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Newsletter - Nov 2013

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PM Essence
Chapter News

- Capt. L. N. Prasad & Soumen De, PMP
Nov2013 chapnews PM Footprints: During the month of Oct 2013 the PM Footprints sessions was held on 10 and 24 Oct at Hotel Royal Orchid Manipal Centre.

On 10 Oct 2013 Mr Jitendra Kumar Kaushik spoke on 'TRANSFORMING TEAM PERFORMANCE.' This was covered in October Essence. 
Mr. Vinod D'souza being thanked by Mr. Basu Dutta
On 24 Oct 2013 session Mr. Vinod D'Souza spoke on the topic 'Kaizen blitz- Reinvigorating your development process'. The speaker highlighted the advantages of using the Kaizen blitz which can make massive improvements in cycle time in a very short period without adding additional capital and without compromising quality. Both the programs were very well attended and gave useful input to the members present at the event. cn2
Participants of Agile Foundation Program

Agile Foundation Program

The one day Agile Foundation Program based on the ACP Quest program was held on 26 Oct 2013 at Dhi learning centre. Sixteen agile aspirants attended the program and went back with some profound takeaways from the course. The foundation program is focused on introduction of the Agile methodology and is designed to lay the foundation for ACP certification. Chapter will be conducting more such courses depending on participant's interest and feedback.


PMI Award for Chapter

Like every year, The PMI Global Chapter Awards program received many outstanding applications from a record number of 34 Chapters across the globe. Upon review and evaluation of all submitted applications, the Bangalore Chapter's excellent programs and member benefits has been recognized with a “Recognition of Excellence Award” by the esteemed jury members from PMI Headquarters.

The award ceremony was held on Oct 25, 2013 in Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) in New Orleans, LA, USA that had representation of about 1000 chapter leaders from over 200+ chapters across the globe. Mr. Vijay Paul, Director-Volunteering and Mr. Sumanth Padival, VP-Technology represented Bangalore Chapter
in the Leadership Institute Meeting. Mr. Vijay Paul received the award from Ms. Deanna Landers, Chair – PMI Board of Directors and Mr. Mark Langley, President and CEO, PMI.
The Bangalore Chapter was recognized for this award in Category IV standing shoulder to shoulder among long standing Chapters like Washington, Houston, New York and Japan Chapters that have been existing for much long before Bangalore Chapter. The award had been given to recognise Chapters' contribution towards member services, successful annual conference, publications and outreach to students community. This could not have come at a better time when the Chapter is completing 15 years since it started operations on 1998.

Needless to say this was possible due to unflinching support and participation from our members, volunteers, speakers, Advisory Board members, corporate organisations and vendor partners. With their help Chapter has had achieved many milestones in the past in the areas of member services, education, academics and social responsibility in line with its vision of promoting the cause for advancement of project management in the region.

We would like to take this moment to thank all the present and past members, volunteers, officers, advisors, customers and associates for helping us to achieve this distinction. This is a great motivation for all of us. Together we can do much more. We would like to invite you to join us to sustain these initiatives and help us take it to the next level.

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PM Essence
Q. In this kind of leadership, the leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible?

A. Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world. While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in "The Servant as Leader", an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said: “The servantleader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leaderfirst and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings
and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature" A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and wellbeing of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different.

[Source - Internet]

We like to hear what you think!!

Please complete the sentence below with your thoughts in 10-15 words and send them to. The best entry will win attractive goodies from PMI Bangalore India Chapter.

A project without a Critical Path is like............

Please provide your response by 24th November 2013

Chapter will select the best slogan and felicitate the winner during a Chapter event.

In our October edition, we had asked you to express your thoughts in 10-15 words to continue the following sentence

Running a project without a WBS is like .........

And the best response is...

“…moving towards a visible destination on an invisible road.”

... and the Winner is Abhishek Roy, from General Motors.
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PM Essence
Editor’s Note
SoumenDe Dear Friends,

Greetings from PMI Bangalore India Chapter!

We are very pleased to share the good news with you that our Chapter has been awarded with the “Recognition of Excellence Award” by the esteemed jury members from PMI Headquarters.

