Featured

CSM Training

Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Training:

Mentor, Coach, Guide, Shoulder to cry on, buddy, Scrum Champion, Process Guru, The team mirror, all rolled into one, that’s Scrum Master for you!

So, if you have that nag for nurturing relationships, helping your colleagues out in their tough times and you want to understand basics of Agile Philosophy and Scrum, Certified Scrum Master(CSM) workshop provides you the perfect blend of learning to go with your skills.

Learn nuances of Team building, The art of influencing and playing the Scrum Master role effectively for your teams in metaphor based learning environment.

I host CSM training in Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Dhaka, Singapore, Colombo, Bangkok, Malaysia, Dubai, Abudhabi and more cities of Asia.

Upcoming CSM trainings:

Workshop City Dates Registration
CSM Gurugram Dec 14-15, 2019 Register
CSM Chandigarh Dec 24-25, 2019 Register
CSM Bengaluru Dec 31,2019 – Jan 01,2020 Register
CSM Gurugram Jan 18-19, 2020 Register
CSM Chandigarh Feb 08-09, 2020 Register
CSM Gurugram Feb 29- Mar 01, 2020 Register

 

Featured

CSPO Trainings

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Training:

If you’re someone who is comfortable with the “business side” of projects, you are probably the right person to aim for a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) training and certification. While the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) helps the Scrum Team work together to learn and implement Scrum, as CSPO, you create a product vision, order the product backlog, and make sure the best possible job is done to delight the customers.

I host CSPO Training in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Singapore, Colombo, Dubai and other cities of Asia

Upcoming CSPO workshops:

Workshop City Dates Registration
CSPO Bengaluru Dec 21-22, 2019 Register
CSPO Gurugram Dec 28-29, 2019 Register
CSPO Bengaluru Jan 11-12, 2020 Register
CSPO Gurugram Jan 25-26, 2020 Register
CSPO Bengaluru Feb 15-16, 2020 Register
CSPO Gurugram Feb 22-23, 2020 Register

Handovers are costly, but do we learn our lessons?

With the arrest of Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, the famed Singh brothers of Ranbaxy, the all too familiar story in the Indian conglomerates is getting repeated. Few years back it was the Mallayas and even before that, the Ambanis!

So, what are we talking about here? Well, it is the monster in the room that we all know but rarely talk about, The costliness and ills of handovers.

The story of Ranbaxy, United Breweries and Reliance tell us of an oft repeated syndrome in the industry–

When the reins change, the control changes, those over not necessarily share the same passion, same vision, same focus as the ones who created a product or system in the first place. Even though the founders in the case of all three behemoths mentioned above, tried to mentor their successors, but the end game was still a failure ! Family business nurtured and crafted over many decades has to be shut down or handed over to others.

You may create as many documents, have as many meetings, run a Risk assessment, have the best auditors qualifying that the ‘process’ was right but what goes missing, is the passion and vision. You can handover the written word but not the heart and mind.

BUT like our past has been a testimony, Do we learn lessons? Never?

The Indian industry still believes in “Projects”.

Handover after the main functionality/ features are delivered, then let another team/company take care of the mess left behind by the original creators. There are reams of documents created to future proof the systems and make the HOTO process easy but yet every ‘Support and maintenance’ person I have ever met, cribs about how bad the original product/ system/ code was.

and, if this was not enough, the software industry went one step ahead to take the mess to greater heights ( Delhites might be reminded of Ghazipur landfill here :D).

Requirements Analysis by one vendor, design by another, code by a third one, testing by the next and yet the deployment by a totally different team, having long handovers, documents at each step, All in the name of reducing risk and getting more transparency. But, Dear outsourcing customer, please retrospect, did you get more benefits or more headaches?

ok, enough of cribbing but what’s the solution?

Stable teams that continue for long. Teams that live together, grow together, cry together and celebrate together.

“A team that everyone wants to join”

Can your ‘team’ boast of being that dream team today?

If no, what steps would you take to make it that ‘Dream team’?

