PMI® Switzerland Chapter

Social Good - Articles

10th annual WFUNA Human Rights Youth Program

Author: Enrico Bornisacci, PMP

Enrico Bornisacci 100x100

After a one year break due to pandemic issues, the PMI Switzerland Chapter for Social Good team supported for the second time the World Federation of Associations and took part in WFUNA’s 10th Human Rights Youth Program.

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations (UNAs) and their thousands of constituents.

WFUNA works to strengthen and improve the United Nations, through the engagement of people who share a global mindset and support international cooperation.

During 4 online sessions held between September and October 2021, our instructors (Benoîte Grisouard, Enrico Bornisacci, Johann Boucavel and Ka Yi Hui) coached students from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, introducing project management fundamentals aimed to implement a small-scale project in their country or communities.

Each participant submitted a project proposal, and the Social Good team assisted them in transforming their ideas in real life projects and in preparing the documentations required by WFUNA. Themes discussed ranged from human rights, education, hate speech, LGBTQ+ communities and refugees.

WFUNA_webpage_PMIEF_-_Benoîte_Grisouard.jpg

Together with theoretical explanations on Project Management methodology, PMIEF offered practical exercises especially tailored to the specific needs of the class.

The Social Good team offered support in analyzing and translating each single project into official proposal, which includes project goals, analysis, methodology and activities, to be implemented under the supervision of WFUNA.

The ideas proposed by students were great and their enthusiasm and vision for a better future for humankind inspiring. In such situations, volunteering can give back much more than expected.

SDG_Guidelines_AUG_2019_Final_-_Benoîte_Grisouard.png

Event report on the 3-part project management workshop series in collaboration with Girls in Tech Switzerland 

Author: Ka Yi Hui, PMP

Ka Yi Hui 100x100

In September 2021, the Social Good team (Benoîte Grisouard, PhD, PMP, Enrico Bornisacci, PMP, Johana Ten Hove, PMP, Saul Figueroa, PMP) in collaboration with Girls in Tech Switzerland held a 3-part series of workshops. This project aims to 1) introduce project management concepts in the Girls in Tech community, and 2) raise the awareness of gender equality in Switzerland within our project management professional community. 

 

Before we started each workshop, the event co-organizers from Girls in Tech, Anne-Sophie Scharff and Laura Bourne-branchu, talked about the gender equality situation in the tech sector in Switzerland. These numbers showed we still have a long way to go, but the first step is to recognize and understand the problem and then take action to improve it.

During the first workshop, Benoîte led the presentation on Project Management fundamentals. The participants learned the project management vocabularies, worked on hands-on exercises such as a project charter and a work breakdown structure in breakout rooms using miro boards. Specially, they focused on a real-life example, organizing a wedding celebration. At the end of the workshop, Benoîte was very impressed by our participants' plan and would love to be invited to some of those wedding celebrations!

"Change is the only constant in life.", nobody can predict the future. Enrico led the second workshop, which discussed risk and change management. Following up with the wedding planning, we worked together with the participants to analyze risk and make the risk management plan accordingly. After the workshop, no matter if it's new COVID restrictions or a rainy day, the wedding celebration was well prepared for any risk that may come up!

 

Last but not least, in the third workshop, I talked about communication, leadership, and stakeholder management. One cannot learn to ride a bike by reading books. That's why I designed a few active listening exercises for the participants to practice with each other. We created a safe space by not recording the session and set a few ground rules. The participants and the event organizers openly shared their thoughts and attentively listened to each other. After the workshop, we were delighted that some participants said they would use and practice what they learned in their everyday lives. 

 

In summary, it is a fruitful exchange with Girls in Tech Switzerland! And we are excited to have more different collaborations in the future.  

Learn more about the PMI “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” initiative 

https://www.pmi.org/membership/volunteer/pmimpact/diversity-equity-and-inclusion

 

GirlsInTech Global

https://girlsintech.org

 

Follow GirlsInTech Switzerland on their social media:

https://switzerland.girlsintech.org

https://www.linkedin.com/company/girls-in-tech-switzerland/

https://www.instagram.com/girlsintechswitzerland/

Social Good Project: “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion”- How you can contribute, an interview with Anne-Sophie Scharff, the Chief Happiness Officer of Girls in Tech Switzerland

Author: Ka Yi Hui, PMP

Ka Yi Hui 100x100

The Global PMI recently launched a new social good initiative, “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion”. The mission of this initiative is to foster a global work culture that celebrates individuals with diverse backgrounds, such as race, gender, and age. In alignment with this initiative, the PMI Switzerland Social good team collaborates with local non-profit organizations and communities that share the same mission. We would like to 1) showcase their work with our PMI community to raise awareness and 2) promote project management education to that organization and their community. 

