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The Basel Events Team: Join where Passion Meets Purpose!

The Basel Events Team: Join where Passion Meets Purpose!

Author: Lisa Gryzagoridis, PMP DASM Lisa Gryzagoridis

 

 

 

Are you ready to be part of something extraordinary? 

The PMI Basel Events Team is calling you, the enthusiastic, creative, and conscientious individual, to join our dynamic team of volunteers! As a part of our team, you'll have the unique opportunity to make lasting connections and memories, while delivering events, workshops, networking sessions, and enriching the project management community.

As a volunteer, you'll have the chance to meet like-minded people, expand your professional network, and develop new skills. You will gain invaluable experience in event planning, collaboration, and project management. 

Volunteering with the Basel Events Team is more than just a commitment; it's a journey filled with fun, learning, and growth. You’ll get the opportunity to meet, collaborate and socialise with individuals from a mosaic of various professional domains, boundless cultures, unique personalities, and individuals from all regions and walks of life. Just recently, a few of our volunteers enjoyed an evening of ‘Negotiation games’, the likes of which are often used in team building, workshops, and simulations. 

The evening kicked off with one of the more recognized strategy games, namely “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or “Reds and Blues” and further games played were creatively inclined. Highly mentally stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable, the evening was over too soon, but not before the next get-together was scheduled. 

IMG 9011 

The Basel Events Team is more than just a group of volunteers; we're like a family united by a common goal – to bring joy and enrichment to the lives of those in our community. If you're ready to embark on this rewarding adventure, we can't wait to welcome you aboard!

Should you wish to join our team, please contact Mi Sook Park -

She is looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Let's Create Unforgettable Experiences Together!

Record Membership Achieved!

Record Membership Achieved!

Author: Stefan Vesenmeier, Swiss Chapter President Stefan Vesenmeier

 

 

 

This month marks an extraordinary milestone for our chapter – a milestone that I am immensely proud to announce. It is a historic moment for our 22-year-old chapter, as we have surpassed a significant threshold. The PMI Swiss Charter can now boast a staggering membership of over 1800 individuals! This achievement is testament to the incredible dedication and collective effort of our volunteer community.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation to each, and every one of our volunteers. Your unwavering commitment and enthusiasm have played a pivotal role in propelling our chapter to this remarkable position. Together, you have transformed PMI Switzerland into more than just an association; you've made it the epitome of excellence within the Swiss project management community.

Your active participation, consistent contributions, and innovative ideas have been the driving force behind our success. Your efforts have not only elevated our chapter but have also left an indelible mark on our wider community. The positive impact you've created exemplifies our chapter's ethos and reinforces our standing as leaders in the project management domain.

I firmly believe that each one of you embodies the very essence of our chapter's values and goals. You are our most influential ambassadors, spreading the spirit of our community far and wide.

Once again, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for your relentless hard work, steadfast dedication, and the infectious positivity you inject into our chapter. Your support continues to shape the narrative of our success story.

And I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all those who represent this outstanding milestone - our valued chapter members. Your enthusiastic participation in our events and your keen interest in our content means a great deal to us. We deeply appreciate the trust you place in our services through your membership. Your satisfaction and personal feedback are the best motivation for us.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Stefan Vesenmeier

Chapter President, PMI Switzerland

Lessons Learned: Enhancing Medical Device Development


Author: Ruggero Paraventi, PMP author

Lessons Learned: Enhancing Medical Device Development Through Experience

 

Having had the privilege of being part of the PMO leadership team in a global medical device company, I have witnessed the crucial role that a well-structured lessons learned process plays within the industry. In this article, I will share our journey in designing and implementing the lessons learned process, emphasizing key elements, challenges faced, and continuous process improvements.

The Essence of our Lessons Learned Process

 

The process that we implemented aimed to reflect real-world experiences and challenges in medical device development, which encompassed learning from both failures and successes. To further develop our process, we consulted literature in the domain, and found advice provided by Nick Milton, in his book “Lessons Learned Handbook” [1] particularly valuable.