Open Space Agility certification

Upcoming OSA1 workshops:

Workshop City Dates Registration
OSA1 Online Dec 10-11, 2019 Register

 

Do you want to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the training and coaching costs of implementing Agile? 

OpenSpace Agility will help you achieve these savings by being very efficient.

OpenSpace Agility achieves these cost savings by generating very high levels of engagement across your organization. This how and why OSA actually works.

Agile transformation simply is not possible without very high levels of employee engagement

By focusing on employee engagement, as a leader you can expect the following outcomes: 

  • A dramatic reduction in the coaching & training costs of your Agile program
  • A rapid, genuine and lasting Agile transformation
  • Much higher employee engagement scores
  • Predictable, reliable, repeatable improvement in overall results
  • Increases in stakeholder satisfaction and potentially, stakeholder delight

No other method of Agile adoption generates more engagement than the OpenSpace Agility method. 

Is your Agile adoption in trouble? This method can help.

Just getting started with Agile? This is the way to start.

OSA Level-1 is the entry point into the OSA Fundamentals, and is an introduction into the core concepts and facilities of OSA. This level of certification is your entry point.

Course Overview
This course is taught by instructors certified in the OpenSpace Agility™ (OSA) Engagement Model. It’s a full-immersion experiential course for those who are seeking a rapid & lasting Agile adoption.

Successful digital and agile transformations depend upon engaged employees, including teams, managers, directors and executives. OSA accelerates employee engagement though whole-group events and Invitation-Based Change™.

The OpenSpace Agility certification Workshop contains everything you need to get going now with OpenSpace Agility. This is a fast-paced, one-day experiential workshop.

Pre-requisites

Your in-depth knowledge of the Open Space Technology meeting format is assumed. It is strongly recommended that students first have experience arranging Open Space events in organizations

Who should attend?

Consultants, facilitators and coaches who support with process and culture change in organizations will get the most from this OSA workshop. You do not require to be implementing “Agile software development” to get the most from OpenSpace Agility training.

On the contrary: The OpenSpace Agility template, with before/after Open Space events, is valid in any organization considering any kind of process.

The following kinds of participants gain the most from attendance

  • Business and executive’s leaders
  • Managers of teams and departments
  • Coaches, facilitators and consultants
  • Organizational Development Professionals

Duration

This is a full-day class that is 8 hours online. The sessions are 4 hours over 2 days. See the Schedule for details.

Agenda

  • OSA Overview. Open Space & The Power of Invitation
  • Planning before/after Open Space with OSA
  • OSA Execution Basics
  • OSA Execution Internals & Advanced Topics
  • OSA Cycle Internals: The Second Open Space Event (OST-2)
  • Game Mechanics: Goals, Rules, Progress.
  • Opt-in Participation and Invitation
  • The Advanced OSA Topics
  • The Standard OSA Problems and The OSA Tools for Addressing Them

Learning and Takeways

Everyone who participates in the OSA certification Workshop achieves the following learning objectives:

  • Competency in explaining the key advantages and benefits of the OSA approach to executives, teams and stakeholders.
  • Familiarity with the wide range of questions asked about OSA, and preparedness to explain the economics and cost-saving features of OSA
  • Readiness to speak confidently about OpenSpace Agility roles, rules, events and artifacts
  • Readiness to invite and guide executives into important and specific learning experiences before introducing the full range of OSA concepts and facilities to them
  • Readiness to plan, arrange and execute a complete cycle of OSA that begins and ends in Open Space
  • Readiness to coach teams, executives and stakeholders through a complete OSA cycle and important learning experiences
  • Confidence in how to plan, arrange, deliver and follow up on the enterprise-wide cycles of Open Space generated by OSA

Corner room Churn: Burnout on the Hamster wheel!

The pressure is growing…

The results are frustrating…

Stakeholder expectations are mounting…

Easy way out… Quit !

As per a data collected from nseinfobase.com and analysed by @economictimes, the churn of CEO and MDs almost doubled between 2013-2018 (This data is only for companies listed on NSE)(https://bit.ly/31NuTvY)

We also have examples of Shri V G Siddhartha, Shri B Ramanlinga Raju who despite of being some of the most respected doyens, gave up after riding the tiger for years.

