Chapter Communications Blog

First successful online Event @ PMI Switzerland

Author: Dr. Zorana Boltić, PMP

Zorana Boltic 

It was a privilege to be able to participate in the first online event organized by the PMI Switzerland Chapter attended by over 100 participants from different countries, including Serbia. Especially in the disruptive environment caused by the pandemic situation, the topic of resilience was very relevant and the participants themselves were able to share different stress factors they might have not experienced before. 

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Even though the challenges we are facing everyday such as workload, uncertainty, frustration and information overload are present in all times, it seems that there is a completely new dimension brought by this crisis. It is therefore obvious that we need to build our resilience now more than ever, as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and toughness we are exposed to severely nowadays.

Resilience and why do we need it?

The panel discussion brought together the professionals devoted to giving back and sharing their ways on how to manage resilience and stress. There was certainly a rich experience on the table in order to help the participants understand what resilience really is for them and discover what works best for each individual.  

If we define the resilience as the capacity to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and bounce back from instability, insecurity and fear, all the panelists agreed that the most important step is to validate these feelings first and begin with the awareness about our emotions. It’s only then we can enable ourselves to think about things we can control, since resilience may as well be perceived as a kind of “psychological personal protective equipment” where we learn to focus our attention to what is important to us. It is also a concept of transformation and an opportunity to become a better self.

“Being” before “doing”

How do we practice then and what do we actually need to do to build our resilience? The discussion led to a common conclusion that the starting point is always to understand what makes us stressed and then think about what we can control in order to decide what to focus on and make the actual shift towards learning. This means that before jumping into strategies, it is of the utmost importance to deal with “being” before “doing” and pay attention to reasons why the feeling is there rather than thinking about how to get rid of the emotion. Even if we split resilience into physical, mental, psychological or even spiritual, the main tool to deal with it is acceptance. This is how we nourish ourselves on all these levels before implementing the actual fixing mechanisms. Only after reaching the state of acceptance, can we turn our attention to what we can control, where sometimes creating rituals to reduce uncertainty can help, as well as using the agile mindset to develop sustainable strategies that work best for us through iterations. On the other hand, the question may arise what to do with things that we realize are not under our control? All the panelists agreed that pushing those back only makes them stronger, emphasizing that acceptance is key and that whatever we decide to focus on can become our reality if we embrace the change and manage to release the worst case scenarios we can imagine.   

Practical advice you can use today

There was a lot of practical advice from the panelists on how to use our micro skills and introduce them into our daily routines, such as “taking the frustrations for a run”, making micropauses in this greater pause and practicing different habits in order to develop positive patterns in our brains. 

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Visualization was suggested as a technique to apply in micropauses and a short exercise was a valuable gift from one of the panelists. It was an extraordinary experience that made me realize how words can be powerful in employing all our senses resulting in a truly liberating state of mind. Some coping strategies were also shared by the participants, such as walking, yoga, jogging and meditation, as well as supporting applications proposed by the panelists like Headspace and Yoga Nidra, Loving Kindness Meditation to cultivate compassion and build resilience.

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The panel was closed summarizing some of the main points to keep in mind for managing our resilience successfully encouraging the participants to acknowledge their emotions, understand what is behind, reframe and take advantage of the situation. The importance of faith was also emphasized at the end because it means trusting ourselves that we can handle things and that we are in fact able to connect to our creative side, always ensuring space holders to improve. In conclusion, a good piece of advice is accepting “one foot in front of the other”, which is something most of us are not used to. On the other hand, once we connect our purpose to our values and what is important to us, we minimize the risk that this will be determined by external factors, accepting the ownership of taking care of ourselves.

Artificial Intelligence

Author: Dr.Alexander Schuhmacher

Alexander Schumacher

Artificial Intelligence (AI) increasingly impacts all industries and functions. Therefore, the question of what influence AI will have on the project management practice is also raised. Exactly this topic is now being investigated through a thesis work at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) in collaboration with Reutlingen University (Germany). The research covers an analysis of the PMI processes and the impact of AI technologies on it. 

This survey is launched to get your expert opinion and the viewpoints of other project management experts on this subject matter. Please give us your insights and to fill out the max. 10 min. short survey by using the following link:

It is without saying, that all personal information will be handled in accordance with European data protection regulations. And you will receive a brief benchmark report, after the study has been closed.

