Saturday, August 24, 2013

Is Your organization ready to embrace Design Thinking ?

image With the popularity of "design thinking," companies are encouraging their designers to be in the field interacting with end users. Like any other new methodology or process adoption, design thinking requires a fair bit of change in the mindset of designers along with some new skills.

One cannot change the process without changing the mindset of people nor giving them the appropriate tools to succeed.

One needs to analyze the skills and training needed to succeed with the new process.

Do you want to learn what these skills are and the necessary tools, read rest of the article  here 



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Friday, August 23, 2013

Lean and Agile Project Management using Scrum – Upcoming Course in Melbourne


image There is an upcoming Lean and Agile Project Management Using Scrum Course in Melbourne CBD  on 30th Aug.  I highly recommend this course both for novice and advanced practitioners.

Get further details here.

Quick overview of the course below:

Scrum and Agile have been around for years, but organisations are still struggling to realise the potential benefits of using them. Much of this stems from the myriad of tools, frameworks, practices, methodologies and processes in the market that all claim to make your teams more efficient which, in turn, will lead to an Agile organisation.

The truth is that none of these things will achieve that. The only thing that will create a more effective, adaptive, proactive, productive, happy organisation is a genuine desire from the people of influence in that organisation to want better. A desire to remove tired old processes and procedures that do not exist because they are effective but because they have always existed. To optimise the whole, not the individual parts. To care.

Managers and executives need to jump on the continuous improvement train and start to create a more effective world of work for their employees.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Psychological impact of public criticism – AOL Story


A lot of people have heard of AOL, but until last week they may not have known much about Tim Armstrong, the company’s CEO. Recently during an internal team meeting of nearly 1,000 employees, Armstrong fired one his employees, Abel Lenz. This incident sent ripples all over the business world.

Some people believe that Abel was fired for taking pictures; others believe it is his association with the failing Patch project. Irrespective of the cause, this incident raises several questions: Is firing an employee in public the right thing to do? What are the repercussions of doing so in regards to the rest of the employees? What is the CEO’s role in the failure of a product?

This kind of firing,  impacts not only the psychological safety net of employees but impacts the employees morale, company’s bottom-line as well.

Read the complete the article on Techwell here…  I have shared many psychological research to show the impacts. In this article I have also covered different leadership styles impacting the employees.


Access all my articles on Techwell here

Sunday, August 18, 2013

LAST Conference slides available on SlideShare

image I have uploaded the Lean Agile And Systems Thinking conference slide “Does Agile help Innovation”  to Slideshare.  

Agile does help to an extent in building innovative products but overreliance would cause more damage than usefulness.   Based on my experience working in research labs building innovative products  and through well proven research data, I have shared many stories about raise and fall of  innovation  at  popular companies like 3M, Google, Amazon, CraigsLists, McDonald and LEGO

  • It was good to see, so many people turned up during this presentation, which is a reflection of interest in Innovation.
  • A meet up to discuss about  Innovation for social cause has been arranged in Melbourne next week, and looking forward to attend the same.
  • The conference was very successful with more than 350 people turning up at SwinBurne University campus with tickets being sold out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Look at reality and don’t get distracted with metrics

image With the advancement of technology that improves user experience, all manufacturers are spicing up the user interfaces and dashboards of their products. Recently, I read this article from The New York Times about the increased distractions due to extreme dashboard makeovers in cars. This is not surprising at all.

On our Agile projects as well, the stakeholders get carried away with Vanity metrics like Velocity, Engagement scores, Agile Maturity assessments, etc