I had the fortune of following Brett Harned on Twitter for a while now, so was very excited to see when the next Digital PM Workshop was going to be held closer to home. It was my first chance to hear Brett speak (outside of his blog and videos I have seen on TeamGantt) and I have always liked his approach to the specifics of being a digital project manager.
This workshop was held at AtlanticBT (thanks for hosting!) and for starters it was a great opportunity to meet with other PM’s both locally and from afar. Having a chance to talk to DPMs outside of the local area (Vermont, DC, Georgia) was also really beneficial. The size of their client base varied and therefore so did some of their processes. However, the one thing that was apparent from the discussions was that there were some basic, fundamental principles being applied across the board when it came to managing digital projects. The value was in discussing the nuances that could help you in your own projects.
The workshop began by having attendees get into groups and each solving a project presented to you in lightning round fashion. It was a great opportunity to brainstorm with other PMs, which is often times a luxury not afforded in your day-to-day work. Then everyone got to review the outcomes of these breakout sessions and offer tips, advice etc. I really felt I got a lot out of that. One thing that seemed very apparent was that most shops and PMs are following a hybrid of agile and waterfall, which is not surprising. We all seem to be mostly agile with some required restraints to allow projects to steer to completion keeping in mind the triangle of scope, time and cost. Basic PM fundamentals with the advantages of scrums and the ideas to improve those.
After the exercises, Brett had a more semi formal presentation on project communications, clients, risks and managing teams specific to the digital pm arena. It was pretty informal though, with people asking questions and contributing along the way. The day concluded with a Q&A session that also coincided with drinks and snacks.
What I got the most out of the day was the ability to look at common problems with new and sometimes challenging ideas that you could put into action on your own projects. It was also really good go be a part of the DPM community in my local area and use it as a way to get plugged in. The smaller setting also allowed you to network with fellow professionals familiar with my situations and issues.
If you ever have a chance to get to a DPM Workshop, or better yet the next Digital PM Summit, I can’t recommend it highly enough.