Inspiring Careers – Dr. Kalirajan, Deputy Dean at L&T Institute of Project Management

About Dr. Kalirajan

As a visionary leader and a Project Management specialist, He brings with him over 33 years of progressive experience in managing challenging mega projects in power and infrastructure sector. His complete ownership for ROI accountability and passion for developing people make him an asset for any organization. A Doctorate in Concrete Technology with MBA and PMP Certified professional, he possess sound ability to lead and ramp up projects and ensure their timely completion within defined budget and quality guidelines while institutionalizing budgetary controls. He holds the distinction of turning around projects in crisis and ensuing their successful completion and acceptance. Adept at managing all facets of engineering project management, including construction management, site survey & execution, design engineering, tendering & contract administration and people management. He is presently into corporate training and development in the areas of project management, leadership and team building, strategy development etc. Linkedin profile

Unboxing PMBOK7 – Article 2

What is the point in completing a project on time, within budget and meeting the complete scope, if the product of the project does not provide value to the sponsor / owner?. The single biggest issue for project failure is lack of solid business case. Many projects have solid business cases while starting the project, and very often they become irrelevant due to environmental impacts. The unknown – unknown risk of the pandemic itself have made many travel and tourism related projects irrelevant. Projects are plagued by uncertainties like never before, and it is the responsibility of the project manager to navigate these complexities successfully and achieve the intended benefits from the product / service the project delivers.

The shift of the project success criteria from just meeting the time, cost and scope criteria to delivering value to the owner of the project is the biggest change in PMBOK7 when compared to the earlier versions of the PMBOK. As a true project manager, one has to ensure the value delivery. Projects are initiated to achieve certain business goals and it is the opportunity of the project manager to ensure the achievement of these goals by delivering the intended benefits for which the project is undertaken in the first place.

The PMBOK7 brings more clarity to the project manager’s role.

Project manager is ultimately responsible for the success and failure of the project. The project manager role demands active participation while deciding the project management approach which will help the project to eliminate all negative risks and maximize the benefits from the positive risks from the initiation till the closure of the project.

The project management team comprises of the Project controllers, Engineering managers, Architects, Team leaders, Project coordinators, Quality managers, Procurement managers, Risk managers . Resource managers, Communications managers etc.

The project teams comprises of the people who really execute the work

Till PMBOK7 shows the growth path for those who belong to the Project management teams at present to the true Project Manager who is at the helm of affairs and whose primary objective is to steer the project through all uncertainties and deliver the intended value to the project owner and end user.

Another key aspect of PMBOK7 is that it is general enough to be applied for any type of project with proper tailoring. It is a collection of Models, Methods & Artifacts that can be arranged / sequenced as per the project management approach of the project.

If we approach PMBOK7, with this as the context, then everything starts making sense.

Structure of PMBOK7

Values Principles Performance domains
ResponsibilityStewardshipStakeholders
Respect TeamTeam
Fairness StakeholdersDevelopment approach & Life cycle
Honesty ValuePlanning
Systems thinkingProject work
LeadershipDelivery
TailoringMeasurement
QualityUncertainty
Complexity
Risk
Adaptability & Resilience
Change Management

Most of the Inputs, Tools & Techniques from PMBOK6 with some new additions forms the section Mpdels, Methods & Tools in PMBOK7.

Models Methods Artifacts
Leadership models Data gathering & Analysis Strategy Artifacts
Communication models EstimatingLogs & Registers
Motivation models Meeting & Events Plans
Change models Other methods Hierarchy Charts
Complexity model Baselines
Project team development models Visual data and information
Other models Reports
Agreements & Contracts
Other artifacts

These models, methods and artifacts are linked to the performance domains. These linkages will be explained in the subsequent articles.

PMBOK7 – Impact Analysis

Till yesterday, when people anxiously asked me about the changes in PMBOK7, my reply was in the form of another question –  ‘Can you execute a project without any one of the knowledge areas (listed below)?’. The answer is a unanimous ‘No’. So they are inevitable. They have to be there in the new version hidden somewhere. If you can master the 10 knowledge areas and their application in both predictive and agile project management, you are pretty much done with project management. That is my view.

