Ever watched a pair of cooks on Master Chef working in teams, an open kitchen in a restaurant or Gordon Ramsay yelling across the kitchen at his team of chefs?

Ring a bell? Doesn't it remind you of your project team? Or if you're a foodie like me, of the similarities between a software project, your team and a Gourmet kitchen? Is there something we can learn from them?

This talk is an attempt to draw such a comparison highlighting how our teams and a bunch of chefs in a restaurant kitchen function to whip up something so delectable that our customers want to come back for seconds. 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

A few simple ways to help you understand the true mechanics and dynamics of your team and create your own team secret sauce!

Learning Outcome

The fluid communication, discussions, disagreements, feedback, prep work and the ability to pick up cues from each other is the secret sauce to even a simple dish. 

Target Audience

Teams looking to better their connect

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Anushya - can you point us to any prior work on this topic? While I agree there could might be generically many similarities between a kitchen (a la MasterChef) and a project team, I want to better understand your pitch here - how will your learning outcomes resonate with the level of audience who we expect to get in this conference. 

    -TV

    • Shilpa Nair
      By Shilpa Nair  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Tathagat, 


      Our talk is inspired from observing how seamlessly a kitchen functions and from a short speech by a well known Swedish chef called Jan Boris-Möller at XP 2012.

      Ofcourse there are differences to how an agile team works and a kitchen, but one can't help think of the core principle of Agile in general and Kanban; specifically “Focus on the flow” that can be applied to pretty much any team work. The talk is for beginners, where we can compare how effectively teams work and collaborate to deliver and how continuous improvement is the key to reach and maintain this stage of efficiency! The focus is on self organizing and polyskilled teams, as opposed to how traditional teams function. 

      We have some experiments running on project teams constantly that apply these principles to deliver effectively, we'll share those learnings and are pretty positive of an outcome.

       

      Thanks, 

      Shilpa & Anushya.

      • Tathagat Varma
        By Tathagat Varma  ~  4 years ago
        reply Reply

        Shilpa - can you put together a strawman that helps the panel review the outline and flow of your key ideas, learnings and insights? Without it, it is difficult to proceed.

        -TV

        • Anushya Prasad
          By Anushya Prasad  ~  4 years ago
          reply Reply

          Hey TV,

          Here is a quick strawman on what we intend to present. 

          • Introduce the topic drawing analogies from how a team in a kitchen functions to that we see on a project floor.

            1. Traditional teams vs Lean teams
          • Provide real project scenarios & ask for inputs from the audience for what could've been done differently.

          • Elaborate on experiments tried on different projects at ThoughtWorks and how they map to our analogy of a "Lean Kitchen"

          • Understand the different roles that individuals on a project team (& a kitchen) play. 

          • The importance of leadership and clear communication and adapting to circumstances and leveraging each others strengths.

          Hope this helps. Let us know if you any more details.

          Anushya & Shilpa

  • Jerry Rajamoney
    By Jerry Rajamoney  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Anushya / Shilpa,

    With quick discussion with my friend (who works in hotel kitchen) I see a lot more difference between their way of working and what Agile prescribes.

    For example, the Chef's are more specific to one area (most of the time like chocolate Dessert expert, cake expert) and they don't work in other areas. Also in big kitches "the junior chef's" are told and instructed what to do. They can't deviate from that which is very much against Agile philosophy.

    So, could you able to provide some specific examples / case studies to support the proposal?

    Thanks for your time.

    Jerry

    • Anushya Prasad
      By Anushya Prasad  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Jerry,

      Like Shilpa explains in her response to TV, there are differences to how an agile team works and a kitchen, but one can't help think of the core principle of Agile in general and Kanban; specifically “Focus on the flow” that can be applied to pretty much any team work. 
       
      During the XP2012, there was a short speech by a well known Swedish chef (in Sweden at least) called Jan Boris-Möller. He talked about leadership (setting direction in the kitchen), teamwork (for e.g. accidents in the kitchen, self organizing teams), adaptability (for e.g. few burners not working) and understanding your constraints (e.g. catering for a wedding on a farm where you have limited access to power sources) and balancing personal creativity with customer success. He talked about understanding your customer and the constraints they work in (budgets, etc). 

      Our talk is inspired by him and experiments on project teams that apply these principles to deliver effectively. We will share those learnings along with their outcomes.
       

      Anushya & Shilpa.

       

  • Prasad
    By Prasad  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

     

    Hi Anushya / Shilpa

     

    Apart from drawing parallel analogies, what you think you can bring on board which justify the theme ‘Beyond Agile’

     

     

     

    • Anushya Prasad
      By Anushya Prasad  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Prasad,


      Our talk highlights a lot of Agile/Lean principles that are applied on our projects. We can elaborate on the similarities, best practice or new ideas that can be applied in either worlds. 


      We've added a few details about the session abstract in response to Pradeep's query. Please feeel free to take a look at it.

      We hope we're shortlisted so we can have a conversation about this during or after the session.

      Thanks,

      Shilpa/ Anushya 

  • pradeep panda
    By pradeep panda  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Anushya/Shilpa,

      Can you be more elaborative in your abstract?

     

    • Shilpa Nair
      By Shilpa Nair  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Pradeep, 

      The talk will draw analogies from how a gourmet kitchen is managed. For example, each member of the kitchen is breifed and prepped about what is going to be served, and who is in charge of what tasks. However, much like our projects, there are typically problems that occur even in a line kitchen real time.

      The session talks about problems that one can pre-empt, huddle on or think quickly for any resolution of issues and ensure smooth delivery. Whats more, like the cooks in a gourmet kitchen we bring a certain skill set to the table; however, when and as required we maybe flexible to play a different role or pick up different responsibilities to ensure smooth delivery. 

  • Savita Pahuja
    By Savita Pahuja  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Anushya.. Please add details about how to create a secret sauce for the team. What are all the similarities and learnings from chef's way of working ??

    • Shilpa Nair
      By Shilpa Nair  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Savita, 

      The idea of the talk is to look at similarities between a gourmet kitchen and a software project team, as well as looking at learnings from the gourmet kitchen that can be applied to everyday life on the projects we work on. We hope our talk is selected and we have a chance to interact with you during or after the session. 

       

      Thanks, 

      Anushya/Shilpa.


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