So, is it the downturn, which is causing these apparent failures OR it is the politics OR is it the pressure of results ?

You definitely could say these are the contributing factors but are these new? Economic downturn, recession, change in market conditions..these are all risks of the game which everyone at the corner office is geared upto.

But then, where in, lies the problem???

The problem is the ‘Superhero‘ syndrome.

In a world, where we have thrived since childhood on super hero comics and tales (Chacha Chaudhary, Nagraj, Superman, Spiderman, Batman,Shaktiman)..we come to expect the same from humans too. Even Bollywood and Hollywood movies epitomize this superhero culture..

So, is it a surprise we try to expect the same from people that we work with:

Shareholder problem, call the CEO

Stock problem, call the CEO

Hiring problem, call the CEO

But does the CEO/MD have a magic wand to solve all the problems ?? Well, the bad news is NO

The problem is compounded by the executives themselves by showcasing ( During the interview and afterwards) as the self made Avatars, who has a god given gift to solve all the problems in the world.

The result of this culture:

No alt text provided for this image

But is there no way out. There indeed is:

and it involves a small tiny change. Just think 2Cs

“Communication and Collaboration”

In his book “Inviting Leadership” @DanielMezick, suggests that “command and control” leadership styles are less and less effective with each passing day as rapidly accelerating change, driven by technology, is disrupting the world of work and redefining the game of leadership.

Two minds think greater than one.

Involving your whole workforce ( I am not talking just the board and executive teams), not only gives you more ideas but it also creates an impromptu, spontaneous ownership with every team member, which gives your organization the foundation and strength to weather the storms.

And when I say this, I always get IFs and BUTs. Why? because we have been wired in since childhood to respect authority and experience! Without question!

Whatever the BOSS says is right..

It’s high time we break this Dogma around leadership… CEO/MD being the lone torch bearer, the head to crack when something goes wrong… and move on to something simpler yet effective

Invitational, open leadership where everyone is heard and everyone feels the ownership.

But that means “CHANGE” and every change causes Grief! And those who overcome this grief come out the winners.

As Walt Whitman once said:

“Not I or anyone else can travel the road for you, You must travel it yourself”

Start this new journey, O’traveller and the world would walk with you soon!

Certified ScrumMaster/ Certified Agile Coach – an achievement or a beginning ?

In Japan, the April – May season is synonymous with the beautiful beginning of Spring. The Sakura flowers cover the ground, trees and just about everywhere. You can see them in their beautiful hue making the spring season magical.

And that, reminds me of the bloom of ‘Agile Coaches’ in India, Asia and across the world. You see them every where , in companies ,big and small, alone or in packs, with certifications and without certifications, technical or non-technical, SAFe or UnSAFe, but they are un-ignorable, unmissable and almost unforgettable ( one way or the other ;)) these days.

But is getting a Certified Scrum Master ( or PSM or ASM or SSM , phew the list is long) or ACP( Agile Certified Practitioner, I donn’t quite know, what that means) or ACC( Agile Certified Coach, I don’t know what that means either, but it’s the latest craze, so will take it in the right spirit) a culmination or it is just a beginning.

——————————————————————————————————–

If, you are just getting these certifications for a mere role/job change because it is the ‘in’ thing in the market, you are probably doing a great disservice to the Art and Philosophy of Agility, the clients, the community and may be, to yourself too.

Yes, it would give you better chances to get a good job and good income for few years but what after that??

If, as a coach you still don’t leave the Managerial mindset behind, you still direct your teams to follow Agility like a check list ( Daily Stand-up – Done, 2 week sprints-Done etc. etc.), you prepare an Agile SPIDER CHART and Agile Maturity Model…think again!!!!

ARE YOU MADE FOR THIS ROLE?

Being an Agile Coach is not about the number of grey hair you have or the number of years of experience you carry, it is about living the change, DAILY, till the remainder of your work life. Because a teacher is always a teacher and you don’t get a promotion or a higher designation. You are still a coach after 30 years!!!

