Can India be truly Agile?

It's Indian Independence day today as I work on this proposal. As I read newspapers today, I understand the importance of the IT and ITES Offshore business, which has almost single handedly provided employment to millions of technically suave and English speaking folks. One question that repeatedly comes to surface is whether the Indian IT industry will be able to up its game from the servicing mentality which started the boom of IT in India. As Agile and Scrum began to become the flavour of the worldwide IT industry, many firms in India also went out on the Agile path, many of them out of pressure from their Western clients. Some of them were successful, but there are also numerous examples of failures of the Agile model and also half hearted adoptions, which have led Western businesses to believe that maybe India is not adept enough to take its game to the next level where teams can follow the Agile framework.

My talk would be driven by my experiences of following Agile in different ways in my different teams over the last 6-7 years. My forays into the Agile ways of software delivery in India have been largely successful and I cannot see a reason why Agile will not work in India.

In my talk, I would focus on the reasons on why Agile would work in India. Right from the way we approach diversity and inclusivity, to the way we approach our post election coalition party governance model, the Indian way of living is rife with finding innovative ways to quickly adapt to change, which essentially is the Agile mantra.

I plan to start with a simple example. Of the Western way of cooking & dining as compared to the Indian way of cooking & dining. A traditional Indian kitchen is a sacred space. It is decorated with auspicious signs. Sometimes, it doubles up as a puja room. In many households, you are not allowed to enter the kitchen with footwear, you are expected to bathe before lighting the kitchen fire, you are not allowed to eat unless you have taken a bath - these can be metaphorically compared with the Ceremonies that an Agile team practising Scrum follows - the daily standups, sprint planning and reviews, etc. However the core delivery is the food. And no matter what ceremonies you follow and what your menu for the day is, the food comes out daily at the same time and is served everyday with the same set of stakeholders. There aren't as many tools and supporting equipment that you might see as in a Western kitchen, but at the end of the day the practices followed in a typical Indian kitchen are very Agile at heart.

There are many other examples from Indian culture and mythology that one can refer to understand that Indians are essentially Agile at heart. Open source product groups, many of which are largely Agile, can also find a reference point in Indian culture and mythology. That which is timeless is referred to in the Indian context as Sanatan. It refers to wisdom that has no founder and is best described as collaborative and open source freeware. Every idea is accepted but only that which survives the test of time, space and situation eventually matters.

There are many myths circulating in the IT industry that Agile cannot survive in India, since Indians cannot be trusted to be self governed and always require direction. Also Indians don't know how to have fun at work. Through my presentation I seek to dispel those myths drawing from Indian mythology and culture and essentially try to make folks understand that reasons for Agile not working in India is the same as Agile not working elsewhere. What you need to make Agile work at the end of the day, is just the belief that it will work.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

I plan to start with a one/two clips from Bollywood movies, where I can see typically Agile teams at work. I would then draw out my metaphorical observations from those clips and branch out to reason why Agile would work in India. Give examples where an Indian is truly Agile at heart. I would also list out some Myths that I have heard, and specifically try to dispel them with examples from Indian mythology and culture. Finally I would end by reaffirming the reasons for Agile adoption to be a success, and would reaffirm that those reasons have nothing to do with the culture of the region that you operate in. 

Learning Outcome

  • Dispel myths that reasons for failure in Agile adoption are culture centric
  • Seek out examples where Agile practices are followed in people's daily lives in India
  • Reaffirm ways and means to make Agile practices a success, despite of the cultures that one's teams operate in

Target Audience

Indian IT Solutions Servicing Businesses and their clients looking to provide business to Indian IT Solutions Servicing Firms

schedule Submitted 6 years ago

Public Feedback


    • Liked Tarang Baxi
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Tarang Baxi / Chirag Doshi - A Practical Guide to Setting up Distributed Agile Projects

      45 Mins
      Talk
      Beginner

      A practical guide to setting up a new agile project team. Based on years of agile delivery and coaching experience for projects in a number of distributed and offshore models, for teams sized from 10 to 200 people, and spread across 4 continents, and 8+ locations. Some areas that will be touched on:

      • People - how to organize distributed teams, cultural factors to consider, ways to build trust, and how to avoid timezone burnout.
      • Process - how to communicate effectively, plan collaboratively, setup distributed practices (standups, retros, pairing, etc), effectively divide work on a common codebase, maintain visibility, and track progress.
      • Tools - (tips provided as a handout) which hardware and software tools should you absolutely invest in to help overcome communication,  visibility and collaboration challenges
    • Liked Raja Bavani
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Raja Bavani - A Principle-Centered Approach to Distributed Agile (OR) Distributed Agile: Ten Guiding Principles

      Raja Bavani
      Raja Bavani
      Chief Architect
      Mindtree
      schedule 6 years ago
      Sold Out!
      20 Mins
      Experience Report
      Beginner

      The challenges in distributed agile can be seen under three broad categories viz., a) Communication and Coordination, b) Time Zone Differences and c) Issues related to People, Culture and Leadership Style. Successful teams consciously adhere to certain principles and it is their principle-centered approach that helps them face such challenges and deliver the best.

