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You have no idea how great it felt to write that. As I am sure you've heard, writing a book is no easy feat. But it was one that I wanted to take on, and I was lucky enough to find a publisher who would support me in that endeavor. In all, it was about a year in the works: writing, rewriting, rethinking, brainstorming, sketching, discussing, and so on. It was a lot of work, but I'm happy with the outcome. And I hope you will be too.
Why write a book?
I've said it before: I stumbled into project management. In fact, my background is in writing and editorial. I've always loved writing. Before starting this blog, I was writing personal stories on another platform. It was an outlet to tell stories, be myself, and express my creativity. But when I started this blog, I really dedicated my professional life to sharing my thoughts, ideas, and experiences to advance digital project management. And I enjoyed it.
In many ways, creating this website helped to build my confidence to write a book. With over six years of content built up and published in various places, it felt like writing a book was a good next step.
Another PM book?
Trust me, I know that there are a lot of project management books on the market. I actually know a number of authors and have read their books. And they are great! The reason I decided to tackle the subject is because I thought I could add a new perspective to the topic. My book focuses in on how we are all project managers. While I'm obviously an advocate of project managers, I'm also an advocate of project management skills. I believe that the skills that PMs dedicate their careers to honing should actually be learned by most professionals. By having a basic understanding of scoping, estimating, process, and communications, we can be better, more productive team members--and project managers.
The only way to draw non-project managers into a book like this is by showing how the practice of project management isn't rigid, and it's certainly not just a tool. It's human-based, and we all can do it. My way of relating PM to everyone is through my own personal experiences. At the beginning of each chapter, I dive in with a personal, mostly non-work stories to illustrate how basic project management concepts come up in everyday life. I wrote stories that I think are relatable not only to readers, but to the content of each chapter. Plus, Deb Aoki was able to illustrate the ideas and bring them to life.
I also reached out to a group of friends and colleagues to share their own stories in the book. These are more project-related, focused on issues they've faced. I found these stories helpful in that they are relatable and helpful, because we've all faced issues on projects. And hearing an expert's approach to solving them can be invaluable.
These stories, combined with instructional content, templates, and resources, make this book a little different from the rest. And I'm excited about that.
First, we celebrate. I'm hosting a book launch party with DPM Philly on Thursday, July 27. If you're in the area and would like to celebrate with me, please come out. We're expecting mix of DPM Philly members, industry friends, and of course, family. We'll be giving out a limited number of books, and we'll have some food on hand. It should be a good time!
Because I have been so focused on writing a book for the past year, I've written less here and for other publications. But I'm not done. In fact, I feel like I am just getting started. I'm working on a couple of writing projects and have been contributing to the new Bureau of Digital blog regularly. I've also got a few article ideas on my to do list, and a new podcast to produce. Oh, and I'm gearing up for the 5th annual Digital PM Summit. I'll be hosting the event and a brand new workshop in Las Vegas this October.
I'm also working hard to grow my consulting business, and am always looking for clients to partner with to improve project management practices. If you know someone in need of some outside help, send them my way.
PMs are always on the lookout for milestones, and we have a big one coming up at the Bureau of Digital. This October, the Digital PM Summit turns five this October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we are ready to celebrate everything the Digital PM Summit is about: our growing community.
Back in 2012, when planning the first Digital PM Summit, we didn’t know who our attendees would be, and where (or if) they’d travel for this new conference. But that event sold out in 30 days and 150 eager DPMs showed up and made it happen in so many ways: listening, sharing, and supporting the growth of a new community. Five years on, we expect about 300 people to join us in Las Vegas for two days of interactive and educational sessions.
Attendees from across the globe—England, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Russia, Croatia, Canada, and many others including most of the USA—travel to take part in the Digital PM Summit.
A mix of in-house and digital agency-based DPMs, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and have different titles and roles, all find that they share a lot in common, but most importantly: they want to talk about the issues that affect them and their teams, and find better ways to work. They share challenges, objectives, and tools, but don’t always align on the “best” way to approach them—and that’s okay. The Summit is an opportunity to embrace that collective knowledge to find the answers attendees need, and to test or adapt them to their needs.
