Beyond Execution

Making a difference in project management by training, speaking and writing


PMI Global Congress - Washington

Posted by beyondexecution on October 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM

I just got back from Washington, where I gave a presentation on the VIRT method that I've mentioned several times on this site.  I must admit, I was surprised at the number of people who were interested in the topic.  When I have presented the topic before, I have become accustomed to a half empty room.  The topic of risk perhaps does not resonate with Canadians it seems (yes, I am generalizing a lot here).  Here are the places where I have presented before, with my rough approximation of attendees:

- Public Sector Project Management Forum - 70-90

- PMI Ottawa Symposium - 60-80

- ProjectWorld Toronto - 50-60


For the Congress - I estimated between 300-350!!  Not every seat was filled side by side, but the room was full, with another 10-25 people standing in the back.  I usually have to tell people to sit closer because of the slide graphics. I did lose probably 15-30 people after 10 minutes, but I'm still fairly impressed with that number,


So I wonder if it's a question of interest, or the higher number of people at the Congress, or both.  Well, first thing I will say is there were at least 12 other presentations going on at the same time as mine, and I'll make an assumption that not all other sessions were full.  So I'll draw a conclusion that the main draw was the topic at hand.  A few other details about the event may shed additional light on the high interest.


The Congress was held in Washington D.C., a government town by the truest standards.  It has the highest concentration of project managers in the world.  PMI Southern Ontario Chapter, based in Toronto Canada, is the second largest PMI chapter in the world, with over 4500 members.  Last time I checked a year ago, Washington D.C. had over 11,000 members.  This is in large part due to the requirement that PMs working for the government are mandated to obtain the PMP credential.  Secondly, the government sector has a reputation for being more risk-adverse than other industries, so it pays more attention to the risk management process than other industries and sectors.


In the end, I was really happy about the experience.  This was the largest crowd that I have given a presentation to.  And while I was a bit nervous at the start, within a minute I felt comfortable and slid into the routine, so to speak.  Hard to believe I was once petrified of speaking in front of a crowd.  It just goes to show what practice will do - it will eventually form habits.

Categories: General Project Management

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