Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Scrum Master? [Scrum Master Series]

I recently met a Scrum Master friend who told me how he eventually figured out that the dip in performance of one of his Scrum team members was linked to a co-worker’s body odor!

Yes, a Scrum Master does everything and anything to help the team in doing what they are supposed to do – that is advancing the Sprint’s story towards completion! 

Let’s take a look at the definition of a Scrum Master. Scrum Master is a person who facilitates the Scrum team in performing their tasks. He helps resolve the team’s blockers. These blockers could be directly related to their work – such as the team struggling to decide the design approach to take to go forward, or indirectly impeding them – such as environment outages or even excessive noise coming from the neighboring team area.

In order to justify the role of a Scrum Master, the person needs to possess the following skills:

SCRUM MASTER’S MOST IMPORTANT HARD SKILL:

  1. Understanding of Agile and Scrum: This is the key hard skill as a Scrum Master. Having access to an Agile Coach can help gain this skill rather quickly, but if that’s not possible, observing an existing Scrum team will also help. Those are the most practical ways in my view but taking a certification such as PMI ACP or CSM is the next best thing that can help gain the required knowledge and confidence to perform the role. Joining forums where Scrum and Agile is discussed is also quite  beneficial to grasp the nuances of Scrum and Agile.

SCRUM MASTER’S MOST IMPORTANT SOFT SKILLS:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: A Scrum Master listens not only to what is being said but also to what is not said. He constantly works towards identifying the elephant in the room – team dynamics, personal constraints, process gaps – and then addressing them. He finds creative ways to change the status-quo, in creating healthy processes and achieving team collaboration.
  2. Resourcefulness: Scrum Master is not required to be a technical person. Neither is he required to be a functional domain expert. However, he should know who to approach to help address the impediments being faced by the team. He maintains a good relationships with the stakeholders and knows when and how should the topic be brought up for discussion.

Those were the general qualities of a Scrum Master. However, considering that most Scrum Masters have evolved from other roles, it is important to understand what must a person keep in mind when moving into Scrum Master shoes from a traditional PM, Tech lead, or QA Manager role.

In such a case, a mindset shift is required to not let their former experience come in the way of their new role. It requires a focus towards failing fast, creating a minimum viable product and increased team collaboration. Scrum Team can get into serious issues if this point is ignored while moving to a Scrum Master role. Some such real life examples include:

  • Scrum Master who was previously a Project Manager could push towards having and following a detailed project plan. To add to that, he may be too aggressive and demanding in his role. This will be disastrous since it is antithesis to Agile where Servant Leadership is the key.
  • Scrum Master who was earlier a Developer could take up responsibility to write the code himself. Team could get so used to him writing the code that they would ask him to fix production bugs. He would eventually get overwhelmed with work and rather than becoming a team enabler, he would end up becoming a bottleneck.
  • Scrum Master who was formerly a Test Lead could get closely involved in testing. In such a situation, the Scrum team would slowly start considering him as the quality gatekeeper and stop appreciating that the quality as a collective team responsibility.

Having said so, if you put your old wine (skills) in the new bottle (of Scrum Mastery), you can win in the role like no on else. Here are some examples of the benefits your previous experience can bring to your new role:

  • A Project Manager and a Scrum Master role have a lot in common. Whether it’s prioritization, planning, client demo, lesson learned – they are all present in SCRUM/Agile as well in the form of Backlog Grooming, Sprint Planning, Sprint Demo, and Sprint Retrospectives. Hence, your previous skills will come in handy in Scrum Master role!
  • Having a technical background will help you in the Scrum Master role to understand the language spoken by the team. You could also teach and coach the team on technical aspects such as how to design effectively, following coding standards and unit testing practices.
  • QA / testing experience can also be very favorable to you in the Scrum Master role. Test Leads or other such roles understand the end to end development process, are good at stakeholder management and causal analysis. They talk to Developers, Business, Business Analysts and traditional Production Support teams to determine and address the root causes of the issues. These are directly required in the Scrum Master role as well.

