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It's good to be negative

“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. 

Product Owner Secrets - an interactive workshop

Product Owner Secrets - an interactive workshop



The Product Owner (PO) role is sometimes misunderstood yet critical in Agile projects. The Switzerland chapter of PMI has organized an exciting interactive online event again on 13th October, where we could learn about this often overshadowed role. Besides discussing the secrets of the PO role - living up to the expectations of the title of the event - the participants also had the opportunity to gain a first hand experience about an facilitation method, called the fishbowl conversation format, applied in the online space. This method is built on premises, such as the value of experiential learning, assertiveness and the power of discussions, enabling an impactful learning experience. Personally I found the format just as valuable as the shared knowledge about the product owner role itself. Killing two birds with the same stone and all within 90 minutes.

 

The session was hosted by Patryk Nosalik, PMP, agile PM, project manager of the PMI Romandie Events team,  while facilitated by Maria Cortés Astudillo and Nicolas Pages, members of Agile Suisse. María is an industrial engineer, PMP, Professional Scrum Master, Professional Product Owner and Empowering People at the Workplace certified, with over 15 years of experience, successfully building and launching digital applications across multiple channels and formats. Nicolas has more than 20 years of experience in the IS/IT software industry, including 12 years in the supply chain domain acquired in Nestlé. He is a junior coach in design thinking, certified Scrum master and product owner.


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After some introduction about the fishbowl format, four volunteers were recruited to join the imaginatory “inner circle”. The selection criteria for the volunteers was to already have experience about the product owner role (either by fulfilling this role earlier, or being close enough to a PO to have a good enough understanding of its requirements and challenges). 

The discussion has been kick-started by the four volunteers who shared their views about the “good”, the “bad” and the “ugly” aspects of the product owner role. Not only the facilitators, but also the volunteers had an impressive amount of accumulated experience, making sure the discussion was exciting enough to pin the observers in the outer circle to their screens. After 7 minutes, the observers had the chance to pair up in the breakout room, to discuss what additional questions they would like to ask from the experts in the inner circle, once everyone returned into the virtual plenary room.

 

We learnt that:

  • The biggest challenge and value of the PO role is how to maximize the customer value, while managing the (often latent) customer needs and taking into account the (capacity or technical) limitations of the available resources. 
  • A key to maximizing the customer value requires the mastering of prioritization, communication (where listening weights with double score) and good negotiation skills. It is also invaluable to have a crystal clear product vision.
  • Things can be ugly sometimes, as the PO is right in between the customer and the developer team, trying to carry out a balancing act in a never easing pressure. One wise advice was to accept the fact that it is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time, but instead aim for maximizing the customer value, while considering realistically what is possible.
  • While having a good understanding of the developer group is essential to be able to ask the right questions, it might make it more difficult for a PO to have a technical background, as it carries the risk of being dragged too much into the details of the solution. The PO has to keep focus on the “why” and “what” and strongly resist the temptation to design the “how”. 
  • Trust is a crucial resource in this constellation, as the control of designing the solution, along with estimating the resource needs falls under the responsibility of the developer team. Moreover, the PO also has to recognize the limitations of his knowledge and capabilities, to know when it is better to rely on others.
  • While the agile approach can be used in organizations preferring the waterfall approach, it takes a lot of effort to manage expectations and help the client understand how the process will be different. Clarifying, and repetitively refreshing the definition of the PO and SCRUM master could be also indispensable. 

 

While experimenting with a new format is always a risk, based on the feedback of the participants, the session was indeed very effective in helping them to get a deeper understanding of the product owner role. It also served as proof that well designed online events supported by the right technology can be just as effective as physical encounters. Witnessing the continuously improving online facilitation capabilities of these events, I feel assured that we can expect a maintained level of quality, when it's about exchanging knowledge within the PMI community.

 

We hope to continue hosting more online open space events in the future to come. Therefore we encourage all PMI members if anyone is keen to help in being part of the organisation of creating a regular cycle of interactive Open Space events, then please get in touch with Patryk Nosalik (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).



The recording of the full event is available here.

 

Katalin Juhász 

PMP, Organizational Developer at 

SonarSource

Newsletter editorial - October 2020

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

 

This month, in addition to our standard articles, Message from The Board and Members Update, our newsletter is featuring an article about the upcoming online workshop (hurry, not much time left to sign up) and an engaging article about the stakeholders' management. I am sure you will find them all very interesting and enjoy reading.

The coming months may bring some new challenges related to the virus spread though I do not think we will be going back into some form of confinement. With the discipline and further precautions, we can keep going on with our lives.

I joined PMI Switzerland's newsletter team two years ago. It has been an enriching experience, and I highly recommend trying it if you are looking for a volunteering role. As a copy editor, you will have a chance to collaborate with various team members and manage the newsletter content and publication activities. If you feel more like a technical person, there is a technical editor role as well. The team works with online collaboration tools, and the way we collaborate did not change when the virus crisis started. It is a nice opportunity to practice online collaboration.

After two years, it is time for me to make some changes. This is my last editorial, but I will continue to contribute differently. This is not a goodbye, but rather a - see you soon - message.

Take care,

Adi

 

Product Owner Secrets Workshop – a continuation of a journey of discovery

 Author: Patryk Nosalik, PMP

 

Late last Spring, PMI Switzerland held its first Open Spaces meeting. It was really warming to see so much genuine enthusiasm for a novel meeting format, on top of that, we did it online. And when I hear many people are missing the human networking component in other more typical webinars, one of the benefits of interactive formats is that it allows for the creation of meaningful connection. So it was here, from the people contributing and participating in the Open Space, that I was introduced to two very engaging Agilists, María Cortés Astudillo, and Nicolas Pagès.

