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

Finding your Purpose (Ikigai): In your Work

What does a job mean to you?
  • Is it a way to earn your paycheck? 
  • A way to find out your calling? 
  • Or is it your life’s purpose

If you are struggling to figure out what’s your life purpose, the Japanese concept of Ikigai explains it all

If we are fortunate enough to match up our purpose with the jobs we have, life can only be amazing.

If you are trying to match it up here are 5 tips:
  • Find out what you like to do. Try Mind Mapping
  • Once you know your Ikigai, try internship positions/volunteer
  • Try reading up/taking courses on the subject matter (like from Coursera ). Having a degree will only add up to the chances of finding a job in that domain
  • Revise your resume. Don’t send resumes that cater to all types of jobs you are thinking about, it will make you look less serious to the one you are applying for. Customize your resume line by line for the job.
  • You will know when your job matches your Ikigai- it’s probably also your hobby. You enjoy waking up and heading out for your job. 
This can be you as a newbie or someone who continuously grows and evolves your interest might have just changed. As they say, you are never done finding purpose in your work

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Mind Mapping: What are you good at?

If you belong to a certain domain or hold a fancy job title- does it mean that’s the only thing you are good at? Or that's your life calling for the next thirty years?

Did you know that more than 70 % of the workforce is disengaged from the job they hold- this cannot be true if you are truly inspired by your profession. So, may be the job you have isn’t what you are interested in anymore because you figured they are other things you are better at.

Meet Anisha, who has a comfortable job and has been in it for a while till she woke up one day and felt she wasn’t being recognized for her loyalty and the long hours of work. she isn't drawn to her job anymore. She’s looking for something that excites her ...  So, what does she do- she joins the disengaged workforce.

So, how can you figure out what you want to do or better: what you are really good at?

Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a toddler and think of what you wanted to be when you grow up. I wanted to be a teacher. To me that was the power figure- in control of a class of 60 students. That seemed a coveted position to hold for me.

Over the years as we grow and environment shifts and changes happen, our interest changes, skillsets take shape and we find a job.

Ten years later- is that what you still want? How can you navigate your career to ensure that its synced with your interests?

So, let’s try mind mapping- no fancy tool or budget required.

  • In the center place yourself ...  think of anything you like to do or makes you happy and start writing/sketching. Write as many as you can. Against each idea, see if you are still doing it (example- poetry- I published a coffee table book or I have a diary full of poems written and hidden because I think my friends will laugh at me and call me sappy). Rupi Kaur self-published her first book of poems in Amazon and it went to become a NYT best seller.
  • When you have sketched everything you can think of, add 5 more. Once you start thinking, it becomes easy.. Now see how you can take each of these ideas and keep thinking deeper- what does it mean to you. For example if you mentioned “creating” – you can mention writing blogs, clicking pics, creating travel vlogs, writing articles for magazines, becoming an author. Once all are done, take a different color pen and look for patterns. Common things that have surfaced- it could be similarity in the main ideas/categories or it could be sub categories within the categories- mark them.
  • Can you see the trend now- what you really like to do- in most cases you can also see a profession shaping up? Against the profession/interest you found- try adding ways on how you can achieve it or make money from it. That can lead to clarity- if this is something you want to take up as a profession, or you want to prepare for it (like take certifications) or talk to friends or references who are already in the profession of your choice.
  • That’s your calling. You don’t have to give up your job and go for it but if it does make sense- think about it. Think how you can try out this opportunity. 

This can be a wonderful way to find yourself back and be inspired again. So, did you find what you are good at?

(Pic courtesy: google images)

Dumping the Black Bag


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I don’t think I was listening. I am pretty sure I wasn’t. I had hit a block and nothing was getting me out of it.
It was mostly tiring- the juggles of work and life. I almost quit. I was uninspired.

I am an INFJ and I need my personal space and time- that’s how I recharge.

Disruption helped. I just gave away a lot of things that had given me a structure- I needed to find my way back. So, I lost the structure.

Here are 5 ways to find your game back:
  • Find your groove- Find what you really like to do. It could be things that relaxes you the most or things you did when you were a kid and wasn’t pressed for time. Things change, you might just need something new now.
  • Be inspired- Use a gratitude journal, you can shift your bitterness by being grateful by just trying it out regularly. It gives you an instant mood booster.
  • Create a space for yourself and maintain it- It should be comfortable and pleasing whether it’s your home or work, add personal touches and reminders that make you happy and comfortable.
  • Have reminders- In formats you prefer- it can be post its on your desk, notes in your phone, jewellery that reminds you of how far you have come and where you want to be.
  • Look for good content- In books, music, art or friends. Be in the space which is full of life, happiness and creativity. It will inspire creativity and thoughtfulness in you.
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When you feel you are slipping, get back on the grip. It takes time and the shift isn’t overnight. Have the patience. Let it be.

Finally, when you are ready- dump all your worries in the big black backpack and let it go. Replace with something nice and wonderful and just be happy. 

When you are happy- the real you will shine through and you will be unstoppable.

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Destress and Focus with Jazz

Work is fulfilling for a lot of us, however with it comes the stress and the burn out.

Consider this: Jazz music can lower blood pressure by causing blood vessels to expand by 30% (This change in blood pressure is like loosing 30 lbs).

It incidentally helps you to get better sleep.  Studies shows that just 45 min of soft, slow music (60-80 BPM) like jazz, before bedtime results in better and longer night-time sleep as well as less dysfunction during the day:
• After 1 week, 26% were sleeping better.
• After 3 weeks, 35% were sleeping better.

After finding out about Jazz, I decided to implement it in my own life and see the results. My work is sometimes stressful and while I enjoy it... working parallel in a lot of things sometimes leaves me burned out. I realize that I am not being as effective in getting things done, because I am worried about how much is left to be done.

So, I tried 2 things at work:

  1. When I start to worry/stress/get irritated I immediately walk out to refill my water bottle, or get a coffee. read the newspaper or sometimes just walk around. That momentarily relief and taking me out of that zone seems to work positively on the mind. 
  2. I also played jazz over the web via ear phones and I did work better partially because I felt more relaxed. It helped me to the extent that I now use it almost regularly specially when I have things to deliver in a tight timeline. 

You wont know what works for you, till you try it out yourself. So, my suggestion is to give it a go and see whether this is something that will work for you.

All I can say is, its definitely worth a try.

(pic courtesy: Google Images)

Tools- aren’t the answer to your Agile Transformation

The most hyped up idea during an Agile Transformation is the search for tool that would best suit your organizational needs. Tools is necessary, however isn’t the priority in your Agile journey.

In the process the focus shifts to the tool and then purpose of the transformation is lost. It reaches a point where transformation is equated with tool.


You don’t need fancy tools and a huge budget to start something small. Start your journey with a whiteboard, something that the team has to work on and can play around with it, changing and adding metrics or creating their own customized dashboard.

You can even try a team cork board, or use simple sticky notes or free software to try out the teams comfort level. Tool should be part of the process, not the process.

There are lots of reasons, why you fail in agile and tool shouldn’t be one of them. 
So, find ways to ensure you are Agile in reality. 

To know more about Agile tools, try the links here and here.

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)




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)