      Steven Covey wrote: "Principles always have natural consequences attached to them. There are positive consequences when we live in harmony with the principles. There are negative consequences when we ignore them. But because these principles apply to everyone, whether or not they are aware, this limitation is universal. And the more we know of correct principles, the greater is our personal freedom to act wisely." This is true in all situations of life and it includes application of agile methods in geographically distributed teams too.

      This session is to present the ten principles and elaborate 3-4 principles learned through experience in working with project teams and interactions with industry experts, and applied for more than a decade. These ten principles are above and beyond agile manifesto and agile principles. These are related to areas such as context-specific methodology, tools for productivity improvement, infrastructure for communication and coordination, knowledge management, focus on quality, inclusion, collaborative governance, automation, technical debt management, iteration progression and ensuring early success.

    • Liked Andrea Heck
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Andrea Heck - Distributed Product Owner Team for an Agile Medical Development

      Andrea Heck
      Andrea Heck
      Agile Coach
      Siemens AG Healthcare
      schedule 6 years ago
      Sold Out!
      45 Mins
      Case Study
      Advanced

      We are developing medical imaging and workflow software in an agile way with development teams distributed to several countries. One of the major challenges is how to set up and communicate within the Product Owner team. There we have to deal with the distribution, e.g., have the Product Owner either onsite with her peers or with her Scrum team, travelling, or with proxy. We need people who are good in two different fields of knowledge: medical and software development. As a third issues, the environment of the customers may be different in different countries.

      We have ramped up local Product Owners in different countries, have found local collaboration customers, and have developed a set of communication channels and workshops how to synchronize Product Owners in the team, share a common vision and backlog with their Scrum teams, and collaborate with customers locally and globally.

    • Liked Allen Rutzen
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Allen Rutzen / Sunil Roy - Nokia Maps Agile Journey.....(Agile Transformation, Scaling and Overcoming Challenges)

      45 Mins
      Talk
      Intermediate

      We (at Nokia Maps Division) began our Agile Journey in 2009, with a Top Down approach for Agile Transformation. The formation of an Agile Working Group (with members having Agile experience behind them) at two major sites was instrumental in shaping the transformation and scaling and also overcoming the challenges from time to time.

      The challenges were huge, but our spirit was bigger, and the high level strategy was decided. Interestingly, the Agile Working Group itself ran the whole Transformation and Scaling program using Agile values and Scrum frame work. Scrum was also used as the preferred framework for the agile projects (after success in our pilots), except where Scrum would not work. Kanban or hybrid methods were used in those few teams.

      What were the challenges faced, and how did we overcome them? What values helped us in our transformation journey?

      How did we migrate to the Scaling phase? What helped us in scaling and stabilizing?

      Can we rest easy now? Of course not!

      What are the next steps? And of course, the challenges ahead?

      Let us share our Nokia Agile journey with you, and help you all be successful too, in your Agile journey!

    • Liked Pooja Wandile
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Pooja Wandile - Meeting the challenges of agile principles: An offshore Scrum Master perspective

      20 Mins
      Experience Report
      Intermediate

      The 12 agile principles lay the foundation for a successful agile team and deliver a product that meets customer satisfaction. Every principle is an absolute necessity to build great software and great teams. While these principles have stood the testimony of time over a decade now, much has changed the way we build and deliver software, especially from an offshore perspective. Adoption of agile methods does not simply imply a framework or a process implementation, but it goes beyond that.

      In this talk, I share the experience of a Scrum Master, who in hindsight, look at the challenges such as lack of trust, micro management, lack of technical excellence, managing stakeholder’s expectations etc. and the impact on team’s performance. This is the result of ignoring agile values and principles which could have been avoided. Lastly, we look at the actions taken by the team and Scrum Master to turn on the challenges into a win-win situation for both onshore and offshore teams and become one of the successful agile teams.  

       

    • 20 Mins
      Others
      Beginner

      Often times, as an organization matures into its Agile adoption space, many people begin to start looking at Agile as just another process, and forget that the one of the main tenets for Agile is 'People over Processes'. Ultimately we are all here to build exciting, quality assured, on time and within scope products and along the way also have some fun. But what if the team does not gel well together, to such an extent that it begins to affect the quality of the deliverables?

