Author: Carlos Martinez Arteaga, PMP
Dear members and newsletter subscribers,
Dealing with uncertainty can surely be tough, at least for me, who likes to enjoy a peaceful time every now and then...
The way uncertainty affects me is that it does not allow me to focus 100% on my work, as it is always in the back of my mind, not allowing me to concentrate on what I am doing. It also makes me feel nervous, and I get irritated quite easily. Uncertainty for me is certainly not good at all.
I have been told that there are certain things that one can do to make these painful moments easier to handle, as uncertainty cannot be fully "managed", due to the fact that we do not know how things will turn out in the end...
For example one thing we can do if we think something bad might be coming is expect the worst, and therefore when it comes we will somehow be ready to take the hit... therefore this planning in advance to the event occurring could help us deal with it better. Also we can turn it all around by thinking even further and planning how we can get the best out of the situation, thereby salvaging some bit of profit out of the bad if possible. If we picture the event, and see ourselves dealing with it, it is usually a good exercise which prepares us when having to face the moment. It is basically being positive.
Another tip I was told is to make something happen, that is, try to make certain what is uncertain, thereby making the situation more manageable. As said previously uncertainty usually makes us anxious, and this is not healthy, therefore if we make things happen this will lower our anxiety levels.
Then there is also the need to calm ourselves down. We should sit down and determine what we know versus what we don't know. Sometimes we over excite ourselves about something that in reality is minor, and when we start really thinking about the issue as a whole we realize that we can handle more than we initially thought. Then what remains as uncertainy is far less cumbersome. We then see that we can relax and will probably face the situation quite well.
Finally there is a saying that I repeat myself in these moments of uncertainty which is "There is no such harm that would not trigger something good". It comes from Spain and the translation itself might be a bit confusing, but in reality what it means is that something bad or harmful can then become the trigger for good things to happen.
Author: Sebastian Dutkowski PMP
On January 22nd the chapter held an event at the HWZ in Zürich dedicated to discovering how Tai chi could possibly relate to project management.
Tai chi, as some of you might know, is a Chinese martial arts sport, but some of its schools focus primarily on health effects and aesthetic appeal. This is similar to Japanese Kata, which is mostly known due to Karate. Those schools of Tai chi, because of its slow movements, can sometimes be perceived as closer to yoga and as a form of dance as a pose to martial arts. Practitioners of this kind of Tai chi will try to keep physically balanced while doing strenuous exercises. For example, they might try to do a particular exercise while standing on one foot only. Practitioners will also try to perform all of their movements with finesse.
So is the work of the project manager. We project managers make moves, we encourage and push people when we stand behind them, we pull them when we are in front. We embrace them when we are with them. Sometimes we leave them on the ground and go high above the clouds to understand the big picture. Project management, from the moment of project initiation until project closure is a dance where project managers are making sure that things move forward, that his/her people do the right things and that his/her stakeholders help, if possible, or in some cases, stay out of the way.
The night was moderated by Julia Posselt who is an independent coach with plenty of experience from Banking and Pharma, by Norun Laahne Thomassen who is a coach with tons of experience in coaching individuals and also whole teams in the corporate environment, and by Gail Corbett-Smith who coaches in the corporate environment and individually, as well as working with people experiencing trauma and overwhelm.
When we entered the room we saw empty space divided into 5 areas labeled “front” for the front area, "behind" for the rear area, "beside" for the area on the left, "field" for the area on the right side, and “within” in the middle. As you might guess those fields are the places where a project manager might find him/herself while doing their work. Some people assume that the project manager is always in front leading his people. This is correct most of the time; after all we speak about leadership, leading, followers, resources and so on.
But this is not always the case. Just as a general officer plans his/her next battle, so is the project manager often beside his people who are at that moment marching towards the battlefield. The general will assume the position on a hill overseeing the battlefield shortly before the battle far behind his/her troops, and sometimes will charge the enemy using his/her most valued soldiers when the time comes to use them.
For project managers there is time to do planning while the team is prototyping and trying to understand requirements. Later in the project, the project manager is positioned high enough to see the big picture of the ongoing project, assess events that might have an impact on the project like discoveries, breakthroughs or opportunities and threats due to other projects. Sometimes it is even necessary for the project manager to work hands-on with project deliverables, should it be documentation, testing or programming.
We started the event sitting in a U-shaped row of chairs. We did not spend much time sitting, however, and in fact we only actually sat during the introduction of the moderators. From then on we had to walk, chat, make gestures, and engage in discussion all while standing and usually far removed from our initial starting point.
Our first task was to position ourselves in the field where as project managers we feel most comfortable. It was a tough task and not only for me but also for some other people. In my project management style I do not have any comfortable position, I change depending on the situation, people in my team, requirements, deadlines and phases of the project.
