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How to Tailor Your Project according to PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition

Author. Thando Dube, PMP

Thando Dube 100x100

With the advent of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition last August, we saw a shift away from the traditional Knowledge Areas and Process Groups that most project managers fondly relied on for “Tailoring projects”. This shift has left many project managers in search of solutions on how to tailor projects. Should they continue using the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups or integrate the twelve Principles of Project Management to lead them in tailoring the eight Performance Domains to fit the project context as proposed in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition?

These are important and genuine questions that need to be addressed to assist project managers to fully exploit the benefits and new perspectives offered in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition.

PMBOK® Guide 7th edition describes tailoring this way: “Tailoring is the deliberate adaptation of the approach, governance, and processes to make them more suitable for the given environment and the work at hand”.

As noted in the introductory pages of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition, tailoring projects to the unique characteristics of the project management approach has been underlined in previous editions of the PMBOK® Guide. In the 6th edition, more emphasis was given to how project teams should think about tailoring their approach to project management. This information was placed in the front of each Knowledge Area and provided consideration for all types of project environments. 

In the 7th edition, the wheel has come full circle with an entire section dedicated to Tailoring.  Why this change we may ask?  We have seen from the above examples that the predefined processes and methodologies embodied in the Knowledge Areas and Process Groups are open to tailoring, however the complexities of the changing environments and the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world of today, tailoring is an approach that has taken a pre-eminent role and is characterized by the following principles:

  • Each project is unique
  • Project process success is based on adapting the unique context of the project to determine the most appropriate methods of producing the desired outcomes
  • Tailoring the approach is iterative, and therefore is a continuous process throughout the project

At this juncture, to understand why Tailoring Project has taken more emphasis in the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition, it could be useful to reflect on one innovation that revolutionized the use of mobile phones and paved a path for new generation smartphones: the iPhone.  The iPhone did not replace the mobile phone but brought a plethora of new possibilities and value add to mobile phone use in a response to the VUCA world of digital communication. This is my interpretation of the PMBOK® Guide 7th edition; it is not designed to replace the predictive and process-based approaches but serves as an additional reservoir of “techniques and tools” to equip project managers with additional alternatives in a more agile way of thinking such as adaptive and hybrid approaches to Tailoring projects.

These are personal views as a project manager and do not in any way represent the views of PMI, so then what are the views of subject matter experts?  Are you like me as a project manager facing challenges or dilemmas in tailoring your projects using PMBOK® Guide 7th edition? How has the PMBOK® Guide shift from a processes and tools approach affected tailoring your projects? To share these thoughts and those of other project managers and subject experts, a Romandie Events session on 7 April will host Stephane Derouin, former President of the PMI France Chapter. Stephane is an active Portfolio Hybridization Expert, certified Agile PM® and Agile teacher at ESCP for MSc in International Project Management. He is also the founder and President of HMI, a « Think tank » founded in 2018 dedicated to hybrid approaches and methodologies.

Event Venue: Hotel Montbrillant, Geneva, 7th April, 6.30-9.30pm

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Project Management Networking Zurich


Isatu Barrie, PMP

Isatu Barrie 100x100

Valérie Pierre, PMP

Valérie Pierre

After two years of no face-to-face events due to the pandemic, I believe that we all were longing for some human contact, to socialise with people and enjoy ourselves. 

Our main purpose for creating the Project Management Networking event in Zurich - (PM networking ZH) is to bring together the Project Management community through in-person networking and connect with like-minded people to share and exchange ideas, experience or just to chit-chat about everything!

The first in-person PMI-Switzerland networking event in Zurich – post-Covid restrictions

Our first in-person PM networking in Zurich after Covid rules were lifted in Switzerland, was held on the 17th of February 2022 at lunchtime. We had ten people that attended, and it lasted for one and a half hours. The event was held in Bohemia restaurant, Zurich. There were mixed groups, including seasoned Project Managers and others with diverse career backgrounds.

Our volunteers, Valérie Pierre and Isatu Barrie organised and hosted the event, and were at hand to ensure that it ran smoothly to give our guests the best experience. 

The Venue 

The venue was centrally located in Zurich and easily accessible by transportation. All the attendees were satisfied with the choice and were able to get there without any hassle. The customer service at the venue was also great, the food was delicious, and the staff were helpful and attentive. We had a great time talking and eating together.

