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

This Is How I work- Siddharta Govindaraj

 Siddharta Govindaraj is an agile transformation consultant who help leaders meet their business objectives by transforming the way their organisation delivers software. He also started Silver Stripe Software Pvt Ltd, to work further in the area of software delivery

He was nominated for the Brickell Key award in 2011, an award given by the Lean Software Systems Consortium for recognizing achievements in the lean-agile industry and also a Fellow of the Lean Systems Society.

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to?
Usually between 5:30 to 6:30. I don’t have an alarm. My body clock is pretty good at getting me up in this range.

Tea or Coffee? 
I drink anything. Sometimes tea, sometimes coffee (usually when I’m outside the house), sometimes oats. I recently got my hands on some Kerala cocoa and I’ve been having Xocolatl (Warning: Pure cocoa is BITTER!)
Everyone should taste this to understand just how much sugar gets added to chocolate 😊

Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning? 
None. I’m just not the organised type of person to make this happen.

When do you feel most productive? 
Early morning. Late night. Even afternoon. The important thing is that I need 3 hours of continuous undisturbed time. Then I get into the zone and I can go on for hours. During my college days, I once started a project at at 7pm and at around 4am, a bunch of bees decided that my tubelight was the sunrise and invaded my room.

Where do you work? 
I work at home when I’m not at a clients office.

Three must have items in your desk.
I like to use fountain pens. I keep two of them in my bag. One has black ink and a fine nib and the other has a dark green ink and a medium flex nib. Someone has recommended deep red. Hmmm...

What do you listen to while working?
Nothing. I can’t do two things at once. If I play music, I can’t maintain my concentration. But I do listen to a bunch of podcasts while driving.

What are you reading currently?
Lean Change Management by Jason Little.

I met Jason at the Lean Kanban conference in 2011. His writings on agile transformations are the best I’ve read. Highly recommended - http://www.agilecoach.ca/blog/

How do you organize?
I don’t 😲

Any hacks you prefer for work?
I maintain a personal Kanban board when I’m at a client location. I have a really bad memory, so the board is very helpful. You can see a bit of it in the picture below.

What are your favorite gadgets?
 My Nintendo 3DS. Easily the best video games in a portable format. I generally play quite a bit of video games.

What apps can you not live without?
First, the Live Tiles feature on my Windows Phone. Yes, I’m one of the five people in the world who have a Windows Phone. iPhone is too boring and Android is full of malware. The Live Tiles feature is just fantastic because it shows a ton of information on the home screen. I rarely have to open an app.


  • Podcast Lounge – great podcasting app. I listen to podcasts when I’m driving alone. Why waste the drive time?
  • These are the Podcasts I mostly listen to:
  • Freakonomics Radio – interesting topics on a wide variety of topics
  • Harvard Business Review Ideacast – interviews on latest ideas on management
  • The Advanced Selling Podcast – about selling stuff 😊
  • The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast – this is a podcast on board games, which I play quite a bit of

Any new addition to your routines? 
I don’t have a routine to start with 😉

How do you recharge?
Usually go for a drive, or go to the beach. We’re lucky in Chennai that we have 15 km of beach.

(Pic courtesy: Siddhartha)

Giveaway: Project Management 2.0

Here's another Giveaway for you: Project Management 2.0 by Harold Kerzner

Project Management 2.0To read the review of the book, click here 

The give away is applicable only in India (no international shipping for now). Here' what you have to do:
  • Let me know you are interested to partcipate in the giveaway by adding a comment
  • OR you can tweet  about it and use the hashtag #SIPM
  • Last date is Aug 30.
I will pick a winner and announce it in the Blog on September 1. 

Have a good weekend!

This is how I work

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to?
Right now somewhere between 7.30 am-8.00 am. I try to wake up naturally, I leave the curtains open for the sunlight to stream in. 

Tea or Coffee?
Recently switched to tea. I am usually a coffee person for that first cup in the morning.

Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning?
Water my plants and soak up the morning sun for a couple of minutes and some days write in my gratitude journal may be a line or two.

When do you feel most productive?
I have always been a night owl, recently I am trying to make some lifestyle changes and have been trying to feel inspired in the morning. Some days mornings work for me, sometimes old habits die hard.

Where do you work?
I have my dark wood compact desk set up in the bedroom by the window, I like the natural light and the corner of the room. The desk has enough space to keep my knick knacks on and storage for files. the window sill has few plants. My desk is pic 2, of course its a partial pic of the desk. I pair it up with a light brown leather swivel big chair that's comfortable enough to nap in :)

However, sometimes I will just work out of the couch while watching TV (at night) or at the dining table if I am trying to keep my laptop out of my 2 year old's reach. 

What are you reading currently?
The last book I read was Magical Thinking by Elizabeth Gilbert and that was a week ago. Right now, nothing specific. However every night I will browse through articles or blogs or anything that inspires me. Since I am trying to make my lifestyle much more positive and inspiring, I read on heath, food and being inspired and how it affects our well being and work style. 

