The key to surviving a global crisis is to display resilience by adapting to the ever-changing circumstances and giving up current practices in favour of those that are more tailor-made for the situation at hand. Given that Covid-19 has led to an unpredictable stagnation of growth, we are now faced with what is known in project management terms as the “unknown unknown”, which are risks that come from completely unexpected situations. We are witnessing this in the form of a disease outbreak that has upset all of our lives.
Resilience of Project Management Professionals
Entire business pyramid collapses have left organizations with the question of whether or not to change their entire mode of operations. Naturally, the answer is to adopt any means necessary to ensure that they continue to generate value for their beneficiaries. With a PgMP® certification, program managers can add value to their organizations and truly make a meaningful difference in this aspect. There will always be a demand for qualified professionals in the market. A PgMP® certification allows its holders to stand apart from their peers.
PMP® and PgMP® certification – What is the difference?
PMP®: It is purely knowledge-based and theoretical, relying on test-taking to quantify a candidate’s ability in recollecting facts and data. There are over a million holders of this certification globally.
PgMP®: It is competency-based, and it requires the candidate to become acquainted with theoretical concepts and demonstrate their applications in a practical setting, akin to the real world. The candidate is subjected to a peer review where he must explain the thought process that led to his decision. Such rigorous scrutiny has kept the bar high and has helped produce some of the most competent program managers that the world has ever seen. There are only around 3100 holders of this certification.
PMP® | PgMP®
In this environment of job insecurity and mass layoffs, such certifications are the most worthy qualifications that a professional can possess, to project his skill set and capabilities.
Value management: The generation of value is at the core of any organization. It may take on the form of project, program and portfolio management. Still, it is ultimately based on a single, underlying framework that binds them together, which is termed as “value management”. When program managers realize and embody this simple principle, an increase in revenue, market share and share value is bound to follow.
Value | Change | Risk
Change management is the ability of a manager to respond to disruptions, and it is the key to survival. But even when things change, some things will hold true at all times; one of which is the importance of the bond between organizations and their stakeholders. In times of adversity, program managers must display resilience and instil confidence in not just their organizations or their clients, but also their community at large.
Risk management: According to the PMI-PMBOK guidelines, risk is a subset of threats and opportunities. Where one sees a threat, another senses a chance, and by wreaking havoc on traditional establishments, the current economic climate has revealed gaps in the same that can be exploited by opportunistic individuals. The example that comes to the forefront is the health-care sector, and especially companies that manufacture masks, which have directly benefited from this disruption. However, this does not tarnish their reputation, as the global pandemic was neither orchestrated nor premeditated. Instead, they are merely providing an essential commodity that has gained tremendous value seemingly overnight. Hence, they are right to capitalize on this timely outcome.
So, while the path is clear for the health-care sector at the moment, it leaves professionals in other fields without clear guidance. Given the increased availability of free time, they ought to set their sights on an immediate short-term vision and leverage this half-year time frame to up-skill themselves, such as by acquiring PMI certifications, and the PgMP® in particular. This strategy would not only secure one’s immediate future but also pay dividends in the long term.
Staying ahead of the curve:
One of the ramifications of mass layoffs is the sudden arrival of experienced professionals in the job market pool, which inevitably fosters intense competition among job seekers. Driven by desperation, even veterans in the industry are willing to work for lower wages, which further snuffs out the ever-shrinking prospects of inexperienced, first-time jobseekers. As for those who have managed to keep their jobs, they still face the dilemma of maintaining relevancy within their organizations and justifying their pay. In both cases, an advanced certification such as the PgMP® will go a long way in proving one’s ability to create value, which is the hallmark of a competent manager. As stated by Michael Porter during the 2014 PMO conference, managers must always compete on value creation rather than a price reduction.
Staying ahead of the curve
Growth mindset vs predefined mindset
Growth mindset: A program manager who possesses this mindset is willing to adapt to changing situations by following the best course of action even it requires him to give up standard procedures.
Predefined mindset: A project manager who possesses this mindset sticks to the standard procedure regardless of the situation at hand.