The ambience 

The atmosphere was great, everyone was relaxed and enjoyed each other's company, and got to know one another informally. The conversations flow organically between attendees about various subjects including life in Zurich and elsewhere, food, activities they enjoyed in and outside work etc. Photographs were taken and shared. The time flew by so fast, as everyone was enjoying themselves and was delighted to be there.

After the event

A “Thank you” email was sent to our participants along with a survey form. A significant proportion of the participants gave us positive feedback; among the responses was that they found the networking event useful, are likely to attend again, and will highly recommend it to their peers. 

We would like to thank all the participants who took part in our survey, for giving us positive feedback, we greatly appreciate you for taking the time to complete the questionnaire. This motivates us to continue organising this networking event.

You can register for the event by visiting the PMI-CH website/event calendar page:

The upcoming event in Zurich

This is something that we are planning to organise every third Thursday of the month. Our next event is on March 17th, 2022. It will also be held at the Bohemia restaurant in Zurich. It has now been published on the PMI-CH website/event calendar:

Networking does not only take place in Zurich

We also have similar networking events for those that live in Geneva, Lausanne and Basel. 

Please check out our event web-page to find your nearest networking event from PMI Switzerland:

We will like you to join us for our next networking event. We are excited and looking forward to seeing you and getting to know each other.


Event about narratives in innovation

Author: Florian Puschmann, PMP

Florian PuschmannJPG

Innovation Narratives

The Basel PMI chapter met in an interactive session on innovation facilitated by Giovanni Nisato, from Innovation Horizons GmbH.

The first question the "protagonists" of the session tackled was the definition of innovation. Thanks to interactive word clouds where everyone could provide input, it was quickly apparent that the concept is fuzzy. Innovation has different meanings to different people in different contexts.

However, as Giovanni put forward, no matter how exactly we define it, there tend to be two types of innovation, namely:

  1. Incremental – minor improvements to an existing solution
  2. Transformative – an entirely different approach.

What the session was about though, is how we as humans make sense of the innovation development and process. This question is essential whether we look at the past – retrospective – or into the future – prospective.

Regardless, leaning on the Cynefin framework developed by Dave Snowden, innovation tends to happen in complex or even chaotic environments and therefore is messy by nature.

Humans deal with such complexity by reducing it to stories or so-called narratives. Narratives are created for development or innovation, including in retrospect. This typically works by cherry-picking the events to make sense of "the innovator's hero journey" and to present a concise innovation narrative.

The hero journey archetype has been found in different cultures worldwide for as long as human stories are documented and is often the basis of narratives in Greek mythology, literature, or movies. It consists of a call to adventure that leads to the Hero's triumphant return after going through a supreme ordeal in the middle.

Innovation narratives are also critical in prospective new and uncertain undertakings. Forward-looking Innovation narratives, such as start-up pitches, visions, etc., have the power to mobilize funding, resources, and people to make it happen.

Hero journey


We enjoyed immersing ourselves in two groups on such a journey in an exercise. The exercise consisted of an exploration of an imaginary world. Along the path, we faced difficult decisions that prompted vivid discussions. Especially since the choices met had to be taken with consensus. This produced anxiety at times, given the high stakes of our mission combined with the uncertainty and limited information for each decision. At the end of the exercise, we reflected on the journey's narrative with both groups, which offered insightful perspective and discussion.

My main take-home point of the exercise was the importance of narratives in communication, whether in an email, a meeting or a report. Besides the technicalities of innovating, a crucial part of the process is how innovation narratives or visions are communicated and framed to obtain stakeholder buy-in as well as funding and hands-on support.

Once again, project managers take a crucial role in creating narratives to drive innovation by clear and deliberate communication that drives energized positive change.

After immersing ourselves in innovation narratives, the "Hero's" of the Basel chapter journey got to enjoy the nice apéro to connect with members of the chapter on this and related narratives.

Organizational Transformation - Implementation

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Adi Muslic 100x100pix

Organizational Transformation: Implementation is the second course in the OT Series, which provides the framework for transformation execution.
This course, written and designed by subject experts at the Brightline Initiative at PMI, is the ticket to an informed, intelligent, people-based transformation. It gives you knowledge you need to lead and execute a transformation.

