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Category Archives: Musings

Organizational agility in practice

Posted originally on Medium on April 15th, 2017

Joseph Flahiff states in his book, “Being agile in a waterfall world”, Agile is about the ability to adapt (to changing circumstances), it is an adjective and not a noun.

For a person, agility could mean — physical agility (someone with a flexible body) or mental agility where they have the ability to learn and adapt to a new skill (language, subject etc.). For a business it is about their ability to respond to changing marketing needs or customer demands.

In the IT industry, this word has been lost it’s meaning. It has become a fashion tag that everyone claims to be associated with. You hear individuals, companies saying, “We are agile, because..

  • We do Daily stand-ups
  • We use Scrum..or any other framework
  • We use JIRA … or any such tool
  • We write User Stories..”

… the list goes on. These statements reveal a lack of understanding of the essence of agility. Such Businesses and enterprises chase the end state without changing their behavior, implement new tools or frameworks, but fail to inspect and adapt. They fail to cater to their customer’s needs — the reason for their existence.

In my nearly two decades of software career, I have experienced many businesses trying to “Go Agile” but in the last 3 years since I joined OutSystems, I have experienced what I can identify as organizational agility. During my tenure here, I have seen the core of OutSystems (the platform) evolve in a dramatic way. I started with platform version 8 and saw the product evolve in multiple increments in just few months — an already robust product, becoming the best and most extraordinary tool I have experienced in the market. It was a great feeling using the latest and greatest product and implementing enterprise grade applications for our customers. In matter of 10 to 12 weeks we completed enterprise grade projects and then tackle the next customer to solve their challenge.

OutSystems Engineering, Product and Leadership teams had a trick up their sleeve. Some of us were unaware of the change brewing. In Paulo Rosado’s words, there was an open heart surgery going on to create OutSystems 10.

It’s not just a new version of the product, but latest version that supports mobile development with offline capabilities — a redesign of a decade plus old product which has improved in increments. A reinvented product that came into being to ease enterprise customers struggling with mobile application development challenges.

Following this incredible change to the product that OutSystems developers around the globe are thrilled about the capabilities OutSystems 10 is providing them! This is a major win for the organization that has always been focused on helping customers succeed. Pivoting to put the customer right in the middle and reorganize the whole organization in the new direction. We have experienced changes and realignment in multiple departments like: Marketing, Sales, People operations, Support, Delivery-Enablement and Training.

This organizational change did not happen as a big bang. It came through a series of experiments with the product, testing those with the participating customers and by following lean-startup principles in an enterprise. The results have been outstanding with stories that make an impact.

If you have ever been through at least a departmental change, you can appreciate the impact of change at an organizational level. It is not an easy task, but at OutSystems various teams welcomed that with open and experimentation mindset, reorganized for the ultimate goal — Customer Success.

There are times when the environment can get cloudy, unstable, negative. But, even with the rapid growth the company has been experiencing, the culture at OutSystems is guided by The Small Book of the Few Big Rules and I personally really appreciate the benefits of such open, safe and supportive environments.

Conclusion

Agility does not come from copying some frameworks, but from people who can lead, a culture that enables to experiment, inspect and adapt.

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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Agile, Musings

 

Reflecting

I am not even going to look at how long I haven’t posted. Cause, I know it’s been a long time.

But during that time, I have a LOT to be thankful about. Few of them listed here:

  • I joined an incredible company and happy with the environment, work culture and colleagues. I am valued for what I am and get to work with the brightest minds in technology, project management and business analysis. Coaching & learning at the same time!
  • To the wonderful clients that I have met in the last year: Every experience makes you wiser, stronger, mature.
  • We got our green cards in 2014. It was just 6 year journey, but thankful to all the people who were involved.
  • To my friends, community in Atlanta: Without them, life in the suburbs would be dull.
  • To agile community at large that I have been part of. It’s amazing to see volunteers you worked with, finding you online and connecting so that they can work with you again. It’s an incredible feeling.
  • Last but not the least, to Meghana: For being there to celebrate, for envisioning the goals and make them happen, for sticking to our personal kanban. To the planning that we did that allowed us to – enjoy time with our families, pay off flat in Pune!
  • To the small & big celebrations we do together by traveling internationally. It’s great to learn about other cultures, people and of course the cuisine!

A decade later, I am a better person because of you! Here’s to the next one and many more to come!

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Musings

 
Quote

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”

– Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa

While the world is trying to comprehend the activities in Newtown, CT about the inhumane incident, the first thought that crossed my mind was about the quote above. Lots of thoughts and emotions surfacing but I will refrain from expressing them.

Prayers and thoughts for everyone affected by this evil act.

“Safety and security..”

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Musings

 

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Agile & Music: Suggestion for an experiment

Instruments

Who doesn’t love music? We all have different choices, tastes – but we all listen and have our favorites. I like listening to variety of music and play guitar (Disclaimer: I am not a music major or a pro).

There’s been this one thing on my mind since a long time and could not resist this post when I saw David Bland’s tweet about “Kanban-Agile Jazz“. [Don’t forget to check out the trackback link at the bottom of that article by Olaf Lewitz].

I have observed one strange coincidence when I met, read about and researched some famous agilists. Many of them play guitar (or a music instrument.

To name a few (on twitter): @mcottmeyer, @howardsublett, @dennisstevens (if I am not wrong), Dave Minor, @darianrashid (drums) and the list goes on..(you get the point).

Most importantly, the experiment that I have in mind is on the lines of what Olaf mentioned in his post:

  1. In next agile (or scrum or kanban or XP) get-together event, invite the attendees WITH their instruments
  2. Ask the attendees at the gathering to form a band by choosing among themselves
  3. Create a tune or select a song of their choice
  4. Practice for a few times and then
  5. Present for few minutes in front of the get-together audience

Yep, you’re thinking right; something like the “YouTube Symphony Orchestra” on a very small-scale.

Why do this?

  1. Fun & Entertainment
  2. Interactive and engaging
  3. Something different/Innovative than just doing “hands-on” sessions, open space, games
  4. Displaying agile principles/values: Collaboration, Self-organizing teams, Improvisation, Iterating, Practicing and Delivering

 

Jazz

As you can see from Olaf’s “White Night..” post few passionate people have used the Jazz experiment to get their point across to the audience about improvisation. After all, people get-together to discuss what they are passionate about (agility) and in that people form  small groups, get engaged in discussing topics of their interest. If people don’t find the topic interesting they use the “law of two feet” from open space in search of discussion that engages them.

So, why not meet with like-minded music (agile) enthusiasts at such events and jam?

Note of caution: Please make sure you don’t get lost in music so much that you forget the main purpose of being at the (agile) event 🙂


 
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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Agile, Music, Musings

 
 
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