Friday, June 22, 2012

VI PMI Portugal Chapter Conference

Yes, I'm back! After some time underwater I finally managed to surface again. So you can now count again with regular posting of Project Management articles on Friday's.
And yes, the VI PMI Portugal Chapter Conference is over. It was my first local chapter conference and what a nice surprise it was to me... so obviously I want to share all that went on here. 

Agenda

Starting with the agenda. Some of the presentations were in Portuguese but for those I'm providing you with a free translation of the titles.

June 20

  • Main Skills and Dynamic Competencies for Portfolio Management of IT Projects - Fernando Pereira
  • Overview of Project Management teaching within Higher Education - Luis Melo e Ana Paula Marques
  • Debate: Leadership, Negotiation and Influence skills and the development of professionals

June 21

  • NLP and Emotional Intelligence: the Project Manager's new weapons - Fernando Torre
  • The value of Project Management - Ricardo Vargas
  • Business Case for Projects - Leandro Pereira
  • The Outcome based Project Management - António Grilo
  • OPM3: Taking Organizations towards next maturity levels - Larry Bull e Korinna Shown
  • The OPM3 Portugal Project - Alberto Pereira
  • Program Management Professional review - Liam Dillon

 June 22

  • Winning Strategies through Innovation Process Management and Enterprise Project Management - Ian White
  • Improving and Embeding Project Management in Organizations - Gabriela Fernandes
  • The Secrets To Estimation - Liam Dillon (This presentation was kind of a bonus; the topic was estimation but unfortunately I didn't take a note of it)
  • Identification and Recovery of troubled projects - Henrique Moura
  • Debate: Developing Portuguese Competitiveness with Project Management

Highlights

Outputs and outcomes

I was very pleased to see that outputs and outcomes have reached the Academia. And it's good to see that something I've been talking about here has evolved to something a bit bigger (please check The Art of Funding and Implementing Ideas, ScrumBut is a good think after all, Beginners Guide to Project Management Part 3 Where to start and Beginners Guide to Project Management Part 4 What to do for some more information on outputs and outcomes). It's nothing new really, it's just about keeping an eye on why the organization needs your project's product for.

The Value of Project Management

About 3 years ago I was on a PMI Research Meeting around the topic of the value of Project Management. I confess I didn't learn a lot about the topic then. But yesterday, Ricardo Vargas made an extraordinary presentation about this topic. And he made perfectly clear what kind of value Project Management brings to the society, to organizations and to the professionals themselves.

Ricardo Vargas

It was no surprise to see yet another extraordinary presentation by Ricardo Vargas. Besides knowing what he talks about, he somehow manages to involve people and bring them into the topic he's presenting. In case you missed it, I interviewed him last year as part of the volunteer work I'm doing for the PMI Information Systems Community of Practice. It's lengthy but I assure you it's worth watching!

Liam Dillon

He made 2 presentations on this Conference. I was impressed on the way he managed to present a dry topic like the certification process for a Program Management Professional. His other presentation on estimation was delightful. Just when you think you know everything about it, here comes Liam to prove you you wrong! Bottom line is if you ever get the chance to see this gentleman presenting something, please take the chance!

Larry Bull

Larry has been working on PMI's OPM3 framework ever since he retired, so you can imagine he knows quite a bit about it. I particularly enjoyed the way he expressed all that cumulative knowledge in a very simple fashion when compared to all that it encompasses.

Ian White

Ian showed a tool to support an organization's innovation process. This is a free piece of software to be implemented on top of Microsoft Sharepoint that must be implemented by a Microsoft partner (not for free, I suppose). Anyhow, it's good to know that you can support you organization's innovation process on your intranet or extranet, and basically for free if you already use Microsoft Sharepoint.

PMI Educational Foundation

The PMI Education Foundation made quite a success when the topic of the Project Management Toolkit for Youth was introduced in the Q&A of the  Academic presentations.
It's not known for most people and after the disaster of the inclusion of "Projects" in the Portuguese High school curriculum (although it had the word "project" it nothing to do with it) it was very good to see the interest on helping develop the topic in Primary School. Some good will come out of it, I'm sure.

Need to improve

I was twice amazed in the first day of the conference because of the debate. First because I found out that a significant number of people don't understand some of the basic concepts used in Project Management - and they're project managers. An example is responsibility and leadership. I cannot figure how someone who is involved in Project Management can misunderstand these basic concepts, but the fact is that this actually happens.
Secondly, when I was discussing this with one of the responsibles for setting up this Conference, he asked me if I noticed the audience. Amazingly, people where delighted with the discussion going on even if some participants mistake leadership with responsibility. I'm sorry, but to me this defies any explanation.
What I think it might have improved this particular scenario was having someone in the debate to take the time and clarify these basic concepts misunderstandings as soon as they arose. In fact, one of the presenters did that on Q&A after his presentation. I can't really say "it worked", but it's the right thing to do.

Conclusion 

This conference exceeded all my expectations. If you ever went to a PMI EMEA Congress (which I'm told are much better that the North America one) you'll be surprised when I tell you that the average quality of the presentations was higher. There really were quite a few outstanding presentations with Ricardo Vargas leading that group.
On the other hand there were no bad presentations. Some lacked this or that but there wasn't a single bad one on everything.
Some of the people that helped setting up this Conference were a bit sad because there was no representation of the Portuguese Government there. I can see the impact of it but honestly it didn't matter to me as a participant. Not at all.
Bottom line is: count me in for the next conference. I participated on this one just because I didn't get to the EMEA Congress, but next year I'll be on the VII PMI Portugal Chapter Conference. And I hope to see you there.


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