International Project Management Day

International Project Management Day

The International Project Management Day (IPM Day) intends to encourage project-based organisations worldwide. It also encourages organisations which utilise project management methodologies to schedule some type of recognition event within their organisations or coordinated locally with others to demonstrate appreciation for the achievements of project managers and their teams.

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On the 1st Thursday of November of every year, the International Project Management day takes place all over the world. The Gold Coast could not be an exception and this year the International Project Management Day took place at Gold Coast University Hospital with speakers from different industries presenting different case studies, best practices and lessons learned.


The program was opened by Mr. Damian Green, who has been working as a Project Manager for several years and since 2013 has been the CIO of Gold Coast Health and the Executive Director of Digital Transformation. During his speech, Mr. Green delved into an array of different subjects such as aligning the company goals with project goals, investing in training staffs and understanding the importance of the ICT department as an essential part of the project management team and  not merely a service provider. He mentioned how non-compliance has had a huge impact on the health industry and most of this impact has come from leadership, communication or training failures or inadequacies.


The second speaker was Ms. Lyn Arhen, a Nursing Project Manager. She explored the importance of consumer engagement within projects. She provided several interesting examples about how they were able to listen and to understand their patients’ real needs and how projects were able to deliver a better customer satisfaction and progress by engaging with the customers throughout the project. Additionally, later in the day, Kelli Hazard developed on the consumer engagement talk by explaining how the My Health Passport was able to provide customers what they really wanted. This was achieved by paying attention to the stakeholders and understanding their feelings expectations.


Mr. Christian Kennedy explained how he ended up working with project management, after working as an After hours clinical nurse for several years. He found a gap which he tried to fill by taking a step back from nursing and working closely with project managers to find the best solution. Now he is an SPMO for Gold Coast University Hospital.

Mr. Steve Gough, Project Director of MIS shared how he involved over 2500 people in his MIS project, a project designed by clinical’s for the use of clinics. It was challenging, but he could see the project successfully come together as a result of interaction between different people, departments and a lot of input from the main stakeholders, the clinics. The project planning stage took 8 months and was executed over the course of 10 months.


Mr. Glenn Ayrton, Project Manager Women Newborn Maternity Redesign Project explained how we can successfully manage project risks and issues. He mentioned a moment in his life where he was hiking through Alaska and faced a mother grey bear with her cubs, they had to listen to the expert, who said to stay still and not move. He used this as an example of when project managers face risks. In such situations there are a few steps that should be followed; follow our gut feeling, listen to team members and hire experts to advise us. The sequence of these does not matter, the main idea is to have the team together moving forward towards the same goal. He claims this is an essential process for managing and mitigating risk.

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Talking about risk management, we also had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Jenny Paton, the principal Project Officer of Gold Coast Health. She gave us lots of input in terms of managing change and resistance. She shared a video about Nudge, a concept which monitors human behaviour and displays how simple changes can affect people and their behaviour. In a project, many people may resist change and it is the project managers duty to ensure the team members have a positive reaction to the proposed change.


The information sharing did not stop there. The Project Manager (PMP) Ms. Angeline Ayrton shared her insights on how to deliver an effective project management communication strategy. She used the analogy of blood in a human to depict the importance of effective communication and project stakeholders. Project managers must be aware of people’s background, experience, feelings and all the possible noises the communication/channel may have. She emphasised the importance of communication as the single most important part of any project and shared an array of tools which may be used to aid this process effects such as visual management, road maps, baseline, Gantt chart, mailing, report and meetings.

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KPMG added to mix with Mr. Wilf Williams, the Director KPMG Australia.  With over 20 years experience Mr. WIlliams spoke about the concept of “Organisational readiness. ” Here it is essential for the team to evaluate if the business is ready for a change if it has the skills, knowledge, budget and time to change or to develop a new project. Many businesses fail not because of project resources or better yet, lack of them, but sometimes because the organisation was not ready to move on to the next stage of the process. It is the role of Project Manager to assess this process and to be aligned with organisation’s goals.


Ms. Tiffany Bets shared several her lessons learned through PM skills, tools and techniques which she was able to utilise and implement through the iCARE system in Brisbane and it’s suburbs. Allowing them to learn and use 6 Sigma, McKinsey 7S, 5S, BPMN, Prince2 and the CSR (Clinica Service Redesign). She also talked about outer useful tools which may be used in a project such as Driver Diagram, PDSA (or PDCA), Run charts, Pareto Charts and more.


My personal favourite presentation was delivered by Ms. Liezel Lacock, Associate Director Professional Development of PMI (Project Management Institute) Queensland branch. She shared some insights from within the PMI and provided us with a global overview of Project Management today. She emphasised that successful Project Manager actually needs to have a skill-set of Technical Project Management skills, Leadership Skills and Strategic and Business Management skills. If a Project Manager does not have one of these three it will be difficult for the project to succeed. In addition, she touched on project engagement and the importance of PMOs and Executive sponsors having great engagement. Her predictions for Project Management in 2018 about keep up with the changes. The biggest challenges she mentioned will be Digital Advancement (such as robotics) High Customer expectations (Social Media going viral), Disruptive Organisations (such as Uber) and changing in the workforce (the new generation). She devised a formula for success in the coming year.

Success = Skills + Change + Stakeholders engagement = 2018 PMI Professional Development.

She also invited the participants who are keen to develop their PMP skills to join the Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS) at Bond University on the 17th November. This is a unique opportunity for non-profit organisations to seek help from Project Management Professionals (PMPs) to assist them in moving their charity projects forward or regain a sense of direction or purely to seek some professional consultation. The event is free of charge and students are invited to come and learn and join the event.


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The last talk of the day was given by Ms Kaylene Sutherland, the Medical Manager of GOLDOC. She explained how a huge project as the Gold Coast Commonwealth games is working regards to medical and health service, from the prior the events until the legacy after the events. She mentioned that working on an event of this size Lessons Learned from previous similar events are essential. While documenting processes may seem like a mundane task, documentation is indeed a critical aspect for any ToL (transfer of knowledge). With such methods in place, other event organisers may be spared many headaches and can learn from the mistakes of others. She also stressed the importance of milestone celebrations as a strategy for motivating the team.

Overall the day was packed with useful information, outstanding speakers and we were grateful to take part in such an event. Thank you IPM Day 2017. We look forward to seeing you next year!


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