Chapter Communications Blog

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Author: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

We closed 2018 with a great event in Lausanne on 6 December by Sally Fisher, founder of AH!HA moments. Sally was a former lawyer with Linklaters and Consulting Partner with Deloitte, who now runs her own international leadership development practice.

The new year 2019 starts now and the resolutions lists are popping up... I have a proposal for you to add on your resolutions for 2019 based on this thought-provoking confidence event!

Instead of subscribing to the gym and give up after first sessions, experiment the following: at the end of the week, on your commuting home, roll back the whole week and look for successes. Write them down, as this will be your evidence basis when you lack confidence.

 

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It will confirm and illustrate:

  • When have I been in a similar situation and succeeded?
  • What did I do that can help me now?
  • If I did it previously, why did it or did it not work now?

Sally led an engaging and entertaining exploration into how we can build more confidence and develop our ability to more consistently deliver peak performance under pressure.

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She shared her career experience defined by peaks of confidence and periods of crisis of confidence, with the goal to understand what drives the peaks.

How much of an edge do we need to have to get a promotion? Just 5% can make a change! Sally asked us to name an achievement that meant something to us obtained on last week. It took some time to get everyone answering that question. It is important to recognize success!! Are you looking for what you could do better or celebrate what your teams do well?

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The impostor syndrome was first found in Hollywood actors. Most of the people experience this when they get promoted. You need to identify what your trigger is for loss of confidence (feeling unprepared, not knowing how to answer, etc).

Once in this situation, we have the choice on how we respond to it: we could back away from the opportunity, we could simulate we know the answer, etc. You need to recognize the feeling that your body triggers and then DOUBT YOUR DOUBT!

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Take a workout mentality to work, like you do with physical fitness, and it will make you stronger with time. Embrace the pain and welcome the challenges.

We agreed that it is quicker to identify what is worrying us than successes. When we worry we tend to try to solve all the problems, but we should start with the first action that we could take. And solve it, step by step.

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Sally shared the amazing story about her reading of the horoscope one month that was said “Everything you touch will turn to gold!” With this message, everything was so easy because she acted as if it were true, and she did plenty of first actions that ultimately delivered results. It is about your mindset and your physiology (body language).

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You believe what you tell yourself! We did an exercise about repeating sentences like “I’m weak and tired” versus “I’m powerful and strong!” and our body reacts accordingly. Master your mindset and act, because the environment can be toxic. You could for example repeat 3 times “I’m strong, I’m powerful and I’m calm” (the last one to avoid breaking anything or being too aggressive…).

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We ended the event with some questions from the audience related to how to position yourself for a promotion (by formulating it as: how could I help them make the best decision?) and also related to the impostor syndrome (move towards your trigger – physically, remember your successes database and smile, then get back to normal…).

You can find Sally online at her company's web page: www.ahhamoments.co.uk.

Before leaving, remember: at the end of the week, while commuting home, roll back the whole week and look for successes. Write them down, as this will be your evidence base when you lack confidence. And doubt your doubts!

See you next event!

 

alp vesikalik

Author: Alp Camci, PMP

Event Report: Successful Implementation of Lean Startup Thinking In Projects, Reinach 5th December 2018

On Wednesday, 5 December, we met in the Endress+Hasuer Headquarters in Reinach to get insight about “Successful Implementation of Lean Startup Thinking in Projects” from Dr. Michael Sauter. PMI Switzerland especially thanks Jürgen Ekert for organizing the event and Endress+Hauser for their sponsorship.

Having worked in various organizations as a consultant, manager and managing director, Michael is an expert in the agile environment. With his company, Brainbirds Gmbh, Michael trains organizations for methods to drive changes in their company and to be fit for the fast changing digital world.

Michael classified the organizations starting from “we do not need digital transformation” to “GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon” who are leading and creating this new age of digital transformation. He said there is a big number of companies lying in between these two extremes, who want to understand why GAFA is so successful and how they could transform their organizations to stay fit and competitive in the digital world. Here lies a danger in his point of view, if the leading pack is too far away, the companies in the middle group may think they are leading.

