Chapter Communications Blog

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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.

Elena Milusheva   Loic Hascher100x100
 
Authors: Elena Milusheva, PMP and Loïc Hascher, PMP, ACP
 
 
How to plan for "The beginning of the end"
 
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If you think that the Manhattan skyline is there to stay, you might not know that the design of a new skyscraper includes already the plan of its dismantling. The same should go for a system, although it rarely does. Ask those who try to read data archived 20 years ago in the then formats. System decommissioning is much more than unplugging and scrapping it. In fact, it requires as much solid planning, technical understanding and program management approach as the implementation project itself. Yet, the decommissioning projects rarely receive much Management attention. 
 
"Unfairly so," underscores James Greene - previous PMI Swiss chapter president and experienced project manager, who shared with us on 18 October in Basel the complexity of decommissioning projects. But the first question was the obvious: why should we decommission systems at all? Or isn’t that just a simple press on the “erase” button? 
 
Actually decommissioning projects are much more complex than that. James compared them with surgery. It really consists of taking something out of the organization and then letting the organization heal from the removal. And there are multiple reasons why you should undertake such a project, whether it is decommissioning an IT system, a merger with a new company, offshoring, etc...
 
By sharing his experience on the subject, James insisted that the analysis is the key phase. You need to understand the scope of what needs to be done as well as the requirements. Does my system have any interface with others? What is the data as an input and output of the system? What is the impacted infrastructure? And of course, as we all know, who are my stakeholders? 
 
Once this analysis is done, you have to document all of this in the system retirement plan, and while executing it, ensure that all dependencies are converging towards to same goal: being able to retire the system without impacting the daily business!
 
As a conclusion, most of us are involved with implementation projects, and only a very few with system decommissioning. But after this insightful presentation, we all realized that they can be fun too!

Julia Posselt

Author: Julia Posselt, PMP

Connect with your Leadership Superpower

A lovely Saturday morning in Bern. It’s our PMI Switzerland Volunteer Day 2018 where Elena and I surprised thirty-five of PMI Switzerland’s active volunteers with the benefit of diving into a one-day experiential workshop, earning PDUs for their recertification with PMI while at the same time stepping into their leadership authority

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Impressions of our lively day

Highly energized, we excitedly designed our group and leader alliances, explored multi-sensory experiences, took on different perspectives, learned about dynamic leadership, reflected individually as well as in dyads and groups, loved the circled seating, experienced the power of co-leading, dived into lots of experiential exercises and deepened our curiosity using lots of powerful questions. 

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The Multidimensional Leadership Model

We walked and explored the five different dimensions of the Leadership Model, discussing the five different ways to lead while finding body postures and gestures to deepen the essential findings of the Leader Within, Leader in Front, Leader Behind, Leader Beside, and Leader in the Field.

PMI vol day 2018p5Every leader can potentially operate from all five dimensions at different times, shifting from one to the otherdepending ontheir leadership style and the needs of the moment. At the center of the model lies Leader Within. Leading from Within allows you living your life with integrity according to your own internal compassandguided by your purpose and values. From here you choose which other dimensions to step into. Invited to an inner journey, the group went on a journey to new awareness, taking aha-moments as inspiration to spark actions in their voluntary work as well as their day-to-day work life.

Thank you for making our day so special…

Larisa Aragon who provided us with a central location at Uni Engehalde nearby Bern main station. 

Oli and his team from https://www.lunchbag.ch spoiled us with local tasty tidbits. 

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 And, last but not least, the Multidimensional Leadership Model and its gestures were demonstrated and facilitated by our fantastic four coaches: Gail Corbett-Smith, Lourdes Martins, Michael Bieder, and Norun Laahne Thomassen. 

Curious to experience the “Leadership Tai Chi” yourself? 

Then join us at the PMI Zurich Event in January 2019 (date and location will be announced early December). For organizing a workshop for teams in other regions please don’t hesitate to directly reach out to me, sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll be happy to forward this action… making connection key to inspiration. 

Your participation drives what we do. 

Julia Posselt 
 
Author: Julia Posselt, PMP
 
Dear Colleagues, 
 
As part of our PMI community, we have passion for our profession, growing and sharing the project management spirit.
 
The power of connection is why I love our PMI events.  
 
At the PMI Volunteer Day at the end of September, Elena and I greeted thirty-five of our volunteering colleagues, appreciating their desire to contribute with the opportunity to connect as a vibrant community, and exploring the multiple dimensions of leadership. 
 
Also, the PMI Master Class at the end of October was fully booked. Thanks to Dani and Fredy, project and program managers strengthened their charismatic presentation power while at the same time making new connections and deepening existing relationships. 
 
Planning the PM (Un)Conference 2019, we hope to engage the Program and Portfolio Managers among us in significant conversations about the impact of business agile on our profession: when to choose an agile, hybrid or classic approach? 
We'd be thrilled if you or somebody you know has a related story worth sharing. If so, please contact me at julia.posselt@pmi-switzerland.ch.
 
Looking forward to interesting sparks, developing practical solutions that will contribute to own our practice. 
 
Best, 
 
Julia 
VP Special Projects