Letter from the President: Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) | (UPDATED: April 1, 2020)

Posted by admin on 03/10/2020 7:00 pm  /   Presidents Letter

Coronavirus: PMI Houston's Response (UPDATED: April 1, 2020)

The PMI Houston Board of Directors have discussed our upcoming 2020 PMI Houston Conference & Expo, and it is with the safety of our attendees in mind that we have decided to postpone our 2020 PMI Houston Conference & Expo until a later date. 

Please be assured that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members and guests.  

At this time, we have not secured a future date for this conference, but we will communicate with you as soon as we have finalized a date with our venue. 

PMI Houston wants to make sure to address a couple of items at this time: 

  • CALL FOR SPEAKERS: If you have submitted an application during our Call for Speakers for one of our Breakout Sessions, please know we have received your application and will keep this application for our future date. 

  • REGISTRATION: Some of you may have already registered for our 2020 Conference & Expo. Rest assured, your registration for conference will still be valid for the new date. If you have any questions, please send an email to our Chapter Administrator

  • SPONSORSHIP & VENDOR REGISTRATION: At this time, PMI Houston is still accepting registration for our annual sponsorships! If you are interested in these opportunities, please reach out to Pauline Bui

For the most up-to-date information on PMI Houston and our events, please visit our website or any of our social media pages. We will continue to update using all forms of communication possible, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. 


Updated (03/20/2020)

The PMI Houston Board of Directors is aware of growing concern about the Coronavirus (COVID19) and its impact on the community. Please be assured that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members and guests.  
 
If you were planning to attend one of PMI Houston's April Meetings, we want to notify you that out of an abundance of caution we have made the decision to cancel all IN-PERSON APRIL MEETINGS

As we continue to cope with our new normal, we do understand the importance of professional development and the ability to continue to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs) during this time. As a result, we are investigating our options for virtual meetings.

As soon as we have more information about these options, we will communicate these options to you. 

Regarding PMI Houston events we will hold in the future, we recommend the following guidelines:
 
Self-quarantine – If you travel abroad, don’t attend public events for at least 14 days after you return from your travel.  If you are already registered for one of our events, we will provide a full refund of your registration fee.
 
Don’t attend if you are experiencing symptoms - fever, cough, or shortness of breath; have been exposed to the virus through another event, or individual known to have been exposed.
Wash hands and sanitize often.
 
Avoid physical contact with others – use the elbow bump when greeting others.
 
We will continually monitor conditions to identify changes that are required for future events.
 
For the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please refer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

For the most up-to-date information on PMI Houston and our events, please visit our website or any of our social media pages. We will be continuing to update using all forms of communication possible, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. 

God's Speed, 
LaToshia Norwood, PMP 
President, 
PMI Houston




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Update: March 12, 2020

The PMI Houston Board of Directors is aware of growing concern about the Coronavirus (COVID19) and its impact on the community. Please be assured that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members and guests.  
 
If you were planning to attend one of PMI Houston's March Meetings, we want to notify you that out of an abundance of caution we have made the decision to cancel the remaining meetings for the month of MARCH.

Regarding the PMI Houston events we will hold in the future, we recommend the following guidelines:
 
Self-quarantine – If you travel abroad, don’t attend public events for at least 14 days after you return from your travel.  If you are already registered for one of our events, we will provide a full refund of your registration fee.
 
Don’t attend if you are experiencing symptoms - fever, cough, or shortness of breath; have been exposed to the virus through another event, or individual known to have been exposed.
Wash hands and sanitize often.
 
Avoid physical contact with others – use the elbow bump when greeting others.
 
We will continually monitor conditions to identify changes that are required for future events.
 
For the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please refer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

For the most up-to-date information on PMI Houston and our events, please visit our website or any of our social media pages. We will be continuing to update using all forms of communication possible, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. 

God's Speed, 
LaToshia Norwood, PMP 
President, 
PMI Houston





FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | LINKEDIN | TWITTER


March 2020: Project Management Toastmasters Tips & Discussions

Posted by admin on 03/05/2020 4:00 pm  /   Toastmasters

By Harold Eaton, PMI Houston Toastmasters

 

 

 

Quotes: "Those who tell the stories rule the world” – Native American Proverb

                     From  Toastmaster International's "90 Tips From 90 Years"

49. Use slang with caution. Slang words don’t translate well across different cultures and ethnicities. Be careful to make sure that the meaning behind your words is interpreted as intended.

