Archive for November, 2011

This is the third part of my impressions of the 2011 PMI Global Congress North America in Dallas.  Part 1 talks about the conference setup.  Part 2 covers my lessons learned from sessions on sustainability, ethics, innovation, and Agile.

In this 3rd part I am talking about my takeaways from sessions about Leadership, Project Winners, the Learning Project Organization, and the future PMO.  Happy reading!


Slides of my own session “SFT02 – The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success – Part of Leadership Community Track” are available for download as well as on Slideshare.  Both Links are available on my blog.

Michael O’Brochta’s session “PRJ09 – Leadership Essentials for Project Management ProfessionalsPart of Leadership Community Track

What else can I say about any of Michael’s sessions?  You have to attend them.  They are and Michael is AWESOME.

Here are some of my tweets and insights I took away from this exceptional session:

  • Servant leadership: how can I help? What can I do to help?
  • Powerful leadership styles: collaboration, trust, empathy, ethical use of power
  • Situational leadership: participating, selling, telling, delegating
  • Transformational leadership behavior: inspiring change beyond self-interest
  • PMP + Leadership = Success
Thomas Juli and Michael O'Brochta

Thomas Juli and Michael O'Brochta

Lazy Project Managers

Peter Taylor’s session “ISS09 – The Lazy Project Manager Salutes the Project Superstars

Peter Taylor explains why we should think of us as superstars.  Why?  Because project management is – or shall we say, ought to be – more prevalent than most of think.

One of my tweets during this great session was:

  • Famous historical project managers: Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, Nelson Mandela

The Learning Project Organization

Slides of my second presentation “ISS13 – The Learning Project Organization Part of Learning, Education & Development Community Track” can be downloaded from my blog at  or viewed on Slideshare.

The Future PMO

What I have said about Michael O’Brochta applies to Jack Duggal, too.  His sessions fall in the category “Must attend”.  In Dallas Jack talked about “Reinventing the PMO for the Next Decade”.

My tweets during this session included:

  • A high degree of compliance (80% and more) to project management processes did not correlate to project success, according to a recent study by Jack Duggal.
  • Today’s project environment: Dynamic and changing, ambiguous and uncertain, non-linear, complex, emerging
  • Bob Dylan: If you are not busy being born, you are busy dying.
  • The focus of the future PMO will and has to change:
From focus on … to focus on …
Service & support Ownership & accountability
Delivery Adoption and usability
Delivery-oriented governance Business-oriented governance
Delivery of projects & deliverables Benefits revitalization and value
Configuration-oriented change management Change leadership
Dealing with the pain of the day Holistic, balanced and adaptive approach

… what about the other sessions?

There were so many sessions I wanted to attend.  Often it has been very difficult to make a choice.  Luckily there are papers and presentations to download from the Congress’ websites.

Future Congresses

Oh yes, there will be many Congresses to come. And I hope that I too can participate in them.

So, tell me and all other readers what you have experienced in Dallas.  What were your highlights?  What did you miss?  And what did you take away from the Congress?


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This is the second part of my impressions of the 2011 PMI Global Congress North America in Dallas.  Part 1 talks about the conference setup.  You can read it here.

In this second part I am talking about my takeaways from the sessions I attended.  In other words, what have I learned?


On Saturday Oct 21 I attended the day-long research workshop “Sustainability and Project Management”.  It was a good mix of lecture, workshop / breakouts, discussions. If you prefer smaller crowds and like interactive sessions, these research workshops can be very good choice.  My own expectations were met.  Alas, it would have been nice if reading material would have been made available prior to the Congress.  Something PMI and future hosts should seriously consider.

Insights I tweeted during the workshop:

  • Corporations will not survive without embracing sustainability.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a source of opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage. It hence makes holistic rather than one-dimensional investment analysis mandatory.
  • Accounting for sustainability principles ensures a holistic project setup.
  • Frame projects as learning opportunities.
  • Benefits of considering sustainability principles: cope with the complexity and dynamics of projects.
  • Investing in sustainability means having greater flexibility and more options in the future.
  • Sustainability is about effective project management and opportunities.
  • Understanding the project goals the desired sustainable outcomes forces innovation and out of the box thinking.
  • Sustainability requires a holistic management and leadership approach.


PRJ15 – Really…Are You a Professional Project Manager? Presented by the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Implementation Advisory Committee (CIAC)

Speakers: Christiaan Kindermans, MSc, PMP; Saji Madapat, MBA, CSSMBB, PMP; Peter Pfeiffer, PhD, PMP; Michael O’Brochta, MPM, PMP

This session was a pleasant surprise.  Not only was the content really valuable, the structure of the session was wonderful, involved attendants from the very beginning.  After a few Pecha-Kucha style presentations (3-5 minutes each) the audience split into 4 groups discussing how to improve applying the code of ethics (1) responsibility, 2) honesty, 3) fairness, 4) respect) in our everyday project life.  Each group discussed the various codes for 5 minutes, then moved on to the next topic.  The session concluded with the presentation of the group discussions.

