Sneak peek into the life of Project Manager's- Pt 1

This is my second year of this year ending tradition and it's one of the best
moments that I really enjoy.

This year ends with a fun light-hearted interview where the Project Managers talk about their everyday routine and New Year resolutions. I have always wondered how most of them have the time to do so much. Running successful blogs, doing podcasts and writing books along with high profile jobs and managing their global team.

So, I wanted to peek into their secret schedules with the hope that I might
borrow some of their routine and fit into mine.

I ask them 2 simple questions:
  • Do you have an everyday routine that you start your work with everyday?
  • What’s your New Year resolution? Anything related to project management?
Part 1 of the interview is where we talk about their Morning schedules. Stayed tuned for Part 2 coming up on January 4 (Monday).

This is what they said-

Alec Satin

Morning is the most productive time for me. Someone from the software development side once recommended that all project managers schedule their status and team meetings in the afternoon, as it keeps the most productive time for developers open. That idea makes a lot of sense.

Here are the things I tend to do most mornings:
  • Write down 3 things for which I feel grateful
  • Imagine (and write down) a few sentences about how I envision the day going.
  • Review all open items in my Autofocus task log and select any that must be completed today.
  • Add any tickler items from my google calender to my autofocus log.
  • Note the day's meetings and prepare any notes, documents, etc as
    needed.

  • Prepare a large glass of hot green tea (Pi Lu Chun from Upton Tea is a current favorite)


The start of my day consists of coffee, coffee and coffee.

I like to leave the start of the day as much open as possible, to be able to "walk around", get in touch with remote team members, go through the mail, etc.

After I have had my cup of tea in the morning I do what everyone else who works in an office does these days: I sit at my computer and I answer the ten-trillion emails that seem to have arrived overnight. My project team members are in various time zones around the world, so it's quite normal for me to spend about one hour just responding before I can get any other work done. Note that I said " get any other work done" and not "get any real work done".

This is an important distinction. Many people think that answering emails in the morning isn't real work, but remember that one of the most important jobs that we project managers have is to communicate. We receive information, we disseminate the content, we correlate it with other information on the project and then we make decisions and communicate these decisions to other people. That is why I don't look at this morning "ritual" as something that makes me lose time but as something that allows me to keep on top of my projects and to keep everyone else on target.

But sometimes I do wonder why people who live in the same town as I do send emails to me at 2am in the morning. Don't they ever sleep... ;-)
My team here has interesting hours, they all come in/start at different times(including me). So, morning meetings normally don't work out so well,anything we need to do early in the day happens around 11am or later.So, my own routine before I start moving on my day is to scroll through the twitter-#PMOT feed from the last 10-12 hours, see if there was anything interesting that came in the night before. I am more of alurker than a contributor, but I do try to contribute when I can.

My normal routine is more like - Promise myself I will get up in time to have a healthy breakfast. Get out of bed at the last minute and grab unhealthy breakfast on the way to work (current choice is Caffe Nero's Amaretto Latte which comes with a free biscuit).

I am normally in the office around 8.30am. Most of the time my team is not in the same building as me, so I don't routinely call them together for a stand up meeting or anything, although on Tuesday mornings we have a team conference call. I'm addicted to my Blackberry so by the time I get to my desk I have already read all my messages on the tube on the way to work.
Once I'm settled, breakfast over, I review the top three things that I wrote on a post-it note the evening before, which I stick on my laptop when I pack it away for the night. That gives me my three most important things to get done that day and a focus for my activity.

Flo Castro

Each day and each night I have a routine. Each day before I leave/close down, I look at the actions set for the rest of each week. Each day before I leave I check off, add, and prioritize what needs to get done to meet those goals. Each morning does have one common element.
NO day starts without espresso. No day. First thing each day, Igenerally review what needs to happen each day pretty to keep critical path initiatives on track. Then I reach out to my teams;
since they are generally geographically varied, I will dial them.

(Flo Castro has a fifteen year track record as an information systems program and project manager, with a broad range of expertise in Information governance, Enterprise software development & integration, eDiscovery, and Strategic information planning/Business intelligence. Prior to Vetta Solutions, Flo was a program manager and JPMorgan Chase, & Cos. where she led eDiscovery, Finance, Trading, and Investment Banking initiatives. She maintains annual program portfolio s of $21MM to $36MM annually. She has been a PMP since 2002.)
Josh Nankivel
  • First, I get a good breakfast and go to the gym every morning. The exercise and nutrition wake me up and get me excited about the day!
  • When I get to work, I would usually walk around a bit and chat with my team for about 10 minutes. Now that I'm producing training full time, this is mostly Twitter time for me!
  • Next I bring up my to-do list that I updated the night before. I glance over the top things on it and get it ready for my next step.
  • Calendar check - take note of meetings
  • Email time. Anything that's actionable within 2 minutes I do immediately. Everything else goes on my to-do list. I mark all email as read and clear it from my inbox. I'm done when my inbox is empty. (In some cases, I block out time on my calendar to work on a specific to-do item)
  • My to-do list is now updated and in priority order. I use it and my calendar to guide my activities throughout the day.