It turned out Maria and Nicolas were keen to work with me and colleagues at PMI to create another interactive workshop, based on their successful experiences in the Agile Suisse community (agilesuisse.ch). They proposed a discussion about the Product Owner role. 

A quick search or browse of LinkedIn suggests the Product Owner (PO) is a much misunderstood or unappreciated role, and personally in the way this role was applied in my previous professional context, also left me with many unanswered questions. I’d love to share them with you, but the unique point of this workshop is that the participants who register are invited to send in via a form their 1-3 questions they have about the product owner role, be it as naïve, profound, basic, deep, personal or general as they like. Therefore, in order to not bias the event agenda before its inception, I’m having a tough time not sharing them with you! 

Nevertheless I shared this concept with both my Romandie events colleagues and Online Events back in July. We have now created a workshop you can see on our events page, https://pmi-switzerland.ch/index.php/events/events-list/product-owner-secrets-an-interactive-workshop

and invite you warmly to both explore the Product Owner role, and to experience this meeting format which you can take away and use for your own facilitations. 

The questions we will receive, up to a week before the event, will be analysed by Maria, Nicolas and me. We will create the agenda  probably starting with fundamentals before taking a deeper dive, but it will be wholly dependent on participants' input – so that could be you . Just register and you’ll get the link to the very easy form. It may be that we facilitate the discussion so that knowledgeable participants can answer the question, or it may be that the named expert speakers will do so. Of course we would expect to have time for more open discussion as we go along. 

So if you liked our previous Open Space or want to learn something new and be heard by the community, make a note to join this Product Owner workshop on the 13th October. Our facilitators are María Cortés Astudillo, and Nicolas Pagès. Maria is an industrial engineer, she is PMP, Professional Scrum Master, Professional Product Owner and Empowering People at the Workplace certified. Nicolas is a junior coach in design thinking, certified Scrum master and product owner, and has also practiced roles such as super key user, project coordinator, IT solution expert and in the last year, business analyst. Read more about Maria and Nicolas in their fascinating bios on our events page, and then challenge them with questions about the Product Owner role. Remember, the uniqueness of this workshop and relevance to you depends on those who have sent their questions in at registration (but circa 1-2 weeks before), so don’t delay! 

Finally, such workshops benefit from diversity, so share the message with colleagues on Linkedin, friends at work, it will all help harness a collaborative collective intelligence for the benefit of all participants.

Spoiler alert – if we get as many questions as we estimate, then based on experience, we may do some sort of follow up 3-4 weeks later for the most passionate amongst you!

 

Presenting Leadership Power Skills

Article by Stefania Tanasescu, PMP

Director Virtual Events - PMI Switzerland Chapter

 

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In today’s challenging business environment, complex challenges are not solved through technical project management or strategic/business management alone. To truly navigate current possibilities and use our energy and time more efficiently, we need to start from within ourselves. This is why transforming the way we communicate is at the very core of developing the collaborative leadership skills needed for the future of meaningful life and work.

PMI is continuously advocating the importance of leadership skills and Sunil Prashara shared some of the key “Power Skills”at the 2020 PMI Switzerland Annual meeting in Zürich:

 

Presenting Leadership Power Skills pic 1

In order to meet these needs PMI Switzerland is creating a series of what we call “Emergent Leadership Power Skills”. This series is segmented into subject-specific, interactive sessions. Each session will tackle one Power Skill. We will apply theory-based and practice proven hands-on methods and tools which are rooted in transformative learning and coaching, competence-oriented didactics and systems thinking. The sessions are designed in a virtual format using the Zoom application. 

We will offer an adaptive frame of learning and doing: 

  • Maximize individual learning within an inspiring group of peers in a 90 min online group session with maximum 15 participants
  • Your personal needs and interests are driving the laser(“hit the spot” on a specific area of challenge or interest) coaching sessions as 3 individual online coaching sessions are included
  • Stay accountable by teaming up and expanding your network 

 

Power Skill 1: Courageous Feedback

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 18:30 – 20:00 pm (CEST)

 

Learn how to: 

  • build solid frameworks for rigorous, excellent feedback
  • raise praise and criticism based on proven tools
  • strip out biases and “moodiness”
  • focus on results and forward the action
  • create better processes
  • better manage your energy

 

Power Skill 2: The Coach Approach

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 18:30 – 20:00 pm (CEST)

 

Learn how to: 

  • start being more coach-like with 3 micro skills
  • use 1 practical tool with 5 steps to help your people finding their solution
  • shift from advice monster mode (tell-and-control) to considerate guidance and navigation
  • sustain a curiosity-led behavior as your innate way of leading and interacting
  • scale your leadership

 

Power Skill 3: Creative Conflict

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 18:30 – 20:00 pm (CEST)

 

Learn how to: 

  • interpret the source and stage of the conflict
  • analyze the context that raised the conflict
  • navigate 5 conflict-handling modes
  • appreciate the value of different conflict styles
  • recommend the appropriate conflict resolution solution

About your coach - Julia Posselt

 Presenting Leadership Power Skills pic 2

 

I am...mentor coach for rocket builders, teacher at Swiss universities, learner of insight traditions, sparring partner for project professionals. 

www.juliaposselt.com

Creating breakthrough movements

Since the end of the nineties, I have been working at the forefront of digital innovation with multi-national teams, delivering large-scale transformation agendas and implementing strategic initiatives for Swiss and multinational organizations. 

Born from an eclectic blend of creative disciplines and organizational good practices, my work is tuned with insight traditions. It has over twenty years of professional development and refinement with some of the biggest brands in the financial services and healthcare industries. You now also find inspiring tech companies and nimble startups among my clients.

As a Certified Professional Coach and Project Professional, with me, you get the best of both worlds.Come as you are, bring curiosity and an open mind… and benefit from guaranteed value by knowing what you want to get out of the sessions.