Thought Leadership in Project Management: with Sarabjeet Waraich, PMP., Marketing Director at Society for Information Management

Sarabjeet Waraich, PMP., is an energetic … engaging … lively … enthusiastic … inspiring … words that are often used to describe Saby. A speaker with the uncanny ability to look at the normal and see something quite different. Saby shares his life stories and have a fun way to look at life as well as live life. You are guaranteed to learn a thing or two on your journey from his unique perspective. He is a Technology Leader, Angel Investor, Professor, Mentor, Coach, Project & Program Management Expert, Change Leader and Volunteer Leader with a diverse experience of over 20 years in both public and private sector.

An international recognized speaker, trainer and coach, Saby have assisted multiple diverse clients in their business transformation through project successes, bolstering communications across various departments, and assisted customers in creating effective solutions to complex problems. Saby is currently working as Senior Technology Manager at City of Portland, and as an adjunct Professor at Portland Community of College. He speaks 4 languages, enjoys working with people and brings enthusiasm, inspiration & leadership qualities.

How did you get started in project management?

My background is in Software Development. During the late 90’s early 2000, I quickly moved from a Software Developer to a Team lead working with the software development team and the customer to build software applications. I was managing the Software Development Lifecycle of application development, releases, and providing regular status updates. I was unofficially playing the role of Technology PM without title and without even knowing anything about the topic of Project Management. The official transition with a title happened in 2008 at the City of Portland. As a software developer, I aspired to become a Leader at the City and was looking for STAR performers in the organization. I quickly identified three individuals who were respected by everyone; they were folks who were getting things done, winning the accolades and awards. I started looking for a common theme between these three individuals, which I can grasp and learn so that I can be like them.

Interestingly, I found that all three had PMP behind their signatures. At that time, I had no clue – what PMP was. As I started researching more about it, I learned that it is the Project Management Professional certification through PMI. I started preparing for PMP certification and cleared the exam in August 2008. Luckily, a couple of positions opened in the PMO. I applied and got selected. That’s where my official journey started as a Project Manager.

What is your specialization as a project manager? 

My specialization as a project manager is Technology Project Manager. I have managed 1.) IT Infrastructure 2.) Software Development 3.) Custom Off the shelf deployments 4.) System Implementation and enhancements

What is your academic background, training, and certifications as it relates to the industry?

I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science & Engineering from India. I have done my Master’s in Engineering & Technology Management from Portland State. As a big believer in continuous learning, I have taken a lot of training and certifications that are not limited to PMP (Project Management Professional), CSM (Certified Scrum Master), DevOps Certified trainer, Master Change Facilitator, Better Leader – Richer Life.

What do you think are some of the changing dynamics in the profession and the related effects on organizations?

With COVID-19, the dynamics have changed drastically in the last month. Many of the projects have been canceled or put on hold. Project Managers are leading organizations with planning and execution of the essential needs and functions of the organization. I see that Project managers will be playing a critical role with the opening of the economy with careful planning and risk assessment.

With more organizations moving forward with Digital Transformation, the Project Managers can use business agility to help deliver critical projects for the customers.

With projects becoming more global, what are the most significant lessons learned in working with multi-cultural teams?

Working in a multi-cultural team setting in a global environment brings a lot of challenges and learning opportunities. Team members bring their cultural perspectives and provide these opportunities to learn from each other. You need to spend more time to understand each other and communication styles. Spending more time interacting on a personal level helps to cultivate a connection and build stronger relationships. Using effective communication and collaboration tools gives opportunities to team members to connect and work effectively.

As a senior level project manager, can you please share your leadership style and how it directly contributed to the organization’s success?

As a leader, you need to adapt to the needs of your team members. A couple of Leadership styles have helped me to be successfully lead projects that contributed to the organization’s success.

Sherpa Leadership – The role of Sherpa is to help a mountaineering climb up Everest. So my commitment to the team is – What can I do to make you successful? The more I have made it about others, the more individual success I have enjoyed.

Transformational leadership – Leading with integrity and emotional intelligence. It’s about motivating team members with a shared vision of the future and communicating it effectively. Transformational leadership helps to inspire team members as I expect the best from everyone, and the team holds themselves accountable for their actions. Setting clear goals and identifying clear expectations has helped to high productivity and engagement.

– By Dr. Emad Rahim, PMP, SCM, APMC

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