Conference Overview
Potshangbam July


Project managers need to break away from the shackles of scope, cost and time, and adopt new approaches that work best amid unexpected challenges.

Aone-size-fits-all approach is losing its relevance in a swiftly changing project environment. Professionals at all levels need to acquire new skills, tools and mindsets to navigate future uncertainties. Leaders must think and dig beyond the obvious to deliver quality-driven outcomes.

These were some overriding thoughts that emerged from the discussions at the 14th Project Management South Asia Conference (PMSAC) 2022 on 9 and 10 December in Mumbai. Based on the theme, “Project Management—Hybrid and Beyond,” the conference was hosted by the PMI Mumbai Chapter.

The event, which reconvened in person after a gap of three years, saw project practitioners, business leaders, defense personnel and PMI chapter members coming together to exchange industry-shaping insights to navigate the challenges ahead. More than 560 delegates from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka attended the conference.

Jacob Zachariah, conference chair and president of the PMI Mumbai Chapter, extended a warm welcome to the delegates and set the context for the conference. It was followed by a video message from Pierre LeManh, president and CEO of PMI. He said, “As projects grow increasingly complex, project professionals must develop a robust set of skills, disciplines and new ways of working. That is true across the world. PMI stands ready to help you along your journey.”

In his inaugural address, Dr. Srini Srinivasan, regional managing director of PMI South Asia, emphasized that the role of a project manager is to steer the team from confusion and chaos to order and security. Talking about the effort that went into organizing the organization, he said, “I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the PMI Mumbai Chapter to put the event together. It is a living, breathing example of what project management is all about.”

In the opening keynote, Sudhish Panicker, managing director and head of BNY Mellon International Operations (India), said industries need to consider an "amoebic structure" of work culture to bring agility and flexibility.

Shailesh Gandhi, activist for Right to Information and former central information commissioner, brought into focus the inadequacies of the Indian judicial system. He also urged project managers to go beyond their tasks to find solutions for timely dispensation of justice.

Sandeep Kumar, founder and CEO of ProductDossier, highlighted why project managers need to understand key systemic issues to improve project margins.

The final keynote was delivered by Achin Gupta, CEO of One India Business at Cipla, who spoke on reimagining the future of work and why consumers are looking for more participation in decision-making processes.

Day two continued with the same level of excitement and energy, with a welcome note from Biren Parekh, the director of the conference.

Brigadier Sushil Bhasin, coach on military-inspired leadership and author, pointed out that one must be flexible and adaptable rather than being the strongest or fastest to tackle tough times.

Vishal Verma, construction program implementation manager at Burns & McDonnell, spoke on the direct correlation between client success and organization culture.

A panel discussion moderated by Commodore Abhishek Kankan was a high point of the second day. It featured six women officers of Project Navika Sagar Parikrama who shared inspiring stories on overcoming challenges while circumnavigating the globe on an Indian-built boat, INSV Tarini. They assertively put across a message that gender does not define one's capabilities.

Renu Menon, senior practice manager, AWS ProServe, spoke about the role of IT not just as an enabler but also as a driver of business outcomes.

Other speakers who delivered insightful sessions from the parallel track sessions were: Deepak Mulay, program management, Burns & McDonnell; Ajay Aggarwal, managing partner, Humane Design and Innovation; Monika Muddamshetty, director, International Gaming Technology; and Satyajit Hange, founding farmer, Two Brothers Organic Farms.

The event culminated with an engaging fireside chat between Dr. Srinivasan and K. R. S. Jamwal, executive director of Tata Industries. They discussed why leaders need to “unlearn and relearn” to resonate with changing times and also the importance of power skills.

PMSAC presented the PMI South Asia Project of the Year awards during the conference. IBM, Bosch, Tata Advanced Systems and Larsen & Toubro Hydro won in the micro, small, medium and large categories, respectively. UST and BumbleB Trust were the winners in the categories of contribution to the community and special recognition, respectively.

The host for the conference, the PMI Mumbai Chapter, passed on the baton for PMSAC 2023 to the PMI Chennai Chapter.