Project Management Institute

Meeting ground

BY KELLEY HUNSBERGER

PMI GLOBALCONGRESS 2008—LATIN AMERICA PREVIEW

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AS BRAZIL'S LARGEST CITY and a global economic powerhouse, São Paulo is a hotbed of project activity—and a great location for PMI's Latin America congress.

“I think this congress will be one of the largest in the region, because of the [location] and because Brazilians are very committed to PMI,” says Laura Pedretti, PMP, director of PMC College and Consulting, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Congress Project Action Team (CoPAT) member for the event. “Brazil has several chapters and the largest amount of [PMI] members in Latin America.”

The event also gives São Paulo a world stage to show off the strides it has made in project management. “Our professionals are well-prepared and are creative, our economy is more stable than ever and our labor costs are still acceptable,” says Luis Augusto dos Santos, PMP, president of the PMI São Paulo Chapter, a CoPAT member and a consulting associate at PGP5 in São Paulo.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Project professionals heading to São Paulo for congress will hear from leading consultants, educators and practitioners from inside and outside the region. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including advanced project management, communications, consulting and new project management trends. And of course, there will be plenty of talk about the country's ongoing initiatives.

» CONGRESS QUICK TAKE

What PMI Global Congress 2008—Latin America

When 11–13 August

Where São Paulo, Brazil Grand Hyatt São Paulo

“Brazil has the opportunity to share with the community some of their most important and exciting projects in the region,” Ms. Pedretti says. “I have participated in every Latin American congress, and I hope this will be one of the most interesting.”

2 0 0 8 – L A T I N A M E R I C A P R E V I E W

The Latin America gathering is also the only PMI congress with sessions offered in three language tracks: Spanish, Portuguese and English.

But the learning process shouldn't end with congress. Latin American companies are looking for practitioners who continue to train themselves, Ms. Pedretti says.

“Regardless of the individual initiatives, companies nowadays are demanding this education, which is much more important for our profession,” she says. “For a long time, IT companies required these kind of courses, but today the requirements come from industries such as petroleum, energy, retail, laboratories, etc.”

MAKE IT PERSONAL

One of the biggest benefits of congress can be the people you meet—especially in Latin America. “Networking in Latin America is important because we take into account the personal relationship and after that the professional,” says Mr. dos Santos.

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For more information, or to register for the PMI Global Congress 2008—Latin America, visit congresses.pmi.org

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Our professionals are well-prepared and are creative, our economy is more stable than ever and our labor costs are still acceptable.

—Luis Augusto dos Santos, PMP, PGP5, São Paulo, Brazil

The congress will offer several opportunities to make these connections, including nightly receptions that celebrate the city's food and culture. Attendees can also mix and mingle in the exhibit hall, where they can check out the latest products.

Those congress-goers anxious to make the most of the networking can get a head-start. After you register, go to the Meet Attendees section of the congress website. There you can search—and then contact—attendees by name, PMI Specific Interest Group, company or area of expertise.

“Apart from being a good opportunity to share the development of important subjects about project management,” adds Ms. Pedretti, “congress is a unique environment for networking and exchanging experiences with other professionals.” PM

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ON THE BOOKS

The father-and-son engineering firm of Team Ghilotti Inc. officially launched in April 2007—and business immediately took off. For the first two months, the 11-member staff tried to manually manage the project work coming in. But that soon proved impossible.

“We were a startup and had nothing in place,” says Paul Donaldson, the company's general manager.

To streamline its expanding project and accounting information, Team Ghilotti implemented Maxwell Systems' American Contractor, a business management software solution designed for the construction industry.

Team Ghilotti began with the basic features, including accounts payable and accounts receivable. These two functions link the general ledger, job costing, service management, materials handling, equipment costing and subcontractor information. And that lets the company create invoices, track receivables, and post debits and credits.

“When it came to creating budgets and cost codes to match billing items, it allowed us to get caught up on job costing with detail relatively quickly,” Mr. Donaldson says.

In addition, the company uses the payroll feature to automatically produce prevailing wage reports while calculating earnings, benefits, taxes and insurance liabilities. The software also tracks hours worked, paid time off, workers' compensation and 401(k) contributions.

“With American Contractor, we are setting controls for and reporting on our job costs,” Mr. Donaldson says. “We have cleaner financials and we have better access to detailed data for managing costs.”

TEAM GHILOTTI INC., PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, USA

Challenge: Manage project data at start-up firm

Solution: American Contractor, Maxwell Systems, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA www.maxwellsystems.com

ROI: Greater access to detailed data for managing costs

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IN ACTION

There was one small problem with the action items that came out of meetings at technology provider BlueLock. They didn't result in much action.

“Our executive meetings had a .doc file that would be updated weekly to show new and old items and what was to be done and by whom,” says John Qualls, CEO of BlueLock. “Everyone liked the summary, but had to dig to find what items they owed and when. We kept having issues with ‘I forgot to write that down’ or ‘We may have discussed it, but it didn't make the updated file, so I didn't get it done.’”

The problem spanned the organization, from internal team meetings to external prospect presentations. The company was also having difficulty creating accountability for deliverables—which translated to a drop in sales and new business.

In mid-2007, Mr. Qualls implemented MeetingSense software and says he was immediately impressed by the measurable benefits the tool brought to his organization, including “clearer communication, better follow-up and more professional perception of communications.”

He estimates the software has cut the time he spends in meetings by 15 percent and expects it to provide close to $20,000 in annual productivity gains in the first year of use.

That competitive edge was confirmed by a prospective client who praised BlueLock's sales efficiency, Mr. Qualls says. “They told us, ‘You moved this project farther in 24 hours than the eight weeks and multiple meetings we had with your competitor.’”

BlueLock LLC, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, USA

Challenge: Manage meeting data and deliverables more efficiently

Solution: MeetingSense, MeetingSense Software Corp., San Diego, California, USA www.meetingsense.com

ROI: Decreased meeting times, reduced miscommunication and increased productivity

TO SUBMIT INFORMATION ON A NEW PROJECT MANAGEMENT PRODUCT OR CASE HISTORY, SEND RELEASES TO PMNETWORK@IMAGINEPUB.COM AND PMIADS@TOWNSEND-GROUP.COM. PM NETWORK EDITS SUBMISSIONS FOR CLARITY AND STYLE. APPEARANCE IN PM NETWORK DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

PM NETWORK JUNE 2008 WWW.PMI.ORG
JUNE 2008 PM NETWORK

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