Balvinder Kaur will be presenting the following session
  • Balvinder Kaur Khurana

    Balvinder Kaur Khurana / Sushant Joshi - Real time insights for better products, customer experience and resilient platform

    45 Mins
    Case Study

    Businesses are building digital platforms with modern architecture principles like domain driven design,  microservice based, and event-driven. These platforms are getting ever so modular, flexible and complex.

    While they are built with architecture principles like - loose coupling, individually scaling, plug-and-play components; regulations and security considerations on data - complexity leads to many unknown and grey areas in the entire architecture. Details on how the different components of this complex architecture interact with each other are lost. Generating insights becomes multi-teams, multi-staged activity and hence multi-days activity. 

    Multiple users and stakeholders of the platform want different and timely insights to take both corrective and preventive actions.Business teams want to know how business is doing in every corner of the country near real time at a zipcode granularity. Tech teams want to correlate flow changes with system health including that of downstream stability as it happens.Knowing these details also helps in providing the feedback to the platform itself, to make it more efficient and also to the underlying business process.

    In this talk we intend to share how we made all the business and technical insights of a complicated platform available in realtime with limited incremental effort and constant validation of the ideas and slices with business teams. Since the client was a Banking client, we will also touch base handling of financial data in a secure way and still enabling insights for a large group of stakeholders.

    We kept the self-service aspect at the center of our solution - to accommodate increasing components in the source platform, evolving requirements, even to support new platforms altogether. Configurability and Scalability were key here, it was important that all the data that was collected from the source platform was discoverable and presentable. This also led to evolving the solution in lines of domain data products, where the data is generated and consumed by those who understand it the best.

1. What got you started/interested in modern software development methods?

I started as a software developer in 2007, and only a few software companies were following Agile as I know it now. There were a lot of organizations who would follow all agile practices on paper, but that to me is not agile - however, this realization happened when I joined Thoughtworks and understood how modern software development methods, especially agile, helps not only the health of the software but also the health of the team. I believe the modern tools available for software development are only as good as the team using it, and the practices under which they are used and hence, I like to stick to the default best practices for modern software development.

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by the software product engineering community today?

Software product engineering is considered a magic wand by a lot of businesses/enterprises. I believe software development is a very collaborative effort, where the software developers/vendors and the product owners/clients need to work as partners and a single team with end-users at the center of the solution. We need to understand that no software solution can solve all the problems on day one. Just like architecture evolution, the delivery has to evolve too. Product engineering is also expected to be working on the latest and greatest technology available in the market. I think the focus should be on what (technology) solves the problem most effectively rather than on what is new.

3. What do you think are the most exciting developments in software product engineering today?

Digital, Data, and Customer first - the focus on these three dimensions while building software products in my view is one of the most crucial and exciting development. The way products evolve with this mindset is particularly very novel and keeps the products relevant. The organizations which embraced digital-first were not impacted much when the pandemic hit. Similarly, the data and customer-first thinking helped the organizations predict and act according to customer behavior in once in a lifetime event.

Also, another understanding that pandemic has brought in around the process - the delivery and quality of software systems, does not depend on physical proximity of team or continuous monitoring of team. The development of this understanding is going to motivate the teams to be more trusting and effective for not just software product engineering but work in general.

4. Why did you choose the topic(s) you will be speaking about at the conference?

This topic, that I have chosen to talk about, is the implementation of most of the things that I spoke about earlier - creating a product that has customer and data sitting at the center, and how does this digital platform disrupts the business for better. Working on this product, we have seen all the benefits tangible and we have seen the shift in the ways of working and mindset of users. I would like to share all these learnings with fellow software practitioners.

5. What are some of the key takeaways from your session(s) at Agile India?

How engineering and data platforms can be used to derive real-time business and system insights that help in proactive decisions.

Approach towards creating self-service data analysis and visualization platform

6. Which sessions are you particularly looking forward to attending at Agile India this year?

Coming from Thoughtworks, and having experience with Agile for so many years, I have a deep appreciation of how Agile values may manifest themselves in different principles (with the same intent) and a very different set of practices; and still create the same impact. I am keen to learn how other organizations and engagements have used agile and agile values to succeed, especially now when the very ways of interaction (the foundation of agile) have changed.  The themes for this year, like Digital Disruption,  Customer obsession are also relevant to the current times we are living in. The entire talk line-up is very intriguing and it is difficult to name only a few. Still, some that particularly stood out for me:

  • Dr. Denis Bauer - Digital Disruption in health and medical research
  • Matthew Hodgson / Mia Horrigan - Measuring agility: Data analytics from psychology to grow your teams agility at scale
  • Sunil Mundra - Embracing Complexity-A Case Study of leveraging 'Agent' Interactions
  • Ellen Grove - Drawing Together (even when we're apart): Visual thinking for distributed teams
  • Alberta Soranzo / Martina Hodges-Schell - The remote leader – distant but not removed
  • Pramod Varma - Building for a Billion: Aadhaar and India Stack Experience
  • Sneha Prabhu / Archanaa Ravikumar - Scaling up a modern digital business to reach a million users
  • Linda Rising - How to Talk to the Elephant
  • Asheesh Mehdiratta / Sujatha Nagaraj - Lessons in addressing data challenges while using OKRs, for driving business outcomes and bringing customer centricity
  • Mark Lines / Scott Ambler - Work Smarter: Learn, Optimize, Accelerate