Key Elements of the Lessons Learned Process and Tools

 

Definition of Lesson Learned

Upon initiation, we set out to agree a univocal definition for a lesson learned within our organisation. 'Lessons Learned' is a common term for almost every PMO, however, how it is defined and interpreted varies. We found Nick Milton’s definition of a lesson learned most useful - “a recommendation, based on analysed experience (positive or negative), from which others can learn in order to improve their performance on a specific task or objective.” Adopting a similarly clear, single description of a lesson learned paved the way in designing our process.

Identification and Capture

An initial challenge that we faced was that learnings were retrospectively collected at project closure, and in some cases, several months after critical events had occurred. Valuable knowledge had been slipping through the cracks. To overcome this, we introduced a requirement for project managers to ensure that team experiences were documented in a devoted section of their project diaries, as they occurred, throughout the entire project life cycle. Milton underscores the importance of this, stating that "recording experiences and learning is vital to a successful lesson learned process."

Storage and Organization

Owing to a lacking knowledge repository, no uniformity existed in how information was stored, making it difficult to retrieve and apply past lessons. Milton's advice on “organizing knowledge” deeply resonated with us. Establishing a structured repository, and defining meaningful categories for the learnings, ensured that future teams could locate and benefit from recorded knowledge from past projects.

Dissemination

Whilst Milton's perspective is that "lessons should be disseminated to those who need them", we found that our teams were sporadically sharing their lessons with others. To ensure that our process allowed for efficient dissemination, we increasingly emphasized the importance of sharing lessons learned with other teams. Lesson-sharing was added as a standard agenda item for single functional community meetings, such as global PMO meetings or engineering forums (for learnings of more technical nature).

Actionable Improvements

Following Milton's advice that "lessons should lead to improvements", actionable lessons learned were extracted from knowledge repositories as inputs for identifying process efficiency optimisation. In this way we ensured that lessons learned systematically translated into tangible improvements, including the streamlining of project execution. Ultimately, the structured repository of lessons learned became one of the major sources supporting the definition of cross-functional, continuous improvement initiatives within our organization.

Further Improvement of our Lessons Learned Process

After the initial implementation of the lessons learned process, an analysis and evaluation task were defined for the enhancement of the process. This was introduced because of the known benefits of continuous improvement. This task was assigned to a dedicated resource, skilled in both LEAN principles and process analysis methods.

To refine and further optimise the process, LEAN workshops were conducted using virtual collaboration tools to enable optimal participation of our global PMO community. These workshops allowed our lessons learned subject matter experts to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, brainstorm solutions and enhancements, and gather inputs for process effectiveness changes.

The Importance of Uniformity and Quantification

The consideration of LEAN principles guided us in the retrospective analysis, highlighting the importance of two major focal elements for streamlining our lessons learned process, namely Uniform Generic Formulation, and Quantification of Impact.

The importance of having a standardized, generic format for lessons learned was recognized, because non-standardized formulations hindered the effectiveness of transference of lessons learned from one project to another. Implementing a standard syntax ensured that every team could understand and apply these lessons uniformly, avoiding ambiguity and misinterpretation.

Further it was recognised, that only through the consistent impact quantification of lessons learned relating to time, cost, resources, or other critical factors, could a proper prioritisation of learnings be achieved. This in turn enabled the ordered adoption by other projects and continuous improvement initiative selection within the organization. This data-driven approach allowed us to focus our efforts on areas that delivered the most substantial improvements.

 

The Role of Dedicated Software Solutions

In our pursuit of continuous improvement, we also evaluated dedicated software solutions for storing and sharing lessons learned in an integrated manner. Tools such as these provide a structured platform for efficiently capturing, categorising, and sharing lessons within the broader organization, further enhancing the ability to leverage learnings in real-time. Common implementation of such software within affiliated medical device companies was explored, to identify value-adds in up-scaling learning dissemination and use amongst enterprises operating in similar business contexts.

