Jan 22, 2013

A Talk on Project Management and Strategic Planning

A guest lecture was delivered by Mr. Aditya Kumar, Solution Transformation Leader, Schneider Electric on 11th Jan, 2013. He has specialized in Project Planning, Contract & Risk Management, Turnkey Projects, Business Processes, Energy Management, Building Project organization and thus his talk was focused on these aspects. He discussed that how the strategy and project management go hand in hand. Just as strategies and ideas lead to new projects, similarly, project results drive changes and give rise to new strategies and innovations.

He explained that a project is a venture undertaken to produce a product or service. Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, procuring and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of project by the application of skills, knowledge, tools and techniques and meet the need and expectations of all the parties who are directly or indirectly interested in the project. The main challenge with project management is to achieve the project goal and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, and budget. Secondary and ambitious challenges are to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives..

Mr Kumar explained the process of Strategic planning of project management into following steps:
-          Project initiation (Prepare charter, Identify interested parties)
-          Project planning and design (Specify quality, schedule, resource, communication and activities
-          Project execution (Perform all the planned activities)
-          Project monitoring and controlling (Ensure quality, cost and schedule)
-          Project completion (Closing and Review)

Mr Kumar stressed the need of project management for Strategic planning. Various principles of project Management such as BCG Matrix drills down strategic direction to strategic initiative, running the initiative and driving the initiative by project management officer were also discussed in brief.

He told us that India operation for Schneider Electric comprises of 17000+ people, 1000+ R&amp, D people, 30000+ POS in India, geographical presence across 21 cities in India. Schneider Electric stands No.1 in world and No.3 in India in Energy Management sector. Discussing modus operandi in Indian scenario for key Energy Management projects, he said his company is consistently involved in bringing new technology and better efficiency for optimum energy utilization in core sectors. In energy projects they were able to bring about 30% reductions in energy bills. The company is more focused in penetrating the rural sector which has immense potential, to this regard he quoted-“You need to have India for India offer”.

To conclude, He highlighted that for a successful completion of project the requirement lies in-:
-          Good coordination among the groups in project team
-          Good synchronization between project manager, team members and the stakeholders.
-          "Double your top line, Reduce your workforce”
-          Some projects can create to investigate an issue
-          Failure happens – Learn from failure.
-          Leveraging project Management in strategy, planning and deployment.
Mr Kumar made a lively presentation on the subject and retained the attention of the students by giving live examples, the best one being evaluation of energy efficiency of Airtel India. To sum up the guest lecture was quite enjoyed and liked by students and faculties.

Manoj Jhawar
Events and Seminars, PR & Media Cell
MBA, IME, IIT Kanpur