Newsletter: June Print

Across The Board: How To Earn PDUs

Earning the PMP certification is only the first step to maintaining the Project Management professional accreditation recognized around the world. It is important for the PMP certified professional to also remain competitive in the project management field and connected with others in the industry.

Certified PMPs will need to earn 60 PDUs on a three-year cycle renewal broken down into two categories

  • Education: The PDUs in this space can range from taking relevant training, self-directed reading relevant to the profession, online self-paced learning, webinars, and any digital videos. In this category you also find participating in meetings and events organized by your local PMI chapter and other third parties authorized to offer PDUs (organization meetings are limited to 1-2 PDUs)


  • Giving Back to the Profession: This category involves sharing your knowledge and skills to contribute to the profession. Giving presentations in relevant topics, sharing your knowledge to expand the profession by teaching or mentoring, and volunteering with the PMI chapter or PMI at large, also count. In this category you also get PDUs for working as a practitioner in the Project Management field and creating content by developing Project Management blogs, articles, books, or creating webinars and presentations.


The education PDUs need to align to the PMI Talent Triangle® which keeps a focus on developing employer-demanded skills to stay relevant in the field. The PMI Talent Triangle® is composed of three areas:

  • Technical Project Management: For PMPs, this will entail showing domain expertise in any of the knowledge management areas as specified in the PMBOK
  • Leadership: This competency involves developing skills in guiding and motivating others such as coaching, negotiation, conflict management, and team building
  • Strategic and Business Management: This competency has a business focus to gain skills in areas such as strategic planning, benefits realization, operational functions, and customer relationship


PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program makes it easy for certified PMPs to report their PDUs in these areas. Take a look at your CCR certification records to keep track of the certification renewal date so that you can comply with the PDU requirements ahead of the deadline at

Paloma Mejia is Treasurer of PMI SFBAC.

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Member Appreciation Day June 7 in SF!

The evening of June 7 is all for you, with networking games, dinner, chapter updates, a tremendous speaker, and prizes -- as well as a succulent PDU. Total cost to you? Nothing, it's free!

Andrew Webster is an agile mage and a very entertaining presenter. More properly, he’s an enterprise, team, and personal transformation coach and trainer. A veteran agilist, Andrew has worked in software development for 20 years, during which he has thoroughly proven to be certifiable in many disciplines. Andrew has worked alone and through SolutionsIQ and Agile Learning Labs with recent major clients including Visa, PayPal, BBVA Compass, and Nest. His current focus is on the preconditions and environment required for wildly successful enterprise transformation. 

Andrew's "Agile (re-)Appetizer" will show you how to make resistant management types hungry to transform their organizations through Agile methods.

June 07, 2018
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Wells Fargo Learning and Event Center (Annex)
333 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105


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

"Business acumen" is one of those skills that you see on role profiles for jobs. It’s also something mentioned in the standards for professional project management bodies. Apparently, business acumen is something that project managers should have.

I believe that my success at working with senior stakeholders and on difficult projects is to do with business acumen. Equally, when I’ve messed up, that’s because of lack of business acumen. So what’s it all about? And how do you know if you have it?

Do You Have Business Acumen?

Ask yourself this:

Do you know how your company makes money? I’ve done inductions for a number of new project managers who couldn’t tell me how their new company (i.e. my company) made money. That’s fine; you’re not expected to know everything on Day 1. But you do need to work it out pretty quickly.

Action: Talk to your boss about what income streams the company has. How many main customer groups? How do you balance their needs?

Action: Find and read the last annual report for your company. Even if you don’t work in a company obligated to produce a formal, public annual report, you’ll often find companies do their own for internal use. Ask about the things you don’t understand.

Where Does Your Business Invest?

Investment decisions shape what projects the company does. For example, let’s say a leisure chain owns a number of brands.

  • Cheerful Coffee shops generate a 46% return.
  • Happy Hotels generate a 16% return.
  • Delicious Diners generate a 3% return.


Your business will invest in Cheerful Coffee shops until the market is at saturation. Why? Because that’s where they will get the best return.

While what counts as ‘best’ return is different for different businesses and in different economic conditions, 10% above base interest rates is good right now. In other words, if you left your money in the bank you’d get the interest rate. Doing a project with the money instead would give you a +10% return on that above what the bank would pay you. Although it’s riskier.

When the market is saturated with Cheerful Coffee shops the company would then look at doing projects to launch some more Happy Hotels. If the bank interest rates are 3% then it’s likely they would not bother doing any projects to open some new Delicious Diners because that’s a lot of work and they’d get the same return just by shoving the money in the bank.

That doesn’t mean there will be no projects once all the coffee shops and hotels are built. In reality, the Board will be under pressure to find the next Cheerful Coffee. Shareholders are unlikely to say: “No worries, just move on and do some projects on a 16% return.” They’ll want the company to uncover the next big thing, the next thing that will give them 40%+ returns on their investment.

Action: Find out if your market is saturated. Read the company’s 3 year plan or their strategy document (this might be a section in the annual report). Make sure you understand where they are headed.

Business Acumen is More Than Money

Well, the money side of things counts for a lot. But there is more to business acumen than just strategic financial decisions.