 

Realizing the Full Potential

The ability to learn from experiences is clearly indispensable, in the medical device sector as in any other industry. Through the implementation of a refined Lessons Learned Process, tailored to specific organisational needs, we better positioned our teams to avoid common pitfalls, reduce errors, and prevent costly delays. Learnings from past failures and successes also began to generate process streamlining initiatives, expedite development, and reduce time-to-market. Through understanding of pitfalls and key elements of this process, and continuous refinement of the process through LEAN principles, the organisation became committed to the practical transformation of knowledge into action. Together with the future incorporation of technology, and further incorporation of past learnings into key risk management documents, this process lays the foundation for successful leveraging of past experiences.

 

A Heartfelt Thanks

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Rosablanca Paez, who led the continuous improvement efforts, and guided our PMO team through the LEAN workshops. Her passion, expertise, and dedication were instrumental in advancing our Lessons Learned Process.

 

References:

[1] Nick Milton, “Lessons Learned Handbook – Practical Approaches to Learning from Experience”, Elsevier Science & Technology (2010)

 

Product Owner Secrets - an interactive workshop

Author: Katalin Juhász, PMP

Katalin Juhasz photo

The Product Owner (PO) role is sometimes misunderstood yet critical in Agile projects. The Switzerland chapter of PMI has organized an exciting interactive online event again on 13th October, where we could learn about this often overshadowed role. Besides discussing the secrets of the PO role - living up to the expectations of the title of the event - the participants also had the opportunity to gain a first hand experience about an facilitation method, called the fishbowl conversation format, applied in the online space. This method is built on premises, such as the value of experiential learning, assertiveness and the power of discussions, enabling an impactful learning experience. Personally I found the format just as valuable as the shared knowledge about the product owner role itself. Killing two birds with the same stone and all within 90 minutes.

 

The session was hosted by Patryk Nosalik, PMP, agile PM, project manager of the PMI Romandie Events team,  while facilitated by Maria Cortés Astudillo and Nicolas Pages, members of Agile Suisse. María is an industrial engineer, PMP, Professional Scrum Master, Professional Product Owner and Empowering People at the Workplace certified, with over 15 years of experience, successfully building and launching digital applications across multiple channels and formats. Nicolas has more than 20 years of experience in the IS/IT software industry, including 12 years in the supply chain domain acquired in Nestlé. He is a junior coach in design thinking, certified Scrum master and product owner.

 

After some introduction about the fishbowl format, four volunteers were recruited to join the imaginatory “inner circle”. The selection criteria for the volunteers was to already have experience about the product owner role (either by fulfilling this role earlier, or being close enough to a PO to have a good enough understanding of its requirements and challenges). 

The discussion has been kick-started by the four volunteers who shared their views about the “good”, the “bad” and the “ugly” aspects of the product owner role. Not only the facilitators, but also the volunteers had an impressive amount of accumulated experience, making sure the discussion was exciting enough to pin the observers in the outer circle to their screens. After 7 minutes, the observers had the chance to pair up in the breakout room, to discuss what additional questions they would like to ask from the experts in the inner circle, once everyone returned into the virtual plenary room.

 

We learnt that:

  • The biggest challenge and value of the PO role is how to maximize the customer value, while managing the (often latent) customer needs and taking into account the (capacity or technical) limitations of the available resources. 
  • A key to maximizing the customer value requires the mastering of prioritization, communication (where listening weights with double score) and good negotiation skills. It is also invaluable to have a crystal clear product vision.
  • Things can be ugly sometimes, as the PO is right in between the customer and the developer team, trying to carry out a balancing act in a never easing pressure. One wise advice was to accept the fact that it is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time, but instead aim for maximizing the customer value, while considering realistically what is possible.
  • While having a good understanding of the developer group is essential to be able to ask the right questions, it might make it more difficult for a PO to have a technical background, as it carries the risk of being dragged too much into the details of the solution. The PO has to keep focus on the “why” and “what” and strongly resist the temptation to design the “how”. 
  • Trust is a crucial resource in this constellation, as the control of designing the solution, along with estimating the resource needs falls under the responsibility of the developer team. Moreover, the PO also has to recognize the limitations of his knowledge and capabilities, to know when it is better to rely on others.
  • While the agile approach can be used in organizations preferring the waterfall approach, it takes a lot of effort to manage expectations and help the client understand how the process will be different. Clarifying, and repetitively refreshing the definition of the PO and SCRUM master could be also indispensable. 

