Fav Links- Good Reads

Aug 5, 2019 | 0 comments |
I haven’t shared some of the good reads in a while, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Lifestyle and Wellness:


Youtube Finds

(Pic courtesy: Soma B and Good Images)

Debunking Six Misconceptions About Agile

This articles was first published in ProjectManagement.com

For those of us in the project management community, agile is a familiar term. But despite its prominence, it’s often misunderstood. 
All too often, teams and organizations focus on the wrong things or are misinformed. And eventually, agile takes the blame. 

Here are six common misconceptions that can lead to an anti-agile mindset:
  1. It is all about the tool. Any tool that’s hailed as what makes agile works is still just a tool. Yes, with distributed teams it helps to have a tool where everyone has access to project details and data. However, when introducing your team to agile, your training shouldn’t be tool-centric. I prefer teams to see and understand how agile really works—the simple use of sticky notes or a whiteboard does the trick. The move to a tool can and
    will happen eventually, and when it occurs, you don’t have to send multiple follow-ups to ensure the team is populating the data. 
  1. Agile is changing requirements in the middle of the sprint. While agile is known for inspecting and adapting, changes can get out of control. I hear teams talking about changes happening so often that they can barely focus on the work, or they are constantly handling changes. When the pressure to change a requirement is happening too often within a sprint and ends up becoming a norm in the team, the product managers or sponsors need to jump in to determine what needs to be built. Otherwise, team members tend not to focus on the work because they know no matter what they do today, everything will change tomorrow. 
  1. Agile doesn’t use data. The idea that data isn’t tracked is wrong. In fact, there are many ways to look at data. However, we also have to be mindful so data isn’t just being used for the sake of data, leading teams to start bluffing around it.  

  1. Agile doesn’t offer predictability. You’ll often hear that there was better predictability before—and now nothing works. Sponsors always need to know the timeline. And yes, this can be done in agile. In fact, using and tracking the right data can bring in the predictability your team needs. The velocity metric will let you know how much a team can handle in a sprint. So, whether it’s a burndown chart, sprint or release planning, there are multiple ways to get the required predictability and commit accordingly.   
  1. Agile doesn’t offer time to think. I recently was in a session about thought leadership and someone mentioned agile being the greatest blocker because there was no time to think. Interpretation, I believe, is the biggest problem of all. You can still block a certain percentage of your team’s capacity or yours to try out new ideas, participate in hackathons or learn a new skill that adds advantage to your product or service. If you are not speaking up about the problems, you should. And if flexibility isn’t allowed, that’s because of the team culture, not the process. 
  1. Agile is all about micromanagement. One of the funniest misconceptions I’ve heard is that an organization moved to agile because leadership wanted everything to be micromanaged. Individuals didn’t understand that team capacity and complexity (as measured in story points) aren’t ways to track team members. Instead, they are tools to help team members make the right commitments during their sprints, commitments they can actually keep and deliver. In this case, a lack of explanation about why the organization moved toward agile triggered multiple miscommunications. So, the responsibility lies with management and the agile coach to take the time to explain the move to agile. Because instead of micromanagement, agile is really about the opposite. It, in fact, allows teams to be empowered, to be able to self organize, to be vocal and to get the work done. 

These are six misconceptions I’ve seen about agile. What are the common ones you’ve encountered?

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

Finishing 2019 Strong: Keeping up with Your Resolutions

We have just crossed June and how time flies by. 

It seems almost yesterday I was writing my New Years Resolution and today its already been 6 months.

Hows your new years resolution going so far? I have been going through my list  and here are few ways to make sure you end 2019 strong.

5 ways to get it done:
  1. Break the goal into a small task- The one you can get done everyday and doesn’t take away a chunk of your life. That allows you to still keep it than abandoning the goal.
  2. Remember the why’s- Hey, every goal starts because we want something out of it. So yes, remember why you wanted in the first place. Was it a lifestyle change, getting off medication, feeling good about yourself or being financially secure. Write down the why and go through it everyday. This can be part of your affirmations, your vision board or a sticky note in your car. 
  3. Do it everyday- Turn it into a habit and reward yourself when done (when done for 15 days straight). The Cue, trigger and reward helps.  And do it for 66 days straight. 
  4. Don’t be over ambitious- Your goal should be something you can do with a little effort. A lofty goal can also mean you have something in mind that you dont have the skills to achieve yet. These are the tricky ones, because once you fail at it, you won’t go back to it. Setting up goals is a science and an art, just not words that trickle down in the paper. 

  1. Look at it everyday- yes, keep it in mind and give it its due time. Some do better sharing it with friends, some like it to keep it to themselves for the big reveal. Whatever is your style, figure it out and then keep doing it. Celebrate smaller goals and keep your eyes on the big one.

