We Moved Our Office For Five Days to Helsinki

Emeteclass in Helsinki


Last year we had the experience to move the office to the Algarve for two days, it was a fantastic experience! This year we decided to repeat, and increase our challenge, we moved the office to Helsinki for five days.

Helsinki is a beautiful city, it’s located in southern Finland, near the Baltic Sea and has 1.4 million of people and 3,697 km² in its metropolitan area.

The challenge
Changing the office without impacting customer service is a big challenge. This year we decided to increase the level of complexity and added two new elements:

  • increasing the time period of 2 days to 5 days, and
  • moving to a city with a different timezone.

This made Helsinki an excellent choice: five days in a Nordic city with +2 hours of our usual schedule of work made our challenge most interesting.

Emeteclass in Helsinki

The office
We rented an apartment with Internet access in the metropolitan area, near the train station. The fact that we were near the train station allowed us not only to dedicate time to work, but also to take time to discover the city, go to museums, and visit the beach.

What would be the ideal number of days to move the office?
This year we created an internal survey to know what would be the amount of days our people consider ideal for this initiative. These were the results:

Emeteclass em Helsínquia

5 days 20%
15 days 80%
1 month 0%

This was some of the feedback:
“One week it’s not enough, you’re only beginning to adapt to the new location. Two weeks would be great.”
“It’s a more intense experience if it takes longer”

Why did we create this challenge?
Moving the office to a different place different from the usual is a great team building activity. In this short amount of time we can be quite productive and have excellent ideas.

What’s next?
The choice for the next destination is still open for discussion. The requirements are: to be a safe destination, to have internet connection, and good places to eat.

What are your suggestions?

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Why it’s Crucial for Project Managers to Improve their Speaking Skills

Even the rich, famous and powerful can be afraid of public speaking. It doesn’t need to be a big crowd; the mere thought of speaking in public can be enough for many people to start quaking in their boots. However, like many skills there are several methods which can be utilized to overcome this fear and provide the best speech of your life; each and every time!
Everyone can benefit from improving their public speaking skills; it is an essential skill in many areas of life. Project managers in particular need to be able to present their ideas and the ongoing analysis of a project to many different groups. The following tips will enable anyone to improve their public speaking skills:

Why it’s Crucial for Project Managers to Improve their Speaking Skills

Use “the wall” to help you relax your voice

Before you enter the venue where you will be giving your speech you will find it very beneficial to find a quiet spot with a wall. Push the wall with both hands for approximately two minutes at shoulder height. Your focus will be on moving the wall and not the speech you are about to give. After a couple of minutes face the wall and say something out loud. You may be surprised at just how relaxed your voice is.

Exercise your tongue can help you speak loud and clearly

Follow the wall exercise by sticking your tongue out as far as you can. You then need to say the whole of a nursery rhyme out loud. It may be difficult to do but it will allow the back of your throat to open fully and this will help you to sound more confident when giving a speech. This needs to be done right before your speech as the effects of sticking your tongue out last approximately five minutes; enough time to make a confident start to your speech.

Why it’s Crucial for Project Managers to Improve their Speaking Skills

Take deep breaths to help you hold a fluent presentation

Nerves before a speech will often make your breathing and speaking faster. To avoid this you need to breathe in through your nose whilst counting to three and then out, through your nose, for a count of three. Repeat this exercise three times and you will have slowed your heart rate and your speech.

Squeezing can help you deal with nerves

Extreme nerves may mean your whole body shakes and you do not want your audience to see this. The best solution is to squeeze your buttocks or thighs together; this action will prevent your body from shaking.

Pausing should be used to gauge attention

Instead of launching into your speech the moment you are in front of everyone take a few seconds to simply smile at the audience and compose yourself. It will make you look extremely confident no matter how you may feel.

Have an attention-grabbing opening line

You must know what your opening line will be; this will avoid the nerves and get you rolling. Once you have started you will find the rest of the speech rolls along; particularly if you have taken the time to practices beforehand. It is usually best to open with a clear statement or a story.

