Digital PM Summit 2019 Agenda

Get ready for two full days of presentations, interactive sessions and networking. Make that three days if you signed up for the workshops before they sold out!

Scroll to view the full agenda or view by day:
Sunday, Oct. 20: Workshops
Monday, Oct. 21: Summit Day 1
Tuesday, Oct. 22: Summit Day 2

Sunday, October 20: Workshops

Join us Sunday, October 20, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM for a day of in-depth, hands-on learning. Please note, you’ll need your Summit + Workshop Combo ticket or Workshop Day ticket to access the workshops.

Jump to: Monday, Oct. 21: Summit Day 1 | Tuesday, Oct. 22: Summit Day 2


8:30–9:00 AM
Workshop Registration

Horizons Ballroom Lobby

Please note our Workshop Day is sold out. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door.


9:00 AM–12:30 PM
Nailed It: Process & Team Management

Horizons 9, 10, 11

The last project you worked on went well, so why not use that process for the next project? Well, not every project is the same, and your team might not always be the same. Plus, you can always improve! But how?

Well, you’ve got to adapt based on the variables and challenges that are presented to you. It’s never hard to do, but with a solid foundation in place, you can conquer change smoothly and come out on top.

In this interactive workshop, you’ll participate in group exercises and discussions to help you to set a new standard for how you work as a project lead, and how you can adapt not only your style, but also your process, to meet the needs of your project.

Specifically, you will:

  • Assess and refine your own process, and collaboratively work with a team to discuss pain points and solutions

  • Pick up tactics to document and manage that process

  • Learn how to master change management (or roll with change even when it’s frustrating)

  • Define the process points where the team needs you most (and where you can add the most value as a PM)

  • Discover simple ways to continue providing value as a PM who is not only process-focused, but people- and goal-focused


12:30–1:30 PM

The Lakeview Restaurant


1:30–5:00 PM
Operations Thinking for Better Projects

Horizons 9, 10, 11

So you have been managing projects for a few years, and it still feels like operations is working against you. You know what is best for your project, but sometimes the seemingly right decision is passed over by the higher-ups. This feeling can be incredibly frustrating. What the heck is going on?

The goal of project management is to deliver successful results for the project, while the goal of operations is to deliver successful results for your company across a portfolio of projects. The ability to view projects from an operations perspective will allow you to better position your projects to keep the whole business portfolio on track.

During this workshop we will cover how to take all of those amazing project management skills you have worked hard to acquire and start to adapt that perspective to include thinking about operations.

During this workshop, Rob will cover:

  • What is operations?

  • How to have a better relationship with operations

  • How to harness operations thinking to deliver successful projects

  • Staffing and forecasting improvements for predictable scheduling

  • Repeatable cadence for happy operations and happy customers

  • Managing budgets with operations in mind


4:00–5:30 PM
Summit Registration

Horizons Ballroom Lobby

Monday, October 21: Summit Day 1


7:30 AM–5:30 PM

Horizons Ballroom Lobby


7:30–8:30 AM


Brett Harned , TeamGantt

Brett Harned, TeamGantt

8:45–9:00 AM
Welcome & Opening Remarks

Horizons Ballroom

Peter Taylor , Aptos Retail

Peter Taylor, Aptos Retail


9:00–9:45 AM
Business Agile: Driving a New Way of Delivering Change in the Digital World

Horizons Ballroom

A project is a temporary endeavor where people come together to work towards a common goal and purpose; it is therefore a temporary endeavor that must rely on a social system of communication and collaboration in order to succeed. Social project management is a non-traditional way of organizing projects and managing project performance and progress aimed at delivering, at the enterprise level, a common goal for the business but harnessing the performance advantages of a collaborative community

How can we both lead and encourage a move away from traditional centralized control of projects, overcome the challenges in such a paradigm shift and instead promote the value of open team collaboration for greater business advantage?

Philip Rowe , Google

Philip Rowe, Google


10:00–10:45 AM
Design Operations: Scaling Design Teams & Amplifying Impact

Horizons Ballroom

You may have heard about design operations and wondered what it is all about. This session will illuminate how design operations scales the impact of design and why that matters to all of us working to deliver digital experiences.