I am glad that my views hold good after going through all the 370 pages of the new PMBOK7.

The Ten Knowledge Areas evolved from Version 1 to Version 6 of the Project Management Body of Knowledge;

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Schedule Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Risk Management
  7. Project Resource management
  8. Project Procurement management
  9. Project communications management
  10. Project stakeholder management

These are immortal. Projects cannot succeed without them. The sequences may vary.

The PMBOK7 looks like an apex manual explaining the;

  • 12 principles of professional project management (new)
  • 8 project performance domains (new)
  • Tailoring guidelines
  • Models, methods and artifacts (Not part of the PMBOK7 document, but accessible from the digital library, Old, taken from PMBOK6)

High level mind map of PMBOK7

PMBOK7 comprises of 12 principles, 8 performance domains, tailoring guidelines and the models, methods and artifacts contained in a digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’ maintained by PMI. The immediate thought can be, about the 10 knowledge areas, 5 process groups, 49 processes and the inputs, tools & techniques and the outputs of the PMBOK6. Where is the place for them in the PMBOK7. All of that is under the digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’. In essence, nothing is lost during the transition from PMBOK6 to PMBOK7, and at the same time 12 principles, Eight project performance domains and the tailoring guidelines sits on top of the digital library PMStandards Plus which is nothing but the PMBOK6 contents, that makes up the 10 knowledge areas evolved from version 1.0 till 6.

How will this impact the different stakeholders who comprise the project management community?

  • Impact on Practitioners – the organizations who have shaped their project management policies and procedures around the structure of PMBOK versions 1 to 6 will have the added opportunity to embrace value driven delivery which can accommodate the whole gamut of project management ranging from large infrastructure projects to research and development projects. Even if they do not change anything, nothing will be in contradiction to PMBOK7.
  • Impact on 12,0000 PMPs World Wide – Change will always push us outside our comfort zones. Initially there can be expectation mismatch and the frustration stemming out of it. Once one dig deeper, like me, they also will realize that the changes are more to the value system and structure, than to the content.
  • Impact on PMP trainers – PMP trainers who are good at both predictive and agile project management will not find it difficult. The ones, who have not yet understood the true spirit of agile may need to gain hands on experience on agile to really understand and explain value driven project management.
  • Impact on the new PMP aspirants – PMI, keeps on repeating the fact that the PMP aspirants can still use the PMBOK6 as the reference material. Going by the earlier revisions, even if one use PMBOK Version 5, it should not make much of a difference because the fundamentals of project management cannot be changed as it revolves around the famous Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle and around the 10 knowledge areas. If you have already completed your PMP preparatory training, then do not disrupt your preparation. Proceed with PMBOK6 as the basis. It will be good if you can go through the new PMBOK7 quickly to understand those new jargon (not many any way).
  • Impact on other Agile frameworks and certifications – If the PMBOK7 gets wider acceptance, and if the new PMPs are equally adept in both predictive and agile project management frameworks then other agile frameworks and certifications will face a strong contender in PMBOK7 and PMP2021. PMI themselves will be forced to stop the PMI-ACP, as it will become redundant within PMI’s portfolio.

Abrachan Pudussery (Aby)

Project Management Domain Expert, Wrench Academy

New 10 Week PMdistilled PMP Preparatory Program based on PMBOK7

Unboxing PMBOK7 Article#1

This is the first of a series of unboxing PMBOK7 articles explaining PMBOK7 which will help the readers to bridge between PMBOK6 and Agile to PMBOK7 very easily. Again I want to reiterate the fact that the foundations of project management cannot be disrupted very easily. If you know the basics of predictive project management and agile project management, then it is only a matter of establishing a traceability to the PMBOK7 structure. PMI, the publishers of PMBOK have time and again highlighting the fact that PMBOK is only a reference material and need not be mastered and remembered end to end like every other reference material. With these Unboxing PMBOK7 articles, my goal is to make the transition from PMBOK6 to PMBOK7 as smooth as possible.

