TNPMCONF16 – A Grand Success!!!

TNPMCONF16 - A Grand Success!!

It was again that time of the year when PMI Chennai Chapter geared up to deliver one of its highly reputed flagship events to the project management community. Preparation had been in full swing towards making the largest state-level project management conference render a great value for participants from various walks of life.

PMI Chennai Chapter managed yet again to zero in on a contemporary theme that had been dealt by each and every working professional across all industries. The topic “Driving Project Success Through Improved Work – Life Balance” kindled the thoughts of many project management communities across PMI Region 11 and made prominent members to share their notions. Taking the topic into account, most of our valued members conceived the industry’s inclination towards maturity and perceived it as a very healthy sign for a strong sustainable future. The topic having gained worldwide popularity ensured a ‘full house’ although there were ten days left for the conference which was scheduled on 25th September at Hilton Chennai.

The ‘D’ day came about surprisingly quickly and the PMI Chennai Chapter conference team directed by Mr. Syed Nazir Razik and co-directed by Mr. Koushik Srinivasan were well equipped to provide delegates a great experience. Registrations commenced by 8:30 AM to welcome many enthusiastic participants who showed up early. Conference delegates were given a warm welcome on their arrival and were greeted with a versatile welcome kit. As time ticked on, the sheer number of participants kept the registration team on their toes as they multi-tasked to ensure all 350+ delegates were seated.

The 5th edition of Tamil Nadu Project Management Conference commenced with the “Tamil Thai Vazhthu” (Invocation to Tamil Mother). Shortly following the invocation, Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, President of the AVTAR Group, Ms. Sudha Jayaram and Ms. Sabita Prasad, Team Resonance Consulting, Mr. Prasannaa S, President, PMI Chennai Chapter, Mr. Syed Nazir Razik, Conference Director and Mr. Koushik Srinivasan, Conference Co-Director inaugurated the 5th State Conference of PMI Chennai Chapter by lighting the traditional ornamental lamp. After the auspicious inauguration ceremony, Mr. Koushik, the Conference Co-Director delivered a scintillating welcome speech briefing the rationale behind choosing the theme “Driving Project Success Through Improved Work – Life Balance”, highlighted key events and underlined the numerous value adds at the conference.

Having set expectations for all audience, it was time for the eminent experts to take centre stage. Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, President of the AVTAR Group made a great start through her inspiring Keynote Address which made the participants ponder over the very theme of the conference. She insisted all the delegates to compartmentalize their lives into work and home parts and to make diligent trade-off when either one of those become more demanding. Dr. Saundarya also emphasized to have the destination in mind in order to attain complete happiness that true work-life integration brings.

To cement the idea of work – life balance from an execution angle, Ms. Sudha Jayaram and Ms. Sabita Prasad from Resonance Consulting presided the next session on “Help! My Balance is Tilting”. Ms. Sudha and Ms. Sabita delivered thorough insights on the five Work-Life Balance Tools termed as the FEAST of LIFE which were Focus, Energy, Acceptance, Self Management and Trust. The experts from Resonance Consulting assured application of FEAST by all participants by providing examples from their own experience which was highly commendable.

The first two sessions made the audience get into the grooves and expect more Gyaan on the same lines. However, Dr. V Sankarganesh, Proprietor, G D Physio Solution went a step further and delivered a hilarious yet thought provoking session on Stress Management. With his viral smile and cool temperament, he stressed on the fact that man-kind had changed a lot in the last decade due to technological advancements. He exclaimed that the virtual social networks established by Hi-fi gadgets were hindering normal sleeping patterns of humans. He pointed out that disruption in sleep leads to stress and bad eating habits results in obesity. While underlining that obesity would in turn cause stress, Dr. Sankarganesh conveyed his reflection that humans are not living their own life due to sophistication. He concluded his enthralling speech insisting everyone to leave stress at their work and stay close to nature to live a normal human life and achieve perfect work – life balance.

