Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
I couldn't hide my sad strained chuckle and hence the satirical take on what unfolded in Parliament on Lokpal debate on both houses.
IT as an industry is still learning from matured industries and best practices from various institutions set up earlier. Hence late nights, unrealistic deadlines, strained/stressed/harangued employees putting in multiple days without seeing sun set or rise, missing to understand stakeholders tacit needs, open scope leaving wide gaps to sneak in huge changes, vague terms and specs that are intrepreted multiple ways, training diverse teams that are recruited just before live critical periods in projects, constraints driven deliveries and relying on past sign offs to push through to unsatisfied clients, mis-understood and often introverted communications, are common traits across failed IT projects.
IT managers can now cite that even age-old institutions like Indian Parliament and a great marquee project for Government like Lokpal still failed to deliver a result for the same reasons above that fails IT projects.
For IT, atleast, SCRUM and Agile has been a good blue pill to turnaround hopeless situation to see through a hope. May be Lokpal project team next time can follow SCRUM for
1. Talking to Stakeholders continously.
2. Create a good backlog of issues and clauses required.
3. Prioritize (Implement in Sprints).
4. Take incremental workable solutions and continue improving and implementing new features.
5. Retrospect at every sprint and SHARE and implement them.
Just rubbing in some free advice as if it is not in abundance. :)
#Lokpal #sad #Parliament
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I was thinking why not apply Santa Red (not the exact hex, though) for my site and change its look for easy reading in this holiday season. Blogger had this dynamic view template and gives 5 different views to suit the reading personality types. It is easy for customization and blogger interface is really usable and gives a good time in customization of the template views.
Few things that are good in the new template are:
1. Easy to glance post titles and read what interests than move in.
2. The searh really performs its function in blogger in this template well.
3. The reading experience is better. Gives for unobtrusive reading.
4. It is better for me and you as a reader to get related topics at a glance and jump between context linked posts.
What I want is your feedback. Are you happy with this shift? Can this style grow on you? Would this experience prompt you to visit my blog often ? Your feedback is important. Do let me know.
Thank You and Happy Holidays!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Do you call your sprints as sprint 1, 2, ... or do you assign names to your sprint ?
This post shares my experiences and thoughts based on the various views that I have encountered with my teams.
1. Numbered Sprints are a great motivator. When you start saying Sprint 5, 9, 15, it really gives you the pleasure to know that earlier sprints had a successful closure. This itself motivates the team to conclude sprints with an actionable product and refer to the finished product at each sprint as proof of their capabilities.
Named Sprints are referencible and give a direction during the current sprint. The practice of code names for products under production comes from product manufacturing industry. The code names for Sprints orients the team and when talking instead of an arbitrary number. The name tends to bring about cohesiveness in teams, particularly when you are establishing sprint teams.
2. Numbered sprints become quite flexible as there are no boundaries established in the minds of stakeholders. Hence there are chances to add/modify priorities and user stories in sprints although SCRUM disallows this practice. It is difficult when stakeholders are new to SCRUM and wish to have many features in a single Sprint.
Named Sprints has potential to live up to the name and can ward off intrusions. Once the name of Sprint is decided with stakeholders, it kind of acts as a barrier for inserting more features that do not live upto the principle and Sprint Vision in the overall product vision.
3. Numbered Sprints are difficult to run in parellel. Again since numbers hold a sequence, stating that Sprints 3,4,5 are running with parellel teams, becomes cumbersome to manage and remembering the priorities of each.
Named sprints are good to align parellel sprints. I normally have a sprint called "libs and interfaces" that run in parellel to initial few sprints. It then makes it easy for me to have other sprint leads ask/discuss the features that can be a global library rather than reinventing the wheel within individual sprint teams. Thus for effective architecture and design, named sprints become ideal for user story transfers.
4. Numbered sprints do not lend themselves to reporting well. For example, when comparing velocities and individual sprint team performances with stakeholders regarding complexities and user story completions vs iterations in sprints, it is difficult to visualize the working of the team.
In Named sprints, it is automatic to gauge the performance against the metric numbers as the names of the sprint and the numbers seemingly make a sense. I realized this because I use EVM for reporting. I initially used to report performance week wise, then tried to report it as Sprint numbers, but when speaking of numbers with respect to a phase/name of sprint, it is good to debate and understand the variances.
This is a matter of cultural taste and the SCRUM implementation maturity within your organization. To date, either of the projects (numbered sprints or named sprints) have been successful for me in aligning business goals to project results. So far, I do not have emperical evidence to prove if a numbering or naming sprints is good. May be few more experiments might yield some direction and shape up my personal preferences.
Has this topic been a concern in your work sphere? Is there a standard SCRUM terminology that needs to be adhered ? Are there any related experiences that you can share ? Looking forward for best practice evolution with collective intelligence.
Monday, December 5, 2011
The impact of triadic success in our daily lives is something we cannot miss. The greatness of the rule is its simplicity. When we try to simplify a mantra/mission in 3 easy to remember phrases, it gives an immediate connection to comprehend, measure and communicate effectively.
The crux of the rule is the same as the spirit of the rule - "Be it an assignment or task or a desired result, make sure you split it into 3 distinct activities to complete it". If any result is achieved because of a 3 steps process/procedure, the impact is bound to be great and the potential maximum.
Consider the following cases that elucidate the success of finishing a task as a set of 3 activities.
1. Managing a delivery/milestone - Plan/Revise, Execute/Follow up,Communicate/Market are keys to get appreciation and satisfaction of a job well done.
2. Writing an email - Draft/Read, Review/Act, Follow up with a call/confirm makes us sure there are no slip ups or errors in communication. Similarly for any communication it is important to use auxillary medium to reinforce the main message in the primary medium in which it was delivered.
3. Creating a storyboard - Ideate, Visualize, Doodle/Explain when done in 3 distinct phases results in a good output.
4. Writing a Blog - Ideate, Research/Draft, Revise/Publish gets you to do your writing exercise continous than leave it mid way and does not consume enormous efforts.
5. Travelling/Holiday - Evaluate options/deals :), bookings/arrangements, pre-checks/post-checks makes a travel or a holiday trip wonderful experience.
6. Writing a problem statement or a mission mantra - Try creating a group of familiar rhyming phrases (something like 3 R, 3A or 3S rules), it is bound to resonate better and easy to discuss without complicated charts/presentations.
7. Health and Time Management - Start on Time, Allocate Time for important duties, Execute them in the slotted time is what many time management experts speak and elucidate in various ways. In fact this is the best way that I practiced for Gym routine in my schooling days even during life-changing examinations.
And list can go on.... Hope you get the picture.You may wish to identify and add Triadic rules in what ever you do with little thinking and efforts.The criticality of applying this rule in every work - personal, professional, social requires concious identification of its play. Have tried to compose this topic as to what is it in this power/group of 3 that is so magical yet elusive.Any better way you could help me rewrite the same post is welcome. :)