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Attune to Systems thinking and avoid local management

Time management – is not the end solutions. Time management has become more of task management and completing the tasks within the time frame. Efficiency ! Local optimization.

Time management is more of individualistic and compartmental. Goal is more apt for successful product development and sustainable organizations. While pursuing goal we need to share our cooperation by sharing our saved time / effort to people who may be struggling. So it’s the collective time and effort of the systems that is important than managing individual time / tasks.

It starts from the top and percolates down to the floor.

Attune to Systems thinking and avoid local management.


Some key aspects in scrum


Product Acceptance criteria – understanding the stories requirement clearly and preparing the stories completion as per the criteria. Mostly Product owners decide these. Development needs to understand them.


Definition of done (DoD) is a set of checklists and ‘musts’ before the release of sprint / product. It covers the acceptance criteria too.  DoD is generally a guideline and remains the same during the sprint.

Necessary but not sufficient

Set of product acceptance criteria for all stories without considering the whole sprint release falls under this category. Larger picture is more important and valuable than the sum of individual stories



Meetings should enable help to address bottlenecks

Meetings should be done if required with relevant people only. Preparedness is mandatory and sticking to agreed agenda is time saver as well as motivator. Minutes is just action plan which creates a platform for everyone involved to help each other to complete the common goal.

Having standard agenda irrespective of the meeting’s objective with templates to comply will make the inventive mind demotivating. Mostly in project management scenarios meetings serve as record for minutes. It is not bad, but not sufficient. Can the moderator of the meeting ensure wherever the bottleneck is and ensure all other functions / subordinates to help ease the bottleneck . Can the flow of the work be made smooth through the bottleneck. Then meeting works.  Less the time, better. Frequency of meeting can be adjusted depending upon the flow of the product / solution.

My thoughts on meetings!


TOC Trees for brainstorming

Brainstorming has been in the midst of many organization trying to adopt a new initiative or consider an idea. There many techniques used by experts in the filed of  project management, product development, market positioning, production, six sigma initiatives et al. Each organization picks up what it considers apt for its growth.

Taking the systems approach it will be great to consider what will be the impact of new initiative on the whole system in the short-term and in the long-term. Factoring this thought brainstorming can be used very effectively. Thinking tools  like cloud, current reality tree and future reality trees get focused perspective from all stakeholders.  Use of trees and systems approach will most probably get the organization great choice of ideas and therefore great results.

Disharmonic convergence for great solutions

Disharmonic convergence – can bring breakthrough results. It has to be properly planned and directed. Limiting the work / reducing the velocity of an Agile sprint is on one hand looks like missing a beat on velocity patterns of the few sprints maintained. However a good retrospect that has participation from all stakeholders might actually want to ensure the stories planned and being delivered are defects free. In addition fixing od previous defects if any. Here the convergence is getting all stakeholders in one page on defect free product that prove stable. Users will be happy. To get this convergence we may need to disharmonize the velocity a little bit.

So context and goal is more important than consistent productivity.

Just my thoughts.


Create flow rather than de-bottlenecking

Flow is about ensuring value flow is optimized through bottlenecks, not necessarily debottlenecking. Because debottlenecking might create bottleneck somewhere else in the system. Therefore, Goal might me out of focus if the intent is debottlenecking.

Balancing the demands from the market with the value stream and throughput of any system is critical to get breakthrough improvements. This will prove success in the short and long run. We can’t really rule out any bottleneck in the flow, in case even if that happens, the system elements of the non-bottlenecks should de-prioritize their own tasks and subordinate their priority to bottleneck by helping hands to make the flow smoother along the bottleneck.

This is not easy to bring about in a larger established system. It takes some mindset change, commitment from the leadership and patience from people concerned.

Respect people and learn from everywhere

Respect for people is one of the key principle of Lean and Theory of constraints. It creates an environment for people to understand their team’s views on all aspects of development and release of product. If open-minded conversations are allowed freely, the flow is very effective for product / solution flow. Some times learning comes from outside the company’s scope or even industry segment’s scope. The team should be encouraged to attend technical forums and meetup on the same domain as well as cross functional domains.

The moment complacency sets in terms of ‘knowing all’, the learning will stop and slowly the competition will take edge over the complacent organization. A further step in this direction of learning can be setting up some free hours say every quarter of the business year say some 10 hours of best practices learning from outside company will go a long way in refreshing and innovating new solutions