The course teaches how to:
1. Identify and describe the frameworks used to define your transformation strategy
2. Assess an organization’s transformation readiness
3. Identify and describe strong leadership characteristics
4. Activate transformation
5. Use 5 transformation touchstones

Transformation Strategies Adi Muslic

How do we start? Transformation begins at the strategic level where the vision and goals are determined. To do so, we need to evaluate the degree of complexity and the rate of change. This helps to identify the level of uncertainty. The next phase is to decide what the domain and type of your transformation is. When we decide what our transformation strategy will be, we can start evaluating our organization’s readiness.

Many organizations do not have required competences to support a big change. They will need to understand what they are capable of doing.

Next steps are:
● Define business capabilities
● Determine capability readiness
● Identify hard and soft capabilities required to achieve your transformation type

Transformation Readiness Adi Muslic

Before starting the transformation, we must close any capability gaps (people, technology, structure, or assets). The course instructs us to use the Capabilities Heat Map as a tool to identify the gaps. When we identify the gaps, we can start addressing them by using following approaches: Build, Acquire, Partner, Outsource.

Once we close our capability gaps, we are ready. It is time to start implementing.
The implementation phase is based on the 5 building blocks and 3 step methodology that were introduced in the last month article:

With these foundations in place, we can start our Transformation Trajectory that integrates the methodology and building blocks into five touchstones along the trajectory:

1. Creating a winning vision and strategy
2. Engage and empower people
3. Leverage customer and competitive insights
4. Activate an agile transformation operating system
5. Enable perpetual transformational

The course explains each touchstone in more detail. There are also two case studies to practise what we have learned.
After each module, there is an interactive scenario to further practise applying the tools and practices from the course modules.

Next month, I will tell you more about the third course in the Organizational Transformation Series:

For more info, visit :

I use this opportunity to invite you to join our virtual event, Leading a dynamic people-centered transformation, on 31st March:

Rétrospective sur le Forum Ouvert N°9

Author: Thando Dube, PMP

Thando Dube

Le Forum Ouvert est un événement qui offre un espace libre pour partager des expériences, des conseils, ou discuter des problématiques que vous pouvez rencontrer lors de vos projets.

Notre Forum Ouvert n°9 a eu lieu le mardi 25 janvier 2022 en ligne via Zoom, sur un thème brûlant et d’actualité : « Gestion des risques projet en période de COVID-19 ».  En parlant de l'actualité, cet évènement restera dans les annales comme le premier Forum Ouvert organisé en français pour mieux répondre aux attentes de nos adhérents suisses romands.

Le plus romand d’entre nous, Leandro Benda a eu le privilège de présenter ce forum en français et il l’a fait avec brio !  Une vingtaine de professionnels de gestion de projets issus de tout le tissu de l’économie suisse et quelques participants de la France voisine ont répondu présents.  Trois salles virtuelles ont été créées afin de faciliter les échanges en petit groupe sur les questions posées par les participants via l’application Slido. Chaque participant a eu la liberté de rejoindre une salle qui abordait le sujet qui l’intéressait. Les discussions en salle virtuelle ont été limitées à 15 minutes afin de permettre aux participants de se retrouver à nouveau dans la salle commune pour poser à nouveau d’autres questions.

Différents sujets liés à la gestion des risques et, plus important, les vécus et les expériences des uns et des autres pendant cette période de Covid-19 ont été abordés. 

Parmi les questions qui ont été traitées, on a notamment noté:

-        Comment les professionnels de gestion des projets ont soutenu la résilience des équipes pendant cette période très incertaine ?

-        Quelles ont été les adaptations et changements sur le processus de gestion de risques rendus obligatoires par la situation de la pandémie Covid-19 ?

-        Y a-t-il eu des risques qui ont été atténués ou exacerbés par la pandémie Covid-19 ?

Notre prochain Forum Ouvert n°10 sera organisé le 17 mai 2022 et nous vous communiquerons les informations précises dans la Newsletter du mois d’avril.  Comme le planning peut encore changer, nous vous invitons à consulter régulièrement le site PMI Suisse afin d’avoir les dernières informations sur les évènements programmés. Tous les évènements peuvent être consultés par le biais de ce lien:

Bonne lecture et au plaisir de vous retrouver lors de notre prochain Forum Ouvert !

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