Importance of preparation in an agile world

Significant improvements to our prepared for dealing with uncertainty in life and work can only happen when our repetitive patterns of behavior change permanently. Day-to-day occurrences around us offer a rich source of such improvement opportunities.

All that is missing is a systematic way to look at our actions, interactions, decisions, emotions, and opinions as they are unfolding. The way of working (WoW for short) framework provides the missing link to fill this gap. It looks at what why and how of our ways of working. It also provides a step by step practice to make it a habit till it becomes our second nature.

WoW framework is completely neutral – like air or water around us. It especially works well with agile by complementing it. Regularly practicing the new way of looking at things helps us to move from a fixed to an agile mindset.

With the WoW approach we keep watching our actions, interactions, and emotions and link them back to our opinions and decisions. We will start seeing a permanent change for the better, only when we are able to correctly change our current decisions as well as transform our opinions.

 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

Warm up - 5 minutes

Importance of preparation and how WoW can help

Practical situations - 10 minutes

Few typical situations encountered often are analyzed by looking at the current reality authentically, and taking a deep look at why we do what we do. With such an understanding permanent solution can be arrived at appropriate for a given context.

Wrap up - 5 minutes

Simple steps to keep practicing

Learning Outcome

See a new way to look at life & work in terms of repetitive patterns of our behavior

Understand why we do what we do

Learn a simple way to keep practicing it, and remain on top of the uncertainties of life

Target Audience

Those with curiosity and innocence. They are open to new ways of looking at things, and disciplined enough to regularly practice if it makes sense.

Requirements

Being a talk, rows of chairs would be fine. Also no problem with round tables.

It would be good if I can start my session on time.  

schedule Submitted 5 months ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Prabhakar, thanks for the proposal. At this stage we don't have a 45 mins slot in the program. However this topic is important and we want to include it in the program. Is it possible to reduce the time to 20 mins focusing on the Framework and Practical situations?

    • Prabhakar Karve
      By Prabhakar Karve  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh,
      Thanks for providing an opportunity to the WoW framework of being exposed to a wider audience. It helped me to tighten the session by focusing on the essentials that will help the audience see the value better.

      Lately i have been thinking about what really is the value-add of the WoW framework. I am realizing that its real power is in preparing us better for the vagaries of life. Once we understand and master our opinions, we can deal with any situation, expected or unexpected, more effectively.

      Keeping that focus, I have kept this as the main theme of the session, including in the title. The revised presentation replaces the earlier one.

      I also found a way to depict the relationship of the five WoW building blocks pictorially. I have used that approach for each of the practical situations in the "Before" and "After" kind of diagrams.

      I hope this is aligned with what you were suggesting.

      Regards

      Karve

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 months ago
        reply Reply
        Thanks for the prompt response! This works.
  • Tushar Somaiya
    By Tushar Somaiya  ~  3 months ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Prabhakar,

    Great topic. When I went through all the details, I felt I want to learn more on the topic. However, I did not find much useful information. For example; entire topic is about way of working. But WoW is not clearly defined. How do I identify? How do I become aware within the situation of what emotions are currently going on in my head? Knowing the emotions going in my head how do I recognise my pattern and quickly switch to better pattern? Basically it is all about EQ. How do I increase awareness and improve? For improvement, I need to inspect. But how? Are you going to show some techniques on being aware, control, choose and change patterns? Are their patterns of patterns? When I am new, what challenges I might face and how do I tackle? Can you include any theory or model or framework for change?

    • Prabhakar Karve
      By Prabhakar Karve  ~  3 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Tushar,
      Here is my response. Please let me know if you have any comments.