In case of any further question, please feel free to contact

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schuhmacher
mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Open Spaces

Author: Patryk Nosalik, PMP

Including interview with Matteo Mazzeri, DevOps & Open Spaces visionary 

Have you ever taken part in an Open Space? And I’m not referring to an open space office floorplan, but a meeting organised by the principles and law of Open Spaces Technology. From my sharing the idea with the Events team at PMI, or posing the question on Linkedin recently, seems that very few have.

So to set the scene, we all know about waterfall vs agile, so what about applying this to the meeting itself? Think about a classic well planned business meeting. With predetermined invitees – how long does it take you to get everyone on board, match calendars etc? And nothing worse than unengaged people not knowing why they’re there, right? Of course the meeting needs a defined agenda, best sent out in advance aiming for a specific goal – get a decision, come up with a solution, whatever is the main thing we want out of the meeting, as nothing worse than a meeting without conclusion, right? Of course meetings are always at a given time and usually set for an hour or other predefined time. Finally how often have you sat at a meeting because it was the done thing, you felt you had to (e.g. your boss is there).

So imagine breaking all of these traditional meeting rules, and as with agile, not replacing them with rules, but with principles, of which here the main ones are: 

  • whoever comes is the right people, 
  • whatever happens is the only thing that could have, 
  • when it starts is the right time, 
  • when it’s over it’s over.

Plus law of two feet – if you’re not gaining or adding to the meeting, feel free to use your two feet to go elsewhere.

I’d find it hard to imagine the productivity if you told me about this, but I stumbled upon it at an Agile meetup in Geneva who were using this, they made me welcome, and it was a very engaging experience. Since then I have also seen Open Spaces at the Geneva DevOpsDays this year, a 300+ person 2 day conference, where the Open Spaces were made possible on the second day as alternatives to some of the speeches, and I saw 30+ attendees in one session. Interested in the dynamics of this type of meeting, I reached out to Matteo Mazzeri who was responsible for both the events I mentioned here. 