Just before lunch, Shri. Jeyagopal (SN Shiva Rishi) gave a boon to all the participants by delivering a relaxing session on Yogic Insights to a Balanced Professional Growth. SN Shiva Rishi propagated the principles of Satyananda Yoga Movement through his elevating speech and conveyed the warm greetings of his Guru, Swami Satyananda Saraswathi, founder of Bihar School of Yoga Tradition along with good wishes and blessings of ancient tradition. SN Shiva Rishi quoted that the great Indian scriptures had defined how a person could live a life established in Yoga which brings about complete balance. By getting all the participants physically and mentally involved, he emphasized that awareness of the self is the key to excellence which could developed by practising Yoga. He quoted, “In life the most important thing is what you are and not what you have”. The dedicated audience also volunteered to touch the floor with their palm to realize how stress in one’s life had accumulated in their body. SN Shiva Rishi accentuated that stress hinders decision making whereas staying calm, strong, energetic and fit are important for taking care of oneself despite his/her career success. He recited that practising Yoga everyday will develop awareness in oneself and enable one to overcome the in-built self destructing mechanism called laziness. SN Shiva Rishi concluded his moving speech by insisting the importance of involving oneself into practising Yoga which will generate awareness and enthusiasm that will in turn lead to involvement for understanding of oneself which will result in the gates of success being opened.

The post lunch session stared with participants treating each other with a nice complimentary massage, thanks to Mr. Kiruba Shankar, CEO, Business Blogging Pvt Ltd who was in prime form to make the conference an unconference. He emphasized on the importance of unconference by quoting the tagline “The collective knowledge of the audience is always higher than any one speaker” and highlighted that the session was a prime opportunity for the participants to voice their understanding and opinion. Mr. Kiruba then set the expectations for the session by requesting participants to answer the quoted question in less than 35 seconds,

“In your life, what are some of the things that you did that has helped you in a better work-life balance or have you seen someone else who has done something remarkable to get a wonderful work life balance and what is that?”

Being aware that their responses have been recorded via tweets and LIVE broadcasts, the participants came up with lot of great ideas to better work-life balance including playing games without mobiles, having common family hobbies, time-priority management, taking risk and avoiding comfort zone. Mr. Kiruba concluded the session with a great note and it was very evident that all delegates would remember the smiley revenge to convey a strong message!

Following the absorbing unconference, it was time for one of the most awaited events at every Tamil Nadu Project Management Conference. Yes, the BIG Debate got underway instantaneously with Mr. P V Ramaswamy (PVR), MD, Eklavya Productions Pvt. Ltd explaining the topic of the debate: “Work Life Balance Improves Productivity – Myth or Reality” as the moderator. Ms. Gunit Singla, The Planner, Uncle Sam’s Kitchen and Mr. Satyanarayanan Visvanathan – VP & Global Delivery Head, CSS Corp fenced that “Work Life Balance Improves Productivity” is a reality. On the other hand, Dr. Venkatesh Natarajan, Director – Renal Services, Annai Arul Hospital and Mr. R Srinivasa Raghavan, Principal, Bala Vidya Mandir Sr Sec School defended that “Work Life Balance Improves Productivity” is no more than a myth. The debate intensified as Ms. Gunit and Mr. Satyanarayanan shared their experience to prove their point which was diligently defended by Dr. Venkatesh and Mr. R Srinivasa. Finally, Mr. PVR summarized the debate with four key learnings: Delegate with total Trust and Empowerment, Set Key Result Area, Create an efficient Feedback System and establish a meaningful Information System. Following his summary, the moderator without inclining to either myth or reality, appealed to the participants to ponder over in their circumstances and use it in the best way to achieve project success. On hindsight, having decided to have an open-ended conclusion, Mr. PVR had trusted and empowered the audience – a sign of a great leader!

Following the Big Debate, Mr. Sayee Rajamany, Vice President, Amtex Systems enlightened all the delegates through this short presentation on Democratizing Analytics where he shared his valuable thoughts on Data being everywhere and Insights for everyone so as to visualize, operationalize and monetize.

To sustain audience focus in an afternoon talk is always challenging and Ms. Archana Raghuram, Global Head, Outreach, Cognizant managed to excel in that very thing with flying colours. Ms. Archana’s fascinating flow of ideas and thoughts on the theme was received with great appreciation. In her Keynote Address, the veteran delivered the seven paradigms which facilitated her to take day-to-day decisions for achieving work-life balance. They were: Role Model Paradigm for Parenting, Time is Priceless Paradigm, Circle of Influence Paradigm, Marathon Paradigm for Career, Mental Diet Paradigm, Spiritual Paradigm and Acceptance Paradigm. Ms. Archana concluded her thought provoking talk by quoting “We have control over nothing other than our own choices; every choice has its own consequence and no choice is perfect; once we accept the choice, we have to accept the consequence with dignity and grace – That is the best way to achieve work life balance”.

