Recently, during one of those divine moments, I felt like giving something back to the society in which I lived almost half a century. In another words, the guilty feeling of concentrating only on me and my ‘kith and kin’ acted as a positive driver, to give something back to the society. Even though my finances were not so bright, I dared to pull out some money from the ATM and went to the local church to entrust my donation to a a pair of trustworthy hands, who will ensure that it reaches the needy. I met the priest, and he explained to me some very complicated procedures, one for giving it to the sick, another for helping people to build their homes, another for education of the poor…for each intent, there was a different procedure, which made even the donors life miserable. All that was required was to keep a box to accept the money along with the intent. Then I met the senior priest and asked for an opportunity to give a formal talk to the young parish community on career planning. The priest made a phone call to the nearby school and nothing happened. I gave him my phone numbers, hoping him to contact me, and i am not very optimistic about it now. There is no money involved. The intent is only giving back to the society, yet it is so difficult. Our backyard is all green, and is home to many seasonal birds. I want to preserve the greenery, and I am not getting the local labour to maintain it. So, with great hesitation and pain, I may have to either sell it to the real estate mafia to convert that place into a concrete garden, not because I take delight in it, but I do not have any other choices right now. I always feel bad about my bothers and sisters in Africa who are suffering due to famine. How can I help them?. I really do not know. I am not talking about huge amounts. I am talking about a few dollars every month from a middle class citizen of India. May be, I could collect some used clothes as well for them. Who to give it…is the biggest question I am facing. Whenever I walk on through the local streets here, every where I see ‘no litter’ and ‘stick no bills’ signs. I am yet to see ‘throw waste here’ or ‘stick bills here’ to help those who do not want to litter or make public property dirty by sticking bills. Always i struggle when it comes to paying my bills at the airtel site. Every month, when i go there, they keep asking me the password to my account, and i do not remember them. i always wonder why they are asking for password to make a payment against my mobile number. i do not mind if others credit my account with some money. I am living, or we are living in a restrictive world, which keeps telling me, what not to do, rather than what to do. Despite these, my quest for what to do continues…have a wonderful day, Ab.
With the ipad compatible latest version of gotomeeting, conducting online classes / meetings have become more effective and enjoyable. It is very reliable, and the ipad makes it even better. As an instructor I am enjoying it. The white board feature and the screen sharing option makes it very effective. Here is a screen shot from the online class I just completed.
Yesterday I went to a local bookstall (penguin) for window shopping and ended up buying the book titled ‘Simplicity’ by Edward Debono. At the billing counter, I gave my credit card , sorry, I meant debit card, because I have decided to start living with my debit card than the credit card due to some valuable life lessons.. The immediate response by the lady at the billing counter was ” Sir, there is no power, so the card swiping machine is not working”. But I could hear the sound of the fans of her desktop computer. I requested her to try switching on the swiping machine, and with great reluctance she switched it on, and it worked. She was just trying to simplify her work by avoiding bending down to switch it on. I would have walked out of the shop without buying that book, which I liked after a long time, as I did not have enough money in my purse at that point of time. These days generally I walk out of the book stalls without buying any books, because most of them are the same good old wine in a new bottle, and the number of pages in these books frightens me as it adds to my pending tasks, which is already full. I liked the format of this book titled ‘Simplicity’ by Edward Debono. It would have been a great disappointment for me, if I had to walk out of the store without that book which I liked after a long time, becuase I did not have enough money in my purse and the faulty power supply to their swipe card system. If you are buying it, be careful not to pick up the wrong book because I could see another book with the same title by another author at Amazon. A word of caution, I have not read this book yet. So far, I have seen only the index page. On my way back, I decided to pay my data card bills, and went to the airtel outlet at the Marine drive. That is closed for ever. Then I went to another outlet and that is also closed. Considering the difficulty in finding a place to park my car, this is not at all a simple task. I tried to pay online, and then I could not recollect my password. I tried the password recovery, and that also does not work properly. Airtel tried to simplify the payment system by closing all outlets in the city, which worked out to be very complex for the customer, that is me. Someone’s simplicity turns out to be complexity for others.
Yes, The true purpose of education is to teach a man, carry himself triumphant to the sunset. This is a beautiful quote by liberty Hyde Bailey. At the end of the day, if one misses the sunset altogether then what is the purpose of a man’s existence itself. What is the use of education then?. In India, we are known for missing our sunsets for a few dollars. We can easily spend near twelve hours at the office, even when the work is planned for eight hours. We mistake it as excellence or loyalty or commitment. We plan to celebrate life after fulfilling our targets of owning a home, buying a bike, then a car, then a bigger car, then an expensive car, then a marriage, kids, securing the kids future, after retirement……it is more like postponing sex for old age. Do not let anyone or anything rob you of your sunsets, and let all our education and brilliance help us achieve it. Enjoying every sunset with a feeling of great satisfaction and pride. Start from tomorrow. It is never too late. These days nothing can stop me from enjoying my sunsets. If our education does not help us to achieve this, that knowledge is either useless or it is not applied properly. Here is one such beautiful sunset captured by me at Bahrain after work. An incentive for managing the day’s time perfectly. Good luck to you for better time management. One can save lot of time by not stopping to throw stones at every barking dog (borrowed from a Winston Churchill quote). Be committed like a racehorse without getting distracted by the galleries and other horses, targeting the winning line, from start to finish…and the reward of the beautiful sunset is awaiting you.
