2019 Program Agenda










Maturing the Project Capabilities in your Organization, Megan Johnston

Businesses that can get good at delivering value through projects are likely to succeed. In today's world, with the pace of change in the marketplace, projects are a good strategy to quickly and effectively deliver the value you need to secure and sustain your customers. The better you are at delivering projects, the faster that value is delivered to market and the greater your competitiveness becomes. Learn how Project Managers can become agents of change in an organization to cultivate a Project Culture, establish Project Management systems and create Value Delivery Playbooks.   

Whether you work for an organization that has no project management experience or an organization that has been delivering projects for years, this breakout session will cover common symptoms at each stage of organizational maturity and solutions project managers can provide to guide the organization towards success.  

If you are just starting to implement project management structure or you are looking to establish a project management office (PMO), this session will cover tips on how to level up your Projects. Bring your biggest challenges and prepare to apply some lessons learned.  

Office Mythology: The Truth About Authentic Leadership, Spencer Horn

Most leaders want to be true to who they believe they are. This can be a challenge if who you are conflicts with your leadership role. Many leaders struggle with authenticity when there is change or a new role, or when they have to sell themselves or handle feedback for improvement. You will learn how to have the success you desire without selling out. Participants become aware of the power of patterned emotional responses, and learn how to re-train their brain in order to develop more productive habits. Developing the ability to master oneself in moments of tension and stress creates new habits as well as building a foundation for personal and professional success. Participants develop their ability to focus on assertive communication skills and handle challenging behaviors, which are essential in achieving organizational objectives.

[TBA], Neil Kelly, BC Hydro




The Project Manager’s Dilemma: Leading All The Responsibility In The World, But No Authority, Steve Armstrong

Personal, Organizational & Community Leadership is the intentional influence and often doing what doesn’t come to us naturally. We must work at it, but the good news is that we can all get there by taking to heart that:

• Leaders Are Made, Not Born

• Leaders Manage Their Emotions

• Leaders Respond Rather Than React

• Leaders Are Resilient

Leaders can come from anywhere. As we look around the world today, if we are looking for larger-than-life heroes, we misunderstand what leadership is.

In a crisis, leaders appear to be larger than life but Steve will show that you and I … ordinary people … will rise to the occasion in turbulent and trying circumstances.


The Agile Hammer - Agility or Chaos, that is the question! Mehran Jamshidi, Efficert Academy

More and more organizations tend to shift their development approaches from waterfall/predictive to agile. While adding the flavor of agility to projects could boost the project results as project teams can benefit from daily reviews, and delivering early and often increments, but embracing changes has been abused by some 'powerful' stakeholders and the fact that planning is still a huge part of the agile development approach is undermined.

In this presentation, we will review the major differences between the risks of agile/iterative versus predictive/traditional development approaches, and will try to clarify the impact of endless uncontrolled change requests. Choosing the right development approach for projects, the difference between communications, and power vs authority in agile and traditional approaches will be discussed.

Building a Project Portfolio Road Map, Laurel Sim, Taleo Project Services

This presentation brings thought leadership for project portfolio management, sharing perspectives regarding challenges in building an effective portfolio which executive leadership can connection with while still having tactical perspectives. This session will emphasis how a portfolio can be structured to have effective oversight on programs while allowing for flexible project delivery oversight. This interactive presentation will use a case study to build a portfolio road map.

Innovations in Health Systems: A network of consensus , Michelle Favero

You have been given a mandate, are short on resources, have limited funds and nothing can be done without consensus. Sound familiar? 

Being nimble and innovative in these constraints brings about health system transformation. Learn how projects in a living system can adapt and transform using networks and interdependencies that may not always be apparent. 




A SAFe Approach to Distributing Power in a Project, Scott Hayward, IBM Canada Ltd.

Real power in large enterprises lies in decision-making. In a world of increasing complexity, industry disruption and distributed workforces, success requires that organizational leaders relinquish decision-making to their teams and accept that the majority of those decisions may be deferred. Many leaders find this power shift as unsettling as the teams who are now accountable for more than just the work they perform.

Three keys drive project success in this necessary transfer of power:

- Identifying what decisions leaders should relinquish and what they should keep,

- Equipping teams to define clear choices and find the courage to embrace their new responsibilities, and

- Aligning decisions distributed across the team to ensure consistency across the project.

This session will review the experience of IBM’s 80-member Panorama program team, which manages a complex public health application for 7 Canadian provinces and two countries in the middle east. Panorama adopted Scaled Agile Framework in 2019 to improve project management discipline while increasing speed of execution and flexibility through distributed decision-making.

