Newsletter: May Edition Print

Across the Board: 2018 Region 7 Conference Update

A group of Golden Gate Project Management students were chosen to represent San Francisco as a delegation of “Next Generation Leaders” at the PMI Region 7 Conference, held in Honolulu, Hawaii in March.

The attending students were: Tanwi Negi, Thi Han and Meliana Hakim with support from past NGL students: Batchimeg Shagdarguntev & Ramya Krishnamoorthy.

At the conference, the students had the opportunity to meet seasoned project management professionals from as far away as Hawaii, an opportunity earned through many hours of hard work on behalf of the PMI San Francisco chapter. For instance, the past NextGen students were entirely responsible for facilitating the academic outreach presentation at the conference while the new NextGen students have already begun their tour of volunteering with marketing & event support since the early fall 2017, as well as speaking at the region 7 conference in support of why San Francisco would be the next best place to host a region 7 conference in 2019.

Past PMI SF Chapter CEO and newly elected Board President, Nathan Mellin, describes the students work as “awesome” and appreciates the commitment and support that the students dedicate to the all-volunteer professional organization.

This year was special, as in addition to networking with other professionals, the Hawaii location allowed for a unique experience including a Hawaiian Luau, a special treat for the international student group. Mr. Mellin noted that of all the chapters, the San Francisco group again, had the most geographically diverse group, with students from all over the globe.

Equally important, Sean Williams, the PMI SF Chapter Military Outreach Director spoke at multiple outbreak sessions at the conference, including aiding other chapters to present how to better support our servicemen and women looking to transition into the civilian workforce.  Sean’s leadership and success in his own experience through the PMI SF Chapter has shown all why it’s important to continue supporting our communities.

Thanks to Sean and the above mentioned NextGen Leaders, our chapter was selected to host region 7, because they have shown how their involvement with the PMI community has made a difference in their life, and they could in turn, make a difference in their community too.  Last but not least, all of the volunteers below pictured, brought back new ideas and energy how we can continue to grow and improve the programs and events that we can offer our members in the coming year!

From Left to Right: Thi Han, Tyrone Navarro, Zenaida Alejandrino, Anamaria Jiva, Ramya Krishnamoorty, Batchimeg Shagdarguntev, Malika Malika, Raymond Chang, Meliana Hakim, Sean Williams, Anup Deshpande, Dina Tasiou, Sandy Mitchell, Larry Van Cantfort, Nathan Mellin

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

Mentorship is an important topic that is gaining    more traction in the professional advancement    arena. Research has proven that professionals    that have great mentors are more successful. In  this post, I want us to redirect our thoughts to      ask a different question around mentorship: 
 Whom can I mentor?

  We can all mentor someone out there in some shape or form. The concept of building a community through giving back and sharing our knowledge is one that resonates with me. Let's create a community of women who mentor women.
Who is a Mentor?
The definitions of a mentor varied a lot. I decided to create my definition:
A mentor is a trusted coach, adviser, guide, counselor who offers their knowledge, wisdom, and advice to support their mentee's personal or professional development. 
Myths about mentorship
We successfully talk ourselves out of giving back and being great mentors. I want to start by debunking three myths I convinced myself were true.
Myth 1: “I cannot be a mentor.”
When you think about being a mentor you might think "I do not have anything to share" or "I do not have enough time." We all have something to share. Our experiences when shared can help others grow. Don't hold yourself back from experiencing the rewards of being a mentor.
Myth 2: Mentorship can only be in a professional setting
Many companies promote mentorship today, which is great. However, there is a more significant opportunity in our private communities. Think about all how you can make a difference in your professional and private setting.
Myth 3: There are no potential mentees around me
Typically, after we have moved on from not believing we can be a great mentor, then we think no one around us needs mentorship. Look around you, who are the girls/women that come to you for advice? Who are the people you want to help grow? I am sure you have someone in mind.
Why should you become a mentor?
There are many benefits for a mentor and mentee in a mentorship relationship
For you the mentor

  • Provide you an opportunity to help and give back - There are women you can help.
  • You learn a lot by sharing and teaching.
  • Practice your leadership skills.

For your mentees

  • Women around you can learn from your experiences
  • Practical tips from people who have experience
  • Someone to talk to - no one should be alone on her journey

5 simple steps to becoming a great Mentor
Step 1: Prepare yourself
Before you embark on this journey, be clear on what value you want to derive from a mentorship relationship.

  • Create a list of your objectives for becoming a mentor – to stay motivated; it is essential to feel like you are getting value out of the mentorship relationship.
  • Define your resource commitments, e.g., Time, Finances and other resources. What are you willing to invest in this relationship?

Step 2: Identify areas you want to mentor in
Be clear on what you want to offer your mentees. Identify your mentorship areas by doing the following:

  • Make a list of areas people come to you for advice.
  • Add skills and knowledge you have that you want to share.
  • Identify some leadership growth areas you have.

My mentorship areas are: planning, achieving your goals, professional development, changing your perspective, taking the first step, taking control of your finances, discovering your strengths.
Step 3: Seek out potential mentees
As with every relationship, it is essential to choose your mentees carefully. Remember even your peers might be great mentees.

  • Think about whom you can mentor in your network
  • If you do not have anyone in mind - ask ladies on Facebook if they need a mentor. People will reach out once they know you are open to mentoring.

