Southern New England Chapter of PMI

SNEC PM Conference 2015 - Program Abstracts & Speaker Bios

2015 PM Conference - Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biographies


Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Bios - Arranged by Session/Time:

Opening Keynote - Ballroom A/B

Achieving the Extraordinary - Dr. Paul Schempp

8:15am - 9:15am


Session A

9:30am - 10:30pm


Topic: Six Steps for Establishing a Governance Model for Strategic Portfolio Management Track:PM Best Practices
Presenter: J LeRoy Ward Room: 11-12 9:30am - 10:30am

Session Abstract
The Governance Model is the “engine room” of strategic portfolio management.  Developing the Governance Model  is the first activity an organization should undertake in portfolio management.  This presentation will identify and guide participants on how to answer the 6 key questions needed to establish a Governance Model for portfolio management in any organization;

  • What is our purpose and what portfolio(s) will we manage?
  • Who will manage the portfolio?
  • How will projects be selected for the portfolio?
  • How will decisions be made and conflicts resolved?
  • How often will we meet and what rules will govern our meetings?
  • What will be the role of the PMO in portfolio management?

The presentation will also provide tips and techniques for reducing executive “bad behavior,” and how to introduce “just enough” portfolio to ensure buy-in from key executives.

About J LeRoy Ward:
J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CSM, has more than 39 years’ experience in project, program and portfolio management in both government and industry.   An internationally acclaimed speaker, he has authored 9 books and received the 2013 Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award from PMI.

Topic: Implementing Continuous Delivery and Lean Product Development Track: PM Tools
Presenter: Joe Zenevitch Room: 14-15 9:30am - 10:30am

Session Abstract
By now the existence of Agile methods should not be a surprise to anyone in the software development industry. Organizations have been using them for years, yet many still struggle to achieve the intended benefits. What we have found at ThoughtWorks is that a big part of the answer was there the whole time – the principle of Continuous Delivery. Paired with Lean Product Development, organizations are reducing the time dramatically from concept to customer. But it doesn’t come without effort, and often many impediments have to be overcome. This presentation will discuss challenges faced at companies who have implemented Continuous Delivery and Lean Product Development, and tips on how those challenges were overcome.

About Joe Zenevitch:
Joe Zenevitch has over 28 years of experience in the software development industry, with the last 16 being at ThoughtWorks, Inc. where he provides program management services to clients with a specialty in Agile methods. Internally, Joe serves as the Head of Delivery, providing oversight to the portfolio of delivery projects.


Topic: PMI Skills for Life - SNEC-PMI's Focus on the Future Track:Soft Skills
Presenter: Sue Lach and Justin Navarro Room: 21-22 9:30am - 10:30am

Session Abstract
SNEC-PMI is partnering with PMI Education Foundation, Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, Inc.,  High School, Inc. and Boys and Girls Club of Hartford to deliver the PMI Skills for Life Curriculum to high school Seniors.  This session will cover the life cycle from idea to inception and focus on building partnerships, engaging the community and educating students on project management principles.  Students in the program will speak to their experiences, what they have learned and how they will utilize this new skill.

About Sue Lach:
Susan Lach has 25 years of project management, program management, procurement and leadership experience with The Hartford and Aetna specializing in IT, electronic document management and data security.  She holds a B.A. in Marketing from Western New England University, George Washington Project Management Certification and is a Certified SCRUM Master. She served on the Board of Directors of XPLOR International, electronic document and printing trade association.  Sue also managed The Hartford’s Registered Education Provider program and represented the company as its first Regional Company Coordinator.  Sue has been an active member of SNEC PMI serving on the original Programs Committee starting in 2003 and worked on the team to establish the Women in Project Management Program.  She is currently serving as the VP – Non-Profit Outreach working to being basic project management to the youth.

About Justin Navarro:
Justin Navarro, MBA, PMP is currently the Web services manager at the Yale School of Medicine.  Since 2011, he has overseen the development and expansion of a comprehensive suite of services for the faculty and staff of the school.  Prior to this position, he worked as a management consultant for almost a decade, supporting federal and national association clients in the Washington, DC area.  He started his career in the financial services sector as a business analyst.  With a diverse background of professional experiences, he now enthusiastically applies project management to the work he does, both professionally and personally!


