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Unveiling the power of project management gatherings: Fueling innovation at Point Jupiter


In the dynamic world of project management, staying ahead of the curve is not just a desire; it is a necessity. At Point Jupiter, we understand the vital role that continuous learning and networking play in driving our success and fostering innovation in the area of business and project management. As we embark on a journey of attending various gatherings, I would invite you to join me in exploring the insights, information, and connections I have acquired.

The modern global landscape made project management evolve into a multifaceted discipline that transcends organizational boundaries. By following various newsletters and articles I came to recognize that attending industry conferences, seminars, and workshops provides invaluable opportunities to expand knowledge, exchange ideas with like-minded professionals, and gain fresh perspectives on emerging trends. These gatherings serve as catalysts for innovation, empowering Point Jupiter and myself to adapt and embrace new trends.

Point Jupiter, as an organization, places strategic value on encouraging and supporting our team members’ participation in these kinds of events. By investing in employees’ attendance at project management gatherings, we foster a culture of continuous learning and professional growth. I am glad to be working in an environment where it is recognized that the knowledge and relationships cultivated at these gatherings directly contribute to our collective ability to deliver exceptional projects and drive innovation within our industry.

In this blog, I aim to inspire and empower not only fellow project management professionals but also aspiring individuals seeking to venture into this exciting field. By sharing my experiences, insights, and the reasons behind our strategic goal of encouraging outreach, I hope to ignite a passion for learning and embracing the transformative potential of project management gatherings.

PMI retreat 2023

The most anticipated event of the year, the PMI Retreat, held in the captivating Croatian town of Motovun in April, provided a platform for project management professionals from the region to gather, connect, and learn. Hosted by PMI Croatia, the event offered a unique blend of insightful discussions, networking opportunities, and immersive experiences in picturesque locations.

To give some context about the organization and inform the readers, PMI is a global professional association for project management, with over 500,000 members in more than 200 countries and territories. It offers renowned certifications like PMP, obtained by over a million professionals worldwide. PMI provides industry-leading standards, resources, and organizes events for knowledge sharing and networking. With extensive research initiatives, PMI contributes valuable insights and best practices for successful project management, making it an indispensable resource for professionals worldwide.

Considering the international context of projects our companies are involved in, we had a range of informative networking sessions covering diverse topics such as agile methodologies, risk management, and stakeholder engagement. With a relatively small group, participants had the opportunity to actively engage in discussions, ask questions, and exchange valuable insights. The atmosphere was vibrant, fostering a sense of camaraderie as professionals from various fields shared their experiences and expertise in project management.

The networking opportunities proved to be a highlight of the event, facilitating meaningful connections among attendees. One such encounter involved meeting Nenad Bestvina, a company co-owner from Osijek. The conversation revealed an intriguing trend of IT professionals migrating from Osijek to Zagreb for better opportunities. Potential collaborations were explored, with invitations extended to upcoming PMI Days in Osijek and Kulen Days, events organized by Nenad and his colleagues..
PMI Retreat 2023 also featured a thought-provoking lecture titled “To Whom Belongs the Future” by esteemed Croatian astronomer Korado Korlević, director of the Višnjan Observatory. Attendees gained insights into the field of astronomy, Korado’s research contributions, and his dedication to astronomy education and outreach. The lecture inspired meaningful conversations and provided a unique perspective on exploring the unknown.

Korado Korlević lecture at PMI Retreat

Višnjan Observatory showcased an intriguing financial structure during our visit. The observatory’s revenue streams were distributed among various sources, highlighting their multifaceted approach to sustainability. Approximately 40% of their revenue stemmed from projects they actively pursued, indicating their strong dedication to scientific research and exploration. Additionally, their residential programs contributed 15% to their financial stability, offering opportunities for children to engage in immersive scientific experiences. Collaboration played a significant role as well, with 15% of their revenue derived from partnership projects, demonstrating their commitment to working with external organizations and institutions. Science popularization activities accounted for 28% of their revenue, emphasizing their efforts to share knowledge and foster scientific curiosity among the public. Finally, the observatory relied on donations, comprising 2% of its revenue, which exemplifies the support they receive from individuals who value their contributions to astronomical research and education. This diverse financial structure showcases the observatory’s adaptability and determination to secure resources for its continued success and growth.

