Tuesday, April 28, 2009

#5 Implementing Agile

Product backlog readiness

Product backlog is the list of feature wish list, maintained by the product owner. These are all just reminders to the features to be developed. While implementing agile, some of the key questions to be addressed include;

1) How much of the product backlog should be available, before planning the first sprint?
  • All the key (must have) features should be identified
  • All the features, that has an impact on the architecture should be identified

#4 Implementing Agile

Team orientation

" Dont forget to orient your team to the agile values, principle and method."

Indian in India

It was fun roaming around in Chennai with friends from Germany and Australia, whose skin colour was different from mine. To my surprise, within India, all of a sudden I was getting a different type of treatment from fellow Indians, which I was experiencing for the first time.
One day we were all getting into the same taxi, suddenly the security guard stopped me and asked me alone whether I am also staying with them. On another occassion I saw a beggar and while I was reaching out to my purse to get some change, the beggar started chasing my friend Thomas, expecting dollars !. Last but not the least was when the dinner was served 90 minutes later than the desired time; the excuse being "We were busy making food for others!".
While these things were happening on one end, my friends were embarassed by the special VIP treatment meted out to them where ever they go. When all the Indian nationals are waiting in the immigration que at the airport, these friends were asked to by pass the que, by the officials. In the airline, they were given free upgrade to the business class....and obviously they were quite suprised and embarassed.
I recollect my brother Paul narrating another incident where his doctor friend (an Indian living in America), came to India (Kerala), heading a delegation of american doctors and to his and others surprise people were only talking and taking advice from his juniors, ignoring him !.
When will India and Indians get real freedom? !

Joy !

Joy is not in things. It is in us. ~ Richard Wagner ~

Monday, April 27, 2009

#3 Implementing Agile

Cultural synchronization

Very often we get to work in teams where multiple cutures are involved, which if not understood well can lead to politics and improper teaming. There could be 'Iam Ok, You are not OK', 'I am Ok, You are Ok', 'I am not Ok, You are Ok' and 'I am not Ok, You are not OK' attitudes. This need not be at individual levels. It can exist at My culture Vs Your culture, My country Vs Your country, 'My office Vs Your office', 'My team Vs Your team' levels. To deliver as a team, all of us need to have 'I am Ok, You are Ok', 'My Culture is Ok, Your culture is Ok', 'My country is Ok, Your country is also fine' attitude. Team socializing is a must to break the ice, and it has to be a continuous process. In my view, there should be atleast one celebration during every sprint....and it has to happen naturally - not as a programmed activity. Cut loose and celebrate, whenever there is an opportunity...or rather create those opportunities to celebrate :-)

#2 Implementing agile

Like any other project management methodology, proactive stakeholder management is key to the success of all agile projects. After identifying all the stakeholders, they can be categorized into the following groups;

  • High power - High interest
  • High power - Low interest
  • Low power - High interest
  • Low power - Low interest
Once this stakeholder identification is done, then it is easy to identify the key risks. Dont think that agile project management is risk free. The political, technical, structural, process and cultural risks have to be managed proactively to implement agile project management. Everything starts with stakeholder identification, categorization and management.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”Ernest Hemingway, American author and Nobel prize winner.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

#1 Implementing agile

First of all, one must start with the definition of a project; every project has a definite start and end date, are performed by people, constrained by limited resources, delivers unique products or services at the end. I took it from PMBOK, because it fits in well. In an outsourced environment, the typical project durations can be between 1 day to => 6 months. Here the million dollar question is "What is a project?".

In agile, if we have to make some meaning out of a sprint, it has to be atleast 1 week duration "5 working days". This will give some room for "project management". The definition of a project in an outsourced environment should be;

" Any meningful work (cohesive set of activities), which can deliver value and will take atleast 5 working days or more to complete by a team"

Trying to manage individual activities (cycle time 8 hours), is an over kill. If it is an exception, it can be managed by including it as an unplanned activity in the current sprint. If majority of the work comprises of discrete activities which need less than 1 day to complete, it is better to manage them using a task sheet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Whoever invented the meeting must have had Hollywood in mind. I think they should consider giving Oscars for meetings: Best Meeting of the Year, Best Supporting Meeting, Best Meeting Based on Material from Another Meeting.

