Coffee and Breakfast



Opening Remarks

Grand Ballroom

Brett Harned and the Bureau of Digital Staff


The User Experience Delusion

Grand Ballroom

Paul Boag

With so much competition so accessible, user experience has become a major differentiating factor. But user experience isn't just about designing a user interface. User experience involves crafting the entire experience across devices, channels and business silos.

In his talk Paul Boag dispels many of the myths behind UX design. He reveals how it requires close collaboration between disciplines. Disciplines as diverse as development and customer service. Collaboration that requires the challenging of traditional business structure. To achieve this we need clear and experienced leadership. Leadership that the digital project management community can provide.


  • The importance of user experience design in a multi-device, multi-channel world
  • What good user experience looks like and what we should aspire to
  • How to get colleagues and clients working collaboratively
  • Ways to tackle the territorial divides


Discuss Design Without Losing Your Mind

Grand Ballroom

Adam Connor & Aaron Irizarry
Mad*Pow & Nasdaq Product Design

Leading a team of individuals, each with a different perspective and expertise, through the creation of something new can be difficult at times. There will be numerous opinions and ideas on what should be done and how. And the conversations that involve these opinions can sometimes seem endless and painful.

A team's ability to critique speaks directly to the quality and utility of these conversations, whether they be with designers, developers, stakeholders or others. Critique is often thought of as a "design tool," but in reality it is a tool and language for all roles on a project. It acts as a form of analysis, a way to make sure that the team stays focused on making decisions that are intended to achieve the objectives of the project.


  • What separates critique from other forms of feedback
  • Best practices for giving and receiving critique
  • Tools for focusing and facilitating discussions, even with challenging participants
  • Where and when critique falls within a project's timeline
  • How to use critique to build not only stronger designs, but stronger collaboration


Managing the Content Process

Grand Ballroom

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Content’s a funny beast: it's both part of our web projects, and outside of them. You need to define your strategy and work with real content during the design process, and also prepare people for all the implications of your decisions: rewriting, reorganizing, archiving, migrating, and a million other tasks that take time, skill, and planning—not to mention all the stuff people will post and change after launch. 

But you’re a project manager, not an everything-all-the-time manager. How can you guide all that content work that exists beyond your project’s boundaries without losing sight of your scope? In this talk, you’ll learn how to create a parallel process for content—one where the content decisions made within the design process are vetted against real-world constraints, and where PMs can rally the right people at the right time to keep content on track. 



Georgian & Independence rooms
Grand Ballroom Foyer


Team Structure: A Hot Topic, or a Hot Mess?

Grand Ballroom

Nora Lahl

Our Lightning Talks are 10-minute, focused presentations that cut to the chase in a hurry.

Our Lightning Talks are 10-minute, focused presentations that cut to the chase in a hurry.

Switching from ad hoc teams for each project to a dedicated team structure is a hot topic right now, as small and mid-size agencies look for ways to grow and grow up. Change is good, but also scary. Nora will discuss how team structure impacts your role as a PM, share her tips on how to make the transition, and provide proven ways you can help your team embrace the great unknown. 


During this time slot, choose between a Panel Discussion, a Breakout Presentation, a Breakout Workshop, or a Breakout Clinic.

Panel Discussion: DPM Hot Topics

Grand Ballroom

Panelists: Amy Kapell, Josh Korr, Dave Prior, and Natalie Semczuk
Moderated by Brett Harned
Bureau of Digital

What topics come to mind when you think about digital project management? This panel of experts will touch upon such "hot topics" as resourcing, agile, teams, remote project management, and more. Come prepared with your questions, as our moderator will urge the audience to participate.




Launch a Big Redesign Iteratively

Franklin Room

Jessica Paris

Stuck in an all-or-nothing waterfall with your big website replacement projects? Turn the challenge of an unrealistic timeline into an opportunity by defining your website's MVP. Learn the reasons for and benefits of an iterative launch schedule so you can sell it to your clients. Gain practical tips and techniques for breaking down projects into tasty bite-size chunks to build high quality vertical slices. Learn how to dissect wireframes and work with your teams to find the real V1, and how to help your clients prioritize when “everything is a high priority.” 


