PM Summit Bulgaria 2019

This year PMI Bulgaria Chapter held its annual conference (launched with a new name PM Summit) and celebrated its 10th birthday on the 15th November 2019 at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event coincided with the 50th Anniversary of PMI.

In this article, I’ll try to share some of the knowledge I gathered during the conference and I hope I can provoke some thoughts in the readers just like they were provoked in me by the speakers.

One of the missions and goals of PMI Bulgarian chapter is to share the PMI standards and practices. Most of us know that Project Management is all around us, regardless of the industry, working or private life. Most of the easy and simple approaches to manage a situation and lead to success are well known and obvious, but usually overlooked.

The world today changes faster than the previous centuries. What is trend today will be obsolete after 7 months! It becomes more and more important to juggle with multiple techniques and approaches with the goal for organizational change and improvement to be prepared for the coming future.

The Project Management role is not only limited to managing project related collaboration, but it also covers managing people and processes, facing challenges every day.  The project manager has different tasks in different projects. For the project to be successful, we need not only a good project manager, but also a good project leader and business analyst.

In the world of fast technology evolution, the customer’s needs, desires and requirements become more and more complex. Nowadays it is almost impossible for a single person to complete a project. Futhermore, according to a research made recently, most of the projects nowadays are not internal for the companies, but customer related. The project management approach in such a reality changes.

Modern companies face the dilemma which is better – to execute the project internally or outsource some parts of it. Companies more often decide to buy some of the modules and subsystems they need instead of producing them internally. The number of projects with subcontractors increases. This fact faces the challenge to manage a project in a very complicated environment. This leads to the transformation from a cross-functionality to the cross-cooperative team.

In the environment of different companies working together new challenges come across. Many of the companies are not prepared to work in such environments. They need to take into consideration the different business interests, the diversity of cultures, incompatible egos and previous project conflicts. Nowadays a project under contracts begins before the project charter and project initiative. The project begins with the business decision to take or not to take an opportunity. This is the time for the company to be flexible. Before the project charter – the focus should be on the competing with the competitors on the market. After the project charter – the focus should be on the completing.

According to Oliver Lehmann the mission success should be first in the customer projects. For the people in this kind of projects, the project success or failure should be considered as personal success or failure. Some of the principles of cross-cooperative projects should be:

– Turn other companies assets to project resources
– Make focus on the cooperation and communication
– Completion not competition
– Mission success first!

For the project to succeed it is very important to engage the employees. Kimberly Wiefling shared her experience in different projects. According a recently made research most of the employees are disengaged, which is the basic reason for the failure of most projects. Some of the tips to engage the employees she shared are:

– Try to build trust. People are more likely to cooperate when they trust someone. It is not easy to build trust but it is worth the effort. To build trust we need to know the people we work with. If we learn more for each other we could find something in common which could help to establish a good working relation.
– Do not neglect the communication. One of the basic project failure reason is the poor or bad communication. It could be expensive in some circumstances, but we need to find the balance.
– Try to understand each team member’s goals. They could be different from the team goal and this could make these members not collaborative and even project saboteurs.
– Try to explain the goals and vision to the employees. Unclear goals will not inspire people to work hard to achieve them.

Communication and leadership are meant to be very important for projects to succeed nowadays.
These two skills were on focus in almost every session in the PM Summit. A good, successful leader could be each team member at any level in the company. To lead people through change to achieve goals and make an improvement is not an easy task. In general, people are not likely to change.
To progress and to change people must go out of their comfort zone. Usually people do not like that. If we do not like something, we try to avoid it. To make the change happen we need to know the people we want to engage with the change. We need to find out what makes them happy, what are their goals, needs and fears. Having this information, we could talk their language and introduce the process in a perspective they will like.
It is very important to remember that we should have enough time to let the change happen. Making the change and tasks fun – could help.

“Coloring outside the line could also help people to be successful and good leaders”, like Jeff Tobe said.
Positive thinking is very important. When we think all the time that we can’t make it – we’ll not. When we prepare for failure we will fail.
When we believe in success we see challenges not difficulties. People are more likely to work with us if we enjoy what we do and we stay positive.
Changing the perspective could be very powerful.

There is no best technique that could work in every project and situation. Everything is in tailoring and adopting. Knowing your employees, customers and partners could help to make communication better, change the perspective and lead the people through change to improvement.
As the world is so dynamic and difficult today, we need to be prepared for the future. Instead of making status reports, it could be more useful to make forecasts. Flexibility is a very powerful and important skill.

At the end I would like to share some sentences to think about:

”From every challenge comes an opportunity.”

“Learn to see invisible opportunities where others only see the visible limitations.“

“Make happy happen!”

“When something is not broken – brаke it!”

Finally I would like to thank the PMI Summit Bulgaria team for making this event happen and all the speakers who shared their knowledge and experience with us.