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The Switzerland Chapter’s “best kept secret” – the Swiss Corporate Networking Group

Author: Martin Härri, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP, DASSM 

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The main target audience of PMI and the PMI Switzerland Chapter has always been project practitioners. There are also activities for academia, schools and social good organizations, but companies have never been a main target audience of our activities, apart from the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3), which died a quiet death some years ago.

On a global level, PMI maintains the Global Executive Council (GEC), which is composed of about 90 elite organizations, and advises PMI on its strategy. The GEC was also the inspiration for creating the PMI Swiss Corporate Networking Group (SCNG) in 2009. Here, the members are not project practitioners, but managers in charge of project management in their organizations, i.e. head of PMO, head of portfolio management, head of project community, etc. The kickoff was in January 2010 at the prestigious Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue near Zurich, with about a dozen participants, and since then the group has grown to 20 companies plus one university and has held more than 30 meetings all over Switzerland.

These meetings take a full day and are hosted in turn by one of the members. The topics are very different from those of a Chapter event: they focus much more on organization than on practitioner level. So, the presentations and discussions are about governance, benefits management, portfolio management, etc. Even during Covid times, the meetings continued online with the same level of engagement and participation.

Synergies between the Chapter and the SCNG however have been rather limited over the years; organizations and practitioners really seemed to be living in “separate worlds”. But finally, for the organization of the PMI Switzerland Conference, this network proved to be a huge benefit: half of the speakers are from SCNG members.

Very few other chapters have something like the SCNG. In fact, the PMI Germany Chapter is very interested in setting up a similar structure, and the model has been shared with several other European Chapters.

For more information about the PMI SCNG, please check out this new page on the Chapter website.

Martin Härri, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP, DASSM

Retrospective of the Basel event Agility: What's really behind the buzzword?

Author: Florian Puschmann, PMP

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After attending virtual events for more than a year, I was very excited when I saw the invitation to the in-person event held 31 August in Basel.

Agile - and how to make it work in different company environments, certainly relates to many project management professionals. One pain point was addressed straight at the beginning with a fitting Dilbert comic; Agile has become a hip business buzzword, but typically, not everyone involved is aware of its philosophy and methodology.

Presenters Anna Nestorova, PhD, PMP and Steffen Keller, PMP have hands-on experience at LIVEsciences AG, which focuses on helping organizations define if - and where, agile methodology implementation makes sense, followed by aiding its implementation in a tailored fashion.

Everyone very much enjoyed the interaction that followed:

  • Where does Agile make sense on the Cynefin framework background that segments the work environment in clear, complicated, complex, chaotic, and confused areas?
  • What does it take to build an environment that enables people to work at the intersection of autonomy, mastery, and purpose to tackle the "impossible" through intrinsically driven teams?
  • What's the difference between "doing" (method) and "being" (mindset) agile?

The challenges of such self-organizing organizations were then further put in perspective with two case studies:

  • Semco Partners – where a self-organized company was built in Brazil under the "leadership" of Ricardo Semler even long before the Agile Manifesto was born
  • Burtzoorg – A low-cost, high profitability home nurse service that is organized through fully independent self-organized teams of nurses

Overall, I deeply enjoyed the content of this event and the vivid discussion and human connection that I was craving after the prolonged period of virtual events only. 

The best part was still to come though: A very enjoyable late summer apero with all participants! The apero was so much fun that I missed two train connections until I finally made it back to Zurich rather late. The only regret I had was not having stayed even longer.

Florian Puschmann, PhD, PMP

BS in person event 31 08 21

Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter October 2021

Author: Philip Springuel, PMP

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Once again, your newsletter is full of helpful articles, event information and much to convince you to be involved, contribute and volunteer with your PMI Switzerland Chapter.

Claudia Rassalski, the Chapter's VP Finance, shares valuable advice to remind us of the critical importance of Project Status Reports. We’re also delighted to bring you an update from past President Martin Härri about our Chapter’s Swiss Corporate Networking Group.

With two articles this month we offer a focus on Open Spaces, PMI Switzerland’s unique online knowledge sharing platform, highly valued by participants for its innovative format for answering key questions collectively. With in person meetings now also reappearing on our schedules, this month’s newsletter offers a retrospective for a groundbreaking Basel event on the subject of Agility.

Don’t miss six profiles of new members, and if you always wanted to write an article in our Newsletter, read our call for submissions that opens the door with guidelines and suggestions.

