PMI Western Michigan Chapter members receive the bi-monthly newsletter publication, On Target, via email.  This publication contains information about upcoming chapter and national events, as well as feature articles about practical project management contributed by local chapter members, PMP certified members, or reprinted publications published by PMI.

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Previously released newsletters are available in the Archives.

December 2014  


Happy Holidays, WMPMI! In this issue, you'll find THE Project mentor perspective, recaps of the November Dinner Meeting presentations, information on upcoming Microsoft Project, Scrum, and Leadership Skills trainings, as well as our calendar of events. 


Don't Miss It: Ring in the New Year with Leadership Skills

Dr. James T. Brown, a WMPMI member favorite, is returning to our chapter this winter to lead a day of PM training on January 13, 2015.  Hone your PM skills in 2015 by attending this limited-seating event in Grand Rapids. 

Dr. James has over sixteen years of NASA experience. He is the author of The Handbook of Program Management, has a patent for a project scheduling methodology, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to NASA’s missions. Dr. Brown has trained dozens of companies, both nationally and internationally.

In January, Dr. Brown will help participants successfully navigate demanding project challenges with a wide array of leadership skills. His course, titled “Leadership Skills for Project Managers,” will help PMs hone their skills in team building, communication, human behavior, and leadership.

This event will likely sell out! Early-bird pricing for WMPMI members ($299) ends on December 30, 2014. After December 30, 2014, the price increases to $399 for non-members and $349 for WMPMI members.

Don’t miss out! Click here for registration information and reserve your spot today! 


Don't Miss It: Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Certification Class

Do you want to understand what Agile and Scrum are all about? Are you a Product Owner looking to guide your team toward results with real business value? Are you looking to add a PM-related certification to your résumé? If any of the above is true, there is a training course coming to West Michigan in January that is perfect for you.  

Maria Matarelli, a Certified Scrum Trainer Ò, Founder and President of Formula Ink, and President of the Illinois Regional Agile Users Group (IRAUG) will be covering the basics of Scrum and information devoted to the Product Owner role in a two-day Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Certification Class held in Grand Rapids on January 19-20, 2015.

Participants completing the course will receive a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Certification, a two-year membership in the Scrum Alliance, and 14 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from PMI. In addition, this course counts as 14 of the 21 contact hours required to be eligible for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification.

Seating is limited. The cost for the training is $1,299 per person. Early bird registration ($1,249) is available until January 7, 2015.  Early bird registration for WMPMI members is $1,199.

To register and for more information, click here


Microsoft Project 2010/2013 Training




Cindy Lewis, PMP, PMI-SP, MCT, MOS, MS, MCTS, MVP-Project, a long-time WMPMI volunteer and chapter sponsor, in Partnership with True Solutions (PMI REP) are offering Microsoft Project 2010/2013 Training in 2015. 

Cindy is one of only 60 Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) in the world. She will be leading this class and is able to answer all of your questions and teach you what you need to know to be successful with Microsoft Project 2010/2013. She will take you beyond the features and focus on the business application of Microsoft Project to help you capitalize on the power of this scheduling tool. PDUs and a certificate of completion will be provided to attendees. 

To register, go here:

Location Options: 

  •        Dallas, Texas March 5 and March 6
  •        Lansing, Michigan March 23 and March 25
  •        Grand Rapids, Michigan March 24 and March 26
  •        March 30 and April 1 – Advanced Class (Online)

Pricing for the two day classes is $999. The online Advanced Class is $499.

For a 10% discount and early bird registration use the code PMISavings on the website or call True Solutions at 972.770.0900. The discount will save you $99.90 on the two-day classes and $49.90 on the advanced online class. 

For a 15% discount contact Cindy Lewis or True Solutions directly and mention you heard about this discount through this newsletter. A seat will be held for you in the location you desire and an invoice can be sent to you to obtain budget approval (15% discounts are limited). The 15% discount saves you $149.85 on the two-day classes and $74.85 on the advanced online class. 

For more information, contact Cindy Lewis or True Solutions via one of the methods below:
Website: or
Phone: 616.446.8569 (Cindy) or  972.770.0900 (True Solutions)



It’s Not Just About the PDUs!
Point-of-View: The Rewards of Being a Mentor for THE Project

The many Professional Development Units (PDUs) you will accumulate while mentoring a student team during THE Project alone are a great incentive for any PM to volunteer their time and expertise to a student team. In fact, it is very likely that you will achieve the maximum number of PDUs for the volunteer category if you mentor a team, but in my experience there are far more benefits to being a mentor for THE Project than just the PDUs.

Consider the opportunities to learn while being a mentor. Project managers are typically no strangers to the role of mentoring or coaching, as much of the success of projects lie in the PM’s ability to corral, cajole and coach the project team along the way. THE Project mentoring role is a great opportunity to hone those skills with a team demographic that you might not typically encounter in your day-to-day work roles. It is easy to read books about the “Millennials” and attend presentations about “Generation Y,” but what better way to understand the nuances of this generation than to work amongst them, roll-up your sleeves and lead them through the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)?

Speaking of the PMBOK, how often do you review it? When was the last time you looked in detail at any of the PMBOK sections, especially in the latest version that was published after you took your exam?  Being a mentor challenges you to really understand relevant content to the extent that you can explain it to a team of people who have likely never encountered project management as a discipline, let alone the wonders of the PMBOK. At the end of the competition, your students will be familiar with the key concepts and I can guarantee that you, too, will be more familiar with the key project deliverables than when you started.

