Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Certified Scrum Professional®

On 3rd Sept, 2014 I have been awarded Certified Scrum Professional® and I must say this was one of those proud moments. 

Because this is not an exam which you pass, this requires an active CSM, CSPO or CSD  to demonstrate experience, documented training, and proven knowledge in the art of Scrum. CSPs challenge their Scrum teams to improve the way Scrum and other Agile methods are implemented for every project.

If you are an active CSM, CSPO, or CSD who has reached that next level of experience and expertise in the art of Scrum, elevate your career even further by earning the CSP credential. In today's competitive job market, the Certified Scrum Professional® certification can set you apart as a more advanced and experienced Scrum practitioner. Going the extra mile to earn your CSP shows you are committed to continuous improvement. The coursework and dedication needed to earn the CSP sharpen your skills and help you become a better practitioner of Scrum. But I must say there is no short cut to achieve this certification.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Agile Open Day at Red Hat Beijing Office

On 17th Sept, during Agile Open Day at Red Hat's Beijing office, I had the opportunity to train, interact, connect and learn with teams.
Although the nature of the event meant to be open but we tried to keep our focus on following topics:
  1. Introduction to Agile, Overview of Agile Manifesto and Framework
  2. Agile Methods e.g. Getting Agile with Scrum
  3. Agile Estimation
  4. Story Writing
  5. Agile Planning e.g. Vision, Roadmap, Release, Sprint, Daily
  6. Agile Games
  7. Agile Project Monitoring
  8. Agile Adoption
  9. Agile Quality
  10. Best Practices
The event had remarkable turn around of 50+ people, who took time off to be there but I must admit I was mostly impressed with the audience for following aspects:
  1. Variety and Background,people from different age groups and teams turned up e.g. Kernel, Product Engineering, QA, Project Managers, Leads, IT, System Admins  etc.
  2. Remarkable enthusiasm
  3. Being involved
  4. Willingness to learn and share from their own experience.
We make use of Agile Games to ensure whatever I covered during presentations can be reflected by getting everyone involved. This has really paid off well as everyone held their own perspective but at the same time everyone performed as a team and had fun at the same time :) If you are an Agile Coach or Practitioner or Scrum Master, I recommend you to make use of Agile Games and you should consider it because [1]Games are fun [2]It helps to reach consensus faster by understanding everyone's perspective [3]Everyone's objective is common i.e. To Win.  For instance, we had played "20/20 Vision: For Understanding Customer Priorities"
You may register for such games at http://www.innovationgames.com/agile-teams/ and also there are many such websites which allow you to download content of games and play them live on their website, use it at your convenience. 

Playing and Learning with Agile Game

Game: 20/20 Vision [Understanding Customer Priorities]

After each topic, I had asked teams to highlight their experience about the areas, where they were expected to talk about [1]what went well so far ? [2]what didn't go well ?  This had paid off remarkably well as it helped each participant to learn from everyone else's experience, and allowed everyone to come up with solution and all I had to do is facilitate it. 
We continued this effort even after the event, as on today I have received about 90 emails from participants, the subject/content are pretty much common and almost everyone's tone were similar [1]they have described the challenges they are facing, [2]why they are facing such challenges they think, [3]they suggested solutions to overcome them using agile best practices and [4]all they were seeking from was reflection or confirmation if their plans were on the right track and we learnt to continue to adapt. I am extremely happy to receive such emails and I welcome more because from everyone's experience I am learning a lot. Also it allows individuals/teams to think about solutions and strategies, while keeping best practices in mind as ultimately the fun is to see everyone improving continuously and at their own.

Finally I published a survey to receive feedback about the event and I am immensely happy to see the NPS score on the highest side, people are willing to join such events again and this has triggered Red Hat Core Agile Ambassadors team to focus on APAC.
I thank everyone who had helped me to host the event at Red Hat Beijing office. Also I thank everyone for such grand reception, for participating and contributing to the Agile Open Day. 
Be Agile! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

AGILE! Who cares - Tell me what to do - Presented at Agile Day Conference 2014

Thanks for everyone's interest about the title and the topic I covered. So I have decided to upload the slides to slideshare and here is the link here

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Agile Day Conference Pune 2014

Friday,18th July last week, I had an opportunity to attend and present my paper at AgileDayConference. ADC 2014 was built on the theme of "Agile Testing - Embrace Quality, Deliver Superior Business Value.". This conference aimed to underline tools, techniques, developments and best practices in Agile Testing which will act as catalysts to deliver premium business value alongside sustaining quality. Conference was very informative and I learned about best practices, tools used by other organizations. Overall it was prodigious experience to hear fellow speakers & distinguished coaches. I would definitely like to take a moment and Thank the organizer KnowledgeHut for hosting it and Kudos for doing such a good job with the arrangements. Also I would like to thank the Advisory Board for choosing my paper and sponsors Scrum Alliance, JamBuster and PMI.  

It was thumping to hear agile adoption stories from fellow Agile Practitioners, Evangelist, Process Champions, consisting a very diverse set of audience ranging from companies like Amdocs, Thoughtworks, Mahindra Comviva, Invesco, JamBuster, Hexaware, CeeZone, Faichi Solutions, Atos, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, RiseSmart, Cuelogic, Capgemini , Cognizant, Webonise Lab, Cross Country Infotech, ComputerLand UK, SJ Innovation, Accelya Kale Solutions and many others (sorry can't quite remember all other names). 

In the event , I presented this paper "AGILE! Who cares - Tell Me What To Do", this was about Agile Transformation Strategy, where I highlighted challenges, listed out strategies which worked well for me to overcome such challenges and explained how to use change management best practices effectively in enterprise context. 