      That's the time when we need to look within our bucket of Agile best practices to understand which of those we can employ to even build a stronger team. Practices such as pair programming, continuous builds, retrospectives, etc. are all best practices which when employed at the right moment and at the right time, can help a team get together. 

      In this presentation, I am putting together a few songs from Bollywood movies, to describe in a fun way a team's transition through the four stages of team building - forming, storming, norming and performing. And how using some Agile best practices, the team could tide over the storming phase and move over to the performing phase. 

      This will be a 20 minute presentation, in which the first 5 minutes I will be talking, followed by about 15 minutes of a fun video which would be a mish mash of Bollywood songs highlighting all that my team went through in their Agile journey

    • Liked Jayaprakash Puttaswamy
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Jayaprakash Puttaswamy - Agile Transformation Strategies - Insight from software & non-software world

      90 Mins
      Workshop
      Intermediate

      Large-scale agile transformation across organization is not only challenging to implement, but also relies heavily on strategic leadership skills of the organization leaders who drive it. In this workshop, apart from me sharing my experience of driving large-scale agile transformations from an agile coach and strategist’s point of view, participants would be encouraged to share their valueable insight as well through agile innovation games. The workshop attempts to unwind some of the intricacies of challenges involved in enterprise agile transformation and it would be presented at a big-picture level, connecting the deeper insights to agile transformation strategies. The workshop would be organized around "Agile transformation challenges" and "Strategies for effective agile transformation". Strategies described focus around Adoption, Delivery and Scaling aspects of the transformation.

    • Liked Pradeepa Narayanaswamy
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Pradeepa Narayanaswamy - Agile Testing- What is my success mantra??

      45 Mins
      Talk
      Beginner

      As more and more organizations are transitioning to agile, it’s inevitable that Agile testing is not just a concept any more. It is also not just about placing a tester in every team. What is so radically different now? How to be successful at agile testing? How to be an effective cross-functional team that embeds and honors all specialties including testing?

      In this presentation, I am going to share my teams’ success with Agile testing and how we incorporated these 3 aspects – people, process and tools/techniques. This talk will benefit any members in an organization who has a stake in the product quality. It is also highly beneficial for those agile testers (from aspiring to veteran) to understand the 3 main aspects as it relates to testing and why we need to embrace- not just one, not two, but all these 3 aspects to be successful in Agile testing. 

       

       

    • Liked Vibhu Srinivasan
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Vibhu Srinivasan - Coding with Geeks- De Code the secrets behind TDD, BDD and ATDD

      90 Mins
      Tutorial
      Intermediate

      This session is a coding sessiont that takes a problem and shows clearly what is the difference between TDD, ATDD and BDD. Ths session uses code for the server layer as well as UI layer.

      This session is not for you if you do not code. If you do code, please bring your laptop as we delve into the details of all these styles of programming techniques.

      We will rotate between ATTD, TDD and BDD periodically and show it at use in different layers. This session will be using Java , Rails, Scala and C# together so that you can see how you can benefit do these techniques even when coding in different languages.

      We look at common pitfalls and wrong beliefs that programmers have when it comes to these concepts

      This session is purely keyboard and you will have to bring a laptop.

    • Liked Kanchan
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Kanchan - Come! Take a plunge with us into the world of Self Organization!

      Kanchan
      Kanchan
      Portfolio Manager
      Mckinsey & Company
      schedule 6 years ago
      Sold Out!
      90 Mins
      Workshop
      Intermediate

      In agile teams there is a belief that the teams self organize. But do we really understand what this really means? The scrum guide simply says three things autonomous, self transcendent, cross functional.

      In this interative workshop we will experience what self organization is all about via a fun filled game. You will go back with key learnings through your own experience. 

      This session will be a combination of audience participation in activities, discussions combined with presentations and loads of fun!

      This interactive game session is for anyone who wants to learn more about  being self organized and what makes the self organized teams tick.

    • Liked Mohan
      keyboard_arrow_down

      Mohan - Developing a Culture of Leadership through Lean for Organizations

      45 Mins
      Talk
      Advanced

      The goal of this topic is to look at Lean from an Indian Context and what aspects are critical for  Leadership especially while implementing Lean in their Organizations. Few concepts of how Organizations wade through their challenges to implement a Pyramid of Agile Practices both in Software and Non Software will be discussed here. This will also focus heavily on how to develop a culture of Leaders within the organization using relationship techniques of Senpai(mentor) and Kohai(protege) and also of a Sensei(teacher) .