Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam on Bringing Interdisciplinary Thinking to Project Management (#011)

This Episode is also available on:  Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Anchor.FM

About Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam

Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam is a Researcher and Advisor.

He is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras. Ashwin is also a co-founder of Okapi Advisory Services and serves as a Director on the Board. 

He is the Editor of the Engineering Project Organization Journal (EPOJ) and has served on many National Committees.

His research interests are in the areas of  Infrastructure and Construction Management, Cross Cultural Issues in Large Engineering Projects, and Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Ashwin earned his Bachelor’s Degree from IIT Madras and holds a Master’s Degree and PhD from Stanford University, all in the field of Civil Engineering.

Selected Links and Show Notes

Selected Links

  1. Connect with Ashwin
    1. IIT Madras Faculty Page
    2. Okapi Research and Advisory
  2. IIT Madras – Department of Civil Engineering
  3. Stanford University – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  4. UWaterloo – Promoting Effective Classroom Participation
  5. What is Peer Learning and Why is it Important?
  6. Differentiating Normal, Complex and Megaprojects
  7. Megaproject
  8. Infrastructure
  9. Chennai Metro Rail Project
    1. Chennai Metro Rail (Twitter)
    2. Chennai Metro (Website)
    3. Chennai Metro – Project Status
    4. Drawing Competition at Metro Stations
  10. 6 Common Causes of Cost Overruns in Construction Projects
  11. Sydney Opera House Named to Over-Budget Hall of Shame
  12. East-West Gas Pipeline Project (China)
    1. Overview of the West-East Gas Pipeline Project
    2. Social Impact Assessment Survey of the China West-East Gas Pipeline Project  (by the UNDP)
  13. COVID-19 and its Impact on Infrastructure Projects
    1. The Impact of COVID-19 on Infrastructure Projects and Assets (Deloitte)
    2. COVID-19 and Infrastructure: A Very Tricky Opportunity (World Bank)
    3. COVID-19 and a New Resilient Infrastructure Landscape (OECD)
  14. The Golden Triangle of Project Management
  15. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (Government of India)
  16. Understanding the Optimism Bias
  17. Cost Benefit Analysis for Projects: A Step-by-Step Guide
  18. Influence: Overt versus Covert
  19. Michel Foucault and Governmentality
    1. Michel Foucault
    2. Governmentality: Notes on the Thought of Michel Foucault
    3. Three Minute Thought: What Is Governmentality?
    4. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (eBook)
  20. Sample Megaproject Organization Chart (Image)
  21. Design Thinking and the Stanford d.School
    1. What is Design Thinking?
    2. d.School
    3. d.School Starter Kit
  22. IDEO and the Shopping Cart
    1. Full Length Video (22 minutes)
    2. Short Length Video (8 minutes)
  23. Nagpur Metro Rail Project
    1. Nagpur Metro (Wiki)
    2. Nagpur Metro Rail Project (Website)
    3. Dr. Brijesh Dixit
  24. NEWater (from Singapore)
  25. Explaining the Circular Economy and How Society Can Re-think Progress | Animated Video Essay (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
  26. Entrepreneurship in times of COVID (Talk by Ashwin Mahlingam)
  27. E-Cell IIT Madras
    1. Website
    2. LinkedIn
    3. Instagram
    4. Twitter
    5. Inside IIT Madras’ Deep-Tech Startup Incubator
  28. A Talk on Chess and Music by Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam and Anil Srinivasan
  29. IIT Madras’ 3D Printed House
    1. Finance Minister Inaugurates India’s First 3D Printed House At IIT Madras
    2. Peek inside India’s first ever 3D printed house, as IIT Madras creates history (Video)
  30. Recommended Books
    1. The Jeeves Collection Audiobook (Narrated by Stephen Fry) by P.G. Wodehouse
    2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  31. Professional Engineer License
    1. National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)’s Professional Engineer License
    2. The Institute of Engineers [India]’s Professional Engineer’s Certification
  32. Selected Publications
    1. Megaproject Leadership in the Developing World: An Indian Perspective (A. Mahalingam)
    2. Managing Project Community in Infrastructure Megaprojects (J. Ninan, A. Mahalingam, S. Clegg)
    3. Making Contingent Decisions in Megaprojects – Governance Lessons from an Imitation and Adaptation Perspective (M. Balasubramani, A. Mahalingam)
    4. Branding and Governmentality for Infrastructure Megaprojects: The Role of Social Media (Research Summary)
  33. Engineering Project Organization Journal (EPOJ)

Show Notes

On Ashwin’s Childhood and Early Days [02:25]

Approach to Teaching, current Teaching Assignments, and Research Interests [07:11]

What is a Megaproject? [09:21]

How Megaprojects impact India? [12:22]

Project Management complexities in Megaprojects [16:16]

How Megaproject Management differs from a typical Software Project [18:43]

A First Lesson in Megaproject Planning [19:10]

On Defining Value in a Megaproject [22:46]

On the use of Social Media in influencing Megaprojects [27:15]

On Using Design Thinking in a Slum Development Project [34:38]

Design Thinking for Software Development [39:56]

Leadership in Megaprojects [41:55]

Integrated Sustainability Thinking in Megaprojects [46:25]

On the Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell) at IIT Madras [50:36]

On STEM-based Learning and Education[54:15]

On Technology Trends in Construction Management [57:03]

Recommended Books [59:06]

On Continuous Learning for Engineers [1:01:40]

What would be the three pieces of advice Ashwin would give himself if he was 10 years old, today [1:03:53]

ContraMinds is available on all leading podcast players.

To learn more, join us on:





Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: