Chapter Communications Blog

AMM 2022 - From a Retrospective 2021 to the Outlook 2022

Author: Thierry Altenhoven, PMP

Thierry Altenhoven 100x100

On the 10th of February, PMI invited the members to the Annual Members Meeting. This event was organized online and lasted from 18h00 to 20h00. It was moderated by the fantastic Pia Henzelmann. After 20h00, a session of virtual networking was opened for the participants.

The event was structured in 2 parts:

  • The first part presented a summary of the year 2021 and an outlook of 2022 for our PMI Switzerland Chapter.
  • The second part was a keynote called “Impact Warrior Excellence: How To Master Tough Times!”, presented by special guests Michelle Xue Wang and Florian T. Hochenrieder.

This article will cover the first part of this meeting.

Stefan Vesenmeier, our VP Events in 2021, now the newly elected Chapter President, introduced the event with a retrospective of 2021 for the Chapter.

A lot of things happened in this special year. Here are some highlights that he pointed to:

  • 1st virtual annual members meeting
  • Growing Social Media channel reach: 2’500 followers on LinkedIn
  • First in-person evening event in August after 19 months of online events
  • Tremendous celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Chapter
  • Successful 10th PM Conference in Zürich with 115 attendees
  • Fruitful on-site “Volunteers Day” with 18 volunteers
  • New sponsorship agreements achieved: STS, ProPM-P and the new gold sponsor, PwC, for 2022

After this retrospective, Claudia Rassalski, our VP Finance, presented the annual financial report of 2021. To summarize it with trends, it would be as following (the appreciation is compared with 2020):

  • Membership fees: less less less
  • Event income: plus plus
  • Total income: less
  • Expenses: less
  • Net income: less
  • Assets: =

Of course, Claudia showed a detailed overview of the accounting of the Chapter, followed by the observations done during an audit conducted in 2021:

  • A decreasing trend in membership revenue in the last 3 years
  • Lost income without sponsorship in 2021
  • A positive uptick of income from Events in 2021
  • As a trend, expenses for events are higher than the income
  • Administrative costs have decreased mainly due to tasks being taken over by the Operations volunteers team
  • Budgeting practices are not well defined which have contributed to an unrealistic budget for 2021
  • Lack of reserve policy

After announcing the identified risks and the audit opinion, Claudia could initiate the vote for this part of the event. The financial results were largely accepted by the members.

The vote completed, Stefan could share the gratitude of the Chapter through the next section of the event: "Volunteer of the year".

First of all, he explained that at the beginning of the year all the volunteers were asked to nominate one volunteer who did a tremendous amount of work in the organization. Normally, each year, one volunteer is nominated. But in 2021, the board decided to enlarge their recognition to more than one person. Three of them were pointed out as outstanding volunteers: Benoîte Grisouard in the Social Good team, Ala Lutz in the Members team and Thierry Altenhoven, in the Branding team. Thanks a lot for your dedication in 2021 and enjoy further the journey by PMI.

Congrats Benoite! Outstanding

Congrats Ala! Outstanding Volunteer

Congrats Thierry! Outstanding Volunteer of the Year s%-øoTIMé STAR Project PDQ Management Institute Switzerland

The award "Volunteer of the Year" went to Pia Henzelmann. She has been a PMI member since October 2019, acting as the director of the Virtual team. Since she joined the virtual events team, Pia was an indispensable team member, and has been instrumental in making our virtual events a great experience for all involved. Well-deserved for you, Pia! Congratulations!


Next to this award, the president also rewards one special active member. The President's Award for 2021 went to Philippe Soupart. Karolina Letowska, Chapter President 2021, said about Philippe’s total engagement and motivation for the Chapter:

"Volunteers like you help make our Chapter a better and fun to be place with your time and efforts. Honestly, I don't think things would have run as smoothly without your help. Thanks a bunch". All of the volunteers can just confirm her sayings about his commitment. They are also very grateful to receive his advice and his support when needed. Congratulations Philippe!

