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Project Nation-Building: Practitioners Can Lead the Way
Conference speakers focus on the need to have a strong foundation on project management to take the country forward.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam lighting the lamp at the inauguration. The others present (from left) Mr. P.S. Ravindranath, Mr. Ricardo Triana, Mr. Mark A. Langley, and Mr. Raj Kalady.
Project management goes much beyond technology, processes, and methodologies, and rests largely on the people who tie it all together and make it happen. A trained project manager, who brings in the right mix of knowledge, technical and soft skills, and passion, can be the change agent for our country. Leaders from public and private sectors asked practitioners to answer the call for change, look beyond the project, and train their efforts at the endgame. And the endgame is nation-building.

The PMI India National Conference 2011 that took place on 8–10 September in Bangalore overtook the previous two years’ record with over 1,100 attendees. The theme for the conference, Architecting Project Management for Nation-Building, formed the backdrop for knowledge-sharing and discussions on how project management is the much-needed catalyst for change in India. The powerhouse of speakers, including Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India; Mr. Sam Pitroda, the man who envisioned the telecom revolution in the country; Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder, Infosys; and Mr. Arup Roy Choudhury, chairman and managing director, National Thermal Power Corporation, gave the audience insights into project best practices and leadership. Panel discussions brought to the fore divergent views on current topics of interest, including one on “Driving Value in Turbulent Times” moderated by Mr. Mark A. Langley, president and CEO, PMI. Practitioners had a lot to choose from—whether it meant getting hands-on with agile practices to solve today’s project woes or applying the wisdom of ancient Indian thinker, Chanakya, to the 21st century corporate world.

A section of the audience at the inaugural session.
Addressing practitioners at the inaugural session, Dr. Kalam said, “What worked yesterday won’t work today.” He asked project managers to “not let problems defeat you but instead be the captain of the problems.” A surprise twist to the evening came from a Bangalore percussionist group, D’frens, which had the audience join them in an impromptu jamming session. Delegates turned into instant drummers performing ‘drum circle,’ ‘Mexican wave,’ and ‘causing rain with sound effects.’

The coveted PMI India Awards were presented during the conference. The PMI India Project of the Year 2011 Award went to Gas Authority of India for its Vijaipur–Dadri–Bawana pipeline project. The runnerup was Cairn Energy India for its Mangala Development Pipeline Project. The PMI India Award for Contribution to the Community 2011 went to Infosys’ Sneham Shiksha Trust in Chennai.

PMI India presented a Hindi translation of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). The Hindi edition was unveiled by Mr. Ajay Sawhney, IAS, president and CEO, National e-Governance Division, Department of Information Technology, Government of India, and Mr. Craig Killough, vice president, organizational markets, PMI.

Chapter presidents and board members of PMI Bangalore Chapter with Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy (center top row).
An addition in this conference was a parallel set of tracks on “Project Management in e-Governance” on 9 September that attracted several policy makers and influencers. The sessions covered challenges of today’s e-governance practices, dynamics of project management in e-governance, creating an environment of high-performance project management, and governance and accountability.

As in past conferences, this year’s PMI India National Conference was the result of the tireless efforts of PMI volunteers. Mr. Venkataraman S. Subramanian, head, Conference PMO, said, “We had 55 volunteers for review of technical papers who were spread across India. During the conference, we had 23 volunteers from Bangalore Chapter for several on-site duties. Hosting responsibilities in the track halls were shared by chapter presidents and Bangalore Chapter executive committee members. The two pre-conference workshops had the support of 13 session handlers.” There were groups to manage registration, conference sessions, technical paper review, award nominations and selection, pre-conference sessions, awards presentation, the PMI stall, e-governance sessions, VIP reception, sponsors, conference collateral and vendors, and delegate kits.

(From left) Mr. Raj Kalady and Mr. P.S. Ravindranath applaud as Chennai Chapter president Mr. Karthik Ramamurthy and Kerala Chapter president Mr. Rajeev Panicker receive the banner for the PMI India National Conference 2012.
The lessons learned, the confidence gathered, and the vision acquired will go to build even more exciting events in the future. Practitioners can now look forward to the PMI India National Conference 2012 in Chennai that will be jointly hosted by PMI Chennai Chapter and PMI Kerala Chapter.

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