Are you really ready to run in the grind and take all the b***shit that comes along trying to transform the unwilling, trying to change habits cast in stone, trying to make a difference as an outsider!

It is like trying to repair a 24 wheeled monster truck, when it is in full motion. You may not even know when it hits you and the survival would be difficult.

————————————————————————————————————

Your Certification is really the beginning of a beautiful yet treacherous journey. To learn and let others enjoy the fruit of your learning, like a firefly lighting up a dark sky.

Coaching is not a honeymoon which lasts forever, but it mimics real life. It has it shares of up and downs, lows and highs and you need the fighting spirit to come and live life in its full bloom

Here I remember a famous couplet from Sant Kabir:

पोथी पढ़ि पढ़ि जग मुआ, पंडित भया न कोय, ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडित होय।

(Reading books everyone died, none became any wise, One who reads the word of Love, only becomes wise)

This is the spirit of Agile coaching. Learning from life everyday, living the life of your mentees everyday

Are you ready?

So,What is Agile Really?

So, you have been confused, what to call Agile ? Is it a process, a framework, a methodology or may be something beyond all of the above.

There have been many definitions, texts and books which talk about what Agile is and the definitions are myriad, varied, sometimes humorous and sometimes out-right ridiculous.

Agile Software Development as a term came into existence with the advent of Agile Manifesto in 2001 ( Almost 18 years to the date (Yay! Agile Manifesto is adult now :D. It can legally have  drink ;)))

But why did the authors of Agile Manifesto choose the name “Agile’ in first place.

As per the excerpts from Agile Alliance website:

——————————-

“The authors of the Agile Manifesto chose “Agile” as the label for this whole idea because that word represented the adaptiveness and response to change which was so important to their approach.

It’s really about thinking through how you can understand what’s going on in the environment that you’re in today, identify what uncertainty you’re facing, and figure out how you can adapt to that as you go along”

———————————

But in the current times and context, can we still define What Agile is?

 

My favorite one is Agile being a Philosophy. A Body of knowledge which drives everything from Scrum to Devops to XP.

But Why call it a Philosophy?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

First, let’s get into what a Philosophy is:

As per the early works from Cicero and Diogenes Laertius in 3rd century, AD, A Philosophy has 3 core divisions:

  • Physics
  • Ethics
  • Logic

So, let’s see how Agile fits into all these realms:

Physics is the study of Existence, objects and their properties, wholes and their parts, events, processes.

In an Agile world, this translates to a current state assessment, identify the events and processes the team needs to adopt to and also which process to use when.

Ethics is the study of good or bad , values , good and bad conduct.

It is important for an Agile team to understand these core values and their values as team. These form the basis of their transformation to a great team

Logic is the study of reasoning and argument.

It is about establishing the principles which need to be imbibed. It is about , what forms the core of the team.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Principles and Values ( Logic and Ethics above) are the core to an Agile transformation.

Any organization, team and individual claiming to ‘Be Agile” needs to the very least align with and imbibe the principles and values as described in the Agile manifesto. But do these principles and values apply only to software development. Most certainly not

Because if you study them carefully, you would find that every single principle and value written there holds true everywhere in real life.

But the practices and frameworks you choose are a result of your metaphysical transformation as a team and an organization. What you want to achieve, what are your key pain areas, what’s the current state, How you want to transform.

Choose wisely here because sticking to wrong practices may make your transformation delayed and more painful!


 

Once the coaches, trainers, managers and leaders, understand this fundamental viewpoint about Agile, it becomes easier for them to identify and classify where they are right now and where they want to be!

Disclaimer: The views about Agile are purely from the author’s understanding and experience. These may vary from author to author and from different knowledge sources. Author in no way claims to represent his views to be perfect. 

Agile: It’s about a matter of choice

I vividly remember that December of 2003.

Sitting down with team from my employers and IJI (Ivar Jacobson International), we were discussing on how we could create a tool, which would help Agile and Scrum practitioners, find out their way around being more Agile, as everyone than was confused: how to start using Agile?

and the world has come a long way from that.

