PMI® Switzerland Chapter


Chapter Communications Blog

Anecdotes of the early PMI Switzerland years

Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

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I can only imagine that the first days and the launch of the Chapter weren’t very easy. But every time Andrea Behrends (founder and first president of the Chapter) talks about it, I see a big smile on her face, and I believe it was worth the effort.

Anecdotes from Dr. Andrea Behrends:

I have the impression that in the last 20 years many things were planted and stayed that way. For example, there was always an affinity for technology. Furthermore, the tone was always collegial and friendly and at the same time we were always professional as well.

During the first years, our motto was to work efficiently so that we had some free time left, e.g. BBQ and swimming pool. That spirit made it rewarding to travel distances just for a chapter meeting. 

One of the challenges was the idea to split the chapter, i.e. one for Romandie and one for the German part of Switzerland. I supported those who wanted to remain one chapter for all Switzerland. I think this is beneficial until today. It increases the offerings for all members and supports the exchange of ideas and networks between the different areas in Switzerland.

Believe it or not, the community of PMI Switzerland is so strong we still have Volunteers supporting PMI since day one. One of our chapter volunteers is Martin Härri (past president of the Chapter) who has given enormous support throughout the years. He is without a doubt, the best person to talk about the changes, the past and the future of the Chapter.

Anecdotes from Martin Härri:

I was not a member of the first board, but I heard that their meetings were held in the house of the first president (Andrea Behrends), and after the meetings they had a barbecue and jumped into the house’s swimming pool. 

The first AMMs (Annual Members Meetings) were held in person, and as per bylaws, a certain percentage of the members had to be present in order to make the votes valid. However, in about the third or fourth year there was a snowstorm, and many members were not able to reach the location where the AMM was planned. So our webmaster back then (James Greene) programmed a web-based voting solution almost overnight, which continued to be used for many years, until it was replaced by a solution provided by PMI Global.

I have received many more stories which we will share in future newsletters this year. I hope the Chapter has still many years to go and many stories to build.

All the best,

Karolina Letowska

Building new memories at the 20th Anniversary event

Author: Benoîte Grisouard, PMP

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We, members and volunteers, were all invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the PMI Switzerland Chapter. In two decades, this community, created with passion and motivation, has been able to participate in the development of the discipline and be an efficient support to Project Managers, experienced or not. This in-person event was an opportunity to directly approach many colleagues I encountered on virtual meeting platforms: We dis-connected to re-connect :)

The afternoon of Sunday 5 September 2021 - with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, had a family reunion vibe to it. We gathered with handwritten name tags and shared friendly cuisine. The "first generation" of PMs dispensed their stories and anecdotes to new members and volunteers; regulars talked over the external influences on their day-to-day activities. A detail stated by a PM in banking was commented on by a PM in the pharmaceutical industry and then taken up by a PM in IT. These friendly discussions gave to this sympathetic community a subtle G20 flair.

The Anniversary team chose for this summer celebration an urban garden that looks like a confidential rooftop near Bern. We enjoyed refreshing cocktails, homemade sausages grilled on meters long BBQ, just like the first PMI Board meetings 20 years ago at Dr. Andrea Behrends’ place. The first board of directors was a distributed team, and it was rare for them to see one another face-to-face. Dr. Andrea Behrends, founder and first chapter president and Martin Härri, former chapter president, joined Karolina Letowska, current president of PMI Switzerland to welcome guests and celebrate 20 years of achievements, collaboration, and determination. They shared anecdotes about the first fundraising in Zurich, a wine testing, or tombolas.

We all had fun together and discussed ideas on how we could strengthen our Chapter. 

It was nice catching up with you. Happy Anniversary PMI Switzerland Chapter!

Benoîte Grisouard, PhD, PMP

Celebrating 20 years of PMI Switzerland! Memories and a milestone

Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

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Welcome everyone to this special edition of the PMI Switzerland Chapter Newsletter.