There’s still 6 more months to go, enough time to get things done. So, don’t give up yet but follow your heart and work hard. 

Click Here

Pic courtesy: Google Images

Creativity:How you can bring it back in your life?

Do you consider yourself a creative?

In this video we talk about how we can bring back the creativity in all of us and we don't need to be the replica of the person sitting next to us.

So, if you are reading it in office, home or cafe- please know that we can still be creative in small ways. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy the video:)

Presentation Skills : Basics

How many times have you been told to present and you have bailed out?

Worried who’s going to listen to you after all? How to hold on to everyones attention and really what do I tell?

Here are some tips that over the years I have relied on:

  • Do your Research- Use more numbers, specially when you start your presentation, that gets everyones attention plus it looks like you know about the subject. 
  • PPT should tell a Story- don’t just read through line by line, I prefer mine to have pictures than bullet points. Now people are looking at you, not reading through the PPT.

  • Practice- Practice through multiple times, now even you are nervous you will end up saying what you practiced, thats way better than mumbling.
  • Keep Eye Contact- Look at the people you are giving the presentation to, not at the PPT. Ask questions, stop when required and allow participants to ask questions or talk. 
  • Q&A- Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to every single question, just be honest and mention you will have to look into but it will get in touch with them with the information. 
  • Contact Details- Make sure your your email or office number are clearly mentioned. 
Have a favourite tip, don't forget to share with us.

Happy Weekend

Jun 9, 2019 | | 0 comments |

Happy Weekend to you all.

Thats a slice of my life, from filming for the YouTube Channel

(Pic courtesy: Soma B Instagram)

Take Pride in your Work

It was a warm summer day in Kolkata and I was waiting on the curbs looking for a cab at 7.30pm. it was late and horribly humid and warm and I just wanted to get home. Cabs sparsely stopped and refused to go, this was before likes of Ola and Uber hit the streets. 

Finally the cab I got into amazed me. It was a regular yellow cab, that had a bottle of water and days newspaper placed neatly, a small fan that kept you cool and curtains more as a way to keep the sun out when required. The car smelt fresh and was clean. The driver polite and soft spoken. All I could think was he really was happy and proud of what he did. 

You can look at someone at work on how they conduct themselves and know if they enjoy what the do. Isn’t that true? 

If we all took pride in our work, the mistakes would be lesser because we would care on what goes out with our name on it.  There would be lesser conflicts because you would care about your team or try to resolves problems. The production defects would be lesser, technical debt in control and the environment much more positive.

And we all know a happy team can handle way more complex work. 

So, here are 3 ways to make sure you are proud of what you do:

Know the scope of your work- Sometimes the work seems less challenging or not exactly what you were looking forward to, now that doesn’t mean it can’t be scaled up or get the project or work you want at some point. So, stop cribbing and first get the job at hand done. Now look at what else is going on and where there can be opportunity. You can also look up profiles of people with similar jobs in your organisation who have grown and then see what else you can ask for. Ask when appropriate and make sure you are building strong working relationships along the way. 

Check your work before signing off- Everyone likes to have team members who are sincere and good at what they do. Quality matters, so every time you sign off on something ensure the quality is intact. It might sometimes mean a few hours more of work, fact checking and code reviews…. Its all worth it when everyone gets to know you as the person who is reliable, responsible and takes great care in what they work on. 

Share your mindset and have faith in yourself- Its not easy to take pride in your work always, when the environment isn’t always easy to work with. If you are new to the environment, simply listen. When an opportunity comes by, be positive and speak objectively. Try to share your mindset and may be who know something might change. If you work alone running a business or doing what you love, this might  look easy but keeping the mindset all in control might be a quite a challenge when you are handling everything on your own. 

What do you think? Are you proud of what you do?

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Finding your Mentor: The Do's and Dont's

May 12, 2019 | | 0 comments |
Well first of all Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers reading the blog. 

I haven't posted in a while and you know the lack of posts also means that things have been  a little busy and I am sorry about not letting you know that I wasn't going to be able to publish for a while. Honestly, I didn't know it either. This blog has literally been with me for ages now.....so I always come back :) 

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you also know that I have always been a firm believer of having a mentor, so today I thought will share with you what you need to have one. 

The video is about everything you need to know about mentorship- why you need one to how to find one. If you have any questions, please let me know in the Facebook Page.

