Nimesh’s Coaching Box

A simple tool to deliver your message effectively that creates impact, and do it with eeeease!

Want to deliver your session with ease? That is effective and impactful?

Of course you want to be clear about the message you want to deliver; but being clear about it is just a start. Delivering your message effectively that is impactful – that’s the key. And, making it easy to digest for your audience is essential.

One of my good friend and colleague introduced me to this concept while we were together at Paypal, coaching and mentoring the organization and teams on Agile adoption. [Thank You Monica!] Now a days, you will see me walking around with this coaching box, almost all the time.

Nimesh's Coaching Box

Nimesh’s Coaching Box

Why this Coaching Box?
You are the change agent, but you don’t just want to talk about the change. You want to deliver your message effectively that creates an impact, and doing it with ease is the key to success. I have found that having this coaching box handy helps tremendously in achieving that. With this coaching box on my side, I can deliver my message, my presentation, my session with ease that is effective and impactful. As a coach, as a change agent, it is your Toolbox!

What’s in it?
This coaching box essentially has the tools of trade in it, readily available by my side at a moment’s notice. No more fumbling around for a whiteboard marker that really works!

Let’s look at what I have in the coaching box:

  • Post It notes. We can’t live without them, can we?  [Check out my series of posts on how I use Post It notes]
  • Sharpie Pens
  • Whiteboard markers, that really work!

At a minimum you should have these three items in your Coaching box. You can throw in some electronic tools in it along with these three items.

  • Remote Clicker, with spare batteries
  • Mac connector cable (to connect to Projector)
  • Old iPhone (that is not connected to any network)
  • Evernote or OneNote on your mobile device, making sure that you have the reference material and worksheets handy. Most importantly, make sure that you have the worksheets and check lists handy.
  • Other apps such as Office Lens to take pictures of your whiteboard drawings, Scannable to scan physical papers, etc. [Read my post on various apps that can help you]
  • Spare reading glasses
  • Lip balm
  • Two Cereal bar (my emergency energy source)
  • Two tea bags – like to drink hot tea (no sugar,no milk) before and during the sessions I facilitate. Helps me keep hydrated while keeping my throat clear helping in projecting my voice higher.

I add in a few cereal bars that can double as my lunch as well as snack. Often times while you are delivering your sessions, you don’t have the time and luxury to have the proper lunch!

But, I need reasons to carry this coaching box..

I will give you three reasons why you want this box by your side.

  1. Instead of grabbing ten things, you are grabbing just one thing. This has bailed me out many times as I have been asked to present or coach at moments notice by the executives. You know your executives in the organization 🙂
  2. It sends a very clear, strong, positive message that this guy (or gal) is always ready!
  3. You have all the supplies handy and within arms reach, supplies that you are familiar with and know they work, supplies that help you deliver your message effectively that creates impact.

With this box handy, I am ready to delivery any session at a moment’s notice. Let’s go, and make change happen!

Mr. Number to your Rescue!

Mr. Number to your Rescue! Remember those telemarketers calling you just as you finish your dinner? I used to get them a lot on my landline, even after getting onto Do not Call list. Those dreaded, 9:00 pm dinner time calls are back! Now I started getting them on my Mobile as well.

Where focus goes, energy flows. And if you don’t take the time to focus on what matters, then you’re living a life of someone else’s design
– Tony Robbins

These unwarranted, unsolicited calls are a big drain on your energy. They disrupt your ‘flow‘ and introduce unnecessary ‘switching cost’ as you are yanked away from the work you were doing. Often times you don’t know until you have picked up the call, and if you don’t pick up the call, you are wondering if you missed an important call.  [For those of us whose family is overseas, we get a call from them and it shows up as a random number on Caller ID]

Mr. Number to the Rescue

Mr. NumberI have found an easy solution though! Call Mr. Number to your rescue!

On your mobile, just install this app and it scans the incoming calls. It scan each incoming call against its vast database of telemarketers and scam callers. It automatically blocks the call if any match is found. This results in you not even picking up that call, and saving you that energy, the switching cost. More importantly, it allows you to stay in the flow!

