PMI® Switzerland Chapter

Blog

Chapter Communications Blog

April Fools and the analytic that went with it…

Darryn Dauth

Author: Darryn Dauth

So April saw an interesting article come to the fore that definitely got people talking. The article to which I am referring to is of course the article published a few weeks ago… “Inaugural Flag for PMI Switzerland?” It basically asked the chapter to view a few flag designs (coupled with mottos), and go ahead and vote on them.

As a few people guessed straight off the bat, it was actually an April Fools joke. The flags were not that convincing, although they were kind of catchy. We had a mixed reaction to the article, and some choice words from certain members, proving that we indeed have pride in our chapter, but also a willingness to participate.
That being said, the whole idea behind the article was not just for a good chuckle. No, we wanted to inspire interaction from our members as well. We managed to achieve both I’d say, with 55 votes received in total.

Now if we look at ratios, it does not seem that impressive considering we have 1485 registered members.
However, we must understand that our competition reaches and appeals to different members in different ways; hence the point of this article.

We need to start somewhere and endeavor to interact with all members; to ensure that we are able to add a meaningful contribution to the whole membership. I personally would far rather have more response on serious project management articles, than humorous ones like the April Fools one, because that is why I joined the Swiss Chapter all the way from South Africa. I want to be better at my passion, my craft… just like most of the other members.

In closing, we as the communication and social media team have learnt a great deal about the analytics and engagement that came from this article.
I encourage and implore all of you to spend more time on our Linkedin group to add lessons learnt from your current projects, exciting new upcoming PM trends or even a question you might have that could be answered by a collective group of passionate experts.
Let us make use of what is in front of us; a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and a camaraderie that keeps us motivated in what sometimes can feel like a thankless profession.

For more about the April fools article, please click http://bit.ly/1r4cKHK.

Inaugural Flag for PMI Switzerland

author: Darryn Dauth

vote

Corporate identity is one of the key elements that set companies and organizations apart. Seeing as the Project Management Institute itself is made up of many chapters… the Swiss Chapter leadership thought it to be a great idea to further stand out by inaugurating a flag of its own.

For this reason, we put our finest designers on the job to design a few flag prototypes for us to help us achieve the goal of becoming the first chapter to brandish a flag. Three prototypes are now ready for your review and feedback. The chapter is going to have an online Town Hall meeting, review and induct the winning flag.

Click HERE to vote for your favorite flag now! However, if you think you have an inner artist inside of you, please send your flag design to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who will then put up on Social Media for membership voting.

To understand more about this initiative, see below interview with VP Marketing (Filippo Meloni) by VP Communications (Paul Selwold)...

PS:Hi, Filippo, thank you for taking the time today to answer a few questions.

FM: You are welcome, I am happy to have this opportunity.

PS: Great to hear it! I would like to get right to the point: Why are your volunteers proposing that our Chapter inaugurate a flag?

FM: To us, in the Marketing Team, it was clear that this year was the right time to launch a symbol of the chapter and create a unifying force for all members to rally around. We want to make sure that anyone who joins the chapter or one of its events is reminded of the main message why we are here.

PS: You mean, like the example of "GANTT'n in Cantons?"

FM: Yes.

PS: But you have also asked for membership votes to select the best flag. Do you expect members to have an opinion?

FM: Yes

PS: Can members also propose a flag of their own designing?

FM: Yes. They can either choose one of our three designs, or suggest a design of their own. They simply need to follow the instructions communicated by the Social Media team. We are open to all suggestions. Some people like spinach and others like bärlauch.

PS: What?

FM: Do you like spinach?

PS: Yes.

FM: See? And I prefer bärlauch. I did not know this before joining the chapter.

PS: Thank you, Filippo. As always, a great pleasure and very informative to speak with you. I hope you get a lot of feedback from our members.

FM: In Sardinia, where I grew up, we did not have bärlauch.

PS: I understand. Thank you...."

Rigor versus the appetite for risk: how to ensure success with a project team of Germans and Americans: Part 8

Mrs. Aliah Blackmore, PMP

Decision by email or by telephone?


Email is easy and fast - and can cause a lot of damage. In your kick-off meeting you have undoubtedly defined rules for the project team about who should send email to whom.

Avoid adding people to emails who either don't know the whole context or have nothing to do with the topic. Be very careful about using humorous or sarcastic comments in email, or best of all avoid them completely. The way in which the email is interpreted depends not only on the context but also on the mood of the reader at the time of reading.