Happy Reading (Link Round Up)

Mar 6, 2019 | 0 comments |
Hello Hello! If you are looking for some interesting read this week while you take that coffee break or are bored- this is it.
Of course its random, so pick your read. 
Since Women’s day is right around the corner, thought will start with a read related to women and then just go from there.....here you go. 
  1. Why women quit (hint- related to salary)
  2. Happiness at work 
  3. Working too much, you are not alone
  4. What you should know as a first time manager
  5. How Elon Musk uses time blocking 
  6. if you are an IPhone user, productivity apps
  7. Interesting read on the website that has billion views (related to sports). 
  8. Sometimes you just need to be stubborn
  9. Scrum at Tesla
(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Happy Weekend

Mar 3, 2019 | 0 comments |
My mornings, specially that of weekends start with watching something from creative world while I sip on coffee. Topics range from cooking (Chef's Table, Mind of a Chef) to generic watching (documentaries) or something specific like this one Abstract- The Art of Design (a series in Netflix). This is turning into a wonderful ritual, specially how wonderful it makes me feel. Good Vibes all the way :)

Facing YOU- The fear, facts and rising

“Fear doesn't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.” 
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

We are who we are and yet we sacrifice ourselves to win accolades and approvals from others so often. We struggle to portray us in the truest form of who we are. 

We give up and choose not to fight. “Resistance” as Pressfield calls in his book “War of Art” is nothing but the fear that keeps us from doing the work we want to. You suffer resistance only for the things that mean most to you and are scared to commit. 

To commit and get rid of the “Resistance”, you have to be there to practice your art, work, job anything you want to be cent percent focussed on. Which can only mean that you have to change the way you think and sometimes just be there even when you are scared. 

And more than 90% fail to do the simple  act of showing up and regret it. 

The 5 second rule of Mel Robbins talks about getting rid of the habit of not showing up by just counting till 5 and just doing it. Don’t give yourself the time to think. 

Re-wiring your brain and how you go about it can be done multiple ways- your way that you can discover for yourself or following the various school of thoughts. 

One way can be of Dr. Cathy Coulatt, who in an interview talks about the steps required: 
  1. Trust your subconscious 
  2. Find more details and applaud it before you judge it
  3. Set the intention and make a promise (to ensure subconscious doesn’t work against it)
  4. Get examples- where you see similar people  like yourself take the journey you want to take and be sucessful. 
  5. Solidify and affirm- on your promise to yourself and your new belief.

This is life long commitment, it not about fake it till you make it scenario. You confirm and affirm everyday and show up. You can be afraid and yet show up. You can be very sure that it wont work out and yet show up. You can fail and yet know you are so sure of it that you still keep on doing it. Show up. 

You and me, can be afraid to take that leap , to let ourselves wander to the what-if land, lack the courage to do the work we are meant to do and yet feel that uneasiness of something that we are supposed to do.

So, stop doubting or doubt yourself so you prepare more and get up and get on with it. It cant be more different than what its now because no ones knows yet what you want to be. 

Change the way you think, the actions  you take everyday and the accept that the struggle is real to be inspired consistently. Show up and act on it and thats what we can control and do everyday. 

Face yourself, not others. 

(Pic courtesy: Google and Soma Bhattacharya)

Happy Weekend

Feb 16, 2019 | | 0 comments |
"Everything that's created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness." - Wayne Dyer.

(Pic courtesy: Soma Bhattacharya)

Connections- What we all need (SIPM Connect)

The traditional models are so yesterday.

You had to walk into a room full of people to network, travel for attending seminars and cold call/email to find a mentor. 

Today, things have undergone a massive change, yes we still do all of the above but nothing is limited to how much you are willing to spend. 

And thats a big advantage for so many, for those who want to learn, for students who are cash strapped, for those who don’t want to fly for hours to get to another country. We are all trying to connect- to the right person, right job, right level of experience and right emotions.

And we believe, well most of us at least that connections can get us to the point, carry us when we need an extra nudge. 

At SIPM Connect, we do just that. Its a FREE forum for anyone to connect. Available globally, the idea is projected in an interactive platform, where you are free to find the right level of connection.

The profile creation  is simple and fast, clear and to the point. And yet personalised for another person to reach out to you whether within your group (e.g newbie) or the other (e.g.mentor). Get the entire overview as soon as you login, effective  and time saving. Browse through the group of your interest, find the connections and hear back from them in the same forum. 

Click the group to explore the world, literally. Choose from countries, industries and drill down to keywords to find the mentor/network you need in the domain you would like. 

And yes I will say it again- its free. Built as a way to give back to the community with the confidence that everyone wants to create the right connection and everyone should have the right to. 

To sign up, click here  

Small Changes- Big Impact

Feb 4, 2019 | | 0 comments |
 Improving by 1 percent everyday sometimes it isn’t even noticeable- but it can be far more meaningful, specially in the long run. James clear, Atomic Habits (p.15)

We are the product of our habits. We are who we are.
Trying to change our life one glorious morning might work only if you are buzzing with motivation, for how long might be the question. 

