Chapter Communications Blog

Author: Mark Veraguth

Dear Friends,

As VP of Special Projects, I am excited to speak about our second Master Class of 2017 on “negotiation”.

On this full day course, you will learn how to negotiate with your customers, service providers, stakeholders, managers and project team members as well with your personal business partner”. More information can be found at

Project managers need to be flexible in this fast-changing environment. The PMI Switzerland Chapter organises magnificent events with diverse topics that help you not only in your daily business life, but also in your private life.

For the new members, this is also a fantastic opportunity to meet people from similar fields and share ideas via our social events: PM lunch and events.

Looking forward to meeting you at our next PMI events.

Best regards,


Mark Veraguth

VP Special projects

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez - PMP


Event Report “Knowledge Management- a core competency”

On Thursday 28th of September, PMI Switzerland brought to Basel, a great event, presented by Etzard Stolte from Roche. Etzard joined Roche a little over 2 years ago and is Global Head Knowledge Management at Roche Pharma Technical Development. I must say that Etzard was a great speaker and gave a good understanding on the Roche journey to deal with all the knowledge been generated by its workers.

There was a reflection made regarding the investment made by Pharma companies in R&D which needs to be mentioned, and that is that this investment can also be considered as an investment in knowledge, which needs to be correctly used and transmitted.

The amount of information generated today by any type of organization is quite considerable, without taking into consideration if it is all worth sharing or not, to handle this Roche invested in creating its own set of tools for storing and also to later make it available within the organization.

What to do to make the most of all this knowledge?

Well, through Knowledge Management and by increasing the communication and collaboration within the organization it can be possible to make a systematic exchange of knowledge. Afterwards, Knowledge Management should embed the processes in the organization by connecting people with people and then to the content. Finally there has to be systems, which will help to retain and grow the organizational knowledge.

Explained here this may seem simple, but it is not, for this Etzard presented what he and his team have been working for the last couple of years, and showed some of the initiatives, such as a single document management process across the organization, that is enabled by traditional semantic tools as well as state of the art AI tools.

According to Etzard, there are 2 types of knowledge within and organization:

·         Structure documents: SharePoint, Document Sharing

·         Un-structured documents: fileshares, g-drive

Then these can either be numerical or text data.

A Single Integration Platform was developed, with semantics and focus on quality of the data, also a search engine was developed within the organization (SmartSearch), as it was identified that if the common search engines where to be used then the data would also be available outside of the organization, as everything these engines search for is also read by these, and therefore is then available outside the organization.

Also there were other tools developed to support the knowledge sharing these were to cover the areas of: 

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Processes

  • Systems

 The path is not easy, and this at Roche is still on the way on its final 3rd, this can be broken into 3 major yearly steps.

 1st. Develop the processes and integrate them within the closest organization

 2nd. Migration of the all the organizational knowledge to the developed Platform following the processes

 3rd. Complete organizational integration.

 Roche solved the problem regarding how the information should be stored by creating a standard folder structure for each product they own. This came as a result of gathering all folder structures from the different departments and scrutinizing which folders were required and which not and at the same time if these were relevant to all departments. The task was not easy, as each department had its very own folder structure, but was totally necessary in order a storing process could be developed, that could serve the complete organization. Later, another greater effort was needed, which was to implement the standard folder structure and to ensure that this was followed.

 When users are storing their files, for them it seems that all folders are available in the same place, so called EasyDrive, but this is not the case, given restrictions with access rights and confidentiality levels.

 In the background folders are held in different systems, also to facilitate the operation of all other tools that Roche has created to facilitate Knowledge sharing and search (e.g. TubeMaps, for document finding)

 Finally if a user cannot find a document, Roche created a tool called UberMinds, which helps users get in contact with experts. This is possible by

 So far, as Etzard explained, the work has given very good results, with a great percentage of the organization making use of the tools that he and his team have developed.

 The access to the data was done based on the HR database, which structured the levels of confidentiality each user could access to, for this a re-structuring of the organizations levels was required.

Take away:

  • Data needs to be owned, it requires internal systems for this.
  • Facilitate knowledge so that this can be re-used

  • Centralize Information/Knowledge, for this if there are existing systems, keep them, but change the processes

  • Access to date should be fair and easy

  • For a better cross-cultural implementation of a process, hire as many people from as many different cultural backgrounds for this, as this will ease internally the process implementation.


Attached is the presentation. Part 1  Part 2 








Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Dear Members and Newsletter Subscribers,

The last quarter of the year is full of events that you can attend. PMI Switzerland has done a great effort to increase the number of these after a slow start to the year. Also these are available in several cities. You can see the list of current events here

As you might have realized, the days are getting shorter, and on the 29th of October we will have to adjust our clocks for day-light saving, 2am will become 3am. Then days will seem shorter even more, as technically there isn't less sunlight, it's just rearranged.

It is well proven that sunlight has a serious impact in our lives and the way we feel. I come from sunny southern Spain (Sevilla), with an average of more than 250 fully sunny days per year, and after coming to Switzerland I can personally tell you that a cloudy day has a direct effect in my mood and the way I feel.

With shorter days, and more hours of darkness, the body produces more melatonin, which induces humans to sleep, this could be an explanation for why we feel more lethargic when its dark.

In some countries it is advised a daily vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is naturally produced by our body when exposed to direct sunlight, therefore when there is less light and the body does not produce it naturally, obtaining it in a different way might be the solution. Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones. It’s also an important factor in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that our body can fight infections. Our body also uses it to manage the amount of calcium in our blood and bones and to help cells all over our body to communicate properly.