From a handful of companies trying to use Scrum and XP, to now everyone ‘talking’ Agile, the world has indeed come a long way

and yes, I am getting old. My CSM license number was 019375 and the latest of my co-learners had theirs in 8xxxxxx series.

But why I am walking down the memory lane on a fine weekday morning…Because something has still not changed !!

—————————————————————————————————————————

What we started to change in 2001, does not seem to be changing or rather its slow as much as it can be.’The Elephant’ doesn’t seem to be dancing or moving rather it is being dragged on its sides.

Enterprises, Corporations, Individuals in their quest to showcase themselves as ‘AGILE’ have spent millions of dollars on training, coaching, subscriptions, conferences and more but has the ROI been generated. Probably NOT!

————————————————————————————————————————–

So, what’s missing you ask. The answers are many, but here I present a few that I feel immediately need attention in our industry:

Is ‘Agile’ a process?

The Agile Industrial Complex has been working overtime to ensure the “Agile Philosophy” is implemented not imbibed and absorbed as a culture.

And the result:

Checklist Agility:

  • Daily Stand-up done: You are Agile
  • You are running two week sprints: You are AGile
  • You have a ScrumMaster Role: You are AGIle
  • You are using Story Points and User Stories: You are AGILe
  • You are using the world famous tools: You are definitely AGILE

If that sounds familiar, you are simply updating from one process: Waterfall to Scrum or SAFe or Kanban or something similar but the culture remains the same. So what are you really changing than!

Here is what I ask the leaders, managers, fellow coaches and trainers:

  • Did you give your teams a choice to decide which process/framework they can use?
  • Were they involved in decision making process about deadlines, timelines, scope etc.?
  • Did your senior most guy took over the ScrumMasters’ role or did you choose the right fit?
  • Is your team aware, that there are ways beyond Scrum that team can explore as their way of working?

If not, what kind of Agility you are adopting ?

Is certification enough?

Individuals and organizations have set out on a mission to gain as many certifications as possible for themselves and their staff members.

> I still feel amused to remember seeing the business card of a fellow colleagues couple of years back who had 23 certifications to his name ! :o.

> I see co-learners walking into a class like a zombie, be there for 2 days to get the coveted stamp on their CV.

 > I see fellow trainers, teaching classes to fulfill only the learning objectives of the class and exam.

but is that enough ?

If you are wondering being a CST myself and having authored two Agile frameworks over last few years, why I am ranting about the certification and certifying bodies..

The RANT is not about certifications and certifying bodies. They were all created with good intentions at some point of time.

Your certification is a powerful tool:

You can just use it, to put it on your CV, Blog, company profile, brag about the number of certifications you have got or number of Certifiedxxxx your company has got and get a new job or a new client

OR

You can use the workshop that you attend to find out those 2 things that you want to change, in you, around you and in the world around you.

OR

your can keep RANTING , my leadership and my customers do not understand Agility, what a poor me can do!

I call it ‘The Wall’ Agility.

Trying to prove what others are doing is wrong and what you think , believe and practice is the right form of Agility is nothing but a mentality that does not help anyone but simply troubles people around you and you still do not fulfill your objectives on why you decided to adopt agility in the first place!

So, Is there a Hope or its Doomsday for Agile already?

Agile naysayers and quite a few number of my fellow coaches have been shouting from the top of their voices:

——————————————-

Agile is Dead! Scrum is useless!

The Agile bubble is about to burst!

We need the next big thing. Let’s move from ‘Old’ Agile and Scrum etc to something new, different exciting ( lik DevOps may be)

———————————–

BUT, are we again saying just another process! Just another toolset! just packed in a different envelope!

What happened to the first tenant of the Agile Manifesto: “Individuals and Interactions matter more over Process and Tools’ ?

In the race to ‘Be Agile’ , did we forget the ‘People’ somewhere…?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It’s about time we give Agility back to people. Give them the power of choice!

Let them choose which process/framework and certification suits them

Let them give you a deadline and scope rather than you giving them a deadlines/scope and telling them to use something called ‘AGILE’

but are YOU ready to LET GO??