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India need result-oriented project managers

India need result-oriented project managers

Speaking to INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY from Hong Kong, Sandhya Jane said that hiring of capable project managers could significantly contribute to executing public projects in a timely manner, preventing wastage of public money, and improving overall quality of life in India.

Why does India require a pool of well-trained project managers?
Global leaders and experts project India as a country with the highest annual growth among the major world economies. It has the potential of achieving double-digit growth in the years to come. Such growth is executed through a series of new initiatives as well as expansion of its existing infrastructure projects in a systematic and professional manner. We need highly result-oriented pool of project or programme managers to define the objective of changes behind such new initiatives or expansions and implement them within the pre-defined scope and budget. In their absence, there could be delays in delivery or unnecessary wastage of resources that would directly have an adverse bearing on not just the successful implementation of such initiatives or schemes but also the countrys growth rate.

What kind of growth opportunities does the worlds fastest-growing major economy offer to project management aspirants?
India offers tremendous opportunities to project managers to work on many new initiatives or turnkey projects that may be first of their kind. Take, for example, the Delhi metro. The execution of a project of such complex nature in the Delhi NCR was extremely challenging. Project managers had to assess and understand the socio-economic impact of urban railway projects in a rapidly developing nation like India, imbibe the appropriate latest technologies, and define objectives and features of similar projects in future. This gave rise to new complexities that require knowledge, experience, and creativity for their successful resolution. In the process, there have been many new learnings for the next wave of Indian project managers. Alternatively, project managers in developed western economies may not have the opportunity to work on new infrastructure projects, because these nations already have a well-functioning infrastructure in place though it may no longer be novel or state-of-art.

How does a certified course help a person, who is keen to make a career in the field, specialise in the domain?
The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers Project Management Professional (PMP) and Programme Management Professional (PgMP) certifications. Similarly, Scrum Alliance offers Certified Scrum Master training. Both institutes enjoy high credibility. One can also opt for a masters degree in project management from the Penn State University Word Campus, Boston University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland University College, or Stevens Institute of Technology. Details of such institutes and their rankings can be found online.

Since you have an ongoing engagement with students from all over the world, tell us about your experience.
Apart from India, I also teach students from China, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Dubai, Canada, the UK, and the US. In comparison to their global counterparts, it is my observation that Indian project management students are always more open to updating and upgrading their skills. This might be due to a culture that lays great emphasis on studying hard to acquire knowledge and experience from early on. Therefore, PMI, Scrum Alliance, International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), and several other leading global institutes have a very strong presence in India.

How can the effective implementation of business strategy through project management practices help the Indian infrastructure sector become cost-effective?
If the right leaders are available at the helm from the very beginning to define the project goals and vision through systematic study and research, wastage of taxpayers money and inconvenience to end users can be prevented, and an overall improvement can be perceived in the quality of life.

What would be your message to project management aspirants in India?
Other than hard work, Indian project managers need to lay greater emphasis on creative thinking and adherence to high standards and framework to achieve success. They not only need to go out and study the project from every dimension, but also define it proactively based on the current and future needs. They should avoid getting into patchwork thinking or taking shortcuts, since they are not going to solve problems in long run. If there are budget constraints, they can implement the work in phases, but ensure that the vision remains robust throughout.

– Manish Pant

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