The Waterloo regional Project Management Institute (PMI) meets monthly in our Peer-to-Peer P2P PM Connect group. As a co-Champion, the organization of monthly topics as well as the content and presentation forms part of the Champion roles and responsibilities. In keeping with this expectation, I presented at our March 2016 seminar how to introduce new management philosophies.
The presentation of this “How To” topic was organized as an interactive session as opposed the typical uni-directional delivery of information between a presenter and the audience. The intended “take away” from the session was to (1) learn how to organize a collaborative approach to the introduction of a new philosophy or process, (2) to involve the right people, and (3) recognize that there are differences in the way people deal with change
This seminar was attended by approximately 36 members. The seminar was 1 hour in total duration, which was generally partitioned as follows:
- General Introduction
- Choice of new philosophy topic to organize the “how to”
- Structure Audience participation
- Participative Session
- Q & A
Now…an hour is not a lot of time, so the seminar needed to be fairly concise in order to complete the five part agenda. It was important to allot ~ 30 minutes to the participative session in order not to rush or stifle the participants. The structure of audience participation was predetermined. It was important to ensure that the session had a high participation rate, and that the selected topic of debate was something that resonated with the participants. I had a fairly good idea that the general turn out would be in the 30 to 40 attendees; so I knew that contributions would be improved greatly by dividing the audience into smaller teams. We ended up with 6 teams.
The topic of discussion really needed to be something that came from the audience; therefore, the topic could not be predetermined. This aspect of the presentation could have derailed the entire seminar, but fortunately we were able to quickly converge on a topic that the audience was excited about. The topic was:
“How to Introduce a more Structured Project Management Philosophy without constraining individual Group Operations”
This was an excellent topic because it dealt with the very root of the adversity that usually results when anything new is introduced. To further elaborate on the aspect of adversity, I presented a simple character type model developed by Dr. Paul Stoltz.
The predetermined participation structure was a team brainstorming session where all inputs are categorized as follows:
- Problem Statements
- Potential Solutions
- Known Barriers
- Action Plans
The teams were given 30 minutes to verbalize and document their inputs. This worked out very well and reinforced that a collaborative brainstorming session only requires approximately a half hour if set up correctly.
The attached presentation captures the agenda items as well as a collation and analysis of the collected inputs from the 6 independent teams. You will note when reviewing the conflicting statements that at least one team elected to avoid a particular topic while at least one other team chose an authoritarian course of action.
Based upon feedback that I received, the seminar was very successful. It was a live brainstorming session that produced concentrated voluntary input from 36 individuals in the space of 30 minutes. It also showed that there can be very different views and opinions regarding how to handle behavioral differences. Whether the team differences were truly collaborative or perhaps coerced is beyond the scope of this discussion.