We are happy to announce our first collaboration of this kind with Girls in Tech Switzerland. In September, we will hold a series of workshops to help students and young professionals take their project management skills to the next level. 

In this article, we are excited to interview Anne-Sophie Scharff, the Chief Happiness Officer of GirlsInTech Switzerland. She will share her journey working with GirlsInTech. We hope it will inspire you to dig deeper into this topic and take action in supporting gender equity.

Girls in Tech is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 aiming to eliminate the gender gap in the tech industry. There are more than 60,000 members in 50+ chapters around the world. The Switzerland chapter was founded in 2016 with over 1’100 members. Its mission is to build a diverse and inclusive community by empowering women across industries and inspiring women through learning and networking opportunities. 

“Hey, I would love to get involved” - the journey begins.

Anne-Sophie Scharff is originally from Belgium and started her career in the fashion industry. It has been 4 years since she moved to Geneva, Switzerland. Professionally, she is the Social Media Practice Lead at Digital Luxury Group, a digital marketing agency active in the luxury industry. In her spare time, she works on a project called The Independent Brand Guide to support independent fashion brands to shift the consumption habits in the fashion industry.

The story begins in early 2020; after settling down a bit in the Swiss work life, she was keen to join some local community and connect with like-minded people. It is a bit of serendipity; she came across the Instagram account of the GirlsInTech Switzerland chapter. Anne-Sophie, being passionate about gender equity, was immediately impressed. So, with her direct message to the team in GiT, “ Hey, I would love to get involved in your organisation,” she started her journey with GiT. She first started as an event manager and then joined the board as the Chief Happiness Officer and head of events. 

“I have no idea how tall you are” - making the virtual team works!

As the name “Chief Happiness Officer” suggests, she is responsible for the GiT team’s happiness, a team of 13 women across Zurich and Geneva. “I make sure the team has everything they need to do the job properly, and also they are happy to be part of the organization because we are non-profit, so it’s really important people enjoy working within the organization.” 

Under the current pandemic situation, the one question lingering in the board’s mind was, “Would it work if we completely rely on working virtually? There will be new team members, and we haven’t even met each other in person!” Last summer, the new GirlsInTech team spent a weekend together in a 2-day online team-building event. Before kicking off a year’s events, the team members got a chance to get to know each other via games and breakout room sessions. “It’s very important that each member’s voice is being heard.” They brainstormed, aligned with the vision of the board, and planned the events for the year. “It’s really impressive that it worked out very well even if we’ve never met each other in-person. I was amazed after spending 2 days online, everyone still had a lot of energy, enthusiasm. We laughed and had a lot of fun. I think it’s because we are a group of passionate women who want to work together to achieve something bigger than ourselves.”

Finally, in July 2021 the Girls in Tech team has a chance to meet each other in-person in Fribourg

One objective, different ways

GirlsInTech Switzerland promotes its mission with events, blog and social media content. They offer events and workshops related to tech and career at least once per month, for example, building a personal online CV, customer service chatbot, using the design thinking framework for personal goals. They also have advanced topics such as women in the startup world. In June, they invited several role models locally to share the challenges and opportunities women face in the startup world. Usually, they also organize networking events; however, that’s happening less right now due to the pandemic restrictions. “It’s really fulfilling and rewarding to see how useful the events are for our community and the value they create. For example, we had an event on cryptocurrency in April and afterwards we received a message from a participant thanking us for giving her the opportunity to learn about this very critical skill.” As their events are always relevant and appeal to everyone, not just women, they often get asked whether men can join their events. The answer is Yes; they always welcome men to be a part of the conversation.

Another big part of GiT’s work is to raise awareness through social media and blog content. There are three main blog series. The “Women who inspire us” series shares interviews with women leaders in the field. The “Decoding tech” series explains and introduces concepts in the tech industry. The “Her story” series features their members where they can tell their life stories, career paths with the community. Anne-Sophie recalled a memorable post from one of the members, Taisha who shared her story about imposter syndrome which resonated very well within the community. At the beginning of the pandemic, they also curated a series on lockdown resources.

“no action is too small”

Finally, Anne-Sophie shares how you can engage in gender equality. “If you have the time and energy, I encourage everyone to volunteer with an organization that resonates with your values and passion. It’s an amazing experience to meet and connect with like-minded people. No one is too small to help change the status quo, and no action is too small. We can do many things for gender equality and diversity to promote female empowerment; whether you are a man or a woman, you can always question the standard practices where you work in your social environment. You can also encourage people to speak up when they are not doing so in meetings. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting with your career, we can all contribute by mentoring other women, help them, give them advice; no matter your age, experience, or background, we all have some knowledge and experience to share with others, support one another and enabling the community to do the same.”