Lindsay Scott


My work day always starts with my plan for the day; I use a day book which contains a list of everything I want to achieve in that day. Sometimes the list is already pretty full with some carry overs from the day before! Generally though it works for me and I would be pretty lost without it.

Depending on the day of the week the mornings might start with our team breakfast which we do every Friday. This is an opportunity for us all to talk about current workloads, any new ideas we want to develop or help each other out on any issues that might have surfaced during the week. It’s an informal meeting but actually this is how most of our business improvements might be kicked off, an idea generated by anyone within the team. Other days the mornings might be spend on set pieces of work, we do a lot of blogging, twittering and other social media activities and it’s important we do this every day so a schedule of activity is needed for each member of the communications team.

(Lindsay Scott is Director of Arras People, the Programme and Project Management Recruitment Specialists. Lindsay is also an enthusiastic blogger on How to Manage a Camel which is focused on project management and careers. Lindsay is also interested in the world of PMO within project management and helps run the PPSOSIG)

Pawel Brodzinski

I grab a cup of tea or coffee and I skim through emails, rss feeds and general news. If there's something important to do I find in email or I know before I come to office I terminate the routine and start dealing with the priority issue.
(Pawel Brodzinski is a team builder, project firefighter and program manager. He runs Software Project Management blog where he shares his knowledge and experience in creating software, managing projects and building great teams)


Samad Aidane

I try (and the key word here is “try”) to list the top 3 priorities for the day and make sure that if, by the end of the day, I don’t complete them that I at least have made major progress on each one of them.

It is hard to do this every day, with all the fire fighting that has to be done, but it always feels good when I can do this.

(Samad Aidane is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 15 years of IT experience. His industry experience spans Telecom, Finance and Health Care, and Government on projects in U.S, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. For the last five years, Samad has been focusing on two specialty areas: Large complex system integration projects and troubled project recovery.Samad shares his thoughts on project management at www.GuerrillaProjectManagement.com. He is a member of the Project Management Institute including the Information Systems SIG, Olympia Washington PMI Chapter, and Puget Sound Washington PMI Chapter.)



I am totally different person at home compared to office. Let me presume that what I do at home is not quite relevant here.

I start my work day with a long drive to the plant where I am working. It’s a gas processing plant. We have a site office and I start the day with a half an hour standing meeting with my team. We discuss the outcomes of last day’s work, pending activities and scheduled work for the day.

I believe in work ownership, accountability and chain of command. These things are essential to run any organization or team. Where people don’t take ownership of the work they are performing, you may observe several delays and issues. I use “Why” method to find root cause whenever a complaint or issue has been received or where ever I find things improper. We meet and communicate throughout the day attending work packs and trouble shooting.

Hope you enjoyed the interviews as much as I did going through them.

The New Year begins with another interview from none other than Jurgen Appelo himself.

Happy New Year everyone!

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

Will be back on the 31st

It's time for my vacation- so while I step out to look for ideas for next year; I will soon be back for the year ending tradition on the 31st this month.

Till then, here is some good reading and thanks to @projectshrink for sharing the link.

Enjoy!


Blog Traditions

We are creating traditions here.

In the blog I mean. Last year I had this interview and since then I have met more people interviewed them and learnt from them.

So, this year I wanted to continue with the tradition- I have sent emails to all those who have interviewed this year for the blog and those whom I would love to interview for next year.

So, this year the interview will be fun, some light hearted talk to help you step into the next year with hope, passion and interest for project management.



My favorite posts of the year

This year has been fabulous, I have been through some of my personal highs and lows and am doing ok.

Being a blogger is hard, seriously there are tough days on what to write next, how to make it better than yesterday and is the blog improving ? Because, if you don't change, your blog doesn't either.

There's nothing so directly related to you than your blog. It's your story and your narration.

So, this year enjoy the fun and your blessings and may be its time to get your own blog.

Here are some of my favorites:
Enjoy your Monday!

When to say - NO

Its all white outside and looks pretty until you have to go out and thats when you know all things pretty might not be the reality.

