Global PMI Award
Recognizes and Honors Practitioner from India
Manage India talks to Mr. Ramam Atmakuri, winner
of the PMI Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award, and Mr.
Tejas Sura, the lead nominator for Mr. Atmakuri
Ramam Atmakuri, vice president, Cognizant & member – PMI Chapter
Member Advisory Group
How does it feel to have won a prestigious award for which PMI
received nominations from around the world?
Winning a global award is indeed an honor. Mr. Eric Jenett, in whose
name the award is instituted, was a PMI Fellow, one of the five
founders of PMI, and the first Project Management Professional (PMP)®.
That makes this award special. I thank PMI, my current and past
colleagues, and fellow PMI volunteers who encouraged and supported me
all through my career. I dedicate this award to all of them.
What top qualities should a project manager possess today?
Project management is both a science and an art. It is a science
because it relies on processes, tools, and techniques, and an art
because it involves people and their management. A successful project
manager recognizes the importance of both these dimensions and strives
to excel at both of them. Globalization of projects has added the
dimension of complexity. A project manager has to be agile to embrace
frequent changes. I would lay relatively higher emphasis on soft skills
and leadership vis-à-vis processes and tools for a project manager to
become truly par excellence. Project management is gaining recognition
globally for its strategic importance. Project managers need to develop
their mindset accordingly, make visible the business value they are
capable of delivering, and not limit themselves to tactical results.
You have wide experience in working in global and Indian
organizations. Are there any unique strengths and weaknesses in project
managers from India?
Indeed, there are unique characteristics with their bearings in our
culture. We are used to making things happen even amid uncertainties.
That translates into greater focus on execution than planning.
Regardless of circumstances, we find ways to execute the project to
completion, overcoming hurdles—also known as planned and unplanned
risks and mobilizing every available resource at one’s disposal. We are
not used to saying “no” and thereby accept things that come our way.
The adaptability to change is high in Indian project managers. These
traits can be a strength as well as a weakness, depending on the
project environment. In the west, there is often equal focus on
planning and predictability, as on the execution of projects. In global
projects, these complementary skills—the western trait of meticulous
planning and the eastern rigor in execution actually spell a
competitive advantage to businesses. I believe there is great room for
project managers in India to improve on the count of project planning,
so as to improve predictability, and be better positioned to say “no”
Tejas Sura, PMP, PMI region mentor, Western Asia (Region-11)
You were the lead nominator for Mr. Ramam Atmakuri for the PMI Eric
Jenett Project Management Excellence Award. Can you tell us the main
reasons why you believed he deserved this honor?
Mr. Atmakuri has been an outstanding contributor to the project
management profession. During his stint as president, Pearl
City-Hyderabad Chapter, he rolled out various initiatives that impacted
the profession locally. As a region mentor for West Asia, his guidance
and dynamism brought about tremendous unity and cohesiveness in this
region, resulting in collaboration among the PMI chapters in India and
other countries across the region. The steady yet phenomenal progress
that he has made in his professional life since the late ’90s included
various noteworthy contributions to the profession including trainings,
lectures, the setting up of project management offices, and project
management initiatives that helped raise the project management
maturity in the companies he has worked for. With this all-round
professional experience, volunteerism, and leadership, he deserved this
What does the award seek to honor and celebrate?
The nomination for the award is done by a group of people who wish to
acknowledge the substantial contributions of the individual known to
them. The award seeks to recognize and honor an individual who has made
outstanding contributions to the practice of the project management
profession, and who has demonstrated leadership and initiative while
advancing project management concepts, techniques, practices, or
theories. It recognizes leadership, innovation, and the drive to
understand and apply project management practices in multiple
communities and/or business. The beautiful bronze statue, which
signifies strength, wisdom, labor, dignity, and accomplishment, was
designed by Mr. Eric Jenett, and Mr. Thomas Parker Emery, an artist,
The award honors and recognizes a leader from the practitioner
community in India. What does it say about the kind of talent and
commitment available in the country?
Global businesses are moving east and the opportunities in India are
growing. There is an increased recognition in academia, corporate, and
the government on the strategic value of project management, leading to
a focus on developing leadership and project management skills to meet
the expanding demand. There is a surge in the pool of talented PMP®.
Their commitment and dedication has led to the rapid economic growth of
the country for the past nearly one decade. Therefore, it can be
expected that an increased number of talented and committed
professionals from India will match or exceed their global counterparts
in every aspect of this profession.
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