Newsletter: January Edition-2018 Print

Across the Board: 2018 Region 7 Conference Update

Happy New Year! and Welcome to 2018!

I wanted to share that we have a lot going on for the PMI-SFBAC Chapter that will be sure to take the chapter to the next level. The key to this is the chapter's bid to host the annual Regional conference meeting in the Bay Area in 2019.  This will require a lot of work and solid leadership.  

We are looking for a few good Board Members-at-large, and to select a new slate of officers to the Board of Directors.  Please consider nominating someone with strong leadership skills and great project management experience to lend to our large and growing chapter.

The question you might ask yourself this new year is, would I like to work with a fun group of professionals  and develop my leadership skills? You could also be looking to learn about different facets of a nonprofit organization or if you're interested in helping to drive growth while contributing to the field of Project Management? We're looking for you!

Some general qualifications include Chapter experience and volunteerism, solid work experience for a current member in good standing with an interest and understanding of the Project Management Institute.  

The role of a “Servant Leader” Director is to bring a fresh but seasoned project management prospective to the Chapter’s top strategic leadership group with a commitment and focus to the industry, agency and particularly to the membership.  The work of a Director can at times be intense especially with the 2019 Regional Conference but at minimum requires a time commitment of around 10 hours a month for Board duties and responsibilities including being available the 3rd Saturday of most months of the year and serving on at least one committee.

The Board of Directors established a Nomination committee who are meeting up to finalize the exact schedule of elections but will announce the opening nominations on January 15, 2018.  When nominations close the committee will conduct interviews and then recommend a slate of interested professionals to obtain your vote in a formal election in mid-February.

It is important to mention that our Chapter operates under the “Carver” Model of Policy Governance which is unique to most other PMI Chapters. The role of a Director and Officer is take the lens of an owner/member of the Chapter and apply knowledge and experience to lead and think to be highly strategic for the Chapter volunteers and represent the Board to the public and Chapter General Membership.

To see specifics regarding the job description please let me refer you to the Governance Documents GP 3.1, 3.2, and 3.6. available on our website, About Us. Hint: this is part of the test to lead.

Of course, high moral and ethical conduct is expected with our fun team collaboration approach in volunteering with and for the Chapter and cannot be an office holder of another PMI Chapter.  The term of volunteer Board of Director is April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2021.  We will announce the new Leadership team on March 5th.

I hope you know that the Chapter has a history of being reflective of gender, culture, bay area locations and stakeholder groups.  I am super excited at the prospects of this new year and extend a warm invitation to all interested in taking the Chapter to a new level.  We think there is going to be a large pool of candidates and will look for a few who are distinguished and diverse in their experience and interest to serve the Chapter.

Lastly I so proud to have a Next Generation Leader from Golden Gate University to be heading up the Nomination Committee for this year’s elections.  Please send any questions and request your nomination application to the Committee Chair, Meliana Hakim, an M.S. Project Management student in Golden Gate University at Also for more board specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Tyrone Navarro at

Here are some characteristics of current Board members:

  • An appreciation of the value of the profession served by PMI

  • Visionary strategic thinking capability

  • Commitment to mentoring and the next generation

  • Understand the interests of diverse stakeholders.

  • The ability to operate effectively in global environments

  • Experience of assisting in transformational change drive

  • Willingness and experience to serve others

  • Experience and appreciation of working in a collaborative, collegial, respectful, and productive way with people having diverse backgrounds and viewpoints

  • Experience governing duties to meet legal, regulatory requirements inherent to the fiduciary oversight

  • Serve as an advocate for PMI contracts and for PMI profession

  • Interest and ability to be an ambassador for PMI

Tyrone Navarro is President of the Board of Directors of PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

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PMISFBAC-Welcomes New CEO Cecilio “CJ” Mills

The Chapter is pleased to welcome Cecilio "CJ" Mills as the new CEO of PMI SFBAC!
Following an extensive search, the Board of Directors is happy to announce the selection of Cecilio “CJ” Mills as the new Chief Executive Officer of PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. He will be leading an executive level volunteer staff of 8 leaders and the volunteer team of 65, responsible for a budget of $150,000. We are confident that CJ will serve the Chapter and all of our stakeholders well.  Cecilio was appointed by the Board of Directors on December 1, 2017 and he will have a 3-month transition.