If you are new to your organization or department, what are you facing? Is it cold or warm?

Do you have problems keeping up with your work? Are you saying "yes" to everything and seem to overburdened with the work? I personally have this problem of saying yes. I always think I can learn so much more and commit. What happens is by the end of the day/week, you still have more to do. It never ends.

To learn when to say "NO" and stop right there might be a good idea, honestly am yet to learn and execute it. So, we can learn this together.

Here's how to not work the hardest and yet be the team favorite and when the time comes, how should you negotiate.

Taking breaks and once in a while "work from home" if your policies allow is great, because you can just relax, watch the snow, put on some good music and work. More than often working from home is so much more productive because you can simply cut the unwanted noise and focus on the required. Learn to handle busy-ness.


Dress your part

Let me just say this, people take you for who you are on the message you send. Sometimes, more than often it's the dress you wear that does the talking.

Even in the most casual of environments, dressing your part helps. Look for guidelines in the employee manual and just observe. If you are just stepping in, here are few things you should keep in mind:

  • Maintain a clean line when you dress
  • Clean washed hair is expected
  • Use make up but don't overdo it
  • Mind the strength of the perfume
  • Keep your nails clean and filed
  • Use a nice pen if possible at least when meeting clients
  • Even if you are not co-ordinating shoes with your tie or handbag, keep neutral shades for everyday work use.
  • Your business cards should be kept in card holders, so you are not fumbling for them when required
  • When buying shoes with heels, make sure they are not so high that you cant walk straight
  • Neutral and lighter shades are the best bet, if you like something bright, pair it with black or khaki, it always tones down the brightness.
  • Use V-neck sweaters- it shows your shirt collars and looks better than round neck ones.
The list is endless, at least you can create your own now, on what you need for everyday.

Are you dressed to be a Project Manager?

It's holiday season and while you go through all these sales and cyber Monday, what you should wear at work is what you should shop.

Presenting yourself is as important as having the right certification, of course it all depends on your organizations environment and dress guidelines.

If you are new to this whole game and just have graduated from jeans and t-shirt routine, look around to see how others at work dress.

Here's an article that will help you understand the dynamics of dressing better and how you should do it.

Happy Holidays

It's my long weekend, yesterday was fantastic- enjoyed, ate, laughed and watched games.

So, while I stay late in bed, browse sites, enjoy my coffee and read "Portrait of a Lady" by Henry James, you go ahead and do what you like.

I spend so much time on the computer that at times, specially on holidays I like not to use it as much.

Stay warm and rested and see you on Monday.

Till then, enjoy the snow and to add your own in your website, click here.

Thanksgiving- help your friend for real

This holiday season, I’m helping my friend Trang find a job.

Because the job scenario is challenging and that she will need sponsorship (She’s from Vietnam). We have a long history and our friendship happened by introduction through another of my closest friend. We went to the same school, while I was going my Grad, she was an undergrad there.

We soon, began going to the gym together, sharing the difficulties of being an international student in a new country, specially the financial part of it. We were part of potluck dinners and started driving together. She was in the car with me in my first drive in the highway here. That’s important.

We stayed friends over years and shared recipes (Trang bakes awesome cheesecakes), our lives and laughed our way through the hard times. So, if you know someone who can help her find a job, contact her directly through LinkedIn or simply email me and I can send her detailed resume.

If you want to help out your friend, make sure they have:

  • Created a LinkedIn profile and keep it updated
  • Has the recommendations ready
  • Has an offline detailed resume ready
  • Knows what he/she wants to work in
  • Relocation options are pre-decided
  • If you will personally recommend her ( like I’m personally recommending my friend, she’s in my blog and that should be proof enough)
  • How can someone know more about her, before giving her a call- help your friend start a blog
  • Social media profiles, it brings in more visibility. Of course the content has to be clean (be on twitter ). I’m still having hard time convincing Trang that she can do it, she should.
  • And start building a network (always remember to start building your network before you need it).

So, help someone this year and thank your friends and family and your Project Team!

What are you doing this Thanksgiving?

It’s Thanksgiving week and if you are not from US, read here.

If you are ready to take the vacation, thinking of your next career move and planning for next year, this might be the best time to do it.

If you are an international student who moved to another country or simply someone who moved for work, this can be the perfect time to know your adopted country’s traditions. Whether for work or study it’s always wonderful to get an understanding the culture you are staying in. You will be part of the community and not feel alienated and that’s very important when you are miles away from home.

Here are some tips for you friends:

·Don’t limit yourself to make friends only with people from your native country, look beyond that.