Your hands

It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do with your hands when speaking. They can seem to be everywhere and of little use. The best technique to avoid them waving manically in the air is to lightly hold them together and hold them in front of your stomach. This will make you appear open and relaxed and will help you to feel confident.

Why it’s Crucial for Project Managers to Improve their Speaking Skills

Be natural and your audience will like you

Speaking to an audience can make you want to use formal words and words that are not naturally used in conversations. This will not help your nerves or your audience. You wish to come across as a normal person so that they can relate to you. Use your normal voice and be yourself, this will instantly make you feel more confident and your audience will find your message easier to understand and follow.
At the end of your speech it can be extremely beneficial to come back to the idea or the story that you started with. The audience will receive closure and will know the speech is being wound up whilst being reminded of the key points.

By William Taylor and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!

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The 1st Floor Challenge – Learn from Experience

T1FC - The 1 Floor Challenge

We have recently took the T1FC challenge to 26 Project Management graduate students from the IUT Lumière Lyon 2. Students had the opportunity to completely execute the 5 project management phases, applied to a real problem – build a quadcopter – while learning Design Thinking and having fun. For most of them this was the first time they run an entire project – an awesome experience, they say!

The Lyon’s two days event was headed by a one day challenge in Portugal. Three, almost, consecutive days of T1FC was an outstanding experience for us. It generated a whirlwind of ideas and information sharing that finally helped us to understand the entire T1FC’s potential and to put in the right track.

If you read our previous post you can conclude that the T1FC was designed, from scratch, to be a hands-on and funny challenge where participants learn/apply Project Management and Design Thinking methodologies while build a quadcopter in a real-world simulated scenario.

As a result of several retrospectives, it is now clear that The 1st Floor Challenge intercepts three different domains, to which we are happy with:

  • Project Management
  • Design Thinking
  • Team Building

But why Team Building and how T1FC can help?

The literature is full of definitions for Team Building, a good one seems to be: “is the use of different types of interventions that are aimed at enhancing social relations and clarifying team members’ roles, as well as solving tasks and interpersonal problems that affect team functionality”. Of course that there are a lot of available activities you can choose for your Team Building event, but it is the problem: TB activities are so far from the real world team’s tasks and roles that, in the best case, they are just seen as a ‘jolly’ moment by team members who were invited to participate.

Said that, let’s go back to the definition. It states three important aspects: “…enhancing social relations and clarifying team members’ roles … and [help to solve] interpersonal problems that affect team functionality.” Most of the companies, when think in TB, have two objectives in mind: 1. Help people to work together, instead of individually and 2. Help people in order to reduce resistant to change, to guarantee that resistance does not affect the group’s ability to move forward.

How are these two objectives achieved when you put your people to play silly games to which they are not motivated and see no clear (real world) objective? Wasn’t it better to have the chance to do Team Building in a close to real scenario simulation?

What if your team members are able to play the roles they play in everyday work in a controlled and fun real life simulation environment? This is The 1st Floor Challenge!

With the T1FC you have the possibility to give your teams the chance to learn/practice the PMBOK best practices, learn/practice Design Thinking, learn to work together, socialize and be part of an experience that is close to what they will find in their everyday work. Because team members, actually play and practice on a simulated scenario, they will be able to better translate the acquired learning to their everyday work. The outcomes of the Team Building event will persist much more than when you play out-of-the-office silly games… and don’t forget that Team Building is only useful if it happens continuously, it needs to be part of the corporate culture.

The T1FC can, for sure, help on this – Give it a try, you will get a memorable Team Building experience!

Join us – Play, Learn and Grow!

– The T1FC Team (http://www.the1stfloorchallenge.com/)

You can find this article on Linkedin Pulse

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About ‘Project Management Communication Tools’ Book. Expert Interview With Bill Dow

Bill Dow

BILL DOW is a result-oriented, industry recognized, passionate professional who has a strong background in PMO management, development methodologies, and tactical project execution.

