PM Guest Article October 2020

2nd Generation PMP Families

Mohankumar Rangaswamy gowda, PMP

Mohan is a PMP Certified Manager with over 15 years Industry experience in IT Telecommunication Sector.

He has worked with various companies like Nokia, Oracle, etc, providing 3G/4G/5G Solutions to a wide range of clients in the Telecommunication sector.

As an AGILE practise Lead, he was consistently recognized  for performance excellence and contributions in LTE/5G Telecommunications.

Many of us know the struggle behind completing the PMP certification. The PM Essence team got a chance to talk to two families that had 2nd generation PMPs! We put them on the hot seat to capture their perspective. Looking through the crystal ball through the prism of two different generations of a two such families. Coincidently, both cases involved father daughter pairs who offered some eye-opening insights about their respective journeys from being – PMP aspirants to Certified professionals.

Father – Daughter duo 1: Muralidharan – Vidya

Father – Daughter duo 2: Madhavan – Aarabi

What was the inspiration to take up PMP?

Muralidharan: I began my career as an in-house IT manager for Madhura coats, in the late 70s. After a successful 20 years stint at this job; I moved on to BPL as a CIO for a brief period of 3 years during which my interest to explore the wider avenues of the IT industry continued to pique my interest. When an opportunity presented itself in 2002, I joined IBM. That was the stepping stone to my PMP journey and there’s been no looking back ever since.

IBM was a hub of PMP certified professionals. The mantra being – “For a successful career, a PMP certification is a mandate”. However, what motivated and got me going was not the successful career prospect alone. The humongous database containing information about PMPs not only helped me gain insights about the motto & importance of the certification; the more I read about it the more my passion towards it grew. My drive and determination to attain the title grew by leaps and bounds. This way I successfully bagged the certification in my very first attempt.

Vidya: My dad was a PMP certified professional even before I began my career. However, I never really fancied to grab a certification in my kitty. What led to the change in mindset is the realization that there is a Code of practice for the Project management career path that I was on. Although I was faring well in my job; it was paramount for me to bring out the best in whatever I did. I was fascinated by the amount of lucid processes set out for handling of projects in an organised manner (irrespective of the scale of the project), the PMI jargon and the in-depth Project Management knowledge that it offers, which could be used anywhere across the globe and still be clearly understood.

Madhavan: I started executing IT Projects for Fortune 500 clients from 1994 at Satyam Computers. I established the PMCE (Project Management Centre of Excellence) in the organization. To lead by example, I took up PMP certification and enabled several PMs/PLs to enrich their knowledge and become PMPs. Based on experiential learnings of 20+ years, I authored the book – ‘Steering Project Success’ in 2007 (McGraw Hill Publication). To spread the benefits of PMBOK, I contributed as a Volunteer Board member of PMI Chapters (Hyderabad and Bangalore).

Aarabi: My Dad who lives & breathes Project Management; was my true inspiration. Growing up & watching him plan every aspect of life be it professional or personal and executing it meticulously made me realize that someday this is the path I would like to tread on too. My Dad’s book spirals around 7 mantras for steering projects to success.

For me, the standout amongst this is – ‘How to say a positive ‘NO’ and a conditional ‘YES’. An essence of this statement alone can help improve your credibility with the stakeholders/clients as well as prevent you from burning bridges.

The Importance of PMP Certification:

Muralidharan PMP speaks a language of its own. There are no regional/language boundaries to it. The beauty of the PMP certification is how seamlessly it amalgamates into the system irrespective of the country of origin of the user.

Vidya: The guidelines set out by the Project Management Body of Knowledge is regulated to a highly commendable standard due to which the activities, models, methodologies, frameworks etc., defined can be easily adopted in any part of the world.

Madhavan & Aarabi: The versatility in which you can draw parallels to the work that you carry out and the processes that you are exposed to in the content of the PMBoK not only helped me in adopting a process that is methodical and also made me credible.

What it takes to be a good Project Manager. Role models for Project Management

Muralidharan: Anyone with a penchant for logical sense of the tasks on hand, can handle Project Management like a professional.  Although technical skills are an added jewel in the crown; but what takes an upper hand is a good understanding of the processes and knowing the capabilities of the team working for you. “My role models are my grandmother and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I was fascinated by how my grandmother effortlessly managed large gatherings and festivities sans a to-do list or meeting set-ups and catch ups. I truly admire Dhoni’s skill of people management more than his cricketing skills.

Vidya: There is no written rule in the book that defines People management – google truly does not have answers to everything. Each person is different and each situation with a set of people is different. The biggest challenge of Project Management is not managing costs or budgeting, but it is the People management that requires maximum skill and expertise, for an overall success of the Project.

Aarabi: The costing and budgeting aspect of a project is the most challenging. Although my exposure to it is limited; but it is the most gruelling part of a project.

Advise for PMP aspirants

Muralidharan & Vidya: It is paramount to have a passion towards Project management; as the certification aims more towards real-life scenarios, rather than a theory-based approach. Hence, apart from a keen sense of interest in this domain; project management experience also proves to be priceless for a successful go at the certification.

Madhavan & Aarabi: PMP is more to do with a thinking and intuitive approach rather than a cramming exercise. The more you look at from a perspective of applying it on a regular basis to all day to day activities that you carry out the more conversant you get. A good book and a bunch of mock exams would only help, if it is approached from a perspective of exposure & knowledge rather than an exercise of target completion.

What kind of Project Management conversations do you have at home?

Muralidharan & Vidya: [Laughs] We rarely discuss work at home or even discuss anything surrounding this topic.

Madhavan & Aarabi: [Laughs] Aarabi – ‘The first person I speak to when I’m having issues dealing with a Project Management situation is my Dad’. He can exactly dissect the situation, diagnose the anomaly, and suture it up with his pointers. Whenever I have hit a dead end; the greatest adviser and solution provider has been my Dad.

What if we all had a parent for a mentor who has been seasoned in the same career of our choice – leaving you all with that Food for thought!