 

While experimenting with a new format is always a risk, based on the feedback of the participants, the session was indeed very effective in helping them to get a deeper understanding of the product owner role. It also served as proof that well designed online events supported by the right technology can be just as effective as physical encounters. Witnessing the continuously improving online facilitation capabilities of these events, I feel assured that we can expect a maintained level of quality, when it's about exchanging knowledge within the PMI community.

 

We hope to continue hosting more online open space events in the future to come. Therefore we encourage all PMI members if anyone is keen to help in being part of the organisation of creating a regular cycle of interactive Open Space events, then please get in touch with Patryk Nosalik

Patryk Nosalik

 

The recording of the full event is available here.

 

Katalin Juhász, PMP

Organizational Developer at SonarSource

Product Owner Secrets Workshop – a continuation of a journey of discovery

Author: Patryk Nosalik, PMP

Late last Spring, PMI Switzerland held its first Open Spaces meeting. It was really warming to see so much genuine enthusiasm for a novel meeting format, on top of that, we did it online. And when I hear many people are missing the human networking component in other more typical webinars, one of the benefits of interactive formats is that it allows for the creation of meaningful connection. So it was here, from the people contributing and participating in the Open Space, that I was introduced to two very engaging Agilists, María Cortés Astudillo, and Nicolas Pagès.

It turned out Maria and Nicolas were keen to work with me and colleagues at PMI to create another interactive workshop, based on their successful experiences in the Agile Suisse community (agilesuisse.ch). They proposed a discussion about the Product Owner role. 

A quick search or browse of LinkedIn suggests the Product Owner (PO) is a much misunderstood or unappreciated role, and personally in the way this role was applied in my previous professional context, also left me with many unanswered questions. I’d love to share them with you, but the unique point of this workshop is that the participants who register are invited to send in via a form their 1-3 questions they have about the product owner role, be it as naïve, profound, basic, deep, personal or general as they like. Therefore, in order to not bias the event agenda before its inception, I’m having a tough time not sharing them with you! 

Nevertheless I shared this concept with both my Romandie events colleagues and Online Events back in July. We have now created a workshop you can see on our events page, https://pmi-switzerland.ch/index.php/events/events-list/product-owner-secrets-an-interactive-workshop

and invite you warmly to both explore the Product Owner role, and to experience this meeting format which you can take away and use for your own facilitations. 

The questions we will receive, up to a week before the event, will be analysed by Maria, Nicolas and me. We will create the agenda  probably starting with fundamentals before taking a deeper dive, but it will be wholly dependent on participants' input – so that could be you . Just register and you’ll get the link to the very easy form. It may be that we facilitate the discussion so that knowledgeable participants can answer the question, or it may be that the named expert speakers will do so. Of course we would expect to have time for more open discussion as we go along. 

So if you liked our previous Open Space or want to learn something new and be heard by the community, make a note to join this Product Owner workshop on the 13th October. Our facilitators are María Cortés Astudillo, and Nicolas Pagès. Maria is an industrial engineer, she is PMP, Professional Scrum Master, Professional Product Owner and Empowering People at the Workplace certified. Nicolas is a junior coach in design thinking, certified Scrum master and product owner, and has also practiced roles such as super key user, project coordinator, IT solution expert and in the last year, business analyst. Read more about Maria and Nicolas in their fascinating bios on our events page, and then challenge them with questions about the Product Owner role. Remember, the uniqueness of this workshop and relevance to you depends on those who have sent their questions in at registration (but circa 1-2 weeks before), so don’t delay! 

Finally, such workshops benefit from diversity, so share the message with colleagues on Linkedin, friends at work, it will all help harness a collaborative collective intelligence for the benefit of all participants.

Spoiler alert – if we get as many questions as we estimate, then based on experience, we may do some sort of follow up 3-4 weeks later for the most passionate amongst you!