Project Management Articles
New Certificate Holders
Article Submission & Publication
By Dennis McCarthy, VP of Outreach
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As the incoming VP of the new Outreach organization (combining
Corporate and Community Outreach with the LCI groups), I would like to
thank the teams of volunteers that have made these functions so successful
by volunteering their time and skills at speaking engagements, helping organize
charitable programs, acting as PMINJ evangelists at events, and organizing
the LCI meetings for our members.
I would also like to thank the members of the PMINJ Board of Directors
for keeping such a steadfast vision of the chapter giving back to our
New Jersey community and our profession.
I look forward to putting our collective strengths and
efforts to good use in the future to strengthen our ties with New Jersey
charitable organizations (to help those in need), academic institutions
(to provide guidance and project management life skills to primary, secondary,
and higher education students), and companies / government agencies (to
promote the value of project managers and project management skills).
Project Management Resolutions?
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Do you have any Project Management resolutions for 2016?
Tell us about the PM practices that you’re looking forward to trying and
any PM habits that you’re resolving to improve. Send your resolutions
to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll include them in the January newsletter.
New Year - New You!
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New Year – New You! There is more to professional success
than mastering technologies and management techniques. PMINJ wants
to know about what keeps you on your toes – do you do yoga, practice mindfulness,
hit the gym? Please send any tips you have for maintaining
mental and physical wellness to editor(:@:)pminj.org and look for them
in the January newsletter.
Connect, Share and Learn
– Key Components of PMI 2015 Leader Institute Meeting
By Judy Balaban
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This year the annual Global Congress and PMI Leadership Institute
Meeting (LIM) was held in Orlando, Florida at the Coronado Springs Convention
Center and Resort in Disney World. John Bufe, Mark Barash, Lisa
Blake, and I represented the New Jersey Chapter at the North American
LIM from October 7-10. The overall LIM experience is educational
and rewarding, but this year it was a very exciting event for our chapter
because we were the recipients of two PMI Excellence Awards!
Our Chapter received a PMI Excellence Award in Category IV for Volunteer
Programs and Leader of the Year. Our very own past President, John
Bufe, was named Leader of the Year in Category IV.
Chapters are broken down into categories by size. New Jersey
may be a small state, but we are the second largest chapter in the world
with over 4700 members. This awards ceremony is a significant event
with the Board of Directors and CEO, Mark Langley, presenting the awards.
Mark Langley and Board Member Steve DelGrosso presented John Bufe his
award, as well as presenting the Volunteer Programs Excellence Award to
me. The ceremony is an acknowledgement of excellence within the PMI community
and a celebration of its winners. An achievement we are quite proud
Throughout the convention center, fellow leaders were reconnecting,
as well as new connections being made. As mentioned in the LIM opening
remarks, it is similar to a homecoming, when friends join together to
share common and unique chapter experiences and new professional relationships
are forged all focusing upon chapter growth and member service. Even
though it is called the North American LIM, leaders attend from all over
the globe. There were PMI leaders from India, China, Central America,
South America and European countries. Attendees came from far and
wide to network, share and learn together.
Over four days we attended three keynote sessions and multiple
track sessions. This year we also attended a full day Region 4 meeting
on October 7 prior to the official kick off of the LIM. Region 4
is composed of all chapters within the states of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Michigan and New Jersey. Still maintaining its title,
New Jersey is the largest chapter in Region 4.
The LIM conference began on Thursday, October 8. Thursday’s
Opening Keynote was Captain Chesley B. (Sully) Sullenberger. We
listened with rapt attention as he described his experience in landing
a Boeing Jet in the Hudson River on a frigid January morning in 2009; also
known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He spoke of leadership and
trusting your team to deliver the best results. He tied his experiences
back to planning and being prepared; those things project managers and those
in the profession perform best. At the end of his presentation, he
received a standing ovation.
Friday morning’s Keynote was by Jeff Tobe, author of the book
“Coloring Outside the Line.” He stressed the value of challenging the status
quo and not doing things as they had been done before just because that’s
how things have always been done. He also stressed the need for each
of us to creatively manage the change that is inevitable with innovation
when we color outside the lines. Each member of the audience received
a copy of his book. Jeff had a book signing in the afternoon and the line
snaked around the room just like a line for a Disney World ride! It
should be mentioned that one of our Region 4 members, Ted Kallman, President
Elect of the Western Michigan Chapter is a co-author with Jeff Tobe on the
book “Coloring Outside the Line.”