Use this app, along with the Do not Disturb feature of your phone, and you have your own personal secretary (remember those creatures!) that is guarding your time, for you 🙂


minimize the distractions + minimize/eliminating the switching cost = Hyper Productivity! #getHyper… Click To Tweet

Want more highly effective apps, tools, tips to make you more productive! Sign up now!. To read more related article visit: and join us in our Facebook pages: mentorME and getHyper

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (New York: Penguin Group, December 29, 2009 )

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

In this book, author Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) makes a strong case for us to upgrade to Motivation 3.0 !
It’s time to #makeTheShift from Profit-driven (Motivation 2.0) to Purpose-driven (Motivation 3.0). He also talks about different types of personalities such as Type X, Type Y, and Type I. He goes onto providing us a tool kit if we want to #transform into Type I personality, along with the list of books that can help us on that journey.

A must-read!

Animate with purpose, don’t motivate with rewards

Three Quotes from the book:

  • Warning: Goals are Toxic! Goals may cause systemic problems to organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased co-operation, and decreased intrinsic motivation. Use care when applying Goals in your organization.
  • Sawyer Effect: practices that can either turn play into work or work into play
  • Motivation 3.0 doesn’t reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization.  Employees are not Resources, Employees are Partners

Three tips from the book:

  • Replace IF.. Then motivation with NOW..That.. motivation
  • Management is a Technology; and we need to update it to new operating system Motivation 3.0
  • Turn company wide meetings to FedEx days

Tools/techniques mentioned in the book:

  • FedEx days
  • Goldilock Tasks
  • Now..That rewards
  • Autonomy Audit
  • ROWE
  • Sawyer Effect
  • 20% Time
  • Flow
  • Sagmesiter’ / Take [365-day] Sabatical
  • Brain Bombs
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Make it ‘no competition’ zone
Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive… Click To Tweet

TED Video

Type I toolkit

  • Flow Test
  • Ask BIG question
  • Ask Small Questions: Small Improvements, Was I better today than yesterday?
  • Sagmesiter – Take [365 day] sabatical
  • Performance review: Set smaller goals as well as larger goals
  • Unstuck by going oblique
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Promote Goldilocks for Groups
  • Convert Offsite to FedEx days

Books for Type I

In summary, Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive, and clean.

Question: Are you Type I, Type X, or Type Y?
You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Nimesh with Pigeons

In the book, Drive, author Daniel Pink talks about “taking Sagmeister”, inspired by designer Stefan Sagmeister. He goes on to explain Sagmeister taking an entire year off every seven years, essentially sprinkling retirement years within the working years.

Well! I could not take a Sagmeister and go off on vacation for 365-days. Instead, I decided to take two weeks off to recharge and reinvigorate. I am off to Europe with my Family & Friends.

See you all soon!

10 Apps for 10x Productivity

Increase Productivity on the Go with these Apps

I introduced you to my top three apps in my earlier post. Let’s continue where we left off, and let me introduced you to remaining apps on my list.

4. Google Photos

10 appsBeing Agilist who loves art and doodling, I take a lot of pictures. And, the limited storage space on my mobile devices could be a problem! This is where Google Photos comes to my rescue!

You can configure Google Photos to sync pictures from your mobile device automatically to your Google Drive. With auto sync configured, I can take a picture and my mobile device automatically uploads that to my Google account. Oh! by the way, Google gives you unlimited storage space for this auto sync!

The advantage is that you don’t need to keep on all those pictures on your mobile device. You can take as many picture as you want, and they are always available to you from any device, anywhere, anytime!

5. iTalk

iTalkI use this app to record audio on my mobile when I have the sudden burst of creativity, when you don’t have paper and pencil handy. You don’t want to slow down in those moments, you want to take notes at the Speed of thoughts! iTalk is my go-to app when I am having these bursts of creativity! All you have to do is talk into your mobile and capture those thoughts.

This app also connects to your Dropbox account allowing you to ‘extend’ storage on your mobile device. You record and it pushes it to your Dropbox! Once recorded, you can hire someone else to transcribe it. This way you could be ‘writing’ your article on the go, while waiting at the airport lounge or while stuck in the traffic. Record your thoughts using iTalk, push it to Dropbox, and get more Done!

I use this work flow a lot! I record my  thoughts, push the audio recording to my Virtual Assistant (VA) and he transcribe those notes yielding initial draft for my article.

Record your thoughts + Upload to Dropbox + Push to VA = First draft of your article

6. Trello

TrelloWith Trello, you can create your own Kanban board and use them to collaborate with your teams. Create different cards and move them around based on the priorities. There are no emails to send back and forth. You can add notes, checklists, as well as documents. You can even filter your cards based on specific tags or labels.