Question:

Do you agree with the above qualities as key to perform the Scrum Master role successfully. Would you like to add anything else to the list? 

Will I Die Undone?

I believe we’re here for a reason,

but I’m scared each day of every season,

for clock is ticking fast, the baby we held is now our teenage son! 

what if I can’t find it (the reason)

and die undone?

 

I am a writer, no a manager, crap… a painter, husband, papa and son,

all combined into one

but from all of the above, the sole reason for my existence can be none!

what if I can’t find it (the reason)

and die undone?

 

I seek God for an answer

… isn’t seeking God itself the reason?

I meditate: read Gita, Quran, Guru Granth and Bible

I was so close to the answer

but didn’t realize when it took me away from my dear ones

 

I was, after all, praying and reading from winter to fall

paying little attention to anything else

until my little two year old doll 

was hurt on her face.. so badly, hit with a ball

that’s when I realized

 

I needed to come back to life, …my life.

and play the roles, all of them, even if I master none

I am a writer, a manager, a painter, husband, papa and son

and if I do justice to each of these one

There is no way I will die undone

 

I still believe we’re here for a reason,

and I’m living each day of every season,

playing all my roles well and having fun!

Alas! I found it,

I will not die undone!

Why You Need to Bring Your Office Home!

“What should be the frequency of this meeting?”

“How about once every six months?”

“No, that’s too less, we do need it at least once in three months.”.

Nothing unusual about that dialogue right?

Not until I tell you that is a conversation between me and my nine year old son, Tanav.

Yes, we do plan and have meetings at home. Just like office. In fact, I just finished a meeting with Tanav, my son (see below an earlier recording)

Office meetings are generally considered a waste of time, too lo..ng and boring.  But no matter how much we complain about them, if they’re right way – they help in planning, reviewing progress and resolving issues. In acknowledging people for their work. Meetings are, indeed, an essential for any organization…including the home organization

Strike the right chord and get insights that are impossible to get otherwise. You will discover a whole new person in your family member! 

Don't live with strangers in the house all your life and call it a family! Click To Tweet

These meetings can take your relationship with your family on the growth trajectory .

Human mind is complex. It has inhibitions. It doesn’t share easily. Not even with people who are close to us!  Expecting others to open up in a normal setting, is out of question. We have to book a time, a place and tell the participants (in this case our son or daughter or wife), that you need them there!

..And why just meetings? There is quite a lot of good stuff we need to bring home from office! 

Organizations have a set of systems meant to make things happen smoothly and improve. 

But home sweet home? Do we have any systems? If you’re like most people, your answer is a No.

In the absence of any system for family to be cohesive, performing and improving, we just rely on God Almighty to take care of our home affairs. But , God only helps those who help themselves!

“I am putting in all the efforts and time in office to earn and save only for the family.”, you might say. 

Well, thanks but your family needs “you”. Your time. Now. Not later.

If you don’t give the time now, your connection with your folks is broken… forever!

Now, if you tell me: I really don’t have the time.

Okay, then here’s another tip: Go Lean.

Organizations are shouting about going lean: which means reducing waste. But your family organization? You are the CEO. Or co-CEO or whatever of that, no?

So get your act together and go lean. Here’s what I mean:

  • No Phone on Weekends. (basically this means using phone as a plain simple phone, that too if it’s absolutely needed!)
  • No TV on Mondays.
  • No Facebook App on the Smartphone. And yes, No Whatsapp too!
  • No Technology in the Bedroom.

You get the idea. Reduce the wasteful activities. That will make time for useful ones.

Oh God! Today, give me the strength to say 'no' to things I may do only to regret later. Click To Tweet

By the way, yours truly has done all of the above. Of course, one by one though.

When I shared the idea of a No Phone Day on Saturdays, it seemed impossible. Everyone resisted. Initial few weeks were tough. The cries and frustrations were all so visible on everyone’s faces. But soon, good things began to happen.

Tanav, my nine year old son, opened his bookshelf after ages! We have played several board games as a family.  Not so long ago, he was hooked to Clash of Clans. We had no idea how to get him off!

