Chapter Communications Blog

Elena Milusheva

Interview by Elena Milusheva, PMP

Interview With Paul Selwold - Current PMI Swiss Chapter President - From Newsletter Journalist to Chapter President - Development Paths for Volunteers

In order to strengthen their leadership pipeline, many companies focus on developing people on the job - by offering stretch assignments, rotation through different functions, assignments abroad, exposure to key customers and senior executives.

 Also within the PMI chapter, volunteers can take up leadership assignments which can help them prepare for top positions. The insights into the various aspects of an organization, the extended network of PM professionals, the ability to find a way out of the most impossible situations and leading without authority will - if they play their cards right - pave their way to the desired position. Over 30 volunteers seize such opportunities in Switzerland as Board of Director members, team leads or in an advisory capacity. 

 Why so many people desire top positions and why so few can reach team? Curious to hear about the stories behind the scene, I am approaching Paul Selwold - the current PMI Swiss chapter president: 

 

  • How does it feel to be the president of one of the biggest PMI chapters in Europe with 120+ volunteers, 1350+ PMP certification holders and 1600+ members? 
  • I feel really proud!  I say this, because I think we have a great chapter with a dedicated board of directors. Becoming the president of this chapter felt like something I wanted to do was able to be realized. What I mean is, in order to become president of this chapter, you must present yourself as a candidate for the role, and your candidacy must be voted on by the other board members. So, like with many big decisions, you risk rejection. I was really proud to stand in front of so many chapter members, at the AMM 2018, and announce the objectives of the 2018 Board of Directors. 
  • What is the way of becoming a PMI chapter president? 
  • First one has to have been on the board of directors (BOD), and to do this, one must first have been a committed volunteer of a PMI chapter. So the simple answer is: get involved as a volunteer and interact with the other members in some way!  becoming a BOD member is a democratic process: you must be elected by the members. You do not need to have been a director or team lead, but you do need to rely on membership recognition and confidence. Once on the BOD, you need to demonstrate your dedication and make sure you have good connection to the other board members.
  • Why have you decided to go down this path? 
  • Becoming first a director, and then a BOD member was a decision I made while engaging with other chapter members. It was clear that the chapter needed help, and someone in the chapter was asking me to "step up" to higher role.  However, the decision to run for President was a bit more mixed.  Mostly the motivation came from being able to attend the PMI LIM (Leadership Institute Meeting), which we support our BOD and Directors to attend.  the LIM really opens up your horizons: how many good people and good ideas are available to you, through PMI. Representing Switzerland at the LIM was a goal of mine.  But some readers may recall: I actually announced at the AMM 2017 that I was stepping down from volunteering (I was tired from my job!). However, I changed my mind when I realized how many new members of the BOD there was going to be, and I felt very strongly that I could help the next board, in the role of President. 
  • How does the cost-benefit calculation for being a president look like? 
  • It looks great! I encourage all people to allow themselves to consider this role, if they feel it is something they want to do. It looks great because it is not in any significant way more demanding that being a VP on the BOD. All positions I just named are significantly influenced by the engagement and enthusiasm of the volunteers who help out, and in this regard, being President is no different than being VP.
  • What is that what people do not know about the role of a chapter president? 
  • Probably people do not always keep in mind that this is a volunteer position like any other. The president role has a function in leading and decision-making, but it is not a hierarchical authority: I cannot reward or fire other BOD members.
  • What is your favourite experience as a chapter president? 
  • Maybe I answer this in terms of personal reward. With this BOD, I tried an approach called "Tiger Team" to allow the BOD to tackle chapter problems or to launch chapter initiatives using a method that I can describe as a controlled small brainstorm.  Not only did the BOD VPs give me positive feedback, but I also heard other participants from other chapters at the LIM reference that they heard about this, and were interested.  I felt like I made a significant contribution to how chapter volunteers can collaborate.
  • How much from the learnings from the chapter can be transferred to NGOs and companies from the private industry? 
  •  
  • Well, working with volunteers requires a strong set of soft skills, learning to lead without relying on formal authority. For sure this can be useful in NGO environments, where much of the workforce may be volunteer-based. Soft skills are anyway becoming more and more valuable in the workplace, and chapter engagement definitely lets a person develop these.

If you are willing to experience first-hand what it is like to be a volunteer, check out our vacancies here https://pmi-switzerland.ch/index.php/become-a-volunteer?limit=all

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Author: Carlos Martinez Arteaga, PMP

Dear Members and Newsletter subscribers,

Project battles - none of us want them, as they require effort to deal with, effort that we know could be used doing something else.

It is complicated to deal with someone who has, for some reason, a tendency to enjoy entering into conflict for no apparent reason. I recommend dealing with this sooner rather than later as ignoring the problem will only lead to one that can not be managed anymore. It is good to enter into discussion when the objective is to find a solution, but it can be very tough to enter into discussion knowing that there will be no agreement. If we foucs on finding a solution and avoid side distractions, a discussion can turn into a success.

PMI gives recommendations or methods for resolving conflict. In the end the objective is to find a solution. And even if it's not the best for all involved parties, it should be a solution nonetheless.

I have been in situations where I was faced with people that, due to their position in an organization, had the understanding that they could impose their ideas. Such cases are not easy, as we have to determine whether it is even worth entering the conflict. Here is where the idea comes into play that some battles have to be fought and others not. We need to evaluate which ones we should fight (and know that we are going to win) and which not.

