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GTIS Branch - Lessons learned in a $20 Billion Company, and Practical Techniques to Aid Decision Making for PMs



Presentation #1:

Topic: Data Science in Project Management - Lessons Learned In A $20 Billion Company

Speaker: Gurbir Perhar, Ph.D


Case study: deploying a mobile pre-order pre-pay food application across business / industry, higher education, and health care environments. Discussion will focus on incorporating lessons learned (data feedback loop), dealing with operator push back (data-driven narratives), and prediction of key success indicators (data-led strategy).

Learning Objectives:

A key struggle with project management and strategy is stakeholder push-back. Repeatable success in these scenarios can be achieved with a data-backed strategy. A successful Project Management and Data interface requires trust and open interaction, ensuring the output of clear and actionable insights.

Presentation #2:

Topic: Practical Techniques to Aid Decision-Making for Project Managers

Speaker: Tayfun Akkus, Professor, B.Sc., M.Sc., PMP


This presentation starts with the quantitative problem-solving approach and then it is related to decision-making by means of introducing risk management.

Decision-making under uncertainty has got a lot to do with how the problem is defined. The TRIZ approach to innovation and the Cynefin Framework will be used to convey a new dimension to how problems need to be evaluated and solved in-person, or in corporations.

TRIZ (theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks) is based on the hypothesis that “Somebody, sometime, somewhere has already solved your problem or one similar to it. Creativity means finding that solution and adapting it to the current problem.”

The Cynefin framework exists to help us realize that all situations are not created equal and to help us understand that different situations require different responses to successfully navigate them. How often have you seen someone try to handle a difficult situation in an overly-simplistic way and then be really confused when it failed? If so, they could really benefit from an introduction to the Cynefin framework.

Learning Objectives:

These theories and practical ways to apply them will be valuable tools and techniques for Project Managers in solving problems and decision making.

PDUs: 1.5 (0.5 Strategic and Business Management / 0.5 Technical/ 0.5 Leadership)


Gurbir-Perhar.jpgSpeaker #1: Gurbir Perhar, Ph.D

Gurbir is a machine learning professional, with a proven leadership record and over 10 years experience. At Compass Digital Labs, he grew a data practice from the ground up, consisting of Data Science, Business Intelligence, Advanced Analytics, Data Engineering, and Machine Learning Lab functional groups. Equal parts formulation, innovation, and implementation, his teams interface with Fortune 100 clients to boost their retail food operations with data-supported and data-driven strategies. Compass Digital Labs is well on the way to achieving 9-figure top line lift from their primary data projects, supporting over $20B of business from their parent company Compass Group North America.

Gurbir’s PhD and PostDoc work focused on modelling the impacts of poly unsaturated fatty acids on trophic transfer efficiencies in fresh water planktonic food webs. All this through fundamental mechanistic models, culminating in a cybernetics approach. During this time, he consulted with the governments of Canada, USA, South Africa, and China on environmental and ecological model building.

Tayfun-Akkus.jpgSpeaker #2: Tayfun Akkus, Professor, B.Sc., M.Sc., PMP

Tayfun was the first non-civil-engineer member of Istanbul Project Management Society. His PM professor, from whom he learned “Timeline software” proposed the society to accept him to enrich the society’s member base. Computer Sciences engineer Tayfun has been deeply attracted to the Project Management profession.

He studied Industrial Engineering, Management Information Systems and Digital Signal Processing and finally Project Management again, after relocating to Toronto at U of T with Anthony Tsoukanas, PMP.

After his first job at Alcatel, Tayfun looked for ways to climb the ladder. A friend recommended to take the PMP certification, and he did. That changed his second career from an expert Primavera project planner to Bids and Proposals manager. He won Walt Disney World Monorail, Kuala Lumpur Ampang Line Resignalling and Extension, 5 Shanghai Lines, Beijing Line 4 Daxing Extension and Istanbul Kadikoy – Kartal Line projects which were CBTCS (Computer Based Train Control Systems applications bringing revenue to Canada. Tayfun proceeded his career as a Major Proposals and Contract Acceptance Manager at Candu Inc., performed Plant Lifecyle Management Services proposals and projects.

Then he decided to mentor PMI’s PMP candidates and after a couple of mentees, he decided to lecture PM courses: Centennial College, Seneca College and Cestar College were very interested and Tayfun still lectures Project Management.


6:00 PM – Announcements & Introductions

6:10 PM – Presentation #1: Data Science in Project Management - Lessons Learned in a $20 Billion Company

6:55 PM - Break 10 minutes

7:05 PM – Presentation #2: Practical Techniques to Aid Decision-Making for Project Managers

7:50 PM – Wrap up

8:00 PM – Event Ends

Fees: (subject to HST)

PMI Toronto Members - Free

Non-Members and Guests - $10.00

PDUs: 1.5 (0.5 Strategic and Business Management / 0.5 Technical/ 0.5 Leadership)



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Type of activity: PMI Toronto GTIS Branch

Date: June 4th, 2020

Hour: 6:00PM to 8:00PM

# of PDUs: 1.5


Members: Free

Non members and Guests: $10.00