Growth mindset vs predefined mindset
Despite the aura of despair in our current scenario, there is a case to be made for a bright future for those resilient managers who are willing to adopt a growth mindset and let go of a predefined one. And in terms of value proposition, an advanced certification can lay down the foundation for a sustainable future for one’s business as well as personal career growth.
In the below video, you can watch my interaction with Thomas Walenta and Olivier Lazar on the Resilience of Project Management Professionals amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
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For any questions related to Project Management training and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://bit.ly/2SbhTOK.
When one reaches the pinnacle of one’s career, one begins to reflect upon the difficult journey that led one here. This is precisely the frame of mind that I find myself in, now that I have reached a new era in my life, today being my 50th birthday. As a mentor and life coach, I believe that it is my responsibility to share my life experiences and leave behind a legacy for future generations to look up to. Hence, I have decided to shed some light on my personal life, starting with my childhood which is a topic that I have rarely discussed before.
To set the scene, imagine a simple village in the Indian countryside in the year, 1970. My childhood was marked by the simple pleasures in life just as it was by the lush foliage and greenery that encompassed me. Despite one’s tendency to view such memories through rose-tinted glasses, my childhood was not entirely a bed of roses, for I was born with a congenital physical deformity which materialized in the form of clubfoot on my left limb. It is important to note that society wasn’t very open-minded or progressive back then, especially in the rural parts of the country. Those who had my condition oft ended up as paupers who begged on the streets, with little to no prospects of landing a decent living. To top it off, I was an introverted child who shunned large gatherings and dreaded the stage. One can only imagine how lowly I regarded myself at the time, for I had not the ambition to yearn for an estimable livelihood. Hence, I owe my current success to my parents and teachers, and I am eternally grateful for their timely guidance and perpetual upliftment. I am also indebted to yoga, which entered my life during this trying period, for imbibing me with the spirituality that has served as a coping mechanism for helping me deal with my physical condition.
A spark was lit, From India to Australia
A spark was lit, From India to Australia
With a specific focus and determination to succeed in my education, I successfully achieved the National Talent Scholarship (NTS), in 1987. Conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) I was one among the 700 nationally to achieve this scholarship by passing the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE). Spurred by my parents, I began to dream big, and I set my sights on the prestigious Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTI) for my higher education. After graduating, I bagged a lucrative government job as a Junior Manager at a Public Service Undertaking (PSU), viz. The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). For most professionals, this would be a jackpot and a gold mine because government jobs offer numerous amenities and benefits in addition to a solid retirement plan. However, I was not like most people. When I say that I had dreamt big, I really meant it. After four years, I left the security of my cushy government job and re-entered the job market in a project manager role. However, my career pushed me to the next level and pushed me to Australia because of the immense opportunities. This was unquestionably a gamble on my part because I was risking my job security through my decision to migrate to a foreign country. Program/Project managers need to continually find success because our jobs are meted and evaluated based on the success of each project. But, my efforts paid off as I was able to consistently land my desired postings at established Multinational Corporations (MNCs) such as HCL Technologies and Westpac, where I spent a year each and HP, where I spent seven years. This was no small feat, as it was the late 1990s, and immigration was still a vague concept in India.
Moreover, I was an Indian-origin manager at Australian firms managing professionals from diverse origins but majorly native Australians. Meanwhile, I was working on obtaining professional certifications, starting with the Project Management Professional (PMP). I was able to land a government contract within Australia at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC Canberra) which was a significant milestone for a person of Indian origin such as myself. Alongside other contracts at major firms such as the NSW BusinessLink, AAPT and the City of Gold Coast, I was also rising up the ranks within the Sydney chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI), where I volunteered to serve as the Certification Director and Secretary, which is one of my most monumental achievements. In a wonderful turn of events, I got to work with HP for a second time where I was able to leverage my newly acquired skill set to good effect. Subsequently, I got to work at Infosys, Westpac and then, Telstra, which is Australia’s largest telecommunications company.
