‘Unconference’ At Thomson Reuters
PMI India

PMI India and the project management community at Thomson Reuters organized the fifth annual Project Management Unconference in Bengaluru in June. Around 120 delegates, including Thomson Reuters employees, customers, and partners, and PMI guests, attended the event.

Unlike in a traditional conference where the flow of information is mostly one way, an ‘unconference’ follows a format in which delegates actively participate in the sessions. The sessions promote the collaborative spirit among the participants and encourage knowledge exchange.

The theme for this unconference was “Leveraging project management to transform customer experience.” It relates to envisioning the application of project management principles to bring about a positive customer experience. The event aimed at fostering awareness and providing a forum to discuss project management techniques and methodologies that can be leveraged to bring about this transformation.

‘UNCONFERENCE’ AT THOMSON REUTERS There were two sessions of World Café – a simple, effective, and flexible format modelled after a coffee shop experience that facilitates the exchange of dialogues in a large group by breaking it into small groups. Each session started with a question crafted around the theme, and the groups were invited to discuss and share their insights with the larger audience.

The premise of this format is that the wisdom emanating from a group is higher than the sum of the wisdom of the individuals in the group. The first session was around evolving markets driven by changes in technology, regulation and external, macro factors. How can long-standing product and service organizations with rich legacies handle this challenge and maximize opportunities?

The second session was around customer touch-points and the challenges of maintaining customer satisfaction over the course of the customer journey from on-boarding to final billing. How can organizations ensure that there are no broken service delivery chains and that end-to-end customer satisfaction is achieved?

Some of the takeaways from the first session were: Don’t get complacent about competition; don’t get bogged down by complex internal processes; empower the project team to deliver on customer requirements; invest in innovation; and don’t resist change.

Some the takeaways from the second session were: Start early involvement with the sales teams to ensure deliverable scope and timelines; empathize with customer needs; and invest in building and supporting self-service modules for customers.

There were three keynote speakers and four short talks. Basu Dutta, management consultant and transformation leader, PMI Bangalore Chapter spoke about benefit realization and its relevance in the customer experience transformation journey.

Leaders from Thomson Reuters took part in a panel discussion. The panelists were Karen McNulty, head, customer proposition program management office, the sponsor for the event, who had flown down from Switzerland; Ilango Periannan, Head, EBO-OTC Operations Center; and Mohan Patnaik, Global Head - Operation Centers & RMO.

The event was a success thanks to the time and effort of a team of volunteers comprising Manish Sadashiv, Ramya Ramachandra (committee chair), Ranjani Balasunder, Gayathri Krishnan, Aparna Kishore, Kariappa Mekerira, and Chaithra Chikkegowda. Jacob Varghese and Shine Sahadevan from PMI India supported the team and provided the delegates updates about PMI, and responded to their queries.