We’ll look at the relationship between design operations and digital project management and what really matters in leading creative projects for our teams. Also, we will discuss strategies to manage a team’s design capacity to drive changes in user experience.

What you’ll take away from this session:

  • Learn how to overcome the challenges in scaling a creative team

  • Find out how you can foster a creative team culture ripe for innovation

  • Discover how to facilitate great reviews, design critiques


11:00 AM–12:00 PM
Breakout Discussions

Breakout Rooms: Horizons Ballroom, Horizons 1-2, Horizons 9-10, Bay Lake/Park Lake


12:00–1:30 PM



1:30–2:45 PM
Interactive Sessions

Patrice Embry , Freelance DPM

Patrice Embry, Freelance DPM


Panel: The DPM Career Path


A conversation with Christine Holcombe (USAA), Philip Rowe (Google), Anita Sagar (Enterprise Knowledge) and Sally Shaughnessy (Aten Design Group). Moderated by Patrice Embry.

Join a subset of our Digital PM Summit speakers as we talk about the possible career paths for DPMs. We'll talk about the panelists’ own career progressions, what motivated them to go in the direction they chose (if they chose it!) and where they want to go (or not go) next.

We’ll also explore everything around your career path: education and training, job titles and descriptions, characteristics of great DPMs and the many possible paths you might take. Moderated by PM Patrice Embry, you'll leave with insights from real world pros, which you can use to help choose your own path.

Dr. Sidjae Price , Priceless Planning

Dr. Sidjae Price, Priceless Planning


Floppy Disks & Cloud Storage: How Generation X & Millennials Can Collaboratively Manage Projects

Horizons 1-2

Today's business world has shifted and now consists of mostly Generation X and Millennial team members who are expected to work together on projects, a sometimes difficult task for any multi-generational workplace. This session focuses on how Generation X (floppy disks) and Millennials (cloud storage) can work together to successfully manage projects. Both generations must find a common ground to eliminate workplace conflicts stemming from projects, while eliminating the stereotypes of each generation. Key takeaways for attendees includes:

  • Learning how to work together in a multi-generational workplace on projects

  • Actionable steps for both generations to successfully manage projects

  • Understanding generational competency for project management

Dean Schuster , truematter

Dean Schuster, truematter


Don’t Just Manage Your Team, Manage Your Client

Horizons 9-10

If you manage a digital product or service team with skill and aplomb, chances are good that you’ll succeed. At least that’s what they say. But every excellent digital project manager knows there’s more to it than that. You’ve got a client to manage. They could be an external project leader or an internal VP. Regardless, if you fail to control them, it hardly matters how amazing your team is. You’ll be in trouble.

The best digital project managers understand the art and science of managing their client’s expectations, fears, time and budget.

In this talk, you’ll learn practical client management kung fu, including how to get your client to:

  • Say yes to your vision for the project

  • Provide more budget without undo fuss

  • Accept responsibility for scope creep

  • Show you how to grow the account

  • Use your collaborative tools

  • Readily accept your expert leadership

So, let’s stop complaining that clients ruin our projects. Let’s do something about it, starting with better management.

David Harned , Monotype

David Harned, Monotype


Managing Internal Projects & Agile Teams using JIRA

Bay Lake/Park Lake

Do you work with internal teams to build and deliver digital projects? If you struggle with how to best manage the complexity of teams, priorities and programs while providing visibility, transparency and accountability across a portfolio of activities, then you might need to up your tool game!

In this workshop, David will show you how to set up your Agile projects in JIRA, create and prioritize your backlog, run Scrum or Kanban, broadcast team performance and look at how much value is being delivered by your program. If you already use JIRA, bring your experience and questions so we can get into real-world examples!

In this workshop you will:

  • Be introduced to the elements of the JIRA interface

  • Learn how to create different kinds of Agile projects

  • Learn how to create work items and prioritize them

  • Learn how to run Scrum and Kanban projects in JIRA

  • Learn how to look at team and program performance

  • See some examples of advanced reporting

  • Get some great ideas to bring back to your projects


3:00–3:30 PM
Lightning Talks

Jenna Trunzo , Globant

Jenna Trunzo, Globant


Bringing Personality to Project Management: Be Soft. Be Unapologetic. Be BIG.


