Newsletter: April Edition Print

Across the Board: PMISFBAC Welcomes New Board Officers and Members

We are pleased to announce the results from the recent Board elections. The Chapter is pleased to announce that Nathan Mellin will be the new Board President. Nathan has been an integral part of the Chapter serving in several roles including as former CEO. He has a solid track record, and under his leadership the Chapter saw tremendous growth with his unrelenting commitment.  

We are excited to have Nathan continue to lead the Board of Directors and to help provide strategic direction on member services and engagement. We are sure of his leadership because he has learned to manage under the Carver Model of Policy Governance, which is unique to our Chapter. 

                                             (Nathan Mellin - Board President)

Nathan posses the utmost focus and brings a great level of energy and fun to the Chapter that will permeate from top to bottom. We are excited to have him on the Board of Directors to help move the Chapter forward in a positive direction. Nathan has a full agenda for the Board and operations teams as we begin plans for some upcoming events, especially the selection of our chapter to host the next North America Region 7 summit in March 2019.

We are also excited to announce that after an extensive search for the roles of Director and board officers that we have found some highly qualified candidates and bright talents to fill those roles. 

We didn't have to look far to find our next Director-at-large, in fact she is a familiar face and we are proud to announce, Batchimeg Shagdarguntev will assume the role. Batchimeg after starting with the chapter as a student she has become a rising star with the Next Generation Leadership Program. She has honed her skills and proved to be a key addtion to the chapter.  

                                      (Batchimeg Shagdarguntev - Director-at-Large)

She started with the Chapter as a student coordinating the Annual General Meeting and then grew into her role as the NextGen Director. She is passionate about learning and growing her career and as part of that passion she initiated and runs the Region 7 NextGen Leadership Virtual Meeting on the 4th Monday of every month. Batchimeg recently completed the graduate Project Management program at Golden Gate University.  

She also recently started working at Office of Treasurer & Tax Collector for the City and County of San Francisco.  Batchimeg strongly believes in giving back to the community and she lives by the Dalai Lama quote: “If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.

We are also pleased to welcome Priyadarshini (Priya) Guyadeen, as Director at Large. Priya comes from Penumbra Inc. where she manages clinical trials on peripheral vascular disease.  Priya brings a wealth of professional experience and global perspective to the role. She has in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Priya is interested in philanthropy, learning new languages, theatre, and the arts.

                                              (Priyadarshini "Priya" Guyadeen - Director-at-Large)

We are happy to announce Dina Tasiou as the new Board Secretary, and Paloma Mejia for Treasurer.  Both ladies have already provided solid commitment to the Board by accepting additional responsibility for another year on behalf of the Chapter membership.

                                                      (Dina Tasiou - Board Secretary)

Dina has grown as a board member by promoting a safe and fun environment to the Board. She has take on key roles in different activities including representing the Board at events, social gatherings with members, conferences, and participating in chapter program development. To add to her busy schedule is is also involved with program mentoring and training, as well as performing the duties of Board Secretary.

Paloma has been a volunteer at the PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter since 2011 in various roles.  As a certified project manager and engineer, she has 10+ years of experience in the technology and software space in various industries including energy and ecommerce. She brings many strengths to the board including being an Adjunct Professor for the Masters of Analytics Program at Golden Gate University.

                                                     (Paloma Mejia - Board Treasurer)  

Finally, I am honored to continue to serve on the Board in a new role as Director at Large. I will continue to work with the new leadership team and help to support the growth of key initiatives developed over the last couple of years. I have enjoyed my time serving the PMI Community and my career has greatly benefited from various volunteer leadership positions, especially my work for the Port of San Francisco.

As a chapter we are in a new era of positive change and as the environment of Project Management changes, the needs of our PMI community will continue to grow as we adopt the new 6th Edition of PMBOK.

The Board would like to express gratitude and thanks to Malika Malika for her contributions to the chapter and for her leadership during the elections.