      Great topic. When I went through all the details, I felt I want to learn more on the topic.
      Thanks for your valuable feedback. Before I come to your specific points I want to repeat what I shared in my response to Balaji. "WoW" which is Way of Working for short, is a framework I am putting together, by doing it and helping others to do it at Impetus.
      It can be viewed as a 3-layered structure with the WoW-core at the center, surrounded by next layer of generic principles and patterns, and last layer of community support. We have already formed a WoW community within Impetus consisting of those who have been trained in it and have started practicing in their daily lives. At each of our locations we have WoW-mentors who support them and I am constantly in touch with the mentors.
      As I was completely focused internally with consulting and training our project teams, I have not shared anything publicly so far. But in my opinion it has now matured enough to go beyond Impetus, and hence put together a proposal for Agile India 2017 conference. I also plan to start publishing a series of posts on my blogsite as well as through LinkedIn.
      I will now try to respond point by point based on what I thought you are trying to convey. Please let me know if I am getting it wrong.

      Q: However, I did not find much useful information. For example; entire topic is about way of working. But WoW is not clearly defined.
      A: I feel WoW core is defined clearly enough in the following slides of the attached presentation and further explained by examples of 3 typical situation patterns. Please suggest what else will help the readers / attendees to get it better.
      Slide-06 defines it as "Patterns of repetitive behavior" consisting of our actions & interactions which are created again and again by the decisions which we consciously or unconsciously take in the form of "hereafter I/we will do this in a given situation". These become our habits when repeated often. In turn our decisions are influenced and shaped by our emotions and opinions. But our emotions are also result of our opinions. Hence our opinions are the key.
      Slide-10 explains why we should pay attention to our way of working. After all it covers all parts of our life and has been with us from our birth and will be there till end.
      Slide-11 explains that apart from our way of working, it is important to know others' as well as systems' ways of working.

      Q: How do I identify? How do I become aware within the situation of what emotions are currently going on in my head? Knowing the emotions going in my head how do I recognize my pattern and quickly switch to better pattern?
      A: The key element to identify is our opinions which drive everything else, including emotions and decisions.
      Slide-06 explains that opinions cover our assumptions, beliefs, and relative values (in the form of what we value over what else, like in agile manifesto). But most important point is that our opinions are just our opinions and not indisputable facts that can be verified. Once that realization comes in then it is easy to be open to the possibility that our opinions can be wrong and by changing them our emotions, decisions, and resulting actions / interactions will also change for the better.
      Slide-07 highlights that though our opinions are what really matter, but they are also not obvious. So the place to start inspecting is with the visible elements emotions, actions, and interactions. These help us to point to the underlying decisions and opinions.

      Q: Basically it is all about EQ. How do I increase awareness and improve?
      A: I would say that though emotions is an important element, its not all about EQ. Rather our focus should be on opinions and try to understand how they influence everything else.

      Q: For improvement, I need to inspect. But how? Are you going to show some techniques on being aware, control, choose and change patterns? Are their patterns of patterns?
      A: Slide-12 shows one such technique. With every success and failure, however small, if we ask ourselves the suggested questions, we start understanding what can be missing now and in near future. Those can provide us triggers to look at our opinions and see if they are the cause of these problems and risks.

      Q: When I am new, what challenges I might face and how do I tackle?
      A: Once a person becomes aware of the five building blocks along with the connections between them, and assuming he / she fits the target audience criteria, these slides will help him.
      Slide-27 "Practice, practice, and more practice" using the suggestions given.
      Slide-28 Provides a checklist to be sure that he is making a steady progress.
      Slide-29 captures the essence of an agile mind.

      Q: Can you include any theory or model or framework for change?
      A: Unfortunately I don't find anything in published literature that can be given as a reference for the WoW framework. Hence I am in the process of putting together a formal documentation for it along the lines indicated above. Unlike most other frameworks, it is completely neutral and unopinionated. Which makes it suitable to be used in any domain and for any situation. As regards the middle layer of WoW - generic principles and patterns - slide-27 captures the 7 WoW principles that I find very useful in my work with the teams.

      I hope the above answers your queries. Looking forward to any further questions / suggestions.
      Karve

      • Tushar Somaiya
        By Tushar Somaiya  ~  3 months ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Prabhakar for answering all my questions. I can now see better of how you want to drive the topic and how it can help audience. Thanks once again. 