This session was exceptionally well prepared.  It proves that you can interact even with a big audience and get a lot out of 75 minutes.  Congrats!

My tweets during this session included:

  • You will attract more with honey than will vinegar. Hence, lead through your own positive example.
  • Saying what you mean and meaning what you say = integrity.
  • Opposite of professional conduct? An empty suit.

Maxwell Gladwell’s Keynote on innovation and the right organizational culture

Excellent keynote if you are interested in innovation in your project environment.  I loved it.

My tweets during this session:

  • You have to understand the social dimension of technology.
  • Innovation is a mass phenomenon and not an elite one.
  • We privilege resources too much.
  • Innovative tweakers take someone else’s ideas and turn them into money makers.  Perfect example: Google.

Want to learn more of what I am thinking and doing about innovation?  – Visit and follow www.i-sparks.com.


TRN10 – Agile Collaboration in a Virtual World: Harnessing Social Media, Web 2.0 and Beyond Presented by PMI’s New Media Counsel

Speakers: Elizabeth Harrin; Cornelius Fichtner; and (sorry, forgot the name of the 3rd speaker)

Very good session.  It was hands-on.  The speakers did not elaborate on abstract theories but covered what matters in day-to-day work when you are working with and for virtual teams in an agile setting.

Among my tweets during this session was:

  • The best architecture, requirements and design emerge from self-organizing teams.  However, even self-organizing teams still need a strategic decision.

Jesse Fewell’s session “PRJ26 – Fixed Price Agile Projects: Making the Impossible Possible Part of Agile Community Track

Boy, let me tell you Jesse does understand and live Agile. He is the person to go to if you have any questions about Agile.  Excellent session!  Thank you, Jesse, for sharing your experience.


Part III of my impressions and take-aways coming soon.  Topics will include leadership, the lazy project manager, the learning project organization, the future PMO, and upcoming conferences.  Stay tuned!

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The 2011 PMI Global Congress North America in Dallas is history.  Time to look back and see what I took back from this conference.  Overall, it was yet another GREAT conference.  It is impossible to describe all impressions and lessons learned.  It would fill volumes.  Since unfortunately I don’t have this time I will limit myself to the most significant take aways.  Here we go.

Networking, networking, networking

If there is one good reason to attend the PMI Global Congress it is networking.  Where else can you meet thousands of people working in project management, share experiences and learn.  If you are seriously interested in the project management profession attending such a big conference is a must at least every other year.

Sessions, sessions, sessions – which to choose?

There are so many sessions to choose from it is easy to get lost.  This is especially so if you attend a Congress for the first time.  My advice:  come prepared.  Take the time to read the abstracts of the sessions which sound interesting to you, then make your decision.  If you find out after a few minutes the session is not what you expected from it, it is up to you.  You can always stay for maybe you learn something after all.  Or you jump up and escape before it is too late. Unfortunately, this happened to me in one occasion (SFT11). Rather than an interactive session it was a lecture where the two folks were reading a transcript.  Disastrous and a waste of time for I can always read the article (which, by the way, is excellent and worth reading. I wish the presentation would have come close to it.  It didn’t).  It is faster and I may even get more out of it.
A conference is about content and the presentation.  – The good news is that most sessions are indeed worth attending.  At least this has been my experience.

Venue – in Texas everything is bigger than anywhere else

The Gaylord Convention Center is no exception.  It is BIG.  For those people who could stay at the hotel it was a convenient walk to the conference halls.  For the rest of us, either we were lucky to stay at hotels with shuttle-service, we took cabs or drove.  The Gaylord is in the middle of nowhere.  Personally, this year I didn’t mind at all as I was not really too interested in the city of Dallas or Fort Worth.  Still, if you wanted to go elsewhere in the evening, choices were limited.  Fortunately, next year’s Congress will not be at another Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center.  Instead, we will be in beautiful Vancouver.

Exhibition Hall – so much to see

The exhibition hall was just as big as last year’s.  It takes some time to see everything.  Either you focus on a select few or skip one or two sessions to visit all booths.  It would be nice if the Exhibition Halls would open earlier and stay up open longer.  A feedback I heard from many other people.  Will see if PMI takes this feedback seriously.

Do you twitter?

It is interesting to see / read how many participants have twittered about the event.  A trend which could be observed during the last 2 or 3 conferences.  The more people carry their iPads with them, the more they seem to twitter.  Maybe I have to get one of them in the near future for typing with your Blackberry is not that much fun.

If you are interested in my tweets, my twitter alias is @thomasjuli.


To come in part 2 following:  Insights from the sessions I attended; topics include sustainability ethics in project management, agile, leadership, innovation, and PMO.

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