This lightning talk will explain the idea of using soft skills as a platform for DPM growth, both personally and also for the benefit of the team. It will explore the importance of being unafraid to be unapologetically BIG. Using personality as a way to form cohesive teams and individual rapport is necessary for digital project management.

At the end of this talk, you will:

  • Understand the value of soft skills

  • Learn how to use your personality to become a better project manager

  • Reframe how you lead your teams

  • Be ready to show how BIG you can be


Surviving…Thriving in Chaos!


Your boss walks out the door for that much-deserved two-week vacation with full confidence that “YOU GOT THIS!” And then…IT begins! All the balls start dropping at once and all the best groomed plans and faithfully applied methodologies hit the skids. With your brain in full fight-or-flight mode, your instincts may not offer the best course forward.

What if overwhelm was an optional track? How can we observe our teams or the circumstances in a way that elevates the outcome from merely surviving to thriving?

You’ll leave this session with a greater awareness of how we create our environments and understand why what you say may not be what is actually communicated.

Here are some topics we’ll look at:

  • What authenticity as a project manager looks like

  • Confirmation bias

  • Choosing the team you have!

  • Overwhelm as an optional outcome

  • Thinking from the future

Daphne Bourne , Capital One

Daphne Bourne, Capital One


3:45–4:30 PM
Design Process in an Agile World


Daphne will be talking about “Crafting a three-legged stool from Product, Tech and Design to problem-solve more holistically and effectively.” Her presentation will cover how she coaches designers to take design process and use it to connect with partners in Product and Tech, all while in an Agile environment that wasn’t created with the design discipline in mind.

In the session you’ll:

  • Hear how empathy and a lean canvas tool play pivotal roles in early project inclusion and collaboration with the three disciplines

  • Learn how to avoid potential pitfalls one can inadvertently set up when influencing teams to collaborate

  • Learn how to maintain the health and happiness of your team through all of the above

Crystal Richards , Mosaic Resource Group

Crystal Richards, Mosaic Resource Group


4:45–5:30 PM
Choose Your Own Adventure: You're the Star of Your Career Journey


What is the best career move for me? That can be a challenging question for some of us as we get caught up in being everything to everyone.

This presentation gets real about assessing your values, steering clear from the comparison trap and putting yourself in the driver’s seat when it comes to your career path. After all, YOU are the star of your career journey.

At the end of this presentation, you will:

  • Recognize the perils of social comparison

  • Examine personal and professional goals

  • Identify opportunities to learn and grow from experiences

  • Build your network of Team You


5:30–5:45 PM
Thank You & Announcements


8:00–10:00 PM
Digital PM Summit Social Event by Mailchimp

Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs
1494 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, second floor (map)

Are you the DPM Kingpin? Come find out! After a day of learning, head over to Splitsville for some good fun and lively entertainment with fellow DPMs. Grab a bite or beverage, strike up conversation and let the good times roll. And if you’re interested in making this a little more interesting…sign up to join a team.

Tuesday, October 22: Summit Day 2


7:30–8:30 AM


8:55–9:00 AM
Welcome Day 2


Lynn Winter , Freelance Digital Strategist

Lynn Winter, Freelance Digital Strategist


9:00–9:45 AM
Be Bold. Be a Digital PM.


Choosing to be a digital project manager is a bold choice. In fact, if you’re a DPM, you have taken on a role that many cringe at, a role that often offers limited education, support and certainly no fanfare. But that’s okay because we are a unique breed of hardworking rock stars.

From the shadows, we take care of our clients, our team and numerous projects. But how do we make sure we challenge ourselves and level up our community? In this session we will answer the ultimate question, what should we be?

Takeaways included in this session are:

  • Direction on various ways we can improve ourselves to maximize the value we get from our Digital PM role

  • Examples that showcase why this matters

  • Actionable steps to help you define who you want to BE

Matt O’Bryant , Oomph, Inc.

Matt O’Bryant, Oomph, Inc.


10:00–10:45 AM
How Technical Should a Digital PM Be?


