In my new role as VP of Business Relationships, my goal is to foster mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships with educational institutions and organizations to support PMI New Jersey advance the profession of project management. My strategy will be two-fold - the sponsorship side and enhancing business relationships. In order to increase awareness of the many opportunities available through our chapter, I aim to build a strong team of account executives. To enhance our business relationships, I plan to expand our volunteer team to improve the management of our databases and create a strategy to encompass all customer touch points across the Chapter. My plans are to leverage the Chapter’s channels, such as our many existing databases and social media so we can optimize interactions from the customer’s perspective to foster customer loyalty. I also plan to develop processes to track, oversee, and organize transactions between our customers and PMINJ to deliver consistent customer experiences.
A relationship is one of those things you cannot measure, yet, like communications, we know how important it is in our professional and personal lives. I am pleased to have the privilege of building relationships with talented and ethical volunteers and sponsors and I look forward to solving many of the distinct challenges our chapter has and helping to shape the future in the area of business relationships. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts and I am honored to be part of this well-rounded and well-grounded Chapter. As our President, Judy Balaban, has said: “a Chapter with a heart as big” and Judy leads by example.
PMINJ's primary mission is to provide opportunities to
our membership to enhance their professional growth in the
field of Project Management. To ensure that we are
continually striving to meet that goal, we conduct a
Membership Survey every year to gauge our impact and level
of service. The results are in and both the feedback and
responses from the various departments have been gathered
and are included in summary below.
Career Opportunities, Networking & Vendor Selection
This was the set of questions from which we garnered the most responses and feedback. Some of the comments related to expanding the diversity of the vendors to consultants, recruiters, and the larger employers of PMs in New Jersey. Other comments suggested a career fair, job placement and expanded opportunities for the members of the PMIT group – both with networking and discounts on membership dues and programs.
In response to your feedback, the board is looking to make the following improvements in visibility, access, and increased opportunities:
Professional Growth & Millennial Outreach
We recognize that we need to work hard to attract and retain new members. To that end, in addition to our current Mentor program, which enables members to utilize the experience and knowledge of mentors in their professional lives, we will also offer a Guest Pass program in coordination with PMI Corporate. The Guest Pass program enables current PMI members to try out membership in their local chapter for free until the end of their PMI membership date. Additionally, we have begun increasing our social media presence to connect with all of our members and keep them informed of the trainings, programs, and opportunities available through PMINJ. A few survey participants requested that the newsletter be published on a monthly basis instead of every other month, but at this time, our staff does not have the resources to accomplish this, so it will remain with the publication frequency of six times a year.
Monthly Meeting Options
There were more than a few comments relating to the monthly meetings and events involving location, price, and requests for daytime meetings. In response to this, the board is looking into planning some daytime events, which may be run by members of our Project Managers in Transition team. These events would include Breakfast with Judy meetings, Lunch and Learns, and others where you would have the opportunity to meet the board members.
A few respondents expressed displeasure over the location
and cost of the monthly dinner meetings. Our current
Program Dinner meetings in the Main location have not seen
a price increase in over 10 years, despite rising costs,
by subsidizing approximately 40% of the costs after
sponsorship. Additionally, members have the opportunity to
join LCI activities before dinner, stop by the Membership
table to learn about volunteering and job opportunities,
and network with colleagues prior to and following the
presentation. The Programs team is always interested in
member suggestions for speakers, topics, or potential new
venues to maintain the balance of North/Central/South main
meeting locations and welcomes new ideas for programs that
will help members grow as successful project management
The entire PMINJ Board would like to thank all who participated in this survey and took the time to share your comments and feedback with us. In the coming year, we will endeavor to address the issues and suggestions you raised, and appreciate the positive feedback as well.
Judy Balaban, President of PMINJ, and Deven Trivedi, VP
Symposium, welcomed over 500 attendees to PMINJ's 29th
Annual Symposium held at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ on
May 4, 2015.
Vanessa Druskat kicked off the symposium with her keynote affirming the challenge of leadership in light of stress and the demands on our attention. Vanessa cited Social Psychology and Emotional Intelligence (EI) as key insights into this. EI begins with the way you manage yourself. We are in the emotion revolution! Vanessa referenced Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis' four categories of EI competency: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills. Affirming the Business Case for EI, Vanessa cited a study that showed how self-awareness builds a better work environment 92% of the time vs. non self-awareness which creates a negative environment 72% of the time.
Guy Burns' lunchtime keynote presentation reminded PMs that they are 100% responsible for their communications and as such, need to consider how different personalities communicate to achieve understanding. PMs need to be aware of how the different personalities they encounter receive and respond to information. Guy added fun to the challenge of deciphering communications and showed the value of diverse personalities on a team by affiliating personalities with animals. - a Lion prefers accomplishment, a Monkey appreciation, a Turtle accuracy and a Puppy, agreement.
Eric D Hieger presented the closing keynote and began his Change Leadership presentation by demonstrating that the pace of change has accelerated. Attempts to manage complexity can lead to more ambiguity; volatility is a natural progression and outcome. The new change leadership activates and sustains commitment in contrast with the more staid change management which implies control. “Organizations don’t change, people change."
The Symposium had three Tracks: Leadership, People Management and Knowledgebase.
More information about these amazing speakers and topics,
their presentations and recorded webinars will be
available on the website.
Our chapter was very fortunate to be given a vendor table at the Data Connectors Central New Jersey Tech-Security Conference on Thursday, March 12, at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. Linda Schaldonat, PMP, Tod Burrus, and John N. Tse, PMP, CSM, were on hand and took turns fielding questions and introducing several IT Security Managers and Professionals to our chapter benefits, many of whom knew very little or nothing at all about PMI.
