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Virtual Project Management Group

Jan 24, 2008
The PM Lessons Learned group - pmlessonslearned - has passed 600 members! This is a friendly New Jersey based virtual project management group. All group communications is via teleconference, the web, and email.

What is especially interesting about the group is that it is truly 'virtual'. Although many of the members know one another through other networking activities in the New Jersey and New York area, many or most have never met in person. While this is very common on the internet, this group is different in that it tends to be a more cohesive networking group, and draws similarities to many in-person networking groups where people get to know one another over time. The various 'special interest' groups within PM Lessons Learned are well segmented to provide a focused interest group for enough people that the online meetings are well attended, and people really do find things of interest to keep them coming back a challenge for any group!

This is a great example of project managers networking - with the theme "project managers helping project managers". PM Lessons Learned holds networking calls every couple of weeks for projects managers, and in addition there are regular calls for a group of prospective PMPs - like a PMP study group - to support each other in preparing for the exam.

Here is a list of some of the benefits to members of this group (all free):

Free conference calls where professionals can learn from other Project Managers. Every month 4 calls are offered: PMP Exam Study, Job Shop, PM Best Practices (Lessons Learned), and Job Shop.
Information to access free recordings (by phone, internet, MP3 player, or iPod) of past conference calls.
Lessons Learned and Best Practices from other Project Managers.
The opportunity to ask members practical Project Management questions.
BBS Bulletin Board System for free discussions.
The opportunity to help other Project Managers.
Information for studying for the PMP exam (via the Monthly PMP Exam Study Group calls).
Prize give-aways.
Twice monthly Job Shop call - connecting PM job shoppers to those with PM job offers.

The free Yahoo Group provides the following:

Free Presentation files from calls (also an archive of past calls too)
Free PM Best Practices Tidbits (via email from an PM Author who is a member of the group)
Free PM Career Tidbits (via email)
Free PMP Tidbits (via email)
Free Articles (on the Yahoo Group site)
Free reminders of upcoming calls

There are 4 Free Conference Calls each month according to the following schedule:

1st Thurs: PMP Exam Study Group
2nd Thurs: PM Job Shop
3rd Thurs: PM Lessons Learned - PM Best Practices
4th Thurs: PM Job Shop

All of this is offered for free in keeping with the theme "We're Project Managers helping Project Managers!" This is an opportunity to network directly with other PMs, but in a 'virtual' setting.

In conclusion, the PM Lessons Learned group can complement more structured and formal, in-person networking opportunities like PMI Chapter meetings. The virtual meetings offer a less formal, very comfortable, and convenient way to network and gain knowledge, build contacts, and satisfy other Project Management career needs.
About the Author
John Reiling has worked in mining, manufacturing, metal fabricating, and environmental services, and later information technology as a Lotus Notes developer, then project manager. Today he consults mainly in IT Project Management and runs several web sites, including pmtrainingonline.com, leansixsigmatrainingonline.com, and PMcrunch.com .
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