A changing business climate calls for a fresh take on project management— and PMI's North America congress offers a few tips on dealing with the new reality.
by Colleen H. Troupis
PMI Global Congress 2007–North America Preview
The same old way of conducting projects won't always work in today's brave, new business world.
To advance these days, people have to buck conventional wisdom, says Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D. Dubbed the ultimate business guru for the new millennium, he is scheduled to kick off the PMI Global Congress 2007—North America at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga., USA, on 6–9 October.
“A lot of what we find in the science is counterintuitive. There are a number of myths, for example, to dispel about how people learn to innovate, collaborate and exceed expectations,” says Dr. Cooper, author of The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life [Crown Business, 2001].
Chair of the strategic advisory firm Advanced Excellence Systems LLC in Ann Arbor, Mich., USA, Dr. Cooper has spent some 30 years studying leadership, achievement and project management.
“I define leadership as the act of making a difference and achieving priority results through people. Every project has the potential for a leadership break-through, hitting higher targets in half the time,” he says. “The newest, youngest hire on a project has the chance to make a difference, too. A lot of it is about taking the right initiative.”
Along with Dr. Cooper's keynote address, the congress will feature topical, firsthand presentations from the profession's leaders and doers. Topics range from “A PMP® [Holder] in Iraq: Lessons Learned from Training for a Military Mission in Iraq” to “Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater: How to Combine and Use Both Agile and Traditional Project Management Approaches.”
“Congress is an excellent opportunity to learn new tools, processes and methodologies,” says Randy Dunson, PMP, a three-year member of the North America Congress Project Action Team and president and principal of Equinox Consulting LLC in Hillsborough, N.C., USA. “It serves as a true learning platform for any level project manager.”
After a record-breaking turnout in Seattle, Wash., USA last year, organizers are expecting even more growth this year—and they're ready for it. For the first time at the North America congress, PMI is using a ticketing system designed to make it easier for attendees get into the presentations of their choice.
“When you register on the website, you can select the Areas of Focus sessions you want to attend,” says Gary Goldstein, manager of professional development for PMI. “You will be issued a ticket for that session. Up until the last five minutes before the session starts, only people with tickets can gain access to the session.”
The system does allow flexibility, letting attendees change their presentation choices in the days and weeks leading up to congress.
Attendees can earn up to 17 Professional Development Units (PDUs) at congress, and as many as 28 more at the SeminarsWorld® following congress. This year, there will be 31 SeminarsWorld sessions, which require separate registration.
Breakfast speakers, unique to the North America congress, include Alan Parisse, principal of The Parisse Group Inc., Boulder, Colo., USA, and Michael Staver, CEO of The Staver Group, Fernandina Beach, Fla., USA.
The PMI Standards Department will offer presentations on the Practice Standard for Scheduling and the Practice Standard for Project Configuration Management. In between all those sessions, attendees can visit the exhibit hall, filled with companies demonstrating new products and services. And the PMI booth will offer information on membership, certification and new PMI initiatives.
Time and again, networking has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of congress for attendees.
“The forte of a congress experience is the opportunity to network,” says Elena Brooks, manager of brand development for PMI. “We see it over and over, surveys coming back where the No. 1 aspect attendees enjoyed the most was the networking.”
With that in mind, PMI has made a concerted effort to increase the number of opportunities to mix and mingle during and even before congress. In the Meet Attendees area on the congress website, people can network with fellow attendees prior to the big event.
The congress starts off with PMI's Professional Awards Ceremony, which culminates with the announcement of the coveted PMI Project of the Year Award. The ceremony also recognizes work in the PMI components and the Educational Foundation. A gala reception in the honor of the awardees immediately follows the ceremony.
Throughout congress, there are several formal evening networking events, along with more casual opportunities for attendees to connect during breakfast and lunch on the floor of the exhibit hall.
“Even though our congresses are regionally based, we draw from an international pool of professionals,” Ms. Brooks says. “Many of the people who are coming work for multinationals or are consultants, so in today's environment, those connections are important.” PM
Colleen H. Troupis is a freelance writer based in Chicago, Ill., USA. She previously served as associate managing editor for PM Network.
pick & choose This year's congress lineup includes:
Project Management Foundation Skills
* Developing and Elaborating Effective Work Breakdown Structures
Advanced Project Management Skills
* Executive Guide to Strategic Portfolio Management: Road-map for Closing the Gap Between Strategy and Results
* PMO Leadership: A Catalyst for Accelerating Growth Within the Information Technology Project Management Office
Project Management Tools
* The Toolbox for Faster Projects and Awesome Products
Project Management Issues
* Success Strategies for the Female Project Leader
* A PMP® [Holder] in Iraq: Lessons Learned from Training for a Military Mission in Iraq
New Project Management Trend
* A Project Business Management Methodology Model: Provides the Power of Enterprise-Wide Project Management
* Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater: How to Combine and Use Both Agile and Traditional Project Management Approaches
* Monty Python and the Holy E-Mail Grail: What Movies Can Teach Us About Project Communications Best Practices
* Managing Virtual Teams for High Performance
General Business Skills
* The Six Unspoken Habits of Highly Effective Program Managers
* How to Promote Your [Project Management] Talent and Expertise
* “Oh No, You Gave Me What I Asked For!”: Using Consulting Skills to Uncover Expectations
* You've Trained Your Staff in Project Management— Now What?
* Is Project Manager the New Buzzword in the Political Campaign World?
* Managing Change in Healthcare Information Technology Projects
PM NETWORK | AUGUST 2007 | WWW.PMI.ORG
PMI research shows project teams that draw from an array of perspectives and skillsets deliver powerful outcomes.