Chapter Communications Blog

Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter December 2020

Author: Miguel Hurtado, CAPM

Miguel Hurtado

Dear newsletter friends,

2020 is going to finish in a few weeks and I need to confess it is difficult to make a review of this year. During this year we learnt about Chinese cities, virus and vaccines and we added a mask to our daily life... But I would like to tell you the positive side about this year, we learn how to be closer to our relatives and the most important people in our lives. Human history is full of challenges and full of successful stories.

Let's be optimistic, we can do it.

2021 will most probably be a better and a greater year. Dear friends, have very nice holidays, enjoy them with your family and best friends.

Stay healthy.


Social good event report: The Night of Project Management


Carl Johann Boucavel, PMP

Ka Yi Hui, Ph.D., PMP

Prasanth K.Nair, PMP

Sabina Tatur, Ph.D., PMP


On the 5th November 2020, the team lead by Johann collaborated with the University of Zurich, Life Science Zurich Young Scientists Network (LSZYSN) held an online Social good event called Night of the Project Management. Life Science Zurich Young Scientists Network (LSZYSN) is a non-profit organization run by graduate students & post-docs of the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich. They aim to bridge the gap between academics and industry. Through this event, we strengthen the student’s knowledge in project management through case studies. This event is different from other previous social good events. Last year we held a PM workshop for the same organization. This year, instead of just being the participants, the students involved heavily in the event’s organization right from the beginning.

We focused on five different topics, risk management, time management, stakeholder management, communications, and quality management. In each breakout room, a PMI volunteer acted as the topic expert to guide the discussion and case study. During the event, the students rotated around different breakout rooms to discuss in-depth these topics.


Risk Management

In the Risk management room, Ka Yi has explained the best practices in planning risk management, including identifying risk, assessing risk, and action plan.

We also clarified some of the keywords and concepts. For example, when talking about risk, some students may think about the “risk” in investing. We also explored the “positive risk”, what opportunity we can find in adverse events, like COVID-19.

The most obvious one would be turning an in-person event into an online event that opened new doors to reach more audiences. In fact, at this event, all the PMI volunteers came from different parts of Switzerland, so there’s always a bright side.


Communication Management

 In the Communication management room, Prasanth explained the best practices in Communication Management.

 With the starting message that a PM spends almost 90% of the time in project communication, the importance of this knowledge area in Project Management was underlined to the participants.[b]

 Right from the beginning, Prasanth emphasized that typically Project Managers spend more than 90% of their time in communications. The message is clear to the students; Communication Management is one of the most important knowledge areas that can make or break a project.

 The discussion started with the communication channels and the formula and then went deeper into the knowledge area, focusing on its three key aspects – Planning, Managing and Monitoring.

 Identifying the Project stakeholders and using the Power-Interest grid to map them were well received by the students.

 Carefully preparing the contents, selecting the apt delivery mode, identifying the right timing, and focusing on the right target group is the successful recipe for effective communications.

 The groups further engaged in a healthy discussion around the topic, and Prasanth answered various questions that came along during the sessions.


Stakeholder Management

In the Stakeholder management room, Sabina has facilitated the discussions about identifying a stakeholder and positioning the stakeholder in the power-interest grid.

The group defined the meaning of "interest" as the project's benefit to a stakeholder and "power" as the magnitude of a stakeholder's influence in a project. We also determined that "interest" in a project can be positive or negative and that "power" can originate from the availability of resources, such as money, the position the stakeholder holds, and the capability to influence and motivate people.

Finally, we discovered that stakeholder management is a dynamic process that requires a regular revisit of the power-interest grid to update any changes in organizing, monitoring, and improving the project manager's relationship with the stakeholder.


Quality Management

In the Quality management room, Johann has explained the best practices on the seven quality tools and how the students can use these tools throughout a project.


During our sessions, the students voted Pareto Diagram and the Control Chart as their favorites. Also, a very interesting combination came into gear when the students were able to start with a Histogram to gather all the ideas of brainstorming. Then take the most relevant one and then imagine a solution by developing a Process Flow Diagram. Finally, breakdown each process within the process flow chart into a check sheet.

All the five teams which joined our meeting room were engaging; they kept Johann on his toes with all their questions. It was a tremendous opportunity for PMI to reach out to non-PMI members and give a glimpse of what project management is all about.

Testimonial from the participants:

The workshop was absolutely interesting! I appreciated very much that the coaches were so open and took the time to explain the concepts and how they applied to us. I find that in general, project management is not something that we learn even though we are scientists and we are heavily interested in the industry. Thank you for enlightening us!


Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter November 2020

Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP

Geetanjali Bhat

Dear members and newsletter subscribers,

Autumn has set in; winters are on their way!!! Beautiful weather with new hopes and dreams filling our days. As we all are going through the second phase of virus situation, I am sure we will fight our ways to bring our normal lives back in track soon. These difficult phase in the country has not deterred us, this community of projects managers out here are working harder than ever.

PMI Switzerland Chapter continues to learn and grow more. Our Online events and meets are continuing to be a great success! With Online Workshops added to our regular online events, I am sure it becomes interesting to work and learn well remotely.

With great subject matter expertise, PMI has been ensuring latest contents in tough times through insightful events.

Members or Non-Members participating Online events had insightful takeaways from those sessions. It’s great to see that we were able to put PMI’s structures and processes today in these challenging times into practice. With successful PMI online coffee meets, online events and now online workshops, I am sure there is no stopping us into learning and growing more.

I would like to ask you all to Stay Safe and Healthy. Let’s all think positive and keep learning ensuring for better tomorrow.



Interactive LEGO Serious Play workshop

Author: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

Daniel Rodellar 100x100

Deep dive and hands on with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® online

On Wednesday, August 26, 2020 we had a very playful and interesting online session about playing with Lego® bricks to solve serious problems.