Finally, something quite serious is the so called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), for which people become anxious, have a lack of energy, easily get sleepy, loose interest in social life, have difficulties to concentrate, gain weight.... Sounds great!

So what can we do to avoid having less Vitamin D, to stop producing melatonin and to be more alive?

I suppose that many people that are used to living in Switzerland, or in countries where sunlight is dear, know very well what to do, therefore I have asked and here are some of the suggestions I got:

-Rearrange your schedule in a way that you can be as much as possible with real sunlight (E.g. go for a 10-15 min walk after lunch or wake up earlier to do so)

-Exercise, as we all know that exercise increases awareness, together with the levels of neurotransmitters, allowing the brain to better communicate with the body. It will also help us to be in shape!

-Eat healthy, there are several foods that are so called mood boosting foods (Pumpkin seeds, Cinnamon, Squash) that help decrease anxiety and depression.

I leave it there... 

Keep enjoying the last days of sunny weather and of course the newsletter.



Copy Editor

Be the first to know about upcoming PMI events!

PMI Switzerland has the pleasure to inform you that you can now be directly informed of upcoming PMI events in your area, as well as of National events!

For each location, 2 lists are available to you (obviously, you only need to subscribe to one list). After subscribing, you will be requested to confirm your email address.


1.- Be informed when the event is posted


2.- Be informed when the event is posted and get a reminder approximatively 2 weeks before the event


So make your choice to be informed for:

National events: 

  1. National Events
  2. National events + reminders



  1. Events in Basle
  2. Events in Basle + reminders



  1. Events in Romandie
  2. Events in Romandie + reminders



  1. Events in Zurich
  2. Events in Zurich + reminders


Select your favorite notifications and do not miss any event!

Serge Garazzi



Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

Event Report –Understand complexity and how to navigate it: playing the Cynefin playing cards 


On the 24th of August, Bernhard Sterchi presented at the Stücki Hotel in Basel “Understand Complexity. Playing the Cynefin Playing Cards”.

Bernhard is a Management and Leadership expert at As trainer, consultant and coach he has been working with family businesses, corporations and government organizations. For over 13 years he has been accompanying leaders from middle managers to CEOs and owners in essential transformations of their personal and institutional maturity.

To start, he put the example of avocados and how this fruit (yes, avocados are classified as a fruit) came from being an unknown to the world, to becoming and highly desired fruit, with a sudden increase demand that affected the supply chain in ways never seen before, along with environmental issues such as the amount of water required to grow this fruit. The complexity related to this “discovery” could have been approached using the Cynefin framework.

Cynefin enables managers to identify how they perceive situations, and to make sense of their own and other people's behaviour.

We as humans can solve very complex situations, but to become more effective in dealing with these we have to learn how to manage them, Cynefin, pronounced kun-EV-in, is a methodology developed by Dave Snowden in 1999, when he worked at IBM, that enables managers to identify how they perceive situations, and to make sense of their own and other people's behaviour.

Cynefin offers five contexts or "domains" of decision-making: complex, complicated, chaotic, obvious and disorder (the center).


The obvious domain represents the "known knowns". With tight constraints, no degree of freedom whatsoever and solved with best practices. Obvious problems are first sensed, the categorized and finally responded. You typically do that when you apply a standard solution to a standard problem.

The complicated domain consists of the "known unknowns". With governing constraints tightly coupled, and with good practice. Complicated subjects are first sensed, then analyzed and finally responded. This is typically done when a project includes analysis, concept, and implementation.

The complex domain represents the "unknown unknowns". With enabling constraints loosely coupled and with an emergent practice. In complex situations you have to start by probing, or experimenting, then sensing what works and what doesn’t and finally responded to by amplifying what works, and dampening what doesn’t, until you meet the next shift of pattern.

In the chaotic domain, cause and effect are unclear, here the events are too confusing to wait for a knowledge based response. These lack any constraint, are de-coupled and require a novel practice. In chaotic situations you are forced to act immediately, then you may sense how successful you are, and hopefully respond by improving your action.

The dark disorder domain in the center represents situations where there is no clarity about which of the other domains apply.

The presentation was set up as a workshop, to get the full flavor of what Cynefin really was all about.

The attendants were grouped in tables, with a set of cards and a dashboard to work with, the dashboard is called “Complexity Manager’s Compass”

As it is usual in the PMI events, the pace was fast, very fast, as the groups rallied to the set of cards, discussing within the groups the answers to later write down in the compass the agreed answer/s.

The cards took the attendants through questions about common and day to day situations.

The cards were grouped into chapters, starting very simple, and becoming more complex over time.

The first chapter was about exploring the difference between complex and ordered environments.

Then we moved to understanding the need to keep order within an industrial production context, and different ways to bridge the gap towards the customer’s expectations, which are most often complex.

From there, we started exploring different concepts with which to describe complex systems, some of which were little familiar to most of us. But since we did so discussing a situation which each of us could imagine, we were able to apply the concepts quickly.

Next, we explored the use of the Cynefin framework, and its application, in this case, to shopping experiences.

To conclude our learning journey, we explored several principles of how to behave in complex environments, and applied them to all the situations we had discussed in the previous chapters.

The key take ways from the workshop were:

-We cannot control everything and should focus on what is really important to solve.

-When dealing with complexity we should try to see the complete picture

-Solutions should be thought through

-Understand and verify pre-assumptions

I must say I really enjoyed the event, and I think most of the attendants did. I found it very eye opening, and would strongly recommend others to try it and to dig deeper into the application of this framework in solving complex situations.




Carlos Martinez