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Event Report: Learn from the best – the way to Project Excellence

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez, PMP

 

On the 1st of December, Mr.Jürgen Ekert presented at the Hotel Victoria (Basel) the event "Learn from the best, the way to Project Excellence."

The room was full for the event, and few of the attendants knew that it was going to be a very interactive presentation.

Initially the attendants were asked to "Break the Ice" by meeting with another and sharing with them an experience they considered as a good achievement. This direct communication aims at bringing people together, to loosen up the atmosphere.

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This can also be blended with a session of Lessons Learned fom previous projects, which will help the project with the learnings captured in other projects by different teams.

Continuing, Mr. Ekert explained how generations differ in the learning process, which is important as training has to be adapted to the different processes, and for this, the department he manages, Project Office, has created several training processes.

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As a recommended practice, trainings should not be series of PowerPoint slides, but rather as interactive as possible, for this flipcharts are ideal, together with forming working groups so that they can apply the training with their day to day. The flipcharts can be prepared upfront with prints that can help the development of the workshops.

When starting the training workshop it is necessary that the goals are laid out, for this all trainess should indicate what do they want to do different? The so called"Future Perfect".

One interesting learning from Mr. Ekert's trainings is that he has realised that in most cases teams actually know how to solve a problem issue, but they still need someone from outside to guide them, someone who is neutral and can challenge the team, someone who knows how and when to ask the right questions and that at the same time facilitates the workshop.People need time for reflection which will even be deeper if different questions are asked. With this the participants find much better Solutions.

When asking questions, the facilitator has to make team face the hot topics, also recall the achievements done by the team.

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After that the targets for improvement have to be identified, for this the project team vote the points they think would improve most the results.

Now that the team has a clearer understanding on how to achieve the "Future Perfect", it is recommended to re-visit how they foresee this and give a clear definition to what this would look like and the requirements for such. First steps / action items need to be defined.

Finally, the training workshop does not end here, but should be reassesed at some point in the near future, indicating what will be the team's next steps, who will take care of what and when in time will the team reasses how far have they progressed towards the "Future Perfect".

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To ensure that each team member "takes something home", there are 2 questions that will help them to understand better how they have progressed during the workshop. "What will be different after the workshop?" and "What else?" with this second quesiton, the team is challenged further, helping them to deeper understand their progress and how to achieve it. The second question can be repeated multiple times.

Another question that helps people is "How would they recognize that a problem has been solved?" and "How would a colleague recognize this?"

My personal big thank you to Mr. Jürgen Ekert for sharing his experience both professional and personnal and for organizing it. Looking forward to participating at the next PMI event, I wish all the readers a happy and successful 2017.

Kind regards,

Carlos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Report : Managing Virtual Teams

What is the most important element in managing virtual teams?

How is communication different between physical and virtual teams?

Will we continue to manage virtual teams?

Some questions answered by the PMI-Switzerland chapter event "Managing Virtual teams" , which was hosted in IBM Zurich and presented by the CIO of Le Creuset A.G - Mr. Rafael Almoguera .

There is no better way to start a session on managing virtual teams than having virtual participants, our audience was located in 4 locations, Spain, Japan, UAE and ourselves in Switzerland. This provided a practical example of what the future of team management, training and overall business looked like.

First, Rafael introduced what is a virtual team and which companies have virtual teams - practically every one. He then introduced to the concept of 3T- Trust, Time and Technology.

Addressing the elephant in the room, Rafael then talked  about the key challenges faced by project managers while managing a virtual team, and as well the challenges faced by the team members in such a project.  With communication being one of the most important elements of a project, we learnt that for those who manage a Virual team and for those who are part of a virutal team, ability to communicate with out the use of Non verbal cues is important.

He then explained the characteristics of good teams and how those characteristics need enhancement when the team becomes virtual. He detailed the most important ingredient needed for building the best virtual team - Trust , he clarified how simple team building activities could improve the working relationship in virtual teams, for example he explained how things changed when his team flew for a team dinner activity of having a dinner together with the team physically once or twice a year can build such a high level of trust and comfort among the team.

we learnt to be able to succeed in managing a vritual team, we need to be able manage across cultures, use technology effectively, have a well understood process and most of all have Trust. Both those who manage and those who are being managed in a virtual team have the advantage of work life balance, diversity of perspectives, reduction in unnecessary travel -> inturn CO2 emissions , reduction in costs and increase job satisfaction.

With so much at stake, I understood from the session, virtual teams are to stay and more and more leaders are going manage their companies from their holiday homes .

Kind Regards,

Harish

H-Ramakrishnan 2

 

Event Report - 12th of May - Successful Agile Integration into Existing Methodologies

Agile implementation was started for small projects. Does it work also for big projects and structured large companies?

If yes, how can we integrate successfully Agile into existing methodologies and processes? Is it worth trying it?

These are the questions that Sascha Wyss, PMP, PMI-ACP, answered at the conference in Basel.

Sascha started with an example, based on his own experience.

A CRM solution implemented for a big concern over multiple countries in Asia. The project was rolled out in Agile and it worked! A tangible proof that Agile can work also in big companies.

Sasche examined then differences with traditional methodology - in particular Waterfall - and Agile, and key topics about implementing Agile successfully, including documentation, regulatory requirements and management approval.