PMI Global EMEA Congress, on May 9, 10 and 11 in Dublin.This was my 4th EMEA Congress and the best yet: I assisted some outstanding presentations and met some great people.
What is this Congress about?
This is the Congress that PMI sets up for the EMEA (that is, Europe, Middle East and Africa). It consists of 3 days of presentations, a keynote speaker and lots of networking. What I found out is that these EMEA Congresses are smaller than the U.S. ones but richer because of the many countries represented there - and their different cultures. The one thing you can be sure is that you're bound to meet some great people there. So yes, I would recommend them for anyone whose work is related to Project Management - and not Project Managers alone.
Before the Congress
Choosing which sessions to assist can be tricky and the timing doesn’t help: you do that when you register for the Congress. On my first Congress I choose them based on the title and topic. That, I can assure you, is not a good way to go. So I asked the people I met there how did they pick what presentations to assist and that led me to the process I now follow. It’s pretty simple, the first step is to check who’s presenting. If I know the speaker, and I’ve been to a presentation of his/her before and enjoyed it, then I sign up. If not then I go for the topic.
This process doesn’t give me the chance to assist all the best presentations but it has both the reassurance of past experience and at the same discovering and meeting some new speakers.
New to networking?
PMI enforces the need for networking. This was a downside for me as I believed it was somehow faked - like showing interest in someone in advance so that later on you could take some advantage of that relationship. But my views on this changed now that I have some friends I first met in these Congresses. A first talk with someone who you meet for the first time can be very fruitful. You can actually learn a lot just by talking because everyone there has the same attitude: they want to know why something that works for them doesn’t work with you, what approaches are you using, what tough situations are you on and how you’re dealing with them and so on. Of course you’ll find some people there where there's no connection, some that are not all that sharp but at the end of the day its well worth it.
To give you an example, this time I had the privilege to talk to Elizabeth Harrin (actually she interviewed me for her blog "A Girl's Guide to Project Management") and also Lindsay Scott from Arras People (she runs the blog "How to Manage a Camel"). Don't miss them if you ever get the chance to meet them in person.
The Keynote Speaker
This year’s keynote speaker was Kevin Eyres, former managing Director for LinkedIn in Europe. He also enforced this networking attitude but to me it was kind of short for a Keynote Speaker opening a Congress, specially when compared to other Congresses. He positioned LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, he showed how these tools have entered nearly everyone’s life and some LinkedIn tools that are not all that well known.
The presentations I assisted are listed below and I'd like to highlight some of them starting with the Acropolis Museum. Theofanis Giotis is someone worth listening to and he brought to Dublin a project of a lifetime indeed.
David Hillson is also on this category and the topic was a pertinent one.
Mark Gray offered a insight into risk management with the relations between the risks themselves.
Jack Duggal belongs to the category of speakers worth listening to even if the topic is boring and doesn't interest you. Curious enough, some of the things he talked about were pretty much the same you can find on this blog: if you want to excel in Project Management you have to go beyond best practices (but you better know the tools and methods first). Check ScrumBut is a good thing after all as an example.
Alfonso Bucero's presentation was also great, as usual. He focused on the attitudes suited for Project Managers in particular all the while making sure everyone was having fun.
And finally, Giusi Meloni. I didn't get to her presentation on the first day of Congress but it was good enough for the Congress' organization decide to ask her to do an encore, which I assisted. She did a brilliant job relating Alice in Wonderland to Project Management.
“Selling yourself and your Project to Senior Management” presented by Bernard Faughey
“Business Change within Programmes: It’s not about transition” presented by Omar Zein
“The new Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece: A unique project of a lifetime!” presented by Theofanis Geotis.
“Learning the art of delegation” presented by Derek O’Brien
“Risk energetics: Developing renewable and sustainable Risk Management” presented by David Hillson
“Systems Dynamics as a method for Risk” presented by Mark Gray
“Project Mechanic or artist? The skills of a Project Artist” presented by Jack Duggal
“Let’s get practical: crash with confidence” presented by Éamonn Kelly
“Your words, as a Project Manager, makes a difference” presented by Alfonso Bucero
“Alice in Projectland: the adventures of a curious Project Manager” by Giusi Meloni (encore)
And that was it...
Next year there will be another Congress, probably in Nice, France if you trust the gossips on the topic. And I'll probably be there.
Posted by Luis Seabra Coelho