29 May 2020

Table of Contents for Project Management

Guest Article-PMI

Poised for take off


RAJ KALADY shows the route to India’s transformation from project announcement to successful implementation


The Indian economy is scaling up at a fast pace than ever before and construction is the second largest economic activity in India after agriculture that has been growing rapidly. Substantial investments in infrastructure continue to be required to sustain the pace of economic progress. India’s capacity to absorb and benefit from new technology and industries depends on the availability, quality and efficiency of more basic forms of infrastructure including energy, water and land transportation. In some areas, roads, rail lines, ports and airports are already operating at capacity, so expansion is a necessary prerequisite for further economic growth. Construction projects account for a substantial portion of the proposed investments, making the Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry one of the biggest beneficiaries of the infrastructure boom in India.






Liberalisation of regulations and a deliberate strategy from the Indian Government spells opportunities for the E&C industry in India. All of the infrastructure sectors present excellent opportunities with roads and highways, ports and airports, railways and power. Public Private Partnership is a model for public infrastructure; where in the public partner is represented by the Government at local, state or national level, are gaining importance and are benefiting from Government support.


According to IDFC Infra Pulse, January 2016 report by IDFC Securities, NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) has currently undertaken projects worth `309 billion which are at various stages of bidding. Pace of highway project completion improved to 15 km per day from 12 km per day in FY15. Highway projects totaling 6,353 km have been awarded and 3,962 km have been completed during the period April to December 2015. They also envisage launching the Bharat Mala project road project for the construction of 25,000 km of roads connecting India’s border, coastal areas, ports, religious and tourist places as well as 100 district head quarters.


Out of the 15,000 km road projects in FY17, 30 per cent will be on PPP basis and the balance will be on EPC mode. To further add on a host of private sector construction players have invested in infrastructure sector, mainly through the BOT model (Build-Operate-Transfer), the report added.


To fulfill India’s aspirations to generate significant increase in infrastructure spending in the years to come, it will have to rely heavily on private investors as opposed to earlier policies of state-run agencies building roads, airports, and power projects. The Government of India has been keen to involve the private sector in the delivery of infrastructure but it is complicated for the private sector to work out service standards while maintaining social responsibility and keeping the enterprise financially viable. To achieve this, a large injection of capital is required. The government is helping private sector developers by lowering their risk in the road projects. This has found reflection through the timely introduction of capital in the Telecom and Aviation sector, which in turn has shown remarkable results in a short span of time.


The Centre plans to double the total capacity of major and non-major ports in the country. The present port capacity just about manages to handle the prevailing levels of traffic though ports which are getting increasingly congested. Meanwhile, the bulk of the funding for increased cargo handling capacity will be obtained from the private sector and the ports themselves through internal resource generation and borrowings.






Given the fact that substantial investments are being made in the construction and infrastructure industry, the game changer to achieve feasible and economic development of the country will be project management. Project management processes are indeed critical to bridge the chasm between high level strategic vision and successful outcomes.


It is alarming that in India organisations waste an average of 11 per cent ($109 million for every $1 billion spent on projects or programs) due to poor project performance as per PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report, 2015. Imagine the impact a saving of even 50 per cent of the wastage would have on the bottom line!


It is an imperative to be able to distinguish between projects and business as usual. The characteristics, scope and nature of the project should be analysed. Environmental factors also affect the project lifecycle. The principles of governance of project management such as policies, regulations, functions, processes, procedures and responsibilities should be highlighted. The project life cycle has to be embedded into the project, which includes concept, definition, development, handover, closure and benefit realization. Risk is also a key concern in any project. The project has to be structured in phases, part by part phase reviews have to be conducted. A standard operating procedure has to be embedded in the project life cycle which will serve a platform for sharing knowledge.  One has to determine the purpose and key contents of project communication plan and the benefits of its use. Consider factors which can positively or negatively affect communication. The project manager’s competence is the key to success for any project, which showcases his technical and monitoring capabilities. The manager showcases his faith in his project team by delegating the authority to his team, an important part of stakeholder management. The project members have to co-ordinate amicably and provide feedback to the senior management so that the management can plan and schedule the further activities.


Overall, the opportunities to develop significant businesses look promising in India for Engineering and Construction organisations if they have proper project scope management, schedule and resource management, project procurement, crises management and project quality management.



In sum, the country is taking a huge leap forward. It is getting on the growth trajectory using various initiatives. Launch of projects like Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities, etc., the opening of doors for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), entering into PPP models with corporate India, are signs of an attempt to create a better India. To sustain the pace and ensure successful execution of these initiatives it is essential that standard processes for planning, execution and monitoring are put in place with project management playing a vital role. Realising the need in the present scenario, PMI in association with FICCI has identified critical issues which need to be addressed to reduce the gap between the as-is and to-be state to create a conducive environment for projects like Make in India to succeed.
The recommendations based on issues identified are:
  • Framework and implementation plan for continuous improvement in quality of stakeholder engagement and risk management in large projects
  • Need for nodal agencies to monitor project execution and provide support for on time completion, primarily to intervene when projects run into problems and to pick up signals for proactive action in future
  • Training and tools for enhancing organisational project management capabilities especially in government; project monitoring and organisation for project execution



The author is Managing Director,

Project Management Institute (PMI) India

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