PMI and Economic Times CXO Round Table Series
PMI India

Venue: New Delhi
Date: 1 September 2016
ECONOMIC TIMES (ET) MODERATOR: SUNANDA JAYASEELAN
 
From L-R- Gurjot Bhatia, managing director- project management services, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd.; Dr. Kirit Parikh, chairman, Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe); Arun Kumar Jain, managing director, Fluor India; Sharat Sharma, director Operations, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.; S. Radha Chauhan (IAS), president and CEO, National eGovernance Division; Sunanda Jayaseelan (Moderator), ET NOW; Ravneet Kaur, joint secretary-DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India; Raj Kalady, managing director, PMI India; Arvind Mahajan, senior advisor, KPMG India; Karuna Gopal, president, Foundation for Futuristic Cities; Narasimhan Vaidyanathan, vice president - energy Management Division, Siemens Ltd.

ET: Where do you see project management playing a role for a better India?

Arvind Mahajan, senior advisor, KPMG India: India is at a potentially breakthrough point with significant investment in government programs like Make in India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat. All these programs, if managed well, will lead to business outcomes which will enable this breakthrough growth. But unfortunately, more than 30 percent of the projects, of 1,000 projects which were studied, are delayed. On the other hand, we have projects like Delhi Metro, Delhi or Mumbai airports, the Aadhar program, or ISRO's program for Mars that have been executed on time and within costs. So how is it that we have this dichotomy? The answer is proper project management, which can enable transfer of these islands of excellence to make it a discipline which can make it a competency for the country, and not just some organizations within the country.

Karuna Gopal, president, Foundation for Futuristic Cities: Smart cities that are being conceived in different parts of the world are fresh cities built ground up. India is looking at a different model of retrofitting existing cities. Here, project management skills are extremely necessary. Because a lot depends on the geo-political realities of these projects, on how we bring stakeholders in, how citizens root for infrastructure which makes smarter sense.

ET: When it comes to efficient project implementation, what lessons can the public sector learn from the private realm and vice-versa?

Gurjot Bhatia, managing director, project management services, CBRE, South Asia: We ran a survey internally to find out the top parameters which come as constraints to the effective delivery of projects - on costs, time, and quality - in a safe manner. The majority of our 900-odd project managers came up with one constraint, which was lack of decision making in a timely manner by the client. If I were to use this in the context of public versus private projects, I think public projects are even more difficult because there are many stakeholders and policies. Everything has to come together.

Arun Kumar Jain, general manager - project operations, Fluor India: If you were to trace the origins of diffidence in decision-making, I'd come back to having a good project definition and allowing for the time to have a good project definition. Once we have that, decision-making tends to be faster. One common thread evolving is an acceptable need for a strong change management process.

ET: What are the lessons that we must possibly learn from global peers and things we should be definitely implementing here in project management?

Raj Kalady, managing director, PMI India: At the outset we need to address three areas: 1. Organizations - To recognize project management as a formal discipline. Thereafter implement processes based on global standards. And then ensure required talent management interventions are provided. 2. Government: Have policies in place to ensure only those organizations with qualified/certified project management professionals are awarded contracts. And establish project management units to oversee and monitor large projects/programs 3. Academia: The huge dearth of qualified project managers and the lack of practice of project management is a key challenge across all industries. Today, we have hardly five institutes teaching project management as full-time programs. We need to introduce full-time project management programs to plug this huge demand supply gap.

Sharat Sharma, director operations, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation: We have learned at least two things from the global experience. First, the project has to be fair and equitable. The second thing is the culture. Partners bring in new culture, safety norms, and procedures. Respect for norms must be part of the culture.

ET: How much of a concern the paucity of resources is towards fully realizing project management?
S. Radha Chauhan, president and CEO, National eGovernance Division: The government looks at implementation in a hierarchical manner - the center, states, and then the districts. The challenge is to equip each and every stakeholder with skillsets that are available by way of say an IT platform or a mobile device. Can he use a tablet to put in a daily report on what has been done? Those are little gaps by way of building capacity and also understanding program management from the top leadership to the last mile connectivity.

Ravneet Kaur, joint secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion: I don't think funding is that much of a constraint. The important thing for any project manager is to work on an idea and then to constantly innovate. In a changing world, if you have to survive, you have to look at innovation. If you are adhering to your timelines and have all stakeholders on board, that is the way to go.

Narasimhan Vaidyanathan, vice president - transmission solutions, Siemens: Project managers are not born overnight. It takes years to create a project manager with domain skills, expertise, and quality skills. It is a holistic package. We have to partner with the government so that we can multiply our skillsets and bring in the required capacity. To translate the vision into action, it needs to be translated into policy and policies will have to be followed up by an action plan.

