It’s all about the little things

Conference talks are often focused on big and innovative ideas that in many cases kick start brand new approaches to our people and work, which is a great thing that continually helps push our industry forward.

However, when managing projects or leading teams, being consistently good at getting the absolute basics right can be the difference between success and failure.

In this session, Sam will discuss some of these basics, how often they’re forgotten or overlooked, why they’re so important and how to get better at them in such a way that you really see positive changes in both what you’re helping to deliver and your working relationships with the people around you.

Sam Barnes

Sam Barnes

Senior Development Manager at Marks and Spencer

Living with imperfection

There is a belief that great project managers should have contingency plans for every, single risk. But let’s get real – if there’s ever an iron-clad guarantee on every project, it’s that something will go awry.

So stop trying to run your projects like clockwork. Stay flexible by embracing scope creep and know that there is life beyond “the sign-off”. Learn what the real-life-approved options are, and that the critical steps to a successful project are smaller than you think.

Join us as Betty discusses a handful of real-life hiccups, the approaches that actually saved her behind, and a few tell-tale signs to spot the chaos before it hits your project.

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Why sign offs don’t always work
  • Why you need a north star for your project
  • How to herd and organise new requests
  • How to talk to clients about unforeseen changes
  • Why documentation will save your life
  • Why you can’t forget to forgive
Betty Chan

Betty Chan

Senior Project Manager at Purpose PBC

Hunting down red flags

How does a client’s grimace during a kickoff call affect your budget? What does a layer of misaligned stakeholders do to your scope? If you’re not sure, you might want to come this little workshop. Learn how red flags impact your projects, pixels, and people in this fun and fast paced workshop. You’ll learn the impact of red flags, some handy diagnostics to get underneath them, and you’ll get to practice some strategies that’ll have you spotting them in the wild well before they can sneak up on you and attack.

Rachel Gertz

Rachel Gertz

Digital PM Trainer

Sod's project (and how we fixed it)

The true story of an 18-month project that was brought back from the brink of disaster to finally over-deliver to a delighted client. Why, as a Project Manager, you should sweat the small stuff so that your project doesn't die the death of a 1,000 antipatterns.

Helen Hosein

Helen Hosein

Project Manager at Softwire

Failure Swapshop

In this session we'll run a live Failure Swapshop. You'll see a room full of people learn how to talk about failure without judgement, and share lessons learned.

Come along, share your failures, learn from other people’s mistakes, and start building a culture of learning from failure!

Failure Swapshop was created by Luke Williams to help people share and reflect on failure in a safe way. I've found it a fun and effective tool for project managers to use with peers, in retrospectives, and with stakeholders. As Luke says "We need to talk about failure. We really do. It’s an important part of growing as a person to be able to acknowledge and learn from your failures."

Adrian Howard

Adrian Howard

Generalising Specialist at Quietstars

Scrum success tips: Dos & don'ts for distributed teams

Crammed with practical tips for making a Scrum team work well together over a distance of 5,000 miles, this lightning talk draws on a ScrumMaster’s real, recent experiences of working with a dev team in India and DevOps support in Sri Lanka. I divulge what has really worked for my team, what really didn’t, and the things I still want to try.

Covering practical issues from running good retros remotely and estimating stories with ease, to integrating new team members and providing effective servant leadership at a distance, this talk aims to inspire those who dread the prospect of trying to make Agile development work with an offshore team.

Malie Lalor

Malie Lalor

ScrumMaster

The impossible job

The job of leadership can feel impossible. In this talk, Michael Lopp, aka @Rands, walk through a handful of small, simple, and accessible means to hack the impossible.
Michael Lopp

Michael Lopp

VP of Engineering at Slack

Teams are products too

Just like products and services, teams require continuous improvement and refinement with the aim of ‘working better than before’. This workshop will cover:

  • Adapting and applying the syntax of user stories within teams to create more effective, more meaningful communication with team members and clients.
  • As with product product prototypes, consider how easy it could be to prototype a new way of working when the old one isn’t doing the job – build a useful solution, test it’s ability to actually solve a team problem and implement it successfully.
  • Your team is your user, so with user-based testing establish the baselines for the important metrics you’re looking to measure against. Taking steps to improve Team morale? Well how are you measuring that, when and why? Aiming for better quality code? Then work out what ‘better’ and ‘quality’ mean and how you’ll know you’ve got there - i.e. your definition of done.
  • Customer feedback is best when considered and acted on frequently to prevent customers having to put up with less than great experiences; with teams as customers, gain regular feedback to be able to iterate on your process and make improvements as soon as you can, rather than waiting, especially better than waiting until the end of the project.