And the best part was yet to come: Tanav, my son, loved the idea so much that he himself proposed to have Sunday’s too as No Phone Days!

A few months have passed, and Tanav has just recently proposed to have Mondays as No TV Days! Can you beat that!

Today is Day 1 of No TV Day. Excitement abound. Tanav is busy cleaning his study table, and Sohana, my 4 year old daughter, my bookshelf.

It’s going well. We haven’t switched on the TV. Not as yet. It’s not easy but we will face this challenge as a family.

..That my friends is Sawhney Family Organization going Lean. When is Your’s? 


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Mind Your Own Business PM’s

Typical Scenario

Production incident.

Business impatiently waiting to get fixed.

What’s going on, my dear developers?

  • This is existing BAU issue and not a project one and, therefore, should be worked upon as by BAU team (Passing the Buck)
  • Solution analysis will take time. How much?, we don’t know until we analyze. (Buying Time)
  • We have the solution and can make the change if Business Analyst confirms there is no impact to anything else with this solution. (Gun on someone else’s shoulder)

Business Analysts:

Acting like Business’s first cousins and putting pressure to have it delivered ASAP.

Project Manager:

We’re no where close to being able to share even a simple status update with the desperately waiting Business teams! Phew!

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Clock is ticking faster than usual. Anxiety is slow death, and an inescapable reality in the Project Management profession!

Taking the plunge:

PM is getting impatient, agitated and furious about the things not working out. Finally, he decides to take the plunge and solutionize himself.

Half knowledge is a dangerous thing. But it seems like his moves are working. Emails going back and forth. Exchanges happening. Try this and try that. Sense of movement.

The Outcome:

The excitement lasted just for a few days.

Then, the thunder stops. The dust settles. The ground is visible again.

We realize that we’re just where we started from. Same old broken functionality. Nothing changed. It was an attempt that failed. Not really. It was a case of jumping in without much planning, and more than that it was wrong person doing the job.

Time lost. Credibility lost. Increased fiction among the PM, his boss, the customers and team.

Intention was not wrong. Just that it was too much unnecessary poking in an unknown territory.

Lesson Learnt:

Mind your own business, PMs.


If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.


Suggested reading: Is it possible to manage an IT team without a Technical Background 

[Platform] Facebook Share button on the WordPress site throws an error

The Send and Like buttons work alright, then why not the Share button?

“App Not Set Up: This app is still in development mode, and you don’t have access to it. Switch to a registered test user or ask an app admin for permissions.”
 
Try, try, try and try again. Sleepless nights. Nothing works. I check in Facebook for Developers that the APP is actually enabled for Public. Can’t get a handle around why is it still not working.

Eureka moment: I realize that the App ID that appears on the URL that opens when Share is clicked has an App ID which doesn’t match that of my Application. If I manually change the App ID to the one that appears on the Facebook for Developers site, the share functionality works fine. Now, it boils down to how do I correct the App ID that shows when the button is pressed.

After All: This problem has boggled my head for too long – several days. Finally, I figure that this is a bug in the plug-in I was using (plug-in called ‘Facebook’). I found another very simple and useful replacement  (plug-in called: “Social Ring“). It works pretty smoothly (‘malai’ in local lingo). Not only does that let me share and like on facebook, twitter, google+, but it also lets the user save content (blogs) as PDF! Not only that, it will even allow emailing, and printing the blogs.

However, I still can’t get rid of my older ‘Facebook‘ plug-in since it is somehow connected to the LIKE US ON FACEBOOK widget that appears on the top right of my posts. But that’s alright, I can live with two plug-ins.

Problem solved, and I can sleep tight at least until the BUGs bite again.. Ciao!

Little Something That Will Make You Actually Overcome Your Interview Phobia

What do you like reading?“, asked  the interviewer.

John Maxwell“, I replied (..well, I possibly have read more John Maxwell’s books than he’s written!).

The follow-up question came, “What do you like about John Maxwell?

I froze.

I started babbling.

