International Project Management Day 2020: Better Together (1)

There’s nothing new about being together online this year. The 2020 International Project Management Day 2020 conference organized by IIL with this theme brought me several lessons that I want to pass on to you. Project management still is about collaboration, diversity, turning strategy into action. This is part 1.

Dr. Harold Kerzner – Keynote + Q&A: What Executives and Managers Need to Know about the Future of Project Management

Project management is now critical for business success in a VUCA world. Agile/Scrum has changed the way of how we look at project management. Agile methodologies for project management better help to implement strategic projects compared to the waterfall or traditional project management. Succession planning is necessary. The created business benefits and value determine project success. The classic iron triangle (scope – time – cost) is obsolete, as is which performance aspects could be fixed or flexible in a project. This should be familiar to any contemporary project manager that is exposed to modern project management methodologies such as PRINCE2.

Dr. Harold Kerzner (Senior Executive Director of IIL) unfortunately brought nothing new this year. He highlighted the tens of metrics that can be used, drawing from his 2019 book Innovation Project Management and the 2017 Project Management Metrics, Kpis, and Dashboards: A Guide to Measuring and Monitoring. The way we prioritize items on the work breakdown structure, report progress and earned value, and measure benefits, keeping an eye on a selection of criteria or metrics, is changing.

My question to Mr. Kerzner was left unanswered in the Q&A after his presentation. It’s a pity.

Ludwig Melik – The Innovative Portfolio Management Capability

Ludwig Melik is the CEO of Planbox, a leading provider of cloud-based AI-powered agile Innovation Management software. Project management capabilities can bring method to the madness, and foster innovation. The PMO is uniquely positioned to operationalize and serve as a center of innovation excellence for the entire organization.

How to track innovation? There are more types of work, e.g. opportunities, and intellectual property. We can influence building communities, celebrate failures, reward innovation, encourage diversity and inclusion, and foster everyday innovation. The ecosystem nowadays involves partners, contributors, academia, start-ups, next to suppliers, and users/customers.

There’s a major opportunity to leverage internal and external information to build insights. Innovation Portfolio Management should be considered as a core competency. Core areas to develop are strategy, culture, process, techniques, and metrics.

Otema Yirenkyi & Sunil Prashara (PMI)- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in The Project Economy

Project Management Institute (PMI)’s recognition of the project economy was the main message of CEO Sunil Prashara. Now, what about diversity & inclusion? Roughly 75% of PMI members stated in recent research that diversity, equity, and inclusion is a top priority in their organizations. Otema Yirenkyi was interviewed. The topic is personal. Members are challenged to practice across the world for a month. Lots of enthusiasm was shared on the PMI initiatives on this topic. And, yet the very first question after the keynote was how one can help PMI as a volunteer. In other words: a call to action was clearly missing in the presentation.

Michael O’Connor (Medtronic) – Innovation Project Management: A Practitioner’s Approach

O’Connor draws from Harold Kerzner’s Innovation Project Management book. PMI and IPMA should partner to establish standards for innovation project management. Marketing is key to the planning process for innovation. Scope and change control, leadership, stakeholder engagement, and practicing a culture of change, embracing risks, failure as learning opportunities, etc. Training is important on e.g. finance, innovation management, change management, video conference tools, and stakeholder management.

Four areas for success:

  1. know your strengths and weaknesses
  2. strength finder assessment
  3. soft skills
  4. communication

The presenter further explored two examples from a practitioner’s point of view.