[5-Bullet Tuesday] 15 Minute Family Ritual

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What I’m reading –

I recently read an article which claimed using 15 minutes daily in a certain way can change the course of your life over time.

I can’t agree more to that and have gained from that for several years. There are various things one could do in those 15 minutes, such as exercise, meditation, reflection or journaling.

However, I have often wondered that these are all best done alone and if there was something similar we could do together as a family that would be equally rewarding?

What family ritual are we following —

So, in addition to these 15 minutes alone, I now know a daily 15 minute ritual as a family that’s equally or perhaps even more rewarding.

I call it the Family Scrum Meeting – An informal way to understand what we’re all focusing on, what would make us happy or if there is somewhere we can help each other.

How do we spice up our 15 minute meetings –

Add some food for thought such as today. we started with sharing the origin of the idiom “Throw the baby with the bath water“. It brought many giggles and smiles as I explained the picture we see below.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." | Medieval, European history, History

Quote I’m pondering — Sohana, my eight year old daughter, shared a simple yet powerful quote in today’s Family Scrum Meeting:

Peace begins with a smile

What I learnt —

Tanav, my twelve year old son, shared that it would make him really happy if he studied with Mom or Dad. It was a pleasant surprise to know that he actually enjoys reading with us because he would hardly admit it otherwise.

PS: In the same meeting, Dinky, my dear wife, shared a beautiful idea – #LookForABook drive- Each one of us will identify a book that we’d like to read and then we would gift it to each other. That’s something nice to look forward to. If you have any book ideas for me, please let me know.

PPS: All the above was covered in less than 15 minutes. It was fun. Created memories. And most importantly, it brought us a little closer together as a family.

That is us, what about you.. What do you think about that idea? What other family rituals you follow that you think help strengthen your family bond?

I’ll look forward to hear from you. Until next time, Ciao!

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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:


  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.


  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.


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? 

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.