Adding to the event’s charm, a visit to the Pula Aquarium allowed attendees to experience the behind-the-scenes operations of a thriving marine facility. The tour, led by director Milena Mičić, unveiled the complexities of managing large-scale projects and ensuring the well-being of the marine life housed within the aquarium. The visit served as a reminder of the significance of effective project management in diverse industries.

Pula Aquarium visit at the PMI retreat

During our visit we had exclusive access to the animal rehabilitation center, where we had the privilege of gaining firsthand insight into the operations of Pula Aquarium and its connection to project management. Pula Aquarium has not only established itself as a renowned institution but has also succeeded in securing financial support from European Union funds for a variety of projects. Its dedication to sustainability and innovation has enabled the acquisition of EU funding for initiatives focused on ecological preservation, renewable energy, and environmental research. 

The aquarium has established an impressive rescue program aimed at the preservation and protection of marine life. This initiative serves as a crucial component of their commitment to conservation. The rescue program focuses on the rehabilitation and release of injured or stranded marine animals, ensuring their welfare and the conservation of their habitats. Through a dedicated team of experts and state-of-the-art facilities, the aquarium provides specialized care and medical attention to these animals, aiding in their recovery and eventual release back into their natural environment. By actively engaging in rescue and rehabilitation efforts, the Pula Aquarium plays a significant role in raising awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans and inspiring others to take part in the conservation journey.

Pula Aquarium visit at the PMI retreat

To further enhance the overall experience, attendees were invited to participate in a golfing session in Brseč. This activity not only provided a break from our busy schedule but also offered an opportunity for personal growth and team building. Participants received guidance from instructors, honing their golfing skills and engaging in friendly competition fostering a  sense of camaraderie and collaboration.

Brseč golf session at the PMI retreat

In conclusion, the PMI Retreat was a resounding success, bringing together project management professionals in a stunning setting to learn, connect, and grow.

Challenges of project management

Challenges of project management conference, held in May in Zagreb, revolved around the latest statistical information on project management as a profession and the challenges it faces in a changing world. Sponsored by Učilište EU Projekti (UEP), the event subtly featured presentations on project management educational programs it offers. UEP’s directors,  Vitomir and Ariana Vela, stressed the importance of investing in human capital for project success, which is our strategic goal at Point Jupiter so I soaked in all the information to share with our current and new employees.

Challenges of PM Conference

President of the Thematic Innovation Council for Energy and Sustainable EnvironmentErnest Vlačić, highlighted the significant trends of green and digital transformation. Notably, it was estimated that around 88 million project management professionals will be needed by 2027. I was particularly proud to attend a lecture from one of the members of Croatian National Innovation System as a few years ago I was a project manager who oversaw the successful development of their online platform. By effectively managing timelines, resources, and risks, I have ensured the timely delivery of the platform, enabling stakeholders to leverage its capabilities for enhancing innovation and promoting collaboration within Croatia’s National Innovation System.

Another speaker, Mladen Vukomanović, president of IPMA Croatia, emphasized the current focus on values, image, and quality in project management. The goal is to apply acquired qualifications for the benefit of society as a whole, not just investors. IPMA strives to certify and recognize best practices, anticipating an increase in demand for project managers in the coming years. As an IPMA Level-C certified project manager, I was glad to see that continuous efforts in promoting the importance of this certification are being conducted.

Challenges of PM Conference lecturers

After Mladen’s session, Sanja Georgina Stropnik, president of PMI Croatia, highlighted the growing awareness of project management in recent years. “Power skills” like communication, relationship-building, and creative problem-solving, previously considered less important, have gained prominence. PMI plays a crucial role in gathering and empowering the profession, offering learning opportunities through its free “kick-off” program, which imparts the basics of project management.

Finally, regional coordinator of PM2 AllianceMarko Šimac, emphasized the importance of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Participants were encouraged not to limit themselves to academic education and past projects but to keep developing their competencies. Šimac briefly introduced PM2, a methodology developed by the European Commission to aid project workers in all stages of development, with all materials freely available.

