January 21, 2012

Not a minute late or not a minute early but the exact time

Padma Shri E Sreedharan, India’s metro man, retired on 31st Dec 2011.  He started his career in 1954 as a Probationary Assistant Manager and served Delhi Metro for 16 years. He redefined Transportation in India as a social service rather than a business and was known for his concern for the environment. His project emphasized minimizing inconvenience to people. He has set a bench mark in Project Management starting from Leadership, Risk Management to Cost Estimation and Budgeting in DMRC which runs 210 trains.  From the start of the construction in 1 Oct 1998, every phase of Delhi Metro was completed on time.  First phase, which was completed in 2006 was three years earlier to its scheduled time. The Phase II also managed to finish by the time of 2010 and Phase III & IV are scheduled to be completed by 2020. Not just for his focus on the Project, he is also known for his organizational culture where he was totally committed to Corporate Mission with efficiency, transparency and courtesy.

The key to his success was his adherence to his words “Punctuality means not a minute late or not a minute early but the exact time”. He made Delhi Metro so much prompt that trains with frequency less than 3 minutes, if late more than 60 seconds, where considered to be delayed whereas in the best of metros in the world the margin was three minutes with even lesser frequency. He believes that punctuality is nothing but a courtesy to others and other two major things each individual working in a project needs to possess are professional competence and a physical and mental strength to boost self-confidence. So he never compromised on choosing the right person for the right job, which created an amiable and conducive working environment. While execution of the Project, he always motivated and inspired the employees with rewards for their work. He is also one with excellent Negotiation skills and Conflict Management skills.  DMRC had to work along with DTC for widening of Road and Electricity Board of Delhi for the electrification and it being an enormous task had to have a good Cost Estimation and Budgeting. DMRC consulted with the best in the business like Hong Kong MTR for operation and construction techniques. Sreedharan set an example for Indian Business by never letting the collaboration to be a problem or a cause for delay in the Project.

Before joining Delhi Metro he was a chief engineer in Indian Railway. He was the first Indian to introduce Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) and he undertook a stretch of 760 km with 93 tunnels and over 150 bridges. To add to his credits, he was in charge of implementation, planning and design of Calcutta Metro which before his joining was underperforming company with delayed projects.  He never changed any decisions of his simply because somebody wanted. His ideology is to fight all the odds and work on the project, once the project is completed, every one including those who opposed will appreciate. He is considered to be the best in the country in Project Management enterprise with concern for environment, employment and customers.

Deepak Sirra, a PGP Student of IIM Raipur, has worked in a Construction SME for 2 years. He can be reached at pgp11011.deepak@iimraipur.ac.in.

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