It was like losing in the home ground. Being beaten at something you always thought you were so good at. 

Not that I didn’t know the answer, just that I didn’t know where to start. 

I had a zillion thoughts run past my head instantaneously such as “Does he think that I am lying?


Truth be told, I have suffered big time from job interview anxiety. 

It was serious. So much that I would think that I am a gone case. The only one or the chosen one!

It’s a bit like when you’re sick and don’t know the diagnosis. You often think that it’s just you.. until you know more. Reality is that whatever you’re going through has likely been experienced already by someone somewhere. 

However, I used to be so scared of the subject, that I would avoid talking about it. I would brush it aside if it ever came up. I was almost certain that there’s something wrong with me only. I kept it a secret because I feared being made fun of.

When I did, after all, opened up to talking about it, I realized that there is a world out there full of people who fear the interview: the interview phobics.

I know the feeling. You get blacked out, freeze or get defensive and eventually get caught in the trap of your own words. You feel cornered. You feel ashamed. You think that you have lost the golden chance. Guess what, the moment you have such feelings, is when it’s over.

If you can relate to this, read further..

Let’s take a step back: What is an interview anyway?

It’s the phenomenon of finding the right person for the job, and the right job for the person – It’s a two way street. a bit like finding a match in an arranged marriage. 

When you are out looking for a match, would you look for someone perfect – most beautiful, with top education and a fantastic family background?

(If you are, then, at present the only person who’d fit the bill is Manushi Chillar. She’s Miss World 2017, studying MBBS and seems to have a decent family. But then, she’s too good to be true, for  you, isn’t she?)

Or instead would you look for someone who is right for you? Someone who may not be (in fact should not be) perfect, but would adjust well to your life and circumstances. Remember, you aren’t perfect either.

Interviews are no different. They are seeking the right fit not the perfect one. So, you don’t have to be perfect. No one is! Just be yourself. Relax. Let go that feeling of being overwhelmed.

Besides, you are also evaluating them. It’s not a one way street. Not all the employers are right for you. Speak your mind, make mistakes but always give them the sense that you’re an equal. No marriage can ever happen with consent from one side. So, don’t act subservient*

Tell your story, hear theirs, and yes, it’s okay to be nervous. I have been on the other side and trust me, both sides are!

So, next time:

  • If you notice them scrutinizing your appearance, mannerisms, do the same to them! Remember you’re here to decide too.
  • If you think you are not well prepared, check their readiness. Chances are they aren’t prepared either. Ask questions such as “Could you tell me more about your company culture?” or “Please explain the job requirement to me in detail“, or “Please explain to me the growth path for my role” or “What are the organization’s plans for 2018” or “How does the organization deal with personality eccentricities?” Yes, you have all the right to ask. Actually, you need to know some or all of this before you consent to marry.
  • Be authentic while being positive. Expect the same in return. If they are rude or cold, you are not be in right hands.
  • Pay attention and don’t be desperate. Remember it’s the marriage of equals. Desperation will only reduce the chances of developing a bond. Hopefully, you’ve been through college – Hard-to-get girls/ guys always had multiple proposals and could pick and choose. While the desperate ones (lots of names popping up my head), got only one thing – rejection.

Wait a second… is that the Shehnai that I hear playing from a distance. 

Amen!


REFERENCES/ NOTES:

*Subservient is a word that has stayed with me over the years. I first heard it around 10 years back in the context of onsite-offshore teams. The speaker strongly advised offshore teams to not to act subservient. It’s meaning as per Webster is: useful in an inferior capacity, subordinate,  serving to promote some end, overly submissive

Motivation Theories 101 for Parents

You are a Middle Manager. You lead big teams, manage difficult people, and resolve conflicts every single day. You have this amazing Emotional Intelligence (EI). So proud you are!

You think you have the knack:

  • I can feel their pulse. They bare open their hearts in front of me!
  • We are a team of high achievers. Work is made enjoyable for all through collaborative problem solving!