For John, it was a reminder that PMI asks us to deliver a
consistent message when talking about the organization to
folks in this category. He shared the following
facts from the PMI Brand presentation:
There was a good turnout at the conference and many were
interested enough to provide us with their contact
information so that we can follow up with them. But
it wasn’t all newbies in the crowd - Sherree Cushner, PMP,
stopped by the table and confirmed the importance of her
PMI training to her most recent assignment at Johnson and
Johnson. She inherited a multi-year SAP project and
had no SAP experience. The project came in on time, within
budget and scope! Her team created a plan that is now
being used as a Gold Standard within J&J. We
were also pleasantly surprised to reconnect with Cindy
Cortell who delivered the presentation for the winner of
our chapter's 2009 Project of the Year Award! All
agreed it was a very successful outreach and it was
personally rewarding for our volunteers.
The Central New Jersey Tech-Security Conference featured 40-60 vendor exhibits and 8-12 educational speaker sessions discussing current tech-security issues such as cloud security, email and social media security, VoIP, LAN security, wireless security, USB drives security & more.
The keynote presentation for March’s monthly program was “Large Scale ERP Deployments Using Microsoft Project Portfolio Management Solution” presented by Alexander Rodov, PMP, MCTS, CSM, Managing Partner of Trusted IT Group and a distinguished Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. The presentation focused on Microsoft Project Server and how it extends the capabilities of Microsoft Project to further define complex scopes, analyze resource workloads, align corporate strategic drivers to project portfolio, increase stakeholder visibility, and make data-driven decisions.
Alex began with a basic overview of Project Server and
noted some key features. The project center feature
supports reports across an organization at the project
level by assigning Enterprise Custom Fields at the task,
project, and resource level to customize the Project
Server data. This benefit allows the managers to further
examine the project details. Another key feature is the
resource center which analyzes resource workloads by
project and resource. This allows organizations to
calculate future resource requirements and better manage
multiple workstreams. These combined features allow
for portfolio optimization by aligning each project
directly to a corporate driver and strategic objective.
Project Server also stores custom calendars, views, tables, filters, and fields and updates users to real-time data and allows teams to efficiently work together from virtually anywhere, especially work from home. Prior to the presentation, a Project Manager working primarily in Germany described the challenge of working within Germany’s work hour restriction of maximum 10 hour/day and 50 hour/week, especially when his business trips are only four days long and travel time can exceed 60% of the trip. After the presentation, he noted this feature of Project Server would definitely reduce that challenge. This feature also has the potential to improve productivity of work from home employees with more visibility for management.
Alex concluded the presentation with how project server integrates everything together with the “Ultimate Matrix Approach.” The principle of this approach is to deconstruct a large, complex objective down to multiple simple objectives that can be easily managed. The relationships and metrics of these simple objectives must then be setup according to resources, schedules, issues, risks, constraints, and especially external dependencies. The top three major reasons for failure of Enterprise Project Management solutions is due to discrepancies in scope, lack of stakeholder transparency, and efficient communication. This Ultimate Matrix Approach through Project Server addresses these issues and ensures successful ERP deployments.
Additional Information about this program including the presentation slides, pictures, and the webinar are available on the website.
Agile seems to be in the news a lot these days, and this
article will delve into some of the role and
responsibility differences between traditional and Agile
Traditional Project Managers are responsible for charters, resources, schedules, costs, scope, change control, communications, quality, risk and procurement. Frequently, they also prepare business requirements, presentations and any additional project information needs.
Agile shifts traditional project responsibilities to the team. For example, if a resource reassignment decision needs to be made, the team would decide and take action. At the moment, Scrum remains the most popular framework under the Agile umbrella. The Scrum Guide as authored by the co-founders, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland is available as a 16-page light read.
In Agile, Scrum, one of many agile practices, provides a framework for roles and responsibilities within the team. These roles are Product Owner (PO), Scrum Master and the Development Team.
The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for all business decisions to create the right product, at the right time and address competing priorities. The PO, who is not a committee, is available to the Development team to ensure decisions are made as quickly as possible.
The Scum Master is the team’s coach and ensures that they work together at a highly efficient level. The Scrum Master removes obstacles affecting the team, facilitates work sessions and handles some traditional project manager tasks including issues resolution and progress tracking. The Scrum Master is also responsible for the process and how efficiently it is used by the team to achieve the PO’s vision.
The Scrum Team is responsible for project management responsibilities that will deliver a quality product to the PO. In Agile, the entire Scrum Team welcomes changes to ensure product goals are met. They also make decisions on engineering practices, schedules, resources and technical strategies to achieve a high quality product. The Development Team are the worker bees who get the work done including programming, change requests, testing and other tasks.
While there is a “single wringable neck” i.e., the PO, the success of the initiative is truly shared by the entire Scrum Team, and not the responsibility of one person.
The ScrumAlliance and Scrum.Org are the only two credible certifying bodies in the world of Scrum. PMI has recently added the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) as a newer certification. The ACP, however, is broader and also requires professionals become familiar with other Agile practices such as Kanban, eXtreme Programming (XP), etc.
2015 PMI-ACP Exam Changes
In July 2015, the PMI-ACP exam will change based on a recent study involving Agilists from 60 countries.
If you have questions or need guidance on certification paths, please reach out to the Agile LCI Chairperson, Nitin Khanna, who served as a resource for this article, at . Nitin currently holds multiple certifications from various bodies, including PMI. He is a Scrum Coach and is familiar with bridging the gap between traditional Project Management and Agile practices. He is also familiar with scaling Scrum Teams via different formal approaches such as “Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)” or “Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)” and “Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)”.