Cecilio Mills is a father of three, husband, and the founder of Creative Adaptive Thinking; a Project Management Design firm focusing on organizational capacity building. He has conducted trainings on Agile, PMP and Six Sigma Certifications for over 1,200 Project Managers throughout the US. He is also a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player, Speech and Debate champion, and has authored an Asset Management and Business Process Patent. His education includes BS in Business Administration from CSU East Bay and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership education from Chapman University. See Cecilio’s LinkedIn profile for more on his professional accomplishments.

When he is not involved in Project Management, Cecilio--better known as CJ is at Pacific Ring Sports as the assistant Boxing Trainer. He helps to introduce people to the sport of boxing, explain the fundamentals, and the science behind the sport. He became a Golden Gloves Champion in 2011, and in 2012 became a National Tournament - Regional Champion participating in the Olympic Trials.

CJ also works with Soulciety, a Non-Profit Organization that works to fight against poverty and provide access to technology for youth. Each year, he does mission work taking books, computers, hygiene supplies, and shoes to help impoverished youth around the globe. His support for non-profits has spread to introducing and implementing project management practices to local communities, schools, and community-based organizations. He is proud to serve PMI SFBAC and the community of project managers everywhere.

CJ joins us at a moment of great change and excitement, as the environment of Project Management is changing, the needs of our PMI community will continue to grow as we prepare to move into the new PMBOK this year. He was selected from a strong field of exceptional candidates and the CEO Selection committee is confident that our Chapter will be in great hands under his leadership.

The Board greatly appreciates the effort and wisdom of the CEO Search Committee that was lead by NextGen Board of Director, Batchimeg Shagdarguntev. Our Leadership Team has never been stronger, and together we will drive the chapter forward. Special thanks to our CEO Search Committee members:

  • Paloma Mejia, former Operations Leader, and current member

  • Pei-Yu, Director - IT

  • Larry Van Cantfort, VP – IT

  • Ramya Srinidhi Krishnamoorthy, NextGen Executive Operations, New COO

We thank Nathan Mellin for his unwavering service to the PMI community and San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. Nathan left a lasting legacy and solid foundation for CJ to work from and take the Chapter to the next level for our chapter members and the PMI Community.

The Board of Directors and the entire Chapter is extremely indebted and grateful to Nathan for his tremendous effort, work and leadership of the Chapter as CEO during this term;  and acting CEO before he transitions to his role with the Board of Directors. The Chapter has grown tremendously under his exceptional leadership and unrelenting commitment to the Chapter.  We are excited to have him fully serve on the Board, and taking on until April 2018 the office of Treasurer for the Board of Director.

Tyrone Navarro is President of the Board of Directors of PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

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Tips To Boost And Influence Your Project Teams Morale

 Are you embarking on your career or considering a career change? Where do you want to be both personally and professionally? If the Project Smart forum is any indication, plenty of people want to pursue a career in project management.

So how do you go about becoming a project manager in 2018?

First, a dilemma. Many aspiring project managers find that employers are unwilling to recruit a project manager without experience, and without being given a chance, there is no way to gain experience.

Where should you start?

Seven Steps to Becoming a Project Manager

These seven steps can help move you towards your goal. 

1. Get Certified

There are many project management certifications. It doesn't matter which you choose, as long as you obtain a recognised qualification. The process of studying and getting a certification shows you are serious about a career in project management, enough to invest your time and money.

 Some of the most widely recognised certifications are PRINCE2, APMP, CAPM, and Certified SCRUM Master. When deciding which to go for, check which are most commonly asked for in your chosen profession or industry.

2. Look for Related Jobs

 Look for jobs related to project management that allow you to network with project managers. Working in a project management office (PMO) or as an admin for a project manager can help you learn about the profession and take advantage of any opportunities.

3. Find a Low-Profile Project 

Look for low-profile projects in your organisation. Are there any projects you could suggest to management? What needs doing? What does the organisation lack? Once you find a project, suggest it to management and volunteer yourself to head it.

4. Volunteer

 Project management in the voluntary sector will give you the principles and tools needed to manage projects successfully. Would-be project managers should explore any opportunities they can find to gain experience.

5. Projectise Your Current Job

 It is worth considering whether your current job lends itself to project management techniques. These techniques can be used to add structure to your daily, weekly, and monthly work plan.

6. Find a Junior Project Manager Role

 As a University graduate, you may be able to find a position as a trainee project manager. This post would give you the opportunity to cut your teeth on some low-profile projects before progressing to more important projects.

