Project Management Institute

All for one


This year's North America congress puts the spotlight on the economy—and how project managers can help kick-start the recovery.

by Carmen O’Donnell



What: PMI Global Congress 2009—North America

Where: Orlando, Florida, USA

When: 10-13 October 2009

DESPITE A SLIGHT GLIMMER OF improvement, the economic storm rages on. And project managers, especially in North America, are right in the middle of it. It's not the most comfortable of spots, but it does put them in a prime position to help their companies survive—and maybe even thrive.

Project managers will have a chance to discuss and dissect the threats and opportunities with their peers at PMI Global Congress 2009—North America from 10-13 October in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Not surprisingly, the economy is likely to take center stage, says Brian Finegan, PMP, a member of the Congress Project Action Team (CoPAT).

And many of the 150 sessions on offer are a direct reflection of the new reality, including The Strategic Value of PMOs in Turbulent Times—Ride the Wave to Recovery and Cutting Costs with a Scalpel, Not a Chainsaw: Maintaining Profitability in a Recession. Other sessions point to new tools and techniques, such as Project Management Mashups: Non-Traditional Approaches to Advanced Project Management and Reengineering the Triple Constraint for Global Competitiveness.

“The new economy has really affected the project management team. Bringing in programs on time, on schedule, meeting customers’ requirements and shareholders’ needs—it's critical,” says Mr. Finegan, program manager at Harris Corp., an IT company in Melbourne, Florida, USA.

The current economic uncertainty is prompting many project managers to shore up risk-mitigation plans, says CoPAT member Jennifer Carlisle, PMP, an independent consultant and managing director of Solutions by Design, Dallas, Texas, USA.

Companies are also prioritizing their project portfolios, she says, sometimes canceling or delaying efforts not considered vital to their immediate objectives.

Looking to gain insights into those challenges, Ms. Carlisle says she plans to attend sessions in the Project Management Tools and New Project Management Trends tracks.

She also expects sessions focusing on consulting to be a big draw. “This is an often overlooked area,” Ms. Carlisle says. “Being close to your customer and understanding their needs is absolutely critical to the success of your project, especially in these times.”

Even with all those valuable sessions, attendees should try to make networking an equal priority.

“You want to be in the right place with the right skills and contacts to take advantage of opportunities,” says CoPAT member Diane White, PMP, project manager at Verizon, Tampa, Florida, USA.


Advanced Project Management Skills

  • Project People: The Good, Bad and Ugly and What to Do with Them
  • Programs are Not Projects: Boosting Program Management Effectiveness
  • Deconstructing the Big Dig: Best Practices for Megaproject Cost Estimating

Project Management Foundation Skills

  • Top 5 Causes of Scope Creep…and What to Do About Them
  • So You're the New Project Manager?
  • Improve Your Crystal Ball: Using Agile Concepts in Project Planning


  • Do I Need to Learn Klingon? Closing the Communication Gap with Your Technical Team
  • Negotiating with Authority: The Art of the Deal
  • Movies Teach Project Management—“Tlking” to the “Txting Genraton”

New Project Management Trends

  • Agile, Innovation and the Project Manager
  • Selling the PMO to the CFO
  • Economic Crisis? Support Organizations, Promote Project Management

Project Management Tools

  • Project Scheduling in Large Organizations: Shifting the Culture
  • Best Practices and Tools for Lessons Learned

Industry-Specific Issues

  • Building a Cathedral—Managing Complexity in Megaprojects
  • How We Went From Zero Project Management to PMO Implementation—A Real-Life Story

Professional Development

  • Leadership Through Conflict: Grow and Advance Project Teams!
  • Change is Impossible Without Changing Your Mind

Sales/Marketing Skills

  • Ethics and the Virtual Project Manager
  • War Rooms & Open Spaces: Thinking Outside the Cubicle


  • Herding the Global Cats of a Successful PMO
  • Navigating Conflict on Agile Teams

General Business Skills

  • Project Risk Analysis: How to Make Better Choices in the Uncertain Times
  • Project Management to Leadership: Role of Emotional Intelligence


  • Project Teamwork and Social Networking Technologies: Fitting Task to Technology
  • The Research Is In: How Effective Can You Really Be in Your Organization?

Consulting Skills

  • Adapting Project Management to a Non-Project Organization


  • Managing the 2010 Census
  • Creating a Digital Fingerprint Archive for New York State Law Enforcement
  • Successes & Challenges in Managing Across Jurisdictions

Legendary oil and gas executive T. Boone Pickens will serve as the keynote speaker at this year's North America congress. Check out interviews with Mr. Pickens on and in the September issue of PMI Today.

And as in years past, there will be plenty of opportunities for project managers to mix and mingle at congress receptions, including the PMI Awards Ceremony and Reception. Recognizing work in the PMI components and the Educational Foundation, the ceremony culminates with the coveted PMI Project of the Year Award. After the big event, attendees head to the gala reception.

Of course, attendees should also take advantage of other more casual opportunities to network over coffee or during lunch in the exhibit hall.

“This is my first year attending the congress, but I have contacts from around the world that I’ve met at other PMI conferences,” Ms. White says. “I learn and share with these folks throughout the year.” PM

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