Friday, August 16, 2013

Why blame and critique #SAFe?

 This is my response to #Ken ( #Scrum ) and # David (#Kanban)

Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the right to share it, creative criticism is a welcome. I am sure there are more room under Agile umbrella.
“Being a consumer of Agile  ( I find a difference in perspective people using Agile and people use Agile for living), it’s about mere commonsense on what is required to bring a business excellence in the given context.  It’s a no brainer that problems plaguing large-scale Enterprise include communication and coordination errors at multiple levels people, process  as well as technology integration and infrastructure issues.  In large Enterprises Programs are complex with multiple LOB/ teams / legacy involved, also importantly  large programs are driven by disruptive technologies like Mobile, cloud etc..,   

Synchronization of multiple touch points and early integration testing form the two key ingredients in large-scale programs, and SAFe suggest ways to solve many issues that may arise during these stages – Portfolio->Program->Team.

It’s quite natural  that people look at something which  resonates to their context.  The timing and messaging of SAFe hits bulls eye, no wonder it’s the talk in the town.  You asks CIO of  any large organization  ( fortune 100 -50), what bothers them is show me the success of Agile? Let us wait and watch if SAFe is able to show something, as any consumer does, we will look for a new FACE..”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SCRUM Fails!

For me Standup is an impidement? What about you?

Couple of years back few of my friends ( Naresh and Sandeep) from Agile community did a very different presentation in one of the Agile community meet ups on “Agile WTF (Way To Fail)”. I am trying to bring  clues from that talk to discuss  in  our context.  With few interaction with folks who do Agile here, I find various "agile" practices and which have become the dogma and ceremony that has crept in.

Agile is round the corner for more than a decade, Well, we need to  question if the practices defined a decade ago are still applicable? If yes, have they evolved since? What are some of the original creators of these processes practicing today? 

I randomly asked few, why are we doing ‘Daily Standup’ ? Answer : ‘SCRUM’ says..  without having a rational and value why are we doing standup? Because other teams are doing?  KenShwaber told to daily standup  when there was

a)      no integrated web based ALM with full visibility, traceability and transparency,

b)      there was very limited ability to do continuous delivery and frequent integration

c)       Social engineering  and mobility was at a  very primitive state then


Today we have team members who make 50 tweets and at least 100 FB updates every day, starting from boarding the bus to…..  .

If there is a social contract among  the team,  to the context of project there could be un conditional number of updates and tweets. With great collaboration eco systems around, what is the relevance of daily stand up. I understand a context, where team is distributed, need to have a sync.   What is the purpose of stand up? To know what I am working on, where could be the dependence, what support I need, what I am stuck on, what I have planned. If you need a support or help or letting others   know that  you are breaking the code , why should you wait till  the Standup meeting to tell that?

So, in todays connected world, if we create a social eco system including clients and other stakeholders and empower team  to be natural as real  social animal,  Standup is an Impediment

Team can form a unstructured data repository, learning can be in the context. So tell me one reason and a rational that I should ask the team to do ‘Standup’ ?


I am ready to take all beatings, but you should convince me..

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A thread to real Agile

"Manage well”.. I am sure there is no on here who have not received this wish/advice. Mange well in exams, games, play, projects, ‘spouse’ etc.. did we manage well ?? or why could we manage well.. was there any secrete sauce to ‘Manage well’ ?

So what is managing well means for you??

Here are my take on this generous wish / desire ‘Manage well’..

More than a wish for us it is a desire to manage well.., because we equate this to Success, some successful satisfaction ( I will write something about Successful satisfaction later)

So, coming back to ‘Manage well’, we need this when we are in a situation, like exam, project, job, marriage, games etc… and in every situation what are we going to ‘Manage’, nothing but ‘Variables’

So when we are in a situation,

1. Certain variability we know

2. Certain we do not know

3. Certain variable we know that we don’t know about it

4. There are many variable we don’t know that we don’t know

Now let us reflect situations we really managed well and we were successful, the reason is we are in complete cognizant about 1 & 2. Why in some situation we are less successful, because it is more of 3 & 4..

Let us take a situation, Indian cricket team visiting Australia, they are going for their first test match-- every one wishes Indian team to ‘Manage well’ ( this is just an hypothetical example )

What variability Indian cricket team know – bouncy pitches, super-fast bowlers, huge ground , less ground support

What variability they do not know - which players are in great form, how much grass they leave, how many pace bowlers they pick, winning a toss what Clark is going to do..

What variable they know that they do not know - how much runs Australia will score in first innings, how lenient Umpire is about LBW etc.

What variable they don’t know that don’t know - how to run between wicket L, how to apply and spend time in crease ..

So, how Indian team can be victorious in the first test? I leave it your imagination !!!

So from a personal front, when you are in a situation try do a mapping of the critical variables.. the more you are in 1 & 2 zone.. you are in Control ( again I will write more about Control later). We are at best when we feel, we are in control of the variables.. so what you do when you are in not in control ??

So IT business perspective,

In the first phase of IT revolution, we were trying to automate certain business process using computer programs / packages. Where IT folks were clear about what business problem ( variable) they are trying to automate and what is its solution (variable). Only very few programming language and package existed. No focus on efficiency and effectiveness of automation. Automation itself was great USP..

In the second phase of IT revolution, business problem remain known, solutions were challenging, more focus on performance, usability, security. Many solution alternates, cost implications and maintains issues ( all of these are variable ). IT group started losing control, started implementing ‘process’ frameworks / standards etc… , got a feeling they are back in control, do they ??

According to me we are in third phase of IT revolution, where there is no distinction between IT & business process. Disruptive technologies like Mobility , cloud, social engineering, Internet of things drives business and its consumer behavior. So we are behind unknown problems and unknown solutions, highest of 3 & 4. We are in total loss of control J, so how do we ‘manage well’?

The situation we are in third phase, lot of variables makes us un comfortable , create fear failure… .

So here is ‘Mantra’ to regain control

· Short feedback loops, frequent learning cycles and early feedback [ this helps to un cover many 2, 3 & 4)

· Let us fail early and effectively – let us be empirical

· Better interaction on Business users and IT folks – are we building right things

This ‘Mantra’ is nothing but Agile / lean philosophy.. so, Agile gives us insight about variability’s and very cycle / sprint will uncover many 3 & 4. Thus help us to gain back the feel of control and hence ‘MANAGE WELL’ in turn to SUCCESS..

So Agile is not the end it is a means via we do manage well…

Will connect with you folks on my random & crazy thoughts

So, manage well…


Monday, April 1, 2013

Building right product a new mindset

Today most of the Software is build for a domain where we are not sure about both problems and solution.  So there is uncertainty in all phases of software development. In the context of software development being a complex adaptive systems, how testing should align with this changing paradigm of known to unknown?  It is calling for a fundamental change in the approach of a test engineer’s role &responsibility. The test objective, strategy & approach needs to transform to address the reality in the world, cannot be inward out! Testing should be the way to transform Unknowable – Unknown – Knowable – Known cycle.  It becomes important to ask, are we testing the right  ‘it’ before testing ‘it’ right. 
Recently I read few books The lean startup, four steps to the epiphany, Pertotyping at work .  This enabled me  to  question and provoke  our fundamental beliefs of software product development   and provided views and perspective of  - Complex adaptive systems, Cyfen learning dynamics, ‘Pretotype – Google way’
By the way I become a big fan of this Fake it before make it...