Book Review

When I read the following message in my LinkedIn Inbox on Monday morning regarding my book, it literally made my (Mon) day 🤩 and a week. It was candid feedback 😊 from Y Gopi Rajendra about my book.

All people who have read the book have given positive feedback. That really gives me a good sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. When the book is sold with no marketing, you really feel good. The icing on the cake is when you receive such feedback, including several 5-star reviews on Amazon.

I wanted to say a special thanks 🙏to you people in my network, like Gopi, who took the time to write back to me to give candid feedback. I appreciate your time and efforts in writing me a few sentences.

All Project management professionals, aspiring and novice PMs, students, startup founders, leaders, and even team members – this book will give practical insights about how to handle daily project management and leadership in your sphere of work. I am sure you will not regret reading lessons from my decade of experience in project management.

And yes, I would also like to know what else you could have liked to see in a similar book.

My book – “Supercharge Your Project Management skills” is available on Amazon India at –, Amazon US at –, Amazon UK at –

With a good number of 5🌟reviews on Amazon, I am sure this book is going to help all project managers.

ChangeMaker V/s Project Manager



A project is a synonym for change. Project management executes the vision and mission of a change into reality by a project manager. However, there is a need to shift the parochial paradigm from managing and leading the change to making and owning the change.


The next gen project manager doesn’t just manage change and wishes for change. They take ownership and accountability to make the change happen. Using their knowledge, resources, and determination, they push through the resistance and drive the change. They may not possess all the skills needed, but they know best how to use their resources within the constraints. They are the ones who connect the dots, unearth the blind spots and influence the outcomes through cogent focus and commitment. They are determined. They transform their circle of influence. They are the Changemakers.


In today’s fast-paced world, most mediocre project managers are engrossed in following processes and systems. They do not think out of the box. Without a holistic approach to optimize current structure and systems, they fail to achieve their outcomes efficiently. They are more focused on ticking all the boxes, indulging in the quick GTM strategy.


In contrast, the Changemakers, armed with their design thinking mindset, focus not only on improving the customer experience but on overcoming resistance from all corners. With their firm beliefs and passion in stride, those people-oriented Changemakers are thoughtful, compassionate, and full of empathy. Changemakers are those people with humility and integrity who not only use their skills, expertise, and authority to bring positive change, but also to set new trends. Who doesn’t know of revolutionary changemakers like Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King?



The Changemakers use their collaborative nature, expertise, and authority in a way that brings positive social change and affirms the humanity of stakeholders. Changemakers have the freedom, confidence, and societal support to address any problem and drive change. Table 1 illustrates the difference between mediocre project managers and Changemakers.


Changemakers focus on lean changes at a time which can lead to a monumental transformation or WoW (Ways of Working) revolution over time. Their primary focus is the MVC (minimum viable changes), ensuring that teams stick to changes that worked and discard those that didn’t. They ensure these changes happen gradually, not suddenly, and out of nowhere. Changemakers weigh the cost of a change and prioritize changes by considering which of them would have the larger impact in a shorter time, thus implementing it in “thin slices” that work for stakeholders. They also assess how well changes work in practicality, applying that experience for future changes.


Changemakers unconsciously follow the Agile manifestos: responding to change over following a plan and harnessing it for the customer’s competitive advantage. They make the journey cherishable, relatable, and memorable for the people they work with. Changemakers rewire the brain to change the de facto response.


The Changemaker focuses on changing culture by revamping and fixing the system. They come out of their comfort zone and move towards the learning zone, ultimately breaking into the growth zone. They are the next-gen leaders; they are the ground breakers; they are the social drivers; they are the social entrepreneurs. They are reinventing WoW. They are not only the game influencer and the game player but also the game-changer. They are the Changemakers.



It’s time for project managers to upskill and upgrade themselves. Think differently, change the game, and make the change!



Fintech Disruptor

One might remember banking experiences three-four decades back. When you go to the bank to update the passbook, you drop it in a basket and go back the next day to collect it. The process took so long since the banker had to reconcile entries from a huge B4 size ledger book and manually update the entries in the passbook. Gone are those days!!! The banking industry has come a long way from the 80s and 90s. Today, digital banking gives us notifications on a real-time basis with a tap on mobile or wearables – be it transactions, bank balance, or statements.


