On behalf of PMINJ, welcome to the 2015-2016 Program Year!
I am honored and delighted to have been re-elected as
your Vice President of Programs. The Programs Team
is responsible for fulfilling members’ professional
development needs by delivering Monthly Program Meetings
to PMINJ members throughout the state, conducting PM
Workshops, and organizing other special member events.
Program meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month from September through November and January through June. An exception in 2015 is the September meeting, which will be held on Thursday September 17, after the Jewish holidays.
Monthly Meetings are a great opportunity for members to network, catch up on Chapter news, and hear speaker presentations on timely project management topics while earning 1.5 PDU's per event. In addition to a live speaker presentation, the Main Meeting Location features a buffet dinner at one of several different locations, with multiple LCI pre-meeting activities, a Membership Kiosk with Volunteer and External Job Postings, a Sponsor Table, and lots of lively conversation.
PMINJ members who can’t attend meetings at the Main
location due to time and distance constraints can still
join in via webcast at one of over 15 different
satellite locations around the state. Attendance
at satellite locations is free for PMINJ Chapter
members, thanks to Satellite Leaders who coordinate
logistics with host corporations such as Prudential,
SAIC, Alcatel-Lucent, Verizon Wireless, DeVry
University, CSC, TD Bank, PSEG, Deloitte, and Selective
Insurance, just to name a few.
After a successful pre-dinner-meeting “Meet the Board” event in May, PMINJ conducted a special set of summer morning programs for members to attend a free “Breakfast with a Board Member.” The meetings gave members a chance to ask Board members questions directly and to provide input on how the Chapter can better serve members’ needs, and PMINJ plans to hold similar events in the future.
For those who are looking for other professional development opportunities on special Project Management topics, the Programs Workshops Team presents half-day and full-day workshops throughout the year, based on members’ input. Recent events have included topics on Agile, Risk Management, and Strategic Project Management Transformation. A second half-day Risk Management workshop is scheduled for October 17.
The Programs Team’s mission is to meet PMINJ members’
professional development needs, so if you have ideas for
a speaker, a workshop, a new satellite location, or
other Programs possibilities, please join us or contact
me with your suggestions
By Jerry Flach and John Bufe
Join the PMINJ team on November 5, 2015, in Somerset to celebrate 33 years of dedicated service to PMI, PMs, and NJ communities. This will be the tenth IPM Day Seminar held at the elegant Palace in Somerset, NJ.
Dave Sherman, best-selling author and expert in Schmooze, will kick-off this year’s IPM day. Dave will be your guide to discovering the art of networking for personal and business success. Next on the agenda is Enterprise Technologist, Amit Panchal, with expertise in Competitive Strategy. Amit will share case studies from his cloud transformation experiences to illustrate the drivers of a successful global IT initiative and pitfalls to avoid, expanding on lessons learned. Shobhna Raghupathy, MS, PMP, a Global Strategy and Project Portfolio Management consultant, will share her wisdom on the 21st century leadership that’s required to build and manage a high-performing and diverse, networked workforce. Shobhna will offer strategies for building bridges of understanding and collaboration.
In response to past attendee feedback, PMINJ will be offering two afternoon workshops. Professional public speaker Vitaliy Fursov, PMP, will provide attendees with collectively developed and individually customized tools to help develop healthy working relationships toward authentic 'win-win' thinking and desired results across a variety of situations. The second workshop will be led by award-winning Human Resources professional, Abby Kohut. Abby will reveal the secrets of success in the ‘hidden job market,’ and how to differentiate yourself from others so people will remember you.
Networking opportunities abound on IPM Day! Join fellow PM’s as we extend our Project Management expertise, connect with each other and service providers to continue building personal and shared excellence in project management and earn PDU’s. PMINJ’s IPM Day is consistently a sold-out event; register today! See more on the website.
The results are being used by the Board to plan a
career fair to help our members with their career
transitions. We will publish additional details in
a few months. If you would like to assist with the
planning, send an email to
Early in 2015 the PMINJ board turned its
focus to increasing the monthly member attendance at the
satellite locations. Snehal Patel, a member of the
PMIT (Project Managers in Transition) team stepped up to
head this project. Elaine Tanimura assumed the role of
project sponsor, and worked with Lisa Blake, Mark Barash
and John Bufe. They felt that in addition to the satellite
coordinators' efforts, a more direct action was needed to
improve attendance and involvement of current PMINJ
members. The team also wanted to highlight to all members
that they have the opportunity to attend monthly meetings
at convenient satellite locations – this could mean close
to home, close to work, or somewhere in between.
