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theater pre-function space

Stop by our registration table bright and early to pick up your lanyard and swag bag, and get ready to meet your people and learn from them.


Coffee and Breakfast



Brett Harned

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Guest House Theater

Brett Harned, founder of the Digital PM Summit, will kick off the sixth annual event with a brief update on the current state of digital project management.


Colin Ellis

Digital Transformation Starts With You

Guest House Theater

This keynote takes a deep dive into the human side of digital transformation and the behaviours needed to do it successfully.

A recent Deloitte report found that 65% of companies surveyed had no significant programs to provide their people with the skills required to lead digital transformation projects, despite them being critical to the future of their organisations. As a leader and manager, digital transformation starts with you and your behaviours. In this practical, energetic and inspirational speech, I will provide a blueprint of the skills you need to lead digital transformation projects to success. These skills are applicable and immediately actionable regardless of role, sector and location.


  • Why most transformation programs fail

  • Understanding the Transformation Triangle and why it’s the key to success

  • The difference between emotional capital and emotional baggage

  • How to be a role model for others

  • How to use a large program to change the organisation’s culture

  • Why simply saying ‘we’re going agile’ won’t work

  • Keeping the problem in mind is more important than the solution

  • Understanding the steps needed to get the value from your investment


Tera Simon

Life After DPM: Things to Consider When Moving Into Management

Guest House Theater

After years of managing projects, Digital Project Managers tend to become burnt out. We hit a crossroad in our career where we want a new challenge. We start to wonder what does life after Project Management look like. But what is the next natural step?

We can research new titles all day long, but that doesn't tell you what it actually means to make the switch. It's important to understand your strengths and weaknesses before deciding to go into management. And sometimes it's not so easy to just jump in. It's a good idea to learn lessons from other's experiences, and this session will do just that.


  • Potential career paths for Digital Project Managers, including those not seeking a management path

  • What it means to be a manager

  • Lessons learned from managing people


Breakout Sessions

breakout rooms: GUEST HOUSE THEATER, Rock MEETING ROOM, Ballroom C, ballroom d, ballroom e

It's time to sit down and talk, and meet attendees who come from similar companies, and manage similar projects to yours. We'll assign each attendee a breakout room based on your registration information. 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 professional network.



Ballrooms a & B

1:30-2:45 - Interactive Sessions

Our interactive sessions provide an opportunity to dig deeper on topics that are important to you, as all session options include a mix of presentation, discussion, and interactive exercises. You'll select one session to attend during this time. 

Lina Calin

The Importance of Asking "Why"

Guest House Theater



Have you ever had a client respond emotionally when you explained that a requested feature was out of scope? Have you interacted with a member of your team who refused to try a new solution? Have you ever struggled with organization leadership when you suggested a process change? 

As human beings, our natural reflex is to react to our environment based on what is presented to us, but one of the most advantageous things we can do as project leads is to take a step back and always ask "why?" This workshop will give you the tools to dig deeper—directly to the heart of project issues we face—and show you why "why" is the best of the 5 W's.

In this session you'll learn:

  • The importance of always asking "why"

  • Practical ways to uncover the root of difficult problems

  • Strategies to use "why" to improve project documentation, relationships, workflows, processes, and your career trajectory

  • How to encourage your team to dig to find the "why" to improve their own relationships and workflows


Kelly Suter

Requirements Gathering and Documentation: Balancing Rigidity and Flexibility



While it may not be the most exciting part of a digital engagement, requirements gathering and documentation is the backbone to any project. Whether you're documenting business, technical, or functional requirements, drafting change orders, further defining backlog items, or outlining assumptions for future phase enhancements, it's essential to recognize when to be rigid and when to be flexible with the documentation process.

With experience within the digital industry related to custom e-commerce, brochureware, application, and learning solutions, Kelly Suter sheds light on the significance of and approach to documenting requirements ranging from a one-off change order to the behemoth FRD that encompasses six months worth of work.


  • Learn about the requirements gathering and documentation process

  • Gain a better understanding of must-haves vs. nice-to-haves when it comes to documentation

  • Understand how to leverage requirements documentation beyond production


Abby Fretz

Sustaining the Project Honeymoon Phase: How to Build Effective Client Education

ballroom C

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

Our client teams bring wildly different levels of digital expertise to a project. We often dive into a new project with a ton of mutual excitement, driven by our vision for what this digital masterpiece can be. Over time, as we deliver content, strategy, design, and dev deliverables, teams often start feeling frustrated with each other and increasingly less sure of what’s been agreed upon. What feels clear at the beginning of the project starts feeling muddier. Expectations for scope, functionality, and design start diverging. We hear from clients that they are confused about why they aren’t getting pixel-perfect comps for every screen in their project, or how they thought they would be able to change all the colors of the site on a whim.