Essentially, Trello can become your work hub, where you organize your backlog, communicate with your team members, and orchestrate the development of your Minimum Marketable Product (MMP). And, you can be doing all these on the Go as well!

I use the mobile app all the time on my iPhone. This allows me to stay in touch with my team members constantly. As I mention earlier, I push my audio notes to my virtual assistant (VA) all the way to the other side of the world; using a Trello card on a board that I have shared with my team members.

7. Expensify

ExpensifyThis app have been my savior many time. Benefits of Using this app are manyfold:

  1. Minimize the use of the paper
  2. Often times I’m traveling for work and need to capture all the expenses. Just capture them quickly with this app, with picture of the paper receipt and few details to categorize them appropriately. At the end of the week (or month),  Expensify can generate a report and that becomes your expense report.
  3. It also helps me at the end of the year when it is Tax time! The first thing I do for tax filing is go to my Expensify account and download all the expenses for that year. All I you have to do is download a report that gives you all the expenses, categorized and ready to go into your Tax form.

8. Key Ring

KeyringWe all have ‘fat’ wallets! Unfortunately, instead of money, they are filled with all the plastic cards :-Did you know, an average american carries 17 plastic cards in his/her wallet. You can move all those cards to electronic world as well, using Key Ring app. Just add your cards into Key Ring and trash all those physical plastic cards, unflatten your wallet, and get rid of that back pain!

9. Google Drive (Google Docs)

Google Drive / Google DocsI use Google Docs extensively for all my notes, documents, and spreadsheets. As we all know Google Docs is all cloud based solution and allows you to collaborate with your team members. Google gives you considerable amount of space for free that is more than enough for most of us

10. IFTTT (If This Then That)

IFTTT-If this Then thatIFTTT allows me to get rid of some of the repetitive task from my day. It allows me to delegate and automate some of those mundane task. Using simple recipes, you can automate most of the routine tasks. Use it and you will fall in love with it!

To Summarize..

Here is my list of 10 apps that can launch you in to world of Hyper Productivity.

  1. Evernote and One Note
  2. Scannable
  3. Office Lens
  4. Google Photos
  5. iTalk
  6. Trello
  7. Expensify
  8. Key Ring
  9. Google Drive
  10. IFTTT
Get yourself on hyper Productivity lane with these apps… Click To Tweet

Want more highly effective apps, tools, tips to make you more productive! Sign up now!. To read more related article visit: and join us in our Facebook pages: mentorME and getHyper

Just Enough Documentation with an App?

Can Office Lens help you with Just In Time documentation?

As an Agilist, as a change agent, you are almost always playing the role of a “Facilitator” as you interact with your business stakeholders as well as members of your teams. I like these sessions to be interactive and collaborative. I encourage you all to use Post Its and White boarding as you go through these sessions.


Office Lens for Just Enough Documentation

And, some of you have already heard me say this multiple times: Just Enough and Good Enough! As we do the white boarding sessions, taking a picture of it and attaching it to your Feature/Story might be good enough documentation, at that point in time.

To take the picture of white boarding session, I highly recommend an app called Office Lens by Microsoft. All you have to do is to point your mobile to the wall where the whiteboard is. The app automatically  identifies the whiteboard and takes pretty good, clear picture of the content. You don’t have to worry about getting it in frame properly, nor do you have to worry about the lighting and reflections.  Check out the details of the app here.

documentationAs mentioned in his CIO article, The app is good at detecting edges and cropping automatically, and both features save you a few steps.

I have used Scannable from Evernote as well, and I am a big fan of that app too!  However, Office Lens beats it when it comes to taking pictures of the White board. Here is a picture from one of my white boarding session, taken with Office Lens.

Documentation in Agile - Whiteboarding and Just Enough Documentation - Nimesh Soni

White boarding session – picture taken using Office Lens

Question: What other apps you have used? Share your findings in comments below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Book-Creativity Inc

Creativity Inc – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

If you want to emulate anybody’s success, especially if you in the business of creating things, Pixar has to be at the top list. I admired all the movies made by Pixar; I admired the creativity and the story telling chops they showcase through these movies. But, after reading this book my admiration for this company have grown many folds.

Being an Agilist, I saw many parallels between the creative world of Pixar and my world of Agile. I was surprised and inspired to see that they have been practicing lot of the Agile principle that we talk about. For example, they use ‘real day’ which is essentially what we call (Sprint) Review or the Demo.