How Volunteering Improves Your Health

The 2018 United Nations State of the World’s Volunteerism Report documents the impact of volunteering on volunteers & the communities they support, a Belgian study at Ghent University covering 43,000 people in 29 countries shows volunteers to be as healthy as non-volunteers 5 years younger. Closer to home, a US study covering 3,300 adults shows:

76% of volunteers credit volunteering for making them feel healthier

94% of volunteers report mood improvement

96% report an enriched sense of purpose

78% credit volunteering for lowering stress levels

Becoming a Love Language Linguist

Gary Chapman, in The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, says that his 5 distinct love languages are about good communication. He says, “Understanding how to communicate in the best way possible improves relationships!” The 5 Love Languages identified by Chapman are:

  • Words of Affirmation - Toastmasters evaluations offer practice at appropriate feedback through affirmation & critique tailored for the speaker
  • Acts of Service - Every club relies on member participation and engagement
  • Quality Time - Club members giving time, want it spent wisely. Agendas rule!
  • Gifts - Recognition is a gift that warms the heart.
  • Touch - Toastmasters handshakes are a long tradition, but clubs should be aware of what is culturally appropriate in different parts of the world.

 

One of Toastmasters' core missions is to empower members to become more effective communicators.

 

“How Volunteering Improves Your Health” Excerpted from February 2020 Toastmasters Magazine article by Jennifer L. Blanck, DTM

“Become a Love Language Linguist” Excerpted from February 2020 Toastmasters Magazine article by Ellen Gillette

 

You can learn more about telling your stories at a Project Management Toastmasters Club! Project Management Toastmasters clubs are open to all, but members are predominately professional project managers. Houston Area Project Management Toastmasters Clubs are sponsored by PMI Houston and aligned with the goals of PMI International.   Certified PMPs receive Professional Development Units (PDUs) for participation.   


"What Your Technical Resume is Missing and How to Stand Out"

Posted by admin on 03/05/2020 2:13 pm  /   Home Page Highlights, Spotlights

By Erin Urban, LSSBB, CPDC, UPPSolutions

 

 

 

 

 

I was settled in to review a technical resume from a very experienced professional. By the 3rd sentence, I thought: “You’ve got to be kidding me, this person has absolutely no idea how their work impacted the business as a whole – or even their key stakeholders.” The wording, the impact, the contributions are all completely self-centered. Not one single thought was spared to show what they did matters to the rest of the organization.

Worst case scenario: a technical resume reads like a litany of acronyms strung together with a few nouns and verbs. Not only is it impossible for the average person to understand – it also does not highlight what or how the individual actually contributed. The resume reads like the professional is completely disconnected from the rest of the company. Such as:

Managed Drillable Crystal Report on SSRS integrated with SharePoint, authentication with Active Directory, Oracle eGate solution to automate extracting records from SAP, custom Web Parts, C# scripts, XML codes in Microsoft BDC Definition Editor and Meta Man, SQL queries and forms in VS2008.

Best case scenario, your technical resume might read something like this:

Project to adopt 123X for the talent acquisition system required integration with JDE and EDM systems. Created and drafted the data flow architecture and built the process flow. Managed the agile development of the full system and conducted daily scrum with the local team twice daily.

If you read either paragraph and think to yourself: “What’s wrong with these examples? I get it and it looks fine to me” – this article is for you.

 

What’s Missing in Your Technical Resume

 

The absence of a business impact and inclusion of excessive techno-speak is very common in almost every technical resume I review. The problem with this myopic detail in your resume is that it doesn’t connect what you do to the business as a whole. As a result, hiring managers (and certainly recruiters) have no idea how what you did, matters.

 

The recruiter sees a list of tools and skills strung together with no measurable outcomes or business impact. The hiring manager sees what tools, techniques, and software you interfaced with – but no mention of the details that tells them:

 

  • The reason for the work/project, what was going on
  • Why it mattered to the business (business case)
  • Who you collaborated with and key stakeholders
  • Any significant business risk that was avoided or efficiencies found
  • The size of the project – particularly if you can cite dollar figures
  • The impact to the end-user, client or organization upon completion

 

Hiring managers want to see how your work aligns with the business and the impact you have. It’s not enough to string a bunch of tools or skills together on your resume, you have to articulate how you get real results with your work. Being technically knowledgeable won’t get you results alone. You might have done all the ‘things’ and completely sucked at them. Or, you might be a rock star – who can tell??

“Your work does NOT speak for itself. You do.”

Rick Gillis

How to Stand Out

As a technically focused professional – you can’t ignore the skills required to do your work. It’s important to list the software, hardware, processes, etc. you leveraged to do your job. It’s also important to mention all relevant points in the previous bullet list (or as much as you can find out). Let’s break each bullet point down into questions to help you arrive at a story that is more compelling.

