manusath-derana

Project Managers and the Spirit of Leadership

July, 26, 2015

Sri Lanka’s IT sector has seen an exponential revenue growth of 238% in the last 7 years, according to the Sri Lankan IT/BPM Industry 2014 review, transforming the country into a globally recognized outsourcing location. The rapidly growing highly skilled, English speaking talent pool with 90 percent secondary school enrollment, favorable policy framework and attractive pricing has put Sri Lanka on the radar of decision makers in the biggest corporations in the world. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce estimates that the sector will generate $1 billion in exports this year and is on track to reach the target of $5 billion in export revenue by 2022. 

As companies look to outsource their IT requirements to Sri Lanka, the solution providers will be looking for competent, experienced and talented program and project managers who are capable of commanding large teams of two to three hundred people spanning multiple years. These will be men and women that will not only be able to bring projects to completion but also ensure they are profitable.

Suranthe De Silva, senior manager – Delivery at Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), who hails from Australia with 13 years of industry experience calls attention to the scope of responsibility of a project manager in the IT industry.

“They need to think like entrepreneurs, either opening up new markets or taking advantage of existing ones. It is imperative that their solution meets the client’s requirement while delivering results for Virtusa. Everything else will stem from this.”

This entrepreneurial mindset is necessary to tackle difficult problems as it allows out of the box thinking, says Suranthe and adds that it is fitting with the current times of a nation reaching for 1000 startups by 2022.

However, the skills of every project and program manager will vary due to their experience and exposure to international markets.

“Effectively, these program and project managers manage budgets equivalent to a small company’s revenue and bear responsibilities equivalent to CEOs,” says Suranthe, who manages a team of over 200 across Sri Lanka and India with a current focus on multi - million dollar solutions for the US.

Project managers at Virtusa 

Virtusa is global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that combines innovation, technology leadership and industry solutions to transform the customer experience. The NASDAQ listed firm which works with Fortune 500 companies across banking and insurance, healthcare, telecom, media & information, hospitality and travel, education and retail, look for project managers that are able to bring a strong knowledge base and leadership to the equation.

Much like the tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley they are expected to bring an IT solution to market that will transform the way their clients do business.

Supun Palihawadana is a senior consultant – Delivery at Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), with a degree in Business IT, an MBA and seven years’ experience in the industry. According to Supun the requirements of project managers at Virtusa is wide and their influence is far reaching due to the global scale in which the company operates.

“Our project managers are the key element to ensuring that projects, some spanning multiple years, run smoothly and meet our KPIs as well as our clients’.”

“For this reason when approaching a project it is vital that they are hands-on in all phases of a project and they implement Virtusa’s innovative processes and methodologies based on cutting edge concepts,” added Supun, who manages teams of over 100 to deploy Virtusa’s solutions globally.”

As a company working at level 5 on the Compatibility Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Virtusa constantly reviews all their processes to improve performances and outcomes.

At Virtusa, the success of a project extends beyond the traditional triple constrains (cost, time and quality) to ensuring that the client objectives are met from day one and benefits are realized.  Using this as a criterion they are able to grow, forging long lasting partnerships with clients.

“This means that project managers at Virtusa, in addition to setting up the infrastructure, getting the resources, planning, executing and ensuring all monitoring and controlling processes are in place, also need to keep an eye out on the business outcomes and the value addition of each outcome to the client in order to ultimately deliver a successful solution” says Supun.

The solutions that come out of these projects are innovative and have transformed the way these industries behave. The job is equal parts demanding and rewarding.

“Virtusa has given me a breadth and depth that I would not have received anywhere else,” says Suranthe. “From the level of experience I receive to the range of skills I acquire, I am challenged daily to learn and grow. Further, I’m given a level of ownership that I would not have received elsewhere.”

“In Australia I led teams of ten, now I’m in charge of teams made up of over 200 people. This all adds up to a scope of control I would have not have achieved this soon in my career.” he adds.

Photo caption: Suranthe De Silva, Senior Manager – Delivery, Virtusa Corporation (left) and Supun Palihawadana, Senior Consultant – Delivery, Virtusa Corporation