Topic: We're All in This Together Track:Project Methodologies / Frameworks
Presenter: Brent Hurley Room: 24-25 9:30am - 10:30am

Session Abstract
One of the fundamentals of Agile is self-organizing teams. The Agile community has discovered a number of techniques that are useful for helping a team to become and stay self-organizing. In this session you will form into cross-functional self-organizing teams and learn these techniques by doing real Agile activities together.  Activities include:

  • Discovering your bench strength and your team potential
  • Forming a team identity
  • Creating a team working agreement
  • Writing a Definition of Ready
  • Writing a Definition of Done
  • Saying goodbye to the old ways
  • Agile team self-assessment

About Brent Hurley:
Brent Hurley is an Agile Coach and the Regional Delivery Leader for Eliassen Group. He has instigated and completed multiple Agile roll-outs for Eliassen Group clients across a wide range of industries. Brent’s work covers the Team, Product and Organization Coaching, mentoring them through the adoption of Agile practices. He has also worked with Senior Managers to assist them in realizing the business value of an Agile approach, not only with software development but extending Agile and Lean practices throughout the organization. Prior to working with Eliassen Group, Brent had years of experience in a wide variety of industries in England, Europe, the United States and Australia.


Session B

10:45pm - 11:45pm


Topic: If you can't stand the heat - get out of the kitchen:  Effective Conflict Management Techniques for the Project Manager Track:Project Methodologies / Frameworks
Presenters: Mark Hehl Room: 11-12 10:45am - 11:45am

Session Abstract
In order to be successful the project manager needs to understand and manage conflict. This session will arm the Project Manager with the skills to avoid conflict along with time tested methods to resolve conflicts within their projects. It will also explore the beneficial and negative effects of project conflict. Application of these strategies will result in enhanced project performance.

About Mark Hehl:
Mark Hehl is a Consultant for Solutions4Business and has run successful projects in Asia, Latin America and the USA. In recognition for his accomplishments, the Timex suppliers in China honored him with the award of the Chinese name 何文楷 (Ho Man Kai). Mark has taught International Business courses at Harper College and has conducted multiple webinars for Industry Week. Mark is a frequent guest on National Public Radio and is a contributing author of the book Cases on Globalized and Culturally Appropriate E-Learning.


Topic: How to Deliver Bad News Track:PM Best Practices
Presenter: Deborah Ketai Room: 14-15 10:45am - 11:45am

Session Abstract
Afraid they’ll shoot the messenger? The head you save may be your own. Even good project managers sometimes have to deliver bad news. How they deliver it separates the best ones – the leaders – from the rest. Through shared stories and exercises that examine what to do – and what not to do – before, during, and after delivering bad news, this session will boost your confidence about addressing difficult situations in public.

About Deborah Ketai:
Deborah Ketai manages the Enterprise System Operating Controls program at UnitedHealth Group. Deborah leverages her expertise as a project manager, trainer, and communicator in addressing the challenges of change and growth. She specializes in driving strategic, enterprise-level programs that rely on collaboration between business and IT.

A diplomatic straight shooter, Deborah builds open, mutually respectful forums in which diverse – and even antagonistic – stakeholders find common ground and develop workable solutions.


Topic: Integrating Risk Management into All Aspects of a Project Track:PM Tools
Presenter: Jeffrey Ogilvie and Douglas Macdonald Room: 21-22 10:45am - 11:45am

Session Abstract
By applying a comprehensive approach to risk management and integrating that throughout the project, the project manager can significantly enhance the project performance and impact. It is well known to project managers and corporate managers that risks affecting a project must be dealt with or the results if realized will have an impact (schedule & cost).  Often, balancing the project workload means that risk management gets only a small fraction of the project managers’ time and resource investment. This presentation details a practical method for project managers to add to the organizations existing Project Management Framework and to lead the project team in identifying, evaluating and optimizing all significant risks that affect their projects.

About Jeff Ogilvie:
Jeff Ogilvie has 35 years’ experience as a systems engineer and project manager with the Federal Government and industry. He has applied formal risk management tools throughout his career. Jeff has a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. First certified as a Federal Project Manager in 1986, he has been a PMP since 2009.

About Doug Macdonald:
Doug Macdonald has 30 years’ experience in IT, including software programming, systems integration as well as project & risk management.  His recent responsibilities include enhancing risk management tools with a focus on minimizing profit leakage. Doug was certified as a corporate project manager in 2002 and achieved his PMP in 2011.


Topic: Project Managers and Business Analysts - Frenemies? Track:Soft Skills
Presenter: Sandra Sears Room: 24-25 10:45am - 11:45am

Session Abstract
The project manager role and the business analyst role are often misunderstood, creating confusion and conflict. This presentation will explore the confusion and conflict that occurs much too often between project manager and business analyst roles. Surprising answers await!  Confess! It has happened to all of us. Who should interact with stakeholders? Who is accountable for scope? Who manages issues? Who drives for success?  What is success? Project managers and business analysts seem to be “frenemies” too often.  How can project managers and business analysts work together productively, happily, and effectively for success?