7. Develop Your General Skills

 It's important to develop your project management skills in the workplace long before you become a project manager. Project management expert David Litten identifies eight necessary skills:

  • Be a Leader and a Manager
  • Be a Team Builder and a Team Leader
  • Be a Problem Solver
  • Be a Negotiator and Influencer
  • Be an Excellent Communicator
  • Be a Good Organiser
  • Be a Competent and Consistent Planner
  • Set-up and Manage Budgets

Seek opportunities to develop these skills in your current role. Start small and build these skills over time. Look for opportunities where you can offer to lead small projects

Final Thoughts 

Becoming a project manager requires good planning and determination. Create a plan with SMART goals(specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based), a requirements list, and a schedule. Work your plan. Remember, perseverance is important. Keep trying, don't give up, and eventually you'll reach your goal.

Abandoned dreams litter the pathway to a career in project management. Nurture your dreams on the journey.

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13 Things to Avoid if You Want to Become a Successful Project Manager

Before you read one more article on how to be more productive, remember this:  Be kind to yourself and your mistakes. You can’t expect to be more productive overnight.

You’ve probably spent years cultivating your work habits–both good and bad, consciously or subconsciously–and those won’t immediately change.

Small adjustments can lead to more lasting changes, but those may take time and discipline. It looks really easy when you’re reading a productivity article like this to think it’s easy. But it’s not. I’m not writing this from an expert point of view, but from a fellow worker in the fight against distraction.

So be patient and kind through the rough patches and try again. Okay, now we’re ready:

How To Be More Productive

1. Make a reasonable to-do list.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. To-do lists often fail because we make them way too complex or the tasks are unequal. Some tasks will take a long time, others won’t take any time at all. This creates an unbalance in the way we distribute our time. What happens then is that our to-do list then becomes a procrastination tool. Yes, that’s right. Because then we do the easy stuff, and then become really distracted on the hard stuff.

Don’t lie, you’ve done that before. So then you need to …

2. Set small goals for the tasks.

With every new project or assignment, the scope may seem too large. But once you start breaking it down and realizing what can be accomplished, you’ll notice how each part builds upon the other.

One of the easiest and most practical things you can do is to break down your marketing project or deliverable into smaller goals. What are the pieces and assets needed? Who do you need to talk to first? Break up these pieces before even setting timelines, and then estimate how long they’ll take you to accomplish. Understanding the scope of what’s being asked, putting the steps in place and then estimating the time needed will help you get a grasp of what’s being asked. Sometimes what seems like a big project won’t take much time at all, or vice versa.

3. Focus on one goal at a time.

How do you determine what’s important? How does your organization determine what’s important?

Through OKRs? KPIs? Osmosis?

Well, whatever your company’s priority is, it’s your job to execute. One way to do this is through the 90-90-1 rule. It also works if you’re managing a team.

Here’s what you do: Commit the first 90 minutes of your day for 90 days to the most important task. Suggested by HR guru, Robin Sharma, it will focus your priorities before the day even really gets going.

It’s also very practical. It’s not spending all of your time every day on one single thing.

You can also set up projects to focus on this one goal and to make sure that it aligns with your overall company goals.

4. Track your time to identify patterns.

Tracking your time, even if no one is asking you for it can help you understand your work habits and the time of day when you finish work most successfully. Tracking your time efficiently, knowing what your tech habits are, from when you check your email to how often you check your favorite websites or social media can affect your workday in a big way.

By re-arranging some of those things, you may be able to get more done. Tracking your time for a week or two will help you see where you spend your time, and will help you better estimate your goals from #1 a little bit better the next time around. The next time you’re asked to repeat a task, you’ll have a better sense of the amount of time needed.

You’ll also notice problem areas, where you tend to be less productive, or identify certain scheduling quirks that you can work around–such as weekly meetings or appointments or even when that one coworker comes by to chat for a few minutes.

One method that may help is a bullet journal. This is my favorite breakdown of how to make that happen, complete with symbols!

5. Find a method for delegating and following-up.

It’s one thing to give your team tasks and projects; it’s another thing to make sure they finish the work and get it done. Then passing it off for approvals is another piece of the pie that you have to tackle. Finding a reliable method for tracking your team’s projects will make your work more efficient. Collaboration tools and project management softwarecan definitely help with this (more on this later), but you also have to commit to using tools like this so you don’t let down your fellow co-workers. But your individual part is important in this, too. The more you update and follow-up with next steps, it’ll help your co-workers stay on track, too.