After this short introduction, we split into 10 groups with approximately 7 members each for the workshop. The exercise is to “develop a start-up idea”.

Visualization is the key to creativity, and it helps create consensus in decision-making. With this in mind, we used the following tools for the workshop: Post-its, pens and a timer.

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The workshop started with the definition of a new business idea. While the timer was running very quickly, each participant put on the board one idea they would like to implement. After a quick voting for the best idea within the group, we defined which users could benefit from this idea. After the user definition, the next step was listing the problems users are facing. We developed solutions to those problems by answering the question of “How might we…” and then we switched to the “Lean Canvas”.

Lean Canvas or Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models. Here we visualized the problem, the solution, the key metrics, the channels to be used and, last but not least, the cost structure and revenue streams.

After all of this, Michael continued his presentation explaining what we had just experienced with this small exercise. This exercise was a perfect example of a tool what customer-centric companies should implement in their structures. With design thinking, companies can identify the user, the problem and the solution. In this stage they define the desirability of their product. The next step is to check the value proposition in the business model generation stage with tools like the business model canvas. Once the model is defined the companies can check the feasibility of the idea with lean startup’s learn-build- measure cycles. Only the ideas that pass to the implementation phase may be further developed with scrum/agile methods. Continuous iteration of these cycles keeps companies customer-centric and successful in the world of fast pace change.

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In the world of fast pace change, Michael said project managers are perfect change agents who can lead change on a daily basis in their profession. After a brief Q&A, we continued our event with an apero, which enabled us to meet old friends and make new ones.

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Similarities between Agile and Waterfall methodologies for Software Development

Author: Raashid Kiani, PMP, CSM

The Agile development is relatively new and, based on my experience, is the most misunderstood methodology. The objective of this article is to explain the similarities between Agile and other conventional methodologies in order to convey the message that Agile is not a very new way of developing software applications. The main difference is that you welcome change based on the customer’s feedback early on in the software application development and you deliver the products quickly rather than waiting to develop the entire software before engaging the customer.

This article mainly focuses on Waterfall and Scrum. However before I delve into detail let us rehash the definition of the Waterfall and Agile developments.

Waterfall

The Waterfall Model is a linear sequential development methodology where every next phase has finish to start dependency. This means that any phase under development begins only if the previous phase is complete. The methodology is based on three simple principles: strong documentation, low degree of customer involvement, and sequential structure of project realization.

The Waterfall approach does not define the process to go back to the previous phase to handle changes in the requirements. The diagram below shows the different phases in Waterfall SDLC (Systems Development Life Cycle).

waterfall 

 

 

Agile (Scrum)

Agile methodology is based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams with very extensive involvement of the client. Agile methodologies are open to changing requirements. The business stakeholders and developers work together to align the product with customer needs. 

scrum

 

Similarities

We need to understand that adapting Agile methodology does not mean that you are kicking into something very new. However, when it comes to the comparison on the two methodologies, people tend to forget that both methodologies have the similar goals i.e. to deliver a quality software application fulfilling the customer’s requirements. Both teams do the same activities – gather requirements, design, develop, test and deploy. Thus, the foundation stays the same, i.e. you still do the planning, execute the project and track the progress. I have listed down the similarities to provide more insight here, which may help to understand the concept and which may make you feel comfortable choosing either of the methodologies.

Aspects

Waterfall

Agile (Scrum)

 

Feasibility analysis

Cost benefit analysis is done to evaluate if the project/product development is financially, technically and operationally feasible. This may result in a business case. This phase normally takes long as effort is made upfront to capture as much detail as possible to avoid rework in the subsequent phases of the project.

Feasibility is also conducted, however unlike waterfall, this phase will not take long. Considerably less time is spent refining the requirements and working out details.
The customer/client are engaged very early in the phase to get buy-in and refine the requirements as we go.