Once the objectives were agreed upon, the next challenges were which satellite locations to select for the pilot project, how to identify members who either live or work near these satellite locations, how to reach them, how many times to contact them for each event, when to reach them, and lastly, how to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.
Nora Leary suggested reaching out to members via email, and the project team agreed to use emails as the primary tool reminding members about the opportunity to participate, interact and earn 1.5 PDU's for attending. The emails would be sent two times before each event.
The following were the outcomes of the three email campaigns:
Intangible (most important):
Stacy Kornhauser, New Providence satellite Team Leader, specifically commented that she noticed and appreciates increased attendance.
Tangible (most important too):
Additional emails sent out prior to event dates definitely help remind members about location, date of the event and the topic. Also, email campaigns by nature are more effective with larger audiences. This is evident by looking at the numbers for April, May and June for the Pilot Locations (highlighted in yellow).
During the months of July and August, several of the Board
members had the distinct pleasure to share breakfast with
our members. The events were scheduled in different
geographical locations to provide an opportunity for our
members to attend a location close to their home or
work. These gatherings were designed to learn what our
members need from the chapter and share information with
them about what we do provide and what we are planning for
The one recurring theme present in all of the meetings was the desire to obtain assistance with career transition. Members are looking for PMINJ to provide assistance to negotiate the job market as well as the ability to enhance their careers. During the sessions attendees learned that we currently provide:
PMINJ also provides opportunities to earn PDU's in the
Some of the new members who attended were interested in our
events, but unaware of them. They also demonstrated interest
in joint meetings with other professional organizations, and
also becoming aware of who's who at the meetings. Some
attendees were also unaware of the PMINJ LinkedIn and
Facebook groups which we utilize to share information
The Board will be using the comments from the breakfast meetings to formulate our tactical plans. We appreciate all your comments and feedback.
The purpose of the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program is to help certified project practitioners grow and develop within the profession. As employer business requirements change, the CCR Program will change to keep up with new skills in demand. On December 1, 2015, the CCR program will change. An outline of the program updates is provided below with links to the PMI website for more detailed information.
The PMI Talent Triangle highlights key components including technical, leadership, strategic and business management skills demanded by businesses today. The CCR Program updates were designed to ensure certified project practitioners re-focus their training in these areas. Employers expect certified practitioners to have leadership, business intelligence and business management skills to deliver project initiatives that contribute to strategic goals with bottom line results.
Career development for certified project practitioners is on-going. The CCR Program changes will require a different approach as you plan for re-certification. Click What does this mean for you? to understand how the program changes will help you stay relevant in a globally changing business environment.
The CCR Program framework will not change. Project practitioners will continue to earn PDU’s in the Education and Giving Back categories for a total of 60 PDU’s. The key change is how PDU’s in each category will be classified. Here is a high-level summary of the classification changes:
When you meet the PDU minimum in each
classification, the remaining units can be applied to
any of the three classifications.
To review all the program change details, click Know the Details. It is also important to understand how the timing of the Program changes will affect you. Click Certification Renewal Dates for timing information and the CCR Program FAQ’s to review any questions you may have. You can also view a webinar on the CCR Program changes.
Almost all local non-profits – a food pantry or animal shelter, for example, hold fundraisers to augment donations and raise awareness in the community. The larger events can require three months to a year to plan and prepare and a number of committees to execute. Large, successful fundraisers are not just about luck and hard work – they’re also about planning and coordination. This is where Project Management concepts come in handy, because a fundraiser is effectively, a project.
In most cases, a four-level deep Microsoft Project Gantt chart would be overkill for a local non-profit’s fundraiser, as would mapping BCWP for Earned Value Management, or calculating ROI or IRR. But with firm deadlines, tight budgets, and time-constrained volunteers, fundraisers are indeed projects that can benefit from the judicious application of any number of Project Management concepts.
As an example, I volunteered through the PMINJ chapter as the Media Coordinator for the Franklin Food Bank's Tour de Franklin bike ride fundraiser. It is the Food Bank’s largest annual event, attracting over 600 people to raise over $60,000, and requiring a solid four months of planning and preparation. My committee consisted of just me with help from the Chairperson, but had a long list of potential public relations tasks. Given the situation, these are the Project Management concepts I chose to apply:
In a typical non-profit fundraising effort, there is always more to do than time and resources allow. Establishing scope sets expectations, both for yourself and your team. It also allows the event Chairperson to focus your committee’s efforts where they feel they will be most valuable. In the Media effort, scope was defined as developing and distributing press releases to media outlets in the targeted geography. The following year, extra bandwidth was used to establish a Social Media presence.