How to Respect Yourself in the Morning: Getting Comfortable Saying NO

Georgian Room

Larissa Scordato


Our Workshops are interactive by nature. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work with your peers.

Our Workshops are interactive by nature. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work with your peers.

Let's face it, it's never a fun conversation when your client wants to make a change and you have to tell them no. As PMs, it's our job to balance our team's and client's needs to meet the goals of the project. It's our job to tell the team when they're going way off and need to bring it back, and we typically have no problem doing that. So why do we get freaked out and timid when it’s the client going off scope?

This workshop will create a clear path for success when it comes to having these conversations—specifically, a PM’s “first date” with the client. The first solo check-in. This conversation sets the tone of communication for the entirety of a project, and is one of the most important things we do (or should be doing) as PMs.

After a brief explanation of the science behind this, we'll work together to structure this conversation including how/when to schedule, who should be involved, suggestions of topics to cover, how to define the role of a DPM, and more.


Come On...It's in the Requirements

Director's Room

Sloan Miller

Our Clinics are sessions designed to share a specific thought process and methodology that provide immediate useful takeaways.

Our Clinics are sessions designed to share a specific thought process and methodology that provide immediate useful takeaways.

Let’s be super honest… gathering requirements and maintaining them throughout a project is a royal pain. And to top it all off, when the documentation is complete you always wonder if anyone really reads it. 

Clearly defined and cataloged requirements are a vital component of most projects. They are discovered, elevated, and changed throughout the entire project. They impact everything from user experience and information architecture, to design and development. Not to mention they are core to successful completing quality assurance testing and pre-launch procedures. 

Whether you are working in an environment where requirements are rarely documented (sometimes strategized and conveyed in real-time) or if your 100+ page IEEE specifications book was finished months ago, fluidity in requirements for digital projects is unfortunately somewhat necessary. Ambiguity can never be entirely removed, but excessive amounts of it kill a project's timeline, budget, and potential for success.


  • Where requirements typically come from and how to be on the look out for them.
  • How to identify different types and scale of requirements.
  • Some simple and easy ways to record and catalog requirements.
  • Some tips on how best to maintained requirements as they continue to evolve.
  • A discussion of some examples of what can go wrong when requirements aren’t properly maintained or if they are ignored.


During this time slot, choose between one of two Breakout Presentations, a Breakout Workshop, or Breakout Clinic.

Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads


Stephen Thomas
White October

Have you ever found yourself working with an amazing team, on a project full of potential only to somehow find yourself ‘locked’ into a backwards way of working?

As PMs we’re charged with delivering successful projects but sometimes we have a bad hand to play right from the start. Adding creativity, flexibility and innovation to contracts can allow for a fresh perspective and whole new project dynamic to evolve... It doesn’t just stop at contracts though. Through analyzing what you do at a day-to-day level you can begin to automate some of the more negative aspects of the job and focus more on where you add real value. 

Digital PM is a job title didn’t exist seventy years ago and there’s a reasonable chance that it won’t exist seventy years from now. Rather than fearing any change, we, as Digital PMs, should be embracing it.  We are the most equipped profession to harness the new opportunities that arise from a rapidly shifting digital landscape.


Just Enough Contact: Developing Communication Practices That Support Without Smothering

Franklin Room

Aaron Parkening

Have you ever felt that a friendly team member was getting more annoyed with every status checkin? Or had skilled team members miss reasonable deadlines, even after regular reminders? Even in successful projects, sometimes there’s friction between you and your team and it can be hard to pinpoint the cause.

What if the problem isn’t the people, but the communication? What if our expectations around information sharing – he needs daily stand-ups instead of weekly status emails, she views your reminders as a sign that you don’t trust her to complete the work on time – are leaving everyone feeling frustrated even though nothing is technically *wrong*?

It’s our job as project leaders to recognize these mismatched communication expectations and figure out how and when to adjust methods, frequency, tone, and level of detail to make life better for everyone.


