Managing a project? Join the community of practice

October 11, 2022
The SFU Project Management Community of Practice was formed in 2020, as a space for staff to come together, strengthen their skills, share knowledge and connect with colleagues.

Staff and faculty who manage projects at Simon Fraser University (SFU) can become a part of an established community, access resources and learn more about project management by joining the SFU Project Management Community of Practice (PM-CoP).

The community was formed in 2020, as a space for staff to come together, strengthen their skills, share knowledge and connect with colleagues. PM-CoP hosts virtual events, offers free workshops and provides networking opportunities across the university.

They have also developed project management tools, templates and resources to help with the practice of project management—available online at their SharePoint site.

So far, nearly 100 people have joined the PM-CoP and have benefitted from the network, knowledge-sharing and resources.

We spoke with Darren Mann, project manager with SFU’s Digital Transformation Office and member of the PM-CoP leadership team to learn more.

Tell us more about the PM-CoP and how it came about.

The PM-CoP started in September 2020. The group’s founders were Kimberly Sivak, project manager, Institutional Strategic Awards; Maggie Lee, project analyst, Digital Transformation Office and me. Amanda Maharaj, project manager, SFU’s Partnership Hub joined the PM-CoP leadership team in 2021.

Multiple departments at SFU employ project managers, whether individually or in teams. In addition, many faculty and staff are conducting project management as part of their job, even if it is not explicitly in their title or job description. Historically, most who are conducting project management do not connect with each other—in fact, many do not even know that others are conducting similar work. We recognized the need for project managers across SFU to connect and decided to launch PM-CoP.  

Since project management principles and best practices transcend departments, there are numerous benefits to enabling project managers across the university to connect. We wanted to create a community to support project managers—and aspiring ones—by offering workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities. We also recently launched office hours as a safe space for project managers to reach out to the PM-CoP leadership team to discuss their challenges, as well as a virtual book club.

What can PM-CoP members expect?

Members can expect to have access to free training sessions and events—both virtual and in-person—a wealth of resources with many templates and a large network of fellow project managers, aspiring project managers and others for whom project management is a component of their job. Members can be as involved as they would like. They can attend all of the events or just dip into our resource files from time-to-time—no commitment necessary.   

Our PM-CoP SharePoint site provides pre-recorded training sessions, project management templates, a book club, articles and tons of other resources. We host a training session once per quarter. Most of our events are virtual, which offers the flexibility to join from home or from any SFU campus. Certified Project Management Professionals can receive Professional Development Units for attending our training events.

How can a faculty or staff member join the community? When is the next event?

All SFU staff and faculty members are welcome to join the PM-CoP, regardless of their job title. To join our mailing list, simply email us at cop-pm-admin@sfu.ca.

We have three events slated for the fall:

  • Thursday, October 20, in-person networking event: staff will be able to meet fellow project managers. There will be food, fun and games.
  • Friday, October 28, virtual book club meeting: to review the book, Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath. We will meet and informally discuss key takeaways from the book and changes we will make as a result.
  • Wednesday, November 23, virtual webinar on project scheduling: how to deconstruct a project into activities and tasks, work breakdown structures, activity sequencing and schedule crashing. Training provided by Robyn Roscoe from Lyric Management.

For more details about the Project Management Community of Practice, or questions about upcoming events, visit the PM-CoP SharePoint events page or send an email to cop-pm-admin@sfu.ca.

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