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Project Management - The New Age Consulting Mantra for India

By Raj Kalady, Managing Director, Project Management Institute

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Raj Kalady, Managing Director, Project Management Institute

The consulting industry in India is poised for enormous growth. The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to reach ~INR 338 bn by FY 2017. The consulting sector depending on the type of service provided and the nature of industry service is broadly divided into five verticals: Management & Strategy Consulting; Engineering Consulting; Legal Consulting; Socio Economic Consulting and Information Technology (IT) Consulting.

Project Management is a part of the management and strategy consulting industry. It is widely practiced and incorporated among sectors like infrastructure; energy; automobile; real estate, IT-ITeS and defence. Project management has emerged as a powerful tool for addressing the complex needs and requirements of today’s business world. Organizations are turning to the profession to improve efficiency and trim costs. Increasing demand, in turn, translates into a growing need for universities and other academic institutions to develop programs that educate and train project professionals at all levels and for all industries.

In India, organizations waste an average of USD 71 million for every USD 1 billion spent on projects or programs due to poor project performance as per PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report -2015

Adoption of Project Management Best practices and Project Delivery Performance in India

Organizations today talk a good game about strategy, but without thorough project management even the most thought and forward-thinking strategies fail. Project management processes help to bridge the chasm between high level strategic vision and successful outcomes. Organizations continue to struggle in this battle of survival. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession®: The High Cost of Low Performance found only 42 percentage (less than half) of organizations report high alignment of projects to organizational strategy. It is important for any project to be in sync with strategy along with being completed on time and in the stipulated budget otherwise it turns out to be a waste of capital.

Challenges and Constraints in the Indian Industry

Any organization, irrespective of the sector it might be operating in, undertakes a project only when it is critical to its business operations. PMI India along with FICCI has identified some of the critical causes of concern, generic impediments and challenges towards project success.

a. Inaccurate assessment of project risks: Assessing risks is the key to any project’s success. Ability to successfully address and mitigate risk lowers time to market and provides innovators’ advantage.

b. Lack of capability to manage project complexity: There is definite dearth of experienced project managers in India. Project management operates in a management environment of chaos, change and complexity.

c. Inability to correctly estimate and monitor: The inability to correctly estimate and monitor is the prime reason behind project delays and cost over-runs in India. There are other related reasons for time and cost over-runs as perceived by project managers but nearly half of the project managers have experienced at least one project failure recently due to incorrect estimation.

d. Ineffective utilization of best practices and benchmarks: Driving excellence and achieving best practices in terms of cost management, time management, change management and quality management during project execution is yet to become a focus of the Indian project management practices. Project teams in India are fire-fighting to ensure projects don’t run into cost or time over-runs.

e. Difficulty in involving multiple and diverse stakeholders: Overcoming the challenge to create a shared vision of the project is necessary for its success. Clearly defined and understood project goals and objectives, costs and measures of success are of particular importance in establishing a common understanding across varied stakeholders.

f. Inability to synchronize project plan and execution: Projects are marked by constant changes in user requirements and this tends to alter the scope of projects. 41 percentage of projects in India suffer as funds and resources are not available and aligned to the dynamic needs of project execution.

These key concerns can be looked at as practices that need to be considered at an organizational level rather than at a project level to optimize the success ratios as most of these involve changes the way an organization governs and manages its operation. The future of project management professionals looks promising as, the Anderson Economic Group’s study, ‘Estimating Project Management Practitioner Skills Gap, 2010 - 2020’, estimates that every year up to 2020,  India would required almost 4,00,000 new project professionals in project-oriented industries. In the end it can be summarized that as the practice of project management matures the connection between organizational project management and business value will become clearer. Thus, resulting in enabling and empowering India to create better future and become competitive as compared to other developing nations. 

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