Tuesday, February 21, 2006

S.P. Jain - Principles and Framework for Project Management

Five, 9 hour days of gruelling work later, I must admit that the course was totally worth it. The time literally flew by and I can say with a fair bit of confidence that my perspectives on the art and science of project management have shifted significantly.

I've learnt a lot and not just from the instructor (Prof. Ajay Parasrampuria). As he himself pointed out, with more than 200 man-years of experience in the room, there's not a whole lot he could have added. 'Course, he went right ahead and did just that! But more on that later...

There were around 20 participants from a wide range of backgrounds. We had people from USAID, GAIL and Emirates. Large corporations, small companies and one hopeful entrepreneur. People with more than 40 years of organisational management experience and those with very little.

And of course, me :-)

The most important and illuminating part of the entire 5 days was the sharing of past experiences by the participants. Some were more reserved than others and remained regrettably silent, but there was enough back and forth to keep everyone interested.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that we did all the work and Ajay just stood back and listened in :-). His knowledge of the PMBOK framework was outstanding, as was his ability to communicate with the rest of us. His ability to continually relate principles from the framework to his and others real life experiences was absolutely riveting.

Perhaps the most educational part of the course were the daily 'games' we participated in. Now I can't reveal the details since we were requested not to ruin the surprise for the next batch, but I hope I can say they were excellent learning experiences. For me, the moment of PMBOK epiphany came during one of them when I noticed just how easy managing the entire (rather complicated) project became once we abandoned our ad-hoc procedures and started to follow the process framework. Things started to slot into place almost immediately and it was shockingly easy to manage all that data and derive meaning from it.

The highlight of the course for me was the presentation on "Monitoring and Controlling IT Projects" by Mr. Tapan Bose, V.P. for Financial/Banking Projects at Satyam Computers. Lots of useful observations from the trenches and insights on what works and what doesn't. The main points I picked up was not to forget the human dimension (especially team building) and to treat the process as a part of the project, not as a template filling chore carried out under threat of audit.

Of course, the most depressing part of the entire exercise was the realisation by all concerned, of how little of what we'd learnt will actually be applied in real life. We might be all gung-ho about working according to the PMBOK framework in our next project, but without institutional support (what the PMBOK would call Enterprise Environmental Factors and Organisational Processes Assets :-), it's very difficult to be an agent of change. There has got to be buy in from top management, or it's all just an expensive waste of time.

Here's to hoping I can actually use what I've learnt!


ShyamVarma said...

Just to give u all an update on the 5 days we had spent at SP Jain College, Mumbai with Prof. Ajay Parsarampuria my personal opinion about the professor is that he is too good on this knowledge area and for me he is simply genius, extremely knowledgeable. Strict about the time and flexible in taking participants queries if outside scope then ready to answer it after class ends in the evening. As you already mentioned about his experience in the Industry this gives us even more idea in day to day how the framework is been implemented and how it should.
About the Course it was very well balanced and covered all important areas. On the last day even he touched upon the topics which were not included in the scope -:)
For me their is no specific topic/ simulations but I was really very impressed the way he took the simulation exercise for building houses: We could not prepare a single house as per specifications what went wrong ?... I feel lack of Planning from my side and Monitoring the project at every stage was the key in this project.

It was really a great experience to be part of this program, and get to know about participants experiences along with Senior Professors.

Prof Gautam & Prof.KT Upadhya also came for sharing and giving us the training on Communication and Overall view of the PMP processes.
And Dr M L Shrikant, Dean of Dubai chapter attended the training, also shared his experiences with us.

"The Day of the Jackal" movie where in mostly all processes of PMP is been shown how they are used, was amazing, the question/ answer session which made it more clear by Prof KT and Prof Ajay.

Definitely presentation by Mr. Tapan Bose gave us the insight of the Monitoring and Controlling aspects of the projects with his vast experience in the industry.


ShyamVarma said...

Correction: Dubai Chapters Dean is Dr. Tapan P Bagchi. My sincere apologies.