PM-Camp Berlin (Report)

pmcampberlogoLast week, on Friday and Saturday, Berlin hosted its already third PM Camp. If you wish to find it ion twitter:  the hashtag is #PMCampBER.

Weeks before the event, the Camp was sold out. Everything was fine. This time, the “anti-conference” took place at the Alexander von Humboldt University, where the impressive halls gave the PM Camp a wonderful glamour and beautiful patina. I was there and, again, it was just great.

This time, I was a little less active than usual, only in charge of two sessions. The first of them was early on Friday afternoon. I called it “PM Vintage” (project management vintage). Having prepared four stories about projects in my life between 1973 and 1985, I presented them to the audience. It was “story telling” with a little background information. I started with a small project I had been put in charge of all by myself when I was a student worker, then came more complex ones…

Here is an overview of my four projects:

  • We need high Mersenne Prime Numbers for developing a random generator on HW basis (winter semester 1973 – WS at Siemens)!
    This is where I learned the importance of decisions. Even at a time when there was no internet, etc. And that you can achieve nothing without courage.
  • Responsibility for a language in one of the teams that – in cooperation with many other teams – achieved great things (APS, Transdata, PDN – 1977 – 1978 – employee at Siemens).
    This is where I made the experience how fast creativity and success can go down the drain if there is an excess of processes and Taylorism.
  • Technological responsibility for a huge project at Siemens for the Bavarian Police (DISPOL – 1979 – 1982 – originally as a Siemens employee, later as a Softlab employee)
    This was the first time in my life I came to know a “true” project manager. He had to appease the overhead, which was not a very nice job. However, he could not contribute to the project success.
  • Foundation of a company and generation of our own product, the HIT/CLOU (starting 1984 – at InterFace Connection GmbH – today InterFace AG).
    This was where my partner Wolf Geldmacher and yours truly were lucky in that there were many things we did right. Consequently, we had a really great team.

As soon as the opportunity arises, I will write down the story of those four projects and publish them here on the blog (including the links).

The second session was a spontaneous one on Friday evening during the great PM Camp Party at the Microsoft “Digital Eatery“ not far from the university. I met Maik Pfingsten during one of those many “after-the-pm-camp-conversations” of the evening event. And we decided to initiate a session together on the very next day.

We truly got into complexity. The title of the session was “Living/Loving Complexity”. I was going to recommend that all those confusing discussions about complexity and complicatedness should simply be forgotten or ignored. Because you always get all those complicated (complex?) mind games. And consequently, I was going to recommend that you should not spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not a project is complicated or even complex. Instead of talking, I was going to recommend you should act. And in preparation, I formulated some simple, behavioural theses which will make us successful and happy – regardless of the world being complicated or complex.

I guess Maik and I succeeded – and I was truly happy with the positive feedback I received after our presentation. The next thing I will do is write the article about this session “Living/Loving Complexity”. I hope to finish it by the day after tomorrow. Then you can read it in the IF blog. Of course, there will be a link.

It was a great PM Camp in Berlin and, for me, those were two happy days in Berlin. Consequently, I would like to thank the fantastic organizational team: Ralf Eicher, Christian Vogel, Fabian Fier and last not least Heiko Bartlog!

(Translated by EG)

After the event, they gave me a book because I had been the first to register. So here is what you want to do: register extremely early for the then fourth Berlin PM Camp. It is well worth the effort.

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