Innovative Quiz and Twitter contests were conducted at TNPMCONF16. Mr Bhuvana Sundar Soorappaiah, Mr. Ramachandran Sundaresan, Mr. Sundaresan Sethuraman bagged the first, second and third prizes respectively for the Quiz. The prize for the most interesting Tweet at #TNPMCONF16 was awarded to Ms. Kuppulakshmi K for the tweet: “There is work. Life. And then there is “giving back”. Are we making time for that?!”

Dr. K N Satyanarayana, Chairman, Academic Advisory Group, PMI India followed up with an overview of the upcoming PMI India Research & Academic Conference that is scheduled to be held on 2nd to 4th March 2017 at IIT Delhi. During his short speech, he highlighted the members of the AAG, the role of AAG and the one day full workshop on managing mega projects at RAC2017. Dr. Satyanarayana also requested participants to send in nominations for PMI India Distinguished Fellow Award, PMI India Distinguished Scholar Award and PMI India Young Research Scholar Award having put forth the criteria for these PMI India Academic Awards.

Mr. Shine Sahadevan, Head – Organization Markets, PMI India delivered the PMI India updates where he touched upon engagement with Government and Industry bodies, academic initiatives including recognizing academicians at RAC2017 and engagement with organizations. Mr. Shine also briefed upon the role played by PMI for the community at large by reaching out to technology professionals with Techgig.com, engaging project professionals with PMI India Champion Program and recognizing projects and practitioners for their commendable efforts. He conveyed that Early Bird registrations for PMI India Conference will be closed soon. Casting light over innovative strategies like PM Fundas, Mr. Shine praised Mr. Syed Nazir Razik for creating significant growth in positive impressions on Project Management Professional Facebook page within 7 months.

Following PMI India updates, the twelve long standing PMI members were facilitated for their loyalty and patronage to PMI and PMI Chennai Chapter activities for more than 10 years in succession. Mr. Meganathan Vellore Vedaram, Mr. Prashant Kumar, Mr. Manikandan Venkataraman, Mr. Visukumar Gopal, Mr. Syed Nazir Razik, Mr. Theagarajan Sivapragasam, Mr. Umesh Padala, Mr. Ramaswamy Nagarajan, Mr. Ganesh Krishnaswamy, Mr. Gopalakrishnan Vimalanathan, Mr. Chittayil Balachandran and Mr. Ravindran John were part of this elite group and were honoured by all the delegates at TNPMCONF16.

The steering committee of TNPMCONF16 comprising of Mr. Subbiah Vallinayagam, Mr. Visukumar Gopal and Mr. Chandrasekharan A were recognized for their immaculate support and directions that enabled PMI Chennai Chapter to host the conference in the best possible manner. Mr. J Chandrasekran received the award on behalf of Mr. Chandrasekharan A.

Following the recognition of the steering committee, the sponsors and partnering organizations who have ensured great delegate experience and exceptional value were honoured in the chronological order of their association to partner with PMI Chennai Chapter for hosting the TNPMCONF16. Mr. J Chandrasekran (on behalf of Mr. Chandrasekharan A) from Infocareer, Mr. Siva Samhit (on behalf of Mr. VT Chandrasekhar Rao) from Shreshta, Mr. Vijay Sabari from VIRRAN, Mr. Srikanth Meenakshi from FUNDSINDIA, Mr. VisuKumar Gopal from Syntel and Mr. Manoj Nair from Amtex BI were felicitated on behalf of the sponsoring organizations.

Finally, Mr. Syed Nazir Razik, the Conference Director, brought the curtains down and thanked all the sponsoring organizations, design partner – Ideascape, event partner – eVentures, corporate companies who had sent their delegates, eminent speakers, volunteers, PMI Chennai Chapter Members and all other participants for making TNPMCONF16 a huge success.

In summary, the TNPMCONF16 had eclipsed the previous conference in numerous aspects and was considered to be as iconic as the 2012 PMI National Conference that was organized by PMI Chennai Chapter!