Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Getting Agile

Agility and flexibility are vital in the fast-paced lifestyle we have. Time is the essence and people don’t want to spend it irrationally. It is no wonder that the traditional waterfall method is getting more “agile” every day.
One of the most common agile methods is Scrum. It constantly talks about prioritizing and doing things in an order that makes sense now; instead of something agreed several months ago. Agile also blurs several erstwhile roles and definitions and offers a fresher way of looking at things. We then tend to map former definitions to roles in Agile. It is often asked where a Business Analyst (BA) fits in Scrum. Should he/she be a Product Owner, is that closer to a ScrumMaster or should BA be a part of development team.
While the Scrum roles have a strict definition:
·         Product owner – holds the vision for the product
·         ScrumMaster – helps the team best use Scrum to build the product
·         Development team – builds the product
And you may be tempted to put BA under a development team as there is no other defined role. However, like several other things in life, there may not be a "One size fits all" solution. There may be several factors in determining what may work best for your setup.
For example:
1. Yours is a big project with multiple stakeholders with interests in specific areas. There may be some requirements from technical team, some from legal, some guided by sales and yet others a prior executive commitment made. It is important that the final product is aligned with expectations from all stakeholders or a common ground is agreed on and there are no surprises in the end. Here you may want to have different members playing the role of Product Owner, Scrum master and BAs. Product Owner(s) are aligned with external stakeholders, bringing their interests to project team. ScrumMasters are responsible for maintaining and managing individual scrums. BAs are a part of development team, working closely with business stakeholders and Product Owners. A key here would be effective communication between scrum team members themselves (PO, SM, BA and development team) and also between different scrum teams. Scrum of Scrum needs to happen as diligently as daily scrums. You may also extend this to have representatives called to Sprint Review meetings.
2. Yours is a smaller setup, with a set of defined stakeholders. Here you may want to have the same person play the role of PO and a BA. He/She would work closely with customers, bring in the requirements, prioritize them, create and maintain the backlog. You need to make sure that the setup is smaller, enabling the person to play both the roles efficiently. PO must get the time to interact with external stakeholders, get their interests and requirements aligned and prioritized appropriately. BA must get the time to explain, review and test the requirements in every sprint.
3. There are distance/ time difference between key stakeholders and rest of the team. The team isn't very large, but it isn't very small either. Here, you may have the PO situated closer to the timezone of majority of stakeholders, enabling him/her to be available to them as needed. The BA may be interacting more frequently with PO and interacting with external stakeholders for complex requirements or discussions. The PO here may be a link between BA and external stakeholders for a while. If the BA is skilled enough in Scrum practices, it may be logical for him/her to play the role of ScrumMaster too. He/She can efficiently manage the scrum and at the same time, make sure that the requirements agreed are delivered. She may need to guide the PO also in managing the scope. Having an understanding of requirements is an advantage.
Perhaps the vital parameters of a successful agile delivery are innovation and adaptability to get more efficient. There would be several factors into play and you need to define what works best for you and your team. Make that a practice and keep it simple!

To the boy I love

Dear Son,

There are so many things I wish to tell you, wish you remember when you grow up. Let me start with what you are admired for and what you need to change.

Now about 21 months old, you can walk, run, dance and pretty much do everything as far as mobility is concerned. You are pretty good at understanding stuff too. You see the daily activities and understand how stuff is done, from cleaning, washing clothes to cooking food.

You just love cooking food and being allowed to cook brings an instant smile to your face. You want to sit at the counter close to gas and just do what you see being done, from taking a pan and mixing stuff, stirring it and also making chapattis. You use all your tactics to be allowed that. Saying the words... "Upaaaa" or Upar to place you up there, and then saying "Khana" or food just in case we didn't understand the command, you say it all. Then when you are still not allowed, you start throwing mild tantrums, from bending over backwards to crying, lying on the floor showing anger and also hitting people, scratching them, pulling their hair when your demands are not met. You are quite a performer, I must say. But, when you figure out it won't be done...you won't be allowed anymore to cook on gas, you make peace with that. It doesn't take long for you to stop sulking and start enjoying life again. It may be a cartoon to watch, going "bahar" or "ummi" (for ghoomi or ghoomna) or playing with plastic balls. 
But, you don't stop trying to go back to the gas at the next earliest opportunity. You keep on trying every now and then that you would again be placed at that magical place called stove. And we do that, for that magical smile that you give us at that win!!
Lesson 6: You need to make peace with things. At some point you need to let go. It's only so long that you should ruin your day over what couldn't be yours.
Lesson 7: Tomorrow is another day to start afresh what you missed today. In your case, it is several times a day that you try your goal. Never getting disappointed, never disheartened and not reducing your efforts either.