I feel good when people know what to do and do it with only minimal input from my side. I do not hesitate to jump in to help solve difficult problems. I can make technical decisions when needed while at the same time I try to have dedicated experienced technical leads make such decisions. I will conduct testing myself if we are short on testers but also to better understand the solution we develop.
The session took about 90 minutes to complete, but honestly it felt as if it were only 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the participants were quite surprised when it ended. It was not the end of the event though, we all went to chat and do some networking during the follow-up Apero.
If you think that a project manager’s place is not always in the front but sometimes in another position, and would like to have more information about the topic I encourage you to read the following material here (dimensional leadership, PDF) and here (book recommendation) and check our event announcements. It is possible that we will have something on this topic again sometime this year.
If you think that you or your team might need some coaching I encourage you to contact Julia, Norun and Gail
Big thanks to the Zurich event team for organizing this great event.
Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP
We have perhaps thought of what we want to be many times, but have we ever thought of how we are behaving? If we correlate “what we want to be” with “how we behave” we might learn that we actually behave exactly opposite of “what we want to be.”
This was the introductory message by the great achiever and tremendously successful lawyer, musician, sportsman, and speaker …. Mr. Matthias Berg
We define a goal, we see the stones laid on our path, but as we walk on this path arranged to reach our goal, the stones turn out to be white flowers! There will always be stones on our path, but converting them to flowers can only be accomplished through a successful mindset. That was exactly the topic from our keynote speaker at the AMM: Breaking Barriers for A Successful Mindset!
Coordination between “What we want to be” and “How we behave” is what we need to master to achieve a good mindset. Matthias took us through his tough life journey, accomplishing huge successes in his vocations and in his life breaking the biggest barrier of all – MINDSET
Walking through the five most important decisions for a successful mindset, he says to achieve our goals, the biggest barrier to overcome is from within. Let me walk-through the amazing story of this speaker who enlightened us with the unleashed power we have within us – our MINDSET
Matthias says the difference between “I have to” and “I want to” is the energy engaged to accomplish it. That energy will make us excellent in our work. The proof of that are his achievements, a total of 27 medals (11 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze), being one of the most successful disabled athletes in the world and still achieving more. He currently represents disabled sports in national and international committees.
It is not important to think where fate puts us, but what we create (positively) out of it. He studied music and law simultaneously and started playing the horn at the age of just 7 years old, which led to several stories under the “diversity and inclusion” topic. The way we see the world has an impact on our success. When we see the world in a positively different way, overcoming challenges can become much simpler, which bring about breakthroughs in our lives.
Most of us when we are in a tough situation question ourselves and ask “Why me?” Matthias proposes that we switch the question to “What for?” When we do this we can better train our minds to work to find our goals and know the reasons why we work for those goals.
At the end, we got to know the five important short decisions to boost our mindset:
The audience this evening was captivated by our great speaker’s energy and enthusiasm. He concluded the session through his great learnings and experiences stating “Our mindset is the precondition to success,” following OTC (optimism, thankfulness and cordiality) in every step of our life’s journey.
Author: Adi Muslic, PMP
Happy New Year!
You have heard it many times in the last couple of weeks and certainly you asked yourself what this year would be like.
This year will certainly be marked by the trade war, Brexit, EU-Swiss negotiations and many other events that we cannot even foresee. There will also be many factors in your surrounding environment that you will need to take into consideration when planning or delivering your projects. The awareness of the world around us is one of the skills we will need in 2019.
We can foresee with high certainty that the trend of changing business models will continue with larger use of AI and machine learning. The more we know the more we want to change. This also means that we will need to be in the front rows leading and promoting change. The earlier we start the earlier we get comfortable doing it. Attend PMI events to get inspired. Share your experiences and help others.
I wish you many very happy project moments in 2019.
Adi Muslic Copy Editor
Author: Irina Petkova, PMP
Another exciting year full of events has passed for all of us! I truly hope you enjoyed what we have offered you, learned many new skills and tips, created fruitful connections, and were excited and enthused each time to come back.
The statistics for 2018 show we have achieved our goal with at least 8 events per region and overall attendance of 1,250+ participants which is a 7% increase from the last year.
Thank you for trusting us and always motivating us to deliver better service to you.
Of course these achievements would not be possible without the diligent, daily efforts, and time and loyalty of the events regional teams led by Stefan Vesenmeier, Larisa Aragon and Gessami Sanchez Olle (Basel), Prasanth Nair and Aristeidis Matsokis (Zurich), Thijs Wijnands and Julia Ovcinnikov (Romandie).
Sincere gratitude to them and their teams for making our events’ experience in Switzerland memorable and unique.
We've also faced challenges, and to address them we need your support. To organize even greater events we need to combine our efforts in finding opportunities for more sponsorship to our events.
We will be happy to be guests at your work premises where you, your colleagues and other members can benefit from our professionalism to handle all small details before, during and after a great evening event is delivered to you.
Please reach out to any of the volunteers in the events team that you know to take this step further.
Thank you again and Happy New Year to you and your families.