The 2011 PMI Global Congress North America in Dallas is history.  Time to look back and see what I took back from this conference.  Overall, it was yet another GREAT conference.  It is impossible to describe all impressions and lessons learned.  It would fill volumes.  Since unfortunately I don’t have this time I will limit myself to the most significant take aways.  Here we go.

Networking, networking, networking

If there is one good reason to attend the PMI Global Congress it is networking.  Where else can you meet thousands of people working in project management, share experiences and learn.  If you are seriously interested in the project management profession attending such a big conference is a must at least every other year.

Sessions, sessions, sessions – which to choose?

There are so many sessions to choose from it is easy to get lost.  This is especially so if you attend a Congress for the first time.  My advice:  come prepared.  Take the time to read the abstracts of the sessions which sound interesting to you, then make your decision.  If you find out after a few minutes the session is not what you expected from it, it is up to you.  You can always stay for maybe you learn something after all.  Or you jump up and escape before it is too late. Unfortunately, this happened to me in one occasion (SFT11). Rather than an interactive session it was a lecture where the two folks were reading a transcript.  Disastrous and a waste of time for I can always read the article (which, by the way, is excellent and worth reading. I wish the presentation would have come close to it.  It didn’t).  It is faster and I may even get more out of it.
A conference is about content and the presentation.  – The good news is that most sessions are indeed worth attending.  At least this has been my experience.

Venue – in Texas everything is bigger than anywhere else

The Gaylord Convention Center is no exception.  It is BIG.  For those people who could stay at the hotel it was a convenient walk to the conference halls.  For the rest of us, either we were lucky to stay at hotels with shuttle-service, we took cabs or drove.  The Gaylord is in the middle of nowhere.  Personally, this year I didn’t mind at all as I was not really too interested in the city of Dallas or Fort Worth.  Still, if you wanted to go elsewhere in the evening, choices were limited.  Fortunately, next year’s Congress will not be at another Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center.  Instead, we will be in beautiful Vancouver.

Exhibition Hall – so much to see

The exhibition hall was just as big as last year’s.  It takes some time to see everything.  Either you focus on a select few or skip one or two sessions to visit all booths.  It would be nice if the Exhibition Halls would open earlier and stay up open longer.  A feedback I heard from many other people.  Will see if PMI takes this feedback seriously.

Do you twitter?

It is interesting to see / read how many participants have twittered about the event.  A trend which could be observed during the last 2 or 3 conferences.  The more people carry their iPads with them, the more they seem to twitter.  Maybe I have to get one of them in the near future for typing with your Blackberry is not that much fun.

If you are interested in my tweets, my twitter alias is @thomasjuli.


To come in part 2 following:  Insights from the sessions I attended; topics include sustainability ethics in project management, agile, leadership, innovation, and PMO.