International Project Management Day 2018: Project, Program, and Portfolio Management in an Age of Digital Disruption (part 3)

Literally, thousands of fellow project management professionals gathered online for the International Project Management Day 2018: Project, Program, and Portfolio Management in an Age of Digital Disruption, an online learning and knowledge sharing event organized by IIL. After a first and second part in the past days, today I share the third batch of lessons I learned throughout my journey along five keynotes, 18 on-demand prerecorded videos on various topics, and lots of more content to enjoy even weeks after the actual event on 1 November 2018.

Reaching New Heights in Project Management

Alan Mallory (Speaker / Author / Performance Coach) shares from his private 2008 project to climb the Mount Everest with his parents and siblings.

Procurement, scope, time management, planning, work breakdown structure, communications, risk, and stakeholder management, and so on. All of project management was included. In hindsight, a hybrid approach with elements from a waterfall and an Agile approach could be derived from the expedition.

Design Sinking: How to Fail at Design Thinking – And How to Do It Better

Lukas Bosch (consultant, moderator, trainer, lecturer) teases his audience that he may be talking about Design Sinking. Pitfalls and risks ahead! Design thinking could mean thinking about (re)design. Design Thinking can also be understood as a design of a thinking process. Combining the two leads to think like designers, even if you’re not trained as a designer, and design thoroughly. A holistic view of innovation combines feasibility, viability, and desirability. Design Thinking starts at desirability.

Design Thinking focuses radically on the users, their behavior, and needs, instead of asking what they want. Compared to many other approaches, user research in Design Thinking doesn’t aim for representativity but inspiration. ‘Why?’ questions are prevalent. Divergent paths in the problem space are followed by convergent thinking in the solution space towards an implementation iteration. What is, what if, what wows, and what works for this user?

Ideas, innovation, and culture are three dimensions to apply and fail at Design Thinking. Bosch shows examples of:

  • putting ideas of a perfect solution by taking our experience and our imagination as a guiding principle and risk designing for our users rather than ourselves.
  • claiming to know your customers. First-hand customer insights are critical for Design Thinking’s success. We often build on assumptions.
  • falling in love with an idea. Are your ideas solutions to users’ problems? Can you kill your darlings? Fall in love with your users.
  • not implementing the ideas by lack of ownership and execution power.
  • judging the new by old standards.
  • being chained in the system (organization, network). Not only spark innovation but give space for solutions to be implemented and improved.

Start, be prepared to fail at some points, avoid pitfalls and take Design Thinking as an open-ended journey to the future.

Shared Knowledge is Power – Building an Agile Project Management Community

Paul Jones (EMEA Project & Prog. Mgmt. Community Lead, Fujitsu) presents how the project management community at Fujitsu are empowered and stimulated to share knowledge and experience among each other. Loose projects to enable change by taking a more Agile approach instead of managing by command and control in the past, require different skill sets and can only thrive when lessons learned are passed onto next projects. Think for a moment of the impact the vision of ING Bank – my current assignment by the way – has on change and operations:

We came to the realization that, ultimately, we are a technology company operating in the financial services business (Peter Jacobs, ING Bank)

Paul Jones hints watching the ING Agile videos on Youtube. I have the opportunity to work in this environment every office hour, so I don’t need videos like this anymore 😉

The myriad of approaches and practices nowadays is overwhelming, shows the Deloitte blog and tube map Navigating the Agile Landscape. How to meet the challenge?

  • empower your people to drive the direction of your project management capability
  • utilize the combined knowledge and experience of your people
  • put in place a supportive environment to foster knowledge transfer
  • make knowledge-sharing part of the culture.

Fujitsu implemented this in their project management community using structured feedback, subject matter experts, communities of practice, internal social networks, personal learning, jumpstart sessions, external networks like PMI or the ecosystem with partners, sharing lessons as project stories (internal case studies), and professional memberships.

Knowledge and information are not the same things. It is the difference between know what and know how. You cannot reduce know how to information. People, not information, are key to knowledge, Jones quotes from Working Knowledge (2000).

Company size doesn’t matter. Learn from failures, embrace what works. Everyone has the opportunity to shape the community. How do you engage with your people? How do you foster knowledge?