Planning

Detailed planning is considered as a vital part of the conventional methodologies with the aim to deliver the project as per expectations and avoid changes to the requirements/scope. The plan formulated at the start of the project is monitored throughout the project. There are likely fewer chances to change the scope, add or exclude the requirements. And once the project plan is baselined, change is not welcomed.

Planning is also very important however, the detailed planning is not done upfront. The detailed level planning is done during a sprint planning when team is ready to take a certain chunk of the requirements and start planning to develop. This planning is ongoing, as the team is working on an active sprint, the product owner along with the scrum master or other SMEs continue to refine requirements and plan the next subset of requirements. The change is welcomed, however new requirements are not added during an active sprint.

Monitoring  & Tracking

The progress of the project is tracked against the project plan. Regular status reviews are held to evaluate the progress and then report the status to the management and sponsor(s). The weekly or monthly status reports are also built by the project managers and then shared with all the stakeholders.

Project tracking is also very critical in Agile. The progress is measured against each sprint. The team collectively reviews the results of the sprint and evaluates the progress on the project. The sprint report is created and shared with the stakeholders. The progress is also measured through the demo of the functionality built.   

Communication

The communication plan is normally part of the project plan. The project managers are mostly responsible to communicate on the project and conduct progress review meetings that can be on a weekly or a monthly basis.

The communication is very open, regular and face-to-face. Daily stand up, sprint planning, retrospective and sprint reviews are worth mentioning. The customer is actively involved throughout the project.

Roles

Typical roles. The team members deputed for particular roles perform only their assigned roles and that will not change (e.g. a developer will only do the development and will not work on testing or any other work stream).

Same roles like business analyst, solution architect, developers, testers etc. with the exception of scrum master, which is interchangeably switched with project manager.
However, teams in Agile are self-organizing and, unlike Waterfall, team members switch roles if they can or have cycles (e.g. a developer may help tester in testing).

 

Documentation

Involves extensive documentation.
Considerable time and effort is spent upfront to document the requirements.

Advocates working software delivery compared to spending time on comprehensive
documentation. However, one should not be carried away with the notion of having absolutely no documentation in Agile SDLC. You still need to document requirements, build design and write test plans.

In the end I would say there are pros and cons to both methodologies, however it is you who needs to evaluate which one to pick. Moreover, these methodologies are guidelines and you might need to tailor them when keeping the requirements of the organization in mind.

 

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Author: Loïc Hascher, PMP, ACP

How should you spend a rainy Saturday? What about gathering with a group of fellow project managers to learn more about "Charismatic Presentation Power"? This was indeed a very insightful day for all of us! With lots of practice and exercises provided by former professional actress Anouk Scherer. All attendees could try out their presentation skills while being recorded and reviewed by the whole group. As we all know, controlling your voice speed, your tone and gesture are not an easy thing, especially in front of a big audience. But thanks to Anouk's experience, all of us could learn and improve!

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alp vesikalik

Interview by: Alp Camci, PMP

Get to Know Jürgen Ekert

Continuing our "Extended Get to Know" series, Alp interviews Jürgen Ekert Head of Project Management & Engineering in Endress+Hauser Group Services.

Could you please tell the readers about yourself like your specialized fields, current role, your motivation in being a member of the Swiss Chapter or any other relevant information about yourself, which you would like to share?

Yes my pleasure. My name is Jürgen Ekert and at Endress+Hauser I am globally responsible for Project Management & Engineering. Already during my study at university, I realized how important project management is. I started at Endress+Hauser as a project manager and executed national and international customer projects. During a 2-year working period in Southeast Asia I learned a lot about cultural differences and the many aspects of project management. Later in my career I broadened my knowledge and became a Project Management Professional (PMP). Communication and collaboration are for me the most important topics needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of projects. This was one reason I decided to execute a coaching education program. I see coaching as a new language, which helps in leadership, project management and in private life to get the best out of people. In the Endress+Hauser world I have trained and coached more than 1,000 people in many different countries. I draw my motivation from working and exchanging with other people.

Could you please tell us about your previous and current participation in the PMI-CH Chapter?

