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PM Camp in Hanoi


Here is an article that I wrote after the PM Camp that was organized in the Hanoi office last Saturday:Cornel (Pentalog technical director) and I took advantage of our simultaneous presence in our Hanoi office to organize a new PM Camp (Project Manager Camp) session for 15 project managers / team leaders / future project managers. As a reminder, these sessions which last an entire day (on Saturday) bring together the project managers of a branch office in order to discuss on subjects that concern them directly. We usually talk about organization, quality, customer relations and technical matters. The idea is to provide project managers with the opportunity to present and discuss their problems.For this new season, we have tried to improve the interactivity of these discussions. Last year, we used to offer a local PM the opportunity to tackle a subject of his choice in addition to other topics that Cornel and I covered.This PM Camp had the following agenda:- Agile vs V Cycle– Case study- Lean management– Reminder of the services provided by the technical department and the Incubator1For the first subject, the presentation focused on customer expectations (their desire to start their project quickly, to make changes etc.). For every customer expectation, regarding software development methodologies, I presented the V cycle solution, while Cornel described the Agile method approach. Before going to the next expectation, we asked the participants to vote on the method that they found to be the most suitable to the expectation. All project managers were very active. In the end, the Agile method won (by far), despite the fact that we didn’t favour any method in our presentations.We will resume this subject in our future PM Camps by changing it a little. We will add a few expectations (we had 11 in our last session) and we are going to use an approach that I saw in an Agile seminar called “Innovation game: Buy a feature”. Every participant receives an amount of money in a fictitious currency, “Penta-Euro” for instance. Instead of the seminar leader choosing a random subject, the participants are the ones who form groups in order to buy the topics they are interested in. This collaboration is specific to the Agile method.“Case studies” are dealt with by using a collaborative assistance approach. We enumerated a few cases (for example: my client doesn’t want to sign the PQP) and for each of them, project managers could ask questions in order to better define the (possible) problem and then make propositions. Obviously, the purpose of this exercise isn’t to find the right answer, as it doesn’t really exist, but to work on the approach. The discussions on some of these cases were quite intense.2After a Vietnamese meal in a “Bia Hoi”, consisting of deer courses (salad, grilled meat, blood tart etc.), Cornel tackled the subject of Lean Management, thus orienting the discussion towards waste. For each of the types of waste mentioned, project managers could step in and present the cases that they were dealing with. This was another element on which we collaborated well.In the end, Cornel reminded the participants that the technical department and the Incubator could generate value for them through technical expertise, training and the capitalization of knowledge.Another novelty of this new PM Camp season consists in ending the sessions with a formal questionnaire on the Project Managers’ satisfaction with regard to this PM Camp: General impression, quality of subjects, applicable values, recommendation and a ROTI (Return on Time Investment). The last point is aimed at determining whether the time spent is worth the investment.ROTI FOR THIS MEETING!Value Feedback Lean Thinking!TransparencyCourage“Excellent. This has been a great meeting that I will benefit from. It would have been worth spending a lot more time.”“Good. This has been a meeting above average. I have gained more than the time that I spent on it.”“Average. It hasn’t been a waste of time, nothing more than that.”“ Useful, but it wasn’t entirely worth the time I spent on it. Therefore, I wasted time.”“Useless. I haven’t gained and learned anything. I really wasted 1 hour!”We achieved a positive result, with an average of 15.6 / 20.3After a brief analysis, we are satisfied with the interactivity that we had this session. For the following sessions in Europe, we have identified a few small improvements.

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