PM Gathering: a Perfect Mix of Valuable Knowledge and Friendly Atmosphere
The role of a project manager in delivering successful solutions and high quality services as well as in motivating people is hard to underestimate. Project management is one of those things that looks easy until you try it. The fundamentals of managing a project from start to finish require various talents and skills. Project managers are responsible for organizing, planning, scheduling projects, enforcing and encouraging teamwork, optimizing resources, managing risks, controlling budget, monitoring changes, ensuring quality, retaining knowledge, and more. A good and qualified project manager can make the difference between the project success or failure. A successful project manager is also a leader, that helps other people to succeed rather than administers people actions.
Photo credit: Vera Soldatova
In view of this, education and professional growth is crucial for project managers. Thereby, Sigma Software has launched regular PM events for knowledge and experience sharing. In the last days of July, PM Gathering took place for the fifth time and welcomed over a hundred of participants – project managers, team leaders, architects, department managers, and C-level executives. Anatoly Kochetov, Delivery Director at Sigma Software, is among the initiators of the event and recalls how it evolved and how it helps us in delivering better services.
Anatoly, how PM Gathering began?
The idea actually was born a long time ago. In 2010-2013, the company experienced a very dynamic growth; we expanded by up to 40-60% yearly. At that time, we also laid fundamentals for further long-time cooperation with many customers in the enterprise sector and startups working in various areas and domains. This required many strong project managers, who would share our values and follow the company`s mission: providing premier value IT services to reach customers’ business goals. Our principles in work always remain the same: we make sure the customer gets the solution that suits best, delivered on time and on budget. No matter what, quality is not a compromise for us, and we always deliver on our promises.
Ensuring these principles is no easy task and requires high level of professionalism from a PM. Young project managers rarely have adequate experience to cope with a wide range of issues, huge responsibility, and stressful environment. Strong institute of mentorship and continuous education helped Sigma Software to raise many accomplished professionals. However, this was not enough.
Photo credit: Eugene Park
Therefore, we have launched regular experience sharing meetings within one of the departments, discussed the failures and successes, analyzed them, tried to understand the success factors, conducted brainstorm sessions to solve current issues. After a while, we came to the understanding that we also needed cross-department knowledge sharing, since each department deals with different domains, different size businesses, has own know-hows and own approaches. We all work with different geographies, different business segments and verticals. This is how it all began.
What are the objectives of the event?
Number one objective is knowledge sharing, of course, and doing the groundwork for further personal growth, development of necessary skills and expertise.
I think that large internal gathering is much more useful than events elsewhere. Several things confirm it. We choose the topics for discussions based on real cases, we take a closer look at areas we know we have certain gaps in, and we ask our project managers to vote for subjects they feel matter. Moreover, we don`t need to adapt the information and make it fit to company`s specifics, its procedure, values, and approaches.
Another objective is informing people firsthand about company`s strategy, its achievements and news, its plans and goals, so they could sense being in the same boat and bring that feeling to their teams.
Finally, for five years now PM Gathering is a great place to meet colleagues from different locations, chat with them in an informal atmosphere, reflect on issues we face and try to find the best way to solve them together.
Photo credit: Eugene Park
Have you considered similar events for other specialists?
Sure, but it is hard to make a huge and valuable event for developers, for example, since there are too many different technologies and directions. Here we thrive on internal and external communities development, taking part in conferences, meetups, and user groups, organizing own events like Open Tech Week, conducting training and courses within our continuous education program.
These days we also actively developing an architect supervision expertise, and thus contemplate launching a specialized event for architects as well.
How the company, its specialists, and its customers benefit from PM Gathering?
Well, customers are sure that they are working with professionals, who would do their best to deliver remarkable solutions and services. Employees get proficient managers, who has the “magic power” to avoid and whittle down challenges and tricky situations resulting in happy and motivated teams.
Finally, the company gets satisfied clients and employees, which is the best combination for success )