This is one company worth emulating! This could be the ‘bible’ that you are looking for to build and sustain a creative company! This book definitely would be in the front of all the books on my bookshelf.

If Pixar is the hospitals, and movies are the patients, Brain Trust is all the trusted doctors.

Three Quotes from the book:

  • To be truly creative company, you must start things that will fail
  • Our people’s intentions are good and they want to solve the problems. Give them the responsibilities, let the mistakes happen, and let the people fix them
  • Mistakes are inevitable consequences of doing something new, without having them there is no originality

Three tips from the book:

  • Managers should loosen the control, accept risks, and trust their people
  • Pull up a chair (and start having conversations, ask open ended questions)
  • Ask yourself what happens when a mistake is found? Whose fault is this? [If this happens, your company is vilifying the failure]

Tools/techniques mentioned in the book:

  • Dailys
  • Research Trips
  • Limits
  • Notes Day
  • Person week
  • Bonus check, that is hand written and hand delivered
  • Pull up a chair (and start having conversations)
  • Brain Trust
  • Good Note
  • Poet’s Loft
  • 5 year social compact
  • Strategy Pyramid
Find, develop, and support good people and they will find, develop, and support good ideas! Click To Tweet

10 Apps for 10x Productivity

Increase Productivity on the Go with these Apps

10 Apps for 10x productivity

10 Apps for 10x Productivity

Like it or not, Accept it, we are a mobile society driven by mobiles in our hands and our pockets. Is your mobile device a ‘sink hole’ for your time and productivity? Can we actually use them to increase 10x productivity, on the go!?

Are you ‘wasting’ lot of time on your mobile with Facebook likes and updates, with What’s app and Instagram? Turn the tables! Convert your mobile devices into a productivity magnet, using some of the best productivity apps that I regularly use and highly recommend.

Mobile devices are major part of the strategy for industry leaders like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. We do more and more work on the go using our mobile devices. As you walk to your car, as you walk in the mall, and so on. How many of you have bumped into a person who is so engrossed in his/her phone that doesn’t even care to look at where s/he is headed.

No Texting while Walking!

Use of phone while driving is already illegal in most of the states, if not all of the states. But, now, there are some states which are considering banning the phone use while walking. In New Jersey for example, in a town called Fort Lee police have written hundreds of citations for texting while walking. So make no mistake we are a mobile society. Driven by the mobile, getting more and more work done on the go using mobile devices.

I’m guilty of this as well 🙂 I use mobile to get more and more work done from my daily routine. I have used several apps and constantly experiment with new ones.

10 for 10x Productivity

Let’s talk about the 10 apps that can get you to 10x productivity: apps that help you get more done with minimal effort involved, and of course on the go!

1.Evernote and OneNote

10 Apps for 10x productivity-Evernote10 Apps for 10x productivity-OneNote

Start with moving your world to Electronic world, and what better way to do that is getting this electronic note taking apps.

I use Evernote for managing my professional life while the OneNote keeps my personal life organized. And in the digital world once in there my notes are available from any device, anywhere. It also helps you reduce the use of paper, in return you are helping to save some trees!

Your back will also thank you as these two note taking apps will help you reduce the size of your backpack! I introduced OneNote to my son also to help him reduce the weight he carries in his backpack. In fact, he extended the functionality and use of it even further. He uses OneNote on his Microsoft Surface, and he can capture hand written notes with the electronic pen!

Very easy to search, and highly collaborative, these note taking apps will take your productivity to next level, almost immediately!


As you can see, I do a lot of doodling on post-it. I like to draw and doodling allows me to bring two of my passions together: the art and the agile.

10 Apps for 10x productivity-scannableI use Post It extensively while explaining concepts or brainstorming on new product offering.  I use doodling and sketch when I’m having one on one conversations or explaining new concepts on paper. I can take a picture of these Post It notes, with doodles or my handwritten notes. To do this, put your drawing on a contrasting background, load up your Scannable app, aim and snap!

This app gives you crisp and clear image by automatically eliminating glare and flattening the image. Check some of my doodles here which have been brought to the electronic world using Scannable app.

3.Office Lens

From Microsoft, this app does similar job as Scannable but I use it for specific purpose other than those scanning of documents.

10 Apps for 10x productivity-Office LensBeing an Agilist I’m highly collaborative and often I am at whiteboard explaining various concepts to a team or group of people. I’m using drawings while using different color sharpie pens! Office Lens does a great job of taking white board pictures.

