Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year 2016.

Dec 29, 2015 | 1 comments |
It’s the holiday season and I hope you are enjoying the time with your colleagues, friends and family.... winding down, reflecting on the days gone by and moving forward.

This year has been very different for me, while I have had troubles keeping up with blog at times- I have learned a lot many things professionally. I have also traveled every week for 7 months, coped up with the stress, lived in another city (Mumbai, India), made new friends, busy running after Rio( my son) since he started walking and changed jobs.

Amidst all of this, I have figured my goals over the years have changed- for me being content (or possibly happy) and having a positive lifestyle is more important. And yes, that’s my goal moving on.

So, next year will be full of surprises for you as well as for me- and of course some cool giveaways coming up next year. 

3 things I started in 2015 and would like to continue in 2016:
  •          Happiness journey- I take a step everyday to ensure I am putting in the effort to be happy. Mostly by end of the day I will open up my red diary and scribble a line or two. Sometimes when I am not feeling myself, I will go back and read the diary. I fill it up with positive thoughts. I am not a scrapbook person, but I have to admit I did buy a set of colorful pens to feel perked up doing it. And I love stationery.
  •          Planner- This is very new to me, I have always kept online calendars and reminders for meetings and birthdays like everyone. However sometimes, jotting down things can do wonders too. I like my planner, a simple one, where I divide it into sections and have been trying to keep lists. It’s supposed to free up your mind space. I find it quite productive and relaxing as well. So, yes this is gonna continue.
  •          Transformation-This is all rolled into one, it’s my journey towards positive well being and being happy. I take small steps- like just trying to close my minds and not judge myself ( I wouldn’t call it meditation) because I can’t stop my thoughts. Some days, I will just take a walk after dinner or read something positive, or remove toxicity from my life. I try to read more which is something that took the back burner for the last few months. It depends honestly and I have just started exploring.

How is it related to project management you ask?

I say- because YOU will always reflect in your work. If you are mentally way more stable, relaxed and happy- you will do better work. Happiness is a chain reaction. Also, the fact that Happy people pursue the most difficult problems 

I wish you a very Happy New Year and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there with me this year.

I leave you with a snapshot of what I have been doing this holiday season- a pic from the family lunch yesterday:) 

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

My Kind of Weekend

Dec 6, 2015 | 0 comments |

Ready for Monday yet?

(Pic courtesy: Pinterest)

Just wanted to say Hello!

Nov 18, 2015 | 0 comments |
A little inspiration goes a long way. Just wanted to say hello and hope you are keeping up with the week.

Pic courtesy- Pinterest

The Project Managers Guide to Mastering Agile- Book Review

The book was sent for review, though I chose it amongst others. The book piqued my interest because project management and agile are considered contradictory ideas.

Published by Wiley, the book covers all aspects of agile and how its different from the traditional waterfall.
What it covers is:
  • Provide a better understanding of what Agile is
  • Talk about the roles and how they are different in Agile
  • Take the main discussion points from PMBOK and explain how the same topic is looked in Agile
  • Dedicates a chapter to Agile tool- about Version One specifically.

·         The book is categorized into 4 main section:
§  Fundamentals of Agile
§  Agile Project Management
§  Making Agile Work for a Business
§  Enterprise Level Agile Frameworks
·         Chapter 11 onwards, the discussion focuses more on understanding Agile at deeper level and subsequently talk about Scaling Agile, the concept of Agile Transformation and towards the end  Frameworks
§  SAFe
§  DAD
§  Managed Agile Development Framework
·         The case studies brings in the how changes happen in reality, the challenges and how to overcome them.

·         The added benefit is the glossary of terms, so someone very new to the concept of Agile doesn’t need to go through another book or web, but can simply get all the terminologies from right here.

Total No of pages
399 (including index)

Who should read this Book?

  •        Project Managers moving into Agile- This book is caters to both experienced and new project managers. Apart from explaining the concepts, the book talks in details about all aspects of traditional project management and its changing roles- from estimation to time management.
  •          Sponsors for Agile Transformation- The case studies are a great way to look into the challenges along with the scaling frameworks. While Agile tool has been discussed here, they are a lot many options available in the market.  
  •          Managers interested in knowing the relevance of roles in Agile and how they are supposed to be handled- With self organizing Agile teams, the concern for management always lies in where does the existing roles fit in?
Why should you read this book?
Anyone interested to know where a project manager would fit in an Agile Organization can read this book. I have to say, the book is for someone who’s new to Agile, or has been working in traditional project management role for long.  

