Showing posts with label business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business. Show all posts

July | Article Round Up

What you read, is what your interests are and I can clearly see from my reading list. 

I have tried to categorise them better this time around, so let me know if this is something that you guys are enjoying as well. 

  1. All about Goal Setting
  2. 10 Steps to Achieve any Goal
  3. 4 Tips to achieve your goals (Ted talks)
  4. Your career best effort ( again from one of my newly found blogger James Clear)

  1. Brene Brown's Digital Library
  2. Books to read if you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Challenges:

  1. To know that you can actually do what you put your mind to, the writer tells it all how he photographed the Royal wedding.

  1. Spotify's health check model
  2. Levels of Agile Maturity 
  3. Success by being Agile

Working Moms:
  1. Kids of working moms turn into happy adults
  2. 6 Women share their return to work stories after maternity leave

I couldn't really find a category for it and I am generally interested in a lot of stuff when I read, here are some of the selected reads I thought might be interesting to this blogs audience.
  1. Why you can focus more in coffee shops than open plan offices
  2.  What the experiment of employees working 4 days a week found out
  3. open plan offices reduce face to face communications
  4. why liberal arts and humanities is as important as engineering
  5. New York Stock Exchange gets it first women chief 
  6. Only 25% of workforce is female in India 
  7. Lauren Powell and her story of inventing her brand
  8. 6 Pillars of Creativity
  9. When a stress expert and author battles mental illness 
  10. Surprising facts of why Women CEO's don't expect much support at home or work.
My favourite tweet for this month:

If you enjoyed this, you might want to look at the Article Round up for June.

This is what you should be doing

Image result for what would you do if you werent afraid?

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

List down 3 items and find a way to get it done.

What would you need to get it done? More time, money, taking risks?

The biggest reason we don’t succeed is because we stand in our own way. So, here are some methods that are ruling the web.

Miracle Mornings is something I recently came across, you can listen to the audio book in YouTube. There’s clearly a buzz about it online and saw numerous people talking about it and how it has changed their lives. The goal is simple, get up early every morning and ensure you set your mood and pace by using visual boards and exercise to get things done.

The Secret-Law of Attraction has lots of followers including celebrities. It focuses a lot on visualization and here’s Oprah’s recount of how it worked for her 

Mental practice as they say can get you closer to where you want to be in life, and it can prepare you for success! “For instance, Natan Sharansky, a computer specialist who spent 9 years in prison in the USSR after being accused of spying for US has a lot of experience with mental practices. While in solitary confinement, he played himself in mental chess, saying: “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion!” Remarkably, in 1996, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov!” Source

There could be multiple ways to work on your life goals without having to dedicate yourself full time. You don't need to quit your job, if you are not ready.

Most of the techniques is about you working on your willpower by visualizing you being successful or fulfilling your dream and then you create your way by working out early before you can give excuses.

So wake up, get up and get going!

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

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.

What I have been reading and why it matters to you

I wanted to share with you some random links that makes sense when you look at it from your personal development point of view.

For success, life not only has to be organized, you have to be in a very stable mental space and none of them just happen to happen. I hope you find something in these stories that helps you find that zone. 
And looking for a real pick me up, don't miss this. Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Tim Ferris.

"For one hour of writing, there's three hours of thinking". 

Interview with a Project Manager & his Tea Business

Tony Gebely works in IT- thats how I met him. He also has been working with small tea farmers in China, Japan, India, Nepal, and New Zealand to secure the best hand-crafted teas possible at fair prices for the Chicago Tea Garden.

He's great guy (yes, I know him) and love the tea (I have ordered from his company while in Chicago. Tea is awesome, so is the story that comes with it).

He has been sucessfull (click here for reviews/press coverage) , is running his business and who better to interview than someone who has been doing 2 things successfully. A project Manager in tea business!

To read more about the company and know him, see his blog.

You worked in IT and then you decided to start your business- why?
I wanted to be on a path where I could one day be my own boss and make my own hours. Also, being in the tea industry, I’d be able to travel to tea origins, so I gave it a go.

Why Tea?
I fell in love with tea while backpacking through Asia in 2005 and again in 2008, I started Chicago Tea Garden in 2010. I found that there is a huge lack of respect for tea in American culture, and I wanted to help forge an understanding of tea and it’s roots.

