How are you celebrating Christmas and New Year?

A couple of days back, while with the assistant priest of our parish, came the question ‘How are you celebrating Christmas & New Year ?’. My answer came spontaneously – Every day is a celebration!.  

Today while reading ‘Celebrating Silence’ by Sri Sri Ravishankar, I came across this chapter titled ‘The path to the Goal that is YOU’

” A poor man celebrates New year once a year. A rich man celebrates each day. But the richest man celebrates every moment.”

How rich are you?. Do you celebrate once a year? Once a month? Every day? If you celebrate every moment, you are the Lord of creation.

Review the year while you celebrate. This is your home work. What did you do? What did you achieve?. How useful were you in the past year?. Sit for an hour and think about every week, one minute per week and see the year’s growth in less than an hour. With a flower on new year’s day, offer the whole year to the divine.

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Feel good factor – for the instructor :-)

Greetings !!

I am once again back to all of you to share another good news …….Your class fellow Mr. Riyaz Muhammed has passed his PMP Exam on Dec 17, 2006. This is another great achievement after Nileesh, Sunil, Sudhir, Oscar, and Stansay passing out, and we all are very excited to see our participants achieving this milestone one by one. I am sure all of you are also happy so let’s all of us congratulate him on his SUCCESS and wish him a great career ahead.

Just to inform all of you that this batch has the highest rate of appearing and passing the PMP Exam. Congratulations to all of you and wish you all the very best.

Waiting to hear many more success stories like this.

Cheers !!

Rajender Bali

The inability to write….today….

Today sitting in this hotel room at Hyderabad, I am trying to blog something in vain. It is not happening. The thoughts are scattered hence the ‘sentences’ are not happening. There are tons of stuff happening around me (rather every indian) today.

The convicts of the Jessica lal murder case are finally sentenced to life imprisonment. It took the family 7 years of legal battle. I was listening to people’s reactions on this and a young lady was responding saying ‘I feel safer’. That reveals the mood. This was required for people to have faith reinstated in the judicial systems. Remember, the convicts were very influencial.

Another interesting event is India winning the test match at South Africa, and the fact the Sreeshanth (the man of the match) is from my home town Kochi, in Kerala makes it sweeter.

Oh, I could write this much. That is great. I could just loose the feeling of inability to write. It is as simple as that.

Excerpts from GOD LOVES FUN by Sri Sri Ravishankar

There was a German boy who could not get along with any girl friend. This was his problem. He would make friends very easily and in a few days it would all break up. He did not know what the reson was. But he talked too much, always non-stop talk. He would not allow the other person even to answer. He would ask a question and he would answer it himself. He would answer the next question and again answer it himself. It was very natural that nobody could stand this.

Well, in some programme, he met an italian girl. The Italian girl did not know german and he did not know Italian. So they got married and are still married. I told them, “It is good that you dont learn each other’s language. You are fine the way you are. ” Whatever he needed to communicate, he had to look in the dictionary, word by word and tell her. It took some time, and atleast he could breathe and she could breathe.

We can communicate in silence very well. We can communicate therough our hearts very well. There is so much in it. There is so much beauty we are missing in our lives, if we have not lived in that area of silence within us. Every day, keep everything aside and stand and just look at the sky for ten minutes. Look at the stars. Look at the roses. Don’t say, “This rose is beautiful; this one is big and that rose is bigger.” It is there. That is it !. It is beautiful. There is so much to life!

Beauty leads you to God, to gratefulness. If you see beauty and gratefulness arises in you, then surrender has happened. Love has sprung !

Function point & SCRUM by Jeff Sutherland

While I agree with Hubert that function points are too heavyweight
for most Scrum projects, in large companies with a wide variety of
applications, all built with different technologies, the only way to
get comparable data across teams is with function points.

I did this at IDX where we had almost 600 developers, 8-10 business
units, and half a dozen products per business unit on average. They
were just acquired by GE and more than doubled the size of GE
Healthcare.

Capers Jones organization, Software Productivity Research, came in at
every release point (typically three month releases) and calculated
how many function points were added to each product by teams working
on it. They had baselined every product initially and then followed
up on every release.

