TGIF – of Processes and Agile

For my new project I’m back to engineering. Not any old engineering, we’re doing scrum. For those of you who don’t know what Scrum is, this simple diagram will help.


Still not clear what it means? Here’s the fuzzy unicorn Wikipedia version of things.

The idea behind scrum is to remove all non-value-adding tasks and focus only on delivering maximum functionality while minimizing technical debt. What does that mean?


In case you’re not clear, here’s a brief training session.


But.. But.. Isn’t scrum all about the team? How does everyone learn what the others are doing? Well, for that there is something called a “Stand-Up”meeting.


Now, a team that’s empowered is a team that delivers. Therefore, an agile project has no external deadlines. The team estimates how long a task will take. There’s never any pressure. Really!


As time goes by, you might have questions. You might want to discuss something technical with a team member who’s standing right next to you in the daily stand-up meeting.


Aww, shucks! So what do we do? We have another meeting!


And then another. And another until…


Ultimately, because you “estimated”, you still have to deliver your code. And so.


If you’re the lucky scrum-master or team lead, you might have to update other leads about your project so that people stay updated on the “big picture”


Now you understand everything there is to know about Scrum and Agile. Consider yourself trained!


Have a great weekend everyone! The first real weekend of 2016 🙂


A long time ago, when l was in grad school, F. D. shared with me her Secret Sauce. Pick two, she said. Two of Work, Life and Sleep. Don’t be greedy and you’ll be set. It worked. Not just in grad school but beyond. It worked right up until Chotu Singh came along or put differently, Life happened. Work can’t be put off indefinitely once the sleep deficit catches up, can it?

I’m battling a horrible time war at work these days. l love my new job but hate the hours. No, this is brutal honesty month so I’ll rephrase that. l hate IT culture. People come in late, take long breaks, stay late and expect everyone to do the same. On some days l get held up at work and hit traffic so bad that Chotu is asleep when l get home Before you judge, that’s at 7:30pm.

All l need to do is work from 9 to 6. I’m usually done with my work by 5. But l get held up because people get warmed up by 4 and ready to raise issues by 5:30. So l miss my low-traffic window. And lose the entire evening.

Brutal honesty part two… l really resent my 3 year break on bad days because l could have been one level higher and more in control if l hadn’t left.

No, I’m not bitter or angry. Just occasionally resentful when l miss my child at the end of the day. Facts can’t be denied, right?

Sigh! lt’s just a vent… Thanks for listening.


Would a little professionalism hurt? In the last two months I’ve dealt with people who don’t believe in punctuality, accountability,  politeness, focus on work, and just good old professionalism. People who only believe in copying “the world” on their emails, who only accept what has been signed off by half the population of India and testified by a few cows, doggies, and monkeys just be on the safe side. People who are rude, disrespectful,  irritating, and just simply annoying as hell.

The focus of work seems to be, predictably, cost. It’s about delivering something that “works” as quickly as possible. Indian IT is still all about outsourcing and predictably, “providing value” seems to be all about how cheaply things can be done.

I don’t play along much. I would probably be better off copying my half of the world on all emails and focusing on getting as much visible I can and as quickly as possible, stability of solutions be damned. It would probably be better if I just sucked up to the people who matter. Better if I complain like everyone else when people in my team would like to take a few days off. Life would just be easier if I am  just a little more of the same.

But I find that I can’t do it anymore. I’m not sure what’s changed since we moved back to India but I find myself a lot less tolerant of nonsense. And that’s what most of the regular workday drama is. If everyone would just come in to work, do their share carefully, think through how their deliverables would impact others, and just be professional, how easy life would be. Respect for people, respect for their time, appreciation of work well done, and a firm focus on just getting the darn solution out. Is that so hard?

I know it’s all just vague rambling.  And I know Indian IT is a long way from being professional. But does that mean I must become one of them too? I can’t, not just yet. I just want to be me and good work speak for itself. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret this come appraisal time. Or will I?

I don’t know.

This post isn’t really supposed to make sense. It’s just a sort of musing.

But I’m finally, finally starting music lessons this Saturday. It’s what I moved to Chennai for and I so hope it works out.