Take a moment! Rather than vilifying a client for not ‘getting it’ or for being badly behaved, we as digital project leads, should take a step back and examine what we might have missed or failed to explain. Educating a client who has very little digital expertise can feel daunting, but there are several basic education principles we can deploy that will enable us to consistently, quickly come up with simple AND powerful educational assets for a client.


  • Gain a better understanding of how to identify the areas of your digital projects that most commonly require effective client education.

  • Learn how to quickly act on a communication breakdown (or ideally prevent them!) by leading a rapid prototyping exercise to create effective teaching assets for your clients (that you can use more than once!).

  • Leave with confidence that for every type of client and every level of understanding of how a digital project works, you have the tools you need to effectively build educational assets the client will value and reference throughout your project!


Crystal Richards

Survivor: How To Deal With Social Politics in Your Organization

Ballroom D


Like the show Survivor, players have to adapt to the game of social politics to make alliances and meet their goal of success. Social politics is just as prevalent in our working lives. People are the crux of projects and overall business operations.In a perfect world, everyone in the workplace is open and transparent, they have no hidden agendas, and they are open to working collaboratively. But we know that’s not how the real world works. To truly be successful in our jobs, we need to know how to effectively deal with office politics, have a strong sense of self, and develop good negotiation skills in order to forge effective working relationships with our peers and our teams.


  • Explore the three components of social politics

  • Discuss ways to implement suggested strategies in dealing with social politics

  • Establish an action plan to implement success strategies


Joe Rinaldi

Sales to PM: When Client Prospects Become Project Reality

Ballroom E



The handoff from sales to project management is an important and vulnerable transition. Ensuring a project kicks off on the right foot is a critical element of project success. You never get a second chance at a first impression. What can digital project managers do to help optimize this process?

As a business development lead working in client services with some truly kick ass PMs, Joe Rinaldi was the beneficiary of a deeply thoughtful approach to successful project handoffs. As a business development consultant now, working with dozens of teams, he’s seen how often this process can go sideways too.


  • Map out the attributes and goals of a successful sales to project management transition plan, and best practices

  • Learn the value a successful transition process provides to sales, project management, operations, and project execution

  • Learn ways to enact change and champion process improvement whether you’re deeply involved in sales or not

  • Find out how to internally sell a win/win/win/win proposition


Dave Prior

Mika Trottier

The Agile Human: Learn to Lead Yourself First

Guest House Theater

Project Management is not an easy gig, and it’s hard to be there for your team when it feels like your primary responsibility is to take a punch every day. If Project Management is something you are interested in doing long term, you are going to have to come up with ways to not only survive the job, but to optimize your approach so you can truly be there for your team.

In this interactive workshop, Mika Trottier and Dave Prior will present the results of months of experiments using a variety of Agile practices to truly “show up” and be present for their teams. During the session, Mika and Dave will share the agile philosophies you can leverage to set personal objectives, take ownership, and shape your future. They'll guide you through how to use some of the tools they found had the greatest impact on their ability to survive project management by leading themselves first. 


  • Develop a personal vision statement and set goals to guide your experiments in personal agility

  • Deepen your awareness of Agile practices that can be easily applied at a personal level to hack your life and your approach to work

  • Create and prioritize a product backlog that you can use to begin running your own agile experiments for personal improvement and psychological self-care


Rachel Gertz

Static to Signal: A Lesson in Alignment

Guest House Theater



Your job isn’t what you think it is. Ringing the iron triangle of time, scope, and budget doesn’t drown out the complexity of humans working with other humans. Your real job is to create alignment with your folks at work: to bind them together so everyone is pulling in the same direction, fighting for the same things, and uniting for the same purpose. Join Rachel Gertz for a frank discussion about getting your people on the same frequency so you can focus on doing the work that matters.


  • Key behaviors, responses, and environmental changes that indicate stakeholder misalignment and practical scripts and tips for how to respond

  • How to create strong work allies who champion your processes and ideas

  • Our evolving role as process and organizational change makers and how we become invaluable catalyzers on our teams


Day 1 Wrap-Up

Guest House Theater


Digital PM Summit Social Event


The Lawn

After you grab dinner with a group of friends, head over to the official Digital PM Summit social to continue the conversations you started earlier in the day and to get to know your fellow attendees better. There will be an open bar and light hors d'oeuvres served. 


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