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Program Manager - Project Delivery - Chennai

 

About CEGIS 

The Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS Foundation – pronounced See-Jis) ) was co-founded by private equity investor turned philanthropist Ashish Dhawan and economist Karthik Muralidharan in 2019 to improve millions of lives by helping Indian state governments work better. CEGIS aims to enable a transformative improvement in the functioning of the Indian state in the coming decade. Informed by cutting-edge research and evidence as well as a practical orientation toward implementable ideas, CEGIS aims to provide Indian states with both an analytical roadmap for governance and expenditure reforms as well as strategic implementation support to deliver on this vision. 

 

The organization has a sharp focus on improving the quality of public expenditure, and through it, develops templates for achieving a step-function improvement in development outcomes across India. We strive to produce high-quality economic analysis to inform state-level policy-making and work closely with the Chief Secretary, and Principal Secretaries of Finance/Planning, with guidance from and close coordination with the Chief Minister and Finance Minister. Based on consultations with top officials in several states, we believe that there is a very high demand for such support – especially when backed by world-leading technical expertise and a deep understanding of service delivery in India.

 

CEGIS believes that states are the most important unit for addressing these issues. Therefore, we work with state governments to generate actionable insights, formulate effective solutions and facilitate measurable impact in terms of developmental outcomes. Currently, CEGIS is working with the governments of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bodoland Territorial Council, NCT of Delhi and a few Government of India entities. At the state level, CEGIS identifies sectoral priorities jointly with the state government, and then aims to integrate its four verticals (Outcome Measurement, Personnel Management, Public Finance, State(s) and Market into specific projects to improve governance, service delivery, and development outcomes.

CEGIS Approach and Model of Functioning 

Four key characteristics of high-performing organizations are (a) measuring outcomes for goal setting and monitoring progress towards these goals, (b) strategic use of personnel policy – including competency based hiring and training, skilling, and performance appraisals to determine job assignments, pay, and promotions – to achieve the goals above, (c) strategic budgeting where resource allocation is based on evidence and cost-effectiveness; (d) and creating efficient systems to leverage external actors (including for-profit and nonprofit organizations). The Indian state performs weakly on all four fronts above. CEGIS helps to improve the functioning of the Indian state by focusing on the four principles above.

 

CEGIS works with state governments through a dedicated state office that is co-created with the state and integrated with their Finance and Planning Departments. The staffing model includes CEGIS personnel as well as staff seconded by the state and fellows, if any. Thus, instead of being another Delhi-based ‘policy think tank’, we are building the organization in a “state-led” way, where we focus on deep partnerships with states with an iterative cycle of “thinking” and “doing”. We support states in implementing evidence-based ideas for improving state effectiveness while also continuously learning from state-level experiences of implementing these ideas. Each state-level CEGIS engagement features some core themes that are common to all state-level engagements, and others that vary by state. State-level delivery teams are supported by central technical teams that curate ideas based on both evidence and experience, support state-level experimentation, and accelerate adoption of successful practices across states.

Position Summary 

The Program Manager (PM) will manage CEGIS’ engagement with multiple government departments (e.g., School Education, Public Health, Urban Development, Finance, among others) in Tamil Nadu (ideally manage two projects at any given point of time). The PM would be part of the CEGIS’ Project Delivery Team (State Team) and would lead teams embedded in the assigned departments to implement CEGIS’s theory of change. These teams will be responsible for designing solutions for improved governance using research, stakeholder consultations, and analytical techniques. The PM would oversee the design and implementation of these solutions and must work closely with the respective government stakeholders during each phase of a project. S/he shall be primarily responsible for delivering high quality outputs within stipulated timelines.

Roles and Responsibilities 

Data Analysis and Management:

  • Identifying, obtaining, and collating relevant information and data, and performing
    quality control to ensure validity and accuracy of data

  • Overseeing field and desk research using qualitative and quantitative analysis, and
    relevant tools as necessary 

  • Ensuring application of organization-wide protocols designed for data protection,
    data management on the assigned projects

  • Safeguard sensitive project information and minimise data protection risk by adhering to data protection protocols

Analysis and Insights:

  • Reviews accuracy and validity of research and data collected for meaning making

  • Evaluates the solutions proposed by vertical teams in the context of the project scenario and known limitations

  • Suggests changes in approach or process to suggested solutions.  