Although my talk was the last talk of the day and was just for 35 mins but in the end it was great to find the interest level of the audience and questions. I was delighted to see everyone being pleasantly surprised to hear about Dr. John Kotter's, "8-Step Process for Leading Change" and how same can be used by Coaches, Agile Practitioner and Change Agents for driving "Change" at organizational level.

In the end, I closed the talk with following:
Remember - You can’t win it all and That’s OK.
But don't let it go so easily
Make It Stick - Create a new culture
Hold on the new ways of behaving and make sure they succeed, until 
they become strong enough to replace old tradition
Build Trust
Value Results
Build agile teams that truly engage self-direction
Be Agile!

Thanks everyone @ADC for responding so passionately about the subject and for your appreciation.
Last but not the least, Thanks to Sankarshan for sharing the link of ADC 2014. 
Otherwise I may not even submitted the proposal for the talk.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Today I am Speaking at Agile Day Conference in Pune

I thank KnowledgeHut & the selection committee for giving me the opportunity to present my paper "AGILE! Who cares - Tell Me What To Do". This is about Agile Transformation Strategy, where I will be highlighting areas which often go wrong, will discuss change management in general and list out strategies to overcome them.

Hoping to see a very enthusiastic audience and looking at this as great networking opportunity. 

Note: Those who are attending the conference is taking home 7 PDUs from PMI, 8 SEUs from Scrum Alliance and this means conference is heavily backed by PMI & Scrum Alliance.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sprint Review

WARNING: On the surface, this Scrum activity appears to be both simple and straightforward. But be warned: without careful preparation, this session can lead to riotous table-thumping and streams of tears.

Just show the stakeholders what was completed over the sprint (past 2 weeks) — sounds simple right? Well, based on my experience, a sprint review is rarely simple, and in fact, I consider it to be the most delicate session to facilitate.

The core issue is aligning the expectations of a disparate group of stakeholders. These people are often more senior in the business relative to the team, they most certainly have less familiarity with the project compared to the team.

Scene Setting

Before you show any output during demo please explain why we are doing this. I am not saying you have to start from the beginning from envisioning phase of the product but definitely try explaining where you were left last sprint and what you are planning to achieve this sprint. Also it doesn’t hurt to explain the definition of done. This should help to set the stage.

Here is great video which explains why often "why" (http://goo.gl/yjmdNO) is so important

The Main Event - Sprint Review

To ensure the main event goes smoothly here are few recommended steps which you may consider to take to provide better experience for everyone.

Remember preparation is the key for the sprint review meeting and that should happen prior to the sprint review meeting. Identify user stories you are planning to demonstrate before the sprint review.

   1. Prepare a demo workflow script
   2. Prepare some basic demo data.
   3. Ensure the demo environment is working as expected. We don't want to be stuck during demo.

You don’t want the team to spend too much time on these tasks, as the sprint review shouldn’t be turned into a dog-and-pony show, but these tasks certainly need to be acknowledged. There are also a few important points to stress to the team during sprint planning.

Instead of a one-way showcase, the demo of the sprint’s completed work should act as a prompt to encourage a two-way conversation between the business and the Scrum team. It should be an open and honest discussion focusing on what was completed and what is coming up next.

Remember that this session should not become a smoke-and-mirrors slide show presentation to impress the attending stakeholders. I assure you that misleading demonstrations will only come back to bite everyone.

Preview at the Review

It is a fundamental tenet that during the sprint review, the team should demonstrate only stories that meet the definition of done. It makes sense, but it can be very frustrating for some stakeholders, and the reality is that the team will possibly receive pressure to still show what has been worked on (even if it is not quite finished).

In this situation, instead of being a stubborn mule, I recommend creating an additional agenda item labeled “Coming Soon.” This way, much like a movie preview, there is acknowledgment that the work isn’t complete, yet the stakeholders still get a sense of work that’s on the boiler and is coming soon to a sprint review near you!


Following the show, it can also be a good idea to discuss any impediments that impacted the sprint, including why they occurred and how they were dealt with. This is an opportunity to lobby for greater assistance if there are any systemic impediments. An example might be the physical environment—perhaps a problem dealing with the facilities department in your mission to get larger desks or more breakout space.

In addition, I recommend using this segment to briefly make a point of key process improvements that were implemented to help achieve the sprint goal. Don’t go into detail here, as this session is about reviewing the product, but a quick mention won’t hurt and is a great opportunity to demonstrate to the stakeholders that the team is constantly improving.

So-Called Suggestions

There will no doubt be a range of questions and suggestions that surface throughout the session. I recommend that questions be controlled and kept on topic. The team should answer any and all questions that surface in relation to what is being demonstrated; however, questions that are tangential or completely off topic should be taken “offline” in a separate meeting.

Acknowledge any suggestions made (no matter how outlandish they might sound) by writing them down somewhere. Any valuable suggestions which is related to the product should of course be added for further discussions under "Discussions" list and in future you may consider to discuss the item with Product Owner and after approval move it to "Product Backlog".

Picnics or Battles

Sprint reviews can be akin to turning up for a picnic or, alternatively, turning up for pitched battle! It comes down to taking the necessary precautions and treating each session seriously while still having some fun. Don’t assume that everyone has the same level of background as the team, and ensure that all attendees are made to feel comfortable by always explaining what is happening and why.

Aligning everyone’s expectations is the name of the game, and achieving this objective is critical if you prefer picnics to battles!