Structure of PMBOK 7

From PMBOK version 6 onwards, PMI was trying to catch up with Agile Project Management (APM) which is the most suitable for managing certain types of projects, especially those ones where the scope is continuously evolving and the technology component is fast changing. PMBOK Version 7 can be seen as a natural progression of it. Like the 12 Agile Principles, which are the foundation of all agile frameworks, PMBOK7 also has 12 governing principles at the apex level followed by other components as shown in the diagram below.

Click on the diagram to zoom

12 Governing Principles

At the apex level are the 12 governing principles. These 12 principles based on the project management professions ethics governs the actions and behaviors of project management practice regardless of whether one is following predictive or adaptive project management styles.

  1. Stewardship – Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward
  2. Team – Build a culture of accountability and respect
  3. Stakeholders – Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs.
  4. Value – Focus on value.
  5. Holistic Thinking – Recognize and respond to systems’ interactions.
  6. Leadership – Motivate, influence, coach, and learn.
  7. Tailoring – Tailor the delivery approach based on context.
  8. Quality – Build quality into processes and results.
  9. Complexity – Address complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning.
  10. Opportunities & Threats – Address opportunities and threats.
  11. Adaptability & Resilience – Be adaptable and resilient.
  12. Change Management – Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state.

Project performance domains

The second level comprises of the project performance domains;

  1. Team
  2. Stakeholders
  3. Life cycle
  4. Planning
  5. Navigating uncertainty and ambiguity
  6. Delivery
  7. Performance
  8. Project work

Models, methods & artifacts for enabling outcomes

This section at the third level more or less looks like the Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs re-grouped as models, methods and artifacts. For each project outcome we have a set of models, methods and artifacts which help to achieve the project outcome.

At the fourth level is the PMIstandards+ digital platform which will guide on the application of Models, methods and artifacts based on project type, development approach and industry sector.

changes-to-pmbok-guide-7th-edition PMBOK 7th Edition - Coming in August 2021 - What is changing?
Courtesy – Project Management Institute (PMI), USA

New 10 Week PMdistilled PMP Plan / Program based on PMBOK7

The Hybrid Manifesto

Projects are neither completely predictive nor agile any more. They are hybrid in nature. That is the reality. So far, project management had two distinct streams, the Adaptive (Agile) and the Predictive (traditional). The purists believed in any one of the streams. They are busy justifying their views. Now, the industry has changed. Irrespective of the type of work, majority are working from home and that demands adoption of both agile and predictive best practices in the day to day work. That trend is here to stay. The Project Management Institute (PMI) was the front runner in this by including Agile in the Project Management Body of Knowledge four years back. This was followed by the new Scrum Guide 2021, which has become more generic. Scrum is the most popular among the Agile frameworks because of it’s adaptability to various disciplines of project management. According to Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the founders of Scrum, they made the Scrum Guide 2021 more generic so that it becomes easier for all types of projects to adopt it. The trend is very clear. The boundaries between agile and predictive is vanishing, if not yet vanished.

Unfortunately, when I visited the Agile Manifesto Page, it still reads as ‘Agile manifesto for developing software’. From an EPC project practitioner’s perspective this is very demotivating. The engineering phases of any EPC project is a good candidate for agile adoption, but still the agile manifesto is maintained exclusively for software development. Like every other EPC person wanting to leverage agile I feel stranded and unsupported.

These two factors leads to the need for the Hybrid Project Management Manifesto;

The Hybrid Project Management Manifesto

As practitioners of Professional Project Management, We believe that;

All projects are unique in nature,
Tailoring the processes, by incorporating the best from every project management framework is better for project success, than relying on any single framework. 

For this;
We will continuously update our knowledge and skills without any bias to any one particular project management framework,
We will always maintain an independent open view in all our actions to ensure project success. 


