PMI Atlanta Chapter - Forums Summaries

“Project Management & Beyond: A Peak Into the Future": October Joint Special Interest Forums Summary

Written by: Alex Leonard, PMP


Presentation Overview


Doug Ware is a Systems builder with over 30 years in the technology industry. He noted that as a kid, he was always very interested in AI. He explained about emerging technologies in AI that generate answers word-by-word. He also noted that there is a large misconception that AI can think and do things by itself, where as they actually need to be triggered by a person.

Oliver Yarbrough is a Project Management Trainer and works with AI in relation to project management. He also hosts the podcast “Not Your Father’s AI Show”. Oliver emphasized the importance of using automation to optimize workflows and minimize busy work.

HR Recruiting

Amy Chestnut is the director of HR at Rare Disease Research, LLC. Amy’s organization helps provide many services including talent acquisition, Pediatric Trials and Research. In the forum, Amy discussed the types of skills, experiences, and personalities that she might look for in clinical project management. Some of these skills include flexibility, being resourceful, and having a passion for healthcare.

Brett Horsely, with Legent Finance & Accounting, has a background in sales, marketing, and recruiting. He helps fill roles for Contract, Contract for Hire, and Full Time. Brett also hosts a podcast called “Straight From the Horsely’s Mouth” discussing tips on hiring, resumes, job seeking, and employee retention. Brett explained that we have the most diverse workplace, generationally, that the world has ever seen. He noted that the commonality between these generations is that everyone wants the same things – they just prioritize them differently.

Dana Neiger is the Co-Founder for HIVE Talent Acquisition Firm in Sandy Springs. HIVE can help in a number of areas such as fractional HR leadership and establishing HR compliance for small-to-medium business. Dana explained a few things to do when looking for a new job: 1) Track job you apply for in a spreadsheet. 2) Push the bar, but don’t put yourself in despair. 3) Understand your worth.

"DEI"  | "ESG" 

Solama Acolatse-Narnor, with a background in architecture, is a sustainability consultant with The Dragon Group. Solama emphasizes the need for sustainability as it humanizes the DEI & ESG Industries. She believes that performance comes from areas other than skill, such as environment, emotional safety, etc.

Dr. April Ripley, with Permier Image, is a trainer focusing on intercultural awareness. She works with clients around the world helping them bridge the gap between cultures and backgrounds in the workplace. April charged the audience to challenge assumptions and misinformation in the workplace.

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr. is the Vice Chancellor at Cambridge Corporate University. Throughout the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to utilize project teams to study the effectiveness of the ways teams communicate and collaborate with each other. He discussed the importance of being a “Strategic Hustler”, or an innovative futurist.

Next Event
Join us at our final Forum of 2023,  PMI Atlanta AEC Forum on Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023.

Keynote Presentation: Learn about “THE STITCH” A VERY IMPORTANT PROJECT FOR THE CITY OF ATLANTA. Presented by Jack Cebe

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"How to Talk Agile in a Waterfall Environment" by Tamara McLemore: August 2023 Agile Forum Summary

Written by: Tana Glassford-Samuel, MBA, PMP

The Best of Both Worlds. How Waterfall and Agile can co-exist.

Presentation Overview McLemore-Tamara

Tamara McLemore, PMP, PMI-ACP, a 20-year project management veteran and sought after speaker, was this month’s presenter. The August event was held in-person at Matrix, the Agile Forum’s Sponsor. Tamara spoke to a packed room. The session was engaging and thought-provoking. Waterfall with Agile, in any combination, can be beneficial for project managers (PMs) and offer real value to the organization.

Agile is a mindset change and has standard terms and events/ceremonies. However, the Agile nomenclature can be a blocker in a strong Waterfall culture. In some minds, Agile is a bad word and PMs may need to work around it by using different terms to achieve the same results – value-driven delivery.


  • The Benefits of Agile
    • Faster to Market
      • We are not in the microwave era; We are in the air fryer era!
    • Flexibility
    • Instant Feedback
    • Save Millions of Dollars and time
  • The Four Values of the Agile Manifesto
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
      • Emphasizes the need to deliver
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
      • Do not show elaborate documents, demo the product
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
      • Be flexible and accommodating
    • Responding to change over following a plan
      • Change is inevitable
  • Incorporate Agile components in Waterfall projects
    • Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
      • Allows for early return on investment
    • Definition of Done
      • What does success looks like
    • T-Shirt Sizing
      • Relative estimation of the work
    • Kanban Board
      • Tells the true status/state of play

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Agile forum on Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Artificial Intelligence for Agile Project Managers: Are You Ready" by Scott Ambler, Author & Agile Data Coach, Ambysoft, Inc.

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Event Pictures


"Business Transformation: Strategies to Improve Adoption, Increase Engagement and Decrease Attrition" by David DeMatte: June 2023 Technology Forum Summary

Written by: Rishea Middlebrooks MHI, CAPM

When done well, transformations can be extremely impactful. When done bad, transformations can be detrimental to any intended entity. How do organizations do business transformations successfully? What determines a successful transition? What can deter and potentially destroy organizational transitions? Read below to gain some valuable insight into the delicate skill of business transformation!

Presentation Overview DeMatte-David

Attendees participate in a discussion regarding the concept of “transformation deficit”, how it’s been defined in the publications, and examples of what is considered good and not-so-good transformation efforts, and what learnings that can be considered for incremental improvements in this area.


