Earlier this month I attended the Digital Project Management Summit for the first time. This year it was hosted in Memphis, Tennessee and filled with 3 days of presentations from rock star project managers and many interactive sessions to explore the numerous details that come with managing digital projects.
Coming from a marketing background in a HubSpot world, there were many aspects of this conference that I found extremely helpful in my professional development because of my new role as a digital project manager. Here are the top 3 things that I particularly liked about this conference and the reasons why I look forward to attending in the future!
This year the Digital PM Summit had project managers from all over the world, such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and 35 states in the USA. Throughout 3 days in Memphis we used a few conference rooms in the Guesthouse at Graceland. The community vibe and convenience of all events being in one area of the hotel made it natural and easy for collaboration and running into fellow project managers that you’ve met throughout the week.
There were many project managers that were attending for their first year, like me, and the alumni attendees were extremely open to chatting in between sessions and during lunch. This led to lots of time to bounce ideas off each other, get different perspectives on each piece of our project management process, and share stories about our projects. With an environment like this, it was hard to not make friends! The DPM slack channel simply enhanced this and solidified the community feel throughout the three days and after the conference. I never ate a meal alone and have many friends to keep in touch with going forward! Overall, the community was super welcoming and made my experience at this year’s DPM Summit that much more beneficial.
The second aspect that I found really beneficial during the DPM summit was how interactive many of the sessions were. The sessions were often built to ensure we had collaborative time to chat about the concepts that were presented on, strategize on process enhancements, and develop our leadership abilities. We had a session each day where we broke out into small groups and explored a few specific areas of project management in our groups and then shared with the larger group. Some of the topics we covered included areas like estimating, discovery, or team expectations. These types of sessions gave us the space to understand we often struggle with similar things and learn ways to advocate for new process within our organizations to mitigate these struggles going forward.
We also had several sessions that walked us through an activity or exercise with partners or small groups to not just explain how the exercise can be beneficial to building teams or solving problems, but to actually see the power of that process. This was exceptionally helpful in understanding how that same exercise could benefit our teams in solving client concerns with their websites and realizing how we can adapt some pieces of these exercises into our current procedures for developing client specific solutions at WSOL.
The Nitty Gritty Details
The last area of DPM Summit that really stuck with me came from simply being in rooms with hundreds of other project managers for several days in a row. Often when you’re in a project management position you don’t collaborate with other project managers every single day. You work on your projects with your teams individually. This can make the DPM role seem very siloed at times.
Having the opportunity to get into the nitty gritty details of your day-to-day reality with others who know what you’re going through is super refreshing. This not only helped me to feel comfortable getting into the nitty gritty details that often don’t get discussed, but also to see the same scenario from another person’s point of view. There were many ah-ha moments throughout the few days that helped to take project management and assess it from another angle.
Overall, I learned a ton from my peers, made lots of friends, and have many resources to follow-up on now that I’m back in the day-to-day of my project management role. This conference was extremely beneficial and I look forward to attending in the future!