PMINJ May 2010 Newsletter

May 2010

Contents Article Submission & Publication Information


PMINJ Project of the Year Awarded to Connect by Hertz

The 2010 PMINJ Project of the Year has been awarded to Connect by Hertz, the car-sharing initiative recently implemented by Hertz Corporation.

At the PMINJ April meeting, the award was presented to Terri Ciccodicola and Jackie Van Der Ploeg, both executives of Connect by Hertz. Terri and Jackie provided the membership with a multimedia presentation of the project management principles and risk mitigation techniques used in their successful launch of this initiative, on time and within budget.

The nomination was submitted by Terri on behalf of Dan Flynn and Griff Long, Connect by Hertz Project Managers. Connect by Hertz was selected for this award after Dan and Griff had successfully completed an interview process with three senior members of the PMINJ Executive Board. Similar interviews were conducted with the two other finalists for the award – Rabobank International and Marina Energy LLC.

The selection committee was gratified by the overall quality of all submissions, and look forward to expanding the number of nominations received next year.

Volunteer of the Quarter

MichaelMichael Lange has been a member of the Program Evaluation team for 3 years. He has been consistent with his support.  As a team member, Michael is required to summarize anywhere from 30 to 50 evaluation forms every month using the team’s MS Excel spreadsheet. What has set Michael apart is his initiative. Over the years he has recommended various reporting improvements and modifications to the spreadsheet calculations which have resulted in more meaningful data mining.

In addition to his regular monthly activities of collecting data, Michael recently volunteered to help the chapter test the use of Survey Monkey to provide an electronic program evaluation survey for the satellite locations.  Michael created the program evaluation survey based on the paper version while at the same time enhancing the electronic version for ease of use and data entry.  

The electronic survey has demonstrated it is possible for the chapter to go ‘green’ and improve the satellite location program evaluation reporting. The electronic evaluation form has reduced handwriting interpretation issues and reduced the time it takes to summarize and collate the various question’s answers into a single master MS Excel spreadsheet report.

Michael continues to provide improvements to the electronic evaluation form. Two great examples are the addition of a ‘pointer’ to the site upon completion of the evaluation form which serves as a reminder to program attendees to submit their PDU's and the addition of check box's for the various volunteer activities available, making it easier to complete and faster for chapter leadership to complete data searches.  

 Michael has helped the program evaluation team make a difference and provides value added support to the chapter every day.

Congratulations to Michael.

Universal Laws Of Risk Management
Risk Doctor Briefing: © October 2009

By Dr David Hillson PMP Nonfarm  -

The term “risk management” covers many different types of risk, including strategic risk, financial risk, reputational risk, operational risk, project risk, environmental risk, legal risk, contract risk, or technical risk, as well as corporate governance, business continuity and disaster recovery. While each of these areas has its own special language, processes and techniques, there are some principles which apply to them all. These might be called “universal laws of risk management.”

The first law of risk management is that risk is uncertain. A risk is something in the future which might or might not occur. This is vital to a proper understanding of risk and its management. Risks do not yet exist; indeed they may never exist at all. They are potential future events or sets of circumstances or conditions. This makes them quite different from things which have happened in the past or which currently exist in the present. Past and present events can be analyzed and measured, but future events can only be imagined or estimated. A risk which may or may not exist in the future cannot be experienced directly unless or until it happens. This makes risks different from issues, problems or constraints. In every type of risk management, risk is in the future, which is inherently uncertain.

The second law is that risk matters. If they occur, risks will have consequences which make a difference in some way. It is not possible to have an inconsequential risk, by definition. While various types of risk management focus on different sorts of consequence, all agree that a risk must affect something. This is because risks are inextricably linked to objectives. Wherever some field of human endeavor is attempting to achieve something, it is possible to identify uncertainties which might affect the chances of success. Whether the objectives are to achieve good corporate governance, successful projects or business continuity, risk management aims to identify possible future events which could influence those objectives, and to enable them to be understood and managed effectively.

The third law is that managing risk is a process. They may have different steps, but all approaches to risk management provide a framework which is designed to maximize both efficiency and effectiveness. Although the details of risk processes are different, every type of risk management has two important parts: analysis and action. Before risk can be properly managed, it must first be identified, described, understood and assessed. Analysis is a necessary first step but it is not sufficient – it must be followed by action. A risk process which does not lead to implementation of actions to deal with identified risks is incomplete and useless. The ultimate aim is to manage risk, not simply to analyze it.

