It was an interesting event and the most interesting part of the two day conference was everything went on time.  To see practice in action by the preachers in the same stage is some kind of a rarity and kudos to the entire PMI team for making it look so simple
To be frank they indeed had reserved the best for the last
T.N.Seshan showed why he is considered as a demi-god for most of the youngsters in India. Age did not wither him or custom stale his infinite variety. His thirty minute speech looked like thirty seconds and I could only hear the continuous applause and see the standing ovation he received on entry and exit. I was so overwhelmed that I completely missed what he was saying. He was asking the youth to take on bigger projects like ‘eradication of poverty’, ‘restoring peace in Kashmir’ and work for project that have a deeper and meaningful impact. When asked how he managed to make a difference in every undertaking he took despite hurdles, he said that he was brought up believing in Lord Tennyson’s verse ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’.
Professor Sadagopan followed Seshan’s address with a cameo performance.  Great teachers are great influencers and he is undoubtedly one of them. He began by saying that he was put in a hard spot by the organizers who asked him to speak after a man who had the last word on any subject! He said the following, to complete anything in time we need to ‘fix a muhurt’. If we can get a million marriages done on time, make the Brahmoutsav in  Tirupati happen in time , we can get half of the projects we do in time. He said Project Manager’s should develop the following characteristics
·         Being Gutsy, in other words having the guts to make a difference
·         Study Successful Whiz Kids in Project Management like T.N.Seshan and E.Sreedharan of Metro
·         Be Resilient and cool under crisis
He also emphasized that if we need to become world class, we need to strive for world class infrastructure. He said there was only one auditorium in the entire country in Hyderabad that is capable of holding a world class conference like the yearly w3c conference. Incidentally they are bringing the W3C conference to India next year and he said that has taken them 6 years of work!
Professor Y.S.Rajan, the person who co-authored ‘India Vision 2020 and The Scientific Indian’ emphasized the need to disaggregate and make things simple for all of us. He said that we need to bring technology to the trapezoid of the 700-800 million who live in the unorganized sector and impact the quality of those lives.
All of the above talks continuously argued on the need for taking up projects that impacts a significant portion of the society in a lasting way.
The following notes give a distilled summary of some of the talks that were enjoyable
SMASH Innovation: Smashing the hand-mind-market barrier by Dr Gopichand Katragadda of GE
·         “Create with Freedom”
·         “Nurture with Passion”
·         “Change with Detachment”
Ten ground rules for successful innovation
Rule
Example Company Cited
Know your end customer
P & G
Know your business and market priorities
Intel
Find and articulate your passion
Apple
Develop the voice of the future
Starbucks
Set aggressive goals
Microsoft
Map goals to actions and focus on actions
GE
Work as a team
Toyota
Communicate
3M
Fail early and iterate to success
Pfizer
Celebrate small and big wins
South west Airlines
Lunar Space Mission by Mr A.Krishnan of ISRO
The most important aspect of the mission was to discover water on the moon and to a great extent it was successful. I could see the engineer in him talking and the pride was awesome. 
These are some of the key aspects of the talk
·         Mission achieved with 0.2% of the national R & D budget
·         Mission was considered 100% successful
·         For the first time six payloads from international centers including NASA was piggybacked into the launch vehicle. This was never the case earlier. We always piggy backed onto other satellites.
·         Mission pulled India into the prime league and made other nations look up to us as equals
·         No IP was violated.
·         The closest moon mission by a competing country had the budget twice of the 386 crores spent on this mission. However when asked how we could manage with such a budget he quipped in with a remark , ‘Well, we are poor scientists’

Invisible hands at the FIFA world Cup 2010 by Mr. Chetan Joshi of Mahindra Satyam
Mahindra Satyam provided the complete event management, extranet and onsite support services to FIFA for the world cup.
Some of the key aspects of the talk were
·         Agile and Scrum employed successfully for a 200 person project for three years
·         There were 50 iterations over a period of three years
·         100% uptime during the event
·         Logistical challenge of Staffing and Managing around 125 people in SA for working 24/7 during the event
·         Continuous Regression testing was emphasized
The other key note talks from IBM and panel discussion on innovation emphasized the following
I could see the vision of the companies imbibed into the speaker’s DNA. For example IBM people who came and spoke articulated the ‘solutions for a smarter planet’ and their theme of future where everything is going to be ‘Instrumented, Interconnected and Intelligent’.
·         Create a sense of urgency when there are dearths of ideas
·         Get out of the comfort zones
·         Innovation can be managed
·         Demand more as individuals and citizens
·         Just enough is not good enough
The other notable talks were on
Aadhaar – The UID project by Dr Ashok dalwai.
Interesting thing to note was the emphasis on simplicity in collecting data and also the verification process which involves the collection of thumb impressions of all the ten fingers and the iris. More details can be had from (http://uidai.gov.in)
Digital Hampi – From Ruins to Glory by Mr Ram Budihlal
A very interesting project funded by India Innovations Labs in Wipro. Stressed the need for ‘Open Innovation’ and getting out of the day to day ‘factory mode’.  More details can be had from http://www.technologyreview.in/computing/25206/. He delivered a TED lecture in the TED conference at Mysore.
Challenges in Mega Project – Fast Breeder Reactor by Dr Chellapandi
This one went totally outside my head. The scale of the project is Rs 5000 crores and the project is expected to complete by 2050 and is expect to generate 500gw of power. I guess I cannot absorb such complexity and I am sure I would be dead by 2050! Only thing I could realize is people with such vision keep doing what they are supposed to do without any need for any kind of appreciation. I can see only the speaker being internalized and drives sheer strength from within and knows exactly what he is talking about.
Conclusion
The high light of the conference was that the entire conference up held the spirit of volunteer ship and all the people who were behind the show had a full time job. They managed to deliver this conference working on weekends over the last six months and they have been doing over the past five years without fail.  I guess they can go in for a CMM level 5 certification as well! Also the underlying thread which was spoken with modesty was with 400 million people below the age of 30 who could or probably would lead the country to greater heights in the coming years. Interestingly the conference began with Vijay Paul saying
asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
This translates roughly to
Lead me from the asat to the sat.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality
Whatever happens, the foundations are intact!

Stay Tuned and Have Fun

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