President's Philippe Soupa PMI Annual Members

Place to the game… In 2021 it was also a special year for the Chapter because it was its 20th anniversary. To celebrate this particular thing, the board decided to organize a game during the whole year. At the beginning of each event last year, the moderator communicated a word, describing a power skill of the project manager. The goal for the participants was to collect all the 20 words by the end of the year. The winner of this game would be the one collecting the most of the words: Pia Henzelmann won the prize "A weekend in the Swiss Alps". Excellent! Well done, Pia!

Finally, it was time to talk about the future. First with the election of the members of the board for 2022-2023: Adi Muslic, Stefan Vesenmeier and Joachim Dehais. We wish you a successful start for 2022! The board of director for 2022 was presented with Stefan Vesenmeier as our new President, Claudia Rassalski, as our VP Finance, Philippe Soupart as our VP Operations, Agnieszka Skalska as our VP Brand Management and Development, Joachim Dehais as our VP Volunteers, Adi Muslic as our VP Sponsors & Partners, Ala Lutz as our VP Members and Pia Henzelmann as our VP Events. We will have for sure an exciting year with you on board. We wish you all lots of great achievements in 2022!


To close this part of the event, Stefan, as new president, expresses his vision for this new year: it's all about VOLUNTEERS. The heart of the Chapter is our team of Volunteers. He will guide the Chapter to keep this heart beating with passion and commitment in 2022. 

He also communicated the outlook for this new year 2022:

  • Resume on-site events as soon as possible
  • Offer additional opportunities for networking
  • PMI Switzerland Conference 2022, on-site (September)
  • Continue our successful online events and keep them free for members to attend
  • Grow mentorship & experience exchange
  • Implement a Volunteer training program

Before the break, our PMI Brand Ambassador Team (Alexander Seeger, Lourenco Nunes and Loïc Hascher) was ready to welcome the participants of this event at the AMM Virtual Networking. A virtual chat room was at disposal to visit and to have a chat with the other visitors.


Are you interested to watch all the details of this event? Please watch the video on YouTube: [Click here]

Do you want to know more about the second part of the Annual Members Meeting 2022 with its keynote “Impact Warrior Excellence: How To Master Tough Times!”? Please enjoy the article: [Click here]



Thierry Altenhoven, PMP

Challenges in building up a campaign for a crowdfunding platform during COVID times

Author: Ethel Mendocilla Sato, PMP

Ethel Mendocilla Sato

Thanks to research on Human Microbiome, we know that our “microbial self” has a profound influence in human physiology, immunity, and metabolism. For example, extensive study of the gut microbiome has shown its most significant importance on our short- and long-term overall health. However, other parts of the human body are largely unexplored, including the vagina. Although the vagina is the second place most populated by microorganisms, which have a critical role in women’s health, it is under-researched. Surprisingly, the vaginal microbiome field only represents 3% of scientific publications related to the Human Microbiome field. This knowledge gap prevents the development of effective and practical clinical therapeutics that could protect and improve women’s health and well-being.


However, since the start of the pandemic, it has become harder to get funding for continuing research in topics unrelated to SARS-CoV-2 virus. Furthermore, the COVID pandemic has revealed how challenging it is to communicate science effectively and timely to the public. What we have learned and still learning from this pandemic is that now it is more important than ever to pay attention to our other self – that is, the trillions of microorganisms that populate our bodies, our microbiome. For this reason, our*goal is to implement the Marie project in Switzerland, a citizen science study with scientific and societal objectives. First, we want to raise public awareness about the importance of vaginal microbes in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Second, we want to engage citizens and work together to increase our understanding of the vaginal microbiome and its role in health and disease. 


In addition, we believe that the promotion of vaginal health knowledge within the women’s community in Switzerland is a crucial strategy for entrusting women to participate in self-care, and ultimately, enjoy healthier and happier lives. With that in mind, we decided to launch the Marie project in the well-known crowdfunding platform, Wemakeit. For this scientific campaign, we organised the project into four phases: 1) Planning, 2) Pre-launch, 3) Launch, 4) Follow-up of the campaign in Wemakeit. 


