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Name: Sachin Melwani
Title: Director of Project Systems, Business Transformation & Change Management
Organisation: DADA Enterprises Ltd. (DADA)
Sachin has established and delivered ISO9001 certified consultancy service across EMEA, and APAC regions. Sachin is an extensive public speaker to Universities, and Conferences, who is a member of the Association of Cost Engineers' (ACostE) South West Regional Board, Nuclear Institute's Digital SIG (DIGSIG), and Institute of Risk Management (IRM) Risk & Complexity SIG, Sizewell C Consortium member, and AI for Nuclear (AI4N) Working Group. As an AXELOS P3M3 Certified Consulting Partner with 20+ years’ experience, Sachin has delivered PMO, Programme Delivery and Transformational Change on major ERP projects, and major infrastructure projects, frequently featured in the Consultancy.uk.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
To foster non-linear thinking to allow team members to think beyond the horizon, and everyday demands. As we frequently work on highly political, mega capex projects frequently delivering transformation projects in challenging timescales, we need to provide our staff the required support to cope with potential project challenges, by anticipating the demands they may face. Here, we also need to balance these challenges by still fostering a playful, and creative environment, that still allows staff to enjoy their work, and feel confident to take risks, even if they may fail.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I cut my teeth working on major transformation projects, both on the Client-side as well as the Systems Integrator side. This allowed me to understand both aspect of the change from Business Readiness, Post Go-Live support as well as Data Migration and Systems Testing. By constantly challenging myself to move projects before they became stale, I continued my development, and was able to meet people from a variety of cultures on projects across the world.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I try to wake early and get the exercise out the way before the body properly wakes up and knows what I am trying to do. Before, logging onto check my e-mails, I try to meditate for at least 30-mins to clear by mind to allow me to focus on more strategic priorities, rather than getting driven by everyday challenges. In terms of diet, I try to eat solid foods early in the day, with more liquid foods, towards the end of the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Ring-fencing multi-disciplined Agile team resources till delivery has finished to “take the work to the people, not the people to the work”. This practically means creating mixed resources teams, to reduce slack time in teams waiting around for feed-in deliverables. So, we develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as part of a Lean Start-up methodology, to validate a product idea early in the development cycle.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"The Change Ninja Handbook: An interactive adventure for leading change" by Dr. Tammy Watchorn. This allowed me to understand that those involved in our change initiatives as individuals, not ‘stakeholders’.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Try to identify the high-level change drivers and objectives by validating projects and mapping them back to strategic objectives. So, develop a benefits dependency network (BDN) to map clearly how your project relates to the strategic objectives to avoid waste.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Social Value increasingly is an important priority for us. Here, we try to support local communities through this project i.e., supporting the local economy, promoting skills and employment e.g., through internships, employment schemes, and improving community health, safety and resilience, low carbon initiatives, environment friendly machinery, electric vehicles, charity sponsorship.
So, recent meaningful stories for me have been in providing opportunities to long-term unemployed or out-of-workplace candidates (e.g., ex-prisoners, bringing long-term out-of-work single parents). Our Learning & Development (L&D) Officer provides a Returning to Work Plan, for these disenfranchised groups to be able to return to work at their own pace, with consideration given to their home and financial pressures.
In another recent example of us tackling Social Inequality, has been as part of the Sizewell C Consortium’s initiative to register over 50 placement opportunities for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit who were at risk of long-term unemployment in the UK.