PMI Southwest Virginia Chapter

2019 Symposium Abstracts

Reach New Peaks with Project Management

  1. Opening Keynote: “Help for the Crazy Busy”  (Top Rated Keynote (won best keynote at last three annual association conferences))
    • One of the most consistent concerns expressed to us by professionals and teams around the world is this: We don’t have enough time!
    • The stress of having too much to do and not enough time to do it is overwhelming.  In this interactive session, Andy Kaufman, PMP shares practical lessons to help you get a better handle on what it takes to more successfully manage your time and commitments.  Topics include understanding the role of taking care of yourself (including getting more sleep and exercise), factors that drive procrastination (and strategies to overcome them that will help you manage your time and projects), ways to say No without saying “No”, and strategies to manage interruptions.  Andy shares specific strategies to help you get more control over your time with less things falling through the cracks, allowing you to focus on the most important priorities.  Participants leave with a helpful list of books and other resources to continue learning after the session.
    • As a result of this keynote, your participants will be able to:
      1. Explain how sleep, exercise, and diet directly impact their ability to better manage their time and commitments
      2. Describe research-based strategies to battle procrastination
      3. Implement practical skills to stay focused on their top priorities
      4. Describe strategies that say “No” to commitments they should not be making, even  when there’s social pressure to say “Yes”
  2. Closing Keynote:
  3. Breakout Session: Applying Six Sigma to Project Management, Heather Bass
    1. If you or your organization is focused on continuous improvement, integrating Six Sigma techniques with the project management methodologies is the way to go.  Project management works better for a one-time implementation of a new process rather than continually improving an existing process or building a process that can sustain once the project closes.  Six Sigma makes a long-term commitment to a process, and it requires commitment from the project teams that practice it.  This workshop will help you better understand Sig Sigma techniques and how you can blend these with your project management methodologies. We will focus on the positive impacts generated against Scope, Time, Cost and Quality but also discuss the risks that can be involved.
      You do not have to be a black belt to make positive impacts to your project or organization! Join Heather to understand more around the Power of Kaizen, which it’s notion is that everyone, regardless of age or station, should strive to improve every day. Each facet of your life can get better, the Kaizen philosophy argues, even if it’s just subtle improvements here and there. Those subtle improvements, however, can create massive change over time.
  4. Breakout Session: I'm a Project Manager! Now What?
    1. A phrase many project managers use to describe themselves is an accidental project manager. Many didn’t plan on becoming one, didn’t study it in college, or weren’t fully aware of just what being a project manager entailed. Yet these are some of the most successful project managers out there! If you are new to the profession, have some uncertainty about what comes next, or just don’t feel prepared to lead projects, this session is for you. We’ll explore these first steps in your journey as a project manager and discuss ways to navigate the myriad methods, tools, and processes at a project manager’s disposal.
  5. Breakout Session: SAFe, Rob Sanchez
    1. Learn about the current state of Agile and the potential that Enterprise Agile Frameworks, particularly the Scaled Agile Framework (or SAFe), provide to help transform businesses.
    2. Imagine telling your CEO that you know how to work with her (or him) to transform the organization so that you have:
      a. Predictable IT costs
      b. A true business driven prioritization process
      c. The ability to change requirements “almost” whenever stakeholders want
      d. 25%-50% more valuable software being delivered than today at the same cost
      e. Fewer defects and no runaway projects
      f. Confidence about which technology changes will be delivered at the start of each quarter
      g. Increased employee engagement
      h. And NO MORE FINGER POINTING between business units & IT teams
    3. These outcomes are possible if you successfully implement SAFe within your organization. The key word here being “successfully”.
  6. Breakout Session: Allen Tuggle
    1. Learn to reduce the time it takes to deliver your product by maximizing the amount of work not done, while also increasing the value of the product you are offering. Find out what role Agile has in the world of "fail fast, fail often" - how we can utilize feedback loops, retrospectives, & planning meetings to help with failing fast.
    2. Key Takeaways will include:
      1. How you are already failing fast
      2. How to fail fast on purpose (planning to fail fast)
      3. What role feedback loops play in moving more quickly 
  7. Breakout Session: Why Bad Projects are So Hard to Kill, Mike O'Brochta
    1. Bad projects abound, and research by PMI and others has provided useful insight into the underlying causes of bad projects. This presentation looks beyond why projects go bad into why bad projects are so hard to kill. It explains how sunk cost, groupthink, escalation of commitment, and conflicts of interest contribute to keeping death march projects needlessly alive. Each of these behaviors is defined and illustrated using project stories from history (the sinking of the Titanic and the Concord jetliner), project stories from the author's own personal experience climbing some of the world's tallest mountains (McKinley, Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro), and project stories from business (Abilene Paradox and industry-funded soda studies). Some recently published research about the neural science underlying these behaviors is referenced. The impact of these behaviors is described and then linked to the undercutting of ethics, trust, leadership, and project success. A list of actions is provided that project managers can take to help avoid being victimized by bad projects. This topic has trended at the top on
  8. Breakout Session: Creating a Culture of Engagement, Andy Kaufman
    1. The statistics on employee engagement are staggering. The reality is that many of us are leading projects with team members and other stakeholders who are leaving a lot of discretionary effort left on the table. How do we keep our teams engaged when we increasingly don't have positional power over them? How do we influence engagement without authority? In this highly interactive breakout session, Andy Kaufman shares practical ideas to foster a culture of engagement among our teams and stakeholders. You'll leave with specific, evidence-based approaches that you can start to apply right away with your teams.
    2. As a result of this keynote, your participants will be able to:
      1. Describe the elements of culture as defined by MIT Fellow Dr. Ed Schein
      2. Identify some of the written and unwritten rules about how their organizations engage team members
      3. Describe why engagement is not just enjoyment
      4. Explain some specific strategies that can improve employee engagement on their teams 
  9. Breakout Session: What do you MEME meeting facilitation?
    1. When was the last time you left a meeting and walked away with a positive feeling, and you knew exactly what to do next and you could say with certainty that that meeting was necessary and accomplished what it needed to? Right, I think we all have one or maybe two meetings where we have walked away thinking this. Why is that?? Meeting facilitation is hard, it takes a lot of prep work and reflection on those running the meeting. Kristen will use her experience and some funny memes to deep dive effective meeting facilitation. Additionally, you will practice and walk away with some hands-on tips to start using next week at work.

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Updated Oct 9th, 2019

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