PMI Atlanta Chapter - Forums Summaries

"The Power of Metrics For Improving Ways of Working" by Danny Presten: April 2023 Governance Forum Summary

Written by: LeDerrick Bouknight

In this discussion, attendees heard the advantages metrics can provide to improve organizational flow of value. The present shared real-world examples exploring the benefits and potential pitfalls organizations experience as they introduce performance metrics.

Presentation Overview PrestenDanny

After a brief opening and introduction, Danny Presten, began the discussion with his Pyramid of Value model. This model contains metrics important to the organization. (These metrics are listed below.) He further discussed that efficient flow of value is organizational collaboration. As such, the metrics quantify organizational performance even in software development. Hence, Danny linked the organizational metrics to a Value Stream Map (VSM) of the Agile stories processes listed in sequential order. In this example, the group discussed how a lengthy cycle time produced a process bottleneck. To increase value, this constraint should be addressed to unlock value in the organization to increase process flow. Therefore, traditional process improvement methodologies were linked to the Agile approach. Overall, this was an informative meeting providing tools for process efficiencies in software development.


Predictable Outcome Model discussion:

  • Pyramid of Value metrics (from top to bottom)
    • Profits
    • Customer Satisfaction
    • Innovation
    • Speed to Market
    • Prioritization
    • Predictability
    • Transparency
  • Additional metrics
    • Flow velocity
    • Flow distribution
    • Flow load
    • Flow time
    • Flow efficiency

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Governance forum on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Competing IT Priorities - An Operating Model for Data Stewardship and Business Architecture: Is it The Cure?" by Jaleann M. Matos-McClurg, VP, Professional Development at IIBA Greater Atlanta

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“Incorporating Agility into Waterfall Projects” by Amber Chandler: April 2023 Agile Forum Summary

Written by: Alex Leonard, PMP

Incorporating agility allows for a quicker response to changes and opportunities. Attendees learned the simple approaches to leverage flexibility and adaptability, that ultimately leads to more successful project outcomes.

Presentation Overview Amber-Chandler

On April 18, 2023, the Agile Forum of the PMI Atlanta Chapter hosted the “Incorporating Agility into Waterfall Projects” Special Interest Forum Event as presented by Amber Chandler. Amber has made a career in the Agile space, supporting organizations through Lean-Agile transformations, and helping solution-oriented professionals solve problems.

Throughout the course of a 1-hour presentation, Amber discussed the importance of incorporating the Agile methodology into those environments that utilize a traditional waterfall approach to project/product management. Some areas Amber focused on included an overview of traditional Waterfall vs. Agile Methodologies, the Agile Manifesto, and how to embrace the Agile mindset and implement adaptive techniques without any direct authority.

Amber made a point to emphasize that while both Agile & Waterfall are useful methodologies, knowing how and when to use them is what’s key.


  • “Incorporating agility into a waterfall project, does NOT mean using Scrum and Kanban exclusively.”
  • Agility relies heavily on flexibility, communication, time & costs.
  • Agile is a mindset – it is not an “on/off” switch; however, one should not expect to check every single “Agility Box” each day.
  • When operating in a waterfall environment, it is a good practice for a person to operate under a “second layer” where agile techniques such as iterative planning/execution or adaptive scope management can be incorporated, even if the team or organization has not yet transitioned into the Agile way.

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter “In-Person” Agile forum on May 16, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Agile & Cybersecurity" by Andrew Gurbaxani, vCIO at Assessivate LLC

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"Data Visualization Changes Your Business" presented by Ashley Swain Cohen: April 2023 Healthcare Forum Summary

Written by: Rishea Middlebrooks MSHI, CAPM

The famous adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” is greatly attributed to many aspects of life, including data. How you visualize data determines how it is perceived to the intended audience and could make or break a decision process. Compare your techniques to the ten best practices below to see where you can take your data visualization capabilities to the next level!

Presentation Overview Cohen-Ashley

The volume of data we collect in our businesses is growing at rates that are hard even to quantify. As more information about your initiatives and projects is available, you can use these data to increase the efficacy of your projects. Ashley Cohen discussed the following concepts within the context of data visualization that have changed how we think about our world:

  • Definition of data visualization
  • Ten best practices
  • Five ways to understand and interrogate your data effectively


What is data visualization? The compilation of multiple data points to tell a story to the intended audience or to make a more informed decision. Data visualization is not an infographic or a table of data.

Ten best practices

  • Simplicity (Three/3)
    • Focus on the 3 things needed to make a decision.
  • Right graphs
    • Visualize change over time or data comparisons quantitatively (i.e., replacing pie graphs with bar graphs wherever possible). Line graphs, bar graphs and choropleth graphs are the most effective graphs in most settings.
  • Design
    • Data visualizations should be easily navigable, appropriate for the topic, consistent and well formatted. Don’t be afraid of white space. Use that to separate the degree variance of your data.
  • Color and shape
    • Color and shape schemes should be used to differentiate and compare differential values while also being friendly to color-deficient audiences (ex: shy away from red or green). Shapes should not be used to quantify data.
  • Context
    • Be sure to list titles, axis labels, data point labels and sources. Do not over label your visualization.
  • Relevance
    • Highlight impact points and visualize data latency where appropriate.
  • Audience
    • Take time to investigate your audience to better tailor your data visualization.
  • Story
    • Assess if the data you’re visualizing portrays the story you want to tell accurately.
  • Visual cues
    • Use visual cues where necessary to make data more impactful.
  • Accessibility
    • Design your data so that anyone can use and comprehend it.