Finally, the fourth law is that risk is managed by people. The human aspects of risk management are vital to its success and effectiveness. People implement processes, though we may use machines to automate calculations, to record results, or to generate reports. People set risk thresholds, identify risks, assess the degree of uncertainty and extent of possible impact, propose appropriate responses and implement agreed actions. These require judgments, estimates and decisions to be made in the presence of uncertainty. These judgments are subject to a range of influences, both explicit and hidden, which can significantly affect the outcome. Risk management at every level is exposed to sources of bias arising from overt and covert influences acting on individuals and groups who are trying to make risk-based decisions with imperfect or incomplete information.

Whatever type of risk we face, we have to follow these universal laws of risk management. To manage risk effectively we need to deal with uncertainty that matters, follow a structured process, and take account of the people aspects.   This site is a focus for the work being done on Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude. ATOM (Active Threat & Opportunity Management) Risk Management is a practical method for managing risk on projects.  

So Why Should We Hire You?

By Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach

If you are currently in a job search chances are you've been asked that question already. Undoubtedly, it is the most feared interview question, but one of the most common. It pays to be ready to answer it. It also helps to understand that the question is an invitation for you to sell yourself. This is a good thing. No one is going to hire you until they have been sold on you. This is your chance to state your value to the prospective employer. The best way to answer this question is to prepare for it like a sales person. There are three steps to selling yourself with confidence.

1. Know your product “YOU”

Every successful salesperson knows their product inside and out. They understand the benefits of each product feature. In like manner, you must be able to articulate your transferable skills. First, take inventory of your skills. Make sure the skills you focus on are in demand for the position you seek. Next, take stock of the times of crisis when you've used those skills to solve problems. Finally, ask yourself what your employer got out of your successes on the job. Did you save time or money, increase revenue, improve service or increase productivity? Your success stories carry more weight when you can quantify the results. These success stories make up your selling points.

2. Know the challenges of the position

Before you can tell them why they should hire you, you must understand their current challenges. After all, you couldn't sell a car unless you knew understood how it was to be used. Until you know what challenges go with the position you won't know which of your selling points to talk about. To learn about their challenges you must ask them.  

In the beginning of the interview ask your interviewer, “What challenges do you see as most significant for this position in the first six months?” Take careful note of his/her response. You will learn the “hot button” issues that you must sell you.

3. Match your skills to their challenges

Here is where you get to sell yourself. Once you understand the critical skills they need for the job you simply share with them your success stories of when you have faced similar problems and how you solved them. Be sure to include the all-important benefit your company received. Start off your value statements with phrases like:

  • “I found a significant savings opportunity when...”
  • “My team gained efficiency when I discovered how to...”
  • “My boss achieved his quarterly objective when I...”

Remember, even if you don't get asked “why should we hire you” it is the underlying question and the point of the whole interview. Job interviews are your chance to sell your skills, talents and expertise. Before your next interview practice good salesmanship and prepare to sell yourself like a pro.

Read more career tips and see sample resumes

Historical Membership Chart



The PMINJ Chapter currently has 275 volunteers that assist in various initiatives within the Chapter. Volunteers are members of the PMINJ Chapter and their dedication and commitment is a key contributor to the success of our organization. We are always looking for volunteers to join our team as the Chapter continues to grow and broaden its services to the member community. If you are interested in volunteering for our Chapter or learning more about what volunteering can do for your personal/career development, go to our website

The volunteer openings listed below are the current available position. 

1. Newsletter Writer  
The Programs Team is looking for volunteers to work together to summarize the topic that is presented by the speaker at the monthly meetings.  Since one person may be unable to attend all of the meetings, it would be great if 2-3 people are willing to do this.  All interested volunteers should include a writing sample in their response to this communication and have writing experience.  
The contact information for the first 5 people who express interest in this position will be forwarded to the Programs Team lead.  

2. Speaker Feedback for Monthly Team Meetings
Provides feedback to the speaker each month on the results that were obtained from the evaluation forms and tracks the topics/speakers recommended by the attendees at each meeting.  
The contact information for the first 5 people who express interest in this position will be forwarded to the Programs Team lead.  