These days, after reading the news papers in India, I get depressed because of the prominence of negative news. Today’s headlines in the news papers of my home state are about the resignation of a minister who was tortured by his wife. On the other side, it is the wife’s version of the story or reality. Another major news is the murder of a catholic priest in Bangalore. Then some rapes and murders…plus the regular obituaries and the sports page, the news paper is complete. I am paying money and buying this negativity. Is our world that bad?. Or is it just that the negative news only reaches us, because it is what sells. I would love to believe that there are lot of good things happening around us, and unfortunately they are not getting reported by the media. As an exception there was this news about a village lady in Tamilnadu state of India, who planted and nurtured more than hundred trees on the road side, which gives shade to the passengers in the scorching summer. In my village, there are heroes who voluntarily conducts volley ball camps for the kids, absolutely free of cost. There are thousands of others who does positive things for the betterment of the environment, society and for the upliftment of the underdogs. Unfortunately they are not brought into the public’s eye, and the people who do these positive acts never complain because they are not motivated by the worldly things, but of divine providence. This is where Gandhiji’s quote ‘Be the change you want to see in this world” has it’s significance. Whom are we waiting for?. Let us shut ourselves to negativity and do whatever positive deeds we can which will impact someone, somewhere positively. That could be the need of the hour, and that is modern day prayer and spiritualiy.
I am just thinking aloud. One of my assignments calls for coaching a team on how to deliver better value to the customer using agile projects. If I am scheduling high value features / themes in the early iterations then the team will be delivering maximum value early in the project and it will taper down over a period of time. Do any one out there use a value burn down chart (sounds very negative and useful) during product, release planning?. Just curious to know.
Unity in diversity. A peaceful co-existence.
The good old double Decker bus…
The garbage van eating garbage???
Red is green…..
The wait to go home..
Back to work after the Christmas holidays. I am on my way to Mumbai to coach a team engineers in agile project management using scrum, and agile estimation. This is the first time I am delivering agile estimation as a separate course. So far it was done as part of the agile project management course. I am deviating from the main topic. Whenever I write something, my mind hops across topics, sometimes related and very often totally unrelated. I do not know whether everyone thinks like this, or is it something unique about me?. That does not matter. This is how things work for me.
This time I drove down to the kochi airport myself, and parked my car at the paid parking area for rupees 150 per day. When I come back after three days that would be 450, still I save more than 1000 on taxi charges. After parking my car, I rushed to the entry of the airport, to be stopped by the security. The reason, they do not accept the digital version of the ticket, which is displayed on my tablet. They want it in the printed form. I rushed to the business centre, and there was heavy rush there. So I got it printed at the indigo counter at rupees fifty. I was not angry because spice jet charges one hundred.
In an era where we are preaching of environment protection, this process is ridiculously environment unfriendly. When will we get it corrected?. Even the Indian railways accept the digital form of tickets. Why cannot our central security forces amend their obsolete rules?. May be they need a course on agility to think differently. After all agility comes by eliminating the non value adding steps we perform. Allowing the passengers to show the digital formats of the tickets world over will make travel more agile.
Flight is landing at Mumbai. So I am signing off for the time being. Thanks to the wordpress application on my iPad, which allows me to save my post as a draft.
That was a wonderful experience, to be with 25 software professionals from a multinational organisation, explaining scrum to them. It is even more enjoyable because they all want to understand it from the practitioners perspective. Since they are deep rooted in waterfall and CMM, the initial mood was skepticism, and after understanding the right scrum in its entirety the skepticism paved way for optimism and enthusiasm. It is very encouraging to see the acute skeptics turning into great supporters of agile and scrum, once they get the right scrum as per the scrum guide, as defined by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. Even if my job is only explaining scrum to the participants, I end up trying to sell scrum to the audience, because I see it as the last straw to liberate the software engineer from the clutches of non value adding processes and politics. My blood fumes, when I realise that I am from a country of maximum software engineers in the world. There is no successful product in the world without an Indian’s touch, and at the same time we do not have any major software products, which are world leaders in their domain. Considering the fact that a human being has only 36500 days to live on planet earth, and the fact that half of that is already consumed by me, make me see all these as golden opportunities to share my project management experiences, both good and bad with the next generation of engineers who have to build further on the foundations laid by my generation of software engineers. That fascinates me, and I see every training and mentoring opportunity as a great opportunity for knowledge sharing, which gives it a higher meaning. Go and impact the world positively my dear fellow engineers. Good luck.