  • Matteo, tell me, when did you first find out about Open Spaces? 
  • It’s been a long time, I can’t pinpoint it, I find it so enriching, I started doing something called Unconferences 10 years ago. I started doing different formats to find way more interaction with people. With traditional conferences it’s really interesting to receive information but after some time you want to start sharing, and so I really needed to find a format that wasn’t unidirectional and Open Spaces was enriching in that.
  • Why did you choose to do Open Spaces at the DevOpsDays?
  • DevOpsDays is a global conference started in Belgium some 10 years ago, I’m not one of the creators, I just do it in Geneva, but the creators started with Open Spaces in their events straight away,because they also come from the free software philosophy and open source movement, and Unconferences and Open Spaces are very much a thing in free software peoplethe so they promoted it from the beginning of their event, so now when you do a DevOpsDays in your city, Open Spaces are automatic, or at least a strong suggestion to do them.
  • Are you happy with how the Open Spaces were done in the DevOpsDays?
  • Yes, we adapted a little bit how we did it in Geneva, to make it fit well the Geneva community, so slightly different than elsewhere but people that took part were extremely happy. 
  • So what did you adapt? 
  • We chose to have in parallel conferences and Open Spaces instead of a whole day Open Spaces, plus also experienced facilitators for the two open space rooms we had, and a list of topics which is normal, but what we didn’t do is to have every participant talking about their proposal in front of the public, which is sort of a tradition with Open Spaces, you have everyone presenting in front of the full audience.
  • But in the Agile meetup we didn’t do this, all the ideas on post-sticks went to the moderator and the moderator read out the ideas almost anonymously…
  • There are different flavours, and several different factors can impact how the flavour of the moment goes, there are some general guidelines and then there’s the sensibilities of organiser and people present, not a fixed rulebook to follow. 
  • Ok, so a bit like Agile in general has a common manifesto and principles but there are 70 frameworks, so is there how far can you go before you start losing the benefits?
  • Yeah, important to have a good facilitator to avoid having a single person or two who monopolise the discussion as otherwise it will go sterile, important to get everyone participating. Also if you really want an outcome at the end, then through the facilitator you have a little format that allows first a phase where everyone is sharing experience, ideas about a topic, then the most organically interesting topics go into discussion phase, then before the end we like some actions that should emerge, so the facilitator will explain the structure of the Open Space and why actions at the end, so at the end a restitution, a delivery of all the different Open Space topics from different places in a common setting, and benefit of outcome to whole group. For example a company for a specific reason, be it: a problem they need to solve; or reorganise themselves; or they need to discuss ideas that are to become projects, it’s a very good way to capitalise on the collective intelligence, and to not lose the dynamic that is generated and make it a common knowledge. But the limits would be just do the exercise and have someone talk about whatever he wants over everyone else, so there is no dialogue, or people who feel they are not useful but they don’t risk moving away like mobility rule of two feet, maybe because the rules weren’t explained at the beginning. There are some details that need to be taken into account to ensure everyone is having a good time so it is important at the beginning to share a minimum set of principles and make sure everyone is feeling at ease and good in a benevolent space, to avoid any internal fighting. 
  • Ok, but then also you have the defined time slot 5-10min per topic so if there’s something bad happening between two people then the others can vote to stop this topic and move on
  • Yes
  • Since they are by definition quite unstructured in terms of a prioriagenda points, what benefits do the organisers and sponsors get out of these?
  • The whole philosophy of the DevOpsDays more than just the Open Space itself was to create a community, so for sponsors we had a dialogue, to not actively have sales pitches but to build relations, and Open Spaces are best way to build relations, so if the sponsors really believe in what they are doing, they really have a product that is useful for the community, so they don’t need to sell it, they just need to make sure they create relations, and then the sale will happen afterwards in a much more healthy way than pushing. The sponsors need to know what the philosophy and spirit is, and agree to come on that basis, then they will be happy building real relations with the community.
  • On they talk about the benefit of Open Spaces being when urgency is paramount, conflict is present, complexity is huge, and there are diverse stakeholder
  • Yes
  • So in these exceptionally VUCA times, are you seeing a rise in uptake or interest in Open Spaces?
  • Yes, we have been believers in Open Spaces for a long time, we try to diffuse them for as long time, initially there was more scepticism to the strange structure, but now people are more receptive, I cannot put any numbers, but a great way to put different profiles together for fruitful discussion.
  • When I started reading around the topic, Open Spaces have been around for 25+ years, yet I get the impression that very few people are familiar with the idea, so are Open Spaces too Agile, too “new age” for the organised corporate world? 
  • I don’t think they are too Agile or New Age I think there is a friction in the corporate world where if you have a classic hierarchical system where managers are there to dictate work to others, and that is their power, then they will fear the loss of power from dictator to facilitator, a risk of feeling useless. However if they have some agile background, or have read about the mind-set, then they are more open from understanding the benefits for themselves directly, the company and the team. A more horizontal ground, no stars, everyone same level, everyone sharing knowledge, a shift of mind-set is necessary. Usually everyone who has faced Open Spaces says they really love them.
  • So any specific advice how can enterprises better benefit from this type of meeting structure?
  • Try it (laughs) best thing is to try it!
  • How can project managers utilise OS for the benefit of the projects they lead? 
  • Yes, during a retrospective, when taking the time to analyse the process, there are several ways, e.g. games, tools, and possible Open Spaces if you have a diversified team, that’s where you get the richness. If homogenous team that all think the same way maybe not so much benefit from Open Spaces. So at the end when analysing the developed process, but also at the beginning, to emerge how to solve problems, so e.g. on new project, where many complexities and you don’t know how to go about solving it, that could be a great thing to get all the stakeholders together to bring about some solutions. Also sharing knowledge, like the collective intelligence.
  • Oh and why the Technology in Open Spaces Technology?
  • That’s a good question, I don’t know (laughs)

To illustrate some of what Matteo mentioned I found an example of a past Open space facilitated meeting held in in Poland at the Empathy Festival in 2019 where multiple topics were raised, working to fight discrimination in multiple forms (so a complex topic), where over 50 participants from backgrounds such as commerce, finance, training, cosmetics, banking, charities, museums  (i.e diversity) a were arranged in a circle all supplied with note pads and pens to add their items for discussion (facilitation of all to participate equally, no hierarchy).  Katarzyna Kaźmierczak, a social psychologist that took part relates the WOW effect of such truly sincere human interaction with no pressure yet highly productive time spent realising that empathy isn’t just passive charity but also a need for self-awareness which allows for assertiveness.  

PMI Switzerland Chapter will hold its first ever Open Space meeting on 28/05/2020, virtually (of course!) where up to 50 active participants are welcome to try out the format, for more details see:

or follow our social network profiles for updated information.