Moreover humor does not necessarily cross cultural boundaries. Many jokes that make the Germans laugh are not perceived as at all funny by Americans. They either don't understand the joke or they find it inappropriate. Take the example of a joke about "Ostfriesen". The Americans may not understand the context for the joke but they understand that the joke targets a minority and is, therefore, politically incorrect.


There is also a significant difference between the way that an American structures an email and the structure of a German email. As Americans favor a rigorous approach to managing time (time is money), one way that they save time is to do away with titles and greetings. They have no intention to be unfriendly or impolite, it is simply common practice in the USA to just write the name at the beginning without any greeting and to write only what is absolutely necessary.


An example of a typical email structured in the American way can be as follows:


"Mary:
I've scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, December 19, 2 pm. Andrew"


Sometimes even the name is left out! Americans also tend not to waste time on controlling grammar and punctuation.
For the Americans, it is particularly important that the subject header always clearly indicates the content of the email.


Because of these structural differences, you should clarify with your project team how you expect salutation and greetings to be handled.

For some it is not important, while others expect something specific. You and your team might want to be greeted, for example, as follows: "Hallo Tom", "Good morning, Andrea", "I hope you’re well.", "Best wishes", "Best regards". If you and your team agree on a common approach from the beginning, you can avoid misunderstandings.


If the tone of an American email comes across as being quite abrupt, you might be surprised at how friendly Americans are on the phone.

Before you start any discussion with an American colleague on the phone, you should ask first: "Is this a good time?".

If you want to discuss a problem, be aware of how sensitive Americans are about being criticized. Instead of looking for the guilty party, strive to find a solution.


For exchanging purely factual information, email is probably the most convenient tool you can use use. However, if you need to discuss a critical topic, or if you notice that already five emails have gone backwards and forwards without getting any closer to a solution, this is the time that it makes more sense to reach for the phone.

The Training Catalogue Initiative in partnership with the REPs

Author: Ms. Ulrike Angelika Susanne Rapp Fitchett, Ph.D., PMP

Subject: The Training Catalogue Initiative in partnership with the REPs

Categories: Newsletter Content

Keywords: Training catalogue; Rep

Published: Wed 20-Nov-2013 13:35:57


If you plan on further developing your professional competences or if you need/wish to take PMI certifying training courses - in any case you want to ensure that your time, energy and money is well-invested.

The volunteer-guided initiative «Training Catalogue» of the PMI Switzerland Chapter has now developed the first version of a website that supports you in choosing your next training.

Adapt to Change with Lean and Agile - Event Report 15th of May

Agile, popular in IT projects, and Lean from manufacturing, are gaining ground in other domains from finance to broadcasting and journalism. The reason? The promise of minimizing waste while maximizing value.

Francesco Lomonaco, an Agile Organizational and Team Coach took 50+ attendees on a journey through the benefits of Agile and Lean practices in project management in Geneva on 15 May. He began by asking the audience a question- in the competitive, often chaotic and ever-changing environment of today, which system is more resilient: a perfect and closed system or an open one with just enough structure to compete?
The benefits of an open system such as Agile are obvious when looking at today's environment and its ever-increasing complexity and uncertainty. Project and program managers today face increasing globalization and interdependency. Increasing individuality and democratization mean project team members want more liberty, visibility and input. Rapid diversification and innovation also contribute to this environment where the one constant is change.
Through a series of examples, Mr. Lomonaco illustrated how through an iterative process, drawing on both Agile and Lean, it is possible to adapt to changing conditions. By breaking away from the textbook waterfall approach to project management in which value is only delivered at the end of the project, it is possible to deliver value at multiple points.
Constant delivery of value, increased visibility, minimized waste, multiple exit points in a project- all this seems like a dream for a project or program manager, but these benefits are also the drawbacks of these techniques. Multiple delivery points and higher visibility throughout the project mean that the project manager has to be not only competent, but brave as well. The entire process is also dependent on transparency- constant and honest communication.
What would seem to be just another project management technique is really more than just that. It's not possible to just send staff to a training and "implement Agile" or "implement Lean". The entire culture has to change and as Mr Lomonaco explained, this can be scary as a manager. It can be very hard to let teams form, struggle and finally begin to produce. Some companies have been in the process of implementing Agile for years.

 Stefan Buetler