Hello and Welcome

I'm an ex-Project Manager who currently moved on to Agile Consulting and this blog is my sounding board. This blog was started in 2008 journal-ling through my project management journey, today it combines both- my passion for all things project management as well as looking into the agile way of transformation and undergoing changes.

Here I write about my experiences, struggles, failures and joys. I also interview, do book reviews and keep you updated.

I usually post twice a week: Monday and Thursday unless I am too caught up which is often these days

If I'm not working; I can be found reading with a cup of tea. I love to read, push the envelope one step further, work on new ideas, experiment, travel and explore life.

Did you know you can now buy Stepping into Project Management at Amazon Kindle.

You can reach me at steppingintopm@gmail.com

Change your life: Rewire your brain

Success could be about innovation, about practice, about determination. One thing that will be the common denominator is how you wire your brain to get to your desired state of mind.

Good news is your brain changes with you or may be you change because your brain is constantly changing.

There’s a traditional saying that the mind takes the shape it rests upon; the modern update is that the brain takes the shape the mind rests upon.  For instance, if you regularly rest your mind upon worries, self criticism, and anger, then your brain will gradually take that shape – will develop neural structures and dynamics of anxiety, low sense of worth, and prickly reactivity to others.  On the other hand, if you regularly rest  your mind upon, for example noticing you’re all right right now, seeing the good in yourself and letting go…then your brain will gradually take the shape of calm strength, self confidence, and inner peace. (Source) 

“As your mind changes, your brain changes; and as your brain changes, your mind changes.” Hanson explains how neuroplasticity is accomplished:
  • Busy regions get more blood flow, since they need more oxygen and glucose.
  • The genes inside neurons get more or less active; for example, people who routinely relax have improved expression of genes that calm down stress reactions, making them more resilient.
  • Neural Connections that are relatively inactive wither away; its a kind of neural Darwanism, the survival of the busiest, use it or lose it.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”  This saying from the work of Donald Hebb means that synapses – the connections between neurons – get more sensitive, plus new neurons grow, producing thicker neural layers.

It’s said that practice makes it easier for brain to highlight on the same function over and over again, making that part of the brain easier to access. That’s why it’s said cab drivers who need to memorize the city maps to get their license, have that part of their brain bigger than the rest.

Turns out more struggles and obstacles you have in learning, better your brain learns.

And if you are looking for inspiration to keep your new year’s resolution going, here’s a tip- physical exercise is good for the brain because it helps create new neurons.



To read similar articles- read Finding your Zone and How to Keep your Life in Control .

If you like visual representations, click here

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest) 


Free Flow Sunday

When routine gets hectic, try this out.

It gets it’s name from what I thought would be a good way to spend my Sunday. No rules, no commitments, no alarm- its free flow. I do what I want to do.

I noticed in trying to chase the next thing to get done throughout the week, I was simply exhausted, to the point I would get irritated very easily. My weekends as a busy working mom would mean endless things and errands to take care of. I never made the list, it simply got lost in more things to get done.

So I stopped. I started this as an experiment on myself to see if it could actually work. So, there’s no schedule for my Sundays which also means I mostly say to all invitations and meetings and brunches on Sunday. I want to keep the time open and available for me.

The way it works- I wake up without alarm and get up and so whatever I want to do. Sometimes I just spend drinking coffee in the balcony and water the plants. Some Sundays, I play with my son, sometimes it’s the gratitude journal followed by all morning being in bed and reading. I keep my whole week scheduled to perfection and this one day I just let it all go. The bed stays messy, the house not quite perfect, the lunch unplanned. Some days we will drive for a bite, some days I will whip up a fancy mean or just order in.