As a digital project manager, you know it's your core responsibility to foster happy client relationships and deliver your projects on time and on budget. Doing so successfully requires a lot of skill, creativity and dedication. But is more needed, particularly when it comes to the tools and technologies used by your teams on a daily basis? Should you as a DPM possess the technical skills to squash that annoying little bug or add that new feature your client is asking for?

In this session, we're going to discuss the following key questions:

  • Why is it important for you to push the boundaries of your technical expertise and just how far should you go?

  • Beyond technology, in what other areas should you be thinking about increasing your skills?

  • What are some tangible things you can do to become more technically proficient and increase your skill set?

  • How can increasing your technical abilities benefit you, your team and your clients?


11:00 AM–12:00 PM
Breakout Discussions

Breakout Rooms: Horizons Ballroom, Horizons 1-2, Horizons 9-10, Bay Lake/Park Lake


12:00–1:30 PM

The Lakeview Restaurant

Patrice Embry , Freelance DPM

Patrice Embry, Freelance DPM

Lynn Winter , Freelance Digital Strategist

Lynn Winter, Freelance Digital Strategist

Optional Q&A Session: Freelance DPM

Horizons 1-2

Join Patrice Embry and Lynn Winter for lunch, as they delve into the world of freelance PMs. Find out what it takes to go freelance, listen to some war stories and ask your own questions in this optional Q&A session over lunch. You can expect to walk away with a better sense of what freelance life is all about, and a full belly.


1:30–2:45 PM
Interactive Sessions

Anita Sagar , Enterprise Knowledge

Anita Sagar, Enterprise Knowledge


Choosing the Best Project Management Approach for Your Team: The Cynefin Framework  

Horizons Ballroom

“We are going agile!” This seems to be a statement often used in an effort to streamline existing business practices in favor of more efficient and customer-focused processes. However, before we make a paradigm shift in our day-to-day business activities, it is important to recognize the context in which we currently situate ourselves, and make the right decisions based on that context.

Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework helps us visualize and understand that not all situations and/or challenges are created equal. Using this framework can help us make sense of the context we are in so that we can not only make better decisions, but also avoid the problems that arise when our preferred management style causes us to make mistakes.

In this session, you’ll:

  • Gain an understanding of how the appropriate application of a specific agile methodology in relation to project context will increase business efficiency and productivity

  • Learn how to choose more appropriate tools to set project direction

  • Learn how to use the framework to coach teams on increasing business agility

Sally Shaughnessy , Aten Design Group

Sally Shaughnessy, Aten Design Group

Joe Crespo , Aten Design Group

Joe Crespo, Aten Design Group


Lost in Translation: The Handoff from Sales to the Project Team

Horizons 1–2

Maybe you’re a project manager who has had new projects cross your desk with unrealistic timelines, poorly documented assumptions and unvetted budgets. Or maybe you’re in business development and you’ve seen projects careen off scope and run into timeline / budget issues soon after the project team takes them on. Or perhaps you’re a strategist, designer or developer who’s tired of suffering late nights and lost weekends at the hands of a poor sales process.

It doesn’t have to be this way! In this session, Sally Shaughnessy, Aten’s Director of Project Management, and Joe Crespo, Aten’s Director of Accounts, will share their practices for ensuring smooth transitions from sales to the project team.

This session will cover:

  • Setting expectations in sales and keeping them top-of-mind after kickoff

  • The things that every project team MUST know before kickoff

  • How to collaborate with the project team in the sales process

  • The documentation Aten uses to transition an engagement from sales to the project team

  • Company culture and practices that ensure smooth transitions

Jillian Warren , Duke University

Jillian Warren, Duke University


Doing a Lot with a Little: Project Management at Scale

Bay Lake/Park Lake

Feeling overwhelmed? Whether you belong to a PM team of one, manage a laundry list of clients or wear several different hats on any given day, sometimes the deluge of work far outweighs the resources at your disposal. Yet, you still need to give every project your full attention and best efforts, without blowing timelines and budgets.