It will describe where we succeeded, where we struggled, and what we learned along the way.

Adapting the project management approach to transform large-scale research, Panel [Robyn Roscoe, Kimberly Merin Sivak]

While project management standards have been the norm in certain sectors for many years, it is relatively new to the world of research. In recent years, as we have seen a shift toward greater collaboration across research institutions, private agencies, and disciplines, the need for intentional project management has become more apparent. During this panel discussion, speakers representing local research institutions and agencies will share how their organizations have adapted the traditional project management model and applied it to large-scale, collaborative research projects. While each panelist will provide their unique perspective on the challenges associated with incorporating project management principles and practices in a world unaccustomed to this way of thinking, all will show the power that project management has to transform the efficacy of large-scale research.

Big Data Analytics in the Airline Industry, Ariel Landau, BOEING




Distributed Teams Need Extra TLC, Vy Luu, Real Estate Webmasters

Project managers today are responsible for more than just delivering to quality, scope, schedule and budget. They do all this while trying to solve for the challenges of distributed teams. Teams that have to work together to achieve the project goals, yet are physically and virtually apart.

The traditional skills of task, process and organization are now table stakes. Stellar project managers are strategic, collaborative, flexible, and highly communicative. They have to use digital technologies to convey a message that can deliver and solicit all of the physical cues of body language, tone and facial expressions to truly give and understand messages across teams. They have to inspire teams to build relationships with each other so that problems are solved quickly and creatively. The best project leaders seek out these new strategies for the distributed teams, apply them and then improve on them again.

A Program of Digital Transformation in New Westminster, Patricia Jecks

How to Negotiate with Limited Power, Sabahat Naureen





Darren Kahl, Vice President, Dam Site for the Site C Clean Energy Project, BC Hydro





Libby Davies, Author, Former MP of Vancouver East




Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment through Projects at UN Women, Dr. Adam Simpson, PhD, PMP, Manager of Global Programmes for UN Women

All human development and human rights issues have gender dimensions, and yet, the World Economic Forum predicts it will still take 108 years for women to achieve equal status globally. This presentation highlights the project-based work of UN Women in advancing gender equality and women's empowerment, focusing on priority areas that are fundamental to women’s equality that can unlock progress across the world. Specifically, the presentation will discuss the Power of Projects, grounded in robust project management practices, to advance women's leadership and political participation, invest in women's economic empowerment, and support the full and equal representation and participation of women in all levels of peace processes and security efforts.


Complex Project Analytics, Randy Meszaros, AScT, PMP, C.E.T. at PwC - PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Rapid technological advancements are reshaping the infrastructure industry. Application of advanced data analytics can help facilities owners optimize existing assets and make better capital-planning decisions. Facility owners now have the ability to integrate facility performance and commercial controls to understand:

- Are they getting the expected performance from third-party service providers?

- Is the third-service provider accurately invoicing for its services?

- How can I improve portfolio performance and future commercial models?


Taking the “High Road” in Public Policy - The Project to Legalize Pot in BC, Sophie Mas





Applying an Equity Lens to Project Stakeholder Management: A Case Study of Social Sustainability in Project Management, Samad Aidane, MSc. PMP, Canterbury Christ Church University

This presentation reports on progress towards a PhD research study on the factors that promote or inhibit engagement of culturally diverse local communities as project and program stakeholders. Using a case study of a local government agency in the U.S, the research explores and describes project managers’ understanding and experiences of the challenges, barriers, and critical success factors for engaging ethno-culturally diverse communities.

Although researchers have produced empirical evidence supporting the importance of stakeholder engagement to the success of projects and the necessity of adapting project management practices to cultural context, it is still unknown how this is achieved in the context of project stakeholder management of culturally diverse local communities.

Remarkably, there has been no known research on how project managers engage culturally diverse communities as project stakeholders. Yet, there is growing interest on the part of local government agencies to apply an equity lens to their project delivery processes. Increasing civic engagement of ethnic, linguistic and culturally diverse local communities is a central component of this equity lens and a pathway to reducing disparities and advancing social equity and opportunities for all.

The research is relevant to any public sector, non-profit, or non-governmental organization that serve, directly affect, or support the interest of ethno-cultural minority and immigrant communities. The research is also be relevant to social responsibility and public affairs department/offices within private sector organizations that are interested in improving their collaboration with ethno-cultural and immigrant communities on projects and programs.