·New friends will always help you make the transition in living in a new country easier and can help you more than you think. From where to get your drivers license to the job hunt.

·Occasions like Thanksgiving, provides you the opportunity to thank the people who have helped you in the time of need and help someone who need your guidance or expertise.

·Invite your friends for a simple dinner and watch a movie instead of buying individual gifts, if you want to keep this year low key.

·Try arranging a potluck dinner, when you have friends from all over the world, this can be very interesting. You learn about cultures and cuisines and who else will understand you more than friends who have had similar experience in a new country or otherwise.

·Accept invitations for Thanksgiving and experience a new culture this year.

So, what are you doing for thanksgiving this year?

I have had wonderful experience over the years staying in States and enjoyed the day at my friends place with authentic Thanksgiving tradition. So, this year, I am cooking my own Thanksgiving dinner and helping my friend Trang find a job. She is ready to graduate and I want her to know that I am here for her to help. Look for the next post on Wednesday to know read more about it and why I am helping her and how you can do it too.

(Pic Courtesy)

Micromanagement and Agile

Keeping inline with the Agile week, here is a discussion if Agile is all about micromanagement.

Thanks to Joelle Godfrey's blog, thats where I found the link. Clearly my learning through twitter is working. At least thats what I think!

What is agile?

Interview with Raj Menon, the author of http://leadership.13apples.com/.

We talk about Agile and what it takes to be the Agile Expert. Here's a prelude to Agile before you read the interview.


We hear so much about Agile and Scrum- what’s the difference between them?
Agile is a software development methodology which is an alternative SDLC "better" than Waterfall, iterative in nature and encourages teamcollaboration, accountability and trust. SCRUM is a framework that helps execute agile software development. SCRUM emphasizes on enabling a self-organizing multi-functional team to work on prioritized tasks in 2-4 weeks cycles called sprints.


If you wanted to be an expert in any of these, how do you think oneshould go for it?
In my opinion, one does not become an expert in SCRUM. One can only try to follow SCRUM to the best of their knowledge and abilities to bring about a fundamental change in project and people management.


SCRUM is simple in concept but tough to implement. Why? Because changes are tough and it takes time, patience and persistence. Has anyone ever become an expert change agent? I don’t think so coz change is so dynamic in nature that whenever you go about changing something or someone, it is a new struggle every time. If you truly learn and follow SCRUM, you are a change agent. Your objectives are simply to change the way projects are managed, the way teams are organized and valued and make success a repetitive reality.

What are the pre-requisites for the Certifications?

  • A genuine interest to bring about a fresh perspective to software development.
  • Two days of free time
  • USD - $600 if you take it in India and $1300 in States
That is all you need to go in for CSM certification training.


How difficult was it to take the exam after just taking classes for 2days? Is that all the preparation you need to take?

This is a question everyone who is interested in SCRUM certification seems to be commonly wondering/asking. Yes, 2 days of training is all you need to learn and fall in love with SCRUM. In these 2 days you implement SCRUM from ground up and you practice it. You end up learning a lot and most importantly you will question your fundamental beliefs and learning’s from the past.

Any suggestions for taking the exams?

I have not taken the exam as I got certified in an Aug'09 batch, much before the exams kicked in. However, my suggestion to those who are taking the exam would be to pay full attention in the 2 days of training and ask as many questions as possible, even if you think it may sound silly. Keep an open mind. If you do, the exam should be a breeze.

On a personal note, how did you get into project management?

The right environment, the opportunities it provided, the leaders who mentored me, my confidence in pursuing challenges without the fear of failure, an ambition to grow, the desire to bring about changes, and my people management skills - are some of the main drivers that got a ASP developer into project/program management. It was a calling.

I know you blog, so what does your site primarily focus on?
Yes, I blog to feed my passion to write. My blog is called http://www.13apples.com/ and focuses primarily on leadership from every walk of life - from my experiences to my thoughts and observations of leadership that I believe is all around us. The site is also a source for Toastmasters speeches and articles on public speaking, communication tools and techniques, team building, team motivation and now Agile/SCRUM.

To know more about his experience, read this.

Raj Menon, the creator of 13apples.com (formerly known as lap31) is a Program Manager by profession and Leadership Blogger by passion. He explores the mindset of a leader and what it takes to be one as he shares his own experiences and thoughts through his writing. Follow Raj on Twitter.
(Pic Courtesy)

With your latte

To go with your latte this afternoon:


Are you LISTed?

It’s the twitter thing. Lists are something that’s the latest craze right now and if you pay attention to it, you will realize it’s a great learning tool.

