PMI Western Michigan Chapter members receive the bi-monthly newsletter publication, On Target, via email.  This publication contains information about upcoming chapter and national events, as well as feature articles about practical project management contributed by local chapter members, PMP certified members, or reprinted publications published by PMI.

If you would like to submit an article for the newsletter, please use this link or contact our Communications Director.  All references must be sited and photographs or other media must have written release.  Submittal cut-off dates and publish dates can be obtained by contacting the Communications Director. 

Previously released newsletters are available in the Archives.

February 2015  


Welcome to the winter edition of the WMPMI newsletter! In this issue, you'll find information about the upcoming Professional Development Day (PDD) in March, THE Project collegiate competition in April, recaps of the January dinner meeting presentations, Microsoft's largest worldwide software conference in May, and more!


WMPMI Professional Development Day (PDD)

WMPMI’s PDD will be held in Hudsonville on March 17th. Learn how to see the invisible and do the impossible at the WMPMI Professional Development Day (PDD) 2015!

One thing is certain. Our businesses and our professions are changing. Understanding the changes that are coming is valuable. WMPMI has lined up this year's PDD with speakers to help you anticipate your business's needs. Let's make West Michigan prosper!

Join us for a great day of professional development that will accelerate your career. WMPMI is bringing in one of the 50 most influential thought leaders on the planet, Daniel Burrus. Daniel is the author of Flash Foresight and is one of the world's leading futurists on global trends and innovation. He has delivered over 2,700 keynote speeches on six continents to audiences of 25 to 14,000. Daniel Burrus is a strategic adviser to top executives of Fortune 500 companies helping them develop game changing strategies. On March 17th, Daniel will help us take project management to a new actionable level by identifying the events that will happen in the future.  Attendees will learn how to anticipate and capitalize on new opportunities, as well as predict problems, long before they happen.

In addition to Daniel Burrus, WMPMI is also bringing several industry leaders who are ready to expand your understanding and your network: 

  • Michael Hughes will show you how to make the most of your network and communicate effectively with stakeholders, sponsors, customers, and teams. 
  • James Snyder, the “Father of PMI,” will reinforce your understanding of PMI history, where it is today, and where it is going in the future. 
  • Samuel Bowles will teach you innovation secrets and how project software project management strategies are changing the way business gets done. 

It’s not too late to register! Don’t miss out! Tell a friend!


WMPMI Open Elections

It’s election time! Are you a PMP and looking to volunteer with WMPMI? Do you know a great leader who you’d like to nominate for one of our open positions? If so, please review our open positions.

The board positions below are open for nominations. Click here to view the detailed board position descriptions. The election will go live on the WMPMI website on April 13, 2015. You will be able to vote for nominees for the positions below. The new board will be announced at the Annual Chapter Meeting on May 11, 2015.

  • Vice President (VP) of Membership
  • Vice President (VP) of Finance
  • Vice President (VP) of Marketing
  • President Elect

If you are interested in running for any of the above positions, complete the WMPMI Chapter Nomination Form  and return it to no later than April 6, 2015.  Copies of the Nomination Form will also be available at our next Chapter Dinner Meeting on March 9, 2015. 

The 2015 Chapter Bylaws will also appear on the electronic ballot.  Please review our proposed 2015 Chapter Bylaws. Since the 2015 Chapter Bylaws are being voted on, this election will be in accordance with our prior Chapter Bylaws.


Calendar of Events

  • March 9, 2015: WMPMI Dinner Meeting, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    Feature & Bonus: Joe Tipton will discuss Managing for Improvement, Parts 1 & 2
    Location: Holiday Inn Express / Crossroads (Grand Rapids) and Fetzer Center (Kalamazoo)


THE Project 2015 - Investing in the Future of Project Management

THE Project, WMPMI’s collegiate project management competition, is now in its fourth season. The April 13th, 2015, event day is approaching fast. This article will take a brief look at the history of this annual event that has energized WMPMI’s volunteer base and made great strides in promoting the teaching and practice of project management at colleges and universities throughout West Michigan. It will also look at this year’s event, how much it has grown, and its impact on project management education.

In May 2011, it was simply an idea called THE Project – a competition designed to engage college students in the practice of project management and to develop their leadership skills. Eight student teams made up of 32 students from six colleges in the Western Michigan area were given a hypothetical scenario for which they had to provide a solution. They were assigned PMP® certified mentors to teach them how to transform their solutions into project plans using the planning processes documented in the PMBOK. PMO panels were established to judge and provide feedback for each of the three phase gates they had to pass through before the final day of the competition. On April 9, 2012, the student teams presented their project plans to the PMO panelists in a preliminary round to determine the final four teams that would move forward to have their plans judged by area executives for cash prizes. This day also included a keynote speaker and a reverse career fair that provided job and internship opportunities for students. 

Three years and three competitions later, THE Project 2015 boasts 16 teams comprised of 86 students from 12 colleges and universities throughout West Michigan competing to show how to best improve the affordability of higher education in Michigan. Compared to THE Project 2012, this is double the number of teams and schools that are competing and nearly triple the number of student competitors. In fact, THE Project has gotten so big that Davenport University, where the event was held for the past two years, is no longer big enough to hold it. This year’s event will be held at The Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, which is also the site for WMPMI’s Project Development Day on March 17th.

However, with more teams, schools, and students competing, we have needed more volunteers to support this event. And WMPMI’s membership did not disappoint. Twenty-four PMP® certified mentors have stepped up to guide the teams through the process of developing project plans for their solutions. Twelve PMO panelists, consisting of PMO managers, directors, and senior project managers, have volunteered to score the deliverables for each phase gate. In addition, the faculty and administrative champions of the colleges and universities the student teams represent have become increasingly more invested in THE Project by assisting mentors in teaching more project management courses and, in some cases, even offering their students credit for their participation in THE Project. In fact, more students competing this year will receive college credit for their participation in THE Project since this competition began.