To survive in our fast changing and globalized world we need constantly to adapt to new situations, keep open to other opinions, new technologies, different behaviours and other cultures. This is one thing I love about my job. Nevertheless, it requires continuous self-driven learning.

If I am not traveling I enjoy the events and the networking of PMI Switzerland. It is a good platform for exchange and getting inspiration from others. For more than 5 years now, I have organized an annual PMI event for PMI Switzerland at our office in Reinach. Having the full support and commitment of my company for this is something I really treasure. I always try to find speakers that inspire and help the participants to explore areas outside their field of activity. We have had, for example, an extreme runner and a guy from Generation Y. Usually the speakers I select have also in one way or another inspired me.

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As actively participating in and hosting events with the Swiss Chapter, could you please tell us about your experiences?

The Swiss Chapter is a connection of nice and experienced people offering the platform for exchange in the region (nearby). Enjoying a network evening after work, accessible in just a couple of minutes is great. Last year I changed the position and gave my own speech at PMI Switzerland which was a great opportunity to share my experience.


Are you also active in any other chapter?

Part of my team is located in India, so I have already contacted the local PMI Chapter in Mumbai and plan to do a speech there in 2019. My motivation clearly is to network and get some insights in a fast changing and volatile country. It will be interesting how PMI operates in India.

How do you describe the role of project office in your organization and the benefits towards project managers?

“Doing the same things in the same way, right from the beginning.” That’s what we establish. Driving constant change within the group. With harmonized processes, harmonized tooling platforms and training for Project Management & Engineering we are moving our organization step-by-step to project excellence.

How do you see the project management role and the role of project offices evolving over the coming years?

Adaptability is key in a fast-paced changing world. Nevertheless, having a good plan, working according to that plan and being able to adapt and align to changes as fast as possible is essential. In my opinion project management will also be very important in the future. With artificial intelligence and new tools project managers will gain insights they never had before. So, faster decision making will be possible. With this the project manager will be able to focus on the real issues / topics in the project as well. My feeling is we will be able to handle projects that we have not been able to handle before. We need to have processes, methodologies and tools that help to manage unknown and complex situations simply and predictably.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a project manager?

Biggest challenge? That is a good question. I would say the biggest challenge for me as a project manager is the fact that human beings often prefer indirect communication instead of direct communication. Talking to a person directly makes a huge difference.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as Head of PMO?

The biggest challenge I see is the resistance of people to change. We tend to stick to things which worked in the past but things from the past will not always work in the future. Here, the interesting thing is to take people along the journey.

How would you describe the influence of your profession as a project manager in your personal life?

There is absolutely no influence on personal life. Hahaha kidding. Clearly this has an effect on private life as well. The way you do things, the way you organize things. Sometimes you have to be careful that other people do not feel you are over-organized.

We heard that you are engaged in a charity project?

My passion in free time is running. I enjoy my daily run (my hour of power) to relax, generate new ideas, release stress, clear my mind, think about project management… I always say this is meditation with adrenalin. A few years ago two friends and I implemented an idea to do a run from Feldberg to Basel (along the Wiese River for a total of 59 km – partial distance possible) and collect a €1 donation by the participants per km they run. We donate 100% of the money to establish water distribution systems in Cameroon, Africa and collected more than €100,000. My background in project management helped us to implement our plan, to get organized and quickly react to changes.

How do you see PMI in terms of participating in the development of the project management profession?

PMI is constantly working on the foundation of project management. For example, education programs, e-learning, events and of course the PMBok Guide help people to take on the profession of project management and achieve deeper insights. The Agile Practice Guide, which was released with the 6th edition of the PMBok Guide gives new insights to the latest developments in project management. This is a great opportunity. PMI and especially the Swiss Chapter connects people with similar backgrounds.

Any other thoughts and information you would like to share with our readers?

I hope to see as many readers at this years PMI Event at Endress+Hauser on the 5th of December. I look forward to further exchanges and inspiration. Thanks for the interview.