International Project Management Day 2015 Ensuring a Sustainable Future part 2

ipmday2015logoEvery year International Project Management Day (IPMDAY) attracts thousands of fellow project managers. Last year IIL had 65,000 registrants. Yesterday’s 12th annual virtual conference: IPMDAY 2015: Ensuring a Sustainable Future did spread the latest insights, trends and best practices surrounding project management, sustainability, organizational performance and corporate social responsibility. This was my first (virtual) IPMDAY to attend. After my evening meal I attended the next series of speakers. Yesterday’s blog highlights the first half of IPMDAY2015. Tomorrow I’ll cover part 3.

Once Upon a Project

NASA Chief Knowledge Officer Dr. Ed Hoffman began his career when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in-air in 1996. He didn’t understand project management by then. His Project Management Success Stories: Lessons of Project Leadership (2000) shows he learned in the meantime. Story telling has 3 important goals:

  • Create an organization of reflective practitioners.
  • Promote an orgaization of collaboration and natural sharing of knowledge.
  • Integrate knowledge capture through a learning framework.

In 2013 Hoffman, then 1 year in his CKO position, wrote Shared Voyage: Learning and Unlearning from Remarkable Projects. Campfire like stories, shared in forums was done before within NASA. Stories from successes and failures are collected to learn. As argued in 2015’s co-authored MIT Sloan article What Succesful Project Managers Do, 4 critical roles succesful project managers play are identified:

  1. Develop collaboration and trust.
  2. Integrated planning and communication.
  3. The ability to adapt and effectively respond to disruptions.
  4. Maintain forward momentum.

Open communication, honesty, start speakling to each others. Hoffman was inspired by Annette Simmons‘ book The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling. Every project is a story. Share stories on what is working and what’s not. Think sustainably. Hoffman’s presentation video is online.

Corporate Sustainability: Creating Measurable Value

In this interview, Curtis Ravenel, Global Head of Sustainable Business & Finance at Bloomberg L.P., discusses the risks and challenges of a sustainable economy, and embedding sustainability awareness in the coporate culture. Since he took this position back in 2006, Ravenel pushes all kinds of initiatives and collaborations to address sustainability issues. Soft power value creation for companies, looking for opportunities without disturbing the existing Bloomberg business model directly. One example is Environmental, Social and Governance data collection and publication. It’s about choices, and the Finance community is demanding these.

Major savings were made in energy and materials consumption and procurement, efficiency projects, smarter renewal policies.

Project Management in the Clouds

Though she wrote Above and Beyond: The Secrets of Outstanding Project Leadership in PM World Journal in December 2014, in this recorded presentation, Tresia Eaves (CGI) talks about the various cloud solutions to host application software, data storage. Cloud projects demand a focus on integrations. Common modern cloud projects include Salesforce.com (CRM), Workday (HR solution), and E-Commerce implementations.

It’s no strange excursion to participate in a Salesforce.com Administrator course like I did this Summer! Data privacy issues in the EU, organizational / cultural challenges with Asia Pacific, and communication issues due to language and time zone differences are the story of our lives. For international projects you don’t even have to leave your house nowadays. Cloud projects typically include global team members. So, there’s every chance to practice meeting skills, openness, and handling telepresence.

The One-Page Project Manager

With the Project Initiation Documents shrinking from 50+ pages in Word to a 20 slides PowerPoint deck at my current client organization, project managers on average still suffer from a Detail Syndrome. Clark A. Campbell puts them to a challenge. Can the project be communicated on 1 page?

Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers – even a very large set – is to look at pictures of those numbers…they are usually the simplest and at the same time most powerful. (Edward E. Tufte)

The One-Page Project Manager is at the heart of sufficient and efficient project communication.
Campbell includes a comparison of traditional and agile projects in his presentation.

Thinking of them in pictures helps to understand. Traditional project management has tasks, and owners, costs, objectives and timeline surrounding it. Agile Project Management focuses on frequent delivery, with the team, mixed resources, features and fixed time boxes surrounding it.

Communication is key, confirms PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession. G. Michael Campbell in 2009 wrote Communication Skills for Project Managers and quoted there: “The number 1 success factor by this diverse group was communications.”

The question is how to communicate these plan essentials:

  • vision, objectives, and deliverables
  • major tasks and work breakdown structure
  • schedule
  • reporting cadence and expectation
  • major milestones
  • individual responsibilities
  • risks
  • quantitative and qualitative metrics
  • costs

, alongside performance essentials:

  • on time?
  • on task?
  • on budget?
  • risk mitigated?
  • worrisome or dangerous issues?
  • who is (and is not) performing as promised?
  • brief summary of ‘why and what’s next’?

on a single page? The One-Page PM template is based on Hoshi Kanri X Matrix, which is used in LEAN projects. It’s definitely a format to explore further.