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Where do you spend most of your time?

Not all work is the same and as a leader, allocating time to the right kind of work is essential. Time and again I’ve used the war-peace-prosperity model while thinking through this in the context of organization design. Please note that I’m using the term leader in the sense of a person that holds authority and accountability of some part of the business (rather than the more widely applicable idea of “leadership”). War War-like circumstances are chaotic. They need urgent and decisive action. You can think of war in both the active sense and the passive sense. In the passive… Read More »Where do you spend most of your time?

Continuous Discovery – Hurdles

Hurdles to Continuous Discovery Business outcome focused teams The idea that you can get a team organized around business outcomes itself is a huge hurdle. That means that business and tech team members work together everyday! Besides a few uber progressive startups, few companies can even comprehend the idea let alone implement it. Experimentation and Real Users The second big mindset change that traditional companies have to make it to put experimental products / ideas in the hands of real users. This is a problem especially for established organizations who care about their brand image as well as worry about… Read More »Continuous Discovery – Hurdles

Continuous Discovery – What is it?

In the last post, I talked about where the world of agile software development is and how we have all collectively ignored the question of value to end users and buyers. Not because we are bad people but because the question of value is fundamentally difficult to answer than the question of delivery. In my role as the Head of Capabilities for ThoughtWorks India, I struggle with the exact same question. I can understand learning needs of the organization and take bets on how we might be able to fill the gap, but to measure the effectiveness of any learning… Read More »Continuous Discovery – What is it?

Continuous Discovery – The need

It feels weird to jump into the middle of a random topic after an 8 year gap, but I’m really itching to write about this. So I’m not going to give much in terms of context and dive straight in. For those of you who are really crippled without context, I’ve been doing a variety of roles like Business Analyst and Project Manager in ThoughtWorks since 2011, although for the last couple of years I’ve been playing an ambiguous operations role, heading the Capabilities function for ThoughtWorks, India. More on all that experience in a separate post. The inspiration for… Read More »Continuous Discovery – The need

The Sichuan Restaurant

I am in Bangalore for an agile training for a client. I’m staying near our office in Koramangala so I went to this chinese restaurant called “Sichuan” near Raheja Residency for dinner. First of all let me say that its a really good restaurant. If I had to nitpick, it was a bit warm in there but that’s about it. Food, ambience, service, rates, everything is very nice. I had a soup and a main course that was delicious. Even the fresh lime soda was nice. So I am absolutely positive that they can serve excellent desserts as well. But… there’s a… Read More »The Sichuan Restaurant

The Project Owner

I recently paired on an Agile Fundamentals training for an organization. Its a two day course in agile philosophy, principles and basic practices offered by ThoughtWorks Studios. Its more of an awareness programme than training that you can put to use in your daily life. This makes sense as any two-day training that promises “take-away”s that can directly be applied to your situation is probably bogus. Although the training itself is pretty much “canned” in terms of material, the discussions that happen over those two days are very important. In discussing various aspects with people from these organization, I saw… Read More »The Project Owner

Iterations, Batches and Flow

I’ve recently had a lot of conversations with people who are thinking of iterations as batches. By definition that’s what they are. You sign up for a “batch” of stories, at the beginning of the iteration, and you deliver them by the end of that iteration. However, it is useful to think of requirements (stories) as units of work that flow through the value stream. Here is why I think so. What is a batch? “A batch is a group of items that will be processed at once as a single unit”. Items are usually batched to achieve “economies of scale”. This usually means… Read More »Iterations, Batches and Flow

Where do RFPs come from?

Once upon a time in a big corporation… Mr. X (you know? the one who does all the work) : Aaaaaargh! I am fed up of watching this screen 24×7 just to let Mr. Y (the boss) know if I ever see a red dot in the top right corner Mr. Z (co-worker) : Hey we can probably get some software to do that. You should talk to Mr. Y (the boss) about it. Mr. X (to himself) : Sure! that’ll get me fired. So Mr. X doesn’t talk to the boss(Mr. Y). But Mr. Z plots an evil plot… Read More »Where do RFPs come from?

When in a inception…

Everyone is an analyst Don’t get bound by role boundaries. Everyone needs to understand the system. Talk to the clients, ask questions, draw diagrams, make suggestions, understand problems and solve them. Make sure everyone facilitates sessions at least once Especially the BAs since they have to interact the most with the clients. Clients need to feel confident about the BAs on the team. Other members should also be actively involved. Don’t let a single person be the scribe all the time. The client might ask “why am I paying for this guy” at some point. Have an intent for each… Read More »When in a inception…

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Ooooh! Ooooooh! I love it!! This is the most awesomest thing I have bought this year. There are enough reviews online for me not to write one of my own. But I’ll mention the most useful features here: Captures everything I write / draw. This is the basic promise. A very well kept one. Captures good audio. It’s not crystal clear or anything, but is it works well in a meeting setting. I recorded three interviews today, alongwith notes. After I get the headset that someone took by mistake, I’ll experiment with the more clear 3D recording capabilities. It links… Read More »Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

Number Lust

I am an amateur photographer while I am not not hacking project teams and building custom software at ThoughtWorks. Photographers are known to have bouts of lens lust* time and again, especially at the beginning. I realize that some managers seem to have similar urges when it comes to numbers, metrics. They suffer from acute number lust. In ThoughtWorks, we believe in and encourage self organizing teams. BAs gather requirements, developers write code, QAs test and automate and the customer signs stories off in a flow. The Project Manager role is therefore reduced to making sure that nothing obstructs this… Read More »Number Lust