Product Development Manager
Confidential Consulting Company
Member since 4 years
Product Owner with 10+ years experience. Experienced IT strategist and Agile Enthusiast
Member since 4 years
Going by the adage - "Without struggle, there can be no progress", we intend to share some extraordinary stories that have and can change the way we work and interact in the Agile space. Every team, whether Agile or not, goes through the forming, storming, norming and performing stage. The storming phase is when an Agile team can look inwards using some Agile best practices to tide over the storm. The pressing challenges that a team can face during the storming phase can be categorized into:
Through our talk, we would like to share some specific challenges that we faced in each of the above categories and how we overcame them -
Example for people:
Anti-Pattern / Challenge : In a distributed environment, code got overwritten in spite of an existing version control tool
Conclusion : Better self organization within the team
Resolution : Cross pollination, face to face communication, automated notifications
Example for process :
Anti Pattern / Challenge : Team got together to solve a problem and very little got accomplished due to external dependencies
Conclusion : The need for more collaboration and the right problem solving protocol
Resolution : Adopted design thinking, created cross functional teams, applied 'Pareto' principle
Example for technology :
Anti Pattern / Challenge : Different deployment scenarios and technology choices
Conclusion : The need for continuous and collaborative integration
Resolution : Created an inhouse one click seamless deployment tool named 'Deployer'
Today as a team we have expanded beyond the bookshelf, matured as agile practitioners. And now we’re working hard on a creating a visionary path. Improving the Agile world around us is part of our mission of learning, sharing and growing. The talk will re-emphasize our journey through agility and constant evolution.
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
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.