Good things happen when everyone is involved with the chapter and we have an exciting year to come, as we welcome the newest members on our team for the Chapter.

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Our Currency is Our Word

Lately I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to become a mentor. It seems like one of the first things I hear from my comrades when we begin to work together, is, “I’ve been told we have to finish by this date, at this budget, but there is no way I can but I’m going to try because I have to…” Errr -- queue brake lights and crashing car sounds in my head.  I remember this feeling of panic and failure upon project assignment. I’d roll up my sleeves and get ready for long hours and making the impossible happen.

Our job as project managers is to manage the project, to protect the project, to make sure it gets done on time, in budget and completed with excellent quality. To not do that is irritating and disappointing for all stakeholders from the workers in the field to the CEO. As project managers our currency is our word, this is where we gain our respect our command, and how we build trust with those we manage and those we report to. If we know from the beginning that we are likely to lose our most valuable asset we better start talking and reporting.

Think about it this way: If you put your next appointment in your GPS and it says you’ll get there on time but you’re 10 minutes late how do you feel? Or if someone tells you they’re going to pay you $100 dollars back, but they only give you $50.  No one likes under-delivering, but all of us can deal with it if we are prepared. If we know we will be 10 minutes late. it’s not great, but we have a chance to inform and maintain the integrity of our word. If the person that owes us $100 and is giving us $50 tells us ahead of time it gives us a chance to change our perspective because our friend valued us and the relationship enough to tell us. Don’t we want to do the same for our clients? Isn’t our relationship important?

I recently had a project come to me with no scope and a completion date of yesterday.  The first thing I did was publish a risk assessment and report, the second thing I did was host and record a “HIGH RISK” kick off meeting.  It was clear we were not likely to finish the project on budget, on time or with good client satisfaction. During the meeting we discussed what could be done and when.  The result was the team got started on what needed to be resolved to make reasonable expectations, deal with the issues head on and resolve them. It isn’t my place to decide if the risks should be taken or not, that is up to the client and my upper management.

Ultimately, they decided to incur the risk. Unfortunately, the project didn’t finish within their initial time frame or budget. However, thanks to frequent, positive and solution oriented communication we stayed connected with the client through the entire project as a partners and crossed the finish line together. 

Clarice McCoy works at the largest audio visual company in the world, AVI-SPL."The talent pool is deep and there is seemingly no client idea that the team can’t accomplish from odd shaped video walls that tower stories high, auditoriums or run of the mill conference rooms."

"What I train other project managers on most often is conducting kick off meetings and knowing the parameters of the project management role, and the power of our title. I love to meet with the teams as a group to set personal goals within project, that make them feel personally invested to each other and the project. In our industry the hours are long and the demand is high. Seeing a project go from a means to earning a paycheck to the place they want to be to get the next promotion, education or certification is a wonderful transformation."

Got something to say about Project Management in the Bay Area? We are looking for articles. Contact us:

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Improve your Speaking and Leadership Skills at ScopeMasters

Public speaking and being a good project manager go hand-in-hand. Whether you're leading a team meeting or giving a presentation to your client you'll have to speak in front of people. If the thought of public speaking gives you anxiety, scopemasters is definitely the place for you. Public speaking like project management is a skill that can be learned and mastered in the right environment and with proper practice. Ask yourself the following questions to see how a scopemasters meeting can help you sharpen your skills.

- Are you a bit apprehensive about speaking out in meetings?  

- Do you always hear what people trying to say?
- Is providing constructive and effective feedback something you feel comfortable providing? 
- Are you the leader you want to be?

ScopeMasters, a Toastmasters Club for PMI-SFBAC Members, will show you how to become a confident, effective speaker, a listener, an evaluator, and run interesting and effective meetings through an enjoyable, thoroughly professional program. Adults learn best by doing, and that’s how Toastmasters works.  It provides a safe environment for you to hone your communication skills.

Your journey starts with the basic Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Programs, a series of speech projects designed to help you learn and practice public speaking as well as leadership skills.  Each project builds on the preceding assignments.  