It takes practice to know which battles have to be directly addressed and which not, but the thinking that goes behind deciding which battles we want to enter into becomes more agile as we exercise the decision making whenever this happens.

Anyways, I leave it there for you to decide what to do.

 

Cheers,

Carlos

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Authors: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

The "Take Part!" event in Geneva that took place on 27 September 2018 was an insider event on what you can do as a PMI Switzerland Chapter member, and learning how others contribute towards and benefit from the institute. These presentations featured an introduction from Jan Cardol, CEO of the PMI Netherlands Chapter, who joined us for this occasion to tell us what has been achieved in the Netherlands, mainly working together with industry and academia.

Some highlights of the presentation in a nutshell:

When classified by industry, 70% of chapter members are in delivery services. One could classify them as "enabling industry" (like ICT service providers) or "creating industry" (delivering products to creators and market). Sponsoring is paying more attention to the creating industry.

By combining industry and academia, we bring scientific research toegether with practice (pragmatic approaches).

Strong links have been developed and maintained over the years by your chapter volunteers, leaders and colleagues, neighboring chapters, PMI mentors, the EMEA Center in Brussels, communities of practice, the PMI Global Board of Directors and many expert practitioners.

 

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The PMI Netherlands Chapter was historically sponsored by those with a strong enabler focus (construction and engireering environments).

The Project Manager 2020 is a set of opinions on the future of project management by the executive circle of the PMI-NL Chapter (BIG10) called “How do we view the project manager of 2020?”. Project complexity has increased with time, and there is a move away from the triple constraints of time, scope and cost towards the more expanded constraints of risk, reputation, quality, and value brought to an organization.

There are two new roles that appear on the triangle over the classic "time-costs-scope" triangle, namely the product manager and the architect. There is more than one PM required on the projects, at least one per competence.

The project manager, product manager and architect are the three pilars of high performing organizations, but this setup needs to be adapted with the company culture, the personal skills, business & leadership and technical competences.

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On creating alliances with academia, the main focus is on being more loosely coupled with certifications.

To the question "Could we transfer project manager skills across industries?", the product is just different. A project manager that can do that is defined as an organisational PM and has some specialists that deal with the content and technical topics.

Do not forget the power of diversity. When all people share the same mentality, there is no room to give a different view on problems.

 

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On the question about self-organizing companies, the presenter said "you know... all animals are equal, but some animals are more equals than others."

At the end we enjoyed a brief presentation of the Sponsorship Team by Manju, with details on the sponsoring cycle, the pricing, the team and the great sponsors' satisfaction index (renewal is at 99%). Do you want to become a volunteer and have great sales skills? Sponsoring is the place to be!

Finally, Yann gave an introduction of the Swiss Corporate Network Group (SCNG) and the Volunteers Team.

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The main goal of the group is to share excellence in project management form the past 15 years. And for the volunteers it is about giving the most precious asset we have: TIME!

 

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 The event was closed by the Social Good 2018, the PMIEF introduction and the e-Newsletter by Agatha.

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Authors: Daniel Rodellar, PMP, Publications Director, and David Fowler, PMP, VP Communications

Indeed, there were 300 hits on the three options (Green, Amber and Red) that gives a very high rate given the number of views and distribution emails. Thank you very much to all of you for your participation!

The results are essentially one third on each category. We are analyzing the comments given and trying to adapt our Newsletter delivery to fit better the expected quality and formats by our readers.

We have several options open to make changes and aim for a better experience. If we examine the results we see that one third of the feedback is unhappy with the current Newsletter and they would like us to change it. That's very important feedback for us. We put a lot of effort in to deliver a valuable newsletter to your inbox every month, gathering content, organizing ourselves and creating this customized email. If the readers are not happy with the content or the format, we need to improve to satisfy these expectations, otherwise our efforts are not justified.

At the same time, two thirds of the feedback are happy with the current newsletter. Half of them would like to do some changes, and the other half is fully satisfied! It was a great positive feedback, as we mainly hear the negative feedback of those who are not happy. This was the first time we could put things into context, going away from personal preferences to a readership-wide view.

Even if the results are mainly positive, we take the opportunity to see what could be improved. We target to make this request for feedback again and see how we expand the positive feedback statistics.

There are two ways YOU can help us improve both format and content of the newsletter: send us your article proposal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or get it touch with a subject that you would like to write about (related to Project Management, of course!). And you can also send us sugestions of what we could improve or do differently, we do not need to wait until the next feedback check!

Again, thank you so much for all this feedback, it means to us you care about the newsletter, and it makes our effort worth the time spent!

Much appreciated,

the Newsletter Team.

 

 

Author: Adi Muslic, PMP

Dear all,

September, to me, is always about new projects. In many organizations, the budget for next year is discussed and in others, the budget that was agreed in June is being now turned into new projects.

This is also the time when project managers should be very active in sharing their view and insights on how these new projects should be set up and run. This aspect of the business analysis is often ignored and project managers are just simply assigned to projects without a deeper understanding of the environment or required resources and with an estimated project budget. Project managers may even find themselves looking for the project sponsors in the organizations with weak project management governance.

It is a big challenge to meet business expectations of delivering on agreed business objectives in terms of cost or time without committed resources and motivated stakeholders.

This can be mitigated if project managers are consulted in the initiation phase as they can, using their experience, highlight potential risks, help in establishing realistic business targets, engage stakeholders and influence business decisions.

Early engagement in future projects is often the key to their success.

 

I hope you will like the newsletter and sign up for one of the Chapter’s events.

Best regards,

Adi Muslic

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