Let’s talk project management by Valcon

The second edition of Valcon’s “Let’s Talk Project Management” was held in Valcon’s HQ in May 2023 in Zagreb where Hunter Kingsman. shared insights and practical knowledge from his years of experience in the field. He emphasized an essential aspect of Valcon’s meetup, highlighting the importance of fostering collaboration and exchanging perspectives among professionals in the project management community.

Let’s talk project management by Valcon

Hunter provided valuable insights about the project management perspective to current delivered value (CV) —for example, monetary value in the form of profits and/or relative value in the form of customer satisfaction and loyalty. He correlated this with their products and highlighted the untapped potential for delivering additional value (unrealized value or UV). The key concept behind the idea of unrealized value is that there is some satisfaction gap between what customers experience today, and what they would like to experience. By focusing on satisfaction gaps and Unrealized Value, organizations can channel their limited investment funds toward opportunities that have the greatest potential. He also emphasized their team’s ability to continuously innovate (Ability to innovate or A2I) which plays a crucial role in project management, fostering creativity and driving forward-thinking solutions that propel projects to success. Also, the importance of reducing the time it takes to deliver value (time to market or T2M), highlighting their commitment to efficient and timely execution. These points further reinforced my admiration for their evidence-based approach and demonstrated a shared focus on maximizing value creation. The reason for this is that we, at Point Jupiter, nourish a data-informed approach because of which the analytic and evidence-based approach is correlating with our culture.

Evidence based management (EBM)

Looking ahead, Valcon has already set its sights on the next iteration of the “Let’s Talk Project Management” meetup, scheduled for autumn.

The conference proved to be an excellent platform for fostering a valuable connection between Point Jupiter and Valcon. Following the conference, our CEO, Vibor, and Business Development Manager, Josip, seized the opportunity to engage in a meeting with Valcon’s Managing Director, Marko Barić, and Partner, Dino Pavlić, to explore the potential for a strategic partnership. The meeting proved to be fruitful as both parties expressed a strong interest in collaboration and recognized the synergies between our organizations. The discussions centered around aligning our respective strengths and expertise to create a powerful partnership that would drive collaboration, enhance market presence, and ultimately generate mutual success. The conference provided the ideal platform for this connection to form, and we are excited about the prospects that lie ahead for Point Jupiter and Valcon.

WOLF pop up

The WOLF (Women of Luminous Future) conference was held in May 2023 in Zagreb at the Wespa Coworking spaces. The event featured four inspiring speakers who shared their stories, aiming to motivate and inspire the attendees. Additionally, an engaging business speed dating session with various companies took place, providing insights into interesting methods of promoting open positions in companies. Witnessing this session sparked interest in employing a similar approach to promote open positions within Point Jupiter, leveraging the engaging and efficient nature of speed dating for recruitment purposes.

The conference had four speakers who shared their personal and professional journeys. Each speaker brought unique perspectives and insights, motivating the audience to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles. Speakers that had their presentations were Magda Milas (Fintech Expert in A1, President and Co-Founder of Alice in blockchains NGO), Daniela Jović (COO at Spacemanic), Frano Ridjan (MC of general practice), and Dragan Petric (Executive Editor at Bug and Tech Influencer).

WOLF Conference crowd

The talk delivered by Dragan Petric was interesting as he shared his journey of becoming one of the top 10 influencers on LinkedIn in Croatia. However, what made his presentation even more remarkable was his decision to bring his 13-year-old son Nino onto the stage to help him. This bold move had a profound goal: to emphasize the importance of daring to try new things from a young age, as it paves the way to success. Witnessing Dragan’s son actively participating in the presentation sent a powerful message to the audience, highlighting the significance of nurturing curiosity, courage, and a willingness to explore uncharted territories. Also, Dragan demonstrated the importance of empowering the next generation and fostering an environment where young individuals are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and embrace new opportunities. It was an inspiring reminder that success knows no age limits and that daring to venture into the unknown can lead to extraordinary achievements.

Dragan Petrić and his son Nino delivering presentation
WOLF Conference attendance

Magda Milas shared her extraordinary journey, starting as a professional sport diver and transitioning into the world of baking, only to discover her passion for blockchain technology. Magda revealed that although becoming a professional sport diver had been her initial dream, life led her down a different path. It was in the realm of baking that she encountered the world of blockchain. 