About Sandy Sears:
Featured in the new book Breakthrough Business Analysis by Kathleen Hass, Sandy has demonstrated great capability in enabling diverse teams to work together to achieve success. Her passion is people and making work more joyful. She is currently the Financial Services Practice Lead at Robbins Gioia, an Alexandria, VA based consulting firm.


Session C

1:15pm - 2:15pm


Topic: Implementing Successful Enterprise Growth Strategies Based on Best Practice Enabling Portfolio and Project Management Disciplines and Tools Track:PM Tools
Presenter: Dr. Gad Selig Room: 11-12 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Session Abstract
The strategic management process represents the full set of organizational policies, plans, practices, commitments, decisions, governance mechanisms and actions required for a firm to develop a vision, a compelling portfolio investment strategy and a pragmatic business plan, all of which should be flawlessly executed through enabling Project Management disciplines and tools to achieve strategic competitiveness, earn above-average returns and sustain growth.   The session will provide an opportunity to identify and analyze major business issues and opportunities involving strategy, change, innovation, growth, and technology absorption and integration, management of R & D and new product development, Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures, risk assessment and globalization. Select case studies are reviewed.

About Gad Selig:
Dr. Selig is the Associate Dean for Business Development in the Graduate Studies and Research Division, the Director of the Technology Management Graduate Programs and Director, CTech IncUBator at the University of Bridgeport. He earned degrees from City, Columbia, and Pace Universities in Economics, Engineering.


Topic: How to Reward People Without Any Money? Track:Soft Skills
Presenter: Gail Lonczewski Room: 14-15 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Session Abstract
We are both a victim OF and a contributor TO the reality: Far too many recognition opportunities are being missed.  This interactive discussion explores several questions:

  • Ever feel unappreciated or under recognized for the good work you do?
  • Ever miss opportunities to recognize the people you work with (direct reports, peers, AND bosses) for the good work that they do?
  • What excuses are holding you back from not giving recognition?
  • Motivation is a personal responsibility – how can I become better at it?

The session identifies at least two additional motivational tools that can be used to motivate yourself or to motivate team mates.  Allow you to recognize that motivation is a personal responsibility, and increase your ease to maintain and strengthen relationships.

About Gail Lonczewski:
Gail Lonczewski has delivered results as a Program / Project Manager, Business Architect, and Operational Manager for over 25 years.  She has successfully led organizations through cycles of significant cultural change, engaging multiple levels of management, and is savvy to the multiple dynamics of organizational behavior.


Topic:Scrum:  The Secret Sauce for Building Happy, High-Performing Teams Track:Project Methodologies / Frameworks
Presenter:Jean Laporte and Todd Kowalczyk Room: 21-22 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Session Abstract
Unlocking the greatness of teams in today’s fast paced environment requires that we do things differently.  Scrum can help!   This presentation will help participants understand how Scrum can help empower their teams and help their organization to accelerate the delivery of business value to customers.  It will demonstrate how Scrum eliminates waste and creates a highly adaptive, customer-focused framework that teams can use to continually improve.  Participants will learn how to leverage facilitation, coaching, and mentoring skills in addition to following Scrum processes (timebox, making work visible, tracking velocity) to help teams truly thrive and continually get better at what they do. 

In addition, the presentation will provide strategies for dealing with some of the dynamics and challenges that can surface when Scrum is put into practice.  A case study of the lessons learned from two different organizations – one large and one small will provide the audience with some practical tips and ideas on how to address these challenges.

About Jean Laporte:
Jean Laporte is an Enterprise Agile Coach at Cigna, a Certified Scrum Professional, IC Agile certified Agile Coach, PMP and SPC.  Jean has over 25 years of experience working within IT in various roles and industries.  She has worked as a ScrumMaster and has coached other ScrumMasters, Product Owners, teams, and other interested parties.  Outside of work, Jean enjoys scrapbooking and mountain biking, and skiing with her husband.

About Todd Kowalczyk:
Todd Kowalczyk is the Leader of Green Mountain Power’s Project Management Office.  For the past twenty-five years, he has worked in IT in a variety of different industries.  Todd started his career as a Software Developer before transitioning over to the dark side of Project Management in 2003.  Todd is committed to supporting his teams and helping them to do their best work.  When he’s not working, Todd is busy enjoying time with his wife and three daughters in Killington, Vermont.


Topic: PMO Without Borders: Extending PMO Influence Within Your Organization Track:PM Best Practices
Presenter: Barbara Wilson Room: 24-25 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Session Abstract
Learn how to identify, equip, and support non-PMO staff to manage projects using your PMO methodology to improve project outcomes. In this session you will learn how to identify talent outside the PMO, train and equip non-PMO PMs with essential tools, Install a long-term support system for non-PMO PMs.