I am very optimistic about this, because there are many who opposes this view as well as those support this view. It is high time we stopped saying ‘Agile Vs Waterfall’, instead we must learn to say ‘Agile and Waterfall’ and for that the apt word is 'Hybrid'. Thanks to the traditionalists who contributed us with great tools like the critical path analysis, earned value management and the likes. These are time tested concepts which is here to stay. The agile practices like time boxing, the short term planning, daily team meetings, self organizing teams can be effectively used within phases of every project. That will result in a healthy co-existence.  Think of  burn down charts co-existing with earned value management and helping to protect the earned value.  Nothing is good or bad, the project context determines it’s suitability.

Hope Hybrid manifesto will help us to focus on the project’s success than worrying about the technicalities of frameworks.

The Hybrid manifesto is evolving. You can help with your suggestions.

Abrachan Pudussery

Domain Expert at Wrench Solutions

Project Cost and Schedule forecasting

Schedule and Cost forecasting explained in detail.

  • Are we progressing as planned?
  • Are we completing the work within budget?
  • When will we complete the project?

These are the key questions we hear most of the time in project review meetings. Well implemented earned value management systems, provide answers to these questions at the press of a button.

Earned Value Management (EVM) is based on the analysis of the earned value of the project and comparing it with the planned value of the project. Earned value management is used to monitor and control both the schedule and cost. Earned value management (EVM) comprises of;

  1. Earned Value Analysis
  2. Variance Analysis
  3. Trend Analysis
  4. Reserve Analysis
  5. Corrective / Preventive actions
1. Earned Value Analysis :

The basic building blocks of earned value management are;

  • As on date, how much work we were supposed to complete? – Planned Value (PV)  – Also known as Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS) 
  • Out of that how much work did we complete? – Earned Value (EV) – Also known as Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)
  • For the completed work how much did we spend? – Actual Cost (AC) – Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP)
2. Variance Analysis

Once we have the basic values of Planned Value (PV), which is also known as Budgeted Cost Of Work Scheduled (BCWS), Earned Value (EV), which is also known as the Budgeted Cost Of Work Performed (BCWP) and the Actual Cost (AC), which is also known as the Actual Cost Of Work Performed (ACWP), it is time to do the performance analysis.

  • Schedule Variance (SV) = EV – PV
  • Cost Variance (CV) = EV – AC
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV/PV
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV/AC

As we can see in the diagram above, as on the review date, the Earned Value (EV) is lower than the Planned Value (PV). That means, the work has not progressed as planned. The actual cost (AC) is higher than the Earned Value (EV) and even the Planned Value (PV). That means, there is a big cost overrun. In an ideal situation, all the three lines should have intersected at the Planned Value (PV). In that scenario EV = PV = AC

  • Schedule Variance (SV) = EV – PV = 0
  • Cost Variance (CV) = EV – AC = 0
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV / PV = 1
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV / AC = 1
  • If the SPI=1, then we can infer that the project is progressing as per the agreed upon schedule.
  • If the SPI >1, then the project is progressing at a rate which is more than planned.
  • If the SPI <1, then the project is lagging behind schedule wise.
  • Similarly. If the Cost Performance Index (CPI)=1, then we can infer that the work is getting completed as per the budget.
  • If the CPI <1, then the that indicates budget overrun.
  • If the CPI>1, then more work is getting accomplished than planned, with the same amount of money.
  • As a general rule of thumb, if the SPI and CPI is 1 or above 1, then the project is doing well schedule wise and cost wise.

As project managers, if we know the schedule variance (SV), Cost Variance (CV), almost real time, then we can monitor and control our projects effectively.

3. Trend Analysis

The variance analysis provides us with the current snapshot of the project. One can become more pro-active in managing and controlling the project, if the future trends of the project performance can be predicted with the present progress information. We use graphs and charts to do this.

At this stage, let me introduce these three additional terminologies;

1) Budget At Completion (BAC) – is the total approved budget of the project from the beginning of the project till the end of the project.

2) Estimate to Complete (ETC) – is the budget required to complete the balance work of the project. ETC = (BAC – EV).

In some cases, ETC is calculated as a bottom up re-estimate for the balance activities to be completed.

