allow young scientists to learn more about the biotechnology and pharma industry.
Managing their scientific research projects and the events at LSZYSN, they face numerous challenges in project management, such as leading the team, holding productive meetings, and giving feedback. Our workshop aims to equip the students with the essential tools and techniques for making their projects successful.
We first explained some key concepts in project management and then we focus in-depth on leadership and communication.
After we discussed the theory, the students had the chance to practice what they learned by doing some hand on exercises. One of the most striking activities is "Find the ball", where the students need to find a hidden ball according to different feedback styles, for example, the silence feedback, the only positive, the only negative and specific feedback. The feedback givers got to experience the effect they have upon the receiver. The take-home message was clear: only the student receiving specific feedback was successful in finding the hidden ball. This powerful illustration also showed the students, how feedback could affect performance and to never be shy to ask questions when they are at the receiving end.
Moving on, we have covered more on team dynamics, including personality, cultural influences and conflict resolutions. Finally, the students put into practice what they have learned by competing in the tower game (freely available on PMIEF website, pmief.org). We are always amazed by the creativity of students with simple materials like plastic cups, bamboo sticks. To conclude the day, we reflected on their ah-ha moments and things they would start implementing in their projects.