If you’d like to participate in a future Open Space meeting, want help in setting up your own Open Space, or would like to know more on the topic, or know why Open Spaces are sometimes called Open Space Technology ;) please contact the author (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Matteo Mazzeri

Matteo Mazzeri

Multicultural and multidisciplinary, with an agile and appreciative approach Matteo facilitates the re-organization of businesses and administrations in order to thrive in the digital age. Organizer of DevopsDays Geneva, TEDxGeneva, Responsive City Camps with Grégoire Japiot and of several open spaces and barcamps on agility and collective intelligence, Matteo often intervenes as a speaker on themes related to the impact of digital technology and positive economy.


Patryk Nosalik, MBA, PMP 

18+ years international experience in B2B sales, vendor & project management, implementing: partner co-operation programmes, IT systems, regulatory compliance, products distribution in complex operating environments in a multiple entity organisations for financial services and B2B.


Sources / further reading (links valid 21/04/2020):



Author: Miguel Hurtado, CAPM

Miguel Hurtado

During this hard time, you need to know we are here. This newsletter you are reading is the work of a lot of people, and the effort we make is done because, for us, PMI and you are important. Our main goal is to share with you our ideas and our knowledge, to be an open window with fresh air. But we would like to hear from you, know you more and read from you. For that reason, I wish to share our journalist guidelines. I have included also my comments and please, feel free to contact us for more information or to answer your questions.

Things to avoid:

1. Advertising (especially if it is disguised as objective content): We want to read from you, not from a commercial ad. 

2. Promoting project management organizations other than PMI (especially if PMI is not promoted at least equally).

3. Negativity: Smile, also in hard times we need to see the bright side of life. 

4. Personal attacks: Respect everybody, nobody knows how the future will be or who could be your future boss. Respect is important.

5. Political or religious views: Happily, we are a multicultural group with different religions and political ideas. Also we are fans from different football clubs, tennis players, basketball teams...and even different alcoholic drink fans. 

6. Recycled articles (especially where perceived plagiarism is the result):Be original and creative, "In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, ..." was already used. 

7. Articles which can be interpreted by readers as either biased or having a hidden agenda: A good article is clear and direct. 

8. Conflictive or polemic views beyond the reasonable: Respect is a core PMI value. 

9. Lengthy text - less is more!: Lets leave the big books to Fantasy or Sci-Fi authors like Asimov or George R.R. Martin.


We don’t worry about: 

1. Insignificant grammatical errors: Somebody from the newsletter group will revise your article and give you a feedback. 

2. Imperfect English: As Jack Lemmon in "Some like it hot"... Nobody is perfect. 

3. British versus American spelling: Rolling Stones, The Beatles, cookie, biscuit, soccer, football... the most important are the ideas. 


Please submit your article(s) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (including text + picture of author 100x100 pixels + PMI certification titles) and we will send you a feedback. 

Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter April 2020

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Adi Muslic 100x100pix

So many changes in so little time. Last month was very intense. It required a lot of effort just to keep up with news, not to mention adjusting to all changes and measures affecting our lives. Some of the measures are to stay for a long time with us, some others will gradually disappear. Although the efforts to find new ways to fight more effectively the virus are tremendous, we will certainly continue living with the virus for many months to come.

My biggest concern, going forward, is the part of the population that is at high risk. Even if they stay at home but a spouse or a relative has to go out, there is still a chance to bring the virus back home. It is quite clear that we will keep the security social distance enforced for some time. But this may still not be enough to feel secure, as the meeting rooms can be quite small. The best way to be better protected is to carry on a protective face mask, gloves and use the quarantine precautions once back home. Will it be the new normal to wear on a mask and gloves in business meetings? Would not, in that case, a video conferencing be more appropriate?

There are so many lessons to learn from this experience in each segment of our lives. The importance of controlled and measured communications. The endless capacity to adjust and change to survive. The need for flexibility and agility to turn around your business or life.
The remote working and home office may become more common practice, and be used as an alternative when appropriate. Having family dinners or celebrations organized with a video conferencing could be used to meet more often.

Thanks to the online events team, PMI Switzerland will be now organizing online events. This new experience may become in the future the new format of the regular in-person events done before. Wouldn't it be nice to attend an event organized in Basel, but from your home, in Geneva or Zurich?

Every change is an opportunity. Let's make use of this one.

Be safe,