Every year attendees “find their people” at the Digital PM Summit and leave inspired to go back to work to try new things. And they come back because the event is a place to meet like-minded folks, extend their professional networks, and enhance their careers. Just by attending, they’re building community—and raising the profile for DPM internationally. How does that happen? Well, we’ve had a good number of attendees leave the event and go on to start local meet ups across the globe. We’ve even seen a few conferences pop up in the UK and Sweden. There is no doubt that this community is strong and growing—and we couldn’t be prouder than to be a part of it.
Topics, Talks, Discussions
The Digital PM Summit isn’t just an annual community gathering—it’s a professional event that provides continuing education to a community with sparse resources to draw from. Every year we bring together a mix of the industry’s leaders in digital to present and discuss topics that are seminal to being a great DPM at any career level. We believe that the interactions you have in a conversation or breakout with a peer are just as valuable (if not more valuable) than the things you can learn from a presentation. So the focus will always be on interactivity and opportunities to share and learn.
Over the past five years, programming has focused on both technical and soft skills with a nod to the fact that DPM is not easy, or consistent from place to place. It’s not all about project plans, burn down charts, resourcing, and all the other stiff, traditional PM topics. It’s about being immersed in digital, and understanding how DPMs can impact (or be impacted by) related topics like design, content, research, and technology among many others. It’s also about being a solid manager—being the person who is trusted, level-headed, and excited about taking on that role.
What the community needs more than anything is guidance to break the norms and be strong, informed leaders. That's why we encourage our speakers and moderators to present and discuss topics that will make for a well-rounded conference experience, but also to be thought-provoking and inspire new ways of thinking and doing.
What to Expect at #dpm2017
You guessed it: discussion and presentation on topics that are equal parts inspiring and practical. This year’s event will offer even more time for small group interaction as well. Here’s a breakdown on our session types:
- Keynotes and Presentations: These traditional presentations are highly informative in nature, offering specific tactics and takeaways. We’re thrilled to welcome Sam Barnes back to the Digital PM Summit to present “It’s All About the Little Things,” and are sure Sharon Steed’s closing keynote, “Herding Cats: Positive and Effective Communication Within Chaos” will inspire.
- Interactive Breakouts: These are 90 minute workshop-like sessions where presenters will share ideas, but also workshop ideas and exercises with attendees. Again, there is a goal for all speakers to provide practical takeaways, but also to give attendees the time to work together and discuss ideas. These sessions are limited to 50 people each. There will be several breakouts to choose from, including Peta Kennett-Wilson’s “Money, money, money” that will get you comfortable talking about well, um, money, and Dave Prior’s “Hacking Agile,” which will help you make a modified version of Agile work in your workplace.
- Regional Breakouts: These moderated sessions will provide you an opportunity to meet and get to know people in your region. You’ll be surprised when you meet people from your city you’ve never met before. We’ll have moderators in the room to guide conversations, and then we’ll leave it up to you to keep it going when we give you the opportunity to have lunch together.
- Lightning Talks: As mentioned, the Digital PM Summit is all about community, and because we want the community presenting, we give folks who are newer to speaking a chance to present on our main stage. This year we’ll do three lightning talks in a row. Each will last for 10 minutes, so you’ll get a quick dose of new ideas in this session. Look forward to Abby Fretz’s take on decision making in projects with “The Bee In All of Us: Learning Efficient, Democratic Decision Making From Social Insect Groups” and Greg Ryder’s productivity tips with “Do it Now: 2-Minute Rule Principle”.
- Social Events: It doesn’t end in the conference room. We provide sponsored gatherings to continue the conversation—and they are always fun. Food, drink, music, and great conversation. Who knows what to expect in Vegas!
There’s a whole lot of variety in format, topics, and presentation style jam-packed in two full days. Plus, if you’d like to stay an extra day and participate in a workshop that touches on a variety of relevant DPM topics, that’s an option too!
See you in Vegas!
What haven’t we covered here? We’re excited about the people, the topics, and the format for our upcoming Summit, and we hope you are too. Feel free to reach out and ask us any questions you might have. Or, grab your ticket now and join us October 15-17 for the fifth annual Digital PM Summit (and some birthday cake).
This article was originally posted on the Bureau of Digital Blog on 5/23/17.