6. Create a proactive dashboard.

I stole this idea from Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo. Essentially, this is a measurable task list. If you’re noticing that a certain task is having a big effect on our business or is a necessary task that you need to keep doing, then list out the number of times that you need to do that task each week. The goal here is to record inputs, not just outcomes.

This is especially useful for marketers. If you know you need to tweet or write a certain number of LinkedIn posts, then you can list these out and make sure you do that number for the week. Here’s an example of my proactive dashboard:

Watch this video from Noah Kagan to grab your own proactive dashboard template.

7. Figure out your 2 peak hours.

Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. But the modern business environment doesn’t always accomodate that. Maybe the office doesn’t open until 9, but your peak is at 5am to 7am. Personally, I find high energy levels when most people are winding down their day, around 4pm to 7pm and then after 8pm. Often, I’ll purposely take some of that time away or schedule more less-strategic tasks during hours when I’m not as enaged. It’s suggested that we should find at least 2 hours a day to dive into the harder strategic work, and leave the other hours for meetings or less urgent tasks.

You’ll also identify patterns and when you could engage in “deep work” or the idea of focused work for longer periods of time. This is the concept from Georgetown professor Cal Newport.  Some work (like answering emails) is shallow, while others (like coming up with new campaign concepts or intense photo editing) may need more focused time or “deep work.”

8. Pick one task and then do it.

This is very difficult because sometimes our projects aren’t a 30-minute or one hour job. It may take 8 hours or multiple days. What’s the answer then? Break it up into one task and then do that one task to its completion. But how long should that be? And what’s reasonable? I think most of our days are broken into hour segments. Which then is really 45 to 50 minutes. We have meetings that start on the hour or we take a lunch hour or we schedule a call for an hour. Working consistently for 45 minutes on one thing makes sense, but is very difficult.

The Pomodoro technique suggests 25 minute blocks of time, with short 5 minute breaks, followed by longer breaks later on.

Pomodoro helps you eliminate interruptions and helps you estimate how long a certain task will take you. Read more about the Pomodoro technique in this article.

9. Throw stuff away and declutter.

Did you know your physical environment impacts your work? And I don’t mean just if you work in a “cool” office or not. Depending on your company and your role in the company, that’s largely out of your control. But you can control your workspace. It helps you be more productive when you don’t have to hunt and peck for whatever that missing thing is. You’ll save time by not doing that.  You’ll also get more clarity and focus for your tasks at hand. Check out more tips here.

10. Find time to walk or exercise.

I’ve worked in office parks, in downtown business districts and from home. And in every place, I try to find time to walk at least once a day. That could be around the parking lot, down the street, or in the park, and it’s more refreshing than anything on social media.

This isn’t about staying in shape or losing weight, not that those are bad things. But exercise can help you be more productive because it increases your alertness. Because it increases your bloodflow and cardiovascular health, you’ll be less anxious, more focused and more capable of dealing with stress.

11. Stop and reflect.

When you’re responsible for getting multiple projects out the door, you have to take a step back and see what’s working, what’s not, what needs to be prioritized and what needs to be changed. Building in time to review isn’t wasting time, but optimizes your work moving forward. For more on post-project reflection, check out this post.

12. Follow the 2 pizza rule for meetings.

Meetings definitely can slow down momentum, especially when there’s a huge crowd of 30 people to “brainstorm.” We know how that goes. The same people who always talk will talk. The silent ones will stay silent.

If you theoretically have to order more than 2 pizzas to feed the team you’re meeting with, then it’s too big. There will not be enough discussion. Not enough ideas will be expressed. Instead if you have a team made up of only people who would eat two pizzas, more vibrant ideas will emerge. More people does not necessarily equal better ideas or faster action. It slows things down considerably.

People are less interested and feel less personally responsible if the idea stalls and stagnates. The accountability is lost.

13. Group similar tasks together.

When we switch between tasks, we naturally create friction. Starting and stopping. Opening and closing. Beginning and ending. All of those small moments add up and break our concentration. Then we get distracted and forget why we even were reviewing something in the first place. But the way to cut down on switching between tasks is to group similar ones together. Don’t respond to just one email and then move on. Respond to all of them and then don’t come back until several hours later. Or batch all of your emails together. And on that note…

14. Stop multi-tasking.

Because the switching is making us more tired. It’s taking up brain energy to switch and change that often. We aren’t being more productive, we’re skimming over the surface of things. The modern workplace environment won’t support you in your quest to be more focused–it’s virtually an impossible task when Slack, Skype and Salesforce are jockeying for our attention.

