Letter from Managing Director, PMI India   |   Download a PDF version     



Tathagat Varma
founder and CEO
Thought Leadership
Workshop on Managing Complexity in Projects: Identify the Difference Between Complex and ComplicatedSystems
Observing that people imagined the world to be static, when it was not, Tathagat Varma exhorted delegates to develop the ability to distinguish between complex and complicated systems while managing projects. He pointed out that people were confused between the two and made wrong decisions. "You may have the required certification but still struggle. That's because you are applying the wrong method and tools," he said.

He defined complex systems as those which involved units in large numbers with a capacity to regenerate and self organize to adapt to emerging situations. He gave examples of flock of birds that flew in a defined formation safely without colliding with one another; neurons in the brain that regenerated; ants that organized themselves to overcome a hurdle; and small fishes that united to form a larger shape to intimidate a predator. "In complex systems, previous experience has no use; there is no mechanical fixed pattern to respond," he said.

He defined complicated systems as those which required expertise and worked on the basis of the 'cause and effect' principle. He gave the example of a car mechanic to elaborate his definition. "A complicated system can be taught and it requires expertise," he said, pointing out that 'safe-fail' experiments could be carried out in a complicated system.

He also gave examples of distress situations involving complex and complicated systems to drive home his point. On the one hand, the Titanic, which was built as an unsinkable vessel, sank after hitting icebergs, while on the other, a pilot managed to land a passenger aircraft on the Hudson river after both the engines failed due to bird hits. He said complex and complicated systems required different approaches by managers. While complex systems involved people, and required open discussions and rapport, complicated systems required better planning and execution of structured components. He urged project managers to apply modern tools like the Cynefin framework and agile approaches to project management to manage better.




Kevin Kelly
author and speaker
Masterclass - The Art of Xceptional Selling - How to engage a Goldfish?
You may have heard that the attention span of a goldfish is just nine seconds. But do you know where human beings stand? It's a notch lower at eight seconds. Besides giving rise to a host of behavioral issues, this poses a huge challenge for sales people who now need to employ innovative methods to get your attention.

In a highly engaging session, Kevin Kelly established some ground rules for effective selling. These rules apply irrespective of the fact whether you want to sell a software program or a submarine. A cardinal principle of selling is to pay attention to what the customer wants, and thereby establish a strong connection. "Focus on what you see and not what you had planned to say or do. Change your communication strategy by looking at the response you get (from your customer)," he said. The second basic rule of selling is to follow intuition and gut while talking to a potential customer. "Use intuition as your mind's compass," he added.

However, these exceptional times of attention deficit customers call for exceptional selling and negotiating methods. Mr. Kelly recommends three compelling selling techniques - or the 3Ms of message, messenger, and mob management. "People remember stories, not facts. So story-telling is not only the obvious way to sell but also the way to build attention and survive in business. And the greatest story ever told is the customer story," he said. He asked delegates to sell their story in a hashtag for better recall and impact.

The next important element in exceptional selling is the messenger, or in other words, the sales person. "Energy and enthusiasm are key. Dream a dream bigger than yourself. Being positive goes into your psychology and physical appearance," advises Mr. Kelly.

Mob management, or managing customers, is about making the right connections with the customer. "Focus on the customer; repeat their words back to them so that it is like selling people back their product. Understand the customer pain point and create authentic friendships," he adds.

He cited a social media campaign, called fiveraweek, that he initiated in an Ireland county to collect funds for a local sports facility in the UK. He combined all these elements to lead this successful campaign.

back to top  back to top

© 2017 Project Management Institute, Inc. Brought to you by CyberMedia Services.


PMI Organization Center Private Limited
302-305, III Floor, Balarama, Plot No. C-3, E Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E), Mumbai, India 400 051
Phone: +91 22 2659 8659, Fax: +91 22 2659 2235.     www.pmi.org.in

"PMI", the PMI logo, "CAPM", "PMP", "PMBOK", "PM Network", and "Project Management Institute" are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc. For a comprehensive list of PMI marks, please refer to the PMI List of Marks found on our website at www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Media/PMI_List_of_Marks.ashx or contact the PMI Legal Department.