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Healthcare forum on May 19, 2023

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"The Power of Diverse Teams in Project Management" presented by Lauren Gohde: March 2023 Healthcare Forum Summary

Written by: Gail Banzon, PMP

Greater diversity and inclusion make organizations better. According to Pulse of the Profession® research, 88 percent of project professionals say having diverse project teams increases value. Do you know that gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to outperform on profit? Do you also know that ethnically diverse companies are also 33% more likely to outperform on profit?

Presentation Overview Lauren-Gohde

The presentation was about the power of diverse teams in project management. We now understand the impact of equality, diversity, and inclusiveness on performance, collaboration, and creativity through innovation in the workplace within project-based organizations. Research has shown that compared to a single decision-maker, a diverse team will make better decisions up to 87% of the time. If your team only consists of male members, the decisions will be better at 58% compared to a gender-mixed team at 73%—the more diverse, the better decisions and overall performance. Diverse teams excel in troubleshooting, creating novel ideas, and accounting for a larger number of variables in their planning.

Get a diverse team, and you will have high performance? Quite the opposite! You must demonstrate a high level of inclusion and manage a diverse team to harvest the benefits from it. They will need to be well managed and time to be formed and find the strength in their complementary competencies and perspectives. If there is inclusive and compassionate Leadership and an inclusive culture within such a team, they will soon start producing great work. Team members will experience how they complement each other and will be able to deliver high performance through teamwork.


Main points:

  • Create the organization to be the best place to work
  • Mindset on inclusion and diversity
    • Diversity without inclusion doesn’t work
    • Diversity is multi-dimensional
    • Inclusion requires intention
  • Business benefits of diverse teams
    • Increased creativity and innovation
    • Better problem-solving and decision-making
    • Higher employee engagement
    • Better reputations

Challenges faced: What prevents us from being inclusive?

  • Bias, lack of awareness can obscure the need
  • Logistical challenges with remote workforce
  • Inexperience with uncomfortable or sensitive topics
  • Fear of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing


  • Inclusive Leadership
    • The behaviors of leaders can account for up to 70% of the difference between the proportion of employees who feel included and the proportion of those who don’t
  • The Inclusion Continuum
    • Intolerance, tolerance, awareness, accepting, valuing
    • Individuals should reflect on where they are in the inclusion continuum

Goals of the EDI:

  • Inclusive leadership is a commitment to creating an environment in which employees:
    • Feel a sense of belonging to the group
    • Feel valued for their unique contributions
    • Are treated equitably
    • Have the support to reach their full potential
  • Create the organization to be the best place to work

Lessons Learned:

  • Be courageous to speak up when you observe inequities
  • Include and seek input from people across a wide variety of backgrounds
    • For example, blind hiring to take out the demographic bias by interviewing on the phone to eliminate face-to-face judgment
  • Practice psychological safety
  • Ensure all voices are heard
  • Acknowledge when you have committed a microaggression
  • Model humility and build trust with those who may feel like the other
  • Practice active listening

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Healthcare forum on April 19, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Data Visualization Changes Your Business" by Ashley Swain Cohen, Director of Partner Solutions, Salesforce

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"There is Nothing Wrong with Being Agile or Everything is Wrong with Being Agile" by Varun Anand: March 2023 Agile Forum Summary

Written by: Alex Leonard, PMP

Presentation Overview Varun-Anand

On March 21, 2023, the Agile Forum of the PMI Atlanta Chapter hosted the “There is Nothing Wrong with Being Agile or Everything is Wrong with Being Agile” Special Interest Forum Event as presented by Varun Anand. As an instructor and practitioner in Agile methodologies, Varun utilized his knowledge and understanding of the Agile mindset to discuss when to use and when not to use Agile in practice.

Throughout the course of a 1-hour presentation, Varun emphasized many virtues of the Agile mindset. He explained the importance of embracing change, being flexible, and being adaptable. Failure to adapt to varying circumstances can be catastrophic for organizations because in many cases, when they resist change, they risk becoming obsolete.

On the other side, Varun discussed the world’s perception of what it means to be Agile. He explained how organizations say they are Agile, without truly knowing what that means in practice. They are essentially “fake” Agile.

Varun’s presentation culminated into the ultimate proclamation that while having an Agile mindset is especially important, there is a right time and a wrong time to be Agile. The important part is knowing when it’s the right time to be Agile.


Sometimes, Agile is not always the best approach. It is more important to have a good understanding of multiple methodologies so you can utilize the best fit for the specific phase or situation in a project. Other key points include:

  • Having an Agile mindset is essential for embracing change
  • An organization is not sustainable if they are not adaptable
  • Many organizations say they are Agile but do not truly maintain an Agile mindset

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Agile forum on April 18, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Incorporating Agility into Your Waterfall Projects" by Amber Chandler, SOP Evolution LLC

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