Future Ready Project Managers To Be The Game Changers For The Infrastructure Sector-Srini Srinivasan

India being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has a population of 1.3 billion with a median age below 30. The millennials and Gen-Z constitute majority of the global workforce, with more than one-third living in India and China. By 2022, the Indian workforce is expected to increase by 27 percent to approximately 600 million, having strong potential to address both domestic and global talent needs. Amongst various industry sectors, a large segment of this talent pool will be absorbed towards building robust infrastructure in the country. This will also boost the employment and income generation in the economy and further spur domestic demand. To effectively utilize the supply of talent towards developing infrastructure and boosting the economy, it will be imperative to build an ecosystem that equips the talent with desired skillsets to act as change-makers in the country.

The infrastructure sector has been one of the most important drivers to accelerate growth in the Indian economy and will be a major driver to achieve the larger objective of becoming a $5 trillion economy. The recent Union Budget 2021-22 announcement of strengthening infrastructure through heavy investments in highways, railways, ports, and power sector will create huge demand for future-ready engineering and project professionals in the country.

In the recent budget, the government announced an investment of INR 111-lakh-crore in the National Infrastructure Pipeline to cover more projects by 2025 to stabilize the slowdown and pandemic-hit economy. This requires seamless execution of projects, eliminating resistant barriers including time and cost overruns, poor scheduling, constant conflicts and more importantly skill-gaps. According to a 2020 report by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 552 projects were delayed out of 1,634 infrastructure projects it monitored, which means 1 out of 3 large projects was delayed, 373 projects reported cost overruns. Additionally, the National Skill Development Corporation’s study on the mapping of human resource skill gaps in India till 2022 highlights that inadequate knowledge of planning and scheduling software, project management skills, resource estimation skills, efficient inventory management, communication skills, team-building skills, ability to manage multiple contractors and conflict resolution skills, are some of the major gaps that need to be addressed for successful completion of an infrastructure project.

The infrastructure sector is increasingly adopting digitalisation coupled with technology innovations for seamless project execution. Both government and private players are collaborating to develop projects that are expected to be built on newer technologies, innovation, and global best practices to deliver better design and execution. These projects

would require skilled project managers who are trained and empowered to leverage newer technologies to enhance productivity and overall project efficiencies. At the same time, today’s project managers need to move far beyond the rote focus on time, budget and scope.

Looking beyond the usual technical realm, project professionals will need to be equipped with essential power skills such as:

· Collaborative leadership

· Empathy for the voice of the customer

· Risk management

· Innovative mindset

· Agility

· Methodology or framework governance

At a time of unprecedented change and complexity, organizations are reimagining how problems are solved and work gets done. Fast and flexible is the name of the game for teams in The Project Economy. And that takes agile, change-ready teams, led with a deep commitment to collaboration, empathy and innovation.

The sector is expected to create huge job opportunities across various states and would require skilled project managers who will act as game-changers for the sector and key enablers to accelerate economic growth. There is a strong need to create future-ready project managers having agile expertise in data science skills, security concerns, privacy policies, legal compliances, and collaborative leadership skills, along with an innovative mindset and ability to make data-driven decisions. Acknowledging this rising demand, the Government of India launched the ‘National Program and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF), envisaged to bring radical reforms in the way infrastructure projects are executed in India.

Understanding the pressing need to address the skills shortage among construction project managers, PMI with the support of industry experts from the world’s leading construction companies is in the advanced stages of developing global construction management courses and micro credentials. With these in-depth learning resources, PMI intends to build competencies of project professionals and help improve construction practices.

The timing is perfect for young career professionals to look at project management as a career. There is heightened awareness in project management and its potential in reducing costs, time and making project execution successful. Especially during the pandemic and in the new normal scenario, we are expected to witness a huge demand for skilled project leaders in both the public and private sector for seamless execution of projects within defined timeframe and costs and importantly, reap the expected benefits.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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