Project managers all over are creating their own list which will help them to track and monitor the people they would like to follow and keep a track of.

Sure, you can create your own or follow the numerous already created lists.

I created mine to help you all learn project management by simply following the list. All you have to do is follow the list or have an overview with the help of the widget installed in the blog itself.

Join us on Facebook

Stepping into Project Management is now in Facebook, join us here now.

Jobs

Out of the box thinking is always helpful, specially in the given economy.

How easily you can adapt to new situations or come up with solutions can help you score points. Here is a site I really like and I think will help you too.

Variety in reading always help, you never which idea can be used in what situation, so why not be prepared.

Related articles I found interesting on jobs:

Read something interesting, share with us.

Whos the best?

You have a say, you do!

If you read project management blogs and have learnt from it- you owe this to the PM bloggers who come home after a long day and then sit down at their laptop to write the blog to help you.

To help all of us who need to know more.

So, here's your chance to tell them a "thank you", vote for the best project management blog here .

For the record, I voted.

Why self- reading for exams is not a clever idea?

I tried it and it didn’t work.

The fact that I didn’t make it, kinda stuck with me for a long while and took away a chunk of my confidence. I had to face it again.

This time, I wanted to do it differently and make sure I cover all the mistakes that I did last time. So, I ordered prep materials- they are expensive but let me tell you its worth it.

You can order whatever you want to but if you are taking CAPM, there are not a lot of options who cater to this category. Make sure you don’t buy the PMP software. Beware and double check that your material is in sync with the PMBOK fourth edition.

I got mine from Rita Mulcahy, the entire package for CAPM. Apart from the fact that the books comes with a plan on how to prepare for the exam, I like the fact that the materials cross reference the PMBOK along with page numbers. So, you just know which page to go back to instead of flipping through and doing it all in your mind. I think they just take the pressure of your mind on how to go about it and do it all for you.

Last time, I didn’t get a lot of simulated exams and I think that was a huge mistake. So, now the prep material also includes the exam software which think is awesome.

So, while I have been advised to take the PMP directly instead of CAPM, I think the CAPM opens the door for you to get the PMP. You learn more, are better prepared and you prove your genuine interest in the profession.

To know more about the CAPM exam, click here.

Want to review PMBOK through a slide, try this.

(Pic Courtesy)

How to choose a mentor?

If you don’t have a choice just go with anyone who is ready to help you.

If you have and to make the most of your time, here are some of the things you might want to consider:

  • Make sure your mentor understands why you are looking for mentoring
  • Be very clear on what you would like to get out of the experience
  • Make sure the timings work for both of you
  • Be prepared and get clear instructions on what you are supposed to get done and how to get it done.
  • Discuss the plan and how your mentoring is help you make sure this includes what you are lagging behind in.
  • Listen to them, however if you don’t agree with something, clarify it and bring in your input.
  • Treasure the experience and learn as much as you can

To read more about why mentors are very important in your life, click here

(Pic Courtesy)

Halloween High

I should be writing this in my personal journal, instead I choose this. This is a note to myself.

Today is Halloween and while you are busy prepping up for your party and buying candies, am right here trying to finish up more, so I can schedule my time for studies. So I can look into the package that is still lying on the floor- my CAPM study guide package.

We talk about being hard core and having fun- both can't happen at the same time. But thats just me, my opinion. Of course it is very relative- your personal definition of being hard core and having fun.

Its not about being an unsocial person or focusing so much that you just get drowned by it, its being a little more partial to one than the other. I choose the other, to be what I want to be, to do what I have wanted to do.

It's hard and not always fun but this is how I want it to be. I may make it or I may not- at least I will know I gave it my all.

So, have a wonderful Halloween everyone and as a treat you can try out this new site in the PM town.

Change Series 3

What’s keeping you behind? What should your resume be like?

Here's a wonderful article you should keep in mind while writing your resume.

Prioritize what you should add and think of a plan on getting it done. Ask help and most of the project managers I meet through the social media are very helpful.

So, include real stuff in your resume and honesty helps.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Decide what job you would like to go for
  • Research some similar profile/resumes online
  • Find out what you need to add to your existing resume
  • Get the experience by self-learning, online courses, getting certifications, internships etc.
  • Find out interview questions that you can expect
  • Read about the company you want to interview for
  • If you know anyone working in the same company or better same profile asks for insights.
  • Learn what the company is looking for and go for it.

The process is simple, so create a task sheet and go for it.

(Pic Courtesy)

Change Series 2

Being a project manager is hard, when you are starting out – its means lots of hard work, getting certifications, taking the tough job, volunteering for more without the financial rewards.

