Let’s Rethink! Insights from the PMI Lithuania Conference

5–6 November 2020

This year, like never before, we have faced challenges in all areas—and project management is not an exception. Nevertheless, the PMI Lithuania Conference 2020: Let’s Rethink! focused on the basic trends project managers are now facing, rather than the pandemic issues. The PMI Lithuania Chapter set out to share insights on trending guidelines for project management and lessons learned from the private sector, while giving a glimpse of our future.

“There is no magic hammer for project management,” said Ian Sharpe, associate director of Western Sydney University. His quote refers to the key event topic, which was the interoperability between project management methodologies and tools. The discussion centered around the debate of whether one project management methodology is better than another. And every speaker confirmed that this depends on the project and each specific situation. A project manager must be professional enough to make decisions and apply the right methodology to make the necessary changes, even if the project is in the execution stage. This idea is strongly confirmed by Scott Ambler, chief scientist of PMI Disciplined Agile, who says that teams should choose a life cycle that fits their context.

Talking about lessons learned and referring to the speakers representing the private sector, the focus was on the importance of the project manager’s role. Danutė Ivanauskaitė-Levišauskienė, head of Baltics Portfolio and Project Management at SEB Baltics, shared her experiences with implementing complex projects, which could be compared to repairing aircraft engines while in flight. The “Big Bang“ rollout approach was applied to a large project with many interdependencies, requiring a change of 20 systems over one weekend by migrating and transforming data and ensuring all the verifications were in order and ready for client use at the start of the work week. And this was all accomplished with the support that SEB management gave to the program and project managers.

Evaluating what has been said above, what insights can we gain regarding the future role of project managers? Claire Rutkowski, chief information officer at Bentley Systems, says that project managers’ roles are no longer just about managing the triple constraints. The expectations are much further beyond that. Rutkowski encouraged us to take a change agent role, build networks across the company and think about what is out there beyond project management.

“Continuously adjusting,” said Al Zeitoun, PhD, future innovation strategist, during his presentation “is key and beyond project managers’ role. Humans 3.0 will have to develop the proper mindset to adapt in tomorrow’s innovative organizations.”

Let’s rethink! That was an invitation to event participants to encourage practitioners to rethink their project management style, lifestyle, goals and whatever else they might need. One of the outstanding keynote speakers was Martynas Gedminas , an emergency medicine physician, who gave some tips and tricks for the project management community to make their work more successful. Some takeaways include: Do not ignore mistakes; multitasking leads to mistakes; attention is key to success; get flexible; keep your memory transparent; invest in mind-building activities; and encourage playfulness.

Finally, the event offered the opportunity to gain insight into trends in project management tools by providing a platform to meet service providers and company decision makers in one place.

These days, virtual work and life situations challenge us but also give us more flexibility and opportunities. The rich content of the two-day PMI Lithuania Conference was made possible by technology and people who are committed to the project management profession. Please watch a short video of the conference at PMI LITHUANIA 2020, and stay tuned for more PMI Lithuania Chapter activities!

Inga Ablingienė, PMP
Vice President, PMI Lithuania Chapter
13 December 2020