3) Estimate at Completion (EAC)

  • If all the future work can be expected to be completed as planned, then how much will it cost when we complete the project. EAC = AC + ETC = AC + (BAC-EV).
  • If the current trend is going to continue in the future as well, then EAC = AC+(BAC-EV) / CPI.
  • In some projects, where the schedule has an impact on the cost, for example, a delay in schedule incurs additional cost, then EAC = AC + (BAC-EV) / (CPI x SPI). In this case, CPI and SPI are given weightages like (80/20, 50/50 or some other based on the judgment of the project team).
4. Reserve analysis

While performing the cost control of the project, the reserve analysis of the contingency and management reserves monitored. This will help in utilising these reserves elsewhere is the project progress is satisfactory or in organizing additional reserves proactively.

5. Corrective and Preventive actions based on the to Complete Performance Index (TCPI)

What should be the target CPI, to be maintained for the balance work, in order to complete the project within budget.

TCPI = Work remaining / Funds remaining

(BAC-EV) / (BAC–AC) or it can be,

(BAC-EV) / (EAC-AC) if the EAC is approved by the management.

Earned Value Management brings in more visibility into the project, and helps us to be more pro-active.

So far our focus was on forecasting the Estimate At Completion (EAC). What about forecasting the Estimated Date Of Completion of the project?. The following seven minutes video explains schedule forecasting;

Abrachan Pudussery, Domain expert, Wrench Solutions

Reference – Project Management Body Of Knowledge by PMI, USA

Ethics & Career Success

Adherence to the Professional ethics for project managers is a question of short term success Vs long term success in the project management profession.

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Joanne Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Major Fraud Investigations Division, announced that ROBERT GIULIETTI, 55, a resident of Cheshire and an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering. In association with today’s arrest, the government also executed seizure warrants on three bank accounts controlled by GIULIETTI and seized $630,731.40 in proceeds allegedly involved in the commission of those offenses.

Three senior bureaucrats have been arrested in Assam on corruption charges. Two of the arrests were made by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), officials said in Guwahati on Thursday. “There were lots of irregularities in road construction works carried out by the NBCC in Guwahati and we hope the CBI investigations would be able to unravel the scam and help in punishing the guilty,” said Robin Bordoloi, ruling Congress party legislator representing Guwahati. CBI officials said they have got more leads into the scam and could possibly arrest a few more people.

Asem Elgawhary, the former principal vice president of Bechtel Corporation and general manager of the Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCo), was indicted by a grand jury in Maryland on charges that he defrauded his former employers, laundered the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme and violated federal tax laws.

In Jharkhand, Prashant Kumar Bajpai, General Manager of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), Barka Sayal, Ramgarh project located in Patratu block of Ramgarh district and his Personal Assistant Aparna Sengupta were arrested by CBI team late last night for seeking bribe of Rupees Twenty Six thousand for sanctioning of tender for construction of roads.

The Serious Fraud Office has brought charges against GPT Special Project Management Ltd and three individuals in connection with its investigation into allegations concerning the conduct of GPT’s business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. GPT, Jeffrey Cook, former Managing Director of GPT, and John Mason, the financial officer and part owner of the foreign-registered companies Simec and Duranton, subcontractors to GPT, have been charged with corruption between January 2007 and December 2012 in relation to contracts awarded to GPT in respect of work carried out for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.  Jeffrey Cook has also been charged with misconduct in public office between September 2004 and November 2008 in relation to commission paid to him on contracts he placed with ME Consultants Ltd for the Ministry of Defence by which he was employed.  Terence Dorothy has been charged with aiding and abetting that offence.

These are the first few cases surfaced out of about 6,28,00,000 results (0.59 seconds) while googling for ‘Project managers who got arrested for corruption’. That shows that corruption is rampant in projects and the key question is whether one should be a corrupt project manager or not. Like hatred cannot be resolved by hatred, corruption can be overcome only by honesty, ethics and professionalism. That is where the significance of professional ethics for project managers become very relevant for project managers to succeed in the longer run.

Related posts

Professional Ethics of Project Managers

Mind map of Professional Ethics of Project Managers