While banks have transformed themselves with innovative digital offerings, several incumbent and Neo banks have made a significant dent in traditional revenue with their innovative digital transformation initiatives. To sustain high growth and customer retention, traditional banks need to traverse the extra mile and develop hyper-personal relationships with customers turning apathy into emotional connection.


These days, a frictionless digital banking experience is inevitable to maintain or increase the market share of the banks. Omni-channel experiences, smart onboarding, microservices-based architecture, cloud-native approach, or automation – these are de facto expectations from the banks. The main reason behind these high expectations is Fintechs, raising the bar for banks in the post-pandemic world. Millennial and Gen-Z customers are now looking for an exceptional banking experience in all areas, not isolated service.


To ‘provide value for the money’ or exhibit customer-centricity, banks ought to step up their game plan by increasing their focus on innovative offerings. With over 26,000 Fintechs operating worldwide, banks have to go beyond their usual territory and provide hyper-personal curated banking experience by embracing ML, NLP, and open APIs. Not only do legacy banks need to innovate and implement, but even central authorities like RBI should become liberal and revise their policies to promote healthy competition and innovation culture across the BFSI segment. Several innovative initiatives are becoming mainstream because of Fintechs, which can be adopted by banks in a phased manner. Banks can embrace following leading-edge technology to remain ahead of the cut-throat competition.

  • Enable Composable banking whereby the customer is not tied to a specific vendor, product, or technology. For an instance, Mambo provides over 4000 products from different banks, NBFC, and Fintechs on its platform.
  • Augment innovation quotient like ENBD, which provides an additional interest rate based on the number of daily steps (5k or more) taken by individuals. They are also planning similar benefits for other exercises like swimming, etc.
  • Enable community banking by providing Value-added services to Gig workers, LGBTQ, senior citizens, or disabled customers to cater to their specific needs.
  • Implement platform banking by integrating value-added services from Fintechs or others to provide a holistic experience to maintain customer loyalty.
  • Increase customer engagement through gamification to attract kids and teens to build brand loyalty early on.
  • Develop AR Tool for personal finance management as done by Westpac.
  • Provide AR/VR experience to the customer whereby they can visit the virtual mall for a shopping experience through All-in-one SuperApp.
  • Provide 24×7 chatbots using AI and ML.
  • Combine AR/VR with AI to create seamless, immersive experiences for the customer, say for virtual branch visits, thereby creating loyalty, brand building, and arresting customer attrition.
  • Use alternative data for taking decisions, like predicting default risk. This can be innovatively inferred based on behaviour and personality traits captured in social media. This can help the bank speed up recovery or restrict future lending.
  • Bring assurance or options to customers that the bank’s profits or part of it will be invested only in “Clean energy” to reverse the climate crisis like Swipe.
  • Develop an algorithm to link likes on social media to the interest rate.
  • Provide Goal-based savings options to facilitate healthy savings.
  • Provide multi-lingual AI and Robo advisors, ranging from personal finance to goal-based investments.
  • Boost customers’ credit scores by providing micro-loans to step up their borrowing capacity.
  • Propose smart vehicle insurance which can adjust your premium amount depending on your usage, location, driving style, and discipline.
  • Use of IoT in ATMs to sense queue length and provide an option to an exception in authentication based on a customer’s past transaction history.
  • Use of smart contracts to allow users to take out a short-term loan using Ether as collateral.
  • Bring out voice-enabled payments for visually impaired or handicapped people.
  • Automate claim payment minus manual filing, in case a flight gets delayed beyond a certain agreed duration as per insurance policy .
  • Use novel biometric security like iris recognition, palm vein patterns, or retinal scanning.
  • Offer contact-less, gesture-based ATM transactions like the one developed by Motion Gestures.
  • Embedded Rounding off to nearest pre-defined unit to create either investment pot with delta money or help achieve goals that emotionally engage them.
  • Implement blockchain for immutable records and security and speed up money flows for a variety of transactions like property registrations, funds transfer, supply chain, trade finance, and payments transactions.


Few of these suggestions will certainly bring loyalty among happy and satisfied customers. This type of digital transformation will also increase employee engagement. This results in higher productivity, accurate predictions, and decision-making.


Digital transformation is full of risks and challenges. Organizational challenges, data governance, data privacy, cultural mindset, compliance risks, regulatory risks, or lack of skilled resources can become roadblock but it can be addressed in innovative ways. But this puts brakes on the delivery and execution of the initiatives. However, for the larger benefit of shareholders and investors, banks need to show the same agility as Fintechs to survive and grow.


