How NOT to be Busy

Are you as busy as you think ?

You have to read the link above to read the rest of this post. Seriously.

When you can’t say “No” to more work or always say “NO” to friends or life- think again. What is your gain? What are you missing?

Being busy is our own ways of feeling important because we have forgotten how to handle spare time- Time where you have nothing on your agenda, no lists, no reminders, no TV.

I have tried it for a while and it feel great. The point is to not have enough in your plate so you are free, the goal is to have enough that you are comfortable with and still not be crazy busy all the time.

Have a life .

If you are into projects and think that isn’t possible think again. Here are few ways to have a life with work:

  • Take a breather when you need it- When you are too overworked and not well rested you can  slow down your brain  . It can just be a lunch away from work and stress, a stroll when the weather’s good, a few minutes laughing with your friend over coffee. You pick your remedy, being on the go 24/7 can only result in a burn out pretty early.
  • Look at balanced personalities- I enjoy getting emails from my mentor’s saying they will be unavailable via phone or emails for few days. It’s nice to know inspite of their wonderful careers they also take breaks. Read how successful people pace their life.
  • Watch this TED video - of Stefan Sagmeister 
  • Exercise to be more productive- Its not me saying because I really want much of a believer till recently. Listen to Richard Branson.  
  • Don’t judge yourself too garishly or not- Enjoy your time and know its ok to be laid back once in a while.  “ According to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson in a recent article in Psychology Today, "The Trouble    with Bright Girls," women "judge our own abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than men do." When young girls perform well, they are often praised in terms of innate abilities — for being "smart" or "clever" — and so they internalize a sense that their abilities are fixed and unchangeable. Boys are often praised for their efforts — for working hard, or for trying again and again — and so they learn that effort, not ability, is what's important. The result is that girls feel confident until they're faced with a setback, whereas boys' confidence persists even in the face of setbacks.”- HBR 

Try living your life without goals, it can be more fun than you think.

Take small steps to enjoy your life and get off your busy addiction. Stop trying to forcefully connect your existence to your job or work. There is more to life than you think, so it’s very important that you look for a role that will keep you happy.

To start with take a work from home or a day off just to enjoy yourself for a day.

(Pic Courtesy: self)

To learn more about project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

Changing to Agile: How to handle the move

Apr 22, 2013 | | 0 comments |
When you or your organization is trying to implement something new: a process, new rules, new way of working; there will always come with the good and the bad. There will be too much enthusiasm from some, and negativity from others.

However, when you have to get something done, you better be prepared and get it done. If it’s about implementing Agile here are some things that will help you get through the storm:
  • The Non- Believers- change is difficult for most and it’s okay to have a percentage of non-believers. They are the ones:
    • Who will question your every move
    • Have a comment every 10 minutes
    • May be even be vocal to the extent they question how it will help their team or organization
    • Sometimes a bit rude
Having them will always keep you on your toes and it’s a good thing initially, don’t get frustrated by their behavior  the attitudes or even the negative comments. Take it up as a challenge, prove them wrong and they will come around.
  • The Team Members- The team members will size you up, look for your weaknesses,  find a way to make sure you snap and be on your side while they bash you publicly. There are 3 kinds of team members:
    • The receptive ones- some of them will be open to the change and ideas that you bring. They can be the one who are frustrated with the way the team/organization has been working so far. They are also the one who want things to improve, in a way there are the positive influencers and on your side. Always keep them happy and listen to them.
    • The shrug(gers)- they are ones who will shrug their shoulders every time you ask for a suggestion or opinion. They don’t care about their team, they are the ones who focus on themselves and their work and their sentences start with “i”. Watch them closely and find ways to learn more about them. 
    • The blockers- they start every sentence with a negative vibe, they ensure their opinion is always heard, are attention seekers and will try to find ways to block your work and ensure it fails.
  • The Scrum Master- If the organization has been using Agile, scrum masters are already there and most of the majority might not be very co-operative from the very first day. Everyone has a style of their own and the last thing they want is someone from outside to come and tell them what to do. The best way to deal in such situations is to:
    • Just be an observer for the first sprint- don’t interfere in their way of working. Let them be. Instead look up the backlog and find ways to make relevant conversations happening. Ask why a task is blocked, or why it isn’t updated etc. This will open up a conversation without interfering with their work. The goal is to have the scrum master talk to you and start listening to you. When in doubt, the SM will ask for suggestions- give suggestions which are open. 
    • Don’t over ride the SM in front of the team- let the SM be the one in limelight. Let the SM feel that you as a consultant or coach are not a threatening them in any way. 
    • Be on the side of the SM- talk often on a one to one basis with the SM to discuss any concerns from both sides. Objective is to ensure the SM is talking more than you are.
  • The stakeholders- like most team members stakeholders differ in their opinion. Some have sponsored the change, some want to have it because everyone else is doing it and some give in because they don’t want others to think they are the negative ones.
    • Stakeholders while going through transformation are 3 types:
    • Confirmed- the confirmed stakeholders are those who are sponsoring the transformation. These are the names that are known to you, who will meet you from the initial days and is your support for the transformation.
    • Floaters- these stakeholders come and go. They are the stakeholders who will support, however you need to convince them that the change is going good. 
    • Hidden- these stakeholders are those whom you need to find out. They might not be the official stakeholders, but these are the people who can influence the primary stakeholders. So keeping them informed and buying in their support might be a great way to get the go ahead light and support in the transformation process. They will help you when in problem, find you the right person to talk to and even personally take the initiative to support you in every possible way. These stakeholders are the most difficult to find and are the most useful.
Bottom line, keep your eyes and ears open and it’s all about handling your team and the individuals than anything else.

