In our AIPM Meet the member series, we speak to a range of project professionals about their experiences as a project manager (PM), and their advice for fellow PMs.

Here we chat to Pranjal Pawar MAIPM CPPM, Project Manager for Development Victoria and winner of the Victorian Future Project Leader in the 2021 Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAAs). She tells us about her career, what led her to being a project manager, and how the AIPM has been fundamental.

1. Tell us about your career so far, Pranjal

I’ve had a dynamic career journey to date, having started my career as a project management consultant within the private sector in Victoria to my current position working for the state’s developer.

Since joining Development Victoria, I have predominantly worked within the delivery arm of the business on high-value, high-risk civic infrastructure projects within both metropolitan and regional Victoria. I have also gained significant experience within the built environment and construction sector, focusing on the delivery of transformational sporting and recreational projects across Victoria which have help create positive community outcomes as well as improved economic activity for the state of Victoria.

Prior to joining Development Victoria, I worked as a project engineer in local government, delivering a diverse range of capital works projects for the local community. Being in a site-based/frontline role, I was managing the delivery of projects within the set timeframes and capital expenditure budgets i.e., achieving full closure and completion of projects within the financial year. The experience I gained working in a position at the grass-root level, has been invaluable to my career, and the skill set I developed in this role has contributed tremendously to my credibility and has helped advance my career to the next level.

2. Why did you become a project manager, and what do you most enjoy about it?

I’ve always wanted to be in a profession that is growing, and the demand for project managers – in particular, industries like construction, logistics and technology – has always remained high. Project managers will always be needed; wherever there is change, there is someone needed to manage that process. I also like the fact that I can transfer and use my skills from industry to industry as there are clear project management principles which can be universally applied. What I enjoy most about being a project manager though is helping create value by applying time, cost, quality, and scoping strategies on projects. I feel invigorated by the work I do and hope it will carry me into a long career.

Project managers will always be needed; wherever there is change, there is someone needed to manage that process.

3. What education did you undertake to get you to where you are today?

I studied architecture as my undergraduate degree, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Project Management. I then later completed a Masters of Engineering Management, which provided me with a broad technical skillset that I could take and apply to almost any industry of my choice.

4. When did you become a AIPM member and what, do you find, are the benefits?

I became an AIPM member in 2014. Through my membership I’ve built a solid professional network and understanding of the types of fields project management professionals work in. It’s great to have the ability to reach out to senior professionals to gain mentoring or informal advice, attend various events which keep me updated on industry news, and gain relevant insights on different projects which I can apply in my own practice.

5. How has becoming a certified project manager impacted your career?

I became a Certified Practicing Project Manager (CPPM) in 2018 by undergoing a six-month certification process through the AIPM. It forced me to understand what my gaps in knowledge were and where I need to focus my efforts on for the next stage of my career. The certification has benefited me by:

  • having a clear idea of my level of competency, which has enhanced my self-awareness
  • adding a framework to my career so I know what I need to be working towards and aspiring for next
  • strengthening my credibility as a project manager.

[RegPM™ certification] forced me to understand what my gaps in knowledge were and where I need to focus my efforts on for the next stage of my career.

6. What has been your most rewarding project to work on?

It has to be The State Netball Hockey Centre, as my involvement on this project lasted its full lifecycle i.e., from post business case and initial design phase through to completion and handover.

7. What challenges have you faced in your project management career?

Stakeholder management is a challenging aspect on most government projects. Managing the competing priorities of different user groups within the project scope is one of the key challenges I’ve faced in my project management career to date.

Join our community

If you would like to join a community of project management professionals and drive your career forward, Australian Institute of Project Management membership is a must. It provides access to resources on topics such as stakeholder management, as well as access to certification, professional development, a community forum, and lots of other opportunities to take your career to the next level.