02 June at 07:00AM
A Conversation with the 2022 OPMC Winners: Team Achievers from Durham College
Hamza Momade, Brand Ambassador, OPMC and Saif Ahmed, OPMC Delivery Lead, recently caught up with the winners of the 2022 Ontario Project Management Competition (OPMC). They had a great conversation regarding the winner's experience preparing for and competing in OPMC.
For the second year in a row, Durham College has placed first at OPMC. Team Achievers decided to develop a Mental and Physical Health application that offers support in the areas of mental and emotional stress and preventative physiotherapy (MEPHY). Project MEPHY delivers exercise videos with an built-in algorithm to establish user measurements that correct exercise posture followed by live sessions with the trainers.
One of the key elements for project evaluation at OPMC is how strongly project objective and purpose align to one or more United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
This project’s objective aligns with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs):
#3 Good Health and Wellbeing’ which ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Meet the Winning Team
Lauren Bren was the team lead for this project. She has completed an undergraduate program from McMaster University and is currently enrolled at Durham College for Project Management. She is well-versed in sales administration and currently works part-time in the construction industry.
Jaisleen Kaur recently moved to Canada from India and brings with her over ten years of human resource (HR) experience in multinational firms. She is currently working with CRH Canada and completing her Project Management course at Durham College.
Roshan Kottary hails from India and brings with him expertise in IT tech support. He has a diverse academic background, an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and is currently enrolled in data analytics program at Durham College.
Diana Peña moved to Canada from Colombia and has over 8 years of experience working as a business analyst in her home country. Her undergraduate degree is in industrial engineering and she’s currently completing the Project Management course from Durham College.
Andrea Carolina Zuluaga Restrepo hails from Colombia. She has over 10 years of working experience as a business analyst. She is a certified Scrum Master and Agile coach. She’s very excited for what the future holds in a new country, and is currently completing the project management course at Durham College.
A Conversation with "Team Achievers"
Why did you decide to enter the Ontario Project Management Competition (OPMC) and what is your project about?
Team Achievers’ project, MEPHY, is about ‘Good health and well-being’ that is accessible to people from the comfort of their homes.
Lauren Breen: Our professor brought us all together and after a lengthy brainstorming session with the team, we came up with the idea of MEPHY which is an acronym for Mental and Physical Health. Our team’s purpose was to promote ‘Good health and well-being’ that’s easily accessible to people from the comfort of their homes. I was very excited to be part of such a diverse team and see how the idea solidifies over time.
Diana Peña: All challenges are welcome. I saw this as another opportunity to showcase our skills and talents. I saw a lot of passion and commitment from the team from that first meeting, so I went ahead with a “Yes, let’s do it!” attitude. The application we developed has an algorithm which measures the different parameters in the body and suggests exercise postures that aims to avoid injuries during workouts. Exercises include both active along with effective yoga postures.
Jaisleen Kaur: I was very confident from the beginning that the team was strong, and I was looking forward to enjoying every step going forward.
Roshan Kottary: Once in operation this application can be easily improved with content from the subject matter experts. With constraints set by COVID there was an increasing number of people being kept away from physical activities at gyms so this application can help them.
What were some of the challenges the team faced during the project?
Every team goes through challenges and this team was no different. They pegged some of their challenges on the diversity in their backgrounds, which made communicating ideas effectively difficult at times. With their heavy course loads and the competition workload it made it difficult at times.
Lauren Breen: Managing time was difficult as we had a heavy course load on top of the competition. There was a lot going on.
Diana Peña: Our diverse backgrounds made communication challenging as well.
Andrea Zuluaga: I was struggling to translate my ideas from my native language to English and Diana was always kind enough to support me all the way. The last 2 weeks before the competition we were all overwhelmed and as our project adopted an agile methodology, we had to manage and balance our changing requirements of the project supporting all team members throughout the project.
How did you find your overall experience competing in OPMC?
Great mentorship and support from every member of Durham College made the competition process easier to deal with.
Jaisleen Kaur: I really enjoyed the competition and loved the idea OPMC was putting forward. This was the first time we build a project from scratch. When we started to put together the different areas of project like cost, quality, schedule, procurement, etc., it allowed us to connect the course content at Durham College with our project.
Diana Peña: We had lots of time to work and learn from each other and the competition. We appreciated the sessions we used to prepare for the final presentation. Those last few minutes before the winners were announced was nerve-wracking.
Andrea Zuluaga: It was a challenge and at the same time it was an opportunity to apply my knowledge. I feel happy to have the chance to apply my skills and show the judges how my skills can make a positive change. Our professor‚—Professor Sylvie—helped us coordinate and guide us in preparation of the content for the project.
Lauren Breen: I boosted my presentation skills, not only for me but for everyone. We have done presentations last semester, but this competition was particularly good as we were presenting our own idea. I learnt the importance of confidence and good presentation skills. Honestly professors have been such a great support system. Our professor—Professor Khalid—was the designated professor, he was particularly good and open to talking whenever we needed him.
Roshan Kottary: The competition also boosted my confidence level and I hope to apply what I’ve learned to my future career opportunities. The prize money will be donated to a charity this year.
How has your experience helped you after OPMC?
After winning to competition every member of the team is motivated to take with the CAPM or PMP exam. Their confidence and morale is high and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Andrea Zuluaga: I have spent a lot of time learning over the years and now I want to apply my business analyst skills. Both my spirit and excitement is on an all-time high for what’s to come!
Roshan Kottary: I will pursue the CAPM exam in the next 4 months after I complete my course at Durham College.
Lauren Breen: I will be taking a short break during Summer as I have spent a lot of time learning at Durham and working part-time in the construction industry. I will be pursuing the CAPM soon, and I want to try and find a new opportunity in the construction industry.
Jaisleen Kaur: I am currently working at CRH Canada. I look forward to taking the project management professional exams as I want to continue my career in this field.
Diana Peña: I am a working mom, and I took a break recently to spend time with my new-born. I am looking forward to getting back to the industry and finding my path in project management.
Why should a student apply to OPMC and what remains your key takeaway?
The team members encourage others to take part in the competition. They agreed that while there was pressure they loved it and they learned a lot from the diverse team members including trust, ideas, and presentation skills.
Lauren Breen: The competition strengthened my trust in my team members, and that reflected in us winning the competition and producing a great solution while applying our project management skills along the way. I was amazed at the judges’ response to our idea, it boosted my belief in the project.
Jaisleen Kaur: It’s a great platform to learn how to be under pressure, handle stress, and at the same time produce great ideas. I was able to taste the real world and apply my project management skills to solve problems.
Andrea Zuluaga: It’s a great exposure to learn from the multidisciplinary team I was a part of. With a clear path and direction, one can achieve anything and solve any problem that comes along!
Diana Peña: It allowed me to realize that it’s okay to make mistakes, get feedback, and improve. Accepting the feedback in an effective way helps to improve, continuously.
Roshan Kottary: It’s a very good place to learn to present ideas, improve confidence, and move forward to greater things in life.
It was a pleasure to speak with Team Achievers. We appreciate their time and dedication, and we certainly learned a great deal from each member. PMI Toronto Chapter wishes them all the best of success and we look forward to meeting the team at our PMI networking events.
More about Ontario Project Management Competition (OPMC)
This competition brings together future project management professionals with innovative ideas. It’s a great opportunity for those who enter and participate in the competition. PMI Toronto will be announcing the details for next year’s competition in the Fall so if you or someone you know has a great project idea then please apply for 2023. Keep checking our Weekly Scope, Social Media and website for more details.