The conference discussed ways to indigenise project management, made recommendations to policymakers and planners that RFPs and technical evaluations must be made more professionally, and called for a national policy on including professional project management processes and expertise. A report.
Indian projects suffer from, among many ailments, a lack of transparency and trust among stakeholders. At the 4th Infrastructure Today International Conference 2011 in Hyderabad, held on 16-17 March, whose theme was “Project Management: Building Replicability and Predictability in Infrastructure Projects”, speakers and participants shared what can be done to address this and other issues stemming from it.
Sessions on the second day, including a workshop, discussed how project manaÂgement can be implemented to arrest cost and time overruns that plague infrastructure projects in India as well as how to address the increasingly burdensome issue of human resource in infrastructure.
Conference Chair Stuart Macaskie, an international project management conÂsultant, offered a summary of the conference and policy recommendations for better implementation. Recommendations inclÂuded ways to overcome the obvious constraints of labour, overruns and delays: “We need a national policy on mobilising, motivating and especially training the skilled and unskilled labour pool-one of the biggest such constraints.” RFPs and techÂnical evaluations must mandatorily include professional project management processes and expertise, the conference chair said. Better training and tailored curricula to connect with the industry and the broader infrastructure vision is needed badly, he said. The constraints of multiple agencies working on silos would need professional managements, it was recomÂmended. Macaskie pointed out that our infrastructure industries need to improve enforcement of contracts.
Trust deficit: Earlier, Governor of Andhra Pradesh ESL Narasimhan, who inaugurated the two-day conference at Hotel Taj Banjara, identified the premise of project management: “There is a trust deficit among us because of the gap between what we promise and what we deliver.” Narasimhan called upon the industry to think of ways to achieve a cherished conÂvergence of strategic, social, development and commercial goals. Cautioning poliÂcymakers against going overboard on projects, he said: “I am not convinced we need so many ports in such close vicinity of each other.”
Guest of Honour Dr Pronab Sen, Principal Advisor to the Planning Commission, said we need a shift in perspective from the macro to the micro: “The real constraints are at the micro-levels,” he said, laying the foundation for a case for professional handling of our projects. He said a major way in which to build predictability into projects would be to factor in real-world constraints into their documentation.
Spend more time planning: The reason is evident, as project management expert Adesh Jain, Honorary President, Project Management Associates (PMA-India) and Global Advisor to the Prime Minister's Forum, pointed out. Jain exemplified the need for spending more time on planning by an interesting comparative study between developed and developing counÂtries. While projects in mature economies spend a major amount of time in planning and achieve project completion within a spipulated time, developing countries-which are learning through experience-spend more time on execution and normally finish late. He explained that the project stage at which the maximum effort is exercised is related to efficiency through the process of Intent, Design, Planning, Procurement, MobiÂlisation, Construction, Handover and CloseÂout. Raj Kalady, Managing Director, PMI India, underscored the impÂortance of systems-driven project impleÂmentation in overÂcoming risks in projects.
Speakers at the conference discussed broader aspects as well as implementaÂtional matters in project risk management, cost control, how to choose the right teams, what software can be included for better project management, etc. Case studies were presented from the famed Delhi International Airport Terminal 3 project, an Andhra Pradesh power project, and so on. In conclusion, a workshop by certified Project Manager P Seenivasan took the delegates through a typical process of documentation.
Earlier, ASAPP Media's Group Executive Editor Shashidhar Nanjundaiah welcomed the gathering and laid down the rationale for the conference, and said more interactivity at such conferences is critical for meaningful dialogue. The conference was conducted by ASAPP Conferences, a division of Mumbai-based ASAPP Media Information Group.