Once you have identified a potential mentee, have a quick conversation with them. The objective is to check if this mentorship pairing will work. Talk about your potential mentees’ needs to see if they match what you can offer. It is ok if you have to say no at this point. Encourage them to keep searching and have multiple mentors and not expect everything from you.
Step 4: Start your mentorship relationship
Once you and your mentee decide to start a mentorship relationship - make it official and start working together. To make your mentorship relationship effective, consider doing the following:

  • Align with Mentees objectives: Clarify what your mentee would like to get out of the mentorship relationship
  • Establish ground rules: Increase efficiency of your mentorship relationship by establishing ground rules with your mentees. Set the right expectation.
  • Meet regularly: Personally, I set up regular checkpoints with my Mentees. In these meetings we discuss the following:
    • Overall wellbeing - How are you feeling generally?
    • Goals -  progress they are making towards their goals
    • Support - how can I help?
    • Follow-Up - check in on action items we discussed in the last meeting.
  • Prepare before meetings: To make our time together effective, I make sure I prepare my talking points or questions I want to ask in advance. I also encourage my mentees to come prepared. I take a more structured approach because I want to make sure we both get the best from our time together. 
  • Discuss communication methods and frequency outside of scheduled meetings.

Step 5: Learn, Adjust and Pivot

Be prepared to adjust and make changes to your mentorship relationship to ensure you and your mentee are getting value. The mentorship relationship might not meet the objectives set. It is important to reevaluate and make changes accordingly. Mentorship is a learning journey; we can all get better at being mentors through practice. 
Call to action - Become a mentor
I want to challenge you to kick-off your mentorship journey. Identify a mentee within the next three months, start mentoring and share your experience with me.
Final Thoughts

  • You can be a mentor at any phase of your life.
  • Learn and grow through sharing.
  • Being a mentor not only benefits your mentees - it enables you to grow a lot.

Great Resources

Marie-Christin is a Global program manage and professional & personal development coach. She believes in connecting women to people and resources that they need to be successful professionally.

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Tips To Boost And Influence Your Project Teams Morale

A high level of productivity from your project management team is essential in securing a successful outcome. If you can keep your team productive and happy, you will see your project thrive. However, it can be difficult for project managers to come up with project management techniques to boost productivity and morale. It is important to try and range of different approaches and see what suits your team best.

Read on to learn more about how you can boost your project team’s morale.

Employee Engagement

The key to building a productive project management team is to make sure your employees are engaged in the work. Disengaged employees tend to produce poor work and can bring the rest of the team down. It is never a good idea to ignore disengaged employees, as they have higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, which can impact the course of your project.

Boost employee engagement by improving your overall work culture. Do not micromanage your team, instead, treat each as an equal and give them the chance to manage their time and resources the way they see fit. Over Managing a team can lead to disgruntled employees and poor performance, make sure you are giving your team members some independence when they are at work.

Proving industry training can also help keep your employees engaged in their work. There are many short courses that companies can offer employees for them to upskill. This help employees to feel they are progressing in the company and it helps employers build a stronger team. For example, offer employees the chance to learn project management so that you have an expert team at your hands when you need it.

Offer Support And Set Realistic Goals

It’s likely your team’s productivity will start to dip if you are setting them impossible goals to reach. Instead, make sure you are giving them realistic goals and offer plenty of support to them as the work towards them. Be sure to keep an eye out for anyone who looks like they may be struggling or burning out. It is important to make sure you do not burn out your project team, or things will begin to decline.

Have a chat with employees and let them know you are there to assist them and answer any questions they may have. Make it clear that you expect the best from them, but you do not expect them to take on tasks that they do not feel ready for. Try and offer incentives for reaching goals (e.g., positive feedback) so that your employees know that their work is important and appreciated. This should help increase your team’s productivity and morale.

Allow Flexibility

While you may have some deadlines that are non-negotiable, have a chat with your employees on how they would like to plan their time and be open to flexibility. If you have employees who would prefer not to stay back long hours, suggest that they come in during the weekend, so that they can work during the hours they feel most productive.

Be sure to respect that your employees have other commitments as well (e.g., family, socializing, recreational activities) and give them the opportunity to work out a way that they can complete their workload and still enjoy life outside of work.

Gain insight by measuring productivity

Sometimes is can be hard to pinpoint where your levels of productivity are declining within your team. Fortunately, there are many online programs that can help you measure employee productivity (e.g., hub staff) so that you have a better idea of where your attention needs to be focused.

Make sure you use this information wisely, meaning, do not scold an employee who seems to be working less productively, but look at why this may be and try and come up with solutions. Perhaps you are delegated too much/too little work to them, or they may be uninterested in the work that you have given them.

Create A Positive Company Culture

To boost morale, you need to have an overall positive company culture that promotes self-care and employee happiness. If you think your company culture needs a big change, be sure to speak with a member of HR about how you are feeling and how you think things can improve. Employee productivity and morale are essential to building a successful team that produces good results. Make sure you try a range of approaches to boost your project teams morale so that your employees are feeling enthusiastic while they are at work.

Helen Sabell

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management & Development, Education and Change.

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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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Membership Appreciation Day Thursday June 7!

A SFBAC PMI members only event.

Please join us for the Member's Appreciation Day 2018 on Thursday night, June 7th at Wells Fargo Learning and Event Center, San Francisco. This annual event brings out fellow Project Managers from different fields and our Chapter’s Board of Directors.

Don’t miss this opportunity to network over dinner, and your chance to win exciting prizes such as an Apple Ipad, Amazon Echo, and Visa gift cards. Participate in fun networking games which are hosted by project management student volunteers! You will also earn 1.0 PDU, so everyone’s a winner.

This is a members only event. Seats are limited, Register now! We look forward to meeting you at the event.


5:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Registration & Networking Game with Prizes

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm: Annual General Meeting

6:30 pm - 7:15 pm: Dinner

7:15 pm - 8:00 pm: Fun Games, iPad Winner Announcement, and Closing

When: Thursday, June 7, 5 pm to 8 pm 

Where: Wells Fargo Learning and Event Center (Annex)
333 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105, near Embarcadero BART


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PMPĀ® / CAPMĀ® 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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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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