The PMI-SFBAC ScopeMasters Club recognizes the value of a non-threatening atmosphere of fostering self-development efforts. Meeting consists of three main activities:

Table Topics: Table Topics provide opportunities to practice impromptu speaking skills critically important in business and at home.

Speeches: At each meeting, selected members give prepared speeches.

              (Scopemasters meeting at Futurestate in Downtown Oakland)

Evaluations: Each speaker receives immediate feedback in the form of evaluation by a fellow club member.  Evaluations are constructive and helpful, and are based on specific guidelines provided in the manual for each speech.

Leadership Opportunities: If you are interested in gaining leadership experience, you may choose to serve as a Club officer. Each Club has a President, Vice Presidents of Education, Membership, and Public Relations, as well as Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-Arms.  

How Do I Join? Attend a club meeting or two as a visitor.  Then, whenever you are ready, fill out the application enclosed in the guest packet you receive at the club meeting. Membership fees are modest and include dues and a small materials fee.

How to Get Involved: If you are interested in finding out more about Scopemasters, or want to become a member, please send an email to and include your contact information. 

Wendy Quayle is a Sr. Program Manager and a founding member of ScopeMasters, a Toastmasters Club for Project Managers

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PMP® / CAPM® Exam Boot-camp Prep Course

Come join us for the first PMP® / CAPM® Prep class featuring materials based on the new sixth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.  Pass the PMP® or CAPM® this year with a 4-Day Boot Camp at a value price - taught by the experts with Andy Crowe's PMP materials. You'll get a professional quality class that is affordable for all our PMI-SFBAC chapter members. This is the best deal in town sign up while we still have spaces available.

This 35-contact hour course is designed to prepare candidates to sit for, and pass, the PMP and CAPM certification exams. Or, if you are already a PMP and need 35 PDUs toward your PMP Continuing Certification Requirements, this class is also for you. However the class is not an introduction to Project Management.

The PMP/CAPM Prep class will be held on May 12th-13th 19th-20th.  PMI-SFBAC members get a discount on registration.

Some of the major updates in the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition, include:

  • A new chapter on the role of project managers that focuses on leading projects effectively, core competencies and skills that are all necessary.      
  • There are now 49 processes, up from 47.
  • Two Knowledge Areas were renamed to reflect the elements that can and cannot be managed  
    • Time Management has been renamed Schedule Management
    • Human Resource Management is now renamed Resource Management
  • New terminology have also been added to be consistent with the new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition and the new Agile Practice Guide 

All the knowledge area now features four new sections:

  • Key Concepts
  • Trends and Emerging Practices
  • Tailoring Considerations
  • Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments

For more information about PMI’s certifications, please contact Sandy Mitchell, Director of Certifications at:  We look forward to seeing you in one of our courses!

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Let Go of Your 20th Century Portfolio Tools

Sponsored Content from


Let go of your twentieth century Portfolio tools. It is time to learn the alternative path to managing

This article is not an ode to ROI-CAPEX-OPEX and EXCEL. Far from it. Why these tools are still being used today in Portfolio management is beyond me. Through these attractive glasses, all projects have potential based on costs and revenues alone.

It is time to put your capabilities glasses on and focus on options, risks and value. Let me explain.

In today’s world, the cost of decision making at the Portfolio level defeats the purpose of decision making. The coordination costs are considerable, poorly understood and invisible. If you attended last week’s meeting, chances are that 90% of the topics discussed will be revisited again. CAPEX, OPEX and ROI won’t be of any help. The brain needs new tools, some visual, to stop these endless discussions.

In what ways can the Kanban method help?

For starters, Lean Kanban University has some big guns. Some of them work full time on issues related to Portfolio management in the 21st century. Let me take you there when I visit San Francisco in early May. (KMP I on May 07-08 and KMP II on May 09-10)

Do not worry. Kanban is about brainware. Once you walk out of one of my classes, you will have actionable knowledge and won’t need a budget or permission to shine anew among your peers!