The Bangalore Chapter was recognized for this award on 25th Oct 2013, in Category IV, standing shoulder to shoulder among long standing Chapters like Washington, Houston, New York and Japan Chapters that have been existing for much long before our Chapter. Please find more details in the Chapter News section of this newsletter. Over the years, the Chapter has started many initiatives and successfully sustained them. PMPC, PM Footprints, social projects with Rotary Club (e.g. Vidyadeepa project) are just to name a few. Such seemingly complex initiatives are made possible only by our volunteers, who notwithstanding their day's job, demonstrates great leadership skills and exemplary team work with contagious passion and enthusiasm. This award is truly a standing testimony of this fact. I had shared my views in last edition on how you can nurture your dream of becoming a great leader by volunteering at the Chapter and also nurture the spirit of team work. As we all know, leadership is a core competency of both project managers and leaders. At our Chapter, we are enabling volunteers to unlock their leadership potential. In this newsletter we do have one good article on leadership. Hope you will like this newsletter and share your views with us. I would like to end with this famous quote highlighting the spirit of teamwork and leadership which I think our volunteers have embraced wholeheartedly.

"The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I'.
And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I'.
They don't think 'I'. They think 'we'; they think 'team'.
They understand their job to be to make the team function.
They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit....
This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done."

                                                                                      --Peter F. Drucker
Happy Reading.

Thanks and Best Wishes,

Soumen De, PMP
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Editorial Board
Murali Santhanam, PMP
Raghavan S.S.V., PMP
Shikha Vaidh, PMP
Soumen De, PMP
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PM Essence

Leadership Challenges Create a Strong Project Manager

- D. John Peter, PMP, Mindtree

World has seen successful project managers like Sreedharan of Metro Rail projects. What makes them successful? Successful management and excellent leadership.

Project Manager is successful only when he/she has the required levels of leadership skills and experience. But how can we spot a successful project manager from the rest? By looking at the scars on his back; by learning the leadership challenges he has gone through. By nature, leadership challenges are unique, different and special.

So this article presents 6 rules related to Leadership Challenges in Project Management and how they help Project Manager(s) to become a STRONG Project Manager cum excellent Leader.

Rule 1 - Avoid overconfidence and underestimation

How often have you heard the statement “I have followed process and procedures but still things gone out of control, not sure why (this overrun has happened) ?”

The simple answers are over confidence of ignoring project constraints and underestimating project limitations and dependencies.

How to overcome this syndrome? Always ask the question like, what is unique, special and different here? These questions will ensure project manager is getting into details before taking decision instead of just going with their overconfidence or underestimate.

Rule 2 – Never hesitate to recognize mistakes and correct them

Most project managers refuse to accept mistakes. It is easy to put blame on somebody or environment for the failure of the project. Acknowledging a problem is the first step of solving it. So unless and until a project manager is knowing and solving the real issues, expected business revenue and career growth will not happen. Failure to recognize mistakes early would lead to more issues till the project becomes unrecoverable.

It is important for a project manager to see the mistakes and correct it quickly. If Project Manager allows mistakes to happen and hesitate to correct then issues will grow.

Rule 3 - No pain No gain

Going through pain and hardships are part of project managers journey. General tendency of project manager used to be looking for an ideal project or project with less dependencies and constraints because of unwillingness to take challenges. Whoever has taken challenges and gone through the painful process must have learnt the secrets of transforming challenges into opportunities.

When project manager accepts the challenges then it opens many opportunities for learning.

In December 1964, a cyclone washed away parts of Pamban Bridge that connected Rameswaram to mainland Tamil Nadu. The Railways set a target of six months for the bridge to be repaired while Sreedharan's boss, under whose jurisdiction the bridge came, reduced it to three months. Sreedharan was put in-charge of the execution and he restored the bridge in just 46 days. The Railway minister's award was given to him in recognition of this achievement.

Rule 4 - Identify a Master or Guru

Guidance is essential right from the childhood. Project managers too need a master to get trained in the area of project management. Only difference here is, Project manager has to identify a Master or Guru. The advantage of having a Guru is that it keeps the mind of project manager open to criticism and advice. Gurus make project managers feel that they have something more to learn.

For example, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam found his Guru in Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He acknowledges that he learnt a lot from Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He quotes the example that when his first project failed, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai took all responsibility and faced all the questions from the press. The next project of Dr. Kalam was a great success. This time Dr. Vikram Sarabhai told Dr. Kalam to meet the press and share the
success story.

Whenever project manager stuck-up in career or business growth then he/she will have someone to look up and seek their guidance.