The findings from this research inform (1) how project managers can enhance their capacity to effectively engage ethno-cultural minority communities, (2) the development of future training interventions that integrates community engagement as an integral component of Stakeholder Management, and (3) how organizations can improve their project delivery processes to advance equity and inclusion in projects.


The Co-Creation of Inclusion and Empowerment-Projects for Community Benefit, Dionne Phelan and Willam Booth




Digital, Tech and Housing, Panel


Thriving at the intersection of Project and Product Management in the Age of Scaled Agile: Insights and Lessons, Gary Wagner, PMP, SAFe Program Consultant (SPC), TELUS

Project based roles in the enterprise are evolving at a rapid pace. With the implementation of scaled Agile ways of working, targeted change management is needed to support successful transitions from traditional owners of scope to those who inherit this responsibility in the Agile space. How do you get the work done whilst navigating these new ways of working ?

In this talk, Gary will outline how the Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprises (SAFe®) anticipates this. He will overlay with the deep empirical lessons from the trenches of the multi-year scaled Agile transformation experience at TELUS. The key roles of the Product Management team, including program Product Management and team Product Ownership will be explored. He will also highlight the behavioural and cultural success patterns required by leaders and team members who have direct accountability for scope and benefits realization, working within an enterprise Agile environment.




Beyond the Bottleneck: A New Theory of Constraints for Complex Environments, John Rauser

The classic Theory of Constraints focuses on the elimination of bottlenecks inside linear systems, but its application to complex environments needed to build software falls short. It misses much of the depth needed to coordinate knowledge work across a complex environment of teams, functions, roles and tools.

The organizational systems that we use to create and innovate with software are networks of people, information and process that we combine to generate products and services. These systems have evolved beyond mere bottlenecks, and need a new approach to determine how to unlock effective delivery of value. The solutions to problems that plagued industry in the past are falling short, and we need to update our understanding of what a constraint is for this new context.

In this talk we examine what it means to work inside a complex cognitive network, drawing on examples of success and failure in the evolution of software delivery. We see how the dynamic complexity and synthetic nature of modern software development demands a new theory of constraints, a redefinition of restricts the productivity and innovation needed to create value through software. We will look at how we can apply this theory using several practices being used by large organizations to scale their software delivery teams.


Developing a high performing owner/contractor team for implementing large complex projects, Owen Williams, BC Hydro

In order to successfully execute large projects, senior leaders must spend a large amount of energy on developing and sustaining the Owner/Contractor team and on governance issues. This presentation will discuss the challenges of developing large multi-company teams, and new ways to proactively ensure that the team meets its full potential. During this presentation, Mr. Williams will use examples from his recent experience managing the Site C Generating Station and Spillways project.


Innovative Technology in Legal Project Management, Peter Stovall, Fasken Law





The Power of Projects and the Power of the Possible, Dr. Eamonn O'Laocha

As a form of organisation, projects are by far the mosthuman. Projects showcase the very best and the absolute worst of us.  Many of our greatest achievements as well as many of our most shameful failings have been accomplished through the use of projects. In this presentation, we will explore how projects, politics and power are central to our ability to change our world and our lives. Rather than being mere passive users of projects, we will look at how active and critical engagement with project organising forms hold the promise of change that is more transformative than we might have previously imagined. How do we grasp the positive possibilities of the power of projects? Can we ensure the power of projects will translate into the realisation of our best possible future? What does it take to align the power of projects with the possibility of achieving our common good?



4 Powerful Project Streams for you to choose from!


Power and Politics in Projects

How do we prepare project managers for the political reality of projects through soft-skills, such as leadership, change management, and communication? What approaches to power and politics work best in our many different project environments? What do Project Managers need to know about power and politics to get work done and to survive professionally? Our speakers will provide their lessons learned and real life case studies.


Projects Changing Lives

Projects have shaped the world around us, from major infrastructure projects that build our towns, cities and countries, through to the social project initiatives that impact individuals’ lives. Our speakers share their experiences in projects that have transformed our world.


Projects Changing How We Work

The numerous ways in which the project approach to the management and planning of human activities includes innovations such a public private partnerships, hybrid and temporary special purpose organizations, and the “gig” (or project) based economy. Much of our work lives revolve around project-based activities. The power of projects in the re-organizing of how we live has been both profound and under-stated – it has just become how we do things! Our speakers share their experiences in this new work reality and how the opportunities were embraced and the challenges were overcome.


Skills Development and Workshops

This year we have special workshops that run 1-2 hours long. Need to dust up your skills in negotiation or practice techniques in public speaking for your next big presentation? We have two days of workshops geared for the project manager.