To learn more about project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

Pick the right person to mentor

Apr 17, 2013 | | 0 comments |

To learn about how to get into project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

How he got his PMP: An interview with Jean-Luc

Apr 15, 2013 | | 1 comments |

Jean-Luc has been an IS/IT professional for more that 10 years. He holds a MEng in Telecommunications and a Master degree in Electrical Engineering. Since the early stages of his career, he's been delivering projects for Fortune 500 companies. He is a PMP and if not diving deep into business objectives to frame a vision or solve problem, he can be found scuba diving. He has numerous certifications from entry level to instructor in recreational and technical scuba diving

He can be found at his twitter handle @LatyrF.

Please tell us what inspired you take the PMP exam? How many months did it take you to prepare?
I found out about PMP and PMI on LinkedIn four or five years ago. This certification was nearly unknown in France (nothing on Job Ad). Two years ago, things had evolved and as I re-entered the job market I started having a closer look. Not being PMP did not stopped me to get a new job in an organisation that is promoting the PMP certification along its Project Managers. I then took the plunge and volunteer to fill an empty seat on a PMP BootCamp.

It took me a rough 7 calendar months from initiation to closing, but I really prepared during 2 to 3 months. 

Would you share your schedule for your preparation?
The BootCamp was in June or July 2012 and my original intent was to sit for the exam in September. I started studying but not on a regular base. I let myself being to polluted by my job.

I started the BootCamp without even opening the PMBOK yet after 40 contact hours, the trainer told me that I could take the exam in a month. I did not felt that confident and started really working with the PMBOK along with study materials (book and questions) from Rita and TSI.

At the end of the year, the trainer tried to convince me again that I should go for it but it was not the right time for me. When PMBOK 5th was announced I gave to myself the deadline: March it will be and March it has been :-)

What was the most difficult thing during preparation?
Getting out of work and allowing decent amount of time to concentrate and study on a regular basis. Studying fortnightly one or two process does not get you anywhere.

One must focus and study very seriously on a daily basis compressed in a short period of time after reading once the PMBOK (this can take time the 1st time to digest the content).

Any 3 tips you would give to the readers, what they should do to prepare well for PMP?

1. Read the PMBOK completely. This book has tons of information and prepares your mind to understand the concept of what PMI believes to be Project Management. Read the Appendix F summary and the Definitions in the Glossary. 
I have read it once in the way it is structured and then I have read it twice process by process in a logical order as if I was going through my project from initiating to closing.

2. You need to understand the basic concepts, knowledge areas, process groups and the Mapping to know by reading the question where you are in the project at any particular point. There is no need to memorize all of the ITTO’s but you need to know the important ones.

3. Practice, practice and practice again! Get Prep Questions and Exam simulator and test yourself. I used the questions from Rita Mulcahy. Try to score between 80 and 85% for super confidence yet below that you can still pass the exam. 

Practice also your brain dump that must include formulas, the 42 processes, the types of contracts, etc. 

How does it feel now that you are a PMP?
I can't tell why as it is a bit irrational for with my education background yet I feel proud and also more knowledgeable.

Studying the PMBOK was a unique opportunity to assess the way I was managing project with what is generally recognized as the best practices. It was also a chance to hover a bit above the dust of daily work and identity areas of improvements and/or better interest. It's also a responsibility as these 3 letters after your name set a level of expectation.

Thank you

To learn  about  how to get into project management  read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community