Are you dressed to be a Project Manager?

Nov 30, 2009 | | 0 comments |
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

Nov 27, 2009 | 0 comments |
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

Nov 25, 2009 | | 0 comments |

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

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 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 (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

Nov 9, 2009 | 0 comments |
Stepping into Project Management is now in Facebook, join us here now.


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?

Nov 6, 2009 | 0 comments |
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?

Nov 4, 2009 | | 0 comments |

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?

Nov 3, 2009 | | 1 comments |

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)