Here are the seven topics that I will cover specifically for all portfolio/project managers:

1) Option Theory by Chris Matts and Olav Maassen: Our brains are wired in an interesting way for decision making. It is sequential and goes like this: ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘uncertainty’. The brain hates uncertainty and you can notice that once ‘no’ has been triggered, our options have died. It is time to give ‘uncertainty’ a chance before we jump to ‘no’. The rewiring requires some work.

Two years ago, at Christmas time, Olaav and Chris’ book – Commitment – sold for $3,500 on Amazon. That was for a used copy. And a comic strip of all things on managing project risks! Shocking.

2) Limiting Work in Progress: Are you busy going nowhere fast? This is what happens when you are in a traffic jam. In knowledge work, handling too many projects is similar to asphalt being used at 100%. You have high resource efficiency for low flow efficiency. The Kanban method can enlighten as to how you can dampen the turbulence being brought by wanting to do too much.

3) Variability: In any given Portfolio, our Kanban experts have reckoned that variability is situated somewhere on a 1:200 scale. Trying to tame variability is dangerous to your health and you have to let Kanban systems do what they are designed to do: absorb variability ! We have the antidote, stop losing sleep over this.

4) Capacity and capabilities: How strategic! If you rely on OPEX, CAPEX and ROI you are heading the wrong way. If you start project A based on these tools, here is what is likely to happen:

  • You may not have the capacity at this moment nor in the next 3 months!

  • You may not have the expertise.

  • Your systems are already overburdened and you have no way of telling.

  • It may be complex and complexity is the enemy of execution. In that case you need experts and to perform work on small batches.

  • Will the project add beneficial negative covariance to the mix already in progress or will it add to the cumulative risk variance ?

On this topic, I like Todd Little’s - CEO of Lean Kanban University – words of wisdom : 'Best poker players don't play many games; they play the games that they can win.'

5) Dependency management: There is a funny thing about dependencies: the harder we work to anticipate them, the more we err. And the less sleep we get as we realize that we are deep into speculative work. Recently, Lean Kanban University has developed reservation systems for dependencies management. Visual tool, easy to manage, easily understood by all and consensus driven with a touch of transparency. No EXCEL, no GANTT.

6) Risk management with qualitative taxonomies and visualization: Human beings are three dimensional in thinking. How many dimensions are we tackling when discussing a single project? Five to seven frequently. Beyond that, the law of diminishing returns kicks in. What are we to do? Kiviat graphs are used by the Kanban method. They allow discussion time to be cut in a non linear fashion. And these visual tools will totally lead you to the perfect strategy for scheduling! Another set of pointless discussions saved.

7) Flight levels: Preoccupied by the strategic, operational and tactical issues facing your Portfolio management? In a nutshell, these 3 levels must be independent from each other and managed by different teams. Klaus Leopold is a heavy hitter in the Kanban community and spent years building this knowledge. His book, Practical Kanban, is on Amazon best sellers list. Klaus wrote the best book ever on Kanban and I was glad to have helped and thankful to him for having recognized my contribution in the book. Want to purchase it? You should. But if you are patient enough, it will be given to you for free if you attend either of my classes.

KMP I - Kanban Foundation & System Design - May 07-08


KMP II - Kanban Cadences & Management Professional - May 09-10

Daniel Doiron is a seasoned project manager and IT professional who was exposed to agile but missed the managerial rigor and metrics that agile did not provide to his liking. Says Daniel, "Since then, I have discovered the alternative path to agility that is backed by science. I love my job as an Accredited Kanban Trainer."



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Come to AGM June 2 at SF Port

Our 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held on June 2 at the Port of San Francisco. Look for details here next month.

The Port has embarked on a huge planning project conducted with transparency. The public process for the Waterfront Plan Update continues with Public Walking Tours (April 11 & April 14) and an Open House Workshop (April 17).

Learn about the Waterfront Plan Update recommendations produced to date, and share your comments during these public events. Date and location details for the Public "Walkshops" and Open House are in the flyer.

