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Form (ever) Follows Function

Ice, Water and Steam- Three forms of the same source serve different purposes. Each form serves multiple unique purposes. Force fitting these forms for functions not meant for them, don’t help and fails miserably.sample

This is a great natural example of “Form Follows Function” theory expounded by great architect Louis Henry Sullivan through his favorite design phrase, “form (ever) follows function,”

All great concepts like SAFe, LeSS, Lean,etc do insist on achieving the Goal collectively as an engaged organization. TOC nicely summarizes and advocates to Increase the throughput to maximum using leverage points / constraints.  Choosing a or a combination of any concepts before applying to any program should be judged by the function it should deliver rather than fitting the function into the templates of pre-determined concepts.

Common causes of failures of new initiatives in my experience are attributed to predetermined “Management flavor of the season” initiatives rather than focusing the function that need to be served.

What is your experience? please share your thoughts.


When fix is painful than defect (Medicine pains more than illness) – Get to theory- 3.4 couplet

When fix is painful than defect (Medicine pains more than illness)

Get to Theory

~3.4 couplet

A small half cup (like that of cough syrup bottle) will contain 1 KG of water vis-a-vis around 74 mL of water. This is the practical way of informing the density concept to children, instead defining in formal physical terms like ratio of unit mass to unit volume expresses in kg/cu.m etc.

However as the child grows perception of density becomes a concept and understand the definition formally. When the child was not able to visualize concept, a direct visual demo was required as the child could not apply the density with just basic perception. However when the child becomes grown up, it will need to understand and extend the concept to broader areas and will be able to derive the density of various substance on its own use the property of density in the relevant application.

The point am trying to suggest is that quick and hot fixes in the name of Agile, will impair the long term solution/product rather than strengthen it.  Here we need the help of theory and concepts. Addressing the root causes and systematically eliminating them will make the model more solid and ensure that product / service is evolving in consistent and effective manner. There are cases where the fix is taking so much effort and cost than the leaving the actual defect in the system, resulting in more CoPQ.  Looking at this way also predictive capabilities if remain the focus and applied in true manner, then will ensure meeting long term objectives of all customers.

Solid grounding on basic concepts will help, in the words of great Toyota way provide the customers with what they want when they want and in the amount they want.

Whats in a name – ceremony or practices

Agile ceremonies like sprint planning, stand-ups, visual boarding, refactoring have been sounding like very formal customs that must be practised by all teams. Hence some people/teams prefer using the words practice instead of ceremony.

IMHO it is contextual, and can be used interchangeably. For instance a team that’s new to Scrum project management it should consider the activities like scrum planning, estimation, stand-ups, collaboration, review, refactoring et al, as ceremonies as these need to be minimum steps in ensuring project deliveries.  For a team that has matured through many sprints these activities become practices, implying that customs/ceremonies put into regular routines and become practices.

Also evolution means accommodating and modifying new elements into project management practices, that might involve replacing few practises. This is the essential spirit of Agile – embracing the changes.

As far as teams, learn, practise and perfect – sprint of Agile – What’s in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Happier stakeholders – Spirit of Agile

Mazhithalum neetalum venda ulagam

pazhithadhu ozhithu vidin

A great couplet from Tamil Sage Thiruvalluvar. Loosely it translates as neither sporting  a shaven head nor locks of hair tresses are required for those who abide by the codes and conduct of the world. Meaning, it is better to live in the spirit of worldly wisdom without physically pretending to be a sage.

A great relation can be deduced from agile for the above couplet meaning.

neither gold-plating nor abstaining(form processes) required

if user-world benefits from(products or services).

As in Lean, Agile also advocates quicker time boxed deliveries of working iterations with just necessary processes. gold plating of upstream activities like requirement, design and too much overheads will defeat the spirit of Agile .  Conversely, total avoidance of any planning, reviews and risk management will be sure road to debacle of products and services.

Just necessary process and sufficient tailoring will create products that will make all stake holders happier.

Preferable over Pleasurable II – experience over perception

Breakthrough improvements – Prefer experience over perception

It is very easy to breach than honour processes for the sake of meeting delivery schedules, more so in Agile context.  However solid standardization practices will help any team to get to the basic project  control mode quickly while giving project teams a way to think and innovate beyond.

The path of least resistance (PoLT)syndrome affects almost all teams taking shade under the Agile cloud. Even agile advocates refactoring and review phases during sprint ends. Then we have automatic unit testing tools, continuous integration tools, code checkers etc that are used in Agile projects generate good enough data for the organisation to better their performances in future sprints.

Skipping processes for the sake of Agility is like saying that the Sun is hidden by the cloud.

The irony is that

  • Sun creates cloud,
  • cloud is nowhere near Sun on distance front and
  • to sight the cloud itself Sun is required.

Similar note, Agile is created by good process and team work, till the sprint zero we have to have good software engineering processes like BRM, SRS ,Architecture, Design, Planning etc. To recognize good agile projects we need to have tracking process like Velocity, average velocity, defects reduction while scaling up the sprints. Good Unit testing and integration methodologies should also be implemented to ensure great agile deliveries.

Many real time project managers experienced that Agile is great with just enough processes.  In the same note it s just a (PoLT) perception that Agile needs little or no processes.

Choose the Preferable over Pleasurable

Unto you, offering thine own…… oh my customer

unto you, offering  thine own,

Oh my customer, non existing will I be,

devoid of your demands exigent.

Kano’s must-be’s my business rationale

while performance begets continuance

Attractive demands trigger  fortune hopes

best of design and product experience

caused by your demands,

commerce and transactions that you set

roll the world, guarantee and support

support business because you support

in a way understanding support service

makes you the provider and well wisher

unto you, I offer thine own.

Leader : Position Vs Dispostion

In my last post https://3point4.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/leader-by-nature-or-nurture/ I have spoken my views about leadership mentioning that everyone is potential leader.

I will try to analyze few qualities of leader here. We are aware that a leader should lead by example. Actions of leaders inspire masses than their words. Taking care of their following / team / people leaders try to sympathize with the people and protect them in case crisis. It is applicable in all situations like war, office, home, society etc.

Leaders leave a legacy that can be emulated. By this the knowledge, skill and management expertise become available and replicated in the people they lead. This is very important.  With present day facilities like wiki, internet, web and may more it is easier for people to look for the best practices and comply with that.

Another important quality of leader is his disposition rather than position.

A leader may be a state head, sports hero, great artist or a scientist or social worker, true leader help people by coming to the level of people and understanding their problem from the masses perspective and provide service and help.  A true leader does not stick to his position (status) but dispositions himself / her and get to work to the level required to make things beneficial to all

More on this soon.