As we are celebrating a big milestone of the chapter – 20 years, we would like to share some memories and anecdotes with our readers. 

Many things have happened in the past two decades. We started in the times when there were no Zoom calls, and when our first Chapter Charter was faxed to the PMI Headquarters in Philadelphia.

We hope you will enjoy the memory lane that we share today and in future newsletters this year.

But before… I would like to say a Big Thank You! to all our current and past: Volunteers, Members and Partners for making this Chapter such an amazing community. We can make this happen thanks to all of you!

All the best,

Karolina Letowska

Why Stakeholders Regularly Ignore Your Project Reports and How to Fix That

Author: Edul Nakra, PMP

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Speaker: Peter Taylor

Co-speaker: Tim Stumbles, co-founder of Office Timeline

In this very interactive online event, Peter Taylor, the author of the bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ led participants through the practical aspects of Project Reporting and getting the most benefit out of Reports.

As many of us can relate to, there are so many different reports: Status Reports, Risk Reports, Board/Executive Reports, Resource Reports, Variance Reports.. and the list goes on. It is sometimes hard to cut through the “noise” in the midst of this.

At the heart of what we do as Project Managers is communicate, and Peter emphasized that the key to this is getting the right information, to the right person, in the right way, at the right time! These are the building blocks. Reporting in itself is NOT Communicating – in order to communicate well, we need to get these key elements right!

Peter also highlighted the 5 top problems with Project Reporting. Keeping these in mind will help you to “get through” to your stakeholders.

“The key to the success probability of your project is to nail stakeholder buy-in..” and “the #1 way is to give them uncomplicated visual project updates...”

Tim Stumbles, co-founder and CEO of Office Timeline then led us through a demonstration of how this can be done with a tool he has helped develop “Office Timeline” – creating standard waterfall, swim-lane, and sub-swim-lane slides.

For a free trial for PMI members visit:

Finally, Peter left us with an example of “Picture Visualization” to stress the importance of the visual aspect. If someone said the word “circle”, only 10% of us would remember what we were talking about in 72 hours time. In contrast 65% would remember if the circle were drawn!

After a fascinating presentation, Peter concluded by taking questions, and leaving us all with plenty of practical tips to take away!

Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter September 2021

Author: Philip Springuel, PMP

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Welcome back in September! Let’s meet at PMI Switzerland events

Dear PMI Switzerland members and supporters,

We're very grateful that you faithfully follow PMI Switzerland! This month’s newsletter welcomes you back to work in September with can’t-miss articles to get you re-charged; and invites you to attend key events that promise to empower you to live your life and work to their fullest potential.

Take a few minutes to read inspiring articles on a variety of topics: Edul Nakra provides us with a retrospective on "Why Stakeholders Regularly Ignore Your Project Reports and How to Fix That", and Ka Yi Hui shares an exceptional interview with Anne-Sophie Scharff, Chief Happiness Officer of Girls in Tech Switzerland.

This month your newsletter also reminds you of important upcoming events:

Please rapidly investigate your availability to attend the 10th PMI Switzerland Conference, on 29 September. This in-person event in Zurich features the theme “Innovation in Project Management" and will include a special focus on tools, practices and methods for changing times. A fresh perspective, first-hand insights and countless connections are just some of the things you will walk away with. Register NOW.

If the value of networking needed reminding, the newsletter highlights five new members of the PMI Switzerland Chapter. 

We offer an enlightening summary of the Hermes Master Class event held recently and highlight the upcoming Master Class on 25 September that teaches you to be your own Chairperson! Sign up today to attend. Also look forward to both our 8 October PMI Coffee break and 16 October PMI Volunteer Day, when you can learn all there is about the joys and benefits of lending your valuable skills to your Swiss PMI Chapter.

Do take a few minutes to read your September newsletter, comment on our social media and offer us any feedback you may have.

Happy reading and remember to register for events today!

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