Monday, 20 March 2017

10 things I learned from being AGILE.

10 things I learned from being AGILE.
  1. I do not have to worry about knowing everything about the product / feature right at the beginning. I can take my time to learn the product feature by feature. And get to learn together with the team and from many about the product right from it's discovery phase. 
  2. Being Agile is almost like studying self, what works for me and what doesn’t. And to learn dynamically to make necessary changes when needed.
  3. Learn on the GO what technique / method / approach works for that context and discard the rest.
  4. Switch to the right sources of knowledge. It's about also being a pendulum when needed, shift left / right to deliver.
  5. To not buy the garbage, but to question and learn than mere adherence. To go figure out who can help, to have my own point of contacts who can help and to network with the learned. This means - To be DRIVEN.
  6. AGILE - Is not the ultimate rule book of do’s and don’ts.
  7. Quick and dynamic is what it makes me in how I begin to do things (requirement gathering to release and beyond). 
  8. To invest and better my own learning. To work on improving the code, the tests and the rest is good. 
  9. There is a good kind of urgency in Agile, to get things done.
  10. I can be honest and not be questioned for being honest. In sprint planning meeting, I can honestly share my presence / absence plan. It makes people honest and keeps them that way.
Finally, 

  • When taught well we can all learn from this professional experience of being agile and make other aspects of our lives better.
  • Do not be blinded by half baked ideas, figure out what works for YOU and apply it.
  • If calling it Agile hurts you for reasons known / unknown, call it by any other name that works for you.
  • Learn to learn from the right knowledge sources.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Problems are short-lived.

Problems are short-lived.
  • If we genuinely wish to resolve it.
  • Find and learn ways to solve it. And in the process of solving it, learn and equip oneself to address the problem if it recurs.
  • Communicate and seek help to learn ways of resolving it.
  • Set out to tackle it head-on post equipping oneself.
  • Set a target date for it to be resolved. So we can move on to solve the next one.
  • Learn from anyone equipped to address it, without a bias.
Here is an experience sharing of how I tried to address a problem.

Gung-ho
I tried to recently help an employee who was in trouble and had called to ask for help stating 'You help everyone and hence I came to you'.
I was happy go lucky, trying to help others. The joy I got when their problems were getting resolved and the feedback I was receiving was enthralling. Without re-thinking, I was willing to help this employee too.

While I was away, the same employee threw a temper tantrum which arose from an unfulfilled *ask/want. When I came back in office, I tried to address the problem which the employee had shared over the call. I wished to help and address the problem face to face in a benevolent way.

(Later did I learn that the employee was not performing few tasks because it was not something that the employee wanted to do to get to the next level). *Ask/want, was to get promoted.

I believe that 'there is no professional problem which a quiet mind and effective communication cannot solve'. And clearly effective communication was not happening because the employee when we met to resolve the problem was firstly talking continuously. (Yes, this means less listening).
Secondly, is reading too much into my facial expression (which as I am well aware off, reflects nothing but what I communicate and utter justly) and conveying that 'I know what girls are. I can read their facial expressions and derive what they say and mean do not match'.
It has thus far not happened to me, that I said something and meant another thing. I am direct and say what I mean at all times.
Am there and fully present, listening to the employee and have offered to help and this happens! And the employee continues to demean.

A few days ago, there was no need to offer kindness in this situation (as I was away and did not have face to face connect with the employee) but training only. This time I did offer kindness to the employee and professionally. I conveyed to the employee that I am here because I wish to help. And left the room thinking 'All this I had to undergo because I tried to help you out in your difficult situation!'. What I did do was, respectfully listen to the employee, the concerns, immediate action points for both of us, convey the do's and don'ts and leave.

Food for thought
If a lady shows kindness, then she is assumed to be sentimental! If she is professional, then she is rude! Some expect bravery from a lady, for her to be a lady and to be a professional. This isn't true, and it creates unnecessary expectation from the lady to be her unnatural self. Have you ever noticed how some lady bosses put on an unwanted rudeness because of such silly / stupid expectations.
It is quiet natural for us all to be just ourselves without putting on an unnecessary brave face.
Why can't a lady just be a lady and just be a professional? As being professional for a lady isn't like entering a lion's den. It is much simpler and natural, why make it different and difficult because it is a 'her'?

I recollect what I learned at Fiona Charles workshop at European Testing Conference on Leadership, from management related tweets of Esther Derby and blog posts of Johanna Rothman that it is so much better to not heed to the negativity around and move on to what you set out to do. This allows one to focus on the good and rest the rest.

There are territories one must not cross as a leader when problem solving, like the one's mentioned below.
Offer to help those:
  • Who do not wish to learn - (How can tutoring help in this case?).
  • Who have a 'i-know-it-all' attitude - (Who can tutor someone with this kind of perspective to problem solving?).
  • Whose confidence you have not gained yet.
  • Who are brainwashed time and again (they are in a vicious circle).
Moral
Do what you set out to do.
Beware of the naysayers and maintain a convenient distance from them.
Invest your time where it's worth it.
Give a listen to this song 'What a beautiful world' by Louis Armstrong :)
Truth be told, be kind. BE KIND to yourself, so that you can be kind to others.