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Newsletter Editorial January 2020

 

Adi Muslic 100x100

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Goodbye 2019, Welcome 2020!

We are already well in the new year with new objectives to achieve, targets to meet, or wishes that we would like to see realized in 2020. You certainly spent some time thinking about what you wanted to change or improve in the new year or even more, in the new decade. How far in the future did you actually go with your thoughts? This would depend on whether the objective is achievable in a short time or not. It could be a month effort, for example, getting training completed or several months, like getting a certification. Or it could be something that you plan to achieve in 5 years.
Typically longer-term objectives will also depend on the environment that we are working or living in. We need to be aware of the changes that may impact our long term objectives, business or personal, and be able to regularly adjust our objectives in relation to the environment around us.

There were many important changes in the world around us in 2019. There will be even more in 2020. Just thinking about the new virus threat that is suddenly changing lives and plans and may become the most important event of 2020. Keeping up with the latest news and all other kinds of information made available to us takes a lot of effort and has a certain impact on our private and professional lives. Keeping the right balance is a great challenge. Selecting appropriate resources to be informed and finding the right references to compare to is the key to remain competitive or simply survive in the fast-changing world.

We have seen many changes in the Global PMI organization as well. It is a clear sign that the association is set to remain the global reference in project management and will keep influencing the way other organizations achieve their profit or non-profit objectives.
Swiss chapter is actively participating in this change and has been preparing a lot of exciting events. The most important one is the annual conference. This year's conference might be exceptional. You will find why in the Message from the Board.

Wish you a healthy and successful 2020.

Best regards,

Adi

Python Language and Project Management: Is that possible?

Author:Vinícius Cruvinel

Python Language and Project Management: Is that possible?

Yes. That is the first word you need to read in this article. Besides a very simple high language, Python can be used in many such opportunities, like data science or in GIS for example. Created by Guido Van Rossum, Python is an open source language which nowadays has become common use: you can estimate precipitations or even produce a little game using Python.

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Figure 1 – The Sims 4 –mod support was done for The Sims 4 using Python

But let’s do it more seriously and focus on what matters for us: Project Management. How can Python be useful?


Python has a lot of ready made libraries and modules, which can be applied to make any task you want in the management cycle, from creating your WBS structure, making Gantt charts or even doing communication reports.

The focus in the article is not to start implementation but to show what is possible. Nonetheless, below you can find an example of a very simple code to make Gantt charts using the library plotly.

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Figure 2 – Using the library plotly to make Gantt charts

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Figure 3 – The output from the code

You can code from the scratch and develop your own project management system - and that is the fun part, to customize as you need – or also can use some already done platforms like Odoo, a web based project management platform coded using Python and PostgreSQL that also has other functions like a Kanban-style task-tracking view for agile teams.

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Figure 4 – screenshot from the Odoo platform

As already said, there are many possibilities to implement a nice and clean environment for project management.

Soon in the next articles we will start to understand more about the language and start making our first steps to develop a simple environment to create a WBS.

 

Getting a compass for sailing on the seas of transformation

Getting a compass for sailing on the seas of transformation

Juhász Katalin

Author: Katalin Juhász

The Switzerland PMI chapter has hosted an inspiring event on 7th November in Geneva by Ricardo Viana Vargas, a renowned project management professional and expert of strategy implementation. Between 2012 to 2016, Ricardo was the Global Director of the Infrastructure and Project Management Group within the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). During this session he provided a first-hand opportunity to learn about the recently published transformation framework, the Brightline Compass. The method has been developed in collaboration with Professor Behnam Tabrizi, an acknowledged expert in transformation and a consulting professor at Stanford University.

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„Brightline™ is a Project Management Institute (PMI) initiative together with leading global organizations dedicated to help executives bridge the expensive and unproductive gap between strategy design and delivery.” Its target audience is the c-suit and its aspirants, who experience intensified pressure to guide their organizations through transformation.

As we pass by the frequently heard quote that „the only constant is change”, more and more discussions are gravitating around the pressing „urge for transformations”. The difference between the two lies in their pace and complexity. While change is perceived as a gradual evolution process, transformation refers to the quantum leap of performance increase achieved by the fundamental change of the way it delivers value to the customers while embedding this shift in the mindset of employees and the organizational culture.

The need that evoked the creation of Brightline Compass was the emerging demand for organizations (let it be corporations, non-profits or governments) to transform, driven by the fast pace change of consumer behavior, the exponential technology innovations, the paradigm shift in the way we work and the value set of the youngest generations.

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The stakes of making it right are high, as those organizations who don’t prepare early in time might easily find themselves in a similar situation like the one Blockbuster was facing in 2009 being challenged by the rise of Netflix.

 

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Who could foresee that the moderately declining revenues signal its bankruptcy, strike as soon as the following year?

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Brightline Compass is a framework providing guidance instead of prescription to better understand the components impacting the outcome of a business transformation. We have to acknowledge that the challenge is massive: how to structure the complex problem of finding adequate answers to the changing business environment. The beauty - and the difficulty at the same time - of this quest is that the adequate answer to these challenges often emerges as a result of an iterative process of continuously testing potential solutions.

In Brightline Compass I could discover approaches and methodologies inspired by project management, lean startup methodologies and change management amongst others. But as Ricardo emphasized, it is not the tagline of the method what matters. It’s about finding the combination of tools in our transformation toolkit which are most impactful at a given case.