This gave us the best metrics I have seen for Scrum until I started
working with a CMMI Level 5 company this year which has multiple ways
to calculate the productivity of every team. However, this company is
not using function points and the data is only relevant within the
company and cannot be compared across companies.

There is an International Function Point User Group and their
Function Point Manual is a place to start if you want to understand
function points. There is a detailed procedure that has been
standardized over many years for counting them. See:
http://www.ifpug. org/publications /

If the large company insists on investing in the overhead required
for function points, that will give you a good test bed for
evaluating Scrum performance. In that case, I strongly recommend that:

1. Function point estimation work be tracked as a cost independent of
Scrum as it is unnecessary overhead.

2. Fund a research person to write a published paper on the results
of Scrum and compare it to previous work using traditional project
management.

Jeff Sutherland

My first meeting with Sri Sri Ravishankar

I met Sri Sri Ravishankar for the first time (iam sure that subsequent meetings are going to happen) during a flight from Cochin to Bangalore. I entered the flight and suddenly I saw him – sitting in the aircraft.  I just greeted him, as if Iam meeting an old friend – may be becuase he face is so familiar to me as he is very popular. I greeted him, and spontaneously he greeted me by raising his both hands and blessing me. There was absolute calm in his face. I think Iam really impacted positively by this short meeting and Iam sure that further meetings are going to follow…… even when I dont know ‘HOW’ and ‘WHEN’…..

Lakshmi Mittal on Tatas (courtesy Gigy)

A nice piece about TATAs, from one of the richest persons in the world

I visited Jamshedpur over the weekend to see for myself an India that is

fast disappearing despite all the wolf-cries of people like Narayanamurthy

and his ilk.  It is one thing to talk and quite another to do and I am

delighted to tell you that Ratan Tata has kept alive the legacy of perhaps

India‘s finest industrialist J.N. Tata. Something that some people doubted

when Ratan took over the House of the Tatas but in hindsight, the best

thing to have happened to the Tatas is unquestionably Ratan. I was amazed

to see the extent of corporate philanthropy and this is no exaggeration.

For the breed that talks about corporate social responsibility and talks

about the role of corporate India , a visit to Jamshedpur is a must. Go

there and see the amount of money they pump into keeping the town going;

see the smiling faces of workers in a region known for industrial unrest;

see the standard of living in a city that is almost isolated from the mess

in the rest of the country.

This is not meant to be a puff piece. I have nothing to do with Tata Steel,

but I strongly believe the message of hope and the message of goodness that

they are spreading is worth sharing. The fact that you do have companies in

India which look at workers as human beings and who do not blow their

software trumpet of having changed lives. In fact, I asked Mr. Muthurman,

the managing director, as to why he was so quiet about all they had done

and all he could offer in return was a smile wrapped in humility, which

said it all. They have done so much more since I last visited Jamshedpur ,

which was in 1992. The town has obviously got busier but the values

thankfully haven’t changed.  The food is still as amazing as it always was

and I gorged, as I would normally do. I visited the plant and the last time

I did that was with Russi Mody.  But the plant this time was gleaming and

far from what it used to be.

Greener, cleaner and a tribute to environment management. You could have

been in the mountains. Such was the quality of air I inhaled! There

was no belching smoke; no tired faces and so many more women workers, even

on the shop floor. This is true gender equality and not the kind that is

often espoused at seminars organised by angry activists. I met so many old

friends. Most of them have aged but not grown old. There was a spring in

the air which came from a certain calmness which has always been the

hallmark of Jamshedpur and something I savoured for a full two days in

between receiving messages of how boring and decrepit the Lackluster

Fashion Week was.

Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata had created an edifice that is today a robust

company and it is not about profits and about valuation. It is not about

who becomes a millionaire and who doesn’t’. It is about getting the job

done with dignity and respect keeping the age-old values intact and this is

what I learned.

I jokingly asked someone as to whether they ever thought of joining an

Infosys or a Wipro and pat came the reply: “We are not interested in

becoming crorepatis but in making others crorepatis.”

Which is exactly what the Tatas have done for years in and around

Jamshedpur. Very few people know that Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN

Global Compact City , edging out the other nominee from India , Bangalore .