When we started the adventure of moving forward with the campaign for Wemakeit, we had never imagined facing various challenges that we had to overcome. We provide below a few of them:


1. Obtaining the support from key collaborators in the project

Making an alliance with Prof. Sarah Lebeer and her team based at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) was the most important milestone we could have achieved. Prof. Lebeer led the citizen science project called Isala and had the objective to study the vaginal microbiome of almost 6'000 participants from Flanders. Even though we managed to get their support, we had to find a host lab and local collaborators to support us with expertise in Public Health, Citizen Science, cutting-edge technology for the microbial DNA analysis, etc. We were fortunate enough to raise the interest of PD Dr. Sonja Merten, project leader and head of the Society, Gender and Health Unit at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (our host lab) in Basel, the Citizen Science Center and the Functional Genomics Center, both located in Zürich.


2. Understanding our stakeholder’s engagement needs

In July 2021, due to nationwide COVID measures from the Swiss government such as: quarantine rules and work-from-home order, most of our interactions with eventual collaborators happened via virtual meetings. What we learned is that from the very beginning, we ushould take time to understand each stakeholders’ motivation, concerns, preferred communication, and engagement frequency to determine the best way to work together. If the stakeholder analysis is done later in time, then it will be much more difficult to build their trust and future engagement.


3. Maintaining virtual team members engagement

A daunting challenge since the start of the project until now was to coordinate recurrent video meetings with our stakeholders, build effective and clear agenda with objectives and discussion points. Since most of our stakeholders are geographically distributed, we could not meet face-to-face and therefore, had to rely on various forms of technology and videoconferencing tools for communication and information sharing needs. By maintaining effective, meaningful and timely communication, we reinforced mutual commitments and achievements.


4. Searching for ambassadors and sponsors

It was surprising and discouraging to not receive any replies from the thirty small, medium and large companies we contacted. This showed once more how disregarded is the topic of vaginal health. On the contrary, we were lucky enough to find enthusiastic and supportive ambassadors, such as: Petra Volpe (movie director), Dagmar Bocakova (visual artist) and Fanny Georgi (science communicator).


The scientific campaign was launched on February 23rd and will run until April 8th, 2022. As of today, we have managed to raise 7% of our first financial goal of 70'000 CHF. 


If you support our mission of engaging citizens in vaginal microbiome research to advance discovery in this field and break taboos and misconceptions about vaginal health in Switzerland, please, help us with your donations on the following website:


Also, we would be very grateful if you could share the project link with your family, friends and networks.


- And…let’s work together today to make the future of women’s health look brighter! -


*Initiators of the scientific campaign called “Unveil vagina’s microworld”: PD Dr. Sonja Merten, Monica Ticlla Ccenhua and Ethel Mendocilla Sato.

Organizational Transformation: Orchestration

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

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This is the third course in the OT Series (, which provides the leadership and strategic knowledge of transformation initiatives.This advanced course applies focus on assessing market conditions and trends, exploring frameworks for achieving outcomes, and applying a human-centric approach towards your organization.

The Orchestration course provides guidance on how to:

  • Describe what it takes to lead a people-centered transformation.
  • Identify and describe the various frameworks you will need to achieve transformation outcomes (such as Organizational Network Analysis, Exploit and Explore, and others).
  • Assess different market conditions, trends, and disruptors for your organization.
  • Describe the 4-phased framework of Waves, Horizons, Domains and Types that will enable you to frame the broader transformation picture. 
  • Assess capabilities your organization will need to successfully transform.

There are 4 modules:

  1. Leading a People-Centered Transformation
  2. Achieving Transformation Outcomes
  3. Market Awareness and Strategic Responses
  4. Assessing Capabilities

Throughout all the modules in the course, we are engaged in real-life scenarios to explore how various concepts come to life. For many concepts, the scenarios refer to an organization that is recognized for its positive attitude to change - and which has driven its own transformation.

In the first module, we explore several leadership concepts, including:

  • Leadership characteristics
  • Exploiting the Core & Exploring the Edge from a cultural standpoint
  • The People-Centered Transformation (PCT) Framework
  • Each of the 10 PCT elements, including the Insights, Findings, and Shifts for each

Some of the key takeaways are:

Everyone has gaps in their leadership capabilities. We can use the PCT Framework to recognize, unravel and improve.

