Friday, May 20, 2011

PMI Global EMEA Congress, Dublin 2011

I’m back after some forced time out. And this time to give you an overview of what went on on the 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.

Day 1
“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.

Day 2
“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

Day 3
“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.

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zabale said...

I share your views and conclusions on the PMIEMEA 2011 Congress concerning networking both in the theoretical exante and practical terms. This was my second one so I can now compare. People you meet are in a large majority there to learn and share experiences,with the great opportunity for cross cultural aspects since there are more than 50 countries represented in a +800 participants!
Also I have learned this year about how to go and choose what to attend, to reach similar conclusions. Last year, my first experience, I was very focused on my priority topics. Names of presenters meant something by previous readings like books or articles. But once you meet a great communicator like Jack Dugall you have a diferent quality in subsequent reding him and it´s good value to go and listen again nest year. Dugall is both a great communicator and a gerat content and insight deliverer. Bucero is mainly a great communicator. I also follow Englund since Milan , having read his book "Creating the project Office" that flavours a Jack Dugall´s "managing the dance approach"... So this year I also choose by presenter and topic. But I also introduced a 3rd criteria and choose first hand The "alice in wonderland." presentation out of ... Curiosity!! And it paid! Looking back at my choices I have followed this year presentations in a wide variety of categories.

This year the hot topics were social media and agile.
Good and inevitable for the first, more reserves on the second, probably yet a fad discourse, as PMI announced the upcoming agile certification. we will see ...

I must say that the I am also very pleased that our host was Dublin: it´s a great place with a fantastic resilient and full of joy people, who received us very well.
The Convention centre was magnificent, practically brand new, with a glorious view of the Liffey!
A significan upgrade from MIlan!
Even in the nervous scenario of a UEFA final to be disputed by two portuguese teams, the security tightened with the anxiety of the upcoming british queen next week ( after 100 years a british monarch would come back to now Irish soil)) that painted the soil under a tagged yellow, there was music and dancing everyday. GRAND!LOVELY

Luis Seabra Coelho said...

Thank you, Zabale, for taking your time to comment. I'm pretty sure it's the longest comment on this blog up to this date! I must start some award system for commenters because it does take time to express one's opinion and you opted to invest your time in this comment instead elsewhere.
Thank you for that!