Dominic Barton and Rich Lesser agree on India outlook

08 December 2014

The winds of change are blowing across India’s wide fertile plains. Two global consultancy giants are in agreement about India’s potential and both express cautious optimism about the newly elected Indian Government to sow and foster the changes needed to grow a prosperous future for the Indian people.

Optimistic agreement
Last week reported on McKinsey & Company CEO Dominic Barton expressing optimism in India’s future, “I think India has gone right back up, people are interested, obviously people are going to want to see action but I think the feeling is they will because this government seems serious," he said, on the back of a detailed report assessing the potential of the Indian economy. A few days later, the CEO of The Boston Consulting Group, Rich Lesser, has joined in voice, adding to a chorus of optimism in India’s future, "The sense of hope and opportunity is just so much higher. It is a very exciting time."

Amritsar, Punjab, India

Both business leaders, heading up two of the most influential consultancy firms globally, are responding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement reflecting his intention to initiate broad government reform programs. In light of the programs, both advisors conclude that India is on the right track toward creating the conditions positive in outlook for the countries long term growth prospect, as well as the prosperity of its 1.2 billion people. "Global leaders are looking at India with a high degree of optimism, but tempered by the realisation about how hard it is to make change anywhere in the world," says Lesser.

To bring about the internal changes required to turnaround India from recent lacklustre growth, to a global powerhouse stabilising the world economy, firm and active transformation of the government machinery will be required. As it stands, it represents a transformation Modi appears ready to make, saying in his Independence Day speech at Red Fort: “Today in the face of global competition, when we have to realise the dreams of millions of Indians, the country cannot run on the lines of "it happens", "it goes".  In order to fulfill the aspirations of masses, we have to sharpen the tool called the government machinery, we have to make it keen, more dynamic, and it is in this direction that we are working.” While Modi is strong in his intention, Lesser is cautiously optimistic: "Of course actions speak louder than words and we will see how things evolve but there should be a great deal of optimism and very close looking at investment opportunities and opportunities to build businesses here in the years ahead,"

Dominic Barton - Rich Lesser and Narendra Modi

McKinsey and BCG both note the potential, and the changes, that need to be made to transform India. Particularly by focusing on areas of energy policy, infrastructure, regulatory constraints, tax regime education and upskilling the work force, India’s potential can be unleashed. Lesser notes however that tax uncertainty is creating risk and discourages people from investing.

Manufacturing growth
Developing India’s manufacturing is a key area about which Modi talked in his Independence Day speech, announcing his ‘Make in India’ initiative, whose aim is to foster and grow the sector in India. McKinsey’s research on India reveals that looking back, the lacklustre growth in recent years can largely be explained by deceleration in the industrial sector.

Going forward, Modi envisages a “zero defects, zero effect” programme, the aim of which is to reduce the number of defects in products manufactured in India, while also reducing the level of pollution created by the manufacturing process. Something Lesser echoes, "you have got tens of millions workers coming into job market. You have got to have opportunity for them, and services will be a big chunk. I'm not minimising that India can be a great part of the services economy, but there has to be a strong manufacturing base,"

With two of the world’s most influential consultancy service rivals optimistic, the future looks bright for India. Both firms recommending their clients look to India for growth opportunities.


Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”