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As a seasoned project manager, have you ever thought about the fact that your everyday work experience executing projects results in valuable lessons learned.  Your experiences provide an extremely valuable learning opportunity, but only if they are shared with other practitioners.  It does not matter if those other project managers work at the same company or even in the same industry.  Project Management best practices and lessons learned transcend all industry types.

You’re job is demanding and as a result you’ve got stories. War stories, success stories, failures, and lessons learned. The Project Management community wants to hear them!

We, at the University of Maryland (UMD) Project Management Center for Excellence, recognize the importance of sharing your project management experiences, best practices and lessons learned.  Six years ago, we initiated the development of an annual two-day Project Management Symposium which allows project managers from any industry the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences.

Over 450 project managers will attend the Symposium in 2020. They come to hear from each other, ask questions, and learn together. It’s a community that’s growing and open to anyone interested and involved in project management.

As a previous speaker at UMD’s annual event, Joseph Launi, President of Project Management Experts indicated that, “as PMPs we are responsible to spread the word to the project management community.  UMD’s Symposium is an opportunity to evangelize in the practice of project management and transfer knowledge to others.”

There are many reasons why you might want to consider presenting and sharing your stories, at our May 2020 event.

The number one reason to consider presenting is simply to share your personal project management experiences with others – or Giving Back to the project management community in which you participate.  After having volunteered her time to assist with our Symposium for two years, Pamela Davis-Ghavami, an IT Project Manager with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, finally decided to submit an abstract to be a session speaker. “I decided it was time for me to speak at the symposium because I felt that I had something to say,” she stated. “I initially volunteered at the symposium to get the PDU’s I needed to maintain my PMP certification and my agency’s training funds were limited. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting like-minded professionals and was impressed that they were open to sharing their experiences and best practices.”  That’s when Pamela decided it was time for her to share her own experiences and highly encourages others to share theirs as well.  “You should think about what you have accomplished in your career or what barriers you have had to overcome to reach your professional goals. Those are the stories that help other project managers reach new heights in their careers. We all have something to say that can encourage someone else to achieve their goals.”

We all have something to say that can encourage someone else to achieve their goals.”  – Pamela Davis-Ghavami

Pamela Davis-Ghavami, IT Project Manager, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

“If there is a topic you are passionate about within project management, submit a proposal. If you are passionate about your topic, others will be passionate to attend your presentation and hear what you have to share with them!” stated Susan Parente, Principal Consultant at S3 Technologies, LLC. Susan has participated as a speaker at the symposium for five years.

Johnny Morgan, Senior Solutions Architect from General Dynamics Information Technology has participated as a speaker for three years.   He received feedback from participants about the value of his presentations.  He commented, “I received feedback, either in person or via email, that my presentation contained very concrete recommendations that future PMs could quickly use.   I really enjoyed hearing that someone found value in my papers and presentations.”

Johnny Morgan, Senior Solutions Architect, General Dynamics Information Technology

Once you have delivered your presentation during the actual event, your content will still be available for project managers to review online.  All papers and presentations that are developed and delivered are posted to the event website.  This is a great benefit to symposium participants since, with five concurrent sessions tracks, it is impossible to attend all sessions.  Posting them on the website allows participants to view papers and/or presentations at a later date.  Johnny Morgan stated, “There are a couple of presentations that I read later that have been particularly interesting and I am planning to reference them in future papers for other journals.”  Posting them to the website also allows project management professionals who were unable to attend the symposium to access your material which continues the transfer knowledge process.

Anyone who develops a paper for the Symposium has the opportunity to get published in two different ways.  First, all papers developed are published under ISSN 2374-9377.  Papers developed from every symposium held to date are posted on the symposium website under “Previous Symposiums.”  Second, pur media sponsor, the PM World Journal, selects between 6-12 papers for republication in their online journal.  Session speaker, Johnny Morgan, had several papers published.  He commented that, “All three of my papers were picked up by the PM World Journal and republished in their online web publication so exposure has the possibility of going further than just the UMD Symposium and its associated website.”

Highlights of speakers from the 2018 Symposium were featured in three PM Point of View Podcasts.  We teamed with host Kendall Lott to produce the podcasts to share and engage the key knowledge and practices from the 2018 event’s lineup of talented speakers.  Each podcasts focused on a different symposium track topic and featured five or six different symposium speakers per episode.  Over 17 symposium speakers were featured in the three podcasts.  Just like the speaker presentations that are posted on the symposium website, the podcasts are posted on the PMI WDC website, or downloadable from iTunes and TuneIn so project managers can listen and learn long after the podcast is developed.  Three more podcasts are being developed featuring speakers from the May 2019 Project Management Symposium and plans are underway to produce three more using speaker highlights from the 2020 Symposium.

The ability to earn Project Management Institute (PMI) Giving Back Professional Development Units (PDUs) is an excellent reason for presenting at any conference, including the UMD Project Management Symposium.  According to the PMI Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Handbook, you can earn PDUs for both the creation (Create Content) of your paper and/or presentation plus actually making the presentation (Give a Presentation).  You can earn one PDU for every hour spent creating and presenting content.  The website indicates that you can earn a maximum of 25 PDUs in the Giving Back category with 17 of those eligible for “Volunteering and Creating Knowledge.”  Once completed, you would report your PDUs on PMI’s online continuing certification renewal system.

Aimee Baxter a Finance Systems Specialist at Macalester College in Minnesota has presented at UMD’s Symposium.  She stated, “I had recently published an article for PMI and I thought it would be a great way to Give Back and see what the reaction was to my ideas from other Project Managers.”

UMD’s Project Management Symposium is the perfect venue for busy project managers.  The submission process is very flexible and the UMD team is easy to work with. Previous speaker, Susan Parente stated, “The UMD Symposium is not like any other project management conference that I have ever attended and the UMD team does a phenomenal job welcoming and supporting speakers like no other conference does.” Another previous speaker, Mr. Johnny Morgan, stated “The UMD Project Management Symposium offers the lowest barrier of entry for anyone to share their experiences and lessons learned with other practitioners in the field.” The submission process is indeed extremely flexible. Initially, all you have to do is develop and submit an abstract.  When you submit, you can choose whether you want to develop a paper and a presentation or just a presentation.  We do not require you to develop both; the presentation is the only requirement.  There are many advantages to developing the paper, like being published in the PM World Journal, but it is definitely not a requirement.  After you submit an abstract, you are notified within a few months if your abstract is accepted.  At that point in the process, you still have plenty of time to develop your paper and/or presentation.

Pamela Davis-Ghavami sums up her participation in the UMD Symposium as a speaker, “It allows you the opportunity to share your project management experiences externally as well as participate and be the recipient of new ideas from others in your field.  In order to learn new ideas, it is important to get out of the office and interact with others in the field.”

If you are interested in challenging yourself and sharing your project management experiences with other practitioners in the industry, we are now accepting presentation abstracts for the May 2020 Symposium.  See the Topics of Interest.  Abstracts will be accepted through midnight (eastern time) on Monday, November 11, 2019.  We dare you to share!


Posted by Kathy Frankle on September 4, 2019