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The Brightline Process strikes the importance of having a crisp and engaging vision providing adequate answer to the question: „Why this transformation is necessary?” It also builds on the importance of understanding changing trends of customer behaviors. When it comes to the operative implementation of transformations, it provides guidance regarding the transformation operation system, recommending a flat, adaptable and cross-functional organizational structure. The model emphasizes the importance of engaged advocates, volunteering to become change agents in the process from all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Finally, but not last the model also points at the need to align employee aspirations with the organizational vision, ensuring that people can wholeheartedly embark on the transformation journey.

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Being an organizational development expert, leading the employee engagement domain, personally I found it very delighting to see how much the model acknowledges the significance of employee commitment. Even so, that we know how much organizational changes inevitably pressurize the sense of security by the (harsh or silent) question of „How this change will impact me?”. While very often the risk of this hidden landmine is underestimated by senior leadership teams.

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 I am a firm believer of human adaptiveness however the pace of change happening these days seems to exceed our capacity to absorb it, which often results in fear and resistance from the unknown. The fact is, that want it or not, transformations are happening anyways, even if we welcome them or we resist. Actually the only choice we have is either to be prepared and help our organizations to do so or get hit by the tide. Of course there is no silver bullet, a „solution fits for all”, but I found the Brightline Compass as one possible framework helping us to prepare and drive through transformations. 

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The Funny Lazy Project Manager with Peter Taylor

Geetanjali Bhat

Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP

“The Funny Lazy Project Manager” - An event title we all were surprised and curious to hear about. A Funny and insightful, extraordinary workshop given by Peter Taylor. 


I was really keen to listen to what all is this about. Being a project manager, definitely a project manager cannot afford to be lazy. How can achieve the deadlines? How can we accomplish tasks? All these questions were in my mind, as I heard the title being presented as “The Funny lazy Project Manager” I am sure you all would be thinking in the same lines.

A project manager can be successful with a 35 to 40 hours week , another project manager can be just as successful with a 50 to 70 hours week. An analysis was made by Peter Taylor , the level of delegation , way they were involved in many things triggers the success.

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“Progress isn’t made easier by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something”- Robert Heinlein. Peter Taylor states, it’s not about being lazy or sitting in a comfy chair, drinking coffee and letting all the team members do the work, its about the “Productively Lazy”.

Peter Taylor states about 80% and 20% rule. According to him, 80: 20 rules generally works. In most of companies today, 80% of revenue came from 20% of customer base in many organizations one of them is Microsoft. In our personal lives too, 80:20 rule works well.

We must think about what is that 20% of our work that delivers 80% benefits. The most important to prioritize them. Focusing on the most important first and then moving to next important one, things will move more better. We start feeling more achieved, and more positive in reaching our goals.

Working efficiently and effectively is the keyword for all. Same is for a project manager, but along with efficient and effectiveness comes in the form of leading people in right direction. With managing people, comes the responsibility of understanding the potential and capacity of each person in the team. This is defined by Peter Taylor as the “The Intelligence of Laziness” where types of persons in a team can be categorized as:
• Lazy
• Diligence
• Smart
• Non-Smart

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Selecting the right person at the right time for their capability and potential is an art which can lead to great results
Further to his talks, he says that the project manager can gain more while bringing humor to the work and day with the team. He explains of how Humor can bring in that excitement to work and give more to our projects in our professional lives.

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As a listener to this great talk, I would like to summarize that if we apply the art of productive laziness with a little humor and fun to our professional or personal lives, I am sure we can achieve bigger goals and milestones that we set for ourselves more successfully. Today, I would be going back home and thinking about the 20% work which can give me that 80% of benefits and how I can apply more humor and fun to my work and connect more with my team and people!!!

 

Regards,

 

Geeta

 

Message from the Board December 2019

 

Irina Petkova 150x152

Author: Irina Petkova, PMP

Dear Members and Newsletter Subscribers,

We are soon going to wrap up 2019 with all the accomplishments and lessons learned that each one of us gathered in the course of the year, and as usual with the dreams how 2020 could be even better. Despite knowing how important is to learn from the past and apply it in the future, I would like to urge you, though, in that exact moment just to be mindful for a second that the past is gone, the future is uncertain and we only have the present when we have the opportunity to do something good to others and ourselves and express acknowledgement.

I start with this opening not to imply that we should not reflect back and not think forwards, but just to challenge myself and you to slow down in our fast paced environment and to appraise the moment from the perspective of what we have now  in our hands and what we need to make not to lose it.

Doing this from the angle of my Board role not surprisingly I am looking and thanking to the biggest asset in our Chapter - the people that devoted their free time and energy to drive the launch of new initiatives as fostering PM community interactions, reaching out to young generation, producing appealing newsletter and website, attracting  new sponsors, organizing high quality conference, master classes and events to our membership, just to name a few. I believe the experience was truly inspiring and extremely rewarding to all involved . As I quoted Sherry Anderson previously - “volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” and this should continue to be recognized.

To express our joint gratitude to each other being a member who gave a great idea or volunteer who moved it forward and celebrate another moment together I have the pleasure to invite you to our Annual Membership Meeting which this year will take place in Zurich on 6 February 2020. The keynote speaker at the AMM for the first time in the history of our Chapter will be not anyone else but the President and CEO of PMI -  Mr Sunil Prashara who will persuade us for the increasing need to grow our  “power skills” that are uniquely human: creativity, leadership, inspiration, empathy.

At the end I would like to use this opportunity to thank you sincerely for all the support and appreciation all these years I have been serving to the Chapter as this is the last time when I will have the privilege to address you all through the pages of the Chapter Newsletter.  It was an honour for me to be with you in the last seven years. Thank you!

I wish you all the best and good luck in your journey!

Irina Petkova

President