  • The reason for the work/project, what was going on?

What was wrong or missing that needed to be fixed, replaced, upgraded? Was there a gap? Was something too laborious? If so, what was the result of the issue – what was going on? Was the company losing money, paying more in labor, overhead, fees, and so forth? If you automated a process – how much time did it take before the improvement and how many people? Time is money. If you save the company time or material in a process: that matters.

  • Why it mattered to the business (business case)?

Which leads us to this question – the business case. Usually, companies don’t spend money for the heck of it. Most are looking to net an efficiency (stop the bleeding in cash flow), get more money, or meet regulations. What did the business hope to gain through the work that you did?

  • Who you collaborated with and key stakeholders?

The question here is fairly self-explanatory but you might wonder why it matters. It matters because it allows the reader additional insight into how cross-functional (complex) the project was and who you had to interface with. If one of your key stakeholders is higher on the corporate ladder; that means you probably can collaborate with leadership. If you can’t be bothered to spell it out then at least mention: “complex project engaging with high-level cross-functional key stakeholders”.

  • Any significant business risk that was avoided or efficiencies found?

Hiring managers love to hire people who are looking out for the organization. While completing your work as expected is nice, it’s even better to cite where you saved money, time, or materials (also money). Avoiding risk is just as critical. If you were able to help the company avoid a negative impact to the organization – this means a lot to leaders!

  • How big was the project? (Particularly if you can cite dollar figures)

Helping the reader to understand just how critical your work does make a difference. Usually, high-risk major projects aren’t handed over to professionals that can’t get the job done. Making this obvious is important. Don’t think other people will just ‘figure it out’ on their own. If you don’t know the exact amount, you can cite an estimate (but say ‘estimated). You can also just simply ask – if you still work there or left on good terms.

  • The impact to the end-user, client or organization upon completion

Why did your work matter? If you don’t know – I’d recommend finding out! Think of it this way: what do they have now that they didn’t have before? Did you create efficiencies, avoid risk, align with regulations, increase cash flow or customer experience? Did you save someone time, if so – how much? Time is money!

An ideal career contribution synopsis might sound something like this:

As the Scrum Master, lead a team to replace the internal employee direct-deposit system (EFT), transforming a non-functioning dated system to a scalable, dependable, easy to use, supported, and state-of-the-art system which improved timely automation and management of the electronic money deposit as well as transfer operations.

The People Factor

Don’t forget to mention how well you collaborate, lead, or influence others. This is very important and almost always absolutely absent in technical resumes. If you are aiming for a managerial role – mentioning your leadership and collaborative capabilities is essential for you to be considered an ideal candidate. For leadership roles: mention how well you motivated others, directed work, oversaw key projects, and aligned with the strategic direction of the organization.

The other people factor are the people reading your resume. Keep in mind that the first pass at the recruiter level is often not done by a technical expert. While the recruiter may have some idea of what the role entails, it’s rarely far beyond what is described in the job description itself. This is important to remember!

The recruiter (technical expert or not) is the person who decides whether your application gets to the next level. It’s very important not to bury this person in techno-babble or dismiss them because they don’t ‘get you’. I’ve had to talk extremely smart professionals around their skewed perspective to understand that everyone matters in the interview process, even if they ask questions that seem silly to you. Just answer them, be pleasant, and be sure to send them a ‘thank you’ note.

Avoiding Interview Mishaps

When discussing your work on the phone screening call, please do not overwhelm the recruiter with technical jargon (unless you are interviewing with Google, Microsoft or similar). Even at high-tech companies, people skills are also considered important. Your ability to listen well, answer questions clearly and ask clarifying questions of your own is essential.

The biggest reasons most of my more technically focused clients struggle in the interview process is because they (1) don’t articulate their impact well and (2) lose their audience in technical jargon. Sometimes this is because we fall in the trap of attempting to over-impress people. Most of the time, being personable and relevant to the job are the most two critical factors in your first few screening interviews.

Interviews are only as important as your resume’s ability to get you there. By doing your best to include the key resume drivers included in this article, you will get to try your skills in the interview. Don’t forget to be as succinct as possible with your career contribution examples (and relevant to the job).

If you struggle here, get a qualified, experienced, and certified resume writer to assist you. Avoid ‘resume mills’ at all costs – cheap resumes will net you cheap results. You can visit parw.com for a list of certified writers in your area. Happy hunting!

 

Erin Urban (LSSBB, CPDC), I’m a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, a keynote speaker, certified career growth and an executive leadership development coach with almost a decade of mentoring and coaching successful professional transformations. Find her at https://uppsolutions.net.