For more information on the Waterfront Plan Update:

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CSI: Project Management

 Post Mortem. Do you get the willies when someone utters those words?

Is it like when you die and your limbs stiffen up? No, that is rigor mortis. We’re talking about project management here, not CSI. But in a way, Post Mortems can be like an episode of CSI in that you investigate your process and figure out what causes project issues. In any case, you should conduct your Post Mortem meeting after a project has ended, but long before project rigor mortis sets in.

No one is perfect. No project is perfect. Don’t ever forget that. I’ve already mentioned that project managers are not robots. We can’t fix every problem—or even know that they are coming. But with the help of a project Post Mortem meeting (and a great CSI team of your own), maybe we can identify the things that create issues within our own projects. With some additional thought and discussion, those issues can be fixed and we can save our teams and clients from a limited amount of pain. It’s amazing how solid evaluation tools and some team collaboration can help you to get to the bottom of your process issues and help you work efficiently. That’s where the project Post Mortem meeting comes in.  

We know you’re busy, but…
We’re all busy! So many people in our business don’t take a moment to evaluate our work. Getting final approval (or check) from a client often times feels like enough to just stop! It makes sense—who wants to spend more time and money on something that is finished? The problem is, without some form of evaluation, you‘ll move right in to the next project and hit the same problems over and over again.  That can’t be what’s best for your business or for your team. Improving the way you work or approach a problem as a team will only make your work and your team dynamic stronger.

Make the time to meet with your team and evaluate your own work. A solid two hours is more than enough time to identify issues and create next steps or resolutions. I’ll talk more about that later on. First, I think you still need to be sold on why you should spend that precious two hours.

What good can come out of it?
First, it needs to be said: Post mortem meetings are not meant to create a negative working environment. Of course, no one actually likes to talk about their flaws, or anyone else’s, in a public forum. In order to make any progress, you need to talk freely and openly (not negatively) about how you can improve your process and as a result, your work product. Yes, you are going to talk about what did not work, but the ground rules of the meeting should be set before discussion begins:

  • Be constructive, not destructive.
  • Don’t get personal
  • Cover all of your bases. Figure out what made the project simple, difficult, pleasurable or miserable.
  • Identify where the process works and where it breaks down
  • Celebrate your successes and fix your flaws

While the goal of the meeting is to discuss issues and potential changes to process in order to alleviate those issues in the future, you need to keep it light. Talk about what you did well! Every attendee should know that the point of the meeting is not to point fingers at one another, but to the issues in general. If you set the ground rules and moderate thoughtful discussion, you can make everyone feel really good about the work that was done and energize them about the changes you are enabled to make.

As soon as everyone feels like they’re in their “safe place,” the comments will flow and you will see how great it is to engage your team outside of the project environment to talk about the factors that affect the work product.

Add some structure
You don’t want to just go in to the meeting and let people talk. That could get your team in a negative spot really fast. Instead, you need to structure the the discussion strategically and make the best use of everyone's time. In order to know what is important or relevant to the discussion, you have to solicit some initial feedback from the team. You can do this in one of two ways:

Option One: Distribute a survey that collects all discussion points or sit down.
Sample questions could be as simple as, “What worked” and “What didn’t work?” or you could get deeper by asking your team to rate overall team performance on a scale of 1-10, based on agreement (1=I disagree, 10=I agree).

Our team work effectively together (internally)
Our team worked effectively together with the Client
Our team members contributed equally to the project success
Our team had one or more members who did not contribute an equal share
Our project fulfilled the expectations of our client
Our project fulfilled the defined project deliverables
I consider the quality of our team’s work to be high in quality

Option Two: Whiteboard the crap out of it.
Sit down for a very short 15-minute session and simply ask your team to list “what worked” and “what didn’t work.” Go around the room to let everyone in the room respond and record all responses on a whiteboard. This meeting needs to be short and sweet, so only list items; don't get in to discussion. You'll save that for later on.

Make sense of the responses.
Either of these information gathering methods seem to work just fine—it all depends on how much info you really want up front. I tend to prefer just sitting down and listing everything out. It’s a quick solution and it does not require any follow-up. Again, we’re all busy, so adding a task like a survey (instead of a 15 minute meeting) that will get in the way of coding or designing just means that you are going to have to flex your project management muscles and follow up…repeatedly. It’s not worth it to me. But you have to do what works for you and your team.

After you’ve collected all of your feedback, sit down with the info and find the biggest themes that came out of the responses and develop an easy to follow meeting agenda. I also recommend doing a keynote (or power point) to lead the conversation during the meeting.  II like to create slides that explain the overall issue and follow-up with specific comments where applicable.  Sometimes having those facts to fall back to help the team remember what was said, and sometimes can spark conversation.

The meeting.
It’s pretty simple: you’ll discuss what you’ve already prepared. But, there are a few simple rules to follow:

  1. Have a facilitator to present the keynote and stimulate discussion, as well as a scribe to take public notes and note action items. Also, have fun. It’s a serious topic, but you need to take a fun approach to meetings like this.
  2. Lead with successes. Why not talk about what worked first? Boost the team up and share your successes.
  3. Make this rule clear: No finger-pointing, no negativity. You’re there to resolve issues.
  4. Make sure you give everyone a fair shot at making a point in discussion. Going around the room can be painful, but it can help if you have to do it. Do your best at encouraging active, positive participation.
  5. Leave the meeting with a set of action items and owners. You’ll never improve anything if you don’t act on what you discuss. Note that some things may require additional discussions. They’re worth your time.

What next?
You’ve met and identified the issues, so what is next? Implement change immediately, where possible.  Maybe you’ll think of a new way to present your work to clients? Test it out. See if it works. Maybe you identified a step in your process that was missing. Test it out. See if it works. All we can do is continue to iterate on what we do and tailor our own processes to what works for our clients and us. You’ll always meet roadblocks, but you’re always able to plow over them as a team. Conversations and meetings will only help you to surpass obstacles when they get in the way.

When it’s all said and done, your projects might be put to rest but if you conduct a good follow-up meeting, your process will survive. With a minimal investment of your time and thought, your own project team (or CSI investigators) will quickly solve issues and improve your processes, your work, and maybe even team morale.

Brett Harned  is a digital project management consultant, coach, and community advocate from Philadelphia, PA. His work focuses on solving issues that are important to organizations who want to produce quality digital projects in harmony. He loves to build processes and communication tactics that work not only for projects, but for the people involved in them. Most recently, he's worked with companies like SimpleYNPNNavy Federal Credit Union,and a number of digital agencies. Prior to starting his consultancy, he was Vice President of Project Management at Happy Cog, where he mentored a team of PMs and managed projects for companies like Zappos, MTV, and Monotype.

Visit for more content and articles from Brett 

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Calendar of Events

The PMI- SFBAC chapter looks for opportunities for our members to get involved and meet other project managers in the field. Whether you're new to the area or looking to grow your professional network we have something for you. See our calendar of events for new or upcoming events or contact us for additional details. 

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Volunteer Opportunities

The PMI SF Bay Area Chapter is looking for volunteers to help meet the needs of its members. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in these opportunities then please contact for more information. Currently we are seeking volunteers for a variety of positions including: 

  • Business Development Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Events Manager
  • Evening Programs Manager
  • Sponsorship Support
  • Professional Development Support
  • Finance Manager
  • Workshop Director
  • Webinar Content Manager


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Newsletter Team


Editor-in-Chief: Vacant

Editor: Michael McMorrow

Web Layout Editor: Lola Akanmu

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Have something to share? You are encouraged to submit notes, articles, or interesting tidbits on relevant Chapter happenings or PM topics. Submit content to We reserve the right to: edit content to fit space constraints, reformat to Newsletter style and decide appropriateness of submission. Return to Top

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