As Darwin’s law of Survival of the Fittest suggests, only Agile and customer-centric futuristic banks will flourish and fare well in the future; rest will get acquired.

Innovation Jam

CRISIL Limited is a leading, agile and innovative global analytics company driven by its mission to make markets function better.

CRISIL Limited provides an excellent opportunity for all CRISIL employees to contribute ideas and became part of the strategic planning process and shape the future of the company. It stems from a desire to encourage co-creation, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking. It provides an excellent platform for CRISIL-ites to showcase their ideas.

I am glad to share that they have selected my idea as one of the top 4 ideas for execution with the required funding. Thanks to the CRISIL management team for the recognition and prize. Looking forward to developing MVP in the coming days..

#innovation #management #future #agile #analytics #funding #planning #share #opportunity #team #markets

ISB Bombay – Risk Management Session

🛠 Project management is an essential skill that can help students with a wide range of situations and develop a variety of useful 📈 skills.

Project management skills encompass 🔎 a wide variety of management skills, including time management, scheduling, budgeting, and resource management. Being able to manage these aspects successfully can help students’ complete projects faster 🎯 and more easily while producing higher-quality

Successful project management skills are difficult to learn, but lead to a significant advantage when implemented properly. Learning project management can help students excel in their academic and career.

It’s good to see that a lot of business schools and colleges 🏫 are having project management as a subject. And it is very much the need of the decade.

📢 It was my pleasure to conduct the session on “Risk Management” and “Project Status Reviews” for students of IBS Mumbai over the weekend.

IBS Mumbai has a unique and innovative approach to business education, that focuses on providing the right knowledge, 100% case-based learning, imparting the right skills for enduring success in management careers, and shaping the right attitudes to transform its students into the leaders of the future.

Thanks to Dr.Roopali Srivastava for the invitation.

#pmi #projectmanagementinstitute #projectmanagement #bschool #riskmanagement #projectreport #project #leader #speaker #thoughtleader #projectmanager #projectleader #pminstitute #pmicertification #pmiproudmember #pmp

Manage your time

Stephen Covey’s famous 4 Quadrants.🟦. This reminded me of concentrating your efforts on 💎 MVP (Most Valuable & Profitable) activities.

The time should be spent in each quadrant as per this:
📌 Q I when there is crisis, pressing problems, deadlines, ad hoc meetings, Firefighting
📌 Q II is normally for vision, planning, discipline, Empowerment
📌 Q III is primarily because of interruptions, mails, Short-term focus
📌 Q IV refers to trivial work, social media, binge watching, “Escape activities”

As per this quadrant, excellent organisation should ensure that their human resources spend
–       20-25% of their time in Q I (Quadrant of Crisis)
–       65-80% of their time in Q II (Quadrant of Quality)
–       15% of their time in Q III (Quadrant of Deception)
–       1% of their time in Q IV (Quadrant of Waste)

However, many organisations’ swaps time of Q I & Q II and they feel that this is the Normal way. That means such organisations feel that if less time is spent in Q I, employees are not productive and they do NOT reward those who work with meticulous planning (Q II).

Q I is also one of the key reasons for high attrition… Agree or not??

So, identify you most ✨MVP ✨ activities and spend more and more time in Q II which means you will spend less time in Q I.

Where do you spend most of your time – Q I, Q II, QII or Q IV??

My Book Launch

✨22nd Oct 2022✨ is a very special day for me. 

I am elated to announce 📢 the launch of my book – Supercharge your Project Management skills – on the global platform.

🎯I wrote this book because I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I wanted to share mine with the world. New, aspiring, and even seasoned project managers often look for guidance in difficult situations. This book culminates learning’s drawn from over a decade of my personal experience in this field, and I hope it helps my readers in their project management journey.

A big thanks 🙏to my family, who have supported me throughout this process. I wouldn’t be here without them. 

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.
👉 Kindle at
👉 Amazon at

Soon, it will be available on international book platforms.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

#project #management #india #leadership #digitalmarketing #professional #happytohelp #opportunity #share #thankyou #content #projectmanagement #leader #projectmanagers #lessons #experience #amazon #learning

My Book Website

✨I am happy to share that I have launched a website for my book – Supercharge your project management skills. The website link is the same as my book name, i.e.

