Project Management Ireland National Conference

The premier project management event in Ireland this year took place on April 10th in the Aviva Conference Centre Dublin. I was lucky to attend with a number of Microsoft colleagues. It was organised by the Ireland Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Complimenting the schedule outlined below were networking and panel discussion sessions along with a really interesting Aviva Stadium Tour.

I was delighted to get out of the office and meet people from all walks of life and industry. Plus they’d some cool speakers in a great venue. Here’s what I thought immediately after:

“The PMI Conference in the Aviva was such a great event. The scale, complexity and outcomes of the projects on show was so impressive. The speakers were diverse and made me realise the project challenges we face are not unique – every PM faces similar issues, it may just be a different industry or environment.”

A few of my Microsoft colleagues also had good things to say:

  • “It was an early morning start, however, there was still a great buzz around the stadium. Delegates eager to engage with each sponsor (Microsoft included), this may have been solely to get their stamp to enter the Xbox One competition but it gave Microsoft a great opportunity to engage.”
  • I had a great day at the PMI Annual Conference also – this was definitely the best one yet – with an incredibly engaging line up of speakers … well done.”
  • “Great day! It was a super opportunity to hear about project management experiences from speakers in a variety of fields.”

Conference Highlights

Read more about the speakers here.

  Ministerial Address: Transforming the Department of Social ProtectionMinister Joan Burton T.D.

The Minister gave a very interesting overview of how she’s leading a huge organisational transformation to change how social benefits are administered and deployed. Without notes she spoke freely about the 2 year project to date and the importance of creating jobs.

  Behind the Scenes of Planning a Presidential Election CampaignSeán Gallagher, Entrepreneur and Journalist

Sean gave an incredible insight into how he made a vision, formed a team, pulled together resources and ultimately had a succesful campaign, by getting over 500,000 votes and coming 2nd in the tightest finish to a presidential race. With hindsight he said “the project outcome you expect is not always what you’d planned.”

  Setting up a new utility in 18 monthsJohn Barry, Irish Water Program Director

The scale of this project was very impressive – a huge project portfolio of over 100 projects on this uber-task to setup a new domestic utility in 18 months. The structure and professionalism of the PMO was clear and the challenges around organisational change and finding data on the physical assets was something we can all learn from.

  Planning towards a future without CancerDavid Drakeford, IT Director Irish Cancer Society

David gave an interesting talk on how the popular Irish charity needs to manage their ICT department, prioritising projects due to budget and resource constraints and how their various campaigns such as Daffodil Day and #nomakeupselfie pose significant IT challenges in terms of website traffic and social media.

  Keeping the Glass Half-FullSusan Hayes, the Positive Economist

Susan kept up our energy levels by talking about the power of networking, how to increase our resilience and doing the most important tasks in the morning.

  Case Study on how to Project Manage through a Pandemic CrisisDr Tony Holahan, Chief Medical Officer, Ireland

This was such a fascinating overview of how the CMO managed a crisis project: the H1N1 swine flu virus in 2009/10. We all remember how it affected travel, work with many people under suspicion of symptoms. How his team reacted with limited information in time critical phases at a national and global level was incredible. Huge logistical and communication challenges, with the ultimate outcome of death. Such a professional job.

  Communicate your Project Strategy with impactMichael Comyn, The Fearless Organisation

Michael spoke about change management and how we can be aware of fears and then overcome them. We also learned a new word: Amygdala and how this part of our brain affects our reactions. Check out the Marshmallow Test with kids – 2 minutes are worth it!

  Re-inventing your project offeringBob Bibb – US TV executive (Dreamworks/Fox/Showtime)

The man who launched Knight Rider! Bob shared his experiences of the massive change the TV industry went through in the 1980s and 1990s with the launch of Fox TV, ESPN and the explosion of new TV shows/format/stations. He was the man who launched Knight Rider and is now working a bit with Microsoft in Silicon Valley!


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