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ELIA Focus on PM 2022

ELIA Focus on Project Management Takeaways

December 2022

Hi! Fede here. I’m just back from Elia’s Focus PM conference in Manchester, and I wanted to share a few lines about this amazing event, where we not only gained amazing insight but were also able to share experiences (and coffee, food and drinks) with colleagues from around the world.

So… This was my third time attending Focus PM, but the first time doing it live and not through a screen. It was a whole new experience, and I’m glad and thankful to have been able to attend.

It was 2 ½ days cram packed with amazing talks guided by the common thread of effective communication, and here are some of my takeaways.

The kick off was a demo by Anna Kozubek, who showcased many features of a tool that many have come to adopt as an integral way to manage the projects under their platform.

After the talk, all of us headed down to the venue bar for some drinks and pizza. It was a very cheerful atmosphere where we could exchange personal and professional experiences among peers.

Day two came and attendees were presented with an amazing keynote by Miruna Pavoni. It was a really thought-provoking talk where she presented one of the urgent matters of the 21st century: learning, unlearning and relearning as a daily practice. Through her talk, she encouraged everyone to engage into critical thinking as a way to challenge what we already know in order to be able to grow and become not only better professionals, but also better people as a whole.

After a coffee break, Zoran Metikoš presented the first half of his talk, where he discussed possibly the most important skill in business: clear and transparent communication. He gave some insight into exceptional communication skills and mistakes to be avoided, moving swiftly on to how to make communication in modern LSPs effective and some possible solutions to communicative issues.

After lunch, Arancha Caballero presented some ideas on how to begin rethinking the relationship between LSPs and providers. She talked about the dichotomy of translation as a commodity vs translation as community. Her invitation was to start thinking of the translation as not just a product, but as the result of teamwork. I personally believe this is a very important message in our industry, where we usually have a tendency to get lost in the daily frenzy of receive-translate-deliver. The session included a workshop with some thought-provoking questions for attendees to delve into.

In the evening, attendees headed for a dinner where we could all share food, drinks and some Christmas fun.

On day three, the first presentation was by Thomas Edwards. In it, he discussed the sales process from the PM’s perspective. Sometimes, PMs are assigned the responsibility of maintaining the relationship with customers, so he gave some tips into how to do this as an integral part of the PM’s position. He also showcased some tools and methods to effortlessly sell without seeming to and still gain fantastic results.

In the afternoon, we also attended a presentation by Zoran Metikoš which built on the first one. This part delved into accountability and responsibility in relationships. He described some of the intrapersonal and interpersonal factors that account for motivation and compatibility among coworkers, and he ended it with a really fun exercise to sum up the whole content of his presentations.

The final presentation was a keynote by Richard Brooks (minus his thumb, poor thing!). We all know Richard as a very effective communicator, and he offered tips and tricks on how to be an effective presenter. It was a pleasure listening to him!

The ending was quite emotional, as it seemed everyone had missed meeting in person. The whole event was the result of very hard work, and the payoff was a deep sense of learning but, perhaps more importantly, a heart-warming sensation of community and shared experience, very much needed after a two-year pandemic.

I really hope for every PM to be able to attend an event like this one! Please find some pics taken during the event.