Venky Ramachandran - How to break the Agile Mangalwar Puja Tradition and Shape Your Product?

What is the background situation/context for your probe?

If you try hard and look around without any bias, you would agree that Agile Methodologies are today no more than a Mangalwar Puja Tradition.

You do the puja even though you know that it is not working for you and anyone else around you. And if that weren't enough, you compulsively look out for newer Mangalwar Puja experts who don't waste time telling you that your product is doomed until you follow the rules prescribed in the True Agile™ Mangalwar Puja tradition.

What is (or has been) your hypothesis?

Blaming Agile is not the point We must ask, how did Agile, which was originally intended to emphasize uncertainty and learning, become synonymous with high-frequency water fall? Have we eulogized iteration without understanding its trade-offs? My hypothesis is that

1)You can't build better products if you don't shape them actively

2) "Shape Up" methodology pioneered by Basecamp provides a strong foundational position to challenge the Agile Mangalwar Puja tradition

2) You can't shape your product actively without thinking like a storyteller. The easiest way to understand shaping your product is to start seeing your product as a story which happens in the arrow of time. How do you unpack your product as a series of causal chain loop right right from the moment your product is conceived to onboarded to experienced?

3) When you think of your product as a story, you affect everything about your product - its comprehension, utility, perception of usability, memory and choice

What is the experiment you would like to run (or you have run) and how can this experiment validate or invalidate your hypothesis?

I have been coaching my clients on building software products using Shape Up methodology and it has become a strong foundation in which my critique of Agile Mangalwar Puja tradition is placed. I am happy to share some of my learnings in the trenches of Shape Up methodology

Is there a specific skill/technique you would like to learn/explore at this coach camp?

I would like to learn more about on-ground technical challenges in coaching clients. 

Call for Papers CLOSED
Ended on Jan 25 '20 05:29 AM IST

Interested in attending the Agile Coach Camp on Oct 11th in Bengaluru? Read on...

It's been 12 Years and almost 110 viral Agile Coach Camps since our very first coach camp experiment. This year, Coach Camp co-creator Naresh Jain along with Jutta Eckstein and John Buck will lead participants in this Coach Camp in Bangalore, organized as part of the Agile India 2020 Conference.

Coach Camp Theme

As a coach, you're often the one who needs to drive and sustain change. Yet, how do you do this? What has helped and hindered you doing so and how can you best pass your experience on to other coaches or how can you best learn from other coaches?

This is the theme for this year's coach camp. To tackle this challenge, we invite you to try something new:

  • Currently, we face the following situation: Constantly driving change is getting more and more important for companies to survive in this VUCA world. At the same time, it is (or should be) the core skill of every coach – no matter if you coach individuals, teams, or organisations. However, sometimes it seems every coach has to come up with her own experience on how to drive change successfully.
  • Our hypothesis is that for driving change, every coach uses so-called probes, that are defined by small, safe-to-fail experiments based on hypotheses derived from reflection on the current situation as well as on theory. So, probing allows discovering (based on the hypothesis) what's working and what is not through one or several experiments. This allows to make sense of both the current situation but even more important of the situation we are aiming for. And if we create a knowledge base of our collective wisdom on probes we used (or intend to use) we can learn from each other.
  • Therefore, as an experiment we want to invite this year's coach camp participants to jointly discover, share, create, improve, and finally publish probes that help(ed) driving and sustaining change. As in a typical coach camp, we will use the Open Space format to explore different topics for driving change and we invite you to use probes to focus the discussions on these different topics. We anticipate as a result that the discovered and created probes will provide a foundation for such a knowledge base.

Registering for the Coach Camp

The coach camp is free of charge (financially) yet, for registration we ask you for the following:

  • Please click on the Add Paper button and submit your position paper. In your position paper, you will be asked to share an idea for a probe, consisting of a background situation (context), a hypothesis, and an experiment. This can be a probe you've implemented before, one you've discovered/heard of others implementing it, or you intend to implement. The probe should focus on the coach camp's theme: Driving Change.
  • The discussed probes provide a basis for a free and publicly accessible knowledge base.

Final Note

Please note, we want to invite you to use probes for the discussion and recording of the Open Space sessions. This is by no means an enforcement. We are well aware that there might be situations where probes are not the right means for discussing or/and recording a particular topic - and that is of course fine. After all, using probes for this coach camp is a probe in itself (and we are open to possibly invalidate our hypothesis.)