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Setting the Agenda for Progress
Leaders across sectors take the stage to advocate project management to achieve the vision of a developed India


Delegates represented different regions of the country, industries, and specializations across the three-day conference

Indians have often looked to the past for inspiration, taking refuge in the glory of an ancient civilization to propitiate themselves and stay hopeful. Now that has changed to a great extent; instead of invoking the past, Indians across class, age, and regional divides are looking to the future with the aspirations of living in a developed nation.

This attitudinal change is mainly due to the vision set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the ambitious programs and projects launched by the Government of India to galvanize the economy and tackle social ills. However, the vision will stay unfulfilled if the country does not institutionalize project management to plan and execute these projects well.

The eighth Project Management National Conference in Mumbai held from 17-19 November was an effort by PMI India, host PMI Mumbai Chapter, and co-host PMI Pune-Deccan India Chapter to bring together project leaders, industry experts, bureaucrats, and academicians to hold a discourse on Project Management Indispensable for Vision India, the conference theme. The most commonly expressed sentiment during the three-day volunteer-driven conference was: India today needs project management expertise more than ever before.

The keynote speakers touched upon some common challenges that project managers face today such as emerging opportunities for practitioners in India, new trends to watch out for, and changing business models due to technology disruptions. Representing different sectors, the speakers were: Prashant Ranade, executive vice chairman, Syntel; Commodore Homipal Singh, director general, Naval Trials and Acceptance Authority, Indian Navy; Kevin Kelly, author and speaker; Shirish Sankhe, senior partner, McKinsey & Company; Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle; Rajesh Krishnan, managing director and CEO, Brick Eagle; Achyut Godbole, managing director, Softexcel Consultancy Services; Mahesh Murthy, founder, Pinstorm and co-founder, Seedfund; and Amit Jadhav, founder & CEO, Modelcam Technologies Pvt Ltd., Coolacharya.com, Taskmarketing.in.

PMI leaders inaugurate the conference. On the dais are (from left) Craig Killough, Raj Kalady, Tejas Sura, D.Y. Pathak, Ashfaq Ahmed, Rajarama Rao Bannengala, and Girish Kadam

The conference ended with an insightful session by Harsha Bhogle, cricket commentator and journalist, on the work habits of champions, the secrets behind winning teams, and leadership styles.

The coveted, annual project awards were given away at the conference. Larsen and Toubro (L&T) picked up yet another award this year in the category Project of the Year - Large (>Rs. 1,000 crore) for the prestigious Mumbai International Airport. The runner-up in this category was the Trident Group for its Integrated Composite Textile project in Budni, Madhya Pradesh. In the Project of the Year - Medium (>Rs. 100 crore) category, Ericsson India Global Services bagged the award for its Telenor-Grameenphone Frame Contract Business Support Services Transformation project, and Tata Housing Development Company Ltd. was the runner-up for Amantra, a real estate project in Mumbai. There were no winners in the Project of the Year - Small (
The Project of the Year - Contribution to Community Award went to L&T Power for its Construction Skills Training Centre project in village Satmohini, Madhya Pradesh. Tata Consultancy Services won the Jury Award in this category for its IT Skills Employability project.

The winner in the Project of the Year - NGO category went to World Vision India for its Chennai Flood Relief project and the runner-up to the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) for the Kondh Tribal Development Project in Laxmipur, Odisha.

The fourth and last of the PMI India series of CXO Roundtables on the conference theme, in association with The Economic Times, took place at the conference. The participants were R.K. Mishra, IPS, principal advisor to State Planning Commission, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Craig Killough, vice president, organization markets, PMI; Aftab Ullah, COO, L&T Infotech; Prasanna Kamat, CTO, Capgemini; and Anand Pattani, country manager and managing director, Black & Veatch.

Delegates who had registered during the "early bird" period got to choose between two interactive and engaging sessions: a masterclass on "The Art of Xceptional Selling - How to engage a Goldfish?" by Kevin Kelly and a workshop on "Managing Complexity in Projects" by Tathagat Varma, founder and CEO, Thought Leadership.

Raj Kalady, managing director, PMI India, provided delegates the highlights of the year on the fronts of advocacy, community outreach and engagement, and knowledge creation and sharing.

Delegates also had a wide choice of other sessions by invited speakers and practitioners selected by the paper governance team constituted specially for the conference. These speakers presented on topics of increasing interest in the community such as behavioral economics, design thinking, automation, and agile approaches to project management.

This year, the conference offered delegates an enhanced digital experience through the conference app that hosted several contests across the three days. Delegates also took part in an audience poll during the keynote session by Mr. Ranade, the results of which were presented towards the end of the talk.

The conference project team, which comprised of volunteers from PMI Mumbai Chapter and PMI Pune-Deccan India Chapter, has now handed over the baton to PMI Chennai Chapter and PMI Trivandrum-Kerala Chapter for the ninth conference in 2017.

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