About Barbara Wilson:
Barb Wilson, PMP has been a practicing project manager for over 20 years in both the private and public sector.  She is currently the Manager of the PMO at the University of Massachusetts President’s Office and has been with them since 2002.


Session D

2:30pm - 3:30pm


Topic: Selling Yourself: Using Sales Techniques for Better Project Management Track: Soft Skills
Presenter: Jeffrey Liggett Room: 11-12 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
"Sales” is often a cringe-inducing word, but this session will teach techniques that help good project managers become great ones.  Key topics to be discussed in this session include the following:

  • Why sales techniques are important for effective project management
  • Mastering project management “cold calls”
  • How and why to build “sales” networks

About Jeffrey Liggett:
Jeffrey Liggett, PMP is the Director of the PMO for National Product Development for UnitedHealthcare in Hartford. He began his career at UnitedHealthcare in 2003 and re-joined the company in 2010. From 2005-2010 he was a successful self-employed sales account executive in the home furnishings industry.


Topic: Panning for User Story Gold - Increase Business Value and Reduce Cost Track:PM Tools
Presenter: Brent Hurley Room: 14-15 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
Putting User Stories into business value order is a key tenet of Agile, but that's just the first step. There's much more value to be extracted from your user stories using specific story splitting techniques combined with reducing cycle time. By splitting user stories you can separate the gold from the dirt as well as reduce the cost of implementation. This session will cover a variety of methods for splitting user stories including the split by "create/read/update/delete" method, the split by acceptance test method, and the split by value method. These techniques can produce even more value when combined with frequent grooming, and Kanban flow which will also be covered.

About Brent Hurley:
Brent Hurley is an Agile Coach and the Regional Delivery Leader for Eliassen Group. He has instigated and completed multiple Agile roll-outs for Eliassen Group clients across a wide range of industries. Brent’s work covers the Team, Product and Organization Coaching, mentoring them through the adoption of Agile practices. He has also worked with Senior Managers to assist them in realizing the business value of an Agile approach, not only with software development but extending Agile and Lean practices throughout the organization. Prior to working with Eliassen Group, Brent had years of experience in a wide variety of industries in England, Europe, the United States and Australia.


Topic: The Art of Divestiture Program Management Track:PM Best Practices
Presenter: David Cowles and Sarah Ransford Room: 21-22 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
This session will provide an overview of how Divestitures are similar or different from managing other projects

  • Review of critical success factors and how they can be applied to other projects
  • Relationship Management
  • Influencing/ negotiating
  • Problem solving
  • Financial Management
  • Communication
  • Resource Management
  • How a project is managed that does not align with a standard project framework

About David Cowles:
David Cowles, PMP has over 20 years of business and technical management experience with proven project management expertise integrating technical solutions to solve business problems.   He has spent the last 3 years managing The Hartford’s infrastructure separation components for its Divestitures.   Dave is currently the IT Sr Project Manager leading the CAT360 to Optum/UHC divestiture. He has a proven track record in meeting project milestones, building teams, and acting as a change agent for the company.

About Sarah Ransford:
Sarah Ransford is an IT Program Director with 18 years of business and technical management experience.   She has been with the Hartford since 1988 and for the last two years has worked on the Separation program managing the retirement plans divestitures to Mass Mutual and CAT360 services to Optum.  Sarah has significant success managing large portfolios and building high performance teams and she energizes from participating and contributing to employee engagement focused initiatives.


Topic: PPM Maturity: Step By Step Track: Project Methodologies / Frameworks
Presenter: Barbara Manville Room: 24-25 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
This session will describe the Fruition Partners’ PPM maturity model, why it is used, the key components of the model/ assessment and how an assessment is conducted in order to inform the process improvement roadmap.  Our “best practice”, end-to-end lifecycle of a project will be reviewed as well as the journey to higher levels of maturity.  Audience members will walk away from this session with a solid understanding of the areas of maturity within the Project Portfolio Management discipline:  Demand management, resource management, dashboards & status reporting, projects, portfolios, tasks and governance processes.

About Barbara Manville:
Barbara Manville is a Senior Process and Service Management Consultant for Fruition Partners offering more than 20 years of IT Service Management, Process Consulting and Business Analysis experience across many industries and technical competencies.  She has conducted many assessments and implementations of various PPM tools, specializing in ServiceNow implementations.


Closing Keynote - Ballroom A/B

How Did I End Up in Clevland? - Lee Lambert

3:45pm - 4:45pm


Program Subject to Change (last revised 26-Feb-2015)