Parallel Tracks
PMI South Asia

Technology and the Human Connection To Stay Competitive

Santosh Bhadule is a US-based engineering leader with experience in delivering commercial enterprise solutions for the construction sector and a technology evangelist. He is Six-Sigma trained and a champion for people change management.

Bhadule spoke about ways in which technology has changed the world around us and touched upon some of the key considerations for using technology. Use artificial intelligence (AI) for repeatable jobs — there is a fear that AI will take over human jobs. Look for opportunities to use AI for mundane jobs and elevate humans to a more analytical or strategic role. Do the right thing — “It is our moral responsibility to use AI ethically,” said Bhadule. For example: AI could convert a medicine in pharma to a molecule that could be used in biological warfare.

Prepare things for prime time — ensure that an innovation will do what it is supposed to when given to a customer. For example, a customer took a computer tablet to the field for measurements. The tablet failed, and the customer spent effort and time to complete the job manually. Plan for people change management — people become frustrated and resist if their life is changed without notice. Put things in perspective for them through ADKAR (Awareness of need to change, Desire to participate in change, Knowledge of change, Ability to implement and Reinforcement to sustain change).


● Design opportunities to use technology to automate mundane tasks.
● Test a solution thoroughly before a customer uses it in the field.
● Develop a people change management strategy for every technology change.
● Review ethical considerations wherever AI is being used.

Technology and AI in Wildlife Science and Conservation

Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala obtained his PhD in Wildlife Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, USA in 1991, and a postdoctorate from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. He joined the Wildlife Institute of India in 1991 and retired in 2023.

Jhala talked about preventing the extinction of a species, specifically the tiger in India. The tiger is an umbrella species that requires the conservation of an entire ecosystem. Artificial intelligence (AI) and technology can go hand-inhand in meeting conservation goals. This is the intent of Project Tiger, the nationwide tiger conservation effort in India.

A census in 2006 showed that India had only 1,400 tigers left in the wild. Another study showed that if India created a forest ecosystem for the tiger, the forest land would generate over US$26 million, while agricultural land would only account for US$10,000. This gave Project Tiger an impetus.

Forest reserves with core areas were created by incentivizing people to move and devising wildlife corridors for animals to move between reserves when more space was needed. The ‘Mstripes’ mobile app allowed the digital tracking of tigers and the remote monitoring of forest guards patrolling the area, Jhala explained. Sixteen years later, India now has 75% of the world’s tiger population, with their ecosystems regenerated.

“Be mindful of our inventions and footprint on the planet. The fate of conservation or conserving biodiversity is not just in the hands of scientists, conservationists or wildlife managers, but also in how society views and values conservation, what it is willing to pay and how it influences the political will,” Jhala said.


● Identify all of the important stakeholders in a large (nationwide) program.
● Design technology and AI solutions to ease the challenges of manual work.
● Plan individual contributions toward the conservation of our planet.
● Document quantitative benefits for decision-makers to support your program.

What is the New EBITDA for Leadership?

Ashutosh Bhatawadekar is a senior industry professional with more than 25 years of experience in enterprisewide agile transformation, coaching, consulting and mentoring.

“We live in a fast-changing world where the problems are the same as before but the answers are different,” said Bhatawadekar.

If VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) defined the pre-COVID world, today is about BANI (brittle, anxious, nonlinear, incomprehensible). Bhatawadekar used the example of India going from a complete societal and economic lockdown during the pandemic to becoming the fifth largest world economy in 2022 to explain “brittle.” The world will continue to face unforeseen shocks but how we handle it by growing our capacity and resilience will make all the difference.

Human beings have “illusions of control,” with leaders becoming anxious when they lose control.

Bhatawadekar advised empathy and mindfulness to expand one’s awareness if anxiety takes over.

Employees proved during the pandemic that they could be successful while working from home, yet organizations are calling them back to the office today. This is called a nonlinear occurrence, where a “successful work from home” situation was accepted during the pandemic and has been rejected now.

It drives different decisions depending on the situation and requires context and adaptability.

The complexity of information and occurrences makes the world incomprehensible. Transparency and intuition are important to gain knowledge and understanding.