~ William Goldman

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Agile Chat :-)

Here is a short chat with a friend of mine on agile project management and I agree with him on this state of agile in outsorced projects. The cultural aspects coupled with the politics and insecurities (politics played by the product owners sitting in a far away country, sitting closer to the sponsor and trying to pressurize the off shore teams and some of the managers trying to be in the good books of the product owners in the process shying away from the 'right things' )compounds the whole process.

17:23 Sid hi aby... sorry i missed your messages.. i was out of town
17:24 me: ok...no probs...i was at pune then, thats why i pinged you
Sid: cool.. how are things with you.
17:25 me: where are u now?
Sid: in hyd..
me: things are fine by God's grace. Into agile consulting as well.
that keeps us going
17:26 Sid: hmmm... a very messed up word i would say.. agile.
everyone twists it to suit themselves to call it agile..
and if they cant implement.. every easily blame it on the model..
me: that is the opportunity for us :-)
17:27 Siddharth: at the end of the day.. politics wins..
me: :-)

Abrachan Pudussery
Mobile : +91 9895372115
Gtalk : abrachan

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Married Life !

I was hungry, and you fixed my dinner.
Naked, and you washed my clothes.
Poor and you worked hard to bring home a paycheck.
In darkness, and you fixed the fuse.
Flooded and you got the plumber.
Sad and you put on a Judy Collins record.
Angry and you told a funny story.
Sick and you kept the kids quiet.
Desirous and you made love with me.

Abrachan Pudussery
Mobile : +91 9895372115
Gtalk : abrachan

Friday, April 17, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter !

You are a good egg, even if you are slightly cracked. Happy easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two choices

What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'The audience was stilled by the query.The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'Then he told the following story:Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!'Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball .. the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team'That day', said the father softly, with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY:We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the 'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things.'So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them..
You now have two choices:
1. Delete
2. Forward

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Congratulations Ajay Rathi PMP

I think i forgot to inform... I also cleared the exam on 24th Feb'09. Wasn't that difficult as i thought in first place. Took about 2 hrs without break. Thanks to Bali and Abrachan and good luck to people attempting for the exam.

Ajay Rathi
Senior Manager ( IT Infrastructure)
Damac holdingPO Box 2195, Dubai+971506547863

Good news for the teacher in me :-)

Dear All Friends

I am very happy to inform that yesterday I have passed the PMP test.Let me share my experience with you. The preparation should be done as per the Project Phases which has been given to us in the training and of course along with the PMBOK.Further the formulas like CV, SV, CPI, SPI ,EAC,ETCThe question will never be direct all need to be analyzed.Please read one of the coverages in the magazine http://www.itp.net/news/548280-building-basics?ln=enLet me convey my thanks to Mr. Abrachan for his guidance when I missed my first attempt.Thanks and Best of Luck

Syed Anisuddin
IT Manager
Fujairah National GroupP.O. BOX 121Fujairah ,
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 9 2010303Fax: +971 9 2281717Mob: +971 50 6499137

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where are you in agile? WAYINAGILE

I dont have any profound ideas of developing another agile capability maturity model, becuase I personally believe in the need for 'capability immaturity', which gives freedom to innovate and experiment, yet we need a repeatable system in place for organizations to exploit the power of agile in it's entirity. From my consulting assignments, this is the pattern I am seeing with most of the organizations, when they go for agile.

At level-0 , everything is adhoc

At level-1 , some agile practices are implemented (most popular is the stand up meetings)

At level-2, all the agile management practices are implemented (product backlog, sprint planning, daily stand ups, demo meetings, velocity calculations, lessons learned, user stories, story points)

At level-3, the focus is on adopting the engineering practices (build automation, test automation, coding standards, refactoring, code reviews, pair programming)
At level-4, the emphasis is on aligning the H.R practices with the agile values and principles