Love,
Maa (It still feels strange when I say it)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Life Lessons from an infant

My boy is now 7 months old. And he knows what he likes, who he likes... and there are several in the list. Everytime he sees me or the husband he smiles... everytime single time. Sometimes I feel bad when I have to leave him to do some work. And then when I walk back to him, I am welcomed by that lovely smile. I think, I leave him a lot, just to know someone becomes so happy on just seeing me... and he does that with his father, his nanny, other maids... all familiar faces. I wonder when did we forget to smile for people? How come we welcome our loved ones with, "You are late, yet again" or "Did you bring the grocery I told" and not with a smile?
Lesson 1: I like you. I smile for you... then I frown if you forget to bring the grocery. But first, I smile

I get so bored... even when i have so much to do. If my internet is down for a day and I don't have a good book to read, I will commit suicide. There is no 'may' there. I will do that. What can you do, if you are on bed the whole day through. You can't sit, you can't stand. You wait for someone to come and pick you up, even for a change in scenery. If you want to reach out to something.... that shiny little ribbon or that box over there... or the flower on the bedsheet... and you can't. You do whatever you can. You lift your head if you can. You kick your feet in the air, you turn... but you do whatever you can to stay engaged. 
Lesson 2: Find something to stay busy, If you can't... create something to keep you busy. Don't die just yet

This boy finds everything fascinating. The way a newspaper flutters when the fan is on, the bright yellow colored flower on my dress, the way adults drink tea from a bright green mug, how someone mops the floor.... everything is fascinating... worth noticing, worth watching, worth being curious about. When did we stop getting fascinating by stuff and treat everything mundane.... No rainbows, no butterflies, no flowers entice us long enough. I am reminded of Sonu Nigam dressed as a beggar . How many of us would have stopped and noticed the beauty. Do we ever smell the flowers in our mad daily rush.
Lesson 3: Stop waiting for big things to interest you. Curiosity and fascination are good for all. There is more to life than that paycheck or that annual vacation


The guy is also turning into a drama. He knows what he wants and nearly how to get that. I hope, wish and pray with all my might that I am not raising a Kejriwal. I work from home now. And the guy knows which room I work in. So, all of seven months old- he wills to be taken to that room. And when the nanny picks him after his nap (45 minutes putting to sleep and 15 minutes nap), she takes him to the hall to play with him. As soon as he crosses my work-area, he would start cooing, asking her to take him to me. Its mandatory that they would stop at my room. He will see me- give me that lovely smile- I will melt and take him- no matter what I am doing - cuddle him for a while- both of us not wanting to let go and then I will get a ping on chat or a reminder for a meeting- bringing me back into reality.
Lesson 4: You want something. You make it known. If a subtle coo works- wonderful- If not throw some high pitched cry. But don't sulk in a corner if you don't get the promotion you didn't say you wanted.

When I don't trust someone, I don't trust them in any scenario. Untrustworthy gets etched in my memory. There is a cross reference between that person and the tag -the-one-shouldn't-be-trusted.
When the boy's nanny changed, he wasn't comfortable with the new nanny putting him to sleep. He still doesn't like it, but he now gives in when he is extremely sleepy. But back then, he won't sleep with her... He would fight sleep... cry a lot when he couldn't fight the sleep any longer and needed to be put to sleep- wait for me to step in, take him in my arms and he would sleep in two minutes. But even then he would smile at her, play with her, go in her arms, do everything but sleep. He had trust-issues (?). But that was situation based, not person based. 
Lesson 5: Don't hate or distrust in absolutes. If you don't like an aspect of someone, there is no need to hate them completely. 