You are one of those very few people who still have a regular full time job and are successful in the business? How do you split and manage your time between the two?
This is very difficult, I have a full time job, I’m writing a book, and I’m running  the business. The weeks for me are very busy I usually have 12-14 hour working days from Monday – Friday, every now and then I’ll spend a weekend day working or holding a tea tasting, but for the most part I relax on the weekends.

Has your experience in IT or project management really helped you in your business? Do you plan through everything?
Yes, my experience in IT has helped tons, it’s a web-based business so I treated the entire build-out like a project and still do. I’m working on version 2 of the website right now. Early on, I realized that since I’m a one-man team, every single thing I do has to be well planned out and be 100% effective if I’m going to compete with tea companies that have entire teams of people working for them.

3 things you wished you knew when you started your business.
1.There is no such thing as free time unless your mind is also clear during your free time.
2.How long it takes to become profitable.
3.All about the mess that is business tax law. Ugh.

How is running a business different from running a project?
It isn’t really. A business is just a collection of small projects. When one is done, another starts, and there can be many going on at once. I use Asana (used to use basecamp) just to keep track of all fronts of the business.

Thanks Tony. 

Entrepreneurship- An interview with Debarati Goswami

Feb 3, 2012 | | 0 comments |

This month, we take a look at a new venture that has taken a leap of faith, moved countries and in spite of hardships kept their hearts in one place.

Today we meet Debarati Goswami, the co-founder of Educocity and talk about her journey that has taken her from the usual employee role to an entrepreneur.  She talks about the hardships if being an entrepreneur in India, the role that project management plays in their development process and their plans for 2012!

·         You moved back from US to India to start your own company- tell us about it.
My husband Bappaditya and I were both working with Apple Inc. as consultants for close to 3 years each, when the entrepreneurial bug bit us. After having been located in the Silicon Valley for quite some time, the ‘big’ question was whether we should start up in the US or in India. We listened to our heart and moved back to India in late 2009.

We wanted to do something in the education space because the roots of a society lie in its education system. As everyone knows by now, our conventional education systems are failing us miserably both in India as well as in first world countries like UK & USA. We thought it’s about time to do something so that students start taking interest in ‘learning’ rather than mere rutting. 

The need for a common platform where everyone associated with any educational institution, be it students, teachers or parents can come together and create an environment for learning was becoming more and more apparent. We wanted to build a city for education (Educo is the root word for education is Latin) Thus ‘Educocity’ was born.

·         How well is a collaborative platform like this one being adapted in India? Or is your target audience outside India?
GUIDE is a cloud based, collaborative, Learning Management Platform from GUIDE stands for ‘Grow as YoU Identify Delight in Education’ and is all about making the process of learning fun and enjoyable, delightful yet more effective than the conventional methods.

A conscious shift in pedagogical methods is taking place across the world.  Pedagogy is changing from being prescriptive (where the teacher teaches, the students only listen) to collaborative (where teachers and students interact among themselves and absorb the knowledge) Collaboration is no more a thing of the future, rather something we do day in and day out. While various ’collaborative’ software products are available in the market today, they are mostly content based. We believe GUIDE stands apart because it is a platform that the users can use according to their needs instead of tying them up with a specific set of contents.

India has been under the influence of ‘prescriptive pedagogy’ for too long. However, India is gradually opening up to the idea of collaboration within an educational institution and taboos are dissolving. Some institutions are not comfortable sharing their private data with the world. Also we have a relatively young user base, most of them being school going kids. Hence, if institutions want, they configure GUIDE as a walled-garden wherein the safety and privacy of the users are not compromised.

India is at the epicentre of our focus. However, at the same time, we are also looking at other advanced markets, which are easier to penetrate without much user training.

·         What have been the few challenges in working in an entrepreneurial mode in India?
India is still in a nascent stage when it comes to entrepreneurial ecosystem. Professionally, the biggest hurdle we faced was amassing a seed-fund. No investor is ready to invest in a concept and having at least a prototype in place is a prerequisite for raising funds. Thus, boot-strapping is the only viable option most Indian entrepreneurs are left with. This makes the process longer and more difficult and we have seen a lot of people quit their entrepreneurial journey over it.

Also, in India, being an entrepreneur pushes you into a minority bracket and is still considered as an unwise choice by the middle-class society. At times it can take a toll on the family life, especially with parents and relatives. We are lucky to have a very sound support system in place. For others, it might be even tougher.

However, the current scenario is improving in leaps and bounds and we are hopeful that India will catch up with its western counterparts in a few years from now.