No two teams are alike, so why do we apply a one-size-fits-all philosophy to digital project management? This session will discuss how to customize the standard DPM processes to fit your personal constraints. We will review efficient, scrappy solutions to help you use your time wisely and still achieve the desired results.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Ways to scale your process to meet your team's unique constraints

  • Tips for approaching projects one-by-one... when you have 50 of them

  • Tactics to reduce overhead, set boundaries and add structure when your task list gets out of hand

  • The appropriate time and place for a “PM lite” approach


Driving Consensus: Using Design Thinking to Solve Your Largest PM Problems

Horizons 9–10


This design thinking workshop is framed uniquely for project managers to provide guidance on how to approach issues relating to lack of project strategy, prioritization and alignment. Using a sample case study, this interactive session will enable participants to better identify user needs, gain alignment with teams and stakeholders and prioritize ideas.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate design thinking principles and understand the value of creative problem-solving

  • Implement a new set of tactical problem-solving methods to take back to their teams

  • Identify key points in a project when it makes sense to inject design thinking into the team’s work


3:00–3:30 PM: Lightning Talks

Kathryn Murphy , Orases Consulting Corporation

Kathryn Murphy, Orases Consulting Corporation


Driving to a Schedule & Minimizing Accidents Along the Way

Horizons Ballroom

We've all been there…your project is under a very tight deadline and you, as the DPM, are responsible for hitting that schedule. How do you keep your stakeholders and team accountable? How do you motivate your team? How do you stay within budget? These are just a few of the tough questions we ask ourselves on every project, and they become critical when you are driving a project to a unbudging, tight schedule.  

This presentation will give you tangible takeaways that can improve any project, especially those that are under intense schedule pressure.

At the end of this presentation, you will:

  • Have tips to hold your stakeholders and team to deadlines

  • Learn communication strategies to increase transparency in key decisions

  • Be able to identify signs that your project is going “off the road” earlier

  • Take away some of the “fear” that comes with tight timelines


Tips for Project Managing a Native App Build


Native app builds are becoming increasingly popular as the world continues toward mobile-first tech. You may be wondering what the differences are between building natively versus building for the web. These differences are significant and worth learning.

Native builds are profitable, relevant for any vertical and a smart way to diversify your service offerings.

At the end of this presentation, you’ll have an understanding of:

  • Best practices for project managing a native app build

  • The technical complexity that necessitates in-depth project management

  • The difference in roles and responsibilities between native and web builds for project managers

  • Why core project management skills are still important with this type of development

Erika Stanley , Big Sea

Erika Stanley, Big Sea


3:45–4:30 PM
The Cheese is Always Moving: Lessons in Change from an Agile Master

Horizons Ballroom

What happens when one of the creators of the Agile Manifesto approaches your agency for a website redesign? You jump at the opportunity (of course)…and then you question every process you've ever used.

Are we really agile? How will our methods hold up under the magnifying glass of THE king of agile, Dr. Alistair Cockburn?

What our team learned completely changed the way we manage digital projects. Whether you're an agency or an in-house DPM, the lessons we learned from managing the Heart of Agile website project will turn your normal process on its head.

In this session we’ll explore:

  • How to manage the initial freak-out when someone moves your cheese (take a deep breath and lean into the change)

  • Simple changes you can make to move closer to the heart of agile (it’s more than a process to help refine your process)

  • Hands-on methods you can start tomorrow to help you and your team become more adaptable and efficient (don’t be afraid to rock the boat)

Robert Sfeir , Huge, Inc.

Robert Sfeir, Huge, Inc.


4:45–5:45 PM
Turboboosting Your Teams

Horizons Ballroom

Today’s market is causing many shifting pressures on business, not the least of which are commoditization of our work, the race to the bottom for prices, competition from large consultancies offshoring our work, and the need to survive and take on more work so we can grow our companies. In this presentation, Robert will talk about those pressures, discuss some of the challenges you may already be facing, and offer a look at how process - the method by which we can more effectively and efficiently deliver our work, can lead to your ability to better compete in the market, improve your margins, run leaner teams without placing further undue pressure on them, and take on risks with larger projects to help you grow your enterprise.


5:45–6:00 PM
Closing & Thank You

Horizons Ballroom

Thank You to Our Wonderful Partners:


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