While you’re at it, your wife’s anger and 9 year old son’s retaliation catches your attention. She’s manages the kids. You don’t interfere with how she approaches their studies or behavior management.

Except that there’s one rule in the house- Anger is unacceptable, come what may! And in all shapes and forms – no personal attacks, back biting, shaming, shouting, and if you’re thinking spanking, well the rule on that is- Don’t even think about it!

But this Friday, when you’re thinking you’d chill on the weekend. You’ve got work to do. Wife’s out of bounds. She is fed up and tired. You know that there’s is a lot of talking coming your way when she says “Don’t talk to me!” or “Leave me alone!

And that’s exactly how it unfolds..

  • He doesn’t sit down to study. He just doesn’t listen to me
  • I need to check his chat messages on Clash of Clans. He could be in bad company!

You were at the receiving end of all this in more ways than one – Apparently, just a little while back, this out of control situation had led your son to hitting his football so hard in the study room that it hit your dearest, beloved bookshelf’s glass window! And yes, it broke.. along with a piece of your heart. You got to know about this after all the other so called important details. (All that really mattered to you in all these details was that your bookshelf glass broke!)

Well, but perhaps it was the broken glass of your bookshelf that brought the message home for you that you need to take the ownership for next few days. Otherwise, you would have laughed the matter off.

You use the opportunity to take this on your shoulders when your wife says “Okay fine, you do it. Try it just for two days and then we’ll see! It’s easier said than done.”

Being a great believer of Douglas McGregor’s Theory Y of Motivation, you decide taking that approach in the situation.

Douglas McGregor’s—Theory X and Theory Y:

Theory X: assumes that people need supervision and need to be pushed into doing something.

Theory Y: on the other hand is where you assume people are self-motivated and you just need to motivate them so that they pull themselves towards the goal.

Wifey dear, remember the boss with whom interactions were no less than interrogations, the daily grilling, cursing people for not completing an assigned task, and the threat to throw them out! So theory X’ish!

It’s not saying that it didn’t work – It did, at least for the time being, but didn’t it make us feel miserable, worthless and like slaves and that too every single day! Going to work was a pain in the wrong place.

We don’t want anyone to go through that. Definitely not our children.

You sense that it is your son’s over confidence bordering on complacency that’s causing this.

“Complacency is the enemy of success” – Jeff Sutherland, Co-creator of Scrum

You offer to play a game of football with him in the backyard. An offer you know he will never refuse. You usually lose to him but today you play harder and eventually beat him (well.. in order to bring his over confidence under control)

You hand him a leaf out of the daily planner you got from the US. He knows it means a lot to you. After a bit of coaching, he is able to jot down his priorities for next two days and his plan for the day (no questions asked). Surprisingly, he has included time to study for his Hindi and GK tests on Monday.

He followed the plan. Not perfect but definitely to his satisfaction and yours (and your wife’s)

You tell him about checking off the planned tasks that are done. He does that and is kicked about it. You are carried away and tell him about deriving your happiness score based on how much you got done!

The journey has been good so far on Day 1 and Day 2. However, the outcome is yet to be seen after the Monday’s test results. You are pretty confident though about the outcome too.

By the way, even offering rewards for doing something will fall under Theory X. The rationale being that it’s like bribe and makes people do things only as long as they get something in return. Theory Y is about internal motivation. People naturally like contributing and creating things even if its without a direct reward.

So, if the journey matters to you, then you better make it enjoyable. Results will ensue. Amen!

Congratulations! If you have read so far, you have understood the following concepts of Project Management:

  • McGregor’s theory of motivation– Difference between Theory X and Theory Y
  • Pop the Happy Bubble – Don’t be so happy (complacent) that you start believing your own bullshit!
  • Quantify Happiness : Happiness Score – It’s the Journey, not the Destination!
  • Happiness is a future looking metric – Get Better Every Day and Measure it! (.. the Monday test results will prove!)

The “Happiness” concepts have been referenced from SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland, Co-creator of Scrum.

