News Oct 2018

PMP Certification Scares? Let WMPMI Help!

There are few things as terrifying as getting an email from PMI that your PMP certification has expired, and you are going to have to re-take the exam to get certified again!

Some of our members have encountered these messages unexpectedly, having not received reminders before the three-year period ran out. In some cases, they still had PDUs to earn, and in others they simply had not paid their fee to renew the certification.

If you ever get one of these notices, and want to keep your certification, contact our membership team at [email protected], and we can help you ensure your credentials get renewed. As your local chapter, we at WMPMI want to see you keep your hard-earned certification credentials, and we can help straighten out miscommunications or under-the-wire renewal issues.

Even better, reach out to us if you are behind on getting your PDUs as your renewal approaches, and we can help you find opportunities to earn those PDUs quickly - even from your own home!

A PDD To Remember!

On October 16, 2018, West Michigan's chapter held our Professional Development Day at the Pinnacle Center. The sold-out event focused on different approaches to the idea of hybrid project management, blending traditional project management methods with agile techniques. Check out our event photos!

In our first session, Evan Leybourn introduced the idea of #noprojects - a radical idea that by focusing on a continuous stream of value-oriented action an organization could adopt and approach of continuous, ongoing change. Rather than breaking change initiatives into distinct "projects," Evan invited attendees to consider adopting the principles of project management to organization strategy itself.

Following that, Alan Mallory presented on a hybrid of traditional project management and agile with the breathtaking story of his family's climb of Mt. Everest. Alan's story highlighted cases where choosing which approach to project management could literally be a matter of life and death.

Next, Laszlo Retfalvi shared a perspective of blending waterfall and agile into a hybrid model that adjusts to the particular project needs, using the strength of each model - for example using a WBS for every project for planning, but using agile tools for meetings and tasks at the lower levels of the work breakdown chart.

Robert Pieper then explained hybrid approaches as not just black and white, but "shades of grey" with different levels of blending and tools based on the organization, the team, and the project. Robert challenged attendees to even consider fast waterfall projects, done in 30 days or less, as one of these approaches.

Finally, John Stenbeck fired up the audience with interactive challenges to start sharing. John tied together key points from the earlier presenters and suggested that despite the varying approaches, that the day's lessons had been "a seamless garment of how to deliver value." He reminded the audience that the leadership that is required for career growth and success requires confronting assumptions and the building of relationships.

Be sure next year to register early or engage your organization to sponsor the PDD in order to guarantee your seat! 

"Never Split the Difference" (Book Review)

According to Chris Voss, what we are taught about negotiation in business school is wrong.

A former FBI hostage negotiator, Voss did not learn how to negotiate the way most business negotiations are handled. He learned by way of law enforcement training and learning from life-and-death situations. While MBA courses teach to work toward compromise, a hostage negotiator does not have the option to split the difference: he or she cannot settle with the captor with "you keep two people and we get two people."

"Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It" is the title of Voss' book, in which he presents a low-pressure way to conduct everyday negotiations. His methods are field-tested, and work even for those who are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiating.

Negotiating, according to Voss, is an exercise in learning and using information. He emphasizes listening, empathy, reading body language and verbal cues, and noticing what is not said as much as what is said.

“Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible," explains Voss. The most valuable pieces of information are referred to as "Black Swans" - information that is not brought to the table, but upon which the entire negotiation hinges. These Black Swans are so important to Voss that he has named his consulting business the Black Swan Group.

Voss' techniques, being based on open-ended communication and active empathy, are very much in line with the ethical principles of PMI. His book is an enjoyable read, full of suspenseful stories, all while teaching very powerful negotiation techniques.

See Chris Voss' presentation as part of the Talks at Google  here.