The Saturday morning Keynote was Jason Young, former executive
at Southwest Airlines. He did an excellent job of holding the attention
of an audience that had been attending meetings for more than two days.
He conveyed the message of customer service, which translates to PMI chapters
as member service. Jason is a former customer service executive
from Southwest Airlines. Be unique and use a little humor were his
key points. He talked of the successes with Southwest Airlines in
using those points, always respective of the customer, but unique and fun.
Like Southwest Airlines, PMI colleagues globally bond because our goal
is to serve and satisfy our members. We are united by loyalty to
each other and our chapters, as well as our profession.
Congratulations PMINJ! Keep up the good work!
PMINJ Kicks Off 10th Annual
By Jerry Flach
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This year’s IPM Day celebration was held at the Palace at Somerset
Park in Somerset, NJ. The 10th annual IPM Day Seminar kicked off with
Deven Trivedi, VP Symposium, greeting attendees and explaining the reasons
for the IPM Day celebration. Judy Balaban, President of PMINJ, announced
that the chapter is the recipient of the 2015 PMI Excellence Awards in
Category IV for Volunteer Programs and our chapter’s past president, John
Bufe, was the recipient of the 2015 Chapter Leadership Award.
Dave Sherman, a professional speaker, trainer and best-selling author
delivered an engaging and very useful presentation “Embracing the Art of
the Schmooze.” Dave pointed out that in order to fully attain the
goals of the PMI Mission Statement, PMs have to schmooze. Defining “schmooze”
as developing relationships to create a network of reliable business acquaintances,
Dave synthesized the How in seven words, with the first two, Likability and
Commonality, at the foundation of Schmooze, including practicing your S.H.E.:
Smile, Handshake and Eye Contact. Moving from there to the icebreaker, Dave
said when asked what you do, focus on the specific aspects of your profession
that might be beneficial to the other person in your reply. Using the remaining
four most important words: “Who Do You Know” allows us to reach our goals
through only three people!
After a 30 minute networking break, Amit Panchal, an Enterprise Technologist
at Microsoft with expertise in Competitive Strategy, discussed “Successful
Global Project Rollouts and Pitfalls to Avoid.” Amit highlighted lessons
learned from his career in the US Navy as a systems engineer on a vertical
replenishment project and a Microsoft project to build a testing environment
for McGraw Hill. These examples attested to the complexity of getting
projects done in a matrix environment and the realization of risk management
through alternatives assessment.
Shobhna Raghupathy, MS, PMP Global Strategy and Project Portfolio Management
consultant presented “Team Dynamics & Global Leadership in the New
Millennium.” Shobhna started her presentation reminding attendees of PMI’s
four values of code of ethics: Honesty, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect
and that Leadership is “not a title, it’s a responsibility.“ She highlighted
the challenges of leading collaboration in multicultural and multigenerational
environments by looking at the events and attitudes that shape the Baby
boomers, the Generation Xers and the Millennials in the workforce. Shobhna
cited several leadership theories such as Karen Sobel Lojeski’s three core
competencies for leading today’s virtual workforce - creating context,
cultivating community, and co-activating new leaders. She stressed that
PMs need to be cognizant of using different leadership styles with varying
degrees of generational team members as well as virtual team members.
After the lunch break, Abby Kohut, a Human Resources professional,
discussed “Networking for Project Managers – Building Magical Relationships
and Exposing the Hidden Job Market.” Abby provided valuable tips to explain
what you do so people will remember, the importance of being specific when
someone from your network asks for help and how to turn your networking
magic into long-term relationships. Always be humble and helpful to your
network as you never know where the next career opportunity will come from.
Solving problems that companies did not know they have and hobnobbing including
volunteering with the C-suite at associations, and paid seminars / events
(such as PMINJ Symposium events) were among the strategies offered to realize
career advancement and enrichment.
In the second half of the afternoon, Vitaliy Fursov, PMP a professional
public speaker, concluded the day by providing insight into various group
dynamic techniques and demonstrated how the project manager can utilize
these techniques to win for their project teams in an entertaining but educational
workshop, ”Why We Win, When We Win, What We Win.” One of the highlights
of Vitaliy’s presentation was the practical application of the famous Prisoners’
Dilemma to the team setting. The Prisoners' Dilemma provides a framework
for understanding the role of self-interest versus collaboration. The speaker
emphasized the value of collaboration in order to win, utilizing a card
game for all the attendees.
Jerry Flach, PMP, Director Symposium, closed the IPM Day event by thanking
all the speakers for their contribution, attendees, volunteers and facility
staff to make this event a great success.
As a very important note about this year’s IPM Day, the food drive
collected ten bags of food and $395 in monetary donations. This bounty
was split between the following two food pantries – The Crisis Room at
the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in East Brunswick and the food pantry
at the Roman Catholic Church of the Little Flower in Berkley Heights.
All of the IPM speakers’ presentation materials and additional photos
can be accessed on the PMINJ website.
PMINJ Participates in Merck
Project Manager Day
By Michael Sarachman
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The annual Merck Project Manager Day was held this year on September
16, and PMINJ was again presented with the opportunity to be a part of
this great event. A key theme of this year’s PM Day was the “Three E’s
– Entrepreneurship and Executional Excellence.” Merck CIO, Clark Golestani,
delivered the keynote elaborating on this theme and the critical role that
project management plays in delivering on this strategic focus.
The morning sessions closed with a panel discussion that covered
key project management topics, including stakeholder consensus, adapting
to change, and operating in a global team. The panel included representatives
from Microsoft, Cognizant, and HCL. PMINJ was represented in this panel
by Mike Sarachman.
Throughout the day, corporate outreach team members Dennis McCarthy,
Robert Gruber, Nitin Khanna and Deven Trivedi staffed the PMINJ information
table, sharing information about upcoming PMP certification classes, International
Project Management Day and monthly programs. The team identified a number
of potential new PMI and NJ Chapter members and helped Merck staff understand
the value that chapter membership provides. PMINJ volunteer, Aaron Corona,
collected Food Drive contributions throughout the event.
The afternoon was divided into three breakout session tracks:
- Monitoring, Controlling and Execution
- IT Transformation
These informative breakouts covered very relevant topics, including
agile techniques and the impact of new IT tools on the role of project
The PMINJ corporate outreach team would like to thank Tina Gertsch,
Lee Foon Nuen, Ashley Louis, and the rest of the Merck team for arranging
a great event, and for giving PMINJ an opportunity to actively participate.
Paterson Habitat for Humanity
By Jerry Flach and John Bufe
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On October 17, on an almost winter-like fall morning, five PMINJ
Chapter volunteers joined the Paterson Habitat for Humanity group to help
build a house. The team was ready and willing to work. Since Paterson
Habitat was waiting for permits from the city for new projects, the PMINJ
team assisted with some less than glamorous, but still important work of
finishing up an existing home, which meant moving supplies out of that structure,
assisting with landscaping activities and swinging a broom instead of a hammer.
The PMINJ team took a mid-morning break to join Paterson Habitat,
neighbors, and friends for a well-timed Fall House Dedication ceremony.
Attendees had the opportunity to see firsthand the joy on the faces of a
hard-working family as they realized this affordable, beautifully designed,
new energy-efficient home was theirs.
Paterson Habitat, the Passaic County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity
International, is celebrating its 30th year of building homes and neighborhoods
in Paterson, NJ. It has served over 350 families and hosted over 25,000 volunteers
in that time including the PMINJ project management team.
Needless to say, the PMINJ team did a thorough job and even treated
the Paterson Habitat team to some pizza and swag! The PMINJ Outreach Team
will be working with Paterson Habitat to plan additional volunteer events
for spring 2016. More information on events and other volunteer opportunities
are available on the chapter website (www.pminj.org). For more information
about Paterson Habitat visit their website.
The Project Managers
in Transition Team: An Important Overview
By Mary Beth Kuderna
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As our mission states, the New Jersey Chapter is devoted to Building
professionalism and excellence in Project Managers. A key
tenet of our chapter is the generous spirit of volunteerism, and supporting
that is the creation of the Project Managers in Transition - or PMIT team.
In short, we are run by the talented support of many dedicated volunteers.
The objective in establishing this PMIT team is to identify an active,
available volunteer base of chapter members who are either unemployed or
underemployed and are willing to serve in various capacities for special
projects identified by the Board of Directors.
Opportunities are varied and can run the gamut from academic or community
outreach efforts to being a guest speaker at a special event, such as an
afternoon ‘Lunch and Learn,’ to mentoring local high school or college students.
In all cases, the PMI volunteer relationship management system (VRMS) will
be the primary tool used to post and manage responses.