This also works because it’s Sunday and everyone’s available. Sometimes I will delegate work; sometimes I let everyone do what they want. It helps that my parents help as well with my son. So, anyone is free to get their own breakfast done, some days, someone will take the responsibility to make it- it's never me :) 

You get the idea... so how does it help?
  • Decompress- after a hectic week and stressing out, this day resets my system for Monday
  • Unschedule to schedule better- This allows me to just let everything go. The feeling of letting go is so powerful in not having hundred more things to do that Mondays are always better. That one day break is a real Sunday for me.
  • Me time- it allows me to live one day the way i want. Yes there are still certain things I will do, but mostly and as much as possible what I want to do.
  • Solitude helps- I am an introvert and yes i always need my me time. Its a must and when I loose it, it always creates more problems than solutions. I gather my thoughts on life, my career, things I want to do, places I want to travel and catch up with friends.
  • Asses life- I remember a friend who once told me, we are so focussed on running after the next hike, we forget what we have now and we never enjoy that. It stuck with me. I am not part of any race that day, I try to forgive and forget all wrong doings and try to breathe in more peace within myself.

So far, it has been working, I really look forward to Sundays. 

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Why is creativity good for you?

Experts argue that getting into a state of flow can produce substantial happiness, the kind that lasts longer than the pleasure we get from eating a good cookie.    

According to Matthew Swan, MA, Registered Art Therapist, “Through creativity, we often find answers to our problems.” He says when we’re stuck, it helps if we can step outside the box and find another way of doing something. To be successful at this, we need to do things outside of our normal, everyday routine and to make connections between things that we had not thought about before. In fact, the creative process is the act of making these new connections.  

The link between creativity and better mental and physical health is well established by researchSo, while if you consider yourself someone who is creative naturally, chances are you are happier and that means better at work.  

Robert Epstein explained in a Psychology Today article how challenging situations can bring out our creativity. Even if you don’t succeed at whatever you’re doing, you’ll wake up the creative areas of your brain and they’ll perform better after the failed task, to compensate. 

In 1954 the first flotation method was created by John C. Lilly, a neuro-psychiatrist, as a way to create sensory-deprived control groups for his experiments. Being inside the flotation tank takes your brain from highly conscious alpha and beta waves to solid theta waves—the kind you would normally have right before falling asleep and just after waking up. Normally we only experience these theta waves for a few minutes, but having extended theta periods helps us to visualize better, often giving us vivid mental images. Sensory deprivation helps in reducing anxiety, stress and even chronic pain.  


So, like everything else, creativity can bring you happiness and in return give you the much soughted after peace or grounding of you self that can actually help you catapult your career forward. 

If there’s one thing you should focus on this year, it definitely has to be making yourself happier and the rest will happen automatically. If you are looking for more ways to make your brain happier, read this.  





(pic courtesy: Pinterest)

3 Things To Do This Year

What's yours? 

This year let the year not be in wishing, lets back it up with some concrete plans. So what would you do, if you weren't afraid? 

Can you still try to make it work? Is there an alternative? Don't let the lizard brain rule you this year... take the plunge and let's try it together.




(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

3 New PM Blogs to Follow This year

If you are looking forward to refresh your reading list this year, look no further here are 3 new one's to choose from:


What's new on your reading list? 

(Pic courtesy: Canva)

Best of 2016: Moving Foward

2016 has been a tough year for me, it has tested me in every possible way and yet I am thankful that I have survived. The  journey taught me a lot and I thought I will share with you some of my favorite things I have discovered last year that I intend to carry forward with me to 2017.



I have realized being organized helps me declutter and empty up my head space and it's a big relief. So, I have spent the last 2 months doing exactly that- sorting out my brain.

Here are some of the things I have enjoyed, I hope you like them and let me know what was yours.

Best Apps
  • Evernote (productivity and organization)- I use this to bookmark links or upload documents primarily for work or blog.
  • Big Basket (online grocery- India)- saves me from the traffic in Indian roads. 
  • Canva (design and content creation)- I use this for creating posters and banners that I use in the blog or in my social media channels.
  • Pinterest (visual board)- its the last thing I browse before bed, I love beautiful things (or pictures)
  • Omvana (meditation) - I discovered it very recently after reading the Code of the Extraordinary Mind
  • Noteboard- chrome extension (efficiency and productivity)- good place to jot down my lists and goals plus I like the feel of a cork board.