  • Balaji.M
    By Balaji.M  ~  3 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for submitting the proposal, i believe by developing certain habits, we can bring the culture change and in mindset, it would be helpful if you can add few habits for each of the scenarios. Also, would like to know whether have you run a workshop to a wider audience (apart from Webinars) ? The video is uploaded also contains the same topic and runs for 22 min, would you be covering more scenarios in the conference to cover 45 mins?

    Please let us know your thoughts on the above, based on that we can provide more feedback.

     

    Thanks and Regards

    Balaji.M

    • Prabhakar Karve
      By Prabhakar Karve  ~  3 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Balaji,
      Thanks for your questions / suggestions. Here are my thoughts. Please let me know whether based on these you would like me to make any updates to the proposal.

      The video is not a webinar but an extract to demonstrate my speaking ability from a two hour "Holistic agile session" recently conducted within Impetus, for participants from our multiple development centers (Indore, Bangalore, Noida, and Gurgaon). On my special request, the relevant portion was cut from the recording and publicly shared from one of our servers.

      As regards public speaking, I was a speaker at the first Agile India 2012 conference, and also at Agile Alliance conference in 2013 at Nashville, U.S. During 2011 to 2013, I used to actively participate in the agile community and religiously wrote a blog post every week on my blogsite https://prkarve.wordpress.com. However I had an uncomfortable feeling that my thoughts, ideas, concepts, and insights were becoming repetitive and stale.

      Hence one day I decided to completely and exclusively shift my attention internally at Impetus, coaching and training project teams working with our clients, as well those from our product companies. This gave me an opportunity to test my ideas in the pits to see what works and does not work. I am happy now that this has helped me to come up with something substantial in the form of "Holistic agile" and a "WoW framework". After the two years sabbatical, I am now ready to get back to the community with something substantial :)

      Though the video and session presentation talks of three practical examples (Which are more in the nature of generic patterns), I do cover more such patterns during the two hour "Continuous improvement workshop", and encourage participants to share their real life scenarios. Further though the slide deck only captures the concepts and insights, while speaking I use examples from real life all the time. I would like to specifically share two such instances.

      In March 2012 during the session on "Structured freedom with rules and strategies" I shared many examples, including those from my journey from Indore to Bangalore and at the airport. This helped the participants to clearly understand such a highly abstract subject. So much so that even after 3 years, when I attended the Agile India 2015 conference, few fellow attendees who were present in my 2012 session came over and told me how much they had liked it.

      The second example is from last week. When talking to a friend who is not from software field, he was completely lost when I was telling him what I do using terms like Agile Scrum and Kanban. So I decided to explain it in a simple layman's language which he quickly grasped and liked. I was happy with this experience and decided to write it on my blog after a long gap of two years. You can see it here https://prkarve.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/agile-kanban-or-scrum-or-both/

      I am little confused about what you refer to as habits. To me all our patterns of repetitive behavior become habits, giving us speed and productivity. But we tend to become comfortable with them and continue even after the original need has gone away or changed. So our way of working lags behind the ever-changing reality, and becomes a drag on our agility. We need to know and appropriately change these habits through continuous improvement.

      Sometimes once we are convinced, we can start having the new behavior and continue with it. For example, the decision I took to exclusively focus within the company.
      Sometimes in our enthusiasm we decide to change, but very soon it springs back like New Year resolutions. For example, when we decide to control our diet and start exercising. This needs looking deeper at our emotions and opinions which are controlling our decisions, and in turn our actions and interactions. This is all part of the "WoW framework" that I am currently working on.

      Does the above make sense? Does it answer your questions?
      Karve

  • Anand Murthy Raj
    By Anand Murthy Raj  ~  3 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Prabhakar,

    Great topic and insightful information. I really liked the practical examples you have at the end.

    Very well articulated. If there is any further information we would get back to you. 


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