Some questions you should be able to answer:

  1. Name one future looking work metric which can be a great indicator for successful outcomes. (Bonus question: Can you think of another one?)
  2. Theory Y works by addressing which type of human need from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. (Tip: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five-stage model – i. Physiological needs ii. Safety needs iii. Love and belonging needs iv. Esteem needs v. Self-actualization needs)

Please do share your thoughts and any questions you may have regarding the Motivational theories. Until next time, Adios!

On The Day Of Your PMI ACP Exam!

I am an ACP today. No, not Assistant Commissioner of Police, .. that’s for another time! For now, I am an Agile Certified Practitioner.

If you have ever taken an exam (which I am sure is the case) and if you’re like me (which I am not as sure), you know how it feels like on the D Day – Butterflies in stomach, a wish that you had managed more preparation time, what would others think if you BOMBED, sadistic thoughts to postpone the date – Kim Jong Un drops the nuclear bomb at the PMI Headquarters, a Tsunami strikes the Gurgaon Exam center, or ISIS takes the PMI’s CEO and it’s employees hostage – None of which will come true or even should. I haven’t grown much in this aspect from the lad I was in school. Back then, I would wish the worst things to happen to the teacher just to skip the test.

Finally, it dawns on you that nothing else will work and you have to face the exam. When that did for me, here’s what worked for me, and may be it’ll work for you too:

  1. Sleep in timeGiven how smart I am, I chose 8 AM on Monday as the exam time – so I could get the weekend to revise and could join office in case I was refused a leave. Neither of these things happened though. I mean I didn’t revise as much as I should have and my leave didn’t get refused. I was tempted to study all night like back in college days but I am glad that better sense prevailed and I slept at 10 PM. You should too.
  2. Start in timeGoogleMaps suggested it’d take an hour to reach the Exam Center. I started an extra half an hour earlier. I listened to the Audio CD of Slumdog Millionaire on the way to the exam center – something different to relax and energize me. I am glad I didn’t listen to any more of the Cornilius Fischner’s Agile PrepCast audios along the way. I had had enough of that in the last several preparation months.
  3. Mugging up won’t help: They didn’t have any question that expected me to remember the terms. Each question was a thought-provoking and interesting one. If you have worked on Agile projects and more importantly, if you have an Agile mindset, you don’t have much to worry.
  4. What to carry to Exam centerJust a Govt ID Proof with your photo on it. The lazy bum I am, I had not printed the Appointment confirmation email. I couldn’t expect any Xerox shops to be open around 8 AM (the time of my test). Thankfully, my wife reminded me that this was Digital age, and that I shouldn’t worry about the print out. I didn’t and neither should you.
  5. What they’ll let you in withThey’ll not let you take anything inside, well, except the bare essentials – You know what I mean – no jackets, not even handkerchiefs, pencils.. nothing! There’s heavy frisking including a metal detector scan, so be mentally prepared. They asked me to pull up the jeans and lower the socks in front of the camera. I was wondering if I’d be arrested should they find something during the search operation. They examined my glasses thoroughly to check if it was a Google glass or some E-equivalent. All they let you in with is a) Your Locker Key and b)Your ID proof (they didn’t let me carry the ID Proof holder also, so you know how serious this is!). Besides, expect them to give you a) 2 sharpened pencils b) Enough sheets of paper for rough work and you can ask for more (although I didn’t use even half of it. You are not allowed to write on the rough sheets until Test Start button is pressed. No room for vomiting what you mugged before the test starts!) c) A calculator d) Voice cancellation headset.
  6. During the Test, toolsFinally, I was in. I went through the instructions carefully. Three key things I loved and you should note to make use of: a) MARK questions for REVIEW b) STRIKE THROUGH answer choices to eliminate seemingly wrong answers and to focus on the seemingly correct ones c) HIGHLIGHTER to emphasize the important sections especially in longish questions (even answer choices. any text on the screen.) Best part is that all these three features are sticky which means they’ll remain selected as you move forward to other questions.
  7. Managing time during the testI completed all 120 questions in 2 hours and 10 minutes. That’s about a minute per question. That left me 50 minutes to revisit the questions MARKED FOR REVIEW. I think I had close to 40 questions marked which took me 47 minutes. I changed quite a few responses when I revisited the MARKED questions. I used the remaining few minutes to recheck few more questions. You must answer all the questions in the first pass though. There isn’t any negative marking and so leaving any answer blank is foolish.