Yet, out of all this, the endeavour that is dearest to my heart is undoubtedly my very own company that I founded in 2011, viz. “vCare Project Management”. As the CEO as well as being the leading trainer of the company, I play a central role in personally training all of my students in the various facets of project, program, portfolio management and many more. I have also been an official training partner at the Melbourne and New Zealand branches of the Project Management Institute from 2015 to till date.
The United States
The United States
Having spent more than two decades of my life in Australia, I was honoured its citizenship a few years ago. This was a result of my continuous commitment to the people and the country of Australia. Today I am a proud citizen of Australia, and I carry its values wherever I travel. But time had different plans for me when, due to certain personal and professional developments, I had to migrate to the West Coast of the United States, which is where I am currently residing.
California has arguably the most competitive work environment in the entire world, but I am still able to make an impact through my work. At vCare Project Management, I train individuals to be better project-program-portfolio management professionals and also achieve success in the intense examinations that are required for obtaining the most elusive project management certifications, viz. the PgMP® and PfMP®. Through my systemic approach, I unleash their full potential, which subsequently enables them to turn their aspirations into reality. I am ecstatic to report that every single one of my trainees has landed the PfMP® certification and an astounding 86% of them has cleared the PgMP®. To put that into perspective, there are only a mere 3200 PgMP®s across the globe, 274 of whom are my alumni. In 2019 alone, 49 of the global PgMP®s were my students who constituted 20% of the graduates for that year. Backed by the statistics of such a substantial student success ratio, I can proudly proclaim to be the highest producer of PgMP®s. I have visited and conducted training programs and boot camps in most of the major cities of the world.
Given that my profession necessitates extensive travel, I believe that through my diverse experiences, I can claim to be a true global citizen. In February of 2017, I was conferred the prestigious “Global Training & Development Leadership Award” from CHRO Asia at the 25th World HRD Congress, which holds a special place in my heart. I have received hearty testimonials from over a hundred pleased students who have attended my program, and they can testify to its effectiveness. I also continue to hold free webinars on my YouTube channel where I invite other experts of project, program and portfolio management. Truly, words cannot describe how glad I am to know that I have impacted the lives of so many people despite hailing from a humble background.
Staying true to my core beliefs, I have not lost touch with my roots. I am still an avid yoga practitioner, and in 2012, I had founded YiPEE (Yoga in Park for Extreme Energy) Yoga, which is a volunteer endeavour that aims to give back to society by raising awareness about the health benefits of yoga. Personally, yoga has played a pivotal role in my life as a coping and healing mechanism. As I had previously mentioned, I was born with clubfoot, and yoga had helped me overcome my physical limitations, so I knew that I had to spread awareness about its potential to help others who may be in a similar position. I had been holding free yoga sessions for over 60 people every Saturday morning at Liberty Grove (Sydney, AU), and everyone was welcome to be part of it. Now I intend to restart the same here in Cupertino, California once the COVID-19 crisis comes to a closure. In disciplining my body and mind, I keep every Saturday as a day for rigorous fasting, with neither intake of food nor water. I am continuously doing this since 2005. As a firm believer in spirituality and karma, I never miss an opportunity to learn more about these subjects from those who are more enlightened, and I strive to remain the ever-conscientious learner.
If I were to narrate my illustrious career to my younger self, I would have scarce believed that I would transcend my humble beginnings and go on to trot the globe as a trainer and educator for so many professionals. This, more than anything else, stands as a testament to the potency of human willpower. I was, but an ordinary Indian kid with an extraordinary dream and I had managed to go from rural India to a global citizen. So, believe me when I tell you that everyone is capable of rising above their circumstances to an unfathomable extent, provided they possess the pragmatism, insight and perseverance to do so. If you take this to heart and believe in your capabilities, you can be rest assured that others will follow suit.
Note: In a mood of celebration I have decided to discount all my following online PgMP®/PfMP®/E-Learning programs purchased between June 20, 2020, to July 20, 2020, by a further 100$. Use the discount coupon code “DHARAM50” to avail this discount.