I’m not an expert on handling finances, however, I do read Ramit Sethi’s site and I think I like most of it of what he says. So, I’m trying to incorporate some of them in my finances and see how it helps me saving more, so I can spend on the books that I need for the certifications.

Get going and there’s no time for excuses anymore.

(Pic Courtesy)

Change Series 1

Watching Chris Brogans overnight success series and it’s a lesson learnt.

We like the brand and the glory that comes with it but most of the time we forget, how hard the work is! So, if you are on your couch and think how cool it is to be Chris Brogan, watch the videos.

Interacting with some of these successful people through my blog and following them on social media, I realize that it’s all hard work. You will be surprised how much of “giving up” is involved in the process. You travel, your work on weekends, you update, read more than average, be innovative to find out ways to keep your readers coming on for more and cut out on the fun and movies most of the time!

Its all work and you can have the fun – working. There’s no shortcut.

I just realized that I’m nowhere near to these people, so amongst all the 3 calls that I took today, I realize that all of them are working today. On a Saturday!

Like you dear newbie; I prefer not working on weekends, but things will change very soon. They already have, while I work on my blog post now and write another for a posting in middle of the week.

Weekends from today will be more work and relaxations happen while working!

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Preaching doesn't help.

If you are not practicing yourself, stop preaching about it.

I have written perhaps umpteen times how getting a mentor helps, it sure does. Everybody needs their priorities to be evaluated once in a while, may be on quarterly basis. So, while I was looking for something more, I asked myself- what do I want to do now?

I write this blog and want to become a project manager but honestly how much progress have I made in the mast 3 months. Not much.

So, given the limited situation not much of the theories I read about I can really put into use. I have been stagnant for a while and it’s not what you want.

So, I sent out a tweet saying that I was looking for a project manager to mentor me. Yep- tweet! I did get some cool replies and I’m so grateful and appreciative of the fact that these project mangers that are awesome and so talented actually tweeted me back. I have told you; get into the social media- its helps!

Very exciting, right. It means lot of work as well. Working with the best in the field means that you will need a lot of preparation and putting in the hours.

So, I’m putting in the pieces together on what I need to get done:

  • Get into a schedule rhythm- it gets me working to my best. Very hard to start and push yourself to get up at 6 in the morning but it will work! I need to study, remember?
  • Mentally prepping myself up that work shouldn't tire me away and I will work very hard. If the mentor after leading such a busy life is agreeing to help me out, shouldn’t I be more than ready to double up my effort and make it worthwhile for them?
  • Got my space set up, to study of course. Same place, same time everyday, helps me concentrate. I decide 2 hours everyday at least!
  • Oh yeah and the blog wont stop, it will be rolling like never before- more information for me means more for you. Details of my sessions perhaps won’t be revealed unless my mentors agree to it. I’m not asking them now, not unless I have got an A in my assignment.
  • I’d love to snooze for 10 more minutes. I’m awake and writing the blog at 6.30 n the morning. Who knew?

So, now that I’m doing it perhaps its time to get over the “tomorrow factor” for you as well. Rise and shine and get something done!

(Pic Courtesy)

Update your skills -now!

Time to update your wardrobe bring out your winter clothes and full sleeves, watch new season of greys anatomy and learn new skills.

So, why should blogrolls be left behind? There are new additions now:

Isn't that something?




The business flow-how important is it?

You are handling projects and it seems too much of confusion and information and you are at loss and feeling naive.

It doesn’t matter what domain you are working in, if you understand the basics you are good to go.

  • Understand the business- why you are doing what you are doing?
  • How will it help the client/stakeholders?
  • Visualize the logic
  • Reading the proposal/ statement of work to start getting into the details
  • See previous templates of project trackers (if available)
  • Ask for help from seniors or just mentors
  • Once you know the business logic behind your project; the rest is really easy.
  • Read as much details as you can and start organizing
  • Create a flow diagram of the work module wise
  • Take input from your team
  • Make sure you track every single details against the requirement
  • If you know your checklist, how can you miss it
  • If you don’t miss it, you have your project on the way

PMI 09 Orlando

If you would like to follow the ongoing PMI conference and watch some cool videos, click here

Organizing wardrobes

Project management is so related to organized behavior and efficiency, I just did it unknowingly- yep, in my apartment!

Far away from work, where it shouldn't have mattered, I decided to color co-ordinate my wardrobe and see if it would make me happier in the mornings, because it would be easier to dress. I always crave some color in the mornings, now instead of browsing through the clothes, I can see them at one glance- the color the style, the collar and the stripes.

