Monday, May 19, 2008

MITPM 2008
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
[pictures from Kuala Lumpur and Malta]

One of the coolest parts about my involvement with the IT&T SIG is that I occasionally have the opportunity to get to take trips to some really interesting places. Last Monday I boarded a 28-hour flight that took me all the way from Oklahoma City to Kuala Lumpur so that I could participate in the 2008 MITPM conference. The conference was held in the days leading up to WCIT, which is one of the largest IT conferences in the Asia Pacific region and it draws attendees and speakers from across the globe.

At the MITPM conference close to 300 IT Project Managers gathered together to listen to presentations given by folks from the US, China and Malaysia.

Mark Lurch, the IT&T SIG Past Chair and I both made the trip and presented at the event along with PMI Fellow Dr. Davidson Frame, Professor Hubert Vaughan, Program Consultant for the China Galileo Navigation Satellite Program, Michael Song, who works for Motorola and others.

This was my first trip to Asian and it was an amazing experience. PMI Asia Pacific Regional Director, SK Khor was one of the organizers of the event and in addition to being an incredible asset to the IT&T SIG and our efforts to develop a stronger presence in the AP region, he is an even greater host.

Dr. Frame opened the session with a talk called “Re-thinking the PMBOK, CMM and ISO 9000”. His presentation showcased how different approaches to project management can be used and blended within the context of the PMBOK, CMM and ISO. In his talk he explored the way that waterfall, iterative and agile practices are each specifically suited to successfully manage different types of projects and can also be blended together. He was a very energizing speaker and set the tone for a very informative day that would cover a number of important topics for IT Project Managers.

The country of Malaysia has put a great deal of effort into developing a stronger use of Project Management practices across the region. MITPM plays a significant role in that effort.

On the way over, the airline lost track of my luggage and it arrived a few hours after my talk. Without my luggage, I was somewhat challenged in meeting the "appropriate business dress" necessary for the project. I took the stage to give my presentation comparing Agile and the PMBOK with items borrowed from both Mark and SK. As I mentioned above, SK is an incredible host and I am very thankful for the loan of proper attire... however, SK and are not exactly the same size and I gave my presentation looking a wee bit like a carnival barker. Despite that, the session went well and judging by the number of folks who had questions after the talk, there is definitely some strong interest in KL for more information on how to implement and use Agile as a project management tool.

IT&T SIG Past Chair, Mark Lurch gave a lively presentation on Managing IT Projects Like a Business. Mark’s talks are always informative and the topic was very well received by the crowd.

Michael Song, Director of Engineering for Motorola Technology, Malaysia, who spoke after Mark was probably the most fascinating part of the day. Michael arrived just barely in time to give his presentation on Managing Global Software Projects via Virtual Teams. Michael was in the region of China that was hit by the earthquake last week and had an understandably difficult time making his way in time for his session. Over the lunch session, he was kind enough to share his first hand experience of the quake.

Because of the recent disasters in China and Burma, the organizers of MITPM took up a collection to support the relief efforts. Overall they raised over 12,000 ringgit (approx. $3,700 US) over the course of the afternoon. The IT&T SIG was more than happy to be able to contribute $500 towards the effort.

The day rounded out with a presentation by Professor Vaughan who gave a talk on PMI’s Program Management Standard and its value to an IT Organization. Professor Vaughan is a fascinating guy. His talk was great, but one of my favorite parts of the whole trip was having the opportunity to listen to him and Dr. Frame tell their stories of Project Management during the beginnings of modern software development. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to that topic, and listening to these two masters hold court on “back in the day”, was an experience I’ll not soon forget.

I have a video podcast interview, which I’ll be posting in the next few days from one of the attendees who traveled all the way from Nepal to attend MITPM. The fact that he traveled from such a distance to participate is a great testament to the value offered by the event.

On Friday, Mark Lurch, Professor Vaughan and I had the opportunity to speak at Multimedia University in KL. The school is a leading university for folks pursuing studies in computer science and project management. Graduate students, lecturers and IT Professionals attended the session from the area. They were a very engaged group of people and following the lecture by Professor Vaughan; we held a roundtable discussion in order to dive into some of the Project Management challenges faced by the attendees. We had a great afternoon full of lively discussion and debate and made some new friends along the way.

Late Friday night Mark and I boarded a plane that would take us on another long journey from Kuala Lumpur all the way to Malta for the 2008 PMI EMEA Global Congress. More on that in my next post.

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