3. Certificates for Monthly Chapter Meetings
Alternating with one other volunteer to prepare the certificate that is given to the presenter(s) at the monthly evening meeting. In addition, this individual needs to be able to research whether the speaker has any certifications (such as PMP).  
The selected individual would need to be able to attend the meetings in which he/she creates this certificate and know how to use PowerPoint.  
The contact information for the first 5 people who express interest in this position will be forwarded to the Programs Team lead.  

4. Member Retention Initiative
PMI is encouraging the chapter communities to reach out to members who are scheduled to expire within 60 days, and personally encourage them to renew their memberships. The PMINJ Chapter is looking for as many volunteers as possible to make these calls on an monthly basis. Volunteers will be given a script and a call list.  

Something for Everyone at the 2010 Annual PMINJ Symposium and Sunday Seminar

AnthonySunday, May 2, 2010
140 project managers attended a Sunday Seminar conducted by Anthony Reed entitled “Debits and Credits for Project, Managers: Fundamentals of Accounting and Related Business Cycles”.  The seminar was developed for project managers who have limited work experience in accounting or people who want a refresher.  A good working knowledge of accounting is critical to successfully understanding, implementing, and maintaining business applications.  

Tony Reed was well received and enhanced his presentation with the use of humor and an engaging style.  He provided a simple two handed model to assist in tracking debits on the left and credits on the right. He provided real life examples and excellent suggestions including how to engage auditing to further understand the entire financial process and the impact on the project and possible risk mitigation.

AitaMonday, May 3, 2010
The 2010 PMINJ Regional Symposium on Project Management was once again a record-breaking and trend-setting event!  Over 620 attendees met at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ. This year’s theme, “Business Savvy Project Management” was a terrific learning event with many positive comments in the post-symposium survey.  The symposium met its goal to provide creative solutions and innovative techniques to traditional project management challenges with three excellent keynote speakers and knowledgeable and informative track speakers.  


Anthony Reed CPA/PMP provided an excellent keynote to jumpstart the symposium with his presentation, “Finding the I in TEAM:  Project Management Lessons From Some of the World’s Toughest Marathons”. He integrated individual performance-enhancing techniques based on getting your work done early so you can go out and play! Tony also shared his unique experience of completing over 100 marathons including hazards on all 7 continents and most of the USA. He showed the video of the marathon in Antarctica and the slides from Africa with the wildlife and provided risk mitigation.  

Tony Reed stressed the importance of each member of a team.   When working together as a team, you are only as strong as your weakest link.   He told the audience that we need to set SMART goals and to surround ourselves with people that will support us. Once you start reaching your goals you will be attracted to other people who have achieved success in their lives.  

There was a buzz the rest of the day with attendees and speakers who continued to quote from Tony’s presentation -- a reflection of an outstanding presentation!

The lunch-time workshop, “Stop Talking, Start Communicating!” was conducted by Mark Wiskup. The workshop centered on the topic of communications in the workplace. Mark emphasized that communication is most effective when the focus is on building connections with people.  He encouraged audience participation to deliver his message.  

MarkThe first step to effective communications is proper goal setting, which involves understanding and implementing the following four steps: realize what you are up against; master specific connection tools; dump your lousy habits and practice along the way

Mark continued to elaborate on each of these steps, with useful tips on what “is” and what “is not” communicating. For example, he pointed out that talking or making a presentation or talking about what you think is critical is not communicating.  Communication is about building a connection with your audience.  This is  achieved through speaking slowly, pausing appropriately, ensuring that your audience is listening to you and understands you.

The 9 tips, recommend by Mark, on building a connection with your audience:

  • Develop a specific agenda for every meeting, conversation, presentation.
  • Focus the agenda on changing status quo.
  • Use pictures, for future success (or failure) instead of relying on facts.
  • Make the future believable, using real stories and past success.
  • Talk about your customers’ success to make your company come alive .
  • Get to the headline quickly, and demand that others do the same.
  • Learn to pause frequently, especially when asked a question.
  • Praise with specific stories and criticize with specific stories.
  • Accept a compliment! – It’s the first step to making a new connection.