ET: Is the understanding of project management mature in India - What is the way forward?
Dr. Kirit Parikh, chairman, Integrated Research for Action and Development: There has to be a detailed implementation plan which says what needs to be done at what stage and who needs to do it. You have to have the right kind of environment, which doesn't obstruct people but empowers them.


Venue: Bengaluru
Date: 3 October 2016
ET MODERATOR: SUNANDA JAYASEELAN
 
From L-R: Bishwajit Mishra (IFS), director - information technology, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation; Rajnish Prasad, vice-president and head of custom development execution - APJ, SAP Labs India; Suvojit Sinha, associate director, Client Innovation Centres, IBM India; Gopinathan Padmanabhan, chief innovation officer and president global delivery, MPhasis; R.K. Misra, founder director, Centre for Smart Cities, Bangalore; Sunanda Jayaseelan, moderator, ET; Raj Kalady, managing director, PMI India; Hariprasad Hegde, senior vice president and global head - operations, Wipro; Arun K. Chittilappilly, MD, Wonderla; J.C. Sharma, vice chairman and managing director, Sobha Ltd. and Ajinkya B. Apte, director, Capgemini India

ET: What can the public sector learn from companies such as yours?
Suvojit Sinha, GTS, Solutions, Delivery and Transformation, practice area leader, T&T, IBM India Pvt Ltd.: The large complex projects that many organizations like ours run deliver a lot of learnings in the classic dimensions of project management - managing stakeholders, managing risk, and information sharing. From an execution point of view, our mindset echoes every principle of project management. We need to build that mindset in the public sector too. So we have to train and build organizations within government bodies, which embody that thinking. Then we can bring in techniques, platforms, and technologies.

Gopinathan Padmanabhan, chief innovation officer and president, global delivery, Mphasis: For the right type of project, get the right type of manager. There has to be rigorous scope management. An important point stressed on in the private sector that can be incorporated in the public sector is extensive usage of technology, project management tools, collaboration tools, social media-based interaction tools, realtime data updates, regular project reviews, and corrective actions in case of delay in projects, consequence management, and governance.

ET: Can you elaborate the importance of planning in project management?
Raj Kalady: Initiating and planning are the two most important processes in project management. It is common in India to start a project without a detailed project plan that accounts for all facets of the project, unforeseen circumstances, risks, and end-to-end funding. Hence, we need to have a detailed project plan in place based on which the processes of executing and monitoring of project will follow. Determining the scope of a project is difficult without spending a considerable amount of time, upfront, in proper planning.

ET: While the government is talking about smart cities, urban planning and infrastructure, there is clearly a mismatch to some extent.

R.K. Misra, founder director, Centre for Smart Cities, Bangalore: The "Smart City" project is the first initiative in independent India with an outcome-driven approach to urban planning where in urban revival is being thought through. In these projects, you will see for the first time project management skills being put to use as far as the public sector in urban infrastructure is concerned.

ET: There have been many successful projects, such as the general elections in India. Why can't the principles used there be extrapolated to other projects? Do projects need super heroes?
Bishwajit Mishra, IFS, director - information technology, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation: Replication is not so simple. Each project has its own challenge. There are heroes required at all levels. There is a huge issue of capacity building in project management. The top echelon is in sync; the bureaucracy at the middle and lower level needs to change. That is the level where the private sector finally delivers. It is complex because of the scale of it, the complexity of processes in the government, the big issue of change management. But there are multiple examples of success. There has to be a clear sense of division of activities and responsibilities (between private and public sector). While leveraging we need to understand that we have certain responsibilities and it cannot be a turnkey project from the side of the vendor itself. That change in attitude has to come.

Arun K. Chittilappilly, managing director, Wonderla: Getting back to Vision India, it is clear that the private sector can and will execute projects on time; the vision has to be thought through properly. It is attitude that is holding us back. Before Narendra Modi became the prime minister, he said there were 100 steps required before you become a company. Can we make that five or 10? Even in project management, if you really have to execute a project really fast, you will have to reduce the number of steps. Our government machinery doesn't allow us to do that. Project management gets bogged down because of these things.

Hariprasad Hegde, senior vice president and global head Operations, Wipro: What can make government projects work? Beyond project management techniques and frameworks, I would want to emphasize on two points. Successful projects always have an element of accountability and the buck stops with the leader. So the government has to have accountability and transparency for outcomes. Second, there is enough technology for executing projects, for bringing multiple stakeholders together. You create an engine which cuts through different departments. Hence, you know where a particular project is being held up. All of it makes it transparent. If you bring in accountability and transparency, automatically the government machinery will start delivering.