Best Gadgets
  • Garmin Activity Tracker (physical fitness)- if you have read my post on 5 Years- Thats how long it took you know what I am talking about. This helps plus I love the reminder to Move!
  • Wireless speaker/headphone  (music, phone calls)- I have carried it with me when travelling to cient sites. When you are contantly living out of a suitcase it helps to have a familiar routine, even if that means listening to a familiar soundtrack. 

Best  Blogs


Best of SIPM Posts





Pic Courtesy: pinterest
Some of the links used are Amazon affiliate links, it helps me keep this site running if you happen to buy the products using the link. Thank you.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you Merry Christmas. I hope you have peace, happiness and abundance in your life and spread the cheer around. 

I will be spending time with family, cooking up lunch and just lounging and you can find behind the scenes here



(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya via Canva)

Top 3 Books for 2016

If you have been with me reading the blog or checking tweets and watching the occasional pop ups in Instagram, you will know that I read for work and pleasure. This year has seen me get back to it more than the last two years. 

So, if you like to red or looking for a last minute gift idea, you can check out these 3 books which I think have had the most impact on me. 



·    The 193 pg book focuses on the benefits of maintaining a checklist through various industries. 
·      A surgeon from NY, the book The Checklist is not about just to do lists. It’s a brief list that helps critical decision making in sensitive situations like the operating room by saving lives or during investment decisions or in aeronautical situation (mid air crisis).
·        
The reason I liked the book is because:
§  It’s a simple idea that’s so well researched that it makes you think that we should all implement more checklists in our work places and homes to save ourselves from complications.
§  He talks about how the checklist that was created in John Hopkins hospital that raised a possibility that people talking to each other  a minute before starting the operation was a strategy to foster team work which lead to higher success rates. 
§  It made me think that the basics of any project management should be about certain checklist like its focused a lot in Agile with the ceremonies and DOD (definition of done) and exit criteria’s all set to actually ensure that everything is in its place and chances to miss it is reduced thereby ensuring the quality of the potentially shippable product.
§  It’s a book that will make you think and has take away's that you can actually implement in your work. It also provides you with enough case studies that will allow you to make a strong case with the right set of data that you will need to get buy in from your team or management to get the checklists implemented. 

If you need an awakening of your mind and soul, if you want to grow more, need a way to organize your thoughts and dreams, want to be happier....this is what you should be reading. It shook me up literally. ·It’s a must read and will be my staple on the bedside table for the next few month definitely.          

  • 223 pages excluding the glossary and others, this book will help you understand your expectation from life and how to get them. Book talks a lot about the realities that the author faced as he tried to build his own business that thrives successfully now.
  • He gives example from his own life and multitude of other people like Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins on how they look at success.
  • My favorite in the book is chapter 5- where he talks about the structure that’s split into 8 sets of qualities that we need from life and for me thinking the way he has laid it down was life changing. I really knew the actions I had to take to grow more personally and professionally.
  • This is a book that helps you look inside you, fix it... so you can fulfill your dreams outside.

·         This was an impulsive buy in airport because I was looking to read something while I was on vacation for my son’s 2 birthday this August. I don’t think I have ever thought of sleep so much in my life till I started reading this book. I will be honest, I am not much of a sleeper, I like to stay awake more than I like sleeping. I have in the recent years also been very sleep deprived; I call it the Rio Effect. The book surprised me with the health benefits and the link to better decision making and yes now that I try to sleep more I do see the payback myself.  

  • ·We all know sleeps important, but the author breaks the modern myth of going sleepless and how cool it is especially for youngsters and showing why and how it’s important to achieve our goals.
  • It talks about medications, health issues, and extra cost to government dealing with health crisis that can all be reduced just by sleeping.
  •  It also talks about how from Warren Buffet to Satya Nadella all emphasize about sleeping and its bond to good decision making and the effectiveness and efficiency.
  • If you like informative and well researched book like I do and the topic is something you can relate to- it’s a good read.
For me I can connect the dots of the take away of the 3 books- I think resting the mind to work and function better in a structured way through checklists will make me happier and give me better value for the time invested in doing it. And happiness will ensure I work through my challenges better and have the capacity to fulfill the dreams.

Pic courtesy: Google and Soma Bhattacharya
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