  • What is business transformation?
    • Business transformation involves breaking away from the “status quo” of standard processes and organizational activities of a business with the goal of improving the way they operate.
  • What drives companies to transform?
    • External factors – response to change
    • Internal problems/technology disruptors
    • Desire to add value
  • What and why are businesses transforming?
    • Improving efficiency
    • Enhanced customer experience
    • Better decision making/improved work culture
  • How can organizations remain focus on business transformation?
    • Stay focused on what the value of the change will be
      • Organizations can hire Change Management professionals to align activities with the desired goal
      • Build a culture that is adaptive of change
    • Collaborate!
    • Gain buy-in early and ongoingly
  • What are some obstacles to business transformation?
    • Resistance to change/poor communication
    • Legacy systems
    • Differing objectives
    • Wrong talent/lack of leadership
  • What are potential deterrents to look out for?
    • Lack of shared vision
    • No collaboration
    • Competing priorities
    • Bad morale/low productivity
  • How can organizations overcome obstacles with transforming?
    • Getting the right talent/hiring for the future skills needed
    • Having a proper change management program
    • Having focused teams/building collaboration around the new ways of working
  • What makes a great transformational leader?
    • Having an understanding of the business
    • Having credibility and influence/interpersonal skills

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Technology forum September 26, 2023

Keynote Presentation: “Pragmatic Innovation” by Jeremy Smith, Sr. Product Manager at Honeywell

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Event Pictures

Technology-Forum-Screenshot-June-20231 Technology-Forum-Screenshot-June-20232

“Progression from Project Management to Value Delivery Management" by Joshua Barnes: June 2023 Clinical Research Forum Summary

Written by: NoriYah Yisrael, MSM-PM, PMP, PMI-ACP, DASSM

Presentation Overview Barnes-Joshua

On June 8, 2023, the Clinical Research Forum of the PMI Atlanta Chapter hosted the “Progression from Project Management to Value Delivery Management” Special Industry Forum event as presented by Joshua Barnes. Mr. Barnes spoke to the audience and shared his vast knowledge of Value Stream Management, as it relates to all industries and specifically the clinical research industry.

In today’s time, many organizations are moving away from a project-centric to a product-centric business model. Consequently, these same organizations must transition from being scope-driven to business increment-driven if they want to increase their agility and improve their delivery of value to the customer. At this forum event, Mr. Barnes discussed how current project professionals are perfectly suited to fill a need aside the agile delivery team, and support agile transformations by focusing on the flow of value to the customer.

As new Value Delivery Managers (VDMs), project professionals, can oversee the value stream flow to (1) ensure quicker feedback cycles; (2) shorter time to market; (3) reduction of work-in-progress and context switching; (4) decreased risk of uncompleted, unnecessary, and invisible work; (5) reduced delays and cost of delays; (6) prevention of people burn-out; and more. Mr. Barnes helped the audience to understand the key principles, strategies, and practices in Disciplined Agile value stream management guidance to improve the overall flow of value to customers.


  • Although project professionals (e.g., traditional project managers) have no official role in Agile frameworks like Scrum, some of their skills are transferable, and they are uniquely seated between Portfolio Management and the Agile team as VDMs.
  • Once they appropriately scale up their knowledge, training and skillset, project professionals can function well as VDMs to meet the needs of a value delivery team and the customer on Agile transformations.
  • A VDM’s primary focus should be to improve the flow of value that is delivered to the customer, as identified in eight (8) key principles: Build in small sized increments, reduce/eliminate delays, decrease feedback cycle time, build in quality, use visual controls, keep Work-In-Progress low, focus people on one product, and arrange people to avoid delays in workflow.

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Clinical Research forum on September 14, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "How to Transition into the Clinical Research Industry" by Karen Correa, PhD, VP, Head of Global Clinical Operations at Takeda Pharmaceuticals

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Event Pictures

Clinical-Research-Forum-Screenshot-June-20231  Clinical-Research-Forum-Screenshot-June-20232Clinical-Research-Forum-Screenshot-June-20233

"Competing IT Priorities - An Operating Model for Data Stewardship and Business Architecture: Is it The Cure?" by Jaleann M. Matos-McClurg: June 2023 Governance Forum Summary

Written by: LeDerrick Bouknight

Presentation Overview Matos-McClurg-Jaleann

After a brief opening and introduction, the presenter, Jaleann M. Matos-McClurg, began the discussion with a key problem statement that businesses legitimately want to change but don't know how. A change concept Ms. Matos-McClurg referenced was the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) model. Data generated and captured by the business can assist/identify opportunities. However, it must be properly managed. Data stewardship is the linkage between data governance (goals listed below), data analytics, and business processes. To ensure high data quality, the business/process owners most make sure the data fits the intended purpose, i.e., measurements, cycle time, in process inventory, etc. Later in the presentation, the top issues and problems confronting hospitals/healthcare industry were reviewed. Overall, this was an informative meeting displaying the importance of data governance/stewardship and linkages to business processes.


  • Goals of data governance:
    • Minimize risks
    • Establish internal rules for data use
    • Set policy and procedures for full data cycle
    • Involve business users
    • Implement Master Data Management (MDM)
    • Don't over restrict data use

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Governance forum on September 13, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "The Recipe For Starting a PMO" by for Joe Sisto, Senior Director, PMO at Driven Brands

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