Here’s a quote from a more credentialed person than me. A neuroscience behavior professor Daniel Levitin at McGill says: “That switching comes with a biological cost that ends up making us feel tired much more quickly than if we sustain attention on one thing.” And you know what else? Caffeine won’t necessarily help us. In fact, we probably just need to take a break for awhile instead. Again, Professor Levitin: “People eat more, they take more caffeine. Often what you really need in that moment isn’t caffeine, but just a break. If you aren’t taking regular breaks every couple of hours, your brain won’t benefit from that extra cup of coffee.”

Ouch. Don’t tell my favorite barista.

To really stop multi-tasking, you may need apps to block you from clicking over. This will keep the distractions at bay, especially for us constant consumers.

15. Be accountable to another person.

For those that work in teams, this seems obvious. Using an automated project management system will notify you of the next task when it’s finished. But you may need accountability on everyday tasks too. Like if you accomplished the goals in your proactive dashboard (see #…), or spent another time on strategic brainstorming  or setting up campaigns. But find someone you trust that will support you and not beat you up for your failure. You need an encourager. This could be your supervisor, but more than likely it’s a colleague that can help you stay on track. And maybe you can help them as well.

16. Ask for help on stuff you don’t understand. 

If you’re prideful (like me!), you don’t like to ask for help on things you feel like you should be able to do. This manifests itself in my life by taking way too long trying to format an Excel sheet or create the perfect Powerpoint presentation. Instead, smart people ask for help. And they’re actually viewed by their colleagues as being smarter. Not to mention, this could save you tons of time in the long run. Yes, it may be difficult at first to sparse out a few extra minutes here and there to watch a video or call a support line, but in the end, it’ll help you be more efficient with those tasks.

17. Get sunlight.

According to recent productivity studies, you’ll boost your productivity and alertness with more natural light. Why do you think offices with windows are in such high demand? It also affects the timing of the circadian clock which then impacts your wakefulness and fatigue.

I used to work in office buildings where I also found myself in the middle of the floor or stuck in a conference room with no window. Plus, where I live it would get dark early in the winter time, including the last part of the working day. Not good. What could I do? I bought a lightbox to bring an extra glow to my workspace. Try it if you’re in a similar position.

18.  Look at cuddly animal pictures(?)

This is kinda crazy and you may not believe it, but sharing and looking at pictures of cute animal pictures actually increases attention spans. Don’t believe me? This is hardcore science. If you have a problem with this, then you have a problem with science itself (j/k). But for real–a Japanese study measured performance after looking at cute animals. Yes, they actually did this.

Here’s a quote from the study: “Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images.”

Can you believe it? Here this will help you:

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PMP Prep For Feb

Evening Event: Create a Value Delivery Office (VDO) for Extreme Business Agility

January 16, 2018
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
 Add to Calendar

Infusion Lounge - SF
124 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94102

Does your organization strive to achieve laser focus on planning the right set of projects and delivering at a predictable pace? Do you want to learn from the successes (and failures) of Extreme Agile Implementation at a Corporate to attain a sustainable business model? Then hope isn’t a plan! It takes more than a year to get into a regular rhythm with about 1,000 people interacting with the model. If you want to learn directly from the people who’ve made it work, this session is for you.

Key takeaways:

- How to set up the Org to bring in Extreme Business Agility

- Pointers to transform PMO into Value Delivery Office

- Knowledge of Org Level Value Realization Metrics

Anup Deshpande, PMI-ACP, PMP, CSP, CSM, SAFe-SPC, IGCCA is a Sr. Director of Portfolio Management at CyberSource, a Visa company. He also currently serves as a Member, Board of Directors at Large at PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. He is a Mentor, an Agile Coach, and a Trainer and has over 22 years of a worldwide program. He has worked at Yahoo! for several years among many other medium-size organizations.


  • $45.00 PMI Member
  • $30.00 Earlybird rate before January 10
  • $60.00 Guest, Non-PMI member
  • $45.00 Earlybird rate before January 10


Pass the PMP this year with a 4-Day Boot Camp at a value price - Taught by the Experts with Andy Crowe's PMP materials.  Get a professional quality class at a PMI-SFBAC chapter price. 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 certification exam.  Or, if you are already a PMP and need 35 PDUs toward your PMP Continuing Certification Requirements, this is the class for you.  This is NOT an introduction to Project Management. 

PMI-SF Bay Area members get a dicsount on registration!


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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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Editor: Michael McMorrow

Web Layout Editor: Lola Akanmu

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