  • How to recognize your personal communication preferences
  • How to find the balance between a sustainable communications process and your team members’ needs
  • How to jump up (or down) to different levels of engagement during a project


Take This DPM Stuff and Use It


Rachel Gertz
Louder Than Ten

Our Workshops   are interactive by nature. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work with your peers.

Our Workshops are interactive by nature. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work with your peers.

Here’s a time lapse: you’ve just pulled up to your office after this year’s DPM Summit. You burst into the fishbowl to share all you new ideas, only to find your team is barely paying attention. And, what’s that? Your boss just asked for a printed summary of your takeaways, nodding as she closed the door in your face! Your company has no intention of implementing a thing you learned. Then it hits you: change is hard, but your company staying exactly the same? That’s deadly. What’s a digital PM to do?

Well, if you’re savvy, you make a plan. The smartest, most flexible plan you’ve ever dreamed up. And then you follow through with that plan until you’ve got buy in and support from everyone around the changes you know will make your company better. Sometimes this means getting a little creative. And sometimes, it means being a tad devious.

Join Rachel Gertz as she walks you through the ultimate task: how to use your sharp wits as a DPM to get your whole company to buy into the takeaways you learned at the conference, guerilla style. Your company wanted you have something to share when you got back. Show them you mean business.


  • How to choose and plan for the changes that will make the biggest impact
  • How to use your six feet of influence and some straightforward data collection to build a business case that will speak for itself
  • How to rollout a mini version of this plan, then scale it for your whole team
  • How to support and implement changes in doses your company can digest
  • How to prepare for the red flags that will distract you & the wins that are yours


End Resource Management Smackdowns: How To Make Allocating a Breeze

Director's Room

Josh Zapin

Our Clinics are sessions designed to share a specific   thought process and methodology that provide immediate useful takeaways.

Our Clinics are sessions designed to share a specific thought process and methodology that provide immediate useful takeaways.

Digital Project Managers are masters of getting things done without doing “anything:”  They take talented resources, enable them to work together so seamlessly that the sum is much greater than the parts.

That said, figuring out who is doing what and when is one the supreme challenges of an agency.  Resource conflicts are inevitable and, often, chaotic.   

During this session, we will explore the problem provide some tangible solutions by looking at the people, processes and tools that need to be leveraged to get this done.


During this time slot, choose between a Breakout Presentation and three different Camp Sessions.

The F-Word: Why Failure May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You

Grand Ballroom

Kristus Ratliff

Everyone has experienced that project—where everything that could go wrong went wrong. It was easy to look around and find people to blame. No one wanted to say aloud just how bad it was, because that would have made it real.

Like it or not, when things go south, it is the job of the project manager to help the team assess, pivot, and move forward. Offering insight, humor and tangible action items; this session will provide attendees with a new perspective about their roles as Digital PMs, and the dreaded F-Word.


  • How to mitigate failure by anticipating and responding effectively to change, challenge and chaos
  • How to build trust and open communication with your team and client
  • How to assess, pivot, and move forward after a failure has occurred


Camp Session 1: PM Tools

Franklin Room

Moderated by Brett Harned
Bureau of Digital


Brett Harned will moderate a round table discussion about project management tools. What do you use and why? Come prepared to talk about your likes, dislikes, wants, and needs when it comes to PM tools.


Camp Session 2: Difficult Conversations

Georgian ROOM

Moderated by Carl Smith
Bureau of Digital


We've all been there. Join Carl Smith for a round table discussion to share war stories, tactics, tips, and moreabout how to manage  difficult conversations. 


Camp Session 3: Team Structures

Director's ROOM

Moderated by Greg Hoy
Bureau of Digital


Organizing teams is a big topic among many digital organizations these days. Join this conversation to hear how others are organizing project teams, and hear all about the advantages and disadvantages.


Infinite Possibilities


Denise Jacobs
The Creative Dose

Navigating choices in our career paths can be challenging. What if we had guidelines to help us make decisions that expand options rather than restrict them? Learn how choosing creativity, shifting to a growth mindset, finding your flow, and being a maker puts you on the path of having infinite possibilities in your career. This creates a clear path to a future where you can not only be awesome, but also do meaningful work.


Summit Wrap-Up