If this seems like a daunting task to you, don’t fret! When it comes to better understanding the PMBOK you will have some help. Your fellow mentors, even the ones on rival teams, quickly become a great source of reference and the Project Management Office (PMO) Judging Panel will provide feedback and comment on the various deliverables that are submitted. This is a great opportunity to validate your own understanding of the concepts by working with others who are doing the same.

Most of all, being involved in THE Project gives you the opportunity to network with a wide variety of people. Mentors are partnered with another mentor to coach a collegiate team. You will also have the opportunity to share ideas and questions with the entire group of mentors.  Add to that the interaction with the PMO Panel and all the other volunteers who help run the event and you have a very well organized networking opportunity at your fingertips. Be it with fellow WMPMI members, students or the wider business and academic community in the area, mentoring a team widens your networking circle.

Please consider the opportunity in front of you. It is wonderful to think that you can give back to the profession and great that you are able to demonstrate the virtues of volunteerism, but when you really think about mentoring there is a lot in it for you … and its more than just the PDUs!

Want to volunteer? Contact Jeff Kissinger at

-Andrew Gill, Fourth-Year Mentor for THE Project- 


In Case You Missed It: Dinner Meeting Featured Presentation

Ashley Livingston and Pat Mitchell, both project managers at Wolverine Worldwide, presented at the WMPMI Dinner Meeting on November 10. Their presentation, titled “Managing the Madness,” gave an entertaining account of how their PMO managed a multi-billion dollar acquisition with speed and flexibility.

In 2012, Wolverine Worldwide completed the acquisition of Collective Brands’ Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG), which consists of four brands (Sperry Top-Sider® , Saucony®, Stride Rite® , and Keds®) for $1.24 billion. These brands were added to Wolverine Worldwide’s existing portfolio of Merrell®, Hush Puppies®, Wolverine®, Sebago®, and Caterpillar Footwear® to create an even more powerful collection of lifestyle brands for the company.

During the acquisition, Ashley and Pat employed an agile methodology that enabled them to be very nimble and empower people on their team to move quickly to meet short deadlines. They employed the use of templates, a playbook, and an integration plan to help the many moving parts keep moving toward a successful acquisition and integration.

To learn more about Wolverine Worldwide, you can visit the website ( 


In Case You Missed It: Dinner Meeting Bonus Presentation

Michael Yoder from LinkedUp Grand Rapids and Spectrum Health joined us for the WMPMI Dinner Meeting on November 10. During his presentation, Mike shared many of the features and capabilities of the social networking site LinkedIn ( He also provided tips for better utilizing LinkedIn for networking purposes. Most notably, he suggested updating your status on LinkedIn three to five times a week so you stay at the top of the minds of your connections. Similar to the old proverb “out of sight, out of mind,” if you are not updating your LinkedIn status, you might miss out on opportunities and are less likely to be ‘seen’ by your connections.  

Mike also shared plenty of ideas on what type of content to post on LinkedIn. He suggested sharing information or commenting on the importance of something that was posted by someone else.  He stressed that it is important to be interesting, relevant, helpful, and human. Also keep in mind that what you like, comment, or share also shows up to your direct connections. Publishing an article you’ve written on LinkedIn can help you gain exposure and visibility to a global audience.

Another helpful tip Mike shared with the chapter is to make sure you customize your LinkedIn headline on your profile. This should not be your current job title, but instead a description of what you do using keywords that others may use to search for you.  He also suggested providing a short message of why you want to connect to someone if try to connect with a person you do not know.

LinkedUp Grand Rapids is a business social networking group of nearly 14,000 members based in the Greater Grand Rapids and West Michigan region. If you’d like to join LinkedUp Grand Rapids, you can visit the website ( or join via your LinkedIn account. 


Calendar of Events

  •     January 12, 2015: WMPMI Dinner Meeting, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Feature: Dr. James T. Brown, Keynote Speaker for THE Project 2014
Bonus: Jim Boes, Past President of APICS
Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids) and Fetzer Center (Kalamazoo)

  •     January 13, 2015: Leadership Skills for Project Managers by Dr. James T. Brown, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids)

  •     January 19, 2015: Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification Class by Maria Matarelli, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids)

  •     February 9, 2015: WMPMI Dinner Meeting, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Feature: Jeff Dalton will discuss leadership concepts
Bonus: Robert Berline will discuss leadership concepts
Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids) and Fetzer Center (Kalamazoo)

  •     March 9, 2015: WMPMI Dinner Meeting, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Feature & Bonus: Joe Tipton will discuss Managing for Improvement, Parts 1 & 2
Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids) and Fetzer Center (Kalamazoo)

8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Location: The Pinnacle Center, 3330 Highland Drive, Hudsonville, MI 49426-1907
You can save a ton if you register early! Early bird deals expire on February 18th. 

  •       March 23 & 25, 2015: Microsoft Project 2010/2013 Training with Cindy Lewis

Location: Lansing, Michigan

  •       March 24 & 26, 2015: Microsoft Project 2010/2013 Training with Cindy Lewis

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

  •       March 30 & April 1, 2015: Microsoft Project 2010/2013 Advanced Class

Location: Online

  •       April 13, 2015: THE Project 2015, Collegiate Project Management Competition

  •       April 20-21, 2015: Certified Scrum Master Course by Maria Matarelli

Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids)