What’s On – Second Day at Project Challenge

Day two at Project Challenge is just as packed as the first day for any visiting PMO practitioner. I’ve put together a pre-selected list of what a PMO professional can do across both days – a guide to getting the most of the Show. Here’s Day Two (take a look at Day One too).

Day Two

Doors open at 9.30am again and I’m there on time because I want to take a look around the Hall before it starts to get busy. There’s a useful programme guide available to start making notes against the people I want to see.

9.30am – Visit the PMI stand and have a chat about the latest offerings from the Institute. I’m not sure if I want to become a member so I’m going to find out more about the real benefits for me and my career.

I have enough time to plan my visits to PMO and project management tool providers – I’m interested in AtTask, Planisware and Asta Development. It will be great to get a real insight into these tools because it’s so difficult to do a comparison without coming to a show like Project Challenge.


Malcolm West from Project in a Box

10.15am – Just enough time to grab a coffee before heading to the first seminar session. This morning I’m going to listen to Malcolm West from Project in a Box talking about Taking your PMO through that difficult adolescent period it’s in the Masterclass zone and he’s going to be talking about:

It’s a happy moment bringing your PMO into this world but once it’s set up it needs to grow up quick. It needs to fit in, deliver quickly on promises made, bring consistency, control and support to your projects with the minimum of fuss and overcome the likely objections that will exist in some pockets of the organisation. That is pretty difficult but then you have to deal with expectations of improvements of leading new ways of working, best practices and moving the organisation forward in the way it selects controls and delivers its projects.

This session will look at some of the issues commonly accounted when setting up PMOs in low maturity organisations and how PROJECT in a box can help address them.

I’ll be interested to see what the presentation adds to my knowledge. I make a mental note to see where Project in a Box are in the exhibition and I might pop by later.

11.00am – I’m going to go and visit Sciforma. The next seminar I’m going to listen to features them and I’d like to find out more about them beforehand. They provide a project management software solution so I’m interested to hear about their take on PMOs and how the tool actively addresses that.

11.15am – Heading over to the Masterclass zone again and another PMO seminar (we’re spoilt this year with some great choices!) to hear from Mark Sutton, Project Manager, Sepura and Rebecca Leadbitter, Sales Director, Sciforma. The seminar is titled, “PMO : Real World Challenges

Theory and process mapping is undoubtedly important but adapting it to the environment is the key to success. Mark Sutton, Project Manager for Sepura (leading manufacturer of digital mobile radio products) describes how they implemented the PMO in 2009 and the necessity to re-visit that implementation in light of the challenges facing their business.

Love case studies about other people’s PMOs so this is perfect for me.

MM_0145 (2)12 noon – time to grab a sandwich and hopefully have a chat with someone sitting nearby who is also on their own. I always open up the conversation with the same line, “So what were you hoping to find out about today?”. It never fails to get the conversation going. It helps if you’re naturally curious (or nosey!) but I like to hear what other people are interested in.

12.30pm – I’m going to listen to Cath Convery, Technical Director, Explosive Learning Solutions talking about facilitation. An underrated skills for the PMO facilitation so I’m looking forward to listening to Facilitation – why bring in a professional facilitator when on a project or working with groups of people over in the Learning Zone, maybe the benefits highlighted in this presentation can help me think about how the PMO should be positioning facilitation skills.

1.15pm – I’ve got 45 minutes before the next presentation slot. Time to think about training options. There are loads of organisations here to talk to and this is much better time spent than looking at websites later. I’ll probably pick up a few brochures (and pens, stress balls and anything else that will remind me later!)

2.00pm – Do I concentrate on my career with So we are all project managers now? with Lindsay Scott from Arras People or do I go for Drowning not waving…What kind of lifebelt do you throw a drowning project? from Graham Coutts, Acando UK. Don’t you just hate it when there are two things on at the same time!?

3.00pm – I’m really looking forward to hearing the talk on The Guild of Project Controls a Centre of Excellence  in the Learning and Professional Development zone from Planning Planet.

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce you to a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for developing the skills, expertise and capability of professionals in the field of Project Controls including Planning and other functions associated with Project Delivery. The Centre of Excellence is called ‘The Guild of Project Controls’

3.45pm – there’s still lots of exhibitors I want to talk to and it feels like the day is running out! The show shuts earlier on the second day so I only have 30 minutes left. I take one more walk around the Hall, visiting some of the exhibitors I’ve not managed to speak to before.

And that’s it, the two days of project management fest are up. I’m going to have to wait until Spring 2015 before I get the opportunity again!


If you’re interested in immersing yourself in project management for a couple of days this October why not register today to attend Project Challenge?