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The definition of ‘Large Project’ varies, depending on the context. An IT service provider does not defi ne a Large Project in the manner the customer defi nes it. It is important for us to understand this difference in viewpoint. India Inc (IT service companies) has mastered the Global Delivery Model (GDM) in managing complex and large projects.


‘IT’ is only one of the important elements of the customer’s business. IT projects and programs are a part of the overall business excellence, growth and transformation programs of customers. The customer awards a portion or the whole of its IT projects/programs to IT service providers for reasons like outsourcing the work to the experts to fi ll the capability gaps, to gain enhanced value from the service provider, to accelerate the completion of the projects/programs at optimal cost, or to increase their execution bandwidth to execute multiple IT projects/programs at a time.


From the perspective of the IT service provider, I defi ne three variants of Large Projects. It is very important for IT service providers to deliver value to customers by managing these three variants effectively.


Large Project Variant 1: A Large Project is a group of related IT projects for a customer, managed in a coordinated manner to obtain business benefi ts, control and transformation which might not be available if they are managed individually.


Large Project Variant 2: A Large Project is a group of non-related IT projects for a customer, managed in a coordinated way to optimize the total cost of ownership and to align IT with the business of that customer.


Large Project Variant 3: A Large Project is a group of non-related IT projects for multiple customers, managed in a coordinated way to improve the individual project performance.


Critical success factors to effectively manage Large IT Projects
• Large Projects management experience;
• Project management maturity of organisation;
• Early warning management system;
• Delivery Management Offi ce (DMO); and
• Managing intellectuals.


Large Projects management experience:In order to manage Large Projects in the category of Variant 1, it is mandatory to have excellent experience in program management not just limited to project management. Aligning the IT program outcome with the customer’s overall business program is the key, which enables growth or transformation of the customer’s business.


To manage Large Projects in the category of Variant 2, it is important to have experience in managing multiple projects which might not be inter-related. Aligning with customers’ IT organization to deliver value to internal business units is the key.


To manage Large Projects in the category of Variant 3, it is important to have experience in managing multiple projects for multiple customers, multiple industries, multiple regions, etc.


Organization project management maturity: IT service providers have to build excellent project management systems to manage different variants of large projects as mentioned above. Not having the right tools, processes, templates, best practices or delivery accelerators would impact delivery and reduce productivity, V. Srinivasa Rao chairman – PMI TEAM INDIA and thereby fail in delivering business value (Variant 1), IT value (Variant 2), and project value (Variant 3).


Early Warning Management System (EWMS): For managing different variants of Large Projects, it is essential to have an Early Warning Management System (EWMS) in place. This helps in identifying the risks and problems to take corrective and preventive action


Delivery Management Offi ce (DMO): Establishing a Delivery Management Offi ce is a must to successfully manage the different variants of Large Projects. The objective of this is to:
• Provide central visibility of Large Projects;
• Institutionalize Large Project management processes;
• Enable enhancement of Large Projects throughout;
• Provide Large Project management consultancy;
• Build Large Projects management competency and provide mentoring support; and
• Communication and change management.


Managing intellectuals: IT service providers have to manage highly educated intellectuals. Managing human machines is different from managing other machines. It is very critical for project managers to bring in and add to team cohesiveness and team spirit. Managing the hearts and minds of the team is the key here.


(PMI Team India is a conglomeration of PMI chapters in India, with a member-base of nearly 6,000. The author has worked with TCS and Infosys, and is currently Vice President & Head Oracle Practice, at Mahindra Satyam)


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