Organizations that are transforming must be agile. Organizations that encourage a cross-functional, agile mindset over a traditional silo structure are often the most effective at delivering successful transformations. Agile organizations decentralize decision-making to an appropriate level that will achieve an effective balance between autonomy and authority.

Leaders must empathize and understand what motivates their employees to change and deliver results. By doing this, employees can feel empowered to make decisions and contribute to the decentralized culture.

In the Achieving Transformation Outcomes module, we explore some business-oriented frameworks and strategies:

  • The concept of organizational longevity
  • Exploiting the Core & Exploring the Edge from a business perspective
  • Creating a second operating system is important.
  • The Business Portfolio Map
  • The 9 most important frameworks while transforming

Some frameworks used by transforming organizations are: Program Management, Agile, Objectives and Key results, Portfolio management, Design thinking, etc.

Organizations that cannot keep up with the increased level of change and complexity have no future. High-performing organizations are more adaptable and can correct the course when strategic initiatives are going off the rails.

Organizations need to develop a second operating system that uses an agile network and a very different set of processes to explore new growth opportunities.

In the Market Awareness and Strategic Responses module, we learn how to perceive the market in which our organization operates. We explore:

  • The Social, Political, Environmental, Economic, and Competitive (or SPEED/C) factors of a market environment.
  • The Drivers, Opportunities, and Threats associated with each of these factors.
  • How to plan the strategic response for each of the SPEED/C factors
  • The Waves, Horizons, Domains, and Types of Transformation

Strategic leadership takes a curious mind, constant learning and vigilant research to determine industry trends and the environment in which the organization operates.

In the 4th module, the Assessing Transformation Capabilities, we learn that most common challenges in implementing strategy are:

  • Skills gap within internal talent
  • Insufficient technology
  • Competition from smaller organizational
  • lack of resources
  • lack of efficient processes guiding strategy

In this module, we learn how to assess and bridge capabilities that are needed to transform, such as

  • The capabilities (soft and hard) required for the transformation’s vision.
  • The capability readiness of your organization so that you can achieve the desired transformation level.
  • Prioritizing required capabilities.
  • Approaches and choosing the optimal approach (build, buy, ally, or outsource) to close the transformation capability gap
  • Assessing what must be done more, better and/or differently from a leadership perspective to close the transformation capability gap

Assessing Capability Areas helps identify an organization’s capability strengths and weaknesses. Closing the capability gap is critical for the organizational transformation to be successful.

Step 1 : Map the capabilities in 4 areas : People, Structures, Technology and Assets

Step 2: Identify the gaps in 4 areas and classify them in 4 capability types : Distinctive, Competitive, Foundational and Bridging.

Step 3: Determine how to fill the gaps by combining the urgency and 4 capability types in the Capability Landscape that show us what to build, acquire, partner, or outsource.

This is the last article about the OT Series. If you like to learn more, ask questions and get direct answers, register for our online event Leading dynamic people-centered transformations on 31 March at 18:30.

If you think that creation of an Organizational Transformation Community of Practice would be beneficial for you and your organization, please get in touch using out contact form and selecting Sponsors and Partners topic.

Transformation must be personal

Author: Tahirou Assane Oumarou, PMP

Director of Brightline, PMI

Tahirou Assane Oumarou 100x100

Tahirou Assane Oumarou will be speaking on March 31st at PMI Switzerland's online event "Leading a dynamic people-centered transformation."

The original full article by Ricardo Viana Vargas, Tahirou Assane Oumarou and Emil Anderson was first published in The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on January 12, 2021.

Transformation is personal. Always. Think about it. Organizational change is brought about one individual at a time. A change of behavior or a change of outlook by one individual in an organization is the cellular basis of achieving transformation.  Individual transformation of employees is (at least) as important as any organizational transformation. Without it, the chances of any transformation succeeding are low. Without it, the chances of an organization continuing to evolve and respond to new changes are almost non-existent.

And yet if we look around at organizations time and time again we find lamentable levels of employee engagement and transformation programs which look good in a deck of slides, but which fail when they face the first hurdle of reality: convincing and motivating people to act.

First, engagement.  The research into employee engagement is uniformly depressing.  Research by Gallup for its State of the Global Workplace report concluded: “Worldwide, the percentage of adults who work full time for an employer and are engaged at work — they are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace — is just 15 percent. That low percentage of engaged employees is a barrier to creating high-performing cultures. It implies a stunning amount of wasted potential, given that business units in the top quartile of our global employee engagement database are 17 percent more productive and 21 percent more profitable than those in the bottom quartile.” It is worth repeating the key statistic: a mere 15 percent of people engaged in their work.

With employee engagement at these abysmally low levels, organizations then instigate transformation programs with little consideration of or consultation with employees. It is no secret that people are recognized as the most important source of an organization's competitive advantage. And the same goes for transformation; the main hurdle to overcome in large change programs is the human one. Likewise, the main power to harness in large change programs is the human one.  Regardless of which industry, geography or type of transformation, the solution is the same. Yet, paradoxically, we find that people are frequently the most misunderstood asset and least leveraged capability.  

It is easy to say how important people are, but it is often difficult to translate the recognition of this importance into implementation.  There are subtle skills which need careful development individually and organizationally.  Our own research at the Brightline Initiative suggests that hiring and retaining top-notch talent facilitates a smoother journey for transformation. But, make no mistake, ensuring you have the right people in the right places with the right skills is a big challenge.

Across all the respondents in our research, reported success factors for implementing strategy included “sufficient resources” and “existing talent with the right skillset” as the top two ingredients. While “resources” can refer to many different things—capital, technology, equipment, time—it certainly includes people, teams, and sufficient talent.  Across all respondents, 28 percent noted that their organization focuses more on developing internal talent; 50 percent stated they invest in both hiring and developing existing talent, but place a higher priority on the latter; 16 percent said they focus on both hiring and developing talent, but place more emphasis on recruitment; and just 6 percent noted they are more heavily focused on attracting external talent. 

When examined from the perspective of faster- versus slower-transformation organizations, we see significant differences. Faster-transforming organizations were nearly twice as likely as slower- transforming respondents (34 percent vs. 19 percent) to report a greater focus on developing internal talent.  This highlights the importance of improving internal learning and development programs, while still continuing to invest in recruitment efforts.   Transformation must come from within. 

Once the focus is on the organization’s internal talent, leaders must attempt to get everyone on the same page. The ultimate task is to change key beliefs and behaviors as changing and nurturing the organizational culture is one of the most difficult and complex things a leader can take on. 

How to begin

Transforming from within must begin with an appreciation of how people naturally perceive and experience change. Employees tend to view transformations in one of three ways – as a threat, as a burden, or as an opportunity. Too often leaders fail to recognize the fear of being replaced or minimized due to transformation, or actually stoke those fears through opaque or limited communication. Faced with these challenges we encourage each employee participating in the transformation, at any level, to focus on their personal strengths and unique contributions to the organization, and to connect these to the vision of  the organization after transformation – helping them to understand how they can contribute to the transformation effort, and how the transformation will help their progression and growth. 

This self-evaluation exercise is typically a three-step process for each participant: 

Define your aspiration of where you want to be – create a Personal Vision Statement that defines where you want to be. It is important that this is within the transformation context – and defines what you can contribute to the transformation, and what you want to get out of the transformation process.

Develop an understanding of yourself. There are multiple tools to choose from – organizations have had some success with personality tests such as Myers-Briggs, Enneagrams or GC Index, or tools such as StrengthsFinder. 

Develop a Personal Transformation Plan, and share with your transformation team as a method of making, and getting, a public commitment. 

A key aspect of leadership of transformation is instituting and responding appropriately to these reflections.  At Brightline the primary tool we use for employee transformation is called the SEE Model. SEE stands for Strengths-Evokes-Elates. The three-part SEE model helps people define their calling within the context of transformation. The aim is to find the intersection between: 

Your strengths – the areas of work in the business and the transformation where you are or are willing to become good at 

The elements of the transformation that evoke personal meaning – the things that give you long-term satisfaction 

Actions that make you feel elated – activities and actions that give you immediate joy.