Driven by her fascination, Magda founded the NGO “Alice in Blockchains” to further explore and promote this groundbreaking technology. Her dedication and expertise did not go unnoticed, as she was invited to become a fintech expert for the esteemed A1 company

This newfound recognition served as a significant motivator for Magda, fueling her determination to implement the first crypto payment methods in various institutions. 

Notably, Magda highlighted the successful integration of crypto payments for utility bills in the City of Sveta Nedelja, underscoring the real-world impact and potential of blockchain technology in transforming traditional financial systems. 

Magda’s inspiring journey demonstrated the power of following one’s passion and seizing opportunities, ultimately leading to meaningful contributions and advancements in the field of blockchain and fintech.

Magda's presentation

Daniela Jović‘s presentation was a fascinating account of her journey from being a language translator in Slovakia to her deep connection with Croatia and its culture. Fluent in Croatian, she made the bold decision to move to Croatia 13 years ago.

Despite not having any special knowledge in the field, Daniela’s love for space and satellites drew her toward the captivating world of rocket launches. This passion eventually led her to an incredible opportunity at Spacemanic, where she initially started in a junior position. However, her dedication and enthusiasm propelled her towards rapid success, ultimately leading her to her current role as the COO of the company, where she contributes to the development of satellite products.

Daniela Jović’s presentation

One intriguing story that Daniela shared was about an interesting project involving a satellite being built for a Slovakian private client who wants to launch it as a gift for his son’s birthday. 

The client’s unique request was for the satellite to emit a beep when it enters space, making it a rather amusing and lighthearted feature. However, Daniela then shifted the focus to a more significant project – the collaboration between the Adriatic Aerospace Association (A3) and Spacemanic. They signed a memorandum to support the construction and launch of the first Croatian satellite named CroCube. Notably, the entire mission will be crowdfunded through the Croatian platform Croinvest, demonstrating the remarkable enthusiasm and support from the local community for such groundbreaking initiatives in the field of aerospace.

Adriatic Aerospace Association (A3) and Spacemanic

Lastly, Frano Ridjan‘s presentation was a lighthearted and entertaining glimpse into his career as an MC on television, where he humorously shared the sacrifices he had to make in his personal life to advance professionally. 

He amusingly pointed out that while he may be well-known among the older generation who frequently watch television, younger people might not be as familiar with him, considering television to be somewhat old-fashioned. Interestingly, despite being a public figure, Frano expressed his lack of support for social networks, which amused the audience. 

Frano also emphasized his preference for in-person and traditional forms of communication, valuing the importance of genuine human interaction over modern digital platforms. In a world where genuine communication is often lacking, Frano highlighted the significance of effective and meaningful communication, capturing the attention and agreement of the attendees. His relaxed approach shed light on the importance of interpersonal connections in today’s fast-paced society, reminding us all of the value of authentic communication.

Franjo Ridjan’s presentation

Overall, the conference served as a powerful platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and motivation, leaving the participants with a renewed sense of inspiration and a deeper appreciation for the importance of diverse perspectives and effective communication in today’s world.

In conclusion

With this blog we want to start a series of articles seeking to unravel the hidden gems within employees’ public outreach efforts, unveiling the transformative power they hold. Through firsthand accounts and vivid narratives, we will attempt to share the wealth of knowledge and wisdom gained from these events, providing you with a glimpse into the enriching experiences that await those who actively engage in our vibrant community.

Reports from the encounters prove the diverse range of topics, all in our vicinity. A real proof of how local events can have a global range of topics, from cutting-edge project management methodologies to advanced tools and technologies that enhance efficiency and collaboration. My goal and ambition is to share the insights from keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive sessions. I believe this can help shaping the grounds for potential PMO (Project Management Office) of Point Jupiter.

After all, you may want to accompany us on our journey as we delve through the challenges of successful agency work in IT and discover the opportunities it holds. Together, let us embrace the power of knowledge, connections, and innovation to shape a brighter future at Point Jupiter and beyond!

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