Passion Meets Purpose
Naval Gupta And Sumanth Shampur

In this new column, Manage India talks to practitioners who have made a big impact on the PMI India Champion program

Naval Gupta
Chair , Champion Advisory Committee

How has the Champion program helped you as an individual?
Being active in various volunteering activities with PMI India and having known many of the Champions personally, I was always attracted toward joining the Champion program. The program has helped me individually and professionally in multiple ways. First, it has given me access to some of the finest project management professionals in the country. Being part of this elite community has been highly empowering. Second, the program has given me an edge by enriching my awareness about the diverse, latest and the greatest innovative offerings. Third, the various “Champions only” events and training sessions have enabled me to apply the best practices in my profession.

To sum up, the Champions program has enabled me to perform better in my job.

Why would you recommend the Champion program to a new volunteer?
Just like in any new job, assignment, or project, it takes some time to understand the context and expectations, and find the right rhythm, and volunteerism is no different. A new volunteer, full of energy, passion, and willingness to do something for the community, at times finds it tough to navigate a new group or the expectations. The structured onboarding process, training, handholding, and support offered by senior and seasoned Champions make this program unique for a new volunteer. Further, various events, knowledge-sharing calls, mentoring opportunities, and support from PMI India, coupled with the combined energy of the Champions at regional and national level, make the program a perfect launchpad for new volunteers. The opportunity to leverage the environment to share knowledge, present papers and concepts, and influence the larger project management community is the icing on the cake.

One can expect to gain the latest project management skills, tools, frameworks as well as polish their communication, presentation, leadership, and influencing capabilities at a national platform. The Champions network is one of the greatest project management networks to learn and get answers to problems, and grow together.

How hav e PMI membership and certifications helped you and your organization or team?
The PMI certification has opened doors for me within the organizations that I have worked with, and outside. The combined leverage from the PMI certification, the membership, and the chapter membership has given me ample access to like-minded professionals and industry leaders, and created new avenues, which I didn't even imagine existed. In my decade-long engagement with PMI India after my certification, I have been involved in various diverse initiatives in contributor and leadership roles. On the one hand, it helped me experiment with my capabilities in a non-judgmental environment, and on the other, it helped my organizations with access to the project management community and PMI India. The achievements in my volunteering efforts also positioned me as a candidate of choice on multiple occasions. Some key takeaways:

1. Organizational and external recognition, accelerated growth in the form of challenging assignments, projects, and indirectly influencing promotions or compensation or both.
2. Strong personal branding and positioning as a well networked professional, a problem solver, and leader.
3. Nominations to represent my organization in multiple internal and industry events and forums.
4. Instant credibility advantage in various client pursuits.

Sumanth Shampur
Senior Champion

How has the Champion program helped you as an individual?

Anyone who has watched the migratory birds fly can observe how they fly in a ‘V’ formation. Scientists, after a long research, found that these birds carefully position their wingtips and sync their flapping, presumably to catch the preceding bird’s updraft, and save energy during long flights.

An individual’s career progression in the long run is similarly dependent on the thrust his or her network lends to become successful.

The Champion program is a system of professionals that, to me, is the V formation, helping me to stay abreast in the rapidly changing technology world. I am confident about the knowledge I gain about latest trends in project and product management, across domains and their application, to becoming successful in delivering my roles and responsibilities at work or otherwise. With experts ranging from experienced to the deeply experienced, the mark they leave on you is invaluable, to say the least.

Please elaborate on how you have benefited as a project manager and a leader.

The foundation of the family of Champions is based on advocacy of the profession of project management. It is only natural then, that one benefits as a project manager and a leader.

The rich tools and techniques one collects in his armory when they get certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®, is seldom applied in practice and tends to fade away as the memory ages.

A simple way to keep the weapon sharp is by constantly using it at the right opportunity. This happens by continuous advocacy that each Champion practices during his tenure of being one. By telling others and by hearing from other professionals, the perspective of usage and knowledge of the concepts are enhanced.

The simple outcome of passing through such a course is becoming a highly skilled and efficient project manager and leader.

Personally, I have been able to look at a situation from a different angle today than I did earlier. My stakeholders are much happier in my interactions and look forward to working more and more closely with my team. This has led indirectly to gaining confidence which, in turn, has impacted business outcomes. As a personal benefit, accolades and organic growth have supplemented my work.

How many would get a chance to be part of PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) - 6th Edition review? How many would get a chance to take center stage at the national conference? It is by closely being part of the PMI's flagship program that one gains such national and global exposure.

Why would you recommend the Champion program to a new volunteer?
If the work we deliver is rewarded, then the efficiency tends to get limited by the value of that reward. The whole-hearted passion is expressed only when a person expresses it without any limit.

This aspect is what makes volunteering a global phenomenon today.

If you are into project management and want to reward yourself by limitless intangible benefits, then this is the right place to be in.

By interacting with like-minded people who are well-versed in their area of expertise, you will stand to know how the latest developments are impacting you and your organization's growth. It is also a mirror to where you stand in today's rapidly developing world.

By helping the community, you grow with that community. Isn't that what an able leader does?
By coaching aspiring managers on PMI's much-in-demand certifications, like PMP®, you create a network of mentees that look up to you.

A chance to represent and speak to an audience on the project management profession in a new industry is an opportunity we don’t get often.

Volunteering for regional and national conferences broadens the knowledge as we work with multi-cultural, multi-regional, and cross-industry communities.

Such work is valued very highly at PMI India, and you see the respect you deserve for the value you bring.

How have PMI membership and certifications helped you and your organization or team?
PMI certifications have increased the proportion of project managers in our organization. This has led to a more efficient pool of project managers, which makes the client confident to sign contracts on new and complex projects. In turn, this has led to a win-win situation for the individuals, the organization, and the clients.

A medical or a law profession thrives on continuous learning. This is enabled when you get certified as a PMP® or any other PMI certification, as it mandates continuous development to retain these certifications. As a side result, one enhances their own repertoire of skills and knowledge.