PMI Atlanta Chapter - Forums Summaries

"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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“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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"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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"Be the Change You Want to See" by Dr. Tanika J. Kyle: May 2023 Healthcare Forum Summary

Written by: Rishea Middlebrooks MSHI, CAPM

“The question is not whether we will have a culture. The responsible question is what type of culture do we want to have? That’s why our actions must be deliberate in shaping outcomes into the culture we want to have.” – Maj. Gen. Bradley D. Spacey

If we don’t empower the people, we can’t get the work done. Take a look at Dr. Tanika Kyle’s strategies to SLAAY (Strategically Live Authentically as Yourself) to become a better leader!

Presentation Overview Kyle-Tanika

The most challenging part of facilitating transition or striving for efficient business processes isn't the tools, techniques, or processes you choose to use. It all comes down to understanding that this mindset change requires strategic, future-thinking leaders to provide and welcome opportunities to engage their teams in conversations and activities that start to lay the foundation, which can make or break this new voyage.

In this session, Dr. Kyle teaches practical tools and strategies that are purposeful and proactive in leading and empowering your teams.


  • VUCA Proactive Actions for Leaders
    • Volatile
      • Vision
      • Creating a safe space for acceptance that makes it okay to transition and establish a new path forward
    • Uncertain
      • Understanding
      • Gather data and insight
    • Complexity
      • Clarity
      • Identify and focus on a specific process
    • Ambiguous
      • Agile
      • Encourage future thinking by using pilots to test new ideas and continually improve
  • Change takes time
    • It is important to be accepting and have a cognitive change management mindset to gently encourage the team to take on these changes.
  • Tips to SLAAY as a Leader
    • Tip #1: SLAAY Leader SLAAY
      • Keep current on your leadership and technical skills – your team is watching you and you SLAAY by leading
    • Tip #2: Determine Your Superpowers & Purpose
      • We have superpowers, but we are not super heroes – it is important to identify you and your team’s strengths and natural talents while also showing grace to the human abilities of your team
      • Questions to ask your team to identify their superpowers
        • What are your strengths? What are your joyous activities? Who inspires you?
        • Ask someone you love and trust to identify what your superpowers
      • Help your team empower their skills and super strengths to better improve the trajectory of your team
    • Tip #3: Walk in Your Purpose
      • Once you know your purpose, you are better able to identify your team’s individual and collective purpose
      • Questions to determine purpose
        • What do you constantly dream about? What motivates you? What makes you angry enough or passionate enough to do something about it?
    • Tip #4: Define Your Team
      • Remember that Together Everyone Achieves More 
      • Take the time to build up your team and help them identify achievable goals, removing barriers and match initiatives with the skillsets of your team members
    • Tip #5: Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
      • Transition is invisible and challenging at times – it is okay for you and your team to take a break and step away when the load is heavy!
      • Acknowledge that fear is real
      • Be open and honest about the facts and don’t over speculate – tell what you know and admit what you don’t!
      • Provide reassurances and identify a perceived loss – always show empathy
    • Tip #6: Flex Your Leadership Styles
      • Be flexible in your leadership styles to best adapt to the needs of the team
      • One team member may perform well to the transformational leadership style, while another may perform best to the resilient leadership style
    • Tip #7: Plan for the Future of Your Team
      • Plan today so that you can better be prepared for tomorrow

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter Healthcare forum on Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "Where Did All The Good Project Managers Go?" by April Coy, Director, Supply Chain at HD Supply

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"Agile & Cybersecurity" by Andrew Gurbaxani: May 2023 Agile Forum Summary

Written by: Alex Leonard, PMP

Presentation Overview Gurbaxani-Andrew

On May 16, 2023, the Agile Forum of the PMI Atlanta Chapter hosted their first in-person forum event of the year! The forum presentation, titled “Agile & Cybersecurity”, was presented by Andrew Gurbaxani. In his presentation, Andrew discussed how Agile and Cybersecurity can work with or against each other. He explained and drew emphasis on the similarities and differences between the Agile way of working and cybersecurity. Even though there are different vocabularies, the two complement one another. While the Agile way of working may introduce some cyber-risk, it also creates cyber-opportunity. Agile supports “secure by design” and “secure by default” principles when properly applied. Some Agile frameworks are well suited for the cybersecurity domain, and those include Xtreme Programing (XP), Test Driven Development (TDD), and Scrum via daily inspection and review.

Being Agile in the Cybersecurity space can be quite a positive practice. Incident detection and response, attack surface mapping, and red/blue/purple team exercises are all techniques in cybersecurity operations that can benefit from an Agile approach. While there are many positives, there are also a few negatives. Security breaches and supply chain compromises can happen easily, and have happened, even in these environments, especially if or when the right protocols are not followed.

During this forum event, Andrew also discussed what is and is not security. He explained that security is the protection of proprietary or confidential information that has been entrusted to us as employees of an organization. As an example, robust policies and processes, proactive vulnerability scans, and user security awareness all fall under the “security” umbrella, while maturity models, compliance activities, and security teams do not.


  • Implementing agility in the cybersecurity domain does not come without a cultural shift.
  • While there are unique challenges with Agile in cybersecurity operations, it can have a positive and negative impact, if the right protocols are not followed.
  • As a Project Manager in the cybersecurity domain, you are the chief information security officer – take your responsibility seriously!

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Chapter “In-Person” Agile forum on August 15, 2023

Keynote Presentation: "How to Talk Agile in a Waterfall Environment" by Tamara McLemore, PMP, PMI-ACP, the Chief Impact Officer at Tamara Joy McLemore Enterprises

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