It’s also to do with the operational context of your work, whether you’re in a traditional business environment, start up, charity or any other sector.

Knowing that gives you ‘acumen’: the ability to make good decisions and to use your professional judgement wisely.

You don’t have to have years of experience to have professional judgement. You just need to – in most cases – apply common sense and good project management skills like involving the right stakeholders, reading the landscape and applying what you see to the recommendations you make.

In other words, it’s being able to see the big picture, understand the commercial reality and act accordingly.

Applying Business Acumen To Your Project

Stakeholders are often most interested in project cost and the time it is going to take to finish the work, and your business acumen comes into play hugely here. You should be able to talk about the business context and financial context of your project as it sits within the wider operational strategy.

Action: Calculate the direct financial impact of your project on the company’s products or services. Is it decreasing the margin on your offerings or increasing it?

Action: Establish how your project is going to affect customer service. If it doesn’t, how could you address customer service through the work you are doing, either to maintain it or make service even better?

Action: Talk to Finance about how best to manage your project budget. Don’t sit on reserves of capital if you don’t need them until later in the year. If you have large bills to pay, make sure they know in advance so cash flow isn’t affected.

Action: Review your project schedule. Is there any value in being able to deliver faster? Perhaps you’d be able to realise some benefits more quickly, which, in the bigger scheme of things, would offset the cost of an additional resource required to do the work faster. Talk to your sponsor if you spot anything.

Dealing With The Numbers

I know it all sounds like number crunching. Some of it is. But even I can do it.

I don’t have the ability to deal with numbers in my head. I’m fine with Excel, a calculator and Google to look up even the most basic formula. But my brain doesn’t crunch numbers – I have software for that!

Business acumen isn’t all about being able to hold revenue figures in your head and calculating the impact of a scope change on business benefits with a click of your fingers. If you can do that, good for you. You can be on my team (because it’s important to surround yourself with experts on your project team).

Business acumen is far more about asking sensible questions. Assimilating information and making connections. Thinking about value and what the business values. Thinking about strategic fit. Taking project decisions with one eye on the big picture.

It makes you a better project manager than someone who simply works through the plan and doesn’t look outside the walls of the project.

Having said that, if you lack confidence dealing with numbers, it certainly won’t hurt to work on that.

Want to boost your business acumen? Download my free checklist which summarises the actions in this article. Simply enter your email in the box below and you will gain access to my free Resource Library.

Elizabeth Harrin's blog  has evolved over the last years into a place where she hopes all project managers will find something useful.  A Girl’s Guide to Project Management aims to provide some direction in the world of project management by offering news, opinion and coverage of the many project management events that happen in the UK (and when she can get to them, overseas too).

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June Evening Event: BioMarin Project Faith

Event Description    


As disruptive technologies become more prominent in the industry drug programs need to react with speed and flexibility to maintain a foot hold in the market place. Over time GMP manufacturing projects have continued to reduce in duration, with the current duration averaging 3 - 4 years from concept to operation. To be first to market in a competitive environment BioMarin successfully completed this same effort in 54 weeks.

At project kickoff the team had an existing storage warehouse, a draft layout, large process equipment identified, a phase 1 production process and a single manufacturing employee. Simultaneously, the team successfully developed a GMP manufacturing process, executed scale up and tech transfer activities while designing, building, and qualifying the facility. This, all while facing technical challenges typical of scale up, gene therapy design considerations, fill finish technologies, coupled with strict local and federal regulations and the worst winter in the bay area in 10 + years.

The project has received an award for project execution from ISPE and is a current contender for the 2018 project of the year award. Join us in learning how Biomarin, partnered with CRB engineers and Novo construction made the imposable project a reality without compromising on quality, schedule or cost.



1.5 PDUs (Technical: .5 Leadership: 1 )

Event Agenda
5:30PM – 06:00PM          Registration
6:00PM – 6:45PM            Networking, Appetizers
6:45PM – 8:30PM            Featured Speaker
8:30PM                             Adjourn
About The Speakers   Carl Albertson
  Carl Albertson has over 30 years of diversified experience in engineering and project management in the biotech, aseptic and pharmaceutical processing industry. His experience ranges through all phases of project design including design, construction, commissioning andqualification. He is currently a Director in the capital projects department at BioMarin in Novato, CA. BioMarin develops and commercializes innovative biopharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions with focus on rare (orphan) genetic diseases. For the ISPE FOYA project, Carl was the overall project manager responsible for all facets of the project.
    Logan Kelley
    Logan Kelley has spent the last 15 years developing physical assets for health care, higher education and pharmaceutical organizations. These assets range from office, lab and manufacturing space, cold environments, utility systems, process equipment, and structural improvements. His responsibilities encompass all phases of the project life cycle while managing all stakeholder and sponsor expectations from individual contributors to C-suite management. Logan specializes in fast track projects where the development of high performing teams is a key ingredient for success. Logan is currently a senior project manager at BioMarin and an active board member for the San Francisco chapter of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers. At BioMarin he most recently led the development, design and construction of the company’s new gene therapy manufacturing facility

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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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