Why you should listen to him:

Bill has successfully built several PMO’s, as well as having ran large industry impacting projects. His IT industry background spans government, health care, real estate, software, and wireless. He has strong organizational and planning skills, and focus on building customer partnerships. He has a proven track record on being able to drive strategy, vision, and be forward looking. He is also focused on staying on top of the latest project management industry trends. Through the books that he has published, he has created PMO and Project Communication tools that are used in companies all around the world.

He is the co-author of the Project Management Communication Bible. This is an 801 page reference manual, published in 2008 for Wiley publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com and consistently in the Top 100 for Project Management books.

The second book he wrote is called “The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO” . The book takes his personal experience in building and implementing PMO’s over a 10 year period and puts it into a format that is easy to read and use for any PMO Manager. This book can also be found on Amazon.com.

His third book “Project Management Communications Tools” will be release in the June 2015 timeframe. More information on this book can be found on his www.dowpublishingllc.com website in the coming weeks.

Bill is, also a part time Adjunct Professor at Bellevue College where he teaches several project management classes in the certification program. “I have a deep passion and enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring, so my work at Bellevue College is one of my great accomplishments.” – he says.


Bill Dow has written a new book: ” Project Management Communication Tools“, that is the authoritative reference on one of the most important aspects of managing projects–project communications. You can buy his book on Amazon.

We decided to interview him about his wonderful work.

Mirla Ferreira: Hi Bill, I see in your new book, that you have mapped social media tools to project communication tools. What a great concept. Why, did you do that? What motivates you to connect those two worlds?

Bill Dow: Thanks Mirla, yes, I thought it was important to get the word out on social media from a project management communications perspective. So many times, project managers are rushing to use social media, my chapter walks project managers who the process.

Mirla Ferreira: How do you do that? How do you walk project managers though using social media on their projects?

Bill Dow: It is really easy, actually, I get the project manager thinking about why they are communicating the project information. For example, I have a chart where I map, communication tools to the 5 communication purpose for communication. They are Inform, Persuade, Motivate, Interact and Inspire. When project managers see that mapping table from social media tools, communication tools, and the purposes of communicating it ties it all together.

Mirla Ferreira: I also see a topic on Project Management BI in your new book? What is that?

Bill Dow: Great question, Project BI is a process of combining various project data sources into a single dashboard or report. The goals of the Project Management BI process is to allow executives, customers, team members to quickly interpret, understand, and act on this project information to improve the project’s chance of success. I have included a 8 step process for project managers to follow to compile their project information into dashboard reports.

Mirla Ferreira: Thanks Bill, I’m very grateful for your time “.

Share your experience/doubts about Project Management Communications Tools

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The 1 Floor Challenge – One Year Later

T1FC - The 1 Floor Challenge

One year ago we started to think on how to merge innovation techniques, in particular Design Thinking, with the PMI – project management – standards. How to train people on both areas, how to make more people aware of this techniques and methodologies and how to guarantee its integration and usage in everyday projects, were the questions that need an answer.

Since the beginning there were two requirement we shouldn’t miss – it had to be hands-on and fun. We spent a couple of months designing the solution. Which challenge should we present to offer a pleasurable event while offering a real learning experience? How to guarantee high levels of interest and involvement during an almost 9h intensive event? How to do everything without any partnership or sponsor? – a considerable investment was needed…

Eat your own dog food – from the beginning we took design thinking mixed with a very agile approach to build the event as quick as possible… We inquired several people, we made small “fake” events, we collected a lot of information from different sources and stakeholder. With such information, it was time to think, study the feasibility, breathe and go for real action. We start the design and implementation of the T1FC beta version. The idea to apply learning methodologies to the construction of a drone was alive, it was time to put it to fly! What will be the reaction?

T1FC beta goes public – two initial sessions were set. As a result a lot of suggestions were collected and a lot of changes have been done. Following the agile spiral we quickly move T1FC to the next level.

After one year, T1FC is now a reality, it is becoming worldwide. We are following a sustainable path, one step at a time, but we are really excited about the two upcoming events – Lisbon and Lyon.

Join us – Play, Learn and Grow!

– The T1FC Team (http://www.the1stfloorchallenge.com/)

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