Author: Patryk Nosalik, PMP

Patryk Nosalik


IPM day is celebrated in PMI Switzerland with Agile centred events in both Geneva and Zurich. For more info about the event; click here

In Geneva, our speaker – no – this is an interactive event – so guru – no, don’t call him a guru – so guest facilitator, is Dr Serge Schiltz PMP. He is going to share some interesting knowhow and insights on agile project and business delivery. There is the misconception that Agile projects are wonderful: No scoping, no requirements analysis, no specifications, just evolutionary solution building and feedback. And as a client, you don't even need to know what you want! Well really..? So to explore Agility in project management, and to reach out to our networks on Linkedin, I ended up having a bit of a Q&A session with him under one of the posts promoting the event, which I share a version of here:

  • (Patryk Nosalik) if pure Agilists do away with PM's, why should a PM on IPM day come to an event promoting Agile methods? 
    (Dr Serge Schiltz) So-called pure agilists tend to ignore the fact that even the Agile Manifesto does not suggest to completely omit formal structures and documentation, the authors just “prefer” for example human interaction and working software over excessive structure. And the fact is that projects are financed by management or by clients who have a need to and are entitled to knowing how the project is progressing and what it is doing. This is a project manager’s job. His way of functioning may be different in an agile context as he must include flexibility in his management style, for example by allowing teams to self-organize and thus work with tolerances instead of clear and precise work package definitions. But this role is as important as ever.

  • (PN) in the event description it says "Changing an organization to become agile" in your experience what influence do PM's really have on this?
    (SS) Project managers can provide arguments for organizations to become agile. They have to make it clear that agile projects can be efficient and effective only if the organization is prepared in consequence. If an organization does not build and maintain the organizational knowledge such for example in the form of an enterprise architecture, each and every project will have to establish it’s subdomain knowledge by itself, which will prevent agility in these projects.

  • (PN) what were some of the reactions at the PMI Conference that make you want to repeat the experience in Geneva?
    (SS) I felt that for many of the participants at the PM Conference, the session was an eye opener, not just a theoretical exercise. They discovered the conclusions I was making through the case study even before I could express them. We had so many interesting discussions!

  • (PN) what will be different here?
    (SS) Kirsten’s and my experience for example. We did this for the first time in Zurich. A few adjustments, but no major changes. However, one should not underestimate cultural differences: Geneva is not Zurich. I expect development of discussions to be different.

  • (PN) if everyone's heard of agile, what could possibly be counterintuitive? /could you share a sneak preview of something that may be counterintuitive?
    (SS) Well intuitively, people think that agile is without structures or documentation. How could anyone think of building and maintaining such a big thing as an enterprise architecture in an agile environment? Well, it is a requirement! And that is very counterintuitive.
  • (PN) let me know a little of your background that should draw PM's to our event.
    (SS) Hm, I first studied mathematics and physics in Luxembourg, moved to Switzerland and changed my minor physics to information system to finally switch major and minor (smiles). So I first graduated in information systems, then mathematics, followed by a PhD in information systems in Fribourg. After a brief episode as a database expert for an international insurance company, I caught interest in the needs of business and moved to project management. After an MBA, I was able to change to the international business unit of the insurance company and specialized in project management. After the PMP and an MSc in Project Management, I fully specialized in this discipline.  After a number of years, I specialized even further in the business process management topic. Eight years ago, I founded my company processCentric, which – as the name says – is focused on BPM. I of course still do project management to deliver my client’s projects and somewhat for fun, I continue to teach project management courses: PMP, PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile, HERMES.

So if you’re in the Geneva environs on 3rd November,  come to this counterintuitive event where we’ll onboard you at our fictitious “creditCentric Bank'', which has recently started an agile project to digitize its mortgage approval process. It will be your responsibility to make this project a success, run by Dr. Serge Schiltz and Kirsten Hauck who've proved how good they were at the recent PMI Conference!