Project success relies on team success. Implementing a process of continuous feedback, refinement and problem solving is critical to team success and happiness. These techniques power up teams by engaging the team from problem solving through to testing and implementing solutions for long lasting improvement.

Shahina Patel

Shahina Patel

Project Manager at Sigma

Digital Diversity - Leading multi-sensory & multi-ability audiences

As a Worldwide Program Delivery Manger for IBM, all I needed were organizational skills, technological relevance and strong people-skills. After suffering from a Traumatic Brain/Spinal Cord injury my intellectual/cognitive abilities and job was taken but my Emotional Intelligence was heightened to command the largest people-group in the world from a sitting position where Digital Project Leadership required that mental, emotional and behavioral queues were mastered from behind keyboard to the world of multi-ability and multi-sensory audiences. I became my niche audience, capturing other leaders with disAbilities working professional, digital and multi-media work-place environments that welcomed challenge of the status quo to drive creative destruction through experimental discovery

Yvette Pegues

Yvette Pegues

Founder of Your Invisible Disability Group

Your brain hates project management

You’re a really good PM, we all know that. You even use an established process and have some fancy software to help. So why do projects never seem to go quite as expected? We can blame the nature of digital work or the usual scapegoat - clients - but it’s actually all in our heads. Literally. Our brains are simply not naturally wired for project management.

This session will explore this reality by drawing on the fields of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics and applying it to project management. We’ll look at some real life examples, do a few experiments of our own, and learn how to counter the misguided tendencies of our brains.

In this session you’ll learn:

  • how we deal with information overload and why it’s all wrong
  • how to avoid or recover from brain fatigue
  • how to recognize where our default thinking fails us and how to counter it with specific workaround strategies
  • how terrible our memories are and how to improve the situation
  • how to live a slightly less frustrating life
Carson Pierce

Carson Pierce

Senior PM at DDB Canada

Make post-launch a success

It’s launch day! You and your team have worked hard to achieve this — the moment when you release your client’s website into the wild, ready to go off and live on its own. But wait! Is the client’s team equipped to handle the growing needs of their new website? Who will be making needed updates? Are other team members involved in content maintenance decisions? And will your client be able to deal with the design and development needs of the site as the site’s purpose grows?

Join us as we work together in this hands-on workshop to start taking better care of our web projects by thinking about their post-launch lives early on in our processes. We’ll utilise our best project management skills to bring happiness to content managers the world round and end content debt for good!

In this workshop, we will:

  • learn how our existing website project processes often create content debt after launch
  • create processes we can use to realize commonly missed, intensive requirements for content managers
  • work together to make our clients’ lives easier as soon as their site is launched
Natalie Semczuk

Natalie Semczuk

Consulting Digital Project Manager

Through the looking glass: Reflections on transparency

Transparency is one of the three core pillars of Scrum. It's meant to underpin every implementation of this process but what does this actually mean in day-to-day practice? In this lightning talk, Stephen looks at the value of being transparent within any methodology but also cites practical examples where a commitment to transparency has dramatically changed the projects he's managed. In particular he'll be focusing on:

  • Transparency with your client
  • Transparency with your team
  • Being Transparent with yourself

Expect a high-energy, concise talk with practical take-aways that you'll be able to immediately implement in your own projects.

Stephen Thomas

Stephen Thomas

Senior Project Manager at Valtech

Play for your life: Going from good to great in a digital world

The job of a project manager has never been both easier and more challenging than in this digital era when technology is enabling everyone to know faster, think faster and move faster.

Making stuff happen in a digital world requires that project managers not only get stuff done, but nurture creative potential in order for people to achieve new levels of professional excellence since modern day project management began in the 1950s.

Join Portia Tung, Playmaker 001 and founder of The School of Play, in this interactive keynote to discover why play is one of the most effective and efficient ways of bringing people together to do their best work and how play increases creativity, collaboration, communication and resilience so that you and your teams can go from good to great.

Portia Tung

Portia Tung

Executive and Business Agile coach

Modern management: Creating space to be awesome

Bringing agile approaches into how we manage people and lead teams can have wonderful, far-reaching impact. How do we get the most out of these new ways of working and also ensure that we create an inclusive environment where all types of people can be successful? In this session we’ll take a closer look at the science behind great people management, to figure out how to bring these together and craft space for everyone to be awesome.

Meri Williams

Meri Williams

CTO at MOO

Welcome from your conference chair

We're thrilled to have Brett Harned presiding over the conference.

Brett Harned

Brett Harned

Digital Project Management Consultant

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