Again, all you do is aim and snap. This app is smart to figure out what is the actual whiteboard area, and automatically pans to get the area appropriately while eliminating glare. The end result is crisp and clear image!

Collaboration + White boarding + Office Lens = Just in Time, Just Enough documentation
Collaboration + White boarding + Office Lens = Just in Time, Just Enough documentation Click To Tweet

3 down, and more to come!

I explained the Top 3 of my 10x productivity apps. I will explain the remaining apps in the next installment of this blog post. Until then, experiments with these apps and #getHyper!

Increase Productivity on the Go with these Apps Click To Tweet

To get more productivity hacks Like us in our Facebook pages: getHyper and mentorMe

Dependency Wheel with Scrum team

See how easily you can minimize the impact of dependencies to ensure Success on your project

Can dependencies derail your project? What is the impact of these dependencies on your initiative?

In today’s hyper connected world, it will be difficult to have a project that did not have any dependencies, internal or external, upstream or downstream on other projects or initiatives, vendors, tools, or functionality.

Impacts of Dependencies

If you are not careful about the dependencies, if you do not put any effort in identifying them, they will sneak up on you and derail your initiative:

  • The later you identify, the more costly it will be to address them, the more time it will add to your delivery time, the more negative impact it will have on the quality of work you can deliver.
  • You will be dealing with hot heads! The stakeholders will not be happy to hear you that ‘it will take more time!’
  • Your estimates will be way off, if you ignored the dependencies

So, why not be intentional about them as you start on an initiative and through the execution of it; why not spend some time upfront talking about potential dependencies.

Dependencies will sneak up on you and derail your initiative! Identify them upfront with Dependency… Click To Tweet

Dependency Wheel

I use this simple tool with the teams I coach. It is a simple, intuitive, easy to use, yet very effective tool.

Start this session with your team by drawing a circle at the center of whiteboard or flip chart sheet. Put your program/team name in the center. All the spikes on this wheel are the dependencies that are known at the time. As you identify new dependency, just draw another spike.

The more rims you have on the dependency wheel, the more air it has to cut through, the more friction it has to push through. Similarly, your program/project will have to cut through more of the red carpet and push through more friction from other projects if you have more rims on your dependency wheel.

The more rims you have on this dependency wheel, the more difficult and complex the project will be. It also helps you in setting the expectations with you stakeholders, it also helps team when they are providing their estimation.

Here is a sample, from a team I coached in the past at a client.

dependency wheel

Why identify Dependencies?

As you can see, it is of paramount importance to spend some time on thinking about them and identify them upfront. Granted that you will not know all the dependencies. But, mere fact that you are putting some time to think about them upfront is a huge win. It gives you a gauge as to how much additional force you will need to push through the friction.

Above all, it helps you in setting the expectations of all the parties. It helps you ground the expectations of stakeholders. It also helps ground the team and provide more realistic estimates.

As I mentioned, it adds tremendous value and increases your chances of success on a program or initiative. You can start reaching out to those partier (on whom you are dependent, or who are dependent on you). The cross functional team, works on the initial version of this wheel as they go through the planning activity (Release planning, Sprint planning.) And, then it can be a good artifact to take to your Scrum of Scrum.

Put this wheel on your backlog, or else your program will derail (for sure, at some point in future) Click To Tweet

Book Summary: Linked to Influence

7 Powerful Rules for Becoming a Top Influencer on Linked In

Linked to Influence: 7 Powerful Rules for Becoming a Top Influencer in Your Market and Attracting Your Ideal Clients on LinkedIn

Linked to Influence

You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI, you better get started now!

You should not ignore this book if you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client, if you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world, and in the process build your influence over the community you are serving.

You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI, you better get started now! You should not ignore this book if you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client, if you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world, and in the process build your influence over the community you are serving.

In this book, @stephsammons provides 7 powerful rules that can serve as guide posts as you work towards building your influence. You will find at least a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your presence on Linked In. And, if you are not on LI, you better get started now!

You should not ignore this book if you want to build and strengthen relationship with your client, if you want to share your knowledge and experience with the world, and in the process build your influence over the community you are serving.

In this book, @stephsammons provides 7 powerful rules that can serve as guide posts as you work towards building your influence.

Three Quotes from the book

  • Linked In is a global, virtual, perpetual networking event!
  • Influencers do not try to help everyone. They know exactly whom they can help.
  • Remember, business is personal. People do business with people.

Three tips from the book