During my scrum workshops, I keep evangelising the need for the modern day, global Indian to be more forthright in his views and opinions, than always taking orders. When I meet them after a couple of months, they do have positive as well as negative experiences of trying to be more forthright with opinions and views. Many a times, the end customer is okay when an Indian engineer working from India says 11p.m IST is too late for him for a video conference with the client, and at the same time, the Indian senior manager whom this person is reporting to always tend to term it as lack of flexibility, and is likely to use it during the performance appraisals, negatively.
Power is always with those with money. We must not forget this fact. In PMBOK, they call it as the political capital. Ideas and opinions must not be evaluated by the sheer merit of it. We must look at the source of it as well. When an high power, high interest stakeholder is forcing a stupid decision on project decisions, as a project manager we are supposed to explain the pros and cons of that decision, record it, and the final decision is always the clients, as long as it is not in violation to the professional ethics of the project manager. Is it not, being emotionally intelligent. Ultimately, customer is the owner of the product, not the engineer / project manager.
One of the key values to be successful at project management, especially agile is mutual respect. Team comprises of people with various cultures and styles, and we must respect the cultural and style differences. Another value is commitment, commitment to work. During my workshops, when I stress on commitment as an entry criteria, to be successful in agile projects, majority of the participants get cynical about it. When I think about the opposite of the commitment to work, I get disillusioned about the bleak future of uninspired engineers working on uninspiring projects and wasting their lives.
How can a person I with self respect go to work for the money part alone, without any commitment to work?.
How can a person with self respect, just hang around in the office to 10 to 12 hours in the office, when the salaries are worked out for just eight hours per day, and the work allocation/volunteering is for lesser than eight hours per day?
How can a manager expect the team to sit and slog it out every week end and holidays?
How can the manager try implementing agile on an evaluation mode, without any conviction to it?. What will happen to such implementations?
I always believed in the team work of individually capable, professionals with self respect and mutual respect. Not the other way. A beggar is more ethical than a person who goes to work without any commitment to work, because a beggar do not promise anything back while asking for money, where as all others promise lot of things while joining for work, and then do not deliver.
There is tremendous joy in going to work fully committed. In ancient India, people prayed before they started work, because work was considered as sacred. You are lucky to have work today, and there is no room for error in it, because the product is the signature of your capability.
Wish you another fruitful day at work and after work. Ab.
The mapathon project by Google may run into trouble as it is against the laws of India (enterprise environmental factors). As per PMBOK, a project is supposed to follow the laws of the country in which it is executed. Going by that, this project by google could be heading towards trouble, at least in India.
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.
Many used the cross to explain many things. The cross always creates quadrants. In other words it cuts the medium on which it is drawn into four squares. Stephen covey in his seven habits of highly effective people uses it to explain time management. He divides our activities into quadrants like urgent and not important, urgent and important, not urgent and not important, not urgent and important, in order to drive the point that it is the not urgent and important stuff in our lives produces the maximum benefits.
The Boston consulting groups quadrants of the product life cycle; question mark, star, cash cow and dog explains the product life cycle very effectively. This can explain the stages of human life as well. When a child is born, she is the question mark. Everyone is anxious of her future. When the child starts performing well at school, a star is born. Once employed, all of us become cash cow, followed by end of life, which is the dog state. When in dog stage, we take care of the house, when all others go out. The book crossing the chasm, uses the cross to explain product launch strategies. If my memory is right, either Kotler or Drucker used the cross to explain marketing strategies like known product to known market, known product to new market, new product to known market, new product to new markets. Then I saw Robert Kayasaki using the four quadrants to explain the ESBI concept. He says that all of us are either employees, self employed, business men or investors, or we are all of these. He states that if eighty percent of our income is coming from employment and self employment, and if only twenty percent is coming from business and investment, then we will remain as poor, and when we reverse the equation, we get richer.
I use the cross or the four quadrants to explain career planning. The skill set which make you and me employable is the cash cow. Before the cash cow become a dog or end of life, we must groom newer skill sets through the question mark and the star categories to the cash cow quadrant. This calls for lot of proactive planning and commitment from our side.
The last but not the least is the cross as demonstrated by Jesus Christ, which is explaining love thy neighbor as the sole strategy to be successful. I am fascinated by the magical power of it, and still an apprentice in my understanding of the tremendous possibilities and the hidden power of it. When I feel that I have understood it to a level where I can explain it without diluting it, I will attempt to write about it. Wish me good luck. Have a wonderful day.
The three pillars of agile are transparency, inspection and adaptability. What happens to transparency and inspection when the manual tracking board is replaced by software tools?. That’s when transparency and inspection comes under userid and password. All the teams I am coaching on scrum, within India work on outsourced projects where the product owners and other key stakeholders sit in some other continent. A tool usage is inevitable in this case. Should it be at the cost of the physical tracking board at the team’s location?, that is the question. The tracking board provide lot of advantages like;
- increased peer pressure to contribute
- improved team work
- real time view of the project to the team
- pressure to complete
In order to reap better benefits from scrum my recommendation is to maintain the physical tracking board for the team to function, and then someone can transfer the data to a tool to satisfy the communication needs of other stakeholders. In an outsourced environment where everything is driven by the client, this point also must be insisted by the client for better value for money through improved productivity.