·         What does 2012 hold for educocity?
2012 is going to be the most crucial year that our venture has seen till date. We have big plans lined up including an international launch. We are also looking to raise some serious funds. For our venture hopefully this will mean an entire new scale to operate in.

We have also already roped in a few important customers and we will start operating at these sites as soon as these institutes open doors for new students in the 2012-2013 academic session.

·         In all these years trying to develop the product, how have you managed the process?
Having seen how a world class company like Apple looks like from within, we have been very particular about processes and quality adherence from the very beginning.

We try to keep the Product Management, Product Engineering and Service Delivery units all separate from each other since most of the time they have conflicting interests.

We also follow the Agile Scrum methodology to keep our development cycles short. This essentially means an iterative, incremental framework for project management. Scrum is perfect for a lean organization like us. It reduces our process overheads drastically and hence the team is almost always able to deliver faster. It also acts as the perfect remedy against deadline slippage due to scope creeps.

We are also finicky about following checklists. Implementation checklist, development checklist, quality adherence checklist, test plan checklist, you name it we have it. This helps us to maintain the standards without much review effort.

·         Tell me 3 things we should know about your product.
We call GUIDE from Educocity a virtual cloud campus on rent, which essentially boils down to:

No software installation is required to start using GUIDE. It can be accessed over a web-browser and low-bandwidth internet which makes it available anytime from anywhere without being tied to a particular machine. If you want to try, just hit and go for a ‘Try GUIDE Demo’ option.

No upfront capital investment is required from the educational institution’s end. We only charge on pay-as-you-go basis based on the total number of users. Thus, GUIDE is especially suitable for small to medium institutions who do not want to maintain in-house IT department.

GUIDE is the most intuitive Learning Management system you would have seen. The user interface is simple and clutter free and you can get started from the word go. There are no steep learning curves and hours spent going through elaborate learning manuals. We believe in the beauty of simplicity.

You can also follow @educocity in Twitter or ask your questions, request a demo directly to @Debaratiz

Being a CEO- Indra Nooyi

We all have been trying to dream big and think of achieving them, this year should be the year where we take hard core actions in getting them done.

The interview below hopefully will allow you take concrete actions and plan out what it takes to be a true leader. Listen to the 5C's almost towards the end of the interview!

The #PMOT author series will continue, I just had to share this video with you!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

This year starts the beginning of the SIPM Business Group

As you know the beta site is doing really well and was built with the help of volunteers- all of them my friends, I always wanted to do more with the site so more people know about project management first hand. Maintaining a site and keeping up with it (adding new features) requires a lot of time and some money.

So, the SIPM Business Group was born.

The Business Group offers three packages and customized work- we work with small and medium businesses including start ups.

The money of course allows me to pay my friends and volunteers who have been with me for so long and at the same time grow the beta site. By the way, the beta site got a new name- it’s called CONNECT- The SIPM Community.

The Business Group offers:
  • Branding through social media
  • Search Engine Optimization (both on page and off page)
  • Customized website development (including design)

The special offers are posted through twitter.

January- February, we have a $350 on page optimization option for 60 working days. For more information, you can email at

And if everything goes right, the newbies can work on the project management side with their mentors for the SIPM Business Group projects. So many of the newbies say they don’t get the chance to work on project management to try their hands and develop skills- this initiation hopefully will solve some of it and provide everyone with a stepping stone.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t

make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and

then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.—Maya Angelou

I hope this year brings in lots of luck, good opportunities and amazing work to you all.

Newsletters- Do they change you?

If you follow me on twitter, I tweeted about 2 fav persons whose newsletter I love.

I am not a fan of newsletters, I treat them more as a spam flooding my inbox because most of the times I really don’t care what you have to sell.

However, Jenny Blake and Elizabeth Harrin are exceptionals. If you are a newbie or out of college (I’m none of these) and love entrepreneurial journey- Jenny’s newsletters (and blog) are fantastic. Need a project management update and what’s new happening in the PM Town, Elizabeth as always is a great resource.

Another great resource that I have been ignoring for a while is Ramit Sethi. I read the partial free download of his book and his blog and loved it, so I signed up for the newsletter years ago. Honestly, I have almost never read his newsletters till last week. I didn’t want to buy stuff and thought his newsletters were informative, but I didn’t know if it was for me.

Till last week, I clicked on his newsletter and saw his tips on having a great resume- that got my attention.
I read the whole thing including the links and downloaded all the videos and information. The material was great. It was stuff he was giving away to registered newsletter subscribers that he usually sells as a course.

