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PMconclave17 "PM In An Era Of Disruption" Report


Kentaro Sakamoto, IRC


Date    : Nov. 17, 18, 2017
Venue    : Holiday Inn, Mumbai Int’l Airport, Mumbai, India
Hosted by : PMI Mumbai Chapter

to the report in Japanese


IRC members participated PM conclave 17 held in Mumbai, India as one of our major activities in 2017.  PM conclave is an annual major event by PMI Mumbai Chapter held since 2005, similar with PMI Japan Forum for us.  The theme was “PM In An Era Of Disruption”, and many presenters argued about this topic from various aspects and viewpoints.  Members from our side were Mr. Sugimura, Mr. Supekar, Mr. Sugiya, and me.  Followings are event reports about some of impressive presentations and networking experiences.

Day 1

The event started with a greeting by Mr. Bharat Bhagat, the president of PMI Mumbai Chapter, after the registration with a light meal.  PMI Mumbai Chapter was awarded as “2017 Chapter of the year”, and the video of the awarding ceremony in Chicago was proudly shown. As per Indian tradition, the Conclave was inaugurated by traditional way of lighting the lamp. PMI Japan director Mr. Sugimura was invited on dais along-with other dignitaries for the formal inauguration of Conclave 2017.

The event was mainly organized with 45 min short session each, you could see so many presentations by various speakers. This report covers only sessions that I had attended as many were going on simultaneously. The first presentation at that day was “ONE MOONSHOT at a time” by Ms. Harshita Gupta showing the challenge for Google lunar X prize(https://lunar.xprize.org/) by Indian team “TEAM INDUS”.  I knew this project by seeing a Japanese TV program introducing Japanese team “TEAM HAKUTO (White Rabbit)” cooperating with “TEAM INDUS”.  It invoked deep interest of audience. Flat organization encouraging everybody to raise their voice, balance of experienced scientists and young enthusiast, domestic as well as international funding were some of the highlights of the presentations.

There was a presentation titled “Project Management -Powered by AI” by Mr. Devesh Rajadyax.  He made a question “Will AI & ML replace human project managers?” and answered “Yes and No”, and then went about explaining his stance.  That means formulated PM roles such as scope or schedule or cost management could be replaced in not far future, but flexible and complex roles such as leadership or stakeholder would not be replaced easily.  He emphasized technology must be used carefully not just taking away jobs from human hands, but realizing fair, safe, and efficient working environment for human being.

Then PMI Japan team gave a presentation with a topic “Maintaining Continuity in Disruptions”.  Mr. Sugimura gave his presentation about the former half part –how Japan reacted and survived from disruptions caused by the east-Japan earthquake and tsunami, how energy shift policy from largely dependent on nuclear power to the best mix of renewable energies and conventional energy sources caused industrial growth as well as entire new breed of Project Managers and how Shinkansen bullet train is operated safely and efficiently without disruption, maintaining punctuality. He showed some slides showing that Toyo Engineering Japan has built several PV solar power projects in Japan and some of the imported critical components are Indian. It was welcomed by audience as present government advocates "Make in India" policy.  Governments of India and Japan recently signed the contract for High-Speed train project financed from Japan. The later part of presentation was about an introduction of PMI Japan and its support for social project management for reconstruction after the tsunami disaster.  Many sharp questions and energetic discussions followed after 40min. of the presentation, showing that it was received quite well. Networking and recess breaks provided ample opportunities to mix with enthusiastic participants.

Mr. Islam Khan gave a more pragmatic example as “PM on Medical Device Development”, which discuss about software development technique for medical devices.  He introduced various laws and regulations for medical device development in India, and show his design control methods to pass those complex rules efficiently.  He stated that his team adopt agile software development techniques proactively

Another presentation was “Key Points of Cyber-security & Law while handling disrupting projects” by Advocate Mr. Prashant Mali, Cyber security and Cyber law expert. He gave very powerful, flowing presentation without audio-visual aides.  The attendees exceeded the seats available so several persons stood by to listen to him.  The former half was discussion about cyber threats such as data theft or leakage and latter half was about IT regulation trends such as copyrights or patents. This combination of topics was interesting as it presented different aspects of same threat being faced by corporate world. The presenter illustrated how one has to protect from outside attacks, as well as how one has to protect from being an aggressor to others.  Many things to learn from a view point of entrepreneurs living in very competitive, fast moving Indian market, navigating through various types of cyber risks.

PMI Japan delegation hosted a networking meeting with board members of Mumbai Chapter at the end of the first day.  Mr. Bharat Bhagat and others welcomed all very warmly, and both chapters exchanged newest trends about members, interests, and other updates.  Mumbai Chapter was established in 1989.  They have their own property for their office, which is very rare to find.  (Mumbai is supposed to be expensive property market as per several reports, like Singapore and Hongkong.)  Mostly, their activities are based on monthly meeting just like PMI Japan various committees and study groups.  We also found that they have long membership loyalty based on well-grounded policies and organization.  PMI Mumbai chapter informed that they have been interested in PMI Japan for long time, and both chapters hoped for another chance of exchanges.  We agreed to continue our relationship and make it more valuable for members of both chapters.