  • Researches government policies and schemes to assess current program design and scope for intervention.

  • Refines problem statement and proposed solution based on insights from the ground.

Project Delivery / Management:

  • Identifies and structures problems, synthesising hypotheses and, developing and
    applying appropriate analytical frameworks and approaches

  • Works closely with sector leads and CEGIS technical teams, government
    stakeholders and senior academics (wherever required), to tailor data-driven solutions to local context, and translate technical rigour to on-ground implementation

  • Drafts high-quality written documents and presentations

  • Provides management oversight on day-to-day activities in each project to ensure
    timely delivery of high-quality outputs

  • Proactively identifies risks and issues affecting tasks or workstream delivery, and
    promptly communicating upward with proposed solutions

  • Identifies delays, bottlenecks and challenges in meeting project goals and consults internally to formulate strategies to mitigate.

  • Ensure overall project documentation to aid tracking changes in project scope, delivery including key learning, best practices etc. and sharing with other teams

Client and Partner Management:

  • Identifies areas of alignment and conflict with stakeholders on project goals by proactively anticipate Stakeholder needs.

  • Suggests the right approach and ideas based on a deep understanding of Stakeholder needs

  • Actively partners with Government (Department heads and second line), and other stakeholders, to define project workstreams

  • Communicates project progress, outcomes and insights to Client through visually compelling presentations and analysis.

  • Creates systems for partnerships between government and other stakeholders and helps identify an external advisory group of individuals and organisations

  • Builds relationships with potential collaborators or partners, donors and research institutions.

Knowledge Management & Documentation:

  • Develops knowledge products like concept notes, success stories of projects, learning documents of a project (to roll-out to other States) etc.

  • Prepares detailed presentations, reports, and briefs summarizing project progress, data analyses, and research findings for dissemination at various fora.

Required Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in economics, statistics, mathematics, public policy, engineering, management, social science, or related fields from a reputed institution

  • Minimum five (05) years of relevant work experience in one or more of the following areas: Management/strategy consulting or governance/development 

  • Public service with a government (preferably state governments) or quasi-government body as a project manager, young professional, or fellow 

  • Familiarity with governance interventions in education / public health /nutrition/ local governance/ law and order/ livelihoods/ agriculture sectors would be a plus 

  • Project/ program management or implementation roles with governments, advisory entities, multilaterals, international development institutions or strategic philanthropy firms 

  • Experience of working on projects with the Government of Tamil Nadu would be an advantage

Personal Characteristics and Desired Qualities

  • Fluency in Tamil and basic to intermediate proficiency in English 

  • Excellent problem-solving and strategic thinking skills, strong research aptitude ability to analyse complex quantitative and qualitative data and formulate solutions 

  • Excellent writing and communication skills (ability to communicate complex ideas in a meaningful way and across different audiences) within and outside the organisation

  • Demonstrated relationship-building ability and management of high-level relationships with partner organisations, ideally based on experience of working with Indian state governments 

  • Strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines 

  • Passion for improving the effectiveness of Indian States, and alignment with CEGIS’ theory of change/ impact 

  • Operating style suited to working independently and in a small organisation setting, where teamwork and resourcefulness are highly valued 

  • Ability to work under pressure by handling competing priorities, strong planning and organizational skills, and an ability to be able to set priorities, plan timelines and meet deadlines, maintaining attention to detail and delivering high-quality outputs 

  • Ability to think creatively, willing to take risks to experiment with new ideas and the ability to turn ideas into action 

  • High ability to collaborate and actively listen to others, understanding and valuing others’ views 

  • Versatility to be comfortable taking on different projects and quickly dive into new sectors

Location and Compensation

  • Location: The role will be based out of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Travel to other states may be required. 

  • Remuneration will be competitive with Indian philanthropy and social sector pay scales and will depend on the candidate’s experience levels. 

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application here

Pre-reads for the application process

Please go through the following materials before sending in your application:

Concept note on CEGIS

 

Podcast episodes with Prof. Karthik Muralidharan – one each on education and healthcare in India.

You are also encouraged to read more of Prof. Karthik Muralidharan’s work here.

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