My highlights of the PMI Annual North American Congress 2011 in Dallas — What were yours?

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My highlights of the PMI Annual North American Congress 2011 in Dallas — What were yours?


I attended another great PMI conference (my third-in-a-row) in Dallas last week.

If you attended also, Please share Your Highlights in the “Leave a Reply” box.

1. Keynote Speaker: Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink,” “The Tipping Point and “Outliers.” Much of his talk was about Steve Jobs, and how he felt that Jobs epitomized the ability to succeed by being a FOLLOWER AND BORROWER, more than an inventor.

2. AGILE! There was an entire AGILE TRACK (for the second year in a row) includinga highly informative panel discussion: “Agile Collaboration In A Virtual World” (Harnessing Social Media, Web 2.0, and Beyond) with Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM, PRINCE2, and Andrew Filev, Co-Founder at Wrike, Inc.

And in the session: “Fixed Price Agile Projects: Making The Impossible Possible,” agilist Jesse Fewell spoke about how 2-week Agile sprints can be crafted and viewed as “Mini-Waterfalls,” combining the best of both, and also, how Agile can be LESS RISKY than Waterfall because defects are exposed earlier as deliverables are released with each sprint.

3. Author and PhD Thomas Juli shared some of the core principles of his book: Leadership Principles For Project Success.” Thomas shared an excellent metaphor about how the PM should be part of the team, like a guide on a hike up a mountain, as opposed to the director set apart from the team-members.  Further continuing the analogy, he also stressed how the job is NOT finished when you reach the top of the mountain, but only after safely bringing the team (and project) back down to the ground.

4. Vicki James, PMP and CBAP, presented on an important and rare topic: “The Role of the Project Sponsor.” Kudos to Vicki for generating GREAT interaction with her participants.  I also liked how she opened with a joke: “How many of you have read “The Sponsor’s Body of Knowledge?” (Duh, there is none!)

5: “Nurturing Human Nature in Projects (It’s All PsychoBabble To Me!”) by John Kinser, PMP. John was very funny, engaging and informative.

6. Valuable panel discussion on “The Importance of Mentoring as part of PM Professionalism,” where several senior PM experts shared mentoring best practices, including: James Snyder, PMP, Debra Miersma, PMP, Pamela T. Robb, PMP, Dr. Vijay Kanabar, Dr. Bill Moylan, and Loren Walker.  A few key take-aways: A) Mentoring does not have to be formally documented, B) Mentoring can take place during the course of daily interaction between PM and team-member and doesn’t have to be done in “official mentoring mode,” and C) PMs all are ongoing learners and should all see ourselves as both Mentor and Mentoree.


  • Interviewed In-Person About My Book by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP. Cornelius recorded two podcast interviews for upcoming episodes of his series for project managers: The Project Management Podcast. I’ll update this blog with the dates once they are announced. (I also had the pleasure of having breakfast with Cornelius at the hotel hosting the conference!)
Cornelius Fichtner, host of The PM Podcast

Elizabeth Harrin (left)

*Going for your PMP?  See my recent post: Top 10 Reasons To Buy The Project Management Answer Book.”

By | 2017-06-17T18:12:36-04:00 October 29th, 2011|Agile, Books, knowledge|7 Comments

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  1. […] more Congress highlights on my friend Jeff Furman’s Blog: Highlights of the PMI North American Congress 2011. Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed The EU is […]

  2. Vicki James October 29, 2011 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much Jeff. That was sweet of you to say (#4). The presentation was a lot of fun and I have been inspired to do more on Sponsorship.

    I too have collected my thoughts on the congress and have them posted in a recent blog at I look forward to seeing you at future events for years to come.


  3. Aly October 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff – I work for Barbecana, a risk software company here in Houston, Texas. We were also in attendance at the PMI Conference – getting ready to launch our new Microsoft Add-in for schedule risk analysis, Full Monte. I think my favorite part of any conference is just meeting new people and listening and learning from their experiences.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing! – Aly

    • jeff October 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Aly, glad to hear you enjoyed the conference a lot also, and liked my highlights.
      I’ve been down to Houston 4 or 5 times teaching PMP, and always enjoy it a lot.

      I like the name of your product: “Full Monte” – can you describe what it does
      in a 2 x 5 Reply Box? If so, feel free to tell me and my followers how it helps PMs manage Risks on their projects.

      Best regards, Jeff

  4. Aly November 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff- I’d be happy to give an overview of Full Monte, thanks for the opportunity!

    The only thing you can say for sure about a deterministic schedule is that it will be wrong. Full Monte allows you to estimate durations as ranges, or more specifically probability distributions, and uses Monte Carlos simulation to sample from these distributions to produce probability distributions for things like project early finish date and project cost. So, instead of saying the project will be complete on 15th June at a cost of $305,000 we can make statements like “there is a 95% chance that the project will be complete by 20th July and at a cost of no more than $330,000.” Risk analysis is mandated on most department of defense contracts so there is a lot of interest in Full Monte now that Risk+ is no longer supported. If you want to learn more about Full Monte, feel free to check out our video demo!

    Thanks again, Jeff! – – Aly

  5. jeff November 4, 2011 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Hi Aly, good video! And I notice Tony Welsh mentions that Full Monte integrates well with MS Project (both 2007 & 2011) – I think that’s a strong selling point, since MS Project is so widely-used.

    The video gives a very clear explanation about how Monte Carlo tools can help with Risk Management. I’ll share it with colleagues who ask me about Monte Carlo software.

    Thanks for your overview and video. Regards, Jeff

  6. […] Even better are the things that have happened since.  First, Jeff was interviewed by Elizabeth Harrin for her video diary where he talks about my presentation; first commenting on the subject, sponsorship, and then publically admires my style in engaging the audience.  (Note to self, get copy of video for testimonial). The second thing that has happened is that Jeff and I have teamed to help build traffic to our respective blogs reflecting on the Congress through links and Tweets. (Jeff Furman’s Blog: Highlights of the PMI North American Congress 2011). […]

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