Mark concluded with some tips on bad habits that a good communicator must dump, such as, the use of qualifiers like “somewhat”, “for the most part”, “as far as I know”, and “pretty much”.  Or the use of integrity-challenging words such as “honestly” or “frankly”. He effectively involved members of the audience to demonstrate these points using live examples.

MichelleThe closing keynote speaker was Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, whose topic was, “From Talk to Action - Making ROI Real in Your Organization”. Michelle, the CEO and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning, the well-known project management training organization, gave a high-energy closing keynote.  Using examples from everyday life as well as from project management, Michelle showed the audience how to leverage five different sources of capital to increase ROI, in both personal as well as professional situations.  

Michelle used five points of a star or the human body as ways to remember the five dimensions: Financial, Infrastructure, Social, Knowledge and Brand.  After providing vivid examples of how individuals can assess and increase ROI from five different perspectives, Michelle demonstrated how project managers could use a simple but effective prioritization tool to gauge ROI, and make both personal as well as professional project portfolio decisions.  

Project management is more than a business skill, Michelle told Symposium participants; it’s a LIFE skill.  Michelle’s dynamic presentation gave the audience ideas and tools to use right away, and with her enthusiasm and energy, she ended the Symposium’s Business-Savvy Project Management theme on a high note. Post Symposium survey comments included the following:

  • “Very focused, very informative - kept audience's attention, even though late in afternoon.”
  • “Had a swagger to herself and her story. “
  • “Would attend another of her sessions.”


Jenny Ambrozek presented “Stakeholder Engagement & Co-Creation: Reducing Project Risks”.  Ms. Ambrozek demonstrated through various exercises how to apply a network mindset to project management.  She told the audience that involving key stakeholders and having them be co-creators during planning improves the overall project results.  

Ms. Ambrozek conveyed that applying a network mindset to your projects will help you achieve project goals.  All projects start with a business strategy – structure, culture, systems and shared values.   Projects fail because the ‘networks’ are not working and people are not connected.   You need to make team members feel engaged to make a project successful.  

The primary reasons for failure of projects are: poor communication, poorly defined scope and lack of adequate resources.  Ms. Ambrozek told the audience that they need to think strategically about building relationships among the people on the project.   The networks that you develop really affect the outcome and success of your project, relationships, and understanding.   As project managers we need to focus on how and to whom we network on our projects and how we get and receive information. Network analysis allows one to identify how communication flows through a project and points out strong and weak.

Vijay K. Verma, PMP, MBA, P.Eng, PMI Fellow presented “Influencing Without Authority”. Vijay provided a very interactive session with the audience participating in role-play to demonstrate the importance and dynamics of power and politics in project management.  He stressed that politics are inevitable in project environments, but as project managers, skillful politicking and power-brokering are vital to successful project management.  As a project manager you have influence on the thoughts and actions of your team members.  

Vijay explained the importance of recognizing human factors, such as behavior and emotions, in dealing with perceived areas of authority and power.  Just because a project manager rarely has authority or power doesn’t mean that they cannot influence the outcomes.  By recognizing the nuances of human behavior and emotions, a project manager can drive the discussions and other interactions with sponsors and team members to both influence outcomes and drive towards opportunities for a successful project.  He also explained that politics within our organizations create dynamics which help us strategically communicate and interact with the right individuals to drive the influence we desire, without the actual authority.

John Wurch, PMP, presented “Change Management: 6 Steps to Guarantee Adoption”. Mr. Wurch started his session explaining change management.  Change management is what is happening to the end users of any given project and how the change is impacting them.   Change management looks at the “people” impacted by the business need for change.  Mr. Wurch indicated the top reason most CEO’s lose their jobs is their failure to manage change.  When bringing change into an organization the project sponsor needs to share the vision of the change with managers and employees.   The sponsor’s role in managing change effectively, will build support from all parts of the business.  
Managers resist change because they sense a loss of authority or do not have the time to make the change.  Employees may lack awareness of the change and this may result in a loss of job security.   Communication regarding any change should be done as early as possible so you can create awareness among those who are impacted by the change.   For any change to be successful, you need to engage employees at the very beginning and provide continued, constructive reinforcement.