As for work reading it really depends, it's is mostly on Agile or management. Last book I read was Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. 

How do you keep things organized?
I carry a notepad and pen with me all the time. I like the feel of pen and paper, so sometimes I will use the notepad, sometimes just jot things down in my phone. I also use sticky notes a lot for my to do list for the day.

Any hack you prefer for work?
When I read books, I will usually use post it notes and mark the important things or pages, so years later if I have to refer it’s just easy than having to read the whole book again.

What are your favorite gadgets?
An old DELL laptop, Mac book air and an Iphone.

What apps can you not live without?
I have reduced my times spent on apps, however once in a while I will still pop in whatsapp to catch up with my friends. Evernote. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. That’s it. I do have more than required apps on my phone, I have been trying to reduce my time on them and focus more on myself. So far, it’s been a positive change. It was the most difficult of changes to make to not check phone every five minutes. 

Any new addition to your routines?
I get bored very easily, so I try to change my routines once a in a while. Recently it has been trying to work out (I use the office gym) on a regular basis. I think my best when I am working out or just out a for a walk alone. I have also been trying out inspiration boards and gardening J

How do you recharge?
Mostly by reading  (book or just browsing through interesting reads over the web, sometimes just Pinterest) or watching a good movie and ordering in and if possible a mini vacation. 

This post is inspired by Lifehacker posts on the same topic. Click here to know more.

(Pic courtesy: pic 1- Pinterest. Pic 2- my desk)

Being Inspired

Only 25 percent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five percent is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people, and manages stress.  Click for more 

To work at your best nothing is more required than feeling fresh and inspired, ready to take on the day. But in today’s world, the stress, the complexity of our lives and the constant urge for more means life is about the rat race and less about being grateful and enjoying the NOW.
Here are 5 tried and tested ways to feel inspired: 
  • Connect with nature- The moments you wake up and no matter how you feel, connect with nature. Stand by your window and breathe in the fresh air, take your cup of tea to the balcony even if it’s for a minute, get a bit of sunlight or go for a walk. I have started looking forward to my mornings and the positive feeling it brings. Here are 10 benefits of sunlight 
  • Hold on to the positivity- I use my journal to write may be a line or two. If you have the time, feel free to invest couple of minutes here. Reinforce the positivity- listen to good music, read good quotes- whatever makes you feel positive. “Happy thoughts and positive thinking, in general, support brain growth, as well as the generation and reinforcement of new synapses, especially in your prefrontal cortex (PFC), which serves as the integration center of all of your brain-mind functions”. Source here  
  • Create a positive routine- give yourself couple of minutes white getting ready for the day. Wear the color you want, have a cup of tea while you get ready, have a fruit, read/listen a good book. Positivity has rewire your brain and help you broaden your skill set.  
  • Create an inspiring space at work- well not all of us have the luxury to design our own work space at office but smaller changes do create a big impact. Keep things you will need to keep your work life organized, comfortable and inspiring- index cards, sticky notes, personal pictures, quotes, few knick knacks you can add, healthy snacks etc.
  • Come home to a happy space- which means you have to leave the home clean and organized in the mornings. Light a candle, put on music, plays with kids and have a flavorful dinner. Catch up on some reading or your favorite shows, go for a walk, watch the stars- be grateful for the day you have had.
In case you didn’t know happy employees have about 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, and three times higher creativity! 

(pic courtesy: Pinterest)
 

Decision Making: what you should know about it.


Long ago when I was in school in US, I remember one of my professors talking about how he was teaching his toddler about choices and decision making.  He said, today we decided to have both milk and orange juice at the table during breakfast. And we asked Josh- Milk or juice? Josh said- milk juice. He wanted both. They finally couldn’t get Josh, the toddler to decide but he said perhaps tomorrow.
I sat in the class thinking, wow ... I wouldn’t even have thought of that. Growing up in India, decisions were mostly made for you, especially about food.

While options are great, sometimes having too many aren’t as easy to decide....
  •  Like when you have couple of job offers in hand
  •  Wardrobe decions every morning
  • Too many goals
  • Multiple decisions to make in a very short period of time

  1. Make your decisions in the morning\
  2. Eat first
  3. Cut down your choices
  4. Open the windows
  5. Use a foreign language

And  if you worry too much about making the right decision, click here 

(Pic courtesy: Google images)
 The winner of the Giveaway is Sudharshan from Hyderabad. 



Give Away: The Project Managers Guide to Mastering Agile



If you have been planning to read up this summer, this might be handy.

Giving away The Project Managers Guide to Mastering AGILE , to read a review about it and know more details click here.

The give away is applicable only in India (no international shipping for now). Here' what you have to do:
  • You can leave comments below on what inspires you to be a Project Manager? (comments are moderated so will not be visible immediately)
  • OR you can tweet  about it and use the hashtag #SIPM
  • Last date is June 30.
I will pick a winner and announce it in the Blog on July 1.