PMI Chapter Xchange: A PMI Chapter Collaboration Initiative

Article by Priya Patra, Vice President Outreach, PMI Mumbai Chapter

What goes into building a multicultural, diverse and global virtual community of leaders?

For the outreach team at the PMI Mumbai Chapter, it is about embracing differences to build collective strength. To learn more about this journey, we begin in April 2020.

As the entire world went into lockdown with wide restrictions on borders, a group of chapter leaders came together to build a community—a community without borders across continents, cultures and countries. With this idea in mind, the PMI Chapter Xchange program was incepted. The PMI Chapter Xchange initiative is about collaboration, providing a virtual collaboration platform for chapter leaders and members to connect, collaborate and co-create. The initiative aims to co-create events that bring diverse perspectives to chapter members, spurring networking and collaboration opportunities.

Each event is a four-week project, with a collaborative strategy to:

  1. Select topics that resonate with members
  2. Identify subject matter experts (SMEs) from diverse domains
  3. Drive participation
  4. Provide a unique experience to members
  5. Include retrospection for continuous improvement

The event is just an outcome of this amazing journey that includes four weeks of connecting, collaborating and co-creating—it is the journey that makes it so special.

The PMI Chapter Xchange initiative includes 19 chapters, spanning across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America on this platform. The group meets each month to discuss and deliberate on a single topic with thought leaders across the globe. Yes, it is one topic, but the diverse views across continents make the discussions unique and lively. To date, the group has conducted 11 events with thousands of attendees across over 50 countries.

The last event on artificial intelligence (AI) and project management saw 1,017 registrations from 56 countries.

The panel discussion started with Saby Wairaich, who popped the million-dollar question: “Is AI going to take over our jobs?” A quick poll revealed that 80% of the audience did not think it will, with 20% still holding some concerns, which is not surprising.

Now, if we are to survive, what would be the skills required? Another poll provided the following top skills as possibilities: communication, emotional intelligence (EI), empathy and problem solving.

What did the panelists say?

VasudevaN. G. highlighted that the audience was spot on: AI will provide insight, and project management will communicate that insight.

Abraham Kuuku Sam, PMP, said that adaptability is critical: It is time to learn, unlearn and relearn. We, as project managers, should motivate the team to take up higher roles and creative work.

RegianeRelva Romano agreed to the above, but also pointed out a critical aspect: that the need to be ethical is of utmost importance, or else humanity will be in trouble.

Will AI change project management? The obvious answer is yes. AI can resolve issues and deliver predictability in project management. AI can eliminate repetitive work, analyze complex data and uncover patterns that can improve efficiency.

Vasudeva N. G. highlighted that AI will change project management and project management functions. Project managers will need to transform into leaders and act as catalysts to integrate AI into new practices and processes for effectiveness.

What is the right approach to AI use cases? The panelists emphasized that technology is a means, not the end. All AI use cases should initially start with a proof of concept (PoC), and continue as a journey to evolve with customers and stakeholders.

When asked what the future looks like for project managers in the AI world, Abraham Kuuka Sam introduced the concept of AI in every field, stating that all digitalization will have AI, and thus lead to projects; therefore, project managers should be tech-savvy. AI and project management go hand-in-hand and will coexist, so project managers should have the skills to handle AI. As for who will teach AI? A skilled project manager, said Vasudeva N. G.

Since AI will be a part of everything going forward, project managers, as leaders, will need to learn, unlearn and relearn continuously to be effective in the AI world.

As for the the pitfalls of AI, all of the panelists agreed that policy standards are required for data privacy, security, bias, and last but not least, ethics, since humans need to be ethical to avoid misusing the power of AI.

When asked about tips and wise thoughts for attendees to take with them, the panelists offered:

  • Abraham Kuuka Sam: Be adaptable, and continue to learn, unlearn and relearn.
  • Vasudeva N. G.: Have the right skills to manage AI.
  • Regiane Relva Romano: Be ethical.

With that, event 11 of the PMI Chapter Xchange program closed, with the promise to be back again in July with yet another trending topic with diverse viewpoints and loads of learning opportunities.

Missed the event? Watch the recording here.

Chapter Exchange
PMI Chapters Collaboration Initiative Monthly Online Event
PMI Mumbai Chapter Zoom Meeting

Want to know more about the PMI Chapter Xchange program? Visit the outreach corner here.

If you are a chapter leader and wish to get involved in the PMI Chapter Xchange program, join its community on the Chapter Collaboration Platform here.