Many organizations find it difficult to involve employees so intimately in forming and leading the transformation. But, never forget that change is a human endeavor and, as such, can make delivering strategy a messy and complicated process. People have different interests, motivators and tolerance – which influence behaviors and create potential misalignment and barriers. Their response may not appear rational at first, because change is often processed as a threat. New strategies always require different ways of working, so leaders must recognize the time and effort required to shift individual interests, mindsets and behaviors. Once that is practiced, employees will in return feel engaged and help leaders make the transformation a success. 

Tahirou Assane Oumarou, MASc, P.Eng, PMP has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles, civil engineering, strategy, transformation, and project management. As Director of Brightline at PMI, Tahirou oversees the activities under the three benefit pillars of thought and practice leadership, networking, and capability building. Through Brightline, Tahirou led the development of the Organizational Transformation Series and championed Brightline flagship event Strategy@Work. 

Prior to PMI, Tahirou worked as the deputy director of infrastructure and project management group in the United Nations Office for Project Services supporting the successful implementation of peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development projects around the world.

Before the United Nations, Tahirou was a senior project manager with the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario where he provided technical capabilities and expertise to ensure excellence in the delivery of complex highway projects with multi-disciplinary teams. 


How to Tailor Your Project according to PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition

Author. Thando Dube, PMP

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With the advent of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition last August, we saw a shift away from the traditional Knowledge Areas and Process Groups that most project managers fondly relied on for “Tailoring projects”. This shift has left many project managers in search of solutions on how to tailor projects. Should they continue using the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups or integrate the twelve Principles of Project Management to lead them in tailoring the eight Performance Domains to fit the project context as proposed in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition?

These are important and genuine questions that need to be addressed to assist project managers to fully exploit the benefits and new perspectives offered in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition.

PMBOK® Guide 7th edition describes tailoring this way: “Tailoring is the deliberate adaptation of the approach, governance, and processes to make them more suitable for the given environment and the work at hand”.

As noted in the introductory pages of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition, tailoring projects to the unique characteristics of the project management approach has been underlined in previous editions of the PMBOK® Guide. In the 6th edition, more emphasis was given to how project teams should think about tailoring their approach to project management. This information was placed in the front of each Knowledge Area and provided consideration for all types of project environments. 

In the 7th edition, the wheel has come full circle with an entire section dedicated to Tailoring.  Why this change we may ask?  We have seen from the above examples that the predefined processes and methodologies embodied in the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups are open to tailoring, however the complexities of the changing environments and the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world of today, tailoring is an approach that has taken a pre-eminent role and is characterized by the following principles:

  • Each project is unique
  • Project process success is based on adapting the unique context of the project to determine the most appropriate methods of producing the desired outcomes
  • Tailoring the approach is iterative, and therefore is a continuous process throughout the project

At this juncture, to understand why Tailoring Project has taken more emphasis in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition, it could be useful to reflect on one innovation that revolutionized the use of mobile phones and paved a path for new generation smartphones: the iPhone.  The iPhone did not replace the mobile phone but brought a plethora of new possibilities and value add to mobile phone use in a response to the VUCA world of digital communication. This is my interpretation of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition; it is not designed to replace the predictive and process-based approaches but serves as an additional reservoir of “techniques and tools” to equip project managers with additional alternatives in a more agile way of thinking such as adaptive and hybrid approaches to Tailoring projects.

These are personal views as a project manager and do not in any way represent the views of PMI, so then what are the views of subject matter experts?  Are you like me as a project manager facing challenges or dilemmas in tailoring your projects using PMBOK® Guide 7th edition? How has the PMBOK® Guide shift from a processes and tools approach affected tailoring your projects? To share these thoughts and those of other project managers and subject experts, a Romandie Events session on 7 April will host Stephane Derouin, former President of the PMI France Chapter. Stephane is an active Portfolio Hybridization Expert, certified Agile PM® and Agile teacher at ESCP for MSc in International Project Management. He is also the founder and President of HMI, a « Think tank » founded in 2018 dedicated to hybrid approaches and methodologies.

Event Venue: Hotel Montbrillant, Geneva, 7th April, 6.30-9.30pm

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