Instead of one big change like going vegan overnight, we can start with small ones that doesn’t take a lot of effort but makes you feel good. Stacking up those small changes can slowly bring in the change you have been looking for. 

Here are 5 small changes I am trying out for Feb:

1. Use Less Plastic- I haven’t banned it overnight because it took me time to realise how much of it I was really using. In 2018, I started a new habit of putting all my plastics in a bin after I had done using them- like shampoo bottles, ketchup bottles, grocery packagings etc. Plastics just wasn’t the Tupperware in my kitchen, turns out it spread in every corner of my house. It took me time to figure this out as bin after bin filled up rather quickly.

 Last week, I went to Ikea and got few glass storage containers (the ones I use to stash leftovers in the refrigerators) and got lunch box too. I decided in carrying a little heavier lunch box because I was trying to reduce the plastic consumption for my family. 

Scientific studies mention that in the short term; society needs to significantly curtail unnecessary single-use plastic items such as water bottles, plastic shopping bags, straws and utensils. 

Its a well known fact that when we challenge ourselves with something that is manageable and yet a little difficult, we will keep at it. Swapping out a few containers to start with is a no brainer, the impact is the feel good factor. Slowly getting rid of as much as possible will be part of the process for the next 6 months.

2. Eating More Vegies- As a kid our plates were literally filled up two thirds with it and it was non negotiable. Growing up as life got busier and fast food became easily accessible, food habits changed. I still enjoy veggies but sometimes when theres only half an hour to get dinner on table, I reach out for time tested egg curry or grilled chicken with rice and lentil. Sometimes that leaves our plates without vegies. As a mom to a four year old I want him to know vegetables are as precious as the egg he wants at every meal. So, most of the meals now have to include veggies in some format format. 

Researchers say- A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.  

For me, its just being more conscious, plan a little bit when I do the grocery because I want veggies that I can quickly toss as a salad or put in the oven. I even tried 15 days going vegetarian in January. I was almost okay with it, the only problem was if I had guests, I wasn’t sure what they would like. 

 3. Walking - I have had love hate relationship with exercise but have always enjoyed walking. So a walk after dinner or after I get back from work is a simple routine I truly enjoy. Not only does it destress me, the best of my ideas come from when I walk it definitely clears my mind. 

Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percent

Doing something small that doesn’t need a lot of mental push for me is a winner that can lead to spending more time walking or thinking of healthy diet after I get home form walking because I feel refreshed and good. With a refreshed mind I tend to make better decisions than stressed out days, where I just want to order in because I am already exhausted. 

4. Listening to Something Positive Every Morning- One of my friends recently watched my last Youtube video and mentioned that I must read lot of self help books. That got me thinking- what is self help books. While the category seems very clear if you still go to book shops, anything that helps you really can be considered self help books. So, what category do I really choose most of my books from? I don’t have a pattern (or may be I do), though honestly I mostly read non-fiction now, a clear deviation from my choice of books 10 years ago. 

So, this month I bought books  as usual, however every morning I prefer listening to something positive.than reading It mostly means something on Youtube or a podcast. It does give me boost for the day and start my day with a fresh mind. But more than that I glide through negative moments much more easily, I am much more forgiving and hopeful and end up working on my dream projects which otherwise in a lot of cases have got sidelined as a personal trend. 

Being positive or inspired isn't always about the last book you read, its about the mindset that you are trying to build.

I read about neuroplasticity few years ago and since then some things have stayed with me. And I know it works for me, if I can be consistent on hearing the positive thoughts. You are what you think isn’t just a proverb anymore. 

With every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.  

To hear some amazing case studies about it, watch this video- The Brain that Changes  Itself 

5. Start Something New- I always find starting something small which is part of my dreams, happiness, plans gives me that extra little boost that I might need on my regular days. Something to keep me excited and looking forward to even during the busy weekdays. For a lot of people could be , going back home and watching the next episode in Netflix. 

For me this could be writing my blog consistently again, or trying out something new like joining a gym. It truly makes me happy from within that even lasts longer than going on a shopping trip. 

Something as simple as gardening (start with one plant), reading books, planning for a new travel destination for June could be a starting point. Our brain likes novelty and doing something you look forward to could also get you one step closer to your actual goal. 

If you have a life you want mapped out for you, instead of thinking too much about it, may be take the simplest of goals and break it down further and start doing something really small. You don’t need to buy glass containers but may be take your first art class that happens round the corner.  

You can watch the video here:

Where focus goes, energy flows.

(Pic courtesy: Google Images)