What’s the price and where can I find it?

Who is the author?
Charles G. Cobb

Reinvent You

Nov 4, 2015 | | 0 comments |

Have you woken up to boredom? To wake up, eat, work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Sometimes, you need to detox and look within yourself what you want. Our goal changes with life. 

My reinvention has been about doing something new, finding ways to have some time for me and being happy. In order to do that, I have added things in my regular schedules and things have been working.

I made some major changes too, like I wanted to stop travelling between the two cities every week. I had to make that call.  And I am happy I took it.

Reinvention is always not about revamping the wardrobe or going for a haircut, sometimes it goes way deeper. It is an effort to rethink and align your goals and life to the new thought.

I am not sure if reinvention makes you happier, but it does work sometimes. May be it’s I have wanted to do for a long time. I will share my morning routine with you soon, perhaps it might strike a chord with you or inspire to create one for you.

I think with the blog, while I keep at the original theme, I also want to bring in something new. I would like to connect with you more as a person than just a project manager or a consultant. So, may be once a week we talk about the lifestyle that we have as consultants or the changes you have to go through to sustain the pace. Go back to doing one vlog a month and see how we can reinvent the feel to the blog. It’s not changing the design, but smaller changes that will add up hopefully.

By the way, there are couple of project managers on Pinterest and its fun following them there in the visual board. I am more a visual person than an audio person and I have found it amazing to see the interest of the project managers. I am there too, but I really don’t do anything project management wise there.  

However, what I have recently started as an experiment is Instagram as a way to look at my life- work and a little bit of personal mixed in. So, if you want to look into my work life once in a while, you can connect me at http://instagram.com/steppingintopm/

Let me know what you are doing to reinvent yourself.

(Pic courtesy: google images)

Top Hacks when on the move, Pt 2

Oct 13, 2015 | | 0 comments |
This post is more about the products I use/carry with me that serve more than one purpose. I have figured the best way to keep your sanity when you are travelling way too often is to keep things around you that you are familiar with. Since I also want to travel light, I emphasize on the things I absolutely need and use on a regular basis to carry with me.

  • Sunglass- Apart from the obvious because I am anyways carrying it, it’s a great way to sleep in flights specially when taking morning flights. 
  • YouTube offline- I download videos I want to watch in offline mode using the app, and use the time in airports watching what I want. I do carry a power bank with me most of the times.
  • Utility box- it’s an old sun-glass box, which is packed with my travel essentials like a pen, pen drive, phone cleaner, a lip balm, band aid and ear phones. It’s compact and easy to travel with.
  • Aloe Vera- I carry it for its multipurpose use. You can use it on your sensitive skin, as well as for sun burns and mild cuts.
  • Ziplocs- instead of carrying small pouches, stuff it in Ziploc’s, lesser space and easy to see. Discard when done whether to carry snacks, makeup or
  • Powder- This works as a great dry shampoo and I carry my son’s regular Johnson and Johnson travel size powder with me.
  • Personal touch- carry your own shampoo and moisturizer in travel size bottles. Clips and safety pins. To ensure I don’t lose them, I put them in empty tic tac containers, keep them in socks or use a hair band to keep them together.

Whats your travel secret? 

Pic courtesy: google images 

Top 15 Efficiency Hacks When on Move- Pt 1

Sep 22, 2015 | | 0 comments |

If you have been reading the blog you know that I have been travelling every week for the last 5 months. I split my time between 2 cities and I am constantly on the move. Juggling travelling with my life honestly hasn't been easy. Here's couple of things I have been using/trying out to keep me going:

1. Travel light- Over the months I have learned to pack light and keep pieces that multitask and stick to basics and not overload with items I will barely use.
2. Laptop free- I sometimes travel without laptop. I just copy the essential folders in the pen drive or upload in Google Drive and access it from my home laptop. Meanwhile I use my time in the airport to take some time off and read instead of mindless browsing.
3. Happiness- I am my happiest when my life is organized and there;s meaning to what I do.  So, I carry my red diary which I just write happy thoughts in. I will write in it after work when I return to my apartment in Mumbai. I sometimes will just read through it while sipping my cup of peach tea.
4. Clutter free- I recently got a purse organizer, which allows me to pack things that can be easily found. it saves me time and irritation. 
5. Health- I installed the Pacer app in my phone, while its just a pedometer; I enjoy seeing the steps I cover on a regular basis. Highest number of steps I take is mostly Monday's and Wednesdays. I also recently got a hand blender that is easy to carry so I can whip up smoothies or juices.
6. Music- I have 3 different apps that I use in my phone for music, my latest installed one is Saavn. At night when I am on my own, I will just put it on and continue working or reading. 
7. Communication- I keep 2 cell phones to ensure I am always connected  and mostly do all transactions via apps. I also use Skypewhatsapp and viber on a regular basis.
8. Cabs- I use Ola on a regular basis and it has mostly been a positive experience. 
9. Relax- when I am not browsing through blogs listed in my blog, I go through lifestyle blogs. current fav is Chalkboard
10. Mindful- I try to keep a schedule when away from Home that allows me to feel much more sane. I have always had problem disconnecting from work; these days I will do one thing that triggers the mindlessness. 
11. Make myself @Home- It isn't easy to live month after month out of suitcase, so I always have books, magazines and sometimes even candles with me. My current ones are from Ikea.
12. Tea time- I carry my own tea and coffee in office as well as while travelling. My current favorites- Peach tea, Green tea and Earl Breakfast Tea. Coffee is always Nescafe instant.
13. Grocery- From Diapers to grocery to household items; I use apps to keep things going and get them delivered at home at my convenient time whereever I or my family needs them. Current favorites:
  • amazon
  • flipkart
  • bigbasket
  • ola store
  • peppertap

14. Trick of the trade- I carry a sample size perfume dispenser, which I can always refill and carry even on flights. 
15. To write- I started using Zenpen. Simple and less of distraction. 

What do you do when travelling for work or pleasure? 

Interview with Mark Woeppel

We are glad to bring you an insightful interview with Mark Woeppel , founder and president of Pinnacle Strategies, an international management consulting firm working to improve operations performance in project management and processes. He frequently writes on the subject of execution performance, having written three books and many other publications. With extensive experience in oil & gas, consumer products, IT, many manufacturing industries, Mark is a highly sought after subject matter expert in project management, operations management, performance management, and continuous improvement.

His latest book Visual Project Management brings out interesting concepts that definitely encourages you to think differently. Here's his interview:

The book brings out the realistic problems that everyone encounters like visibility issues in managing a project/portfolio, end goal for team members, lack of communication etc is all related to the way project management used to work. If you look at the problem statements, most of them can be covered if you implement Agile. What do you think?

Indeed, the Agile method can be used to achieve the Basic Collaboration level of execution maturity, and it can do it well. This is just the beginning. There are other problems. For many projects, with longer wavelengths, hitting delivery dates reliably is a problem. Synchronizing remote teams is a challenge. Integration of subcontractors’ projects into the main project is always problematic. Managing capacity, probabilistic planning and systematically breaking bottlenecks are not part of the typical tools set for Agile. And that’s what I see in Agile. Tools. Rules. Plenty of “what” to do, but not much on “why” should we do that. Visual Project Management goes beyond Agile.

What I’ve laid out in the book is a methodology and set of principles that support any project environment. The examples that I’ve used and proposed have has several things in common with Agile, but those are just the means to the end. I’m not in love with the tool, but I am serious about achieving the outcomes: increased velocity, improved productivity, delivering projects on time. Visual Project Management builds on those best practices and integrates the best practices so that any team can understand the cause and effect of project team behaviors to results and pick the methodology that supports them.

Where did the concept of the book come from?

Visual Project Management is the distillation of best practice in project management, employing Lean principles, the Theory of Constraints, and putting the project management body of knowledge to work.

We started with the most difficult activity of creating probabilistic project plans for some very large projects, then putting them into execution. We had mixed results in adoption, even though the projects we used them on were successful. As agents of transformation, we were frustrated, looking for a better way. In the meantime, we were using visual workflows in some of our other Theory of Constraints/Lean process improvement projects and having good success. So we thought we would try them on a sophisticated project. The results were spectacular. We were able, with some very simple tools, to engage all of our stakeholders, from senior managers, to resource managers, to subcontractors to drive better results in the entire portfolio.

We wanted to understand “why” it worked, so over the course of the next 4 years and many different kinds of projects, we developed and tested the principles and tactics to take the execution process from ad-hoc to fully integrated. We now know the specific behaviors that precede project success. Some of them are well known, some are not.

Please tell us what is Viewpoint framework?

ViewPoint is what we have named the visual project management process using the Project Execution Maturity Model (PEMM). It uses the visualization of the project delivery process as a springboard to drive team behaviors: to collaborate and effectively manage projects to deliver on time. ViewPoint treats project execution as a process, with principles and practices to create repeatable, scalable results.

Typically, project management process improvements are built around the sequence of how projects are accomplished: get an idea, form a team, make a plan, execute the project, and then execute the project manager.

ViewPoint reverses that - focusing on project execution first.

ViewPoint emphasizes global results over the entire portfolio or business to makes all projects (although it has been used to manage a single project) under management visible, allowing for strategic management of the bottlenecks that block project process.

Rather than taking the team away from their work to do planning activity, ViewPoint focuses on getting the work done – emphasizing project execution processes and behavior and improving the team’s effectiveness. This then allows the team to engage more with the tasks to be accomplished (rather than sit in meetings to talk about the work that hasn’t been done).

You talk about a lot of Models in the book that you believe will help the projects be delivered the way they should be- what according to you is the main focus that every project manager should look into?

Well, “should” is a bit strong. What I’m looking for is “effectively”. On time, on budget, within scope. Everyone’s good at the latter, the former, not so much.

Most managers believe the planning phase is the most important part of the project, so they invest a great deal in the skills, processes and practices around project planning. There’s an entire industry devoted to helping you plan better. We’ve done quite a bit of research into what works and what doesn’t work in project management, and despite millions in investments, projects are consistently late and over budget. You can see the report here.

I have personally gone the plan-execute-success route; it’s long, arduous and delivers mixed results. Emphasizing the PEMM and the principles embodied in them, has given our team and our clients excellent results time and again. You must have a model for execution – a framework. Without it, a plan has limited value; improving the plan is a waste of time. Besides, what plan is ever perfect? None of them. Who can stop in the middle of a project to do a re-plan? Almost no one. You have be able to live with “good enough”, because we live in an imperfect world.

What managers should be looking at is establishing the behaviors and feedback mechanisms that will allow them to respond to reality – Murphy lives! - while still delivering what’s required. This is the beauty of the PEMM. It lives in the real world.

What difference according to you visualizing project management will achieve?

What it does is make a big difference in how projects are delivered and how the team experiences the project process. At the business end of things, projects are delivered in a LOT less time and at lower costs.

For the project team, there is a greater sense of accomplishment and enjoyment of the process. It’s not frustrating. There are no more “battles” to fight, even though there are still problems to solve. They feel like they are making a real difference, because ViewPoint Visual Project Management removes the obstacles to getting the work done so they can make a difference.

For the leaders and owners of the projects, they have greater understanding of where they are during the life of the project. They can rapidly understand the risks and obstacles so they can engage the right people and resources to meet their projects’ objectives. Their job is easier, too.

To summarize, the difference is in the people: customers, team members, owners all get what they want. Without a fight.

Thank you Mark.

You can find more in his website by clicking here.

Is Holacracy the new Agile?

Jul 29, 2015 | 0 comments |
Zappos adopted Holacracy and things almost went viral.

"Research shows that every time the size of a city doubles, innovation or productivity per resident increases by 15 percent. But when companies get bigger, innovation or productivity per employee generally goes down. So we're trying to figure out how to structure Zappos more like a city, and less like a bureaucratic corporation.” – Tony Hsieh

Holacracy is a new way of working and this is how it works.

It’s about clarity and stripping of power and creating a system that enables and distributes the power of decision making. Self-management in one word. While I read the book that I bought last week and then come up with the review; I thought it’s only fair that I at least share it with you guys.

Some interesting reads related to it:          

An evening in Mumbai

Jul 20, 2015 | 0 comments |
I almost fell asleep at 6.30pm on the couch.

I am back from work and today like all Monday’s I have had a morning flight to Mumbai, went to work and back at the temporary accommodation here.

So, just doing random things and thought will share it with you.

Here are the books/magazines I have been recently reading:
  • The Willpower Instinct – Kelly McGonigal
  • Scrum- The Art of doing Twice the Work in Half the Time – Jeff Sutherland
  • Holacracy- The Revolution Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy-Brian J. Robertson
  • Visual Project Management –Mark J. Woeppel
  • The EQ Edge -Emotional Intelligence and Your Success by Steven J Stein and Howard E Book
  • Vogue (magazine)
  • The Project Managers Guide to Mastering Agile- Charles G. Cobb
Sites I am browsing right now:
3 links I read today (about Agile Governance):
I also started an Instagram account recently to randomly click and keep what I am doing throughout the day. From airport clicks to the book I am reading to a peek inside my handbag. To follow me, click here .

(Pic Courtesy- Soma B Instagram)

Free Cultural Intelligence Training by Participating in Research Study

My friend Samad needs your help and participation for his project. It would be great if you have some time to partcipate, you can also send it along to your friends and colleagues. The deadline is till end of this month.
Research Overview:
  • Researcher: Samad Aidane
  • University: Middlesex University (U.K)
  • Degree: Master of Science in Neuroscience of Leadership
  • Research Topic: Investigate the effectiveness of intercultural competence training  
What is the context for this study?
This research study is the final deliverable for completing my Master of Science degree in Neuroscience of Leadership through Middlesex University (U.K).
The study will explore a practical issue that many organizations are facing today: how to help their employees be effective in intercultural collaboration. Through a training intervention, the study will investigate the effectiveness of an intercultural competence training program aimed at enhancing cultural intelligence among IT professionals.
What is the aim of this study?
Integrating insights from multidisciplinary research, the workshop will provide participants with an understanding of how culture shapes the way we make decisions, solve problems, and collaborate with others in a multicultural teams.
The findings from this study will contribute to the existing body of research on best practices for how organizations plan, design, and implement effective intercultural competence training for IT professionals.
Who will participate in the study?
The target audiences of this study are organizations who are interested in improving collaboration in the context of multicultural teams involved in IT projects. Participants are Information Technology Professionals (project managers, business analysts, software developers and testers, as well as other IT roles) or other Subject Matter experts who work over 50% of their time on IT projects and are currently working on projects or teams that include members from multiple cultures.
What commitments are expected from participants?
Participants will be expected to perform 4 main activities:
  1. Read and sign a Research Study Consent Form (5 Minutes)
  2. Complete a pre-assessment questionnaire (10 Minutes)
  3. Attend a live online training workshop (4 hours)
  4. Complete post-assessment questionnaire four weeks after the training workshop (10 minutes)
The study will require no more than 4.5 hours of participant’s time, over a period of four weeks.
When will the training workshop take place?
The training workshop will take place the week of July 6th. Other workshop dates in July may be added if needed. The exact date and time of the workshop will be coordinated with participants. The study will end four weeks after the training workshop, with participants completing the post-assessment questionnaire.
What is the benefit to your organization?
The benefit to your organization is that participants will:
  • Learn to recognize cultural barriers to making decisions, solving problems, and collaborating with others in a multicultural teams.
  • Gain a better understanding of the essential skills for leading and working in multicultural teams.
  • Gain practical tips, techniques, and strategies on how to develop a culturally intelligent communication style to effectively lead and work in multicultural projects and teams.
A whitepaper summarizing the findings and recommendation from the study will be provided to each participant and their organization.
Are there any costs involved for participants?
All training in this study will be provided to participant at no cost to your organization
What about confidentiality?
All data collected in the research will be made anonymous and held confidentially. Only summary results will be presented in the final report.
When is the deadline to sign up to participate in the study? 
The deadline to sign up to participate in the study is June 15, 2015.
How many participants from my organization can take part in the study?
As many as 50 participants can join the study.
I am interested. What’s the next step?
Send an email to samadaidane@gmail.com and the researcher will be in touch about the next step.

Waterfall to Agile

Jun 9, 2015 | | 0 comments |
Working in Agile and don't know what to expect? Helping teams self organize but too much push back? 

This e-book is a great resource, read how the experts are doing it around the world one organization at a time.

You can find me on slide 19 and 20. 

From the road and in between

May 24, 2015 | | 0 comments |
I have been trying to post and as is evident haven't been able to.

As a consultant I travel every week to another city (flight time 2 hours) and am back on the weekend. that has pretty much taken a toll on me and my time management skills. I have tried posting from airports, in between the crazy busy week  and sometimes on the weekend.

Reality is, I mostly blank out in airports and at 5am in the morning I don't feel like working on the blog. I am not a morning person at all. During the week the focus is more on the training's, work, reports, meetings and endless hours streamlined to keep things functional. Weekends is mostly mommy duty- Rio is 9 months old now and like all working moms I try to be with him when I can, as much as I can.

So, yes the blog has suffered in the process. However, I have been reading some good stuff and am sure will share it over here.

I hope in the busy schedule that you have, you get the time to sit down and relax and keep an hour for yourself. I honestly suffered with it, constantly travelling and working in deadlines. So, I am trying to force myself to relax sometimes, like I napped this weekend, didn't open my laptop until now, played with Rio and was  just happy to be home.

I hope like all pro bloggers I learn to write from airports, take mental notes while on elevators and can keep the blog going and make it look very easy.

Oh and before I forget in case you would like to help a fellow PM and one of my favorite people Samad on his research project and get a free cross cultural training, click here . 

(Pic courtesy: google images)

Life- as it is

Most days are a mix of good and bad, some make you happy and content and confident and some are just bad decisions, moments that make you doubt your confidence.

My effort to re-organize my life- personal and professional often turn out futile. I plan and re-plan and then suddenly something needs my attention and the plans out of the window.

The buzz has rekindled itself. Suddenly there has been activities mostly positive round me. I am not sure if I have anything to do with them, may be I am just trying to be me again and trying to organize better and that’s probably the way to know that I am on the right direction.

So, in trying to juggle my role of professional who is trying for the next jump, a blogger who wants to get back to the regular routine, a community member who wants the connect site to connect more people and bring help to their careers and a mom who tries to spend some quality time with her 6 month son- organization is the key.

So, here are some tips to bring them in your life no matter how complex your life has become:

  • Prioritize your list- I use Trello and I timebox it. It’s usually open in a tab in front of me while I work, so I know the goals if I want to just check on them once in a while. Oh and I have the app downloaded as well.
  • Visualize- every morning I start my work life with somnote. I simply click on it and list down to-dos for the day.  And then work around it for the rest of the day.
  • Focus- its difficult midst meetings, calls, emails and lots more happening. So sometimes I will simply use coffitivity or noisli with a headphone. I work better with a noise and rhythm in background. 
  • Efficiency- time is sparse and I try to make the most of it. When I have difficulty focusing, I will use the pomodoro app and try to get something done. It works great for me.
  • Remember and refer - I use Evernote to remember things I read and categorize them. I also try to maintain a physical diary where I will jot down points or theories or new concepts that I liked or am thinking about, so I can refer to them quickly.
  • Connect- I barely get time to have a day out with friends, so I keep in touch mostly with whatsapp, viber and skype. 
  • Relax- I panic with so much going on or loose my cool. So sometimes at night, I will unwind by listening to some good music with tea and reading a good book or carelessly browse through pinterest even if its for a few minutes.
  • I forgive- I try not to be too strict on myself when I know there’s a lot happening. I try to be grateful for what I have. Close my eyes and hear me breathe. 

That pretty much sums my life right now.

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

New Resources Pt 3- Interview with Samad Aidane

Samad Aidane is a cross-cultural leadership and Project Management Consultant and Coach with over two decades of experience in information technology change initiatives. He is also a featured speaker at Project Management Institute Congresses, local PMI Chapters, and at organizations such as J.P Morgan, HP, and T-Mobile.

Please tell us about your website which is a great resource for the upcoming project managers and why understanding the co-relation between neuro-science and project management/leadership style could be the key to being successful in this profession.

Although we tend to think of project work in terms of tasks, resources, and milestones, the brain experiences projects first and foremost as social systems. The latest research on how the brain works is bringing a fresh perspective on how the brain responds during times of change, uncertainty, and ambiguity and the drivers that create an environment that fosters engagement, collaboration, and commitment.
Neuroscience is the interdisciplinary science of the nervous system that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, and psychology. The field has seen significant advances in recent years which can be largely attributed to very recent scientific and technological advances, particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, which allows researchers to literally watch the brain in action.

Guerrilla Project Management and Neuro Frontier reflect my interest in this field. The blogs explore core neuroscience of leadership principles that form the foundation for making decisions, solving problems, collaborating with others, and facilitating change. Understanding these core neuroscience principles and drivers of human behavior will help us understand individual capacity to cope with ambiguity, deal with conflict, and find innovative solutions to complex problems.

Why do you think this is a must read for new project managers?Wwhat are the 3 main takeaways from the site?

