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Alexander Orlov interview about Software Project Management Conference

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On November 26, 2011 in St. Petersburg there will be the International Project Management Conference " Software Project Management Conference "You’re on the program committee, can you tell me more about who it’s for, what’s going to be discussed?
Ao : The conference is for people who manage projects in our industry. Projects can vary from big to small. In my experience, in our experience of training project managers, I can tell you that this audience has a lot of problems. And it’s great that people are trying to figure it all out and make our industry a little bit more successful. That’s the kind of people we’re waiting for at the conference.
You have been participating in different conferences for a long time, where as a visitor, where as a speaker, and you have "eaten your dog in them" :)Could you tell what news about the upcoming conference, how it will differ from other conferences?
Ao : We want to make the conference memorable, energetic and useful. What is for sure will not be time-filling conference papers and boring, tedious presentations. I’ve spoken at about 30 conferences over the past three years, not counting community meetings, and God knows how many other events I’ve attended as a participant. And about most of the speakers I know how they will make a report. Therefore, at the SPM will be the best speakers – we use personal connections, we invite, we persuade by blackmail and threats to speak at our place. 🙂
Why do you think a person needs to participate in conferences? What has been the most rewarding thing about attending conferences for you personally?
That’s four things :
1. Specific prescriptions One person’s experience is very limited. You work in the same environment, with the same colleagues, with the same project for quite a long time. And you don’t have the opportunity to try 150 recipes for anything and figure out which ones work, which ones don’t. At conferences, people share their experiences – what they did, what worked, what didn’t work. Some of the things I heard at conferences, I just took and used in my own life.
2. Useful thoughts, insights It’s very rare in our lives to have a whole day to think globally about your work, about your life. So when you come to a conference and listen to presentations all day long, one way or another all sorts of useful thoughts begin to crawl into your head, insights break out. If the speakers speak on a topic close to you, the pressure of insights increases. 🙂
3. Meeting useful and interesting people I met most of my current partners at conferences. What to say, at one of the conferences we personally met Slava Pankratov, with whom we have been working closely for more than two years and are now doing joint business. I am not talking about how many directors, company owners and experts I met at conferences – it is very interesting to communicate with all of these people, being inspired by their experience and ideas.
4. Inspiration The conference is a concentration of people with a proactive attitude from your industry. These are the people who care. These are the people who are and will be moving this industry forward in the years to come. Just to be among them is already cool, it fuels you with some energy. You want to run somewhere to do irreparable good for people. Some mystical effect, but it happens.
What do you think – how should an IT professional choose an interesting and promising conference if he or she does decide to attend an industry conference?
A.O. I usually look at the topic – the topic should be of interest to me. I also look at the people who are going to speak there. What experience they have, what I can learn from them. I don’t get lazy and look online for these people’s speeches, watch a little bit to see if it’s worth it or not to go listen to them.
It gets easier with time – I know most of the speakers at our domestic conferences. And I know exactly who I’m going to listen to.
In SPMConf, one of the topics is the interaction between managers and hires, i.e. PM and HR. What are the main issues for discussion here that you see?
A.O. The questions, in my opinion, are eternal. How to find the right balance between production results (software development) and people development? Where to get good people if everyone wants to find them and take them over? How to fairly evaluate the work of people? At what point and who should deal with people processes? Etc, etc., etc.
There is a rumor that at the conference there will be a separate section "Tops speak", where top managers of well-known IT companies will speak. Any information about who and what they will talk about? How did the idea of bringing together TOPs and visitors to the conference come about? Are TOPs interested in it?
A.O. What we constantly find when we conduct trainings and consultations for managers of IT companies is that in many companies the communication chain is broken. The top wants one thing, the bottom thinks they want the second, they want the third, and so on and so forth.
So we, as usual using personal connections, do invite directors and company owners to the conference to tell them what they expect from managers. What managers need to do to grow professionally and career-wise.
We’re not going to tell you the names of the directors, because they are very busy and can give up at the last moment. It will be embarrassing. But the directors and owners will be there for sure, and for sure with reports. 🙂
Why is the city of the conference Peter?
A.O. Probably because I live here – I’d like to think that the organizers took that point into account 🙂
Seriously, there is some oversaturation of conferences in Moscow, and some under-saturation in St. Petersburg. We are correcting this situation. Plus, of course, everyone who comes will have a great opportunity to see the city. In general, it is worthwhile to come here just for the sake of St. Petersburg. 🙂 And here there is also a conference. If you still think, come – it will be cool!
Alexander Orlov is a business coach, consultant in the field of non-technical skills development in technical specialists, management of software development and testing teams. He is the author of the well-known resource Happy-PM.com. , co-founder of an online university Stratoplan.ru Author of "The Secrets of Managing Programmers.
FYI: Register for the Software Project Management Conference at link

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