THE Project competition has contributed to the rise of WMPMI’s membership, as well as to the strength and number of its volunteer base. It promotes the practice of project management exceptionally well by teaching students how to structure their innovative ideas into well-documented plans to resolve real life issues. But most of all, it provides our membership an excellent opportunity to influence project management education, develop future project managers, and enrich the integrity of the project management profession.  


March Dinner Meeting Speaker: Joe Tipton

Joe Tipton will present both the feature and bonus presentations at WMPMI’s March 9th Chapter Dinner Meeting at Holiday Inn / Crossroads in Grand Rapids. He is presenting “Daily Management Improvement, Parts 1 and 2.”

A former auto-industry manager, Joe Tipton has over 30 years of hands-on experience and is recognized for his talents in coaching team leaders and supervisors. He has experience with improvement projects across the value chain and specializes in teaching sustainment principles through Daily Management Improvement Training (DMIT). He has assisted numerous clients in the set-up of basic-skills training areas, cross training, rotation scheduling and 5S (Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain). 


Microsoft's Largest Worldwide Software Conference is Coming to Chicago

Over the years, users of Microsoft products had to make the choice between one of the many conferences they would attend each year. In many cases, technologies would overlap causing a struggle for attendees to choose the best conference with the best value. For example, you might be considering the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas because you use that software, but then you also wanted to attend the Project Conference in Anaheim since Project Server uses SharePoint functionality. With budget restrictions, most individuals would not attend both conferences. Also, if you are considering evaluating software that you don’t currently use, it would be challenging to pay for a conference featuring only one technology. 

We have good news. You no longer have to struggle with that decision. Microsoft has decided to take a unified approach and merge together a number of conferences including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and TechEd. The new conference is going to be held in Chicago this year and will have an estimated 30,000 attendees staying in over 100 hotels.

Being in close proximity, this is a unique opportunity to take advantage of education and networking and not miss out on anything that other conferences used to provide. Below are the conference details.

Microsoft Ignite
May 4-8, 2015
Chicago, IL

One Note:  Microsoft will be focused on showing you software using their cloud solution Office 365. You should expect to see a lot of advertising around this monthly software membership solution. For the non-geeks out there, think of the cloud like a magic pocket. You can put stuff in it and take stuff out of it anywhere. Cloud software allows you to access your software using any type of technology/device anywhere via the Internet.

Cindy Lewis, WMPMI Director of Public Relations, will be attending this year’s conference and looks forward to seeing some of you there.


In Case You Missed It: Dinner Meeting Featured Presentation

During our January meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from Dr. James T. Brown. We discussed the typical critical path approach and how software tools tend to generate an unrealistic schedule. During a lively group exercise, we completed a traditional forward pass/backward schedule and identified the critical path. Next, with Ben Todd as our Project Manager, we went through the schedule with resource limitations and attempted to complete tasks the same way the critical path was laid out. However, we learned that due to resource limitations, we had to shift our approach and tackle tasks that we could reasonably accomplish based on who was available.

In the end, we compared our results. The schedule delivery time doubled from what we predicted with our critical path calculation.  A lesson learned was that software tools for schedules assume unlimited resources. If you don’t account for that, you have an unrealistic and unattainable schedule. Organizations frequently rely on dates generated by a critical path calculations and fail miserably. The only way to be successful in scheduling is to generate a resource-leveling schedule.

For more information about Dr. Brown’s approach, visit his website:


In Case You Missed It: Dinner Meeting Bonus Presentation

At the January 12th Bonus Session, our speaker was Jim Boes, Past President of the Grand Rapids American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) chapter. APICS has a similar format to WMPMI. They offer education, certification assistance, networking and regular meetings. Many of the members in their chapter are from planning and purchasing departments, but anyone is welcome to join or attend. At the bonus session, we learned that APICS will help you streamline operations and generate productivity. We also learned that APICS helps you achieve a better reputation with your customers by improving your skills with education and certification. There are two websites where you can get more information and  Here is a quote from the APICS website to summarize this organization:

“APICS is the global leader and premier source of the body of knowledge in operations management including production, inventory, supply chain, materials management, purchasing, and logistics.”

Jim explained how the Grand Rapids chapter has been in existence 50 years and they have been awarded Platinum status by APICS national for outstanding work. Their most popular certifications are:

Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)?
Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

Throughout the history of our chapters, APICS and WMPMI have held joint networking events, which have helped connect professionals together. Take a few minutes to explore one of the websites above since we are honored in West Michigan to have one of the best APICS chapters around. Check out our Twitter feed (@WMPMI) for a picture of Jim Boes speaking to our group.


Articles of Interest

Are you looking for some articles to expand your knowledge? Below are two informative articles related to Project Management. 

  1. PMO Framework and PMO Models for Project Business ManagementLearn more about many of the burning questions out there about PMOs, such as:
    What do the letters stand for?
    What kinds of PMOs exist? 
    Who do PMOs support?
    And more! 

    Click here to view the full article by Dennis L. Bolles, PMP, and Darrel G. Hubbard, PE. 

  2. Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Exam Lessons from Those Who Have Been There

    Are you thinking about studying for and obtaining the Project Management Institute® Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification? Are you interested in reading about and learning from the exam experiences of those who have already passed the PMI-ACP Exam? Would you like access to posts that contain lessons learned and tips from those who have recently passed the PMI-ACP Exam? Then read this article for some examples from this forum and how to access it.

    Click here for the full article by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM.