Letter from Managing Director, PMI India   |   Download a PDF version     
PMI India Research & Academic Conference 2015, Mumbai
PMI India Project Management Regional Conference 2015, Pune

Case Studies and Papers
L&T Changes India's East Coast Skyline
Mr. Suvadip Das, project control manager, and Mr. Fanil Visharia, deputy general manager, Larsen & Toubro Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited

The first ever process platform in the east coast of India, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation's (GSPC) process cum living quarter project (PLQP) is a PMI award-winning project from Larsen & Toubro (L&T). "It was one of the largest public projects in India. PLQP was a learning experience for us in doing a project in a high risk environment," said Mr. Suvadip Das.

GSPC had given a stringent schedule of 25 months from engineering to commissioning of the PLQP. L&T proceeded with the target date of mechanical completion by 1 March 2013 and commissioning of the platform by 30 April 2013. The US$ 340 million project was instead installed on 2 February 2013, in 23 months.

The biggest challenge was the compressed schedule of 18 months from the receipt of letter of award to sail out of structures from the fabrication yard. The project also faced challenges like space constraint for process decks, process decks splitting at yard and offshore integration, and installation of equipment on the existing platform.

Mr. Das said such a fast track upstream project in a high risk zone required meticulous planning, close coordination, innovative use of technology, a strong communication system, and regular review and monitoring, all pointing to the exemplary use of project management to overcome the challenges.

Sustainable Development for Large Projects
Ms. Vinitaa Apte, president, Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment (TERRE)

"Development is not bad at all if it includes sustainability at its heart," said Ms. Vinitaa Apte, as she started her talk. Her organization, TERRE, along with local non-government organizations and communities, undertook a challenge to work towards the sustainable development of the Kaas Natural Heritage site in the Western Ghats. "This initiative has led to incremental progress in conservation and community development efforts in the area," she said.

The Kaas plateau in the Western Ghats of India has won the UNESCO World Natural Heritage recognition. The progress, conservation, and community development efforts at Kaas have led to new means of livelihood for villagers, reverse migration due to increase in employment opportunities, tourism training course for the village youth, and promotion of the local handicraft business.

Ms. Apte is working with private organizations to include the development of Kaas as a part of their corporate social responsibility. She advocates inclusion of grassroots level issues as a must-have in commercial projects, which alone can lead to sustainable development.

Agile Transformation to Deliver Customer Value
Mr. Rahul Sudame and Ms. Deepa Shrivastava, agile program managers, Persistent Systems

Agile in project management provides answers to today's market requirements of producing faster, cheaper, and better products. Successful implementation of scaled Lean and agile project management practices help enterprises acquire capabilities, culture, and business benefits, and deliver value to customers.

Ms. Shrivastava's presentation covered the dos and don'ts, and best practices for agile project management. She stressed on stakeholder buy-in, choosing a pilot, adding team members with the right attitude, applying Scrum principles by the book initially, and how agile and Scrum methodology adoption and implementation can help to optimize work and productivity at all levels.

She said agile transformation comprises the right use of agile models like Scrum, XP, and Kanban.

Mr. Sudame called agile transformation a culture shift and not a quick fix process, which can be undertaken either as a goall- in or start-small approach. He recommended 'agility assessment' to identify areas of improvement. He also cautioned against cultural, technical, and organizational challenges, which require commitment and an attitude to learn and uncover any impediments on the way.

Challenges in Executing Large Real Estate Projects
Mr. Shreeram Mone, managing director, Advent Projects and Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.

Construction projects in India are often plagued by delays and cost escalations. A strong project management approach has helped Advent Projects to manage its large construction projects well.

Mr. Shreeram Mone highlighted the challenges and the project management approach being adopted for the company's Blue Ridge project, a large, real estate project in Pune's IT hub Hinjewadi. The project team is taking care of design coordination, defining execution methodology, procurement and material logistics, value engineering, contract management, cost management, and time management.

The company's project management system is being put to use to prepare a work breakdown structure, resource planning, detailing activities, assigning responsibilities, defining milestones, foreseeing problems, and tracking schedules.

In 2007, when the budget for the entire project was declared, the design had not been ready, specifications not finalized, and the list of unknowns very long. "Today, after seven years, our overall projections of 2007 almost match the incurred cost because of our project management experience and judgment," said Mr. Mone.

The company's quality management process involvesconducting quality checks of drawings, raw materials, skilled manpower, schedules, and estimates. He has also seen the impact of strategic project management decisions on savings on purchases and an easy cash flow.

Applying Psychology in Project Management
Mr. Lakshmivaragan D., lead, Asia Pacific - presales, Tata Consultancy Services

In a country with a knowledge-based economy, the influence of the human factor in projects is increasing rapidly. Mr. Lakshmivaragan elucidated how project managers can leverage the recent advances in the field of psychology for effective project management.

He explained how to achieve any big goal, one must have the right attitude towards work. "If the purpose of the work is articulated and communicated effectively, achieving success becomes effortless," he said.

Mr. Lakshmivaragan said that stakeholder alignment comprises of proper alignment of purpose, goals, and influence. Quoting Viktor E. Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychologist, a Holocaust survivor, he added, "It is essential to find purpose in life. Once you find it, it will help you in overcoming obstacles of all forms, be it personal or professional."

Aligning the goals or interests of each vertical and horizontal function in an organization is important to avoid conflict of interest. Without alignment, an organization with multiple projects will end up with chaotic results.

On influence, he said, "There are several aspects to being influential. It includes being reciprocal, authoritative, and consistent in delivering good performance." He concluded by stating that gaining and not imposing respect from peers and the team is also important for project managers for successful project execution.

Citizen Centric Good Governance
Prof. Sunil Dhapte, director, Administrative Training Institute, Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, Pune

Government policies and schemes are often designed with a top-down approach with minimal involvement of citizens. The time has come for citizen-centric governance that places partnership between common people and the government at the center of decision-making.

Mr. Sunil Dhapte said nation-building in India must begin with citizen centric governance. "We categorize interests into different buckets such as personal, family, group, organization, social, and at last national. Unless there is a shift in this hierarchy of interests, change is inconceivable," said Mr. Dhapte.

Today, the government plays the role of a facilitator in providing services and facilities. "The government must now become a public partner that works with the public for overall development," he added.

He said enactments of acts like the Right to Information Act (RTI) and the Right to Service Act are bringing in change. "The Maharashtra Government Servants" Regulation of Transfers & Prevention of Delays in Discharge of Official Duties Act 2005 which does not allow a government employee to keep files pending for more than seven day, is helping to speed up processes in government," he said.

Ethics and Values for Business
Prof. Sukanya Patwardhan, practice leader, Tata Management Training Centre

In the modern world, technology is gaining prominence over people and processes. However, people continue to be the face of an organization. That puts ethical and moral behavior of people at the forefront.

"Gone are the days when employees would listen to whatever their bosses say. Today they work like symphonies, doing their bit proficiently and integrating with each other effortlessly to finish a task. In such cases, the project manager must act like the conductor of an orchestra, to synchronize and guide each employee," she commented.

Ms. Patwardhan stated that corruption is rooted deep in the world but believes that change will take place as people become more aware of their moral consciousness. Bracketing ethics with business, she said that ethics helps an organization be truthful and honest to its customers. That is important to maintain the organization's face and integrity in public.

"Keeping in mind the growing need to maintain good ethical practices in project management, companies today have their own codes of conduct for employees. PMI has created a lot of tools and applications. But the real revolution will happen only when people change themselves by constantly questioning their moral and ethical judgments," she said.

Building a Project Management Nation
Mr. Sandeep Kumar, managing director, Product Dossier

Is it possible to build India as a project management nation? If so, how can we do it? Mr. Sandeep Kumar put these posers to the audience as he started the session.

Discussing the scope of nation building with the help of project management, Mr. Kumar said the first step is to have sound financials to sustain the country and its growing industries. Next there needs to be a strong focus on infrastructure and good corruption free governance, followed by internal and external security.

"A major reason for project failure is that people managing a project do not have the right controls and the right visibility at the right time to take the right decisions," he said. The other major reasons are unclear objectives, lack of communication and clarity between engineering and financial departments of the company, and improper resource utilization.

"Project management being the new horizon for development, one must remember that it is not just about issues, schedules, tasks, and resources. It is beyond that. It needs an approach that is beyond engineering ? it needs IT integration, technological enablement, and a set of people striving towards the same goal." Mr. Kumar concluded.

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