When I submitted the test, it had few questions asking for a feedback of the examination and test content. After that, I pressed the ‘submit for evaluation‘ button, … It took a few seconds to process the results (which seemed much longer). I used this time to write HARI OM on the rough sheet that was given to me. It always does the trick! Soon after, I saw the following appear on the computer screen:

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PASSED THE PMI ACP EXAM!

I couldn’t stop smiling and raised my hand to grab the attention of the Center staff (who constantly monitor the exam takers on CCTV cameras) to help me get out.

Please do share your thoughts and any questions you may have regarding the ACP Examination. I’ll respond as soon as I am back from celebrating this little win. Until next time, Adios!

Agile 101

Howdy, Middle Manager? College lad turned Middle IT Manager. A lot has changed since then… and a lot hasn’t!

Then: You wore a cross locket, less for The Almighty, more for Style. A baseball cap, less for the Sun, more for Style! An earring, which was for nothing but…. Style!

Then and Now
Then and Now

Now: Look at your LinkedIn profile. Well combed hair. Style of dressing. Close shave. Clearly, one thing that still hasn’t changed is.. Style!

Actually, there is one more thing that hasn’t changed: Problems. They were there then, and are here now. 

Then: Your biggest problem: What if my girlfriend dumps me?

Now: What if my company sacks me?

Then: I should leave her before she leaves me. Otherwise, my confidence and chances of finding another girl would go down the drain.  

Still, you couldn’t muster the courage and kept waiting. She broke off with you first!

Now: I have to get on to working on a project that’s my kind. Otherwise, my confidence and chances of finding another project would go down the drain.

Then: Everyone in the college said, “All the good looking girls are already taken.

Now: “All the good projects are already taken.

Then: Others girlfriends- Hot and happening! Yours- Whatever is available!

Now: Others projects- Smoking! Scrum, BDD, Big Data, IoT! Yours: Whatever is available: Data Migration. Legacy system. Waterfall Development Model! (Shhh.. Calling it waterfall is below the belt attack. Let’s settle for Hybrid. That sounds respectable!)

Then: She had to be stylish. And it wasn’t about the physical beauty. It was more than that. In fact, you had a complete Style Manifesto. (see table below)

Now: Projects have to be Agilish, my kinda’ agilish! Today’s Agile Manifesto. (again, see the table below)

Then: This Godforsaken college is not the end of the world!

Now: Your office is not the end of the world!

Then: You joined the Salsa classes, not because you wanted to become a dancer. You joined Alliance Française de Delhi, not for your love for French!

Now: What are you going to do now? Well, don’t expect me to have all the answers in one short article. 

But Congratulations! If you have read so far, you have well understood and hopefully even memorized Agile Values. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on taking the PMI’s Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) exam. Take a small quiz and know for yourself:

  1. In Agile Manifesto, what is valued more than ‘Processes and tools’ (Hint: Direct interactions with her rather than through common friends i.e. tools)
  2. Agile projects require no documentation: True of False? (Hint: While we value the items on the right – emails and phones, but we value the items on the left – Chemistry more)
  3. Which of the following Agile Manifesto philosophy endorses team empowerment? (Hint: Sense of blossoming together i.e. Customer Collaboration over Contract negotiation)
  4. What is valued more than comprehensive documentation in Agile Manifesto? (Hint: Chemistry or Working Software)
  5. In the Agile Manifesto what is on the higher side of the value chain than following a plan driven approach? (Hint – Flexibility or Responding to change.)
  6. What are the four values from the Agile Manifesto (Hint: Recall your Style Manifesto)

Agile Values and their descriptions (The Agile Manifesto) is taken from official Agile Alliance site. I will look forward to your thoughts and questions on these topics.