Why create such a pool of available volunteers? The purpose is
twofold. The first reason is having a list of eligible and capable volunteers
speeds up the volunteer placement process for our busy Program Directors.
Secondly, where VRMS is a limited tool focused on the basic communication
of available opportunities, the PMIT team or volunteer pool will allow the
chapter to take on more work while helping members stay fresh, learn new
skills, earn PDUs, as well as share their wealth of incredible expertise.
Within this PMIT activity or program and throughout the year, we are
able to track project completions, time to complete, and PDUs earned:
things again which VRMS lacks. We’d like to bring this program along to
a future state where individuals can receive recognition as well for their
Any available PMIT opportunities will be posted on the PMINJ website
where the process includes accessing VRMS. As of this writing, the following
opportunity is available:
- 4446 - PIT Project - Speaker Committee Project Manager
Requirements for this role include support in finding, contacting, reviewing
and making the arrangements for PMINJ lunch and breakfast meeting speakers.
Your support and active participation keeps the chapter live and
growing. If you would like more information about the PMIT group, please
contact Mary Beth Kuderna at PMiT(:@:)pminj.org.
Project Management Article
By Doug Shelton, PMP
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Although there are various types of groups in existence which support
and promote the Agile methodology, even among the most senior members of
such groups, there is much disagreement of the “right” details to follow.
It is often a matter of opinion or preference which drives the thinking
behind the arguments you can read in the Agile Opinions posts. This
month we’ll explore the #NoEstimates trend.
First of all, let’s identify this as a Twitter hashtag that promotes
the concept that “time estimates are not necessarily always required” to
manage a project. #NoEstimates has a lot of very smart Agilists talking.
In fact, there is a 2013 article on the CIO Magazine website
which delves into greater detail on how this approach can work.
It is that qualifying term “always” that allowed me to get past
my own initial bias against this concept. Why? Simply because
those of us who have been in the business of Project Management for a long
time know two things:
- Some project “deadlines” are fairly arbitrary – i.e.,
there are no significant dependencies waiting on those deadlines.
- Half of what you estimate is going to likely change and
require new estimates (which, by the way, is one of the truisms that is
a foundation for Agile practices.)
There is an important third concept to #NoEstimates which is a
fundamentally Agile rationale: estimates have overhead.
If you have a mature Agile team producing and delivering value
in regular, short-interval time segments then a valid question arises:
why should team members (who, at least from an Agile perspective, should
always contribute to such analysis) take additional time to scope out and
produce “guesstimates”? On top of that, working staff also often have
to spend even more time overhead justifying that guesstimate. Wouldn’t that
time be better used by creating value rather than trying to guesstimate it?
Is The Concept Of #NoEstimates Something You Can Actually Use?
If you are in a large non-high-tech company with thousands of employees,
I certainly wouldn’t advise you to start emailing memos with the #NoEstimates
hashtag prominently featured. In fact, if you are strictly in the business
of waterfall-based or Stage-gate project management, I wouldn’t advise jumping
right into trying to justify not estimating your projects.
Then there are those projects and programs where deadlines are
simply required because of legal, regulatory or financial commitments.
In such cases the work involved in time-related estimates is now in guesstimating
the resources necessary to achieve those deadlines for the mandated scope.
Risk management and careful monitoring becomes an absolute necessity for
Who can use #NoEstimates? Agile teams in the Software Development
arena where the variability of estimates (as compared to “actuals”) is far
greater than in many other areas of Project Management time estimation.
The teams adopting this approach not only have to be using Agile frameworks,
they also need to be (a) good at doing so;
(b) good at doing the actual work they are using Agile frameworks
to manage; and finally, and (c) truly recognized
by management and their customers as being “good at Agile and their work.”
Just like with any other process change, starting small may be
the best approach. Consider measuring the baseline output of a standalone
team before implementing this change and comparing the output after the
change. You just might find that this model works for your business.
Are there Agile topics that you’d like to see addressed in future
newsletters? Contact the PMINJ Newsletter editor (editor(:@:)pminj.org)
New Certificate Holders
The following have received their certifications since the last
newsletter (through 31 October 2015):
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Article Submission & Publication Information
Editor Kristine Clark
- Where to Send: Contact the newsletter editor,
at editor(:@:)pminj.org for newsletter related items, to submit articles
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- Articles due to the Editor by the 5th of the month.
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PMINJ website by the 25th of the month.
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