I am sure there are tons of other things this 7 months old baby is going to teach me. I know if I learn too well, I will become a better person. Here's to that hope....

An infant with a smile...

Soon you'll have a character of your own
Soon you'll be a toddler with tantrums
A child with wishful eyes
A teen with some demands
And then you'll be gone...
An adult with a life
For now you are just my baby
A simple innocent trusting being
One who laughs when he farts
And cries when he pees
Smiles at all that he sees
Happy and kicking just to be alive
One who has so much joy to give
I so wish I could keep a part of this
Treasure every moment and keep it still
Hold on to all your gestures and all your moods
Savour the toothless smile and wordless talks
I want you to grow up, But not so fast
Let me learn from you how to live

Saturday, July 16, 2016

There has been a fun competition to post tales in less than 10 words.
Got me thinking... 
Here are the ones I thought..
Not all were shared there. But this is my space.










And now, since, I am not posting anywhere except here, I don't need to have 10 words limit. Still these would be short..


Saturday, July 9, 2016

His first love

We were made for each other...or so I thought.
He made me believe in perfection that life was to become.
I never doubted him.... and happily married we got as the world believed.

It wasn't until later that I discovered that he was married before. And had no intention to leave his first wife. I protested at first, but then gave in to her presence in our life. I thought he would get bored of her someday and ours.. his and mine would be a happily-ever-after. I compromised in the beginning. So much so that we shared our bedroom. She didn't move... she stayed... He wanted her to stay. I thought to act like an understanding wife and gave him time to"figure it all out".
Then I couldn't take it any more... and we fought... time and again. Hoping he will understand, But theirs is a commitment beyond words. He just can't leave her. After a bitter fight. He will vouch to leave her. It takes 3 days without seeing her face and he is on his knees... begging her to speak. And she complies... every time. She is probably the docile wife he always wanted. One who gives unconditionally, never questions and just exists for his happiness. She never questions his absence, his fidelity or lack of it. Just lights up as he comes. I can't be like that. I am just not wired in that way.

I don't think she means any harm to me. She is just oblivious. And probably stupid or may be too smart to even acknowledge my presence. All that she knows is how to play him and that she knows wonderfully well. Honestly, I don't resent her. I just hate their time together... their camaraderie. I tried to befriend her and play it as a team. But soon I would realise I am an outsider and would always be. I have given up on that. I can't see it anymore.

Long long ago, when I was a free spirit, I always thought that if my partner would cheat on me, I would leave him. I would never beg any one to stay. I am far more worthy than that. I am not sure anymore. After years of begging him to value me, to talk to me, to at least give us equal time, I have give up. Here I am, living in the same house with him and her. The only thing I have achieved is that she doesn't sleep in the bedroom and I don't talk to her anymore. And he doesn't talk to me either. Such is life.

He calls her 'TV'

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Our missing Women

This post is not about female infanticide and skewed up sex ratio of India. That's for another day.

This is about a section of females that is getting extinct in India... Females who had the luxury of time.. Females who were available... those with knowledge of things passed through generations.

The mummy, aunties, chachis of our generation. Usually house wives, the elder generation knew how to cook, make pickles and papads, stitch clothes and make sweaters. They knew what to do when you have common cold or eye infection... generation of dadi maa k nuskhe passed along. Home remedies and easy help available without google. They would add charm to all family functions... From weddings to festivals, they would take charge and add colour to the world. Expecting a baby... Is your mother coming or are you going to her place. That's the default question. Help and time are not a question. Elders are unwell... bring them home and they would be taken care of.

I wonder what will happen when my generation has to take the baton. I don't know any folk songs... something I love during the weddings. I don't know any skill worthy enough to pass along. My kids will have everything readymade from food to clothes and sweaters. Most of my friends are working and we don't have the time or skill needed to look after others. We are going to be the generation that did not pass traditions and made everything a bland colour of market made stuff and short cut celebrations.

Would I trade my independence and carefree world for all this? Probably not. But, I certainly do feel a tinge of guilt everytime a see a century old tradition that my generation would be last to enjoy...