Develop a Plan:
A simple plan stating objectives, tasks, resources, and schedule of time required provides a vehicle for consensus and gives the effort structure. Everyone knows (approximately) what will happen, when. In the Tour de Franklin Marketing Plan, I provided a timeline for waves of distributing the press releases. The Chair had an opportunity to provide feedback in the beginning, and had a good understanding of when the Media activities would occur.
Create a Communication Plan:
Fundraising teams are often dispersed, and sometimes I would not meet with the larger team for a few weeks. I made a point of sending out a status email to the chairperson every two weeks and also after distributing a press release. The simple communication plan tied me into the larger group and helped create cohesion.
Often there aren’t enough volunteers, so there is a need to sign-up for multiple tasks and tackle them one by one.
Monitor and Control Along the Way:
A fundraising event has one shot at success, so monitoring frequently during execution in the months leading up to it is critical. There probably won't be a need to calculate BCPS, but a good spreadsheet is useful. Reflecting rapid industry changes, some Tour de Franklin media contacts disappeared, and the first rounds of press releases were fruitless. We wouldn’t have known to expand the contact efforts if I wasn’t monitoring the web hits.
Take Time for Closeout:
Volunteers come and go. Make “the book” of vital information that someone can pick-up and work with next time.
It may not seem like much, but a light application of these Project Management concepts contributed to the success of the Tour de Franklin, and helped the Franklin Food Bank fight hunger in the local community. There are lots of other local non-profits with large fundraisers that could benefit from these and other Project Management concepts.
You have the skills and you know the concepts, so what are you waiting for? Go find a non-profit, and do something you know to do something good!
Why “Agile “Opinions”? Many Project and Program Managers new to agile frameworks / methodologies [e.g., Scrum, Kanban] tend to think that they have very prescriptive and clear-cut approaches to all or most aspects of implementation. However, the reality is that the basic frameworks for Scrum and Kanban are quite simple and relatively non-prescriptive, particularly as compared to standard PMI / PMBOK teachings.
Instead, it is the agile teachings of
various groups created to support and promote these
methodologies that tend to dive into prescriptive
details, and even among the most senior members of
such groups (e.g., the Scrum Alliance;
the Agile Alliance,
etc.), there is much disagreement of the “right”
details to follow. And so – more often than not
- it is a “matter of opinion” which drives the
thinking behind the arguments you can read in these
Agile “Purists” and Agile “Pragmatists” - What Are They?
One of the longer-running areas of disagreement is seen in exchanges on various agile blogs and forums between agile “Purists” and agile “Pragmatists.”
It’s fair to state that there isn’t any
one definition of an agile “Purist” or an agile
“Pragmatist.” For the purposes of this article, I’ll
define them as follows:
So What Is the War and Why Should You
The “war” is simply this:
The good news is that both perspectives can provide value and useful service – and as a Project, Program, or Portfolio Manager – or a manager of a PMO – you should be aware of this. Agile Purists can and should be thought of as the “flag bearers” in the forefront of the agile movement. They are typically the ones with the most enthusiasm – and often the most all-around knowledge - of agile frameworks and processes. If, as a PM and / or manager, you find yourself in a position to offer them support – do so. What is your payoff? You will have an evangelist who “promotes” both the value of agile as well as the “how to's” willingly and often. Even if your Agile Purist tends to insist on implementing certain specifics, the value here is that for groups new to agile, this can be a good thing – it starts them off on the right foot.
Agile Pragmatists, in contrast, provide a reality check. The better ones often have specific agile experience in large “slow-changing” companies to know what agile process details can actually be accomplished more quickly, versus which components need more time and / or can be “blended” with other methodologies to meet organizational structure and hierarchy requirements. Agile Pragmatists with sufficient experience have seen the progression of agile within large companies and can suggest the all-important “when” and “where” for promoting agile practices while minimizing pushback. They can provide an acceptable starting point with an end goal of spreading agile thinking and possibly even that most difficult of efforts: company cultural change.
Agile coaching – (i.e., “true” coaching
– where one helps other agilist with motivation for
finding the solution on their own) is one of the best
solutions to helping to bring together these disparate
resources (i.e., the Purist and the Pragmatist) as
well as moving companies along the path toward small
“a” agility – thinking and behaving in an agile
manner, which should be a long-term goal for all those
backing agile approaches.