Coffee and Breakfast



Welcome and Opening Remarks

Milan Ballroom

Brett Harned, founder of the Digital PM Summit will kick off the fifth annual event with a brief presentation about the current state of digital project management, which will include survey results and a brief video about the community.


How Silos Learn: Working in the Idea Factory

Milan Ballroom

Taking up the cry against organizational silos can bring both empathy and cringing. Of course, silos are awful and keep us from doing our best work, but when you’re in the middle of a silo – and maybe that silo is inside ANOTHER silo – well, what’s a PM to do?

Based on her career among higher education’s ivory-tower silos, Amanda Costello brings together lessons from architecture and the Midwestern landscape to examine not only how to understand our silos, but to teach them a thing or two as well.


  • Gain a better understanding of how organizational silos form and how to turn their negative aspects into positive forces for good work.
  • Frame challenges and problems in new ways to motivate collaboration and communication, both within your silo and across organizations of any size.
  • Learn how to identify and act on small changes to make things better, without needing a managerial role (or even managerial permission!).


But I Wanted a Unicorn: The Art of Managing Expectations

milan Ballroom

Every project manager has faced this: You set a scope of work, outline deliverables, and even talk through the expectations in great detail at kick-off. You leave satisfied that the stakeholders "get it," yet somewhere down the line you find them wanting something completely different to what you’ve built, and disappointed with the outcome. Your team becomes demotivated and you end up not knowing which way to turn.

In this presentation, Suze will help you to unlock the secrets of getting your stakeholders to actually listen, make sure the right expectations are set in the right way consistently throughout the project, and not end up with disappointment in a mismatched product. She’ll take you through team expectations, and how to keep motivation high, frustration low, and importantly how to manage your own expectations so you don’t end up tearing your hair out.


  • Why you can’t always rely on a document alone
  • How to make people listen (and remember)
  • The holy grail of technical expectation management
  • How to ensure your team’s needs are met
  • Keeping your own expectations realized


Regional Breakout Sessions

milan ballroom, modena 3, marche 1-2, modena 1-2


It's time to sit down and talk, and meet attendees who come from your geographic region. Our moderators will walk these groups through conversation topics including DPM tools, challenges, communication tactics, planning, and others. The goal for these sessions is to share your thoughts, challenges, and ideas with others and gain some input on how to be a better DPM while extending your local professional network.



Speaker Q&A Session

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There's no doubt that the keynote sessions will leave you wanting to discuss the points speakers have made, or wanting to have a burning question answered. If that's the case, and you're okay not attending the Regional Breakout Session, join Amanda Costello and Suzanna Haworth for an informal, small group Q&A session. 

Amanda will take questions and moderate discussion for the first thirty minutes, and will hand the discussion over to Suzanna for the second half of the session. Think of this as an opportunity to dig deeper on the keynote presentation topics and get to know the speakers.

This session will be limited to 30 people. 





During this time slot, choose between interactive sessions taking place in various rooms.

Hacking Agile

milan Ballroom

Implementing Agile at a digital agency can be a pretty tall order. In this interactive session we will examine the issues that can stack the deck against you if you are trying to make Scrum, or any of the other Agile practices, work in a digital agency environment. We will look at some of the ways digital agencies are hacking Agile to make it work, the pieces you simply can’t skip, and how to put them into play. Participants in the session will also complete a Personal Agility Canvas in order to develop an action plan to start amping up their Agile practice and pair up with an accountability partner to help them follow thru on their plan.


  • A deeper understanding of the impediments to Agile adoption in a Digital Agency
  • A list of must have’s for Agility and guidance on implementation
  • A Personal Agility Canvas and Action Plan 
  • A Personal Accountability Partner


Leveraging Improvisation to Improve Collaboration Across Teams

MODENA 3 breakout room


In a world where we are busier than ever, and forced to do more with less, how can digital project managers continue to thrive while meeting the high demands of their day-to-day job? The answer…Improvisation! Think about it, improvisers are forced to perform under intense situations. They have to entertain a crowd without a script, and often only get a single suggestion to get started. Every performance is different, they work in large groups with different personalities and skillsets; they fail often, yet they welcome the challenge every time and do it with a smile.

In this highly interactive workshop Gary will cover how you can utilize the tools that improvisers use to make up stories out of thin air to become more agile, a better communicator, and bounce back from failure. You will also learn fun games that you can play that will level up the collaboration and connection with your teams


Nice PMs Finish First: How Kindness Pays Off

Marche 1-2 breakout room

Our Workshops are interactive by nature. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work with your peers.

To keep a project on track, most PMs have a stockpile of tools to help: timelines, budget sheets, tasks lists, and more. But when our team is dealing with stressful clients and deadlines, we don’t often look to kindness to solve the problem. Yet, kindness–to your peers and to yourself–built up steadily over time can be the best protection when the going gets really tough. 

In this session, Betty will talk about the importance of fostering an environment of trust and care. Look forward to an interactive session with brainstorms and breakout conversations on how we can all cultivate kindness (and make more money while we’re at it). 

In this session, you will learn:

  • About the cost of kindness
  • Where kindness tends to leak on projects
  • How to express kindness to your team in a way that fits your personality and budget
  • How to put yourself first without appearing selfish


Money, Money, Money

modena 1-2 BREAKOUT ROOM



Managing budgets is a standard part of any project manager’s remit, but how much do we really think about money and how comfortable are we talking about it?

In this 90 minute interactive workshop you’ll explore how and why to talk about money, you’ll understand what profit is, and you’ll discover how to make smart financial decisions when managing your digital projects.

This workshop is suitable for all levels of project managers and combines bite-sized master classes with practical hands on exercises and collaboration.


The PM Career Path

milan ballroom


A panel of former and current PMs will share their unique career paths in a panel discussion moderated by Meghan McInerny. Brief lightning presentations will be followed by questions and discussion.

What is it like to jump from client- to agency-side? How do rookie PM skills translate into C-level badassery? What does spending your whole career as a PM look like? When is the right time to go freelance? Come with your own questions and let’s get real!

* Panelists include Betty Chan, Abby Fretz, Shahina Patel, Dave Prior 


It’s All About The Little Things



Conference talks are often focused on big and innovative ideas that in many cases kick start brand new approaches to our people and work, which is a great thing that continually helps push our industry forward.

However, when managing projects or leading teams, being consistently good at getting the absolute basics right can be the difference between success and failure.

In this session, Sam will discuss some of these basics, how often they’re forgotten or overlooked, why they’re so important and how to get better at them in such a way that you really see positive changes in both what you’re helping to deliver and your working relationships with the people around you.


Day 1 Wrap-Up



Digital PM Summit 5th Anniversary Celebration
Sponsored by Mailchimp


After you grab dinner with a group of friends, head over to the official Digital PM Summit social to continue the conversations you started earlier in the day and to get to know your fellow attendees better. There will be an open bar and hors d'oeuvres served. 


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