Monday, October 21, 2013

Supply and demand for Project Management skills in India

The recently released report by  KPMG-PMI on  Schedule and Cost overruns on Infrastructure projects in India  is interesting to read. The summary is that lack of qualified project manager and other engineering resources along with  external issues such as regulatory delays,  site handover, poor scope management are the major causes for Schedule overrun.   Poor resource,  procurement and scope  management are identified as some of  the major issues causing cost overrun.  As per the report, these  can be addressed easily  by improving the PM capability of the organization.
Credit:KPMG In India & PMG Study

Lack of skilled manpower, impacting schedule  is felt deeply in  Coal, Steel sectors followed by Power, Roads&Highways and then by Railways, Telecommunication. Scope creep, Design change, Environmental safety are major causes affecting cost overrun in Steel and Civil Aviation sectors. Telecom sector seemed did no have cost overrun.

86% of survey participants have  expressed the need for  PMOs to address the Schedule and Cost overruns and some have already established an internal PMO/engaged an external PMO. 56%  have reported use of Risk Management practices and  76% stated that their Risk management is effective.  Therefore, the conclusion that  poor risk  practice could be the reason,  based on the fact that 53% are behind schedule and 34% overspend seemed a bit surprising, though the report  covered various issues that impacted the project in the preceding chapters.

Taking the case of construction sector, the demand for project managers is estimated at 70,000 in 2010 moving to 2,27,500 by 2022.  Supply was projected to be 1,20,000 as per the twelfth five year plan. As the number of civil engineering seats have not grown well in the past(possibly due to the lure of CS/IT), it was recommended to introduce PM as a subject in Civil Engineering.

The report also provides a set of recommendations to expedite infrastructure projects. Three tier PMO (National,State, Implementation level) and setting up internal Project Academy in each organization as was done successfully by  IT industry are some of the recommendations. The report also had few case studies on how different organizations are dealing with the challenges. While the report looks good overall,  it could have been improved by use of visuals from Indian construction scene, rather than some stock photography of western country infrastructure projects. 

When I joined  engineering 29 years back, I opted for Electronics & Communication Engineering, which was least popular. I was glad that I  was able to land a government job through campus placements, when I finished the course. My civil engineering friends  had a hard time getting jobs. Some of them moved to Computer Science(CS)/Information Technology(IT) for their  post graduation course and  had made a good career subsequently.  Looks like what is required is the reverse now, as there is a glut of CS/IT engineers, many of whom could be easily trained for Project Management through short term bridge courses, which the report authors  seem to have missed.

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