We started day 2 on 9:00 after small networking with light meal at the registration just as the 1st day.   Some enjoyed Yoga session just before the event arranged courtesy Conclave17.

Technology Management in the Era of Disruption” by Dr. Anuja Agarwal discussed similar theme with Mr. Devesh Rajadhyax’s presentation in the 1st day, but this one has more futuristic and idealistic taste.  She defined “Singularity”, the moment AI overcomes human intelligence expected to arrive in 20 to 30 years, as “Technology Havoc”, and said we must face against that crisis in 3 areas, education, laws & regulations, technology development, by setting our policy “Human First” and “Be Human Centered” firmly.  Exclusion of human value by technology is not totally new idea for Japanese, too, but it might be a thought provoking for labor intensive nation.

Another presentation by Mr. VV Lakshminarayana was titled as “Disruption in Serving Society”.  He, as the director general of Mumbai police, gave his presentation how police stand against various social disruptions.  He said disruptions could erupt in any class, such as family or society or education system or religion, in unexpected forms.  He also said you can describe one as a “Black Swan”, and “Come what may’ is the antidote for disruption”.  The whole presentation was universal, fluid and understandable sharing few common ideas with our presentation about reconstruction from natural disasters.

Another presentation, “Project Management in a VUCA World” by Mr. Alcide Coelho was also very interesting.  We were impressed by his easy-going personality when we had interacted at the networking session. He had graduated from the Harvard Business School and is currently management cadre of house construction division of TATA group.  VUCA is a word describing characteristics of current world with initials of 4 key words, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous, but he replaced them as Vision & Value, Understanding, Clarity, Agility as the mantras to stand against disruptions.  He also showed his estimation that Mobility, Social, Cloud, Big Data are key words which will dominate for a next few decades.  He showed a demo of the 5D Construction Model, an example of BIM (Building Information Modeling)technology combining construction simulation tool for giant skyscrapers and project management tool.  The presentation was full of new knowledge and techniques, enhancing knowledge in construction field.

The final presentation was totally different from others: “Govardhan Eco Village – a dream project” by Mr. Gauranga Prabhu.  Govardhan Eco Village(http://ecovillage.org.in/) may be a kind of mix of a training school and a Yoga, Ayurveda retreat to experience ecological life in a facility replicating similarity an old Buddhism temple.  Visitors stay there to learn environment friendly life following nature and environment, combining vegetarian diet Mr. Prabhu said it is quite popular among many westerners and their facility was awarded by many international organizations including U.N.  The presentation was very impressive since this is the only one focusing on ecology and environmental issues compared with others for technology and business topics.

At the end of the day, the closing session was held with awarding people who contributed for the event, announcement for the PM Conclave 2019, and greeting from Mr. Bharat Bhagat, the president of Mumbai Chapter.

We interviewed Mr. Ahmed Ashfaq, an active member of PMI Mumbai Chapter and the PMO member of the event to know how IT business is run in India.  He has a long experience at the unit for offshore development and maintenance in IBM for flight operation system of Canadian Air, and gave interesting stories how his offshore business style has changed and be influenced by technological changes such as development of communication and team operation tools.  (The system environment is mainly mainframe based, and maintenance of assembler codes may still arise sometimes, so they have to keep assembler-capable programmers in their team which is not easy to find these days.)


The word “disruption” is somewhat negative one since it is described as that causes stoppage, bringing in radical change, even business strategy. It was considered apt for such event, implying both Project Managers and project management bring in radical technological innovations to end old business customs and start new ones. Strong venture spirits filled the venue to leverage those disruptions to promote start new business while new type of laws and environmental regulations keep coming up.  It was a fabulous event with members drawn from different strata of project management practitioners. with eyes seemed optimistic expecting positive changes in their future.

Bottom line

This was my first stay in India, and our time was very limited as two days for the event and just one extra day for looking around Mumbai, but I was amazed by enormous energy of Conclave 17 organizers and participants. India has long history and rich culture.  Those three days were far less than enough to learn social culture, nevertheless it provided a starting point.  I strongly hope to have another chance to visit India while keep our relationship with Mumbai Chapter.  I hope IRC continue to have more intercultural events with overseas chapters to let members have exciting experience like myself. I believe that participation in such events encourages interests for international activities and enrich our experience. 



①Lecture given by Japan Chapter



②Mr. Sugimura, director of Japan Chapter, was giving a presentation. 



③Participants from Japan Chapter after the presentation


④The ceremony after the lecture


⑤From the right, Mr. Sakamoto, chairman of IRC; Mr. Sugiya, vice chairman, Mr. Supekar, vice chairman; and in the very left, Mr. Sugimura, director of Japan Chapter


⑥Mr. Bharat Bhagat, president of Mumbai Chapter and Mr. Sugimura


⑦The second day’s conference


⑧Group photo of Mumbai Chapter 


⑨Networking with Mumbai Chapter