Rule 5 - Do not expect instant results

Technologies are getting developed in such a speed that stakeholders, customer and team members are expecting instant results. Project Manager has to meet the expectation of achieving the speed but they do not expect instant results. Never compromise basics and never try unknown shortcuts in the interest of achieving instant results. Most of the times such steps land in unrecoverable situations. Take
steps that produce long lasting results.

Rule 6 - Have Patience and Humility

Another important aspect of STRONG project manager is maintaining calm during project pressure and humility at the time of achieving project success. Project managers possessing calm and composure can manage complex and pressure situation without any tension. Impatient people could not manage the situation in turn they lose control and unable to achieve success even though they may be capable and talented.

A shining example is the role played by Indian cricket captain M. S. Dhoni who made the Indian team to take on and succeed tough challenges. This is because of his ability to handle live-wire situations with a calmness and because of his willingness to accept the match outcome with equanimity.

So project managers should learn the art of showing patience and demonstrate humility.


The takeaways from this paper are:

1. Leadership skills differentiate a great project manager from the rest
2. One easy way to develop skills is to accept challenging roles
3. Remember the 6 rules that can guide you through the project management career.
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PM Essence

Transforming Team Performance

- Jitendra Kaushik, PMP, COE Group

“People don't need to be managed, they need to be unleashed” --Richard Florida

As a leader we know it is often very important to influence the thinking of our team members to carry out a successful change. In this article, let us explore how understanding of working of our brain can be applied to transform ourselves into more effective leaders.

Working of brain – the science behind

To store information, ideas and thoughts our brain creates 'mental maps'. When we try to process a new idea, brain creates a new map and then tries to link this new map with the existing maps. Anything that does not fit with our existing mental maps creates dissonance till it is sorted out by brain. When we process complex ideas we tap into our visual center – we see flashes of ideas in our mind's eye. While our brain uses up a lot of energy when it is trying to process complex ideas, there is a burst of energy released when the brain makes new connection. Brain is a very energy efficient system and processing of new ideas demands energy.

Most of the common activities are hard wired by the brain. This helps the brain work without thinking – expending much less energy than otherwise would have been required. Many times our internal realities are different from our external realities, which change much faster.

The hardwired mental maps grows stronger as and when they are used in more and varied situations. Ingrained habits and thought processes cannot be changed. It is easy to create new thought processes and mental maps by providing positive feedback to brain.

Improving team performance - using the science of brain

The insights explored above points to a new way of improving people's performance.

As a leader you help them improve their quality of thinking. Help them process their ideas better. Letting people come up with their own actionable ideas provides them with motivation to see the actions through.

Once you get people thinking keep them focused on solutions. This is different form usual – problem focused approach. To illustrate the difference study the following table:


Removing 'why' from your conversations is a great way to focus on solutions. Stretch people. Take them out of their comfort zone. Acknowledgement and encouragement calms mind and allow focus on the task at hand. Plan your conversations. These are few effective way to get the best out of your people.

We need to put aside our mental states that may cloud our ability to listen openly. Maintain a distance from the problem – this helps in improving clarity.

Avoid natural biases and prejudice while listening to others. Then you are opening yourself to listen to them in a whole new way.

Clear and crisp communication allows the listeners to process the information effectively.

Visualize what you plan to say and then use visual words and metaphors to communicate your ideas. Get to the core of the discussion point quickly to hold people's attention and interest.

Establish permission before having a dialogue. Establish the context and then anchor your conversations around that context. Creating an explicit context, specifying where you are coming from, what is your goal for the conversation and what are you looking to achieve from this conversation. In complex conversations, it is a good idea to refer to the context multiple times during the conversation.

The questions you may ask in a conversation can have multiple categories:

• Problem questions – what is the issue you are facing?
• Detail questions – what are the deadlines? What resources you need?
• Thinking questions – how important this issue is to you on a scale of 1 to 5?
• Vision question – what are you trying to achieve?
• Planning question – how do you plan to deliver this?

As a leader you shall be asking thinking, vision and planning questions, in this order. Avoid asking problem and detail questions.

When you help people become aware of their dilemma, they reflect on it and if you lead them with right questions their brain will make suitable connection to get its 'Aha' moment, create insights for them. You help them explore alternatives that are available. This ensures people don't take the easiest path and they are able to find the best approach to their dilemma in the given circumstances. At this point people are bubbling with energy. You help people take tangible actions translating the just released energy into discernible actions.

It is critical to follow up on the process outlined above. By doing this in a positive and supporting way, we help our people consolidate the new habits and thought processes. This ensures consistent performance improvement or team members over extended periods of time.