ET: What are some of the biggest challenges in project management in India and what are the opportunities going forward?
Ajinkya B. Apte, director, Capgemini India Pvt. Ltd.: The right leadership and skills to manage and develop programs is definitely very important. Second, applying project management concepts in a broader sense by learning from the past is critical. Third, treating a task as a project. For example, today an approval takes x number of days. If we want Make in India or Digital India possible, should that number of days be one-tenth of what it takes. Now if that is set as a task and taken up as a project and we arrive at a solution to it, it will be great.

Rajnish Prasad, vice-president, head of custom development execution - Asia-Pacific Japan: I would stress the need for IT-enabled project management. From capacity to putting up the outcome, monitoring, managing of resources, timelines all of that would be something which will be easily driven if we have the right system, IT software in place. One of the key concerns that remained unanswered here was accountability. It would come if there is transparency, which by default the software provides. So if you have the right level of transparency across all the aspects, you will see a higher level of accountability, whether it is in the public or the private space.

J.C. Sharma, vice chairman and managing director, Sobha Limited: While our growth rate is the highest among all countries, the benefits of this is not getting percolated to a large section of the population. At the end of the day, the benefits must get transferred to the people who should be able to become consumers of such offerings. From that perspective, technology has to play an important role. Once resources start getting distributed to the vast majority of the people who are unbanked and not getting the benefits, hopefully we will have the right kind of people in large numbers and we would be able to achieve much more.


Venue: Pune
Date: 20 October 2016
ET MODERATOR: POOJA JAIN
 
 
From L-R: Debashish Mitra, senior director, operations, Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd.; Nitin Deshpande, president, Valence Health Solutions India; Raj Kalady, managing director, PMI India; Pooja Jain, moderator, ET Now; Rohit Gera, managing director, Gera Developments; Milind Godbole, managing director, Honeywell Turbo Technologies and P.G. Waray, executive director, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions India.

ET: How is project management being implemented in your sector?
Nitin Deshpande, president, Valence Health Solutions India: I represent the healthcare sector and the software industry. The software industry almost made project management mandatory. And it has grown because of the various project management techniques that were used. So the question is not whether it is relevant or not, but how do we make sure it is implemented more rigorously across areas and industries.

Whether it's a surgery or a population health project, if you do not use these techniques, you are doomed to fail; it's worse than losing a few million dollars. You can't put a value on that.

Rohit Gera, managing director, Gera Developments: The need for people in the real estate sector across functions - approvals, architecture, design, structural design, delivery of drawings, construction, marketing, coordinating with the architect for views is all about project management. The moment there are multiple stakeholders and teams involved, you have a project in hand. For real estate development, it is an extremely essential skillset. Across the board, people are undertrained when it comes to project management skills; we tend to do it by default, it isn't done by design. There is a huge need to ramp up the project management capability not just across people who are responsible for project delivery but also for the development in its entirety.

P.G. Waray, executive director, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (India): In our industry, it is nothing else but project management because we are answerable to the client. Without project management, I cannot satisfy the client on a daily basis. The project length is from one to three years; tenacity is required to achieve these project milestones on a daily basis. And at the end of the day, project management in your own life, or in an industry or company, it is indispensable.

ET: What are some of the challenges that you've encountered individually in your careers and after implementing project management frameworks?
Debashish Mitra, senior director, operations, Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd.: In India, we look at the minimum cost to do a project. We don't bother about constructability. If you don't start from there, it would lead to a larger problem, and then all the stakeholders will be fighting with each other. With project management, you can handle the mess a little better.

Milind Godbole, managing director, Honeywell Turbo Technologies: There are two key aspects when you try to convert your vision into execution and get results. One is, of course, the skill of the conductor of the orchestra; the project manager. You may not be a master in each of the cross-functional pieces but you should know how they work and operate. Secondly, you must know what makes things work so that you can fit the jigsaw puzzle and figure out the milestones against which you will measure that.

ET: What can the government do across the board and industries to implement best practices in project management?
Raj Kalady: Earlier in 2016, FICCI and PMI collaborated and came up with recommendations for the government to build project management capabilities for programs like Make in India to succeed. The three recommendations are: the requirement of a framework and an implementation plan for continuous improvement in the quality of stakeholder engagement and risk management. Second, the need for a nodal agency to monitor project execution and provide support for on-time completion. And third, training and tools for enhancing organizational project management capabilities.
 
 

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