From all that I have read and heard (still have 3 more videos to go), here are some amazing things he said:

•Resume’s should be very specific (in everything). Pack in details, research your company (where you would like to work) and your job profile well. Don’t just randomly apply to jobs (and through job boards) and then blame the system for not having a scope for you. True- my last 2 jobs have been through referrals.
•Use LinkedIn as a Tool.
•Every month, keep a percentage of your salary for meeting other interesting people.  While it may not be flying to the other side of the world, meet people in your locality who can be your mentors, career advisors, or just a great contact. Invest in yourself and your growth.

So, instead of signing up for all kinds of newsletters, look for those that helps you. De-clutter your inbox and focus on the thing you should be doing.

That is my goal for December. I have moved continents, lived in 2 cities commuting every month and postponed a lot of personal goals for tomorrow (the one that never comes).

This December, I am re-planning my life and my goals. I want to be happier, do things I have always wanted to do and find time for myself and my hobbies. Learn something new twice a year that isn’t part of my professional life (like Tennis and rock climbing).

Time to de-clutter and find yourself.

(Image Courtesy: Google Images)

Videos that teach, not preach.

This video speaks for itself.

Steve Job’s biographer’s interview in 60 minutes.

Part 1 and Part 2.  

Lots more happening in the PM world these days, to watch Elizabeth’s diary click here and here 

Interview with Valerie Thorn

I have always believed that Project Managers given their interest in running a business can do it really well.

Today’s interview is with Valerie Thorn BSc, FRSA- CEO and founder of AND Technology Research Ltd (UK) who personally has a 30 year practical experience in software and embedded engineering runs a company successfully. 

That’s not all, she started her business when she was only 25! 

Keep reading for inspiration, lessons learnt and what you should know if you are planning your own business.

Hi Valerie, please tell us something about your organization and how you started it.
We are AND Technology Research Ltd, a small private company – currently 10 staff situated in a small village between London and Cambridge in the UK. I started the company in 1980 when I was 25. I saw great potential in the use of distributed computing power within businesses, for communications and control. I began with some funding of my own and practical support of my parents and sister.

Since you have been managing a company and also running projects, which do you think is more challenging and why?
Running the company is in some ways just the same as running a project so both are challenging; however there are some differences Projects have an intensity and significant time pressures. For instance if you don’t start a project on time, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t finish on time; running a company in which you have a long term interest does not normally suffer from this sort of intensity. However overall I would say that the number of variables and the effects that your decisions have on people’s lives makes running a company more challenging.

How important are mistakes in trying to run a company?
If you don’t make mistakes then you don’t learn, what’s most important is how you deal them. The main thing to remember is that mistakes have to be managed or corrected for the best interest of the company, not for the best interest of the manager/owner. Personal conflict can inevitably occur but handling the conflict should add to the learning. So mistakes are important, you have to learn to recognise when mistakes occur, accept them, deal with them and not get hung up on them.

Do you think a good project manager can also be successful business person?
Yes I do, in fact they can make excellent business people, but they have to be able to cope with uncertainty. Project managers have to engage with a variety of project stakeholders and manipulate resources and time to make to project work. A good business person needs to be able to do this; however business people also need generally to cope with uncertain situations where either the resources or the time are just not as they would like them to be. They have to be a little more creative and inventive and be prepared to take the responsibility for risk.

Three important qualities that both project managers and entrepreneurs should have?
  • Vision and focus for what is to be achieved.
  • Organisational skills which allow them to stay focused but include enough flexibility to accommodate change
  • Ability to inspire others and to carry the message of the vision forward.
One thing you wish you knew when you started out.
The importance of the supply chain to a business. By this I mean, not just where your market is but how to navigate supply chains within the market in order to maximise business potential.

So, when organizations like you hire newbies- what are you looking for?
People who, given a necessary skill level, then demonstrate the potential to learn and to adapt to change, plus an ability to laugh.

Valerie is also an active participant in a number of creative and electronic industry organisations. Her career has involved creating digital and electronics based solutions for consumer, industrial and telecommunications products. AND has received numerous awards for innovation over its 30 year life-span and Valerie’s achievements in small business management have also been recognised. Valerie’s expertise lies in embedded software and the role played by software as Intellectual Property. She is engaged in research into technology management and innovation. 

To know more about AND visit their website here.

(Pic Courtesy: Valerie Thorn)