I will continue to post blogs on the link and new learnings over there. It also has a link to purchase my books on Amazon India, US, UK & Kindle.

Thank you for your support. The book has received over 2 dozen reviews averaging 4.9 ⭐.

#author #book #projectmanager #community #projectmanagement #amazon #students #bookauthor #bookreview #bestseller #book #lessons #lessonslearnt #projectmanagers #career #help #project #leaders #learning #experience #lifeskills #usa #uk #europe #strategy #lessons #startup #startupfounders #india #blogs

PMI Volunteer of the Year – 2023

Winning an award 🎖️ is always a special moment and makes us feel good, whether it’s volunteering or professional work. And particularly when it comes to Project Management Institute, its mixed feeling of self-satisfaction and even pride ✨.

I express my heartfelt delight to receive the “Volunteer of the Year” award 🥇instituted by PMI Mumbai Chapter. It is nothing less than an incredible honor & organic recognition, and I must admit, it took me aback. I am truly humbled and honored 🙏.

This recognition is more special because this is the second consecutive year in a row when I received the “Volunteer of the Year – 2022-2023” award, apart from receiving “Volunteer of the Quarter – Q3” in the last December quarter. Total 3️⃣ recognition in THE past 1 year 😇, surprising even myself.

Thank you, PMI Mumbai Chapter Board and committee members, for the same. And yes, it was impossible without the support of an army of selfless Mumbai chapter volunteers.

✅ I would also like to thank my family, from whom I have stolen family time for the volunteering activity.

Thank you ALL once again 🙏 for this incredible honor.

Preparing for PMI ACP Exam

In the last week of April 2020, I appeared for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI) exam and cleared it.

While I started serious preparations around 6 weeks before i.e. in March 2020, I think it requires 8 to 10 weeks preparation. 

It all started with classroom training in July 2019. However post that I didn’t get time to do much preparation due to my busy schedule.

Initially, I had taken up Louise Philip’s ‘PMI-ACP Exam Prep for PMBOK6’ course on Udemy. It gives a good overview of ACP. There are short tests at the end of each chapter which you can take at your convenience and can even pause it in between. There are also two full mock tests at the end of the course. This test really gives you an idea about how much you have understood and how you will fare in the exams. Ideally after 2-3 attempts, you should get 80-90% correct answers.

In parallel, I was also reading Mike Griffiths ‘PMI-ACP Exam Prep’ book – Second edition. You need to read this book twice. There are practice questions and answers at the end of each chapter, which gives you good idea about kind of question that will appear in the exam. In the first read, you will get around 60% correct answers. However in your second read, you should get 80-90% correct answers for the exercises given at the end of the chapter. There are two practice tests on this books’ publishers’ web-site – Two mini-tests of 60 questions each help you to prepare for final exams. Ideally, I suggest you should take this a week or two weeks before you have scheduled your exam.

There is also the PMI-ACP workbook by Mike Griffiths which is also quite helpful. This contains 50 chapters for domain subjects in a summarized form with few questions at the end of it. This can also be a good reference in the last two weeks. Both these books authored by Mike are written in a very lucid style and one should have no issues completing them over a weekend.

As I understand from friends, the test simulator on the same publisher’s website i.e. is also good. One can subscribe for mock tests  acouple of weeks before appearing for the final exams. However, to be honest I didn’t take the same.

I had also borrowed couple of books from PMI library for preparation.

The first one was Head first Agile from the O’Reily publication. It has a very different style of teaching. There are a couple of mock tests (difficult ones) at the end of it which also helps you.

And the second book is PMI ACP exam prep book by Andy Crowe. Again, it has a totally different style of teaching. This book also contains two mock tests which helped for final exam preparation.

On the previous day, I also took some free mock tests on izendesk web-site which I found very useful. These all mock tests can be used in the last 2 weeks to gain confidence. It is my recommendation that one should have scored 80% up before taking the final exams.

I had taken the proctored based exam. Since I was taking it for the first time, I was a bit tense. However after a while I got settled. Please ensure you login at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time and you have good internet speed.

Initially, the first half of the exam was very tough for me. The second part was comparatively easy.

Hope this helps you in your preparation for PMI-ACP exam.

Good luck to all aspirants reading this article. Please post a comment if you need further information.

Biren Parekh