Vinod Kumaar Ramakrishnan
Member since 7 years
Vinod Kumaar Ramakrishnan
I am Vinod, working as a Principal Consultant specializing in digital transformation of businesses. I was previously the VP of Engg at Recruiterbox. I spend a lot of time thinking about creating successful environments for heavy lifting and do it in a systematic way. I am a big fan of systems thinking and believe that discipline and grit will take people very far than on talent alone.
Recruiterbox Design ProcessVinod Kumaar RamakrishnanPrincipal ConsultantThoughtWorks
schedule 4 years agoSold Out!
In the book design of everyday things, there is a mention of design is a very complex thing and needs to involve people from multiple parts and roles of the company but usually it is not done. Very few companies involve people from multiple roles and disciplines. At Recruiterbox, we borrowed heavily from the sprint book by Jake , John & Braden and created a design process that helps us rapidly come up with solutions within two-three days for complex and vague problems. We involve people from customer support, engagement, design, engineering, product owner and managers in our design process.
We approach our design meetings with the following objectives
To get everyone to a common understanding about the problem to be solved
To arrive at a starting point for design
To break down the values that can be delivered incrementally to customers
To derisk the risks in terms of perceived customer value & tech constraints
We pace the sessions across multiple days depending on the outputs from each session. We have been able to quickly churn out designs involving everyone possible.
We rank top in the user friendliness in capterra - http://www.capterra.com/applicant-tracking-software/#user-friendly
Validation -> ScalingVinod Kumaar RamakrishnanPrincipal ConsultantThoughtWorks
schedule 5 years agoSold Out!
Once the MVP is validated and we want to scale most of us will focus on getting whatever it takes to scale up and capitalise. Before we scale up the, every one present at the organisation has to understand the direction and strongly believe what the founders stand for. When scaling lots of things change, the first and profound impact is on the culture. Culture of the workplace is the guard of the values and principles in what the founders believe and built the startup.
How can we ensure we that the culture will always reflect the values and principles of the startup?
The first step is being vocal about what the company stands for and the tenets which are non negotiable. This is easy to set up when there very few members but enough checks have to be in place where any violation of the principles are immediately acted upon or decision are always made in line with those.
How can we put a system in place that people at every maturity level will understand the values and principles the company stands for?
People at different maturity levels have different capacity to handle abstractions. People at the early stage of their career will be happy to understand the practices and implement them. Once some one gains some experience then guidelines are enough for them, people who are at the leadership level will be mature enough to directly work with the principles and values. So all these levels of rephrasing is necessary and it should be frequently revisited to make sure it reaches the right audience in the right way.
How do we know that the right message has reached the right audience?
Communication problems are the toughest of all to solve irrespective of how complex is the business or technology domain. Retrospectives where the founders & leaders are present along with a set of team members solving a particular problem helps. There are lots of materials in the public domain to find out how to run a retrospective and still make it safe for everyone to voice out their concern.
How can we ensure that people at all levels will be able to defend what the company stands for?
Feedback is always regarded as top down performance appraisal but if done right it is an effective tool in the arsenal to communicate freely. The people should be educated to talk to each other in the interest of the company and not personal judgements or prescription on how to work. A good way to make sure people talk to each other without holding information is to remove the importance of grades and titles in day to day work. No rank pulling or top down orders.
How will every one work towards a common goal if there are no top down goal setting?
Like how different levels of abstractions are necessary for people to understand the values and principles, there is a need for different types of goals. For a new starter just out of college, the focus is on the getting the requirements right along with learning the technology. So given a direction of the team and help them to understand their part will promote a good sense of ownership towards one's goals. The same idea is progressively applied, a team lead will have to understand where his/her team fits in the company's path and come up with the goals for the team and self. This is slightly more time consuming than the leadership setting goals for their individuals but the sense of ownership is too strong.
Summary - People have to understand and own the company's values & principles, every individual according to their maturity level, should be helped to arrive at an understanding on how they can impact the company's goal and own it. Feedback and retrospective are the best tools to make people be vocal, for this to happen remove the illusion of ranks and grades in day to day work.
Build it like sports teamsVinod Kumaar RamakrishnanPrincipal ConsultantThoughtWorks
schedule 6 years agoSold Out!
Is it easy to get a crash course in football by Pele or Maradona for a week and produce a world cup winning football team?
Answer is NO. Then why do lots of people in the corporate world think of hiring scrum trainers & expert developers to train their team for a week and then expect their team to undergo a transformation at a magical scale?
German football team made it a point to transform their team and it took them a lots of years before they were able to reach the pinnacle. A quick side by side comparison of what is causing agile transformation to fail.
Football: Someone was there owning this entire transformation, the German football association spent a lot of time identifying talent in their teens and groomed them.
Office: In the corporate world switching jobs every few years have become common, but there is no passing on of the context, resulting in the new person taking charge, starting from all over again, as well as frustrating existing good performers who have to rebuild the perception.
Football: Players expecting state of the art training facilities, fitness programs and new shoes are not a luxury, it is a necessity.
Office: Computers have become so cheap compared to the salaries, yet the policy of providing the best tools and good work environment are archaic.
Coach vs Management
Football: Coaches are given their due powers to help the team achieve the goal. It is very easy for anyone to comment on how professionals should play their game, there would be no use adhering to the metrics if the team cannot win. Winning is the only measure for management.
Office: Often coaches are seen as part of the management or management tries to heavily influence coaching which results in a team which will work either for metrics or to please higher ups without the actual result that it had aimed for.
Football: Just the ability to kick the ball does not make a footballer. Training will be introduced to increase physical strength & stamina, better mental wellness, injury prevention, tactics and strategy. A heavy investment is made in the training facilities.
Office: In the software industry a generation is about 2-3 years. Computer science degrees are nowhere near what is state of the art in the industry. At many places the on boarding process is either very shallow or not up to date with the recent developments, leaving people to learn most of the things hard way. Given too many things to learn and the information overload, this results in inefficient learning and application of knowledge on the job. We need to prepare people to find answers that are not available on Google.
Football: Rookies don’t learn by watching greats from the bench, instead they play along with the veterans. Every sports team makes sure to have the right composition with a mix of rookies, emerging players and veterans. That is how they sustain a winning team.
Office: Architects and Leads often do not code or are not part of the team every day, this means that most of the time the team just looks up to for advice or waits for reviews. There should be a good mix of people at all experience level so that there are enough people to try new things, enough people who have mastered few things and enough people who challenge change.
Above all – Persistence
Bending the hierarchy to ease agile transformation with new rolesVinod Kumaar RamakrishnanPrincipal ConsultantThoughtWorks
schedule 7 years agoSold Out!
Hierarchy often comes in the way of Agile adoption and transformation. By hierarchy I mean not just the reporting structure but also how different functions interact with each other and how do they manage to work together on projects. Taking few lessons out of the book 'Maverick' by Ricardo Semler, I introduced new roles Associates, Co-ordinators and Facilitators in the team which was a pilot for agile transformation in an organisation. The outcome was a team like a football team with a common goal and individuals complementing each other in day to day work. I also made sure that they understand the difference between leadership and management, leadership can come from anyone in the team.
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