 

Learn more about the PMI “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” initiative 
https://www.pmi.org/membership/volunteer/pmimpact/diversity-equity-and-inclusion

Join our upcoming project management workshop!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/take-your-project-management-skills-to-the-next-level-tickets-165393254677

GirlsInTech Global
https://girlsintech.org

Follow GirlsInTech Switzerland on their social media:
https://switzerland.girlsintech.org

https://www.linkedin.com/company/girls-in-tech-switzerland/

https://www.instagram.com/girlsintechswitzerland/

Social good event report: The Night of Project Management

Authors:

Carl Johann Boucavel, PMP

Ka Yi Hui, Ph.D., PMP

Prasanth K.Nair, PMP

Sabina Tatur, Ph.D., PMP

 

On the 5th November 2020, the team lead by Johann collaborated with the University of Zurich, Life Science Zurich Young Scientists Network (LSZYSN) held an online Social good event called Night of the Project Management. Life Science Zurich Young Scientists Network (LSZYSN) is a non-profit organization run by graduate students & post-docs of the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich. They aim to bridge the gap between academics and industry. Through this event, we strengthen the student’s knowledge in project management through case studies. This event is different from other previous social good events. Last year we held a PM workshop for the same organization. This year, instead of just being the participants, the students involved heavily in the event’s organization right from the beginning.

We focused on five different topics, risk management, time management, stakeholder management, communications, and quality management. In each breakout room, a PMI volunteer acted as the topic expert to guide the discussion and case study. During the event, the students rotated around different breakout rooms to discuss in-depth these topics.

 

Risk Management

In the Risk management room, Ka Yi has explained the best practices in planning risk management, including identifying risk, assessing risk, and action plan.

We also clarified some of the keywords and concepts. For example, when talking about risk, some students may think about the “risk” in investing. We also explored the “positive risk”, what opportunity we can find in adverse events, like COVID-19.

The most obvious one would be turning an in-person event into an online event that opened new doors to reach more audiences. In fact, at this event, all the PMI volunteers came from different parts of Switzerland, so there’s always a bright side.

 

Communication Management

 In the Communication management room, Prasanth explained the best practices in Communication Management.

 With the starting message that a PM spends almost 90% of the time in project communication, the importance of this knowledge area in Project Management was underlined to the participants.[b]

 Right from the beginning, Prasanth emphasized that typically Project Managers spend more than 90% of their time in communications. The message is clear to the students; Communication Management is one of the most important knowledge areas that can make or break a project.

 The discussion started with the communication channels and the formula and then went deeper into the knowledge area, focusing on its three key aspects – Planning, Managing and Monitoring.

 Identifying the Project stakeholders and using the Power-Interest grid to map them were well received by the students.

 Carefully preparing the contents, selecting the apt delivery mode, identifying the right timing, and focusing on the right target group is the successful recipe for effective communications.

 The groups further engaged in a healthy discussion around the topic, and Prasanth answered various questions that came along during the sessions.

 


Stakeholder Management

In the Stakeholder management room, Sabina has facilitated the discussions about identifying a stakeholder and positioning the stakeholder in the power-interest grid.

The group defined the meaning of "interest" as the project's benefit to a stakeholder and "power" as the magnitude of a stakeholder's influence in a project. We also determined that "interest" in a project can be positive or negative and that "power" can originate from the availability of resources, such as money, the position the stakeholder holds, and the capability to influence and motivate people.

Finally, we discovered that stakeholder management is a dynamic process that requires a regular revisit of the power-interest grid to update any changes in organizing, monitoring, and improving the project manager's relationship with the stakeholder.

 

Quality Management

In the Quality management room, Johann has explained the best practices on the seven quality tools and how the students can use these tools throughout a project.

 

During our sessions, the students voted Pareto Diagram and the Control Chart as their favorites. Also, a very interesting combination came into gear when the students were able to start with a Histogram to gather all the ideas of brainstorming. Then take the most relevant one and then imagine a solution by developing a Process Flow Diagram. Finally, breakdown each process within the process flow chart into a check sheet.

All the five teams which joined our meeting room were engaging; they kept Johann on his toes with all their questions. It was a tremendous opportunity for PMI to reach out to non-PMI members and give a glimpse of what project management is all about.

Testimonial from the participants:

The workshop was absolutely interesting! I appreciated very much that the coaches were so open and took the time to explain the concepts and how they applied to us. I find that in general, project management is not something that we learn even though we are scientists and we are heavily interested in the industry. Thank you for enlightening us!