Celebrating International Project Management Day – a reflection from Synergy 2013

Let me start from the idea and the founder of International Project Management Day (IPMD), Frank Saladis. The purpose of IPMD is to promote appreciation for project managers, their teams and their achievements. And to promote the value of projects as a method for achieving success in any industry. International Project Management Day is a great idea from Frank so every project manager should be aware of this and join in the annual celebrations – it is always the first Thursday in November.
Frank suggests doing 5 things in support of IPMD
1.     First do something positive for yourself to increase your sense of personal power and self-worth
2.    Second, take the time to say thanks to your project managers and team members. Do something  organizationally to recognize and appreciate those working on projects with you
3.    Third, participate locally in project management events
4.    Fourth, create or join a regional mission to enhance the public relations of the industry
5.    And finally, identify actions you can take to build your international network and become an international ambassador of project management.
For the last three years I celebrate this day in London at Synergy, so this year was the third time I had attended this event and must admit that the best ever – a world class conference, world class speakers and out of this world volunteers! Well done PMI UK Chapter.
This year, the event took place on Friday 8th November (one day after IPMD) at Westminster
Central Hall and gathered …. delegates. The theme of this year was: What does good look like and How to achieve it?.  The conference was kicked off by Mark Langley, the PMI® CEO, taking on „The Pulse of Profession” that reports on the „High cost of Low Performance” and states that the organisations that perform best come at project, programme and portfolio management from a different angle. For more go to The Pulse of Profession. Two top class project management experts, David Hillson and Michel Thiry, hosted the event in a great manner, sumarising the speeches and in the end the whole conference.
Great international speakers have been invited, including Jim Lawless advising on „Ten Rules for Timing Tigers” (more you can find in my previous post). Hamish Taylor presented „The Innovation of Managing Change”, where he stressed the need for changing the way we understand our customers. Alison Charles in „Coping Strategies for Project Mangers” shared her story and suggested being mindful, taking care of yourself and learning saying no. Nick Fewings in „Arabian Nights: turning a Project team Around in the Desert” explained how important is knowing your team and yourself. Steve Carver  tried to answer the question „What does good really look like”” using the Olympics 2012 example. Not sure if you are aware, but: ” In the end it’s all in the eye of the beholder! And James Brown closing the event with the advise to „Kill What’s Ugly While it’s Young” – make people accountable, build the relationships and do not estimate the power of compliments!
68% of projects fail!
As in today’s business complexity is increasing this topic appeared not only in the executive panel session: „Managing Projects in a Complex World: Real-Life Lesson Learned”, but also in other presentations. We have learned that complex is not the same as complicated and people interactions create complexity. Availability is not the skill set, so because someone is available
does not mean can deliver an we need to understand work first and then mach the right PM. Complicated is linear and predictable and easy to understand for experts. On the other hand complex is nonlinear and unpredictable and can be divided to 3 categories: structural, emergent (ex: technological & commercial maturity) and socio-political. 246 PMs have asked two questions: 1) Which complexity is the most difficult to manage? The answer: socio-political. 2) In your own formal training and development which has received the most attention? The answer: structural!
To sum up let me share a fee take aways and my reflection in the end.
  • Write your own story! Jim Lawless.
  • Know and understand your customer! Hamish Taylor.
  • Talk to each other! Alison Charles.
  • Make sense before you engage! Know what the success looks like! Panel discussion.
  • Audit the team regularly to support the high performance! Nick Fewings.
  • Perception is nearer the truth than reality! Steve Carver.
  • Take responsibility! James Brown.
My reflection below:
I really enjoyed the event! Thanks a lot my friends from PMI UK Chapter and see you next year. More pictures from the Synergy can be found here.

PMI is the registered trade mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.


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