Enjoy your October Newsletter and don’t forget to connect with your peers on our PMI Switzerland social media channels to keep up with all of our highlights about the Chapter.

Philip Springuel, PMP

PMI Switzerland Copy Editor

Retrospective for Open Space 7 and invitation to Open Space 8

Author: Leandro Benda, PMP

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On Tuesday 17 August 2021, our 7th PMI Switzerland Open Space took place on Zoom. In Open Spaces, each participant is able to freely ask questions and/or share his or her expertise and opinion.

The topic of this online event was "Planning for success in Agile delivery". The topic was presented with great talent by our volunteer Pia Henzelmann. On this occasion, 20 project managers joined from different sectors such as banking, food processing, IT consulting and more.

Different "virtual rooms" of 10 minutes each were created during the event in order to have various exchanges on themes of the participants’ choice. These virtual rooms were each managed by a facilitator to encourage engagement and ensure the best experience for everyone.

The questions selected for discussion on this broader topic announced for this Open Space included:

  1. How to introduce Agile planning even if the company methodology essentially expects waterfall?
  2. How to deal with small local initiatives, how to prioritize them?
  3. How to respect project budgets in Agile?

Each participant was able to freely ask questions and share his or her expertise and opinion and interesting answers were provided on these topics.

We invite you all to register to our next Open Space which will take place online via Zoom on Tuesday, November 9th on the theme "PMBOK 7 Initiation". You will have the opportunity to share and learn more on the numerous and important changes that this new edition proposes.

All our events can be consulted via the PMI Switzerland events page.

Leandro Benda, PMP

Open Spaces offer free knowledge sharing about infinite questions

Open Spaces offer free knowledge sharing about infinite questions

Author: Marco Chiletti, PMP

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In 2020, the PMI Switzerland Chapter launched a new series of virtual events called ‘Open Spaces’ with the aim to connect Project Managers and allow them to share their knowledge and experience around Project Management.

‘Planning for success in Agile delivery’, ‘Stakeholder and Team management’, ‘Conversation around the theme of Project Management tools’ are just a few of the Open Spaces topics that took place to date.

After having joined a number of Open Spaces, I am happy to share my experience hoping you can find valuable insights and maybe inspiring you to join the next Open Space. If so, we are certainly going to meet there.

Open Space is a virtual, safe and non-recorded event that takes place on Zoom, where project managers connect and discuss a topic shared beforehand.  The main principles of the event are:

  1. Whoever come are the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. Whenever the given discussion starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over, and
  5. If any participant finds themselves in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they can go to another breakout room

At the beginning of Open Space, every participant introduces him/herself - a wonderful and easy way to break the ice.

Shortly after introductions, every participant can pose questions to which he or she is looking for answers. Of course, these questions revolve around the main topic of the event. After questions are listed,, the moderator opens the first 3 breakout rooms with the first 3 questions. The breakout rooms last around 10 minutes and each participant is free to join the room he or she desires

Here is where the magic happens!

In each breakout room an open discussion starts, to help find the best answer to the question of the room. Each professional shares experience, ideas and possible solutions to solve the issue or to give hints which will ultimately be helpful to find the answer to the question. 

It’s a collaborative and enriching experience for both speakers and participants. You find people with diverse backgrounds, from a variety of industries, who implement different project management methodologies, each with their own style.

It’s the right environment to get to know each other and to work together towards a common goal. Here you can start professional relationships, network or even make new friends.

After the time of the first 3 breakout rooms expires, 3 new breakout rooms with next questions from the list are opened. This process is repeated until all questions are properly explored.

As you can imagine, the number of topics and questions that can be covered are infinite. And the more participants there are, the more enriching the experience is.

If you joined PMI Switzerland Chapter to network and to know more about how other Project Managers work and face challenges, you definitely need to join Open Spaces!

Open Spaces take place on a bi-monthly basis and are announced on the PMI Switzerland Chapter webpage, via Social Networks, and via email as event notification to the ones who subscribe to the Event notification email list. Open Spaces are free to join for all PMI Switzerland Chapter members and are eligible to issue PDUs for the renewal of PMP and other PMI Certifications. The organisers of Open Spaces also warmly encourage people from outside the chapter to participate, as diversity only benefits the experience.

About me: 6+ years of project management experience in organizational improvement and development of industrial projects to enlarge company sites throughout different geographies. Emotional intelligence to understand and lead others, Customer-focus, Accountability, Respect and Curiosity are the principles that guide my action.

Marco Chiletti, PMP