Harness the Power of Project Management in e-Governance
PMI Bangalore Chapter organized a daylong conference, Project Management in e-Governance, on 9 September that ran parallel to the PMI India National Conference. It was organized in coordination with the National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), an organization set up by the Government of India and the National Association for Software and Services Companies, to promote e-governance excellence in India.
A report, Project Management in e-Governance: Issues & Challenges in Navigating to the New Normal, was released during the occasion. Policy makers and PMI executives participated in panel discussions. Below are excerpts of the discussions:
Mr. Piyush Gupta
Senior General Manager, NISG
Mr. Gupta set the tone for the conference by stating the thrust areas for discussion through the day: dynamics of e-governance, the current environment for planning and executing e-governance initiatives, and using project management for better governance structure and accountability. “E-governance is not about technology, people or processes. It is about transparency in delivery. There is a strong thrust for the private sector to participate in e-governance initiatives and help in inclusive growth,” Mr. Gupta said.
Mr. Mark A. Langley
President and CEO, PMI
Mr. Mark A. Langley inaugurating the “Project Management in e-Governance” conference. The others present are (from left) Mr. Brajesh C. Kaimal, Mr. Sanjiv Mittal, Mr. G. V. Subrahmanyam, Mr. Piyush Gupta, and Mr. Raj Kalady.
“There’s a difference between e-government and e-governance. It’s a matter of utilizing authority, accountability, transparency, and decision-making to move from e-government to e-governance,” said Mr. Langley. He added that e-governance has the ability to remove inefficiency and corruption in the system. He cited successful e-governance projects, like the 2009 Panama presidential election and Uruguay’s “one laptop per child program” by Laboratorio Tecnologico del Uruguay. Mr. Langley exemplified the power of emerging e-governance practices around the world.
Mr. Sanjiv Mittal
CEO , NISG
Mr. Mittal outlined the role of NISG as a consulting body to government organizations in implementing e-governance projects. “We have come a long way from the time when people resisted computerization of government departments because they feared computers would replace people. So far, we have got limited success, and are still on our way to achieving our goals,” said Mr. Mittal. Egovernance will enable better flow of information so that the country can utilize its resources well, for example in foodgrain distribution.
Mr. Ajay Sawhney
IAS, President and CEO,
National e-Governance Division,
Department of Information Technology, Government of India
Mr. Sawhney said a public project in India is highly complex because of the sheer number of people a project caters to, its scale, and multiplicity of partners. “For example, the criminal tracking for the police department involves developing a common tool that can be used by all the state police forces. But a common police platform means being flexible to accommodate state policies as policing is a state subject,” he remarked. He stressed on the need to get the ecosystem in place for successful e-governance.
Mr. G. V. Subrahmanyam
Partner, Government & Infrastructure, Grant Thornton India
Mr. Subrahmanyam presented some of the key findings of the project management in e-governance report for which Grant Thornton was the knowledge partner. He said the country needs strategic shifts and not incremental shifts in project planning and execution.
Mr. Ajay Sawhney, IAS
President & CEO , National e-Governance Division, Government of India
Session 2: Dynamics of Project Management in e-Governance
Mr. Ajay Sawhney focused on service outcomes of government projects emphasizing on implementation strategies for better Public Private Partnership (PPP) models. There is a need to design project plans and mechanisms to enable replication of successes. He said, “There are very few national level successes but there are many local level success stories.” He spoke about bringing in enterprise architecture and interoperability for common services, like payment gateway and mobile services delivery
Mr. Rajeev Chawla, IAS
Special secretary, Revenue Department (Bhoomi Urban Property Ownership Records), Government of India
Mr. Piyush Gupta welcoming the panelists (from left), Dr A. K. Nigam, Mr. Ajay Sawhney, Mr. Rajeev Chawla, and Mr. Mahabaleshwar Hegde.
Mr. Rajeev Chawla outlined the problems and challenges in e-governance project planning and management. “In Karnataka, the main challenge was to enter 100 crore data into a central system,” he said. There is an acute shortage of skilled human resources in implementing government projects. Mr. Chawla noted that the project implementer should break projects into smaller components and create project management units with resources from all stakeholding departments. This helps to closely monitor project successes in different stages.
Mr. Mahabaleshwar Hegde
Mr. Mahabaleshwar Hegde talked about large-scale e-governance projects and several award-winning pilot projects. He emphasized the need to give visibility to projects that are successful implementation stories.
Dr A. K. Nigam
Adviser, Indian Railway Board
Dr. Nigam highlighted the social and behavioral influences on project teams and processes. He discussed the evolutionary stages of the Indian Railways. He noted that competition, customer expectations, technological advancements, and resource crunch have been the drivers of change. “The success of a project depends on its planning, organized approach towards execution, and monitoring progress at different stages,” he said.
Session 3: Creating an Environment for High-Performance Project Management
Dr. M. Ramachandran, IAS
Former Chairman, Delhi Metro
Panelists (from left) Mr. Srinath Chakravarthy, Dr. M. Ramachandran, and Mr. Craig Killough.
Dr. Ramachandran, who worked closely on the successful Delhi Metro project, discussed the road map used to complete the project within budget and time. He drew out the challenges faced, project planning, management methodologies, and how the budget was handled. He spoke about using a ‘countdown clock’ at work sites to keep the workforce motivated and concentrate on the task at hand.
Mr. Craig Killough
Vice President, Organizational Markets, PMI
With his understanding of changing markets and the complexities involved, Mr. Killough gave a broad overview of changing trends. “Now, public program stakeholders demand transparency, engagement, speed, cost controls, and innovation. Studies show that 84 percent of executives mention innovation as very important,” he said. He spoke about the different types of innovation: ambidextrous innovation, customer-first innovation, and open innovation.
Mr. Srinath Chakravarthy
Vice President, NISG
Mr. Chakravarthy spoke at length about multisourcing and its impact on e-governance. “E-governance is seeing many high impact projects in both government-to-consumer and government-to-business domains. Earlier focus was hardware-centric,” he said. Mr. Chakravarthy outlined the challenge areas, pointing out that inadequate project management is at the top of that list.
Session 4: Project Management Governance and Accountability
Mr. R. Srikumar
Vigilance Commissioner, Central Vigilance Commission
Panelists (from left) Mr. Parminder Jeet Singh, Mr. R. Srikumar, and Mr. S. Prabhu.
As a self-declared ‘cop’ on monitoring accountability, Mr. Srikumar introduced the session thus: “When you talk about project management in government, you are talking about something that does not exist. Project management or portfolio management is heavily needed in government to monitor accountability. This is a priority going forward.” He said all public projects above Rs. 2 crore will soon be online to enable better accountability and trackability of projects.
Mr. S. Prabhu
Principal accountant general, Government of Karnataka
Mr. Prabhu began his presentation by talking about Chennai’s efficient water supply project. “The right use of e-governance to create transparency and efficiency ensures that the public private partnership of Chennai’s water supply project is a success,” he said, adding, “The leaders have made a commitment so it is being monitored, controlled and action is taken.”
Parminder Jeet Singh
Executive director, IT for Change
Mr. Singh said that problems in e-governance are a result of project management failure. “Stay focused on your roles. Don’t get distracted by the TLAs (Triple Letter Acronyms in IT techniques). If you ask the people in charge in Karnataka what is the most powerful e-system is, they will say e-procurement. But this has not been a high priority initiative. Second generation computerization with a mind-set on people information systems is a necessity.”