Coffee and Breakfast



Opening Remarks

MILAN Ballroom

Bureau of Digital Staff


A 10,000ft View of Getting Things Done

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Project Managers have the unique role of understanding project requirements and then defining and communicating the constraints with the team. The process can unravel when people from different disciplines miss out on key information, which is all too often the reality and places the bulk of the burden on the PM.

Martijn’s company, 10,000ft, has been making project management software for the last 5 years, but he’s spent the last 20 years managing software and design projects. He’s seen many projects go off the rails and in this short talk, he’ll share the common themes among them.


Level Up: Project Management as a Leadership Role

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The basics of project management are pretty clear: creating timelines, managing budgets, communicating with clients and colleagues. But…then what? What does excellence in project management really look like once we master the essential skills of the role?

Meghan McInerny will delve into the difference between a good PM and a great PM, and why project managers are future company leaders (whether most companies know it yet, or not). Part how-to and part rallying cry, we’ll talk about how to level up in the job you’ve got, and how to show up for the one you want next.


A Problem, A Vision, A Plan: Three Core Outcomes of Discovery

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Don't freak out when your design team asks to do discovery. Yes, discovery can be poorly defined, messy, unpredictable. But great design depends on doing discovery, and while a little messy, it doesn't have to be unpredictable. In every discovery endeavor teams work to clarify the problem, establish a direction, and produce a plan for their next steps. Ultimately, discovery helps align teams toward a common goal and solid discovery outputs help project managers keep everyone on the same page. This session will give you a framework for validating your team's efforts, ensuring they're producing real value for your project.


  • A framework for planning discovery activities
  • The six types of information that come out of discovery
  • How to evaluate the team's problem statement, vision, and plan
  • Examples of discovery outputs



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Every year, we ask members of our community to take the stage for just 10 minutes to share an idea, tactic, or principles that help them better practice or understand project management. In years past, we've split these sessions up over the course of our two days together. This year we're delivering lightning talks in one power punch; three 10-minute talks back to back:

The Bee In All of Us: Learning Efficient, Democratic Decision Making From Social Insect Groups

After hundreds of years of study of the inner workings of social insects like bee colonies, we still do not fully understand how these tiny creatures run some of the most efficient and effective systems found in nature. One of the most fascinating lines of study of these very roles-based insect societies is on their ability to democratically make complex decisions based on an even more complex set of variables, all with near-perfect accuracy - ‘optimal collective decision-making’.

How can we learn from bees and - as emotional, complex, and flawed human teams in the digital space - consistently and efficiently make difficult decisions as a group? What would a team who models their decision-making after bees, look like? How can we maintain cohesion of a team while making tough project decisions? Learn what a digital team needs to have in place in order to start resembling the efficient decision-making of a bee colony. 

Do it Now: 2-Minute Rule Principle

Even when we feel like things are moving at light speed, with so many moving parts, it’s never really a matter of us not knowing what to do. It becomes more of a matter of getting it all out of our heads and put into an organized, digestible system that can then be easily, and quickly reviewed on a regular basis.

Greg will share two key 2-Minute Rule principles with you that he has developed and used every day of his working life as a small but crucial part of his overall organization system. These principles will save you an immense amount of time and mind-space over the long term and help you to manage the craziness you are used to having on a daily basis

How Are We Doing? Measuring Project Success 

Whether your team is large or small, and no matter the task(s) at hand, it can be hard to truly know how a project is going when you're in the middle of it. It can be nearly impossible to objectively evaluate performance and progress, especially when there are many tasks, moving parts, stakeholders and players involved. It can also be hard to convince your team that things are better than they seem, or that there are weak links, without concrete metrics. 

If you want to be fully confident when you tell a client or manager that things are "going GREAT!" or that you "NEED HELP!", there are some key areas you can quickly evaluate to back up your case. Find out how to measure what in order to always know where you stand and be able to share with your team or with clients and management clearly and convincingly. 

This system is also a great way to evaluate project success at post-mortem and keep records of your team's progress over time. 





Regional Breakout Sessions

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

It's time to sit down and talk, and meet attendees who come from your geographic region. Our moderators will walk these groups through conversation topics including DPM tools, challenges, communication tactics, planning, and others. The goal for these sessions is to share your thoughts, challenges, and ideas with others and gain some input on how to be a better DPM while extending your local professional network.


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Speaker Q&A Session

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There's no doubt that the keynote sessions will leave you wanting to discuss the points speakers have made, or wanting to have a burning question answered. If that's the case, and you're okay not attending the Regional Breakout Session, join Sam Barnes and Meghan McInerny for an informal, small group Q&A session. 

Sam will take questions and moderate discussion for the first 45 minutes, and will hand the discussion over to Meghan for the second half of the session. Think of this as an opportunity to dig deeper on the keynote presentation topics and get to know the speakers.

This session will be limited to 30 people. 


Putting People Back Into Projects

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The number of people involved in our projects continues to grow. There are our customers, our stakeholders (some more visible than others), our teams, and of course our users. The iron triangle of project management has always been scope, budget, and timeline. Focusing on these three areas makes a lot of sense from a project manager’s viewpoint, but it’s easy to forget that behind each of these three key ideas is a group of people. That “iron triangle” isn’t much help if we don’t consider the humans involved.

While we can’t turn our backs on the scope, budget, and timeline, we can start to shift our perspective of each to consider the people involved. When we do this, we’ll see the long-term sustainability of our work increase and the happiness of our teams grow.

During this session, we will have an open discussion on how we can keep pulse on the important areas of our projects—including the people—so that both the people and the projects thrive. Come prepared to share with each other how you are supporting your humans and the challenges you are facing as you try to put the people back into your projects.


  • Understanding that the people are the largest indicator for success
  • How to facilitate effective collaboration
  • Discussion of unique people-centered project metrics
  • How your business model impacts your humans



Herding Cats: Positive and Effective Communication Within Chaos

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No skill will net us more positive results than effective communication. The problem is that as a project manager, you are often attempting to communicate within chaos. You are in charge of the completion of that project, but it feels as if you have very little control over the process from start-to-finish. As a result, your role can sometimes feel like that of a cat herder: all parties involved are engaged yet unpredictable.

So what do you do here? And how do you create certainty when you’re surrounded by confusion? Patience and creativity are important factors, but most of all you need to communicate with empathy. Why? Because empathetic communication nets project managers two huge wins: transparency and influence.

In this talk, Sharon elevates empathy from a buzzword to a verb. She’ll break down the chaos of everyday communication. Finally, she’ll discuss how communicating with empathy fosters environments ripe for collaboration.


Summit Wrap-Up



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