It's simple- color and style co-ordination done to keep my worries limited and hopefully make my day. Will it work? I hope so, haven't moved to my apartment yet completely, but the wardrobes arranged and the couch scheduled to deliver.Should be in by the end of the week!

As I came back to my old place with boxes scattered all over I had to think-is this how you become a project manager, so attuned to perfection that it comes automatically to you? Or is it self cultivated that turns even the relaxed and the lazy to the conscious being?

Organized behavior is all you want!

Does being happy make you a better project manager?

What do you think?

When do you work your best? The day you are happy and the day's sunny and breezy or simply run down?

Thats what I thought, so did these articles:

If you need more tips on how to be happy at your work and in life, read this The Happiness Project

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

Searching for apartments

So, here I'm trying to set up with all things necessary- apartment, phone, internet- one long checklist. While i look for an aparment near my office, here are some of my favorite readings you can browse:

Check-in

By the time you read this- perhaps Monday morning, I'll be travelling accross continents.

So, the next post will come later part of the week after I have my internet connection set up. So, till I struggle with overweight luggage and move things around trying to balance it- enjoy your week ahead.

(Pic Courtesy:Google Images)

Where's your mentor?

I have written about mentoring before and I think its one of the most important things to focus on while you are trying to find a ground for yourself in the professional world.

I read Alec's post the other day and thought would share it with you as well. Here are links related to mentoring I have written before:

Calculative risk- take one. Anyone?

Donald trump himself taught me about it. It’s the best take away money can buy.

So, when something needs to be done and you have waited your turn and outgrown it and nothing seems to work, that’s when you take a calculative risk.

•Analyze- why you should take the risk and not wait another month?
•Check all your facts before taking the plunge.
•You have cross checked all alternatives and they don’t work.
•Be ready to accept that the risk might fall flat and not work and you have to live with the consequence.
•Take the risk, only when you are have strong of chances of getting it done. That way its worth the preparation that you have to take to take the risk
•Go prepared when you take the risk.

So, if you think getting into project management might be a risk (career change/ stream change), prepare for it and then go ahead and take one. Talk to people and instead of waiting for a lifetime on how you should go about doing it- go do it.

Take a calculative risk.

Weakest moments are the strongest lessons

They can change you forever, only if you can turn around and look into your own eyes and accept that you are afraid.

Being afraid is good.

Always good because you learn that you are not upto the mark for the task which lies ahead of you and that’s one thing that will help you to turn things around.Once you know why you are afraid, go do your favorite activity. Come back when you mind is free and happy and train your mind to understand that you can’t let it happen for ever, so for once- you will have to stand up for yourself and face the fear!

Write down what you think should be done, even if you are scared doing it. Now you have the agenda planned. Think and visualize how you will feel once you have walked over the obstacles that you won’t have to worry about it again. Best part- you will always have the guts to turn another weakest moments.

So why afraid- because it’s always associated to failure. I agree its mind numbing but if you have to get over it, you have to.

Last time, I was scared it took me 3 days to get over it. I found a quotation that I stuck to my purse and saw it everyday till I was ready to do it. I was ready to faint when I had to get it done- so I did it.

Once you have done it once, next time it’s easier. What are you waiting for?

You will never know how it feels, unless you have done it!

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

In Transition Mode

I am a self confessed reader on the net. I can read for hours, browsing through sites and looking for information.

I particularly don't like the fact when one of my favorite blogs or sites dont have content day after day; it kind of breaks the rythm. Finally- I am guilty of this as well.

I'm so aware that I haven't posted in a while and left no explanation in my blog that I am mad at myself.

Anyways the point of all this rambling is "I'm sorry readers'. I should have let you know.

I am in transition mode, changing location in a few days and the pressure of work and numerous paperwork has kept me on my toes.

So, I'll be posting on the blog and when I finally make the move and won't have internet at my disposal- I'll let you know.

PM job site in London

If you are from London and from the project management fraternity, this might interest you- here's a new job site in the market specifically for project managers.


Improvement- checklist

If you have been working towards your goal for quite sometime now, have you sat back on a weekend and assessed how you have been doing? It is as important to know if you are in the right track as it is to work smart.

•Review your diary/blog and see where you were one year ago goal wise

•How fruitful has the journey been? Have you accomplished your benchmarks?

•Has the projects been in tune to what you want to work in and as?

•Have you taken a PM certification or are you working towards it?

•How many project managers have you spoken to?

•Has your networking grown?

•Do you have the same routine in work that you had a year back?

•Have you been recognized for team work, or leadership or initiative?