Bhatawadekar redefined the traditional, financial term EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) to bring out the traits required of today’s leaders. The leadership EBITDA is about empathy, behavior, intent, talent, development and appreciation (of employees).


● Research world events that can impact business.
● Develop a purpose-driven organization.
● Train leaders to be empathetic.
● Focus on employee-centricity over expense.

From Strategy to Execution: A Day in the Life of a Project Manager with Generative AI

Tal Karkashon is a dynamic professional with experience in solution building and business consulting. She has 10 years of experience guiding companies toward operational excellence by reimagining their workflows, meticulously analyzing processes and implementing transformative improvements.

While demonstrating how artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the daily routine of a project manager, Karkashon pointed out several challenges that project managers continue to encounter. They struggle handling multiple tasks simultaneously, such as preparing for executive meetings, identifying and mitigating project risks and maintaining efficient operations. Moreover, complexity escalates when project managers use a variety of tools.

Explaining the Monday AI system, Karkashon said it can be used to address a variety of challenges and improve the way a project manager manages work. Collaboration is a vital aspect of project management, especially with project teams spread across the globe. Communicating through emails holds the risk of missing important information.

The Monday AI system documents all of the communication and keeps everyone well informed.

Karkashon said the system helps centralize information and create a single source of truth. She also emphasized the importance of defining ownership for action items and ensuring everyone is clear about their responsibilities since there are many tasks associated with a project.


● Use collaboration tools like Monday AI to manage work smoothly among colleagues across the globe.
● Centralize feedback from stakeholders for actionable insights.
● Foster automated task generation and balance team workloads.
● Drive decision-making with realtime data.

PMIEF: Leveraging Technology, Youth Innovation and Project Management to Create Social Impact

With 40 years of experience in manufacturing, IT and nonprofit organizations, Ramam Atmakuri has served as the head of global delivery centers for multinational companies such as Cognizant, Invensys and Baan. He led multidisciplinary teams across continents, successfully managed mergers and acquisitions and delivered multimillion-dollar transformation programs that resulted in business growth.

Atmakuri is a firm believer of giving back to society if one has benefited from society in any way. Contributions can be through the “three Ts of time, talent and treasure,” or in other words, volunteer your time, use your skills or donate money for social good.

The PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) aims to create social impact that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Talking about the PMI Youth Strategy, Atmakuri said that PMIEF partners with nonprofits that serve organizations focused on the youth. They impart project management skills to the youth like problem-solving and decision-making.

More than 450 PMI volunteers from around the world participate in PMIEF programs. Last year, the programs reached 189 million youth in 130 countries, across 30 languages.

Partner organizations such as the Special Olympics and F1 in Schools have integrated project management trainings and equipped individuals with key skills to effectively manage tasks.


● Empower youth to help them take on the role of changemakers.
● Volunteer to share project management expertise and resources for the greater good.
● Collaborate with like-minded organizations to maximize social impact.
● Move beyond STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and integrate project management skills in training curricula.

Vision 2047: Extended Reality Corridor and Project Management

In 2005, Dr. M. Manivannan set up the first Touch Lab in India at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras that conducts research and devleopment in haptics technologies. He recently set up an Experiential Technology Innovation Center (XTIC), the first multidisciplinary center for Virtual Reality (VR)/ Augmented Reality (AR)/ Mixed Reality (MR) and haptics in India.

Manivannan shed light on the technologies that IIT Madras is working on, which could be useful for project managers.

Discussing XTIC, he said that the center is a scaled-up version of the Touch Lab. It enables students to study the intricacies of the touch sensation and haptics engineering. It can be adapted and used in different areas, such as biomedics or project management.

Manivannan believes experiential learning is essential for skill development. For example, trainee surgeons can use VR/AR to immerse themselves in a virtual surgical room and not only see but also touch, cut and perform procedures on virtual tissues.

The underlying tools for medical simulation are similar to those used in project management. There is a high demand for skill development in these advanced technologies among project managers.


● Embrace experiential learning to enhance skill development.
● Personalize training through simulations for better outcomes.
● Explore the potential of haptics to transform varied industries like medicine and project management.
● Leverage innovative technologies that outperform traditional methods and yield positive outcomes.