Dr. Brenda Marshall opened her presentation, “Emotional Intelligence” with the audience participating in a “cheer-off”, with her judging as to which side could cheer the loudest.  After this two minute exercise, the room was full of smiles and stress-relieving laughter from silliness of the quick bursts of energy.  

Brenda spoke of her family, her career and her experience in such a relaxed and conversational way, the audience felt they were getting to know a friend. She gave humorous examples of emotional tornadoes from her own life that were both entertaining and relatable.
The message of better decision making though S.M.A.R.T. goals and Time Management was a very valuable one for project managers. Dr. Marshall’s views of “reaction as a time thief” and “negative influences” were inspiring and thought provoking.  She explained how the brain works in times of stress and decision-making, and offered solutions to break negative patterns and raise self-awareness.  

Dr. Marshall’s presentation was both fun and empowering, which was the consensus in the audience, displayed by the fact that when she ran a bit over the allotted time and into lunch, not a single member of the audience moved.   Also after the presentation, a line formed to meet her.  

Roger Beatty, PhD, PMP spoke to the audience about his fantasy role as, “CEO AVATAR as Mentor: Becoming More Business-Savvy”.  This creative presentation was very different from the typical project management workshop, but yet conveyed some interesting tips.  Roger, in the role of an AVATAR Project Manager named “PM” enters PROJECToria on a quest to become more “business-savvy.”  In this virtual world, PM discovers that a virtual world organization, a CEO AVATAR and a specific sequence of ten steps unlocks the secrets toward becoming a business savvy project management professional.  

Linda Trignano, MA presented, “Communicate with Impact! Power Tools in Your Project Management Tool Box”.  Linda conveyed that the project manager's job is getting the work done by other people.  They must lead by example.  Among the characteristics of an effective project manager, communication, especially via body language, is most important.  

Linda talked about the 6 critical people skills needed by project managers: leadership, team player, goal-oriented self starter, excellent communicator, flexibility/multitasking capability and a sense of humor. She also described the 4 types of DISC profiles for project managers, characterized by the labels of dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.


SymposiumBarbara McClintick, MBA, PMP, and the Chief Learning Officer at Cheetah Learning presented, “Demonstrating Value of PMO by Using Management Enterprise Reporting Metrics". The 150 + attendees were surprised that they could not just sit back and listen to Barbara; in a few minutes over 15 teams were actively defining their team name, priorities, benefits, stakeholders and a long wish lists of metrics. Since so many team members asked for the results, Barbara has agreed to tabulate the results and send it for posting at the symposium web site for review by these eager team members.

Our chapter VP, Symposium, Aita Salasoo, PhD, PMP took this opportunity to share her wealth of knowledge in the area of, “Project Effort Estimation Best Practices”.  Aita emphasized that estimating project effort is a key to predicting project cost. She addressed best practices related to project effort estimation including: developing two independent estimates; focusing on assumptions associated with estimates; managing estimates throughout the project; assessing the estimate when the project is completed and adjusting estimate technique parameters based on organizational data.
Aita addressed the main challenges for project estimation: process culture; disciplined project managers; developing and maintaining benchmarks; continuity of estimators and/or estimate reviewers; tools and training and organizational commitment.  A Post Symposium survey comment was, “This was the most useful presentation that I have gone to at any PMI symposium that I have been to.”  

SymposiumMark Hronec presented the topic, "Partnership Models: Flexibility and Effective Execution". As pharmaceutical companies struggle to reduce their cost structures and improve their productivity, they are turning more and more to Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and other partners to provide critical development services. Mark explored some of the key elements needed to create and manage new and effective partnership models that deliver superior results.  Although the presentation was geared to the Pharmaceutical industry, one Post Symposium survey respondent said, “I have already used a few of the gems buried in this presentation”.

Between these presentation sessions, attendees visited exhibiting vendors and specific interest groups, purchased books from the speakers, and talked while enjoying the refreshments. There were prizes and opportunities to get all kinds of project management and other topics addressed with the business savvy brain trust present. In conclusion, the Post Symposium survey results indicate that this was one of the best Symposia ever.  Exceptionally high marks were given to the three keynote speakers.  Congratulations to the Symposium Team for another wonderful day of learning, sharing and networking.

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DebEditor Dave Case

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