•List three things you have done in the last 1 year that has helped you grow and share it with friends.

•List 3 things you have to work on seriously this year.

•Mark your defining moment.

•What keeps your dreams fired up? Write them down and pin it to the wall.

•Where should you be in a year and in what role?

•Keep up the good work and as they say- you will be rewarded!

(Pic Courtesy)

Exit strategy from Elizabeth

I read this few days ago and really liked it. Elizabeth as always is a fabulous writer, very catchy and her writings are injected with information.

If you are thinking of changing your job, this might be handy.

How to train your mind

If there is one thing that can be considered more necessary than building up your communication skills while trying to be a project manager, it has to be training your mind.

It’s the powerhouse, the inner core strength that will take you distances. When untrained, it’s the one that will be responsible for your downfall, the slips in your speech, one wrong action and the oops- you have done it again!

Train your mind by:

Reading more- Reading should not be limited to project management related books/articles only, don’t restrict yourself. Read anything catches your attention, browse through book stores often. You benefit by having a larger base of knowledge that will help you be much more innovative. Understand psychology or strategy - whatever gets your attention.

Toughest of times- It will be hard, it has to. But this is where you will hone your skill for the best. Staying composed in the most difficult of times will earn you that extra brownie later. Train yourself to find ways to soothe your nerves, vent out creatively and use that bursts of energy to re-channelize in something more positive- a way to get out of it. I jot down my problems and work it off like a puzzle. When I am too involved in the problem and can't think straight, I just sleep as much as I can for the next two days and I pick up the problem again later and to my surprise the intensity has weared off.

Be wise and bold- Use your opportunities wisely, be prepared. You never know when the opportunity will come and when it does, you shouldn’t have to pass. When I was learning to drive, a friend of mine told me something that I’ll never forget- never look at the car before you, always look two cars ahead; that way you know what will happen ahead of your time and you will be prepared. Work smart and get to know people.

Blow your own trumpet- If its all show and no work, this will not work. If you are really putting effort into something and doing well, make sure others know about it. You don’t have to be a snob, just make sure people are aware so you are in mind when they schedule the next resource for the special project. I put it mildly, I tell my Project Manager- Thank you for allowing me to do this, I really learnt a lot and if you are interested and have the time; this is what I did (show your work/email the matter).

Persistence will pay off- How long can you hold on to your dreams? More closer you are to achieving it the harder it gets. Train yourself, so you don’t disintegrate during the tough times. Diversify the energy, stay calm and be confident in your abilities. It helps me to read books I have been waiting to read or watch movies which inspire me a lot.

Build your confidence- There’s nothing like it. More you know about projects or the inner details of your scope of work, more confident you become. Get external help, talk to people with same job profiles, have as much as information you possibly can. Never be complacent about your job, there’s always something more.

Be Calm- Tough cookie to crack if you can master this. Everyone will tell you including your project manager with 20 years of experience that this is the toughest to achieve. This will differentiate the ready from the naïve. Pressure, conflicts, internal politics, work load, more responsibility, deadlines, miscalculations- nothing can wash of the calm from your face. Think deeply, find your strengths and weaknesses and work extra hours to know yourself. What triggers you and what you can do to stop reacting immediately? For me personally, I have tried to stretch out my reaction time. If I am mad, I write the email and let it sleep over night. I come back next morning and read the email over and over again , edit it and in some cases even delete it. Dont burn bridges, world's too small. Like one of my favorite professor told me- learn to keep a poker face, thats what my professor told me.

(Pic Courtesy)

The Red Diary

While I have been running around for the last few days for some work (one of the reasons I haven’t been able to blog much), there’s something new I recently started.

It’s the Red Diary.

It’s really red and in China considered an auspicious color. A gift that was completely sidelined for long. It was stacked away with my folders and bunch of papers; waiting to be used for something special.

Then it just happened.

This weekend I bought a couple of good reads- Cold Steel by Tim Bouquet and Byron Ousey- the book about steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittals battle with Arcellor and The Making of Barrack Obama by Richard Wolffe.

Cold Steel is a gripping read, the hugeness of which can lead to sleepless nights thinking about the force behind it, the power of the strategies and most importantly the urge to do something on such a huge scale can blow your sleep to a thousand glittering stars.

That’s what happened.

Sometimes a powerful thought will come to you that you want to hold on to. That’s what you do with your Red Diary.

It’s the diary of your dream that you will need to reach your goals. It’s the awestruck moment captured in words, mesmerized by innovation and ideas. This is your true raw essence of thoughts, uncensored and the pure you in the most inspirational of moments captured.

(Pic Courtesy)