Welcome to SIPM

Hello, nice meeting you. I am Soma, your host for this space and I have been running this since 2008.


This blog was started as a journal, a learning platform for me as a dived into Project Management. Since then a lot has happened. These days I live and work in Hyderabad (India).


This space has grown over time and I primarily write about Personal Development, Motivation, Creativity and frankly anything that gets my attention.

When not in office, I am mostly reading, working on my next idea, travelling and exploring life with my 5 year old.


You can reach me at steppingintopm(at)gmail.com

Agile| 6 Ways to Keep Agile Teams on Track

Aug 25, 2020 | | 0 comments |

This was first published on projectmanagement.com

Agile teams are being tested. The world has changed, and many teams—no matter what their structure was prior to the pandemic—are working from home, on top of dealing with increased COVID-19 challenges. While the demand for deliverables and work continues, the roles, responsibilities and efficiency of agile teams come into question. 

An agile team can, in most cases, work around the uncertainty and still get things done. To keep your agile teams moving forward, implement these six strategies:

1. Focus on the planning.

Yes, everything is subject to change, but planning is essential. This exercise (release planning, grooming or sprint planning) allows team members to understand the upcoming work and ask the right questions on time. Additionally, it’s a great way to train team members to provide estimates after going through the requirements in detail. This allows for better planning, wonderful execution and timely delivery instead of spillovers. Teams can use a variety of platforms available online to get the training done. Tools aren’t as important as the interaction itself. 

2. Track team health.

Working from Home




I always think the organic way to look at team health is through the consumption of buffer percentage. It is simple because during planning, your team assigns hours to tasks and you get the total hours you will need to complete the user stories. You also know the team’s total capacity (availability of the team during the sprint). Create a team buffer of about 10 percent and then plan for the sprint.

If during the course of the sprint your team consumes the buffer and still has spillover, you can increase the buffer. Track the consumption of the buffer percentage and determine if the team is estimating correctly, and if they are clear about the user stories. Buffers can let you know the team’s performance and, with it, the trend of the team’s deliverables. 

3. Prioritize retrospectives.

Teams must have a growth mindset, and nothing is better for fostering one than the ingrained cultural habit of retrospectives in agile teams. There are creative ways of conducting retrospectives during these times, even if they require workarounds. For example, perhaps instead of just focusing on the work and aligned data, retrospectives can include personal challenges as well. This not only allows the team to gather and feel seen and heard, it also allows teams to evolve and see if there are ways to reduce personal challenges. 

4. Encourage leadership.

Leadership shouldn’t be limited to just a coach or the leadership team. In fact, team members should be trained to make decisions when it comes to work or conflict management. I have always found that when the team lead or management encourages an open mindset for teams, teams take up challenges or new learnings because of the support they receive. These teams always perform better in the long run. 

5. Determine the happiness index.

Apart from other team data, there should be an insight that allows you to understand how a team is doing emotionally. In a 2013 Harvard Business Review article, Rosabeth Moss Kanter explains that a happy team can better handle complex problems. Finding the happiness index is one of the most revelatory exercises you can do with a team. Simply ask everyone to rate their happiness working with the team on a scale of 1 to 5 and why. Keep it anonymous so people share honestly, and you will be surprised what comes out. These are all hints that can lead you to identify unresolved conflicts, build retention and discover serious issues. 

6. Take action.

Many of us have good intentions. But unless there are actions that follow, trust falls apart. Be careful in committing too much and always follow up, whether it involves actions required from the last retrospective or something that has come to your attention.

What are some ways you keep your agile team on track? 

(Pic courtesy: Pexel.com)


General| Good Reads

Aug 11, 2020 | 0 comments |

I hope most of you are still working from home whenever possible and are safe. 

It has been almost more than 4 months for me working at home and given the situation doing okay. 

Here are some good reads that I have been reading, to be honest the list was compiled a while ago and then I didn't post. Life took over.......so today over a cup of Darjeeling tea and early morning wake up call here it is:)

Reading


5 work mistakes I made in my first job

https://thefinancialdiet.com/5-embarrassing-work-mistakes-i-made-in-my-first-job-after-college/


Learning during the time you spend at home- the PM Tribe

https://www.girlsguidetopm.com/thepmtribe-a-community-with-a-difference


Youngest women to row across Atlantic 

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/mind-body/inspiration/katie-spotz-youngest-woman-row-across-atlantic-alone/

 

Books I have loved

https://tim.blog/2020/04/13/matt-mullenweg-book-recommendations/

 

101 ways to live a positive life

https://www.powerofpositivity.com/101-ways-to-live-a-simple-life/

 

3 keys to engaged and productive teams

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rajshreeagarwal/2020/04/14/three-keys-to-engaged-productive-telework-teams/#3b3f8f775b02

 

Staying with your parents and baking is the new hobby

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/25/asia/new-zealand-coronavirus-lockdown-parents-intl-hnk/index.html

 

Wellness blogs to follow in 2020

https://www.purdueglobal.edu/blog/student-life/valuable-health-wellness-blogs/

 

Is the office dead

https://marker.medium.com/the-office-is-dead-16be89f25d01

 

Getting fired over Zoom

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2020/05/fired-zoom-layoffs-coronavirus/611509/

 

The Hardway is the way way

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/05/11/hard-is-easy/

 

Dealing with boredom

https://zenhabits.net/uggh/


Stay safe everyone....

(Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels)

Lifestyle| Managing Stress- 4 ways

The world is going through trying times during this pandemic and we all are adapting to it in our own way.

For a lot of us the work location has changed from office to home, however there are still deliverables happening, teams working together via video calls and other collaborative platforms and yes everyone handling more than ever.

 And with all of this there’s stress and there’s no denying that.
Stress during these trying times

Work life balance is probably being truly tested with schools going online and kids at home. As if handling work from home continuously for the last 3 months or more wasn’t enough, there’s kids to be handled who haven’t been outside in a while, haven’t met their friends and energy is at all time high.

Self care could be written over and over during these times, frankly there’s barely enough time to even think about it. In times like these, here are four simple ways to put your mental and physical health first.

Identify Your Triggers

We all are different and unique in our own ways, so is our stress triggers. This is the key to not only handle stress well but even for your own personal growth. Understanding, identifying and working with these triggers can be a life saver where there’s enough to handle already. Tonight get yourself into the comfy nook and take 5 minutes to think about situations when you got mad or irritated and why. Or you can also hop over to Web MD to learn more on the common triggers.


Search For Shortcuts

In times like this, efficiency is the key. Getting things done correctly and in the right timeframe can mean getting rid of re-works. Just because your home is your new office, doesn’t mean you need to be glued to your laptop 24/7.  Ensuring you have the right set up for your home office is essential and so are the required software. Whether an employee or a freelancer look at multiple options in the market right now and templafy could be one of them. To know more  visit templafy.com. I know I personally use templates as much as possible whether its for office/team reports to designing social media posts. It's all about finding time for life and getting done as much as possible with the right help.

Delegate

Delegation is an art. We all think we can do it better than another. At some point in our career we need to delegate like a freelancer building her business, an individual contributor becoming a manager, a small business owner suddenly scaling up- we need to trust someone, train someone and empower someone else to get the work done. This can mean less pressure and stress on you and more time for you to work on essentials and strategies.
 
Try out of the box activities that you can do at home as tress busters
Invest In Out of the Box Activities

Picking up a new hobby is one of those natural stress busters. They not only take out of the work stress, they allow you to get into the zone of things you love doing. Simple things like pottery, taking off for think weeks (take off from work and plan it at home), going for runs or gardening are some easy ways to relax and also give yourself the deserving break. I recently watched a YouTube video where the video creator talks about taking off  from his work and the city to get his perspective back and really doing nothing on those vacation days. Well travelling might not be a possibility right now, simply doing nothing at home or learning a new skill can work perfectly too.


How has it been for you recently? Is it more stressful or have you figured a way around it?

(Pic courtesy: Pexel.com)
This is a partnered post.


Lifestyle|Finding your next best read

Jun 9, 2020 | | 0 comments |
I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book”.  J K Rowling
If you are looking for a good read, more than often you are looking for what’s next? 

Books are often selected based on what you like to read (same genre), recommendation of your friends (same kind of people) or influencers you follow (same taste). 

Have you thought of your mindset? Why you read the books you like? Have you tried a new genre? Do you think you usually choose a book based on what you are thinking? For you it can be the mood/environment you are currently in or what you want to be (professionally, transformations or a person). 

Here are some simple ways to find out your next read:
1. Amazon or kindle suggests your next read/buy based on your reading preference, browse them if possible read a sample and then buy.
2. Good reads are a great way to read up some sample and reviews. 
3. If you prefer classics, this list might be a great option to look at 
4. Join a book club- Start one or join any. This might bring you different opinions and books that might help you find the next read of genre. 
5.  Whichbook is a great way to look at different parameters that you enjoy reading and then suggested reads are provided. Try it 

What have you been reading? You can find details about my last two kindle downloads here

(Pic courtesy: Pexel.com and Canva.com)

Lifestyle| Good reads, my plans during lockdown and view from my terrace

May 16, 2020 | | 0 comments |
I hope you are doing well. 


View from my terrace
I have been in home for almost 2 months now, stepped out only once a week to walk in terrace and get back again in the space that now serves as both office and home. 

I have always felt I worked better a home- lesser distractions, more deep work and control over my time. In the last 2 months, work and life has finally met each other and thats heres to stay for next couple of more months. 

I have been handling it okay except for the occasional outburst because my kid is also stuck at home like so many others for 2 moths now. Sometimes handling everything is tough. 

Yet I am grateful that my problems seems so small right now. So, I am doing what I always thought I will do- take up more because I am at home :)

So, I have been reading few more books than I usually do (last 2 Kindle downloads have been Year without Pants- get your free kindle download And Motivation Hacker). I have signed up for e-courses in Udemy and Skillshare. I am utilising that big elephant in the room (read...treadmill). I started another blog focussed on motivation and creativity like I could belch out more content  because I wasn't stepping out of home. And of course the YouTube channel for which I have high hopes :)

Managing it all hasn't been easy and if I may say so myself being an introvert locked down in home should be fabulous, however in this case its been a chaos of too many things fighting for my attention. 

So today I have reserved some time for myself so get my act together, re-evaluate my time management and look at things I can do weekly vs what I can do monthly. How has it been for you?


Evenings 
Wanted to stop by and check on you and here are few things I read most recently. If you like them feel free to continue reading....













Read something interesting or found a way to make your life more inserting during this lockdown period, feel free to share and let me know.

Till next one, stay safe and stay home. 

(Pic courtesy: Soma B)