Through Guerrilla Project Management and Neuro Frontier, new project managers will be able to:

  • Understand the neuroscience of leadership, its latest research findings, and its implications for project managers
  • Gain insights into the effectiveness and benefits of brain-based leadership for Project Managers
  • Learn how to apply these insights in our projects to make effective decisions and solve complex problems, stay cool under pressure, and facilitate lasting change.

One piece of advice that you think is an absolute must for new project managers?

Project are a series of moments of dull but important work interspersed with moments of pure joy and often even euphoria. To sustain ourselves, every project must contribute a body of knowledge to our journey of mastery. This starts with not letting projects happen to us. This means we must get to the point in our career where we get to select the type of projects we work on, the way film directors choose their next film or musicians select their next album project. This power of choice is the secret to making sure every project we touch tells a story about our journey to mastery and contributes to our masterpiece.

Samad Aidane holds a Post Graduate Degree in the Neuroscience of Leadership from Middlesex University, U.K. His research connects the latest findings in brain science research to leadership development and informs the ways leaders can improve their capacity to make effective decisions, solve complex problems, and facilitate lasting change. Samad is certified by the Project Management Institute and a member of the Social & Affective Neuroscience Society.

(Pic courtesy: Samad Aidane)

You can also read Pt 1- Interview with Jeff Furman  and Pt 2- Interview with Elizabeth Harrin.

New Resources Pt 2- Interview with Elizabeth Harrin

Happy New Year to all of you! 

We start this year with another great resource that is sure to bring a  smile. Elizabeth Harrin who also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management has a newly launched
e-coaching services. She talks about how it can help so many project managers and definitely something that's much easier to access than formal coaching sessions.

So, please tell us about your newly launched course which is a great resource for the upcoming project managers and where can we find it.

I realized that lots of people wanted access to a coach but in a more informal way than scheduled Skype calls or face-to-face meetings. So I thought offering bespoke coaching for particular issues over email would fill the gap. You don't have to have a massive career problem to work out over several months. It's just about tapping an expert for advice, for example when you've got questions about a difficult project and you can't discuss them with someone at work (or you want an external view).

E-coaching is an easy way for you to get access to support and career resources whenever you need it. You don’t have to be tied to a particular time for a phone call and you don’t have to wait until the next session to get some advice. It’s also affordable and manageable, so if you thought you’d never be able to engage the services of a coach, think again!

I don't actually have anything on my website about it yet. You can read about it in one of my newsletters here

Why do you think this is a must have for new project managers? what are the main takeaways from the mentoring sessions that newbies can directly have with you.

I was lucky enough to have a senior project manager assigned to me as a mentor when I started out but that isn't the case for everyone, and even with her help I still had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I wrote Project Management in the Real World because I was frustrated at having to learn everything about project management from scratch. It was the book I wished for when I became a project manager.

A coach can help you unpick problems faster. They can help you work out your own style and help you develop. My style of e-coaching is based on questions and answers over email and clients get a very detailed response, action steps and additional resources for their queries in a reflective style which they can then decide if they apply to their situation. I think this is particularly good for new project managers who don't necessarily have the experience to work out exactly what they need to do by themselves and need a helping hand to offer a few alternative directions.

If you are working in project management or would like to work in projects and need some help sorting out some of the daily problems you face, putting together a career plan for your next job, improving project communications, getting to grips with virtual teams or practically any other project-related problem, then you should consider a coach (whether that's me or someone else).

One piece of advise that you think is an absolute must for new project managers?

Being gracious and appreciative has always worked well for me. When you are a new in post, everyone else knows more than you so it's not easy to assert your authority in a traditional way. A facilitative style actually works better anyway. Take the time to thank the people on the project team for their contributions and make them feel that their work has meaning. You can be very effective while knowing very little if you keep in mind that your job is to make their jobs easier. What do they need to get their tasks done? That's what you have to provide. That and a little structure in the form of a plan and you are well on your way to completing your project successfully with a happy team.

Elizabeth Harrin, MA, FAPM, MBCS is Director of The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specialising in copywriting for project management firms. She has a decade of experience in projects. Elizabeth has led a variety of IT and process improvement projects including ERP and communications developments. She is also experienced in managing business change, having spent eight years working in financial services (including two based in Paris, France). Elizabeth is the author of Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Social Media for Project Managers and Customer-Centric Project Management.  You can find Elizabeth online at www.otobosgroup.com or on Twitter @pm4girls.

(Pic Courtesy: Elizabeth Harrin)

You can Read Part 1- Interview with Jeff Furman here.