Jens Dröge is Lead Trainer of LEGO® Serious Play® Methods and Materials for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and German author of the standard-setting book “SERIOUS WORK – How to facilitate meetings and workshops using LEGO® Serious Play®”. He guided us during the workshop, together with Rolf Bielser, CEO of Computare GmbH, a Swiss-based management consulting and training company, and he is Certified Facilitator of LEGO® Serious Play® Method and Materials.

Usually, after 10min on a meeting, people start surfing. It is not the case when doing meetings or workshops with LEGO® bricks!

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Let's start from the definition of what LEGO® Serious Play® is...

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The rules about how to participate in such meetings are easy to understand: we want to know and vehiculate the meaning, not to challenge the choices of the bricks. Participants are invited to express themselves with the models, they are not judged, there is no right answer. They are asked to respect time constraints: having few time pushes them to think with their hands since they do not have enough time to design the model before building it. And it offers value and benefits on people and communications, strategy and organisation and on innovation and product development.

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 The first thing we did was a tower, only using orange and green bricks, with a black baseplate, finishing with a flag. And we had to do it in a limited time (01:30).

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Then we could present and discuss the different realizations. We could discuss about structure and stability (solid and firm base), the selection of other colors (to fit, alternation of colors). It was important when building the model to keep time in mind and be efficient. We had some people that tried to use as many bricks as possible, that tried to do the highest tower possible with the bricks available, and also that put emphasis on simmetry of the model.

There were 20 versions of the same initial requirement. We do not justify our choices, and we should not judge. It is a truth that we construct.

The core process is shown on the following picture:

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1. challenge: the facilitator poses the building challenge to the participants.
2. building: the participants build a Lego model representing their reflections on the building challenge.
3. sharing: the participants share the meaning and the story that they have assigned to their own models.

These 3 phases are repeated several times, beginning with a simple task and gradually up to more complex tasks.

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In this workshop we have worked on Individual Models

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The workshop was divided into two parts: session 1 and 2.

Almost all people had the LEGO® bricks, but some used other things they had at hand, and it also worked. Basically the bricks are better suited because they fit to each other and they stay compact.

Session 1: The working environment after Covid-19

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The participants build and shared models on how they felt during the lockdown times.We talked about fear and feeling anxious about uncertainty and deaths, and people that lost their jobs. We shared that it was an unexpected series of events, and how people adapted quicly to work online and digitally.

There was also very positive feedbacks about the joy by going to the forest and recover the Nature contact and doing exercise (almost) alone.

What stroke us most during this first session was that:

  • everyone had positive things to tell
  • Nature was very important for most of us
  • there was a clear focus on working
  • we felt more humans
  • the difficult exercise of keeping the work-life balance in equilibrium

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What could a red brick be? You need to atach a meaning to the brick.

Take 3 bricks and connect them. Explain the words with the bricks. We asked participants waht was different on using bricks as methaphors, and the answers were that is was very free and open, that the other people see different things from what I see, and it is easier to memorize for most of the participants.

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It was touching that everyone could go into an introspection into their lives and get to take some distance from work to try understand what is important for each of us, in life.

Session 2: What’s required by today’s virtual leader

The second session was dedicated to the soft skills of a virtual leader.

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We had to put ourselves in the employee's shoes and say what was expected from good virtual leaders, and then from the leader's point of view.

The main take aways on the discussion and presentation of the models were:

  • the turning wheels that represented the fact that at work things need to keep on turning and people need to have this feeling that things do not stop working.
  • nice envionments were depicted, a virtual leader has to make the others feel confortable.
  • the leader must drive to targets that are special and give clear directions where to go.
  • all people's goals need to be aligned (and kept aligned all way through).
  • there is a strong requirement to synchronize with everyone, as we are all connecting remotely.
  • transparency on goals.
  • celebrating success and giving credit to each and everyone that contributed.
  • empowering, represented by a ladder on the models, to help people to get better.
  • trust on people and making all levels work together.
  • having a positive attitude and being relax
  • leading in a sustainable way.

We had to modify the model to meet the requirements expressed for the virtual leader, and this showed just small changes but specially adding professional tools that needed to be provided to execute these tasks and the request tha direction are not changing too often, and some sense of stability.

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As mentionned before, we just did the Individual Model for this introductury workshop, but the next levels of this training include Shared Model (a team building the same model all together) and the System Model to represent the more complex systems.

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The Shared Model needs very good communication between participants, an online (or in person) facilitator, and a good environment (light, connectivity, etc).

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As a final remark, this workshop fulfilled the original goals to show everyone the power of using LEGO® Serious Play® method to solve complicated problems and difficult concepts.

It is always open, and if you remember working with Lego® bricks as a kid, there is no barriers, everything can be represented and "materialized". It is most suitable for cases where "I have the problem, but not the answers".

To end up, we thank Jens for such great introduction and we were curious to play again, to foster our creativity and in fact, we realized that even for complicated models, not too many bricks are required.


Teaching Aids:

For this workshop we used the Starter Set of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® with 46 parts.

The needed LEGO® parts are pictured here.


It's good to be Negative

We are already in November and COVID situation is still very difficult. We have new restrictions, home office is in some places mandatory and sadly, we notice how the number of positive cases is raising up. For that, it’s good to be Negative, specially tested negative. 
One of the lessons we can learn from the PMBoK is how to be more organized and how can we manage everything better. In this actual situation it’s very important to think and act also thinking in your environment. Wearing the mask and following the instructions can save your life but also your relatives. Working together as a team can make our life better, be a manager, be a leader.
Because in this moment... it’s good to be NEGATIVE.