Internationally renowned project management expert Dr. Hans Stromeyer delivered a captivating keynote speech at the outset of the IPMM on the subject of “The Project in Crisis”. He used the example of the explosion that destroyed the Challenger space shuttle to provide a gripping explanation of how people instantaneously and automatically revert to their primary instincts in crisis situations. “Some run away, others face it and fight,“ he said. “The explosion was caused by a design defect that was kept under wraps for political reasons. In other words, fundamental NASA safety and procedural regulations were simply overruled.”
Dr. Stromeyer’s presentation provided plenty of topics for discussion during the meeting breaks and it was even brought up in the open space sessions, where participants discussed the subject of corruption and mafia-like structures in the international project scene and in large-scale projects, together with the issue of how project managers can remain ethically correct and clean in these kinds of situations. The “Stuttgart 21“ rail and urban development project was also discussed in a session chaired by experienced PM trainers Dr. Christopher Hausmann and Dr. Michael Homberg from the perspective of why it’s so difficult to get key stakeholders to accept a project and how to ultimately win them over.
The 5 key insights of the day were:
• Divide your project up into smaller, short-term sub-projects to minimise the risk of project failure.
• Call in more experts and ensure that you come across as confident to people outside the project, especially key stakeholders.
• Forget perfectionism and use Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 rule.
• Find common ground and a common language for communication with your stakeholders.
• Update your stakeholder management strategy and make it more social - by using the social media and networks, for instance.
To sum up, we're delighted to have received such positive feedback from our participants, the majority of whom thought that the open space format was enriching and are already considering introducing it in their own organisations. Everyone appreciated the informal atmosphere and the interesting discussions with other participants, speakers and trainers outside the sessions.
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