Selected because of the quality of life, because of the conditions of

sanitation and roads and welfare. If this is not a tribute to industrial

India, then what is? Today, Indian needs several Jamshedpurs but it also

needs this Jamshedpur to be given its fair due, its recognition. I am tired

of campus visits being publicised to the Infosys and the Wipros of the

world.  Modern India is being built in Jamshedpur as we speak. In India

built on the strength of core convictions and nothing was more apparent

about that than the experiment with truth and reality that Tata Steel is

conducting at Pipla.

Forty-eight tribal girls (yes, tribal girls who these corrupt and evil

politicians only talk about but do nothing for) are being educated  through

a residential program over nine months. I went to visit them and I spoke to

them in a language that they have just learnt: Bengali.  Eight weeks ago,

they could only speak in Sainthali, their local dialect. But today, they

are brimming with a confidence that will bring tears to your eyes. It did

to mine. One of them has just been selected to represent Jharkand in the

state archery competition. They have their own women’s football team and

what’s more they are now fond of education. It is a passion and not a

burden.

This was possible because I guess people like Ratan Tata and Muthurman

haven’t sold their souls to some business management drivel, which tells us

that we must only do business and nothing else. The fact that not one Tata

executive has been touched by the Naxalites in that area talks about the

social respect that the Tatas have earned.

The Tatas do not need this piece to be praised and lauded. My intent is

to share the larger picture that we so often miss in the haze of the slime

and sleaze that politics imparts. My submissions to those who use phrases

such as “feel-good” and ” India Shining” is first visit Jamshedpur to

understand what it all means.  See Tata Steel in action to know what

companies can do if they wish to.  And what corporate India needs to do.

Murli Manohar Joshi would be better off seeing what Tata Steel has done by

creating the Xavier Institute of Tribal Education rather than by proffering

excuses for the imbroglio in the IIMs. This is where the Advanis and

Vajpayees need to pay homage. Not to all the Sai Babas and the Hugging

saints that they are so busy with.  India is changing in spite of them and

they need to realise that.

I couldn’t have spent a more humane and wonderful weekend. Jamshedpur is an

eye-opener and a role model, which should be made mandatory for

replication. I saw corporate India actually participate in basic

nation-building, for when these tribal girls go back to their villages,

they will return with knowledge that will truly be life-altering. Corporate

India can do it but most of the time is willing to shy away.

For those corporate leaders who are happier winning awards and being

interviewed on their choice of clothes, my advise is visit Tata Steel,

spend some days at Jamshedpur and see a nation’s transformation. that is

true service and true nationalism.

Tata Steel will celebrate 100 years of existence in 2007. It won’t be just

a milestone in this company’s history. It will be a milestone, to my mind

of corporate transparency and generosity in this country. It is indeed

fitting that Ratan Tata today heads a group which has people who are

committed to nation building than just building influence and power.

JRD must be smiling wherever he is. And so must Jamshedji Nusserwanji.

These people today have literally climbed Every Last Blue Mountain. And

continue to do so with vigour and passion.

Thank god for the Tatas!

Which one suits software development the most?

Recently at one company I was doing the SCRUMdistilled workshop. It was a medium sized organization with a team size of just 100 engineers developing mobile applications. At the end of the SCRUMdistilled workshop, I took them through the conventional project management (predictive) key points like the project charter, critical path, earned value management etc. The idea was just to introduce them to the key aspects of conventional (predictive) project management so that in case their customers uses these jargons, they should be able to relate with it. To my surprise, none of them could digest it, when given after SCRUM, which is truly an adaptive style.  Definitely while developing applications for the mobile devices, onlt adaptive styles of project management can work, and this is proof to it. If one is operating in a familiar technology with clear, frozen requirements sets, then it is  a case for predictive styles. So it is not adaptive Vs predictive – it is adaptive and predictive. The challenge is in deciding the right style, which suits the specific project.

SCRUM effects – face to face communication !

While coaching teams on SCRUM, I deliberately dont use any tools. The workshops on sprint planning uses just post-it sheets and a white board. I could have used tools like Scrum works and I dont regret about it. Very often these sessions happen immediately after lunch, which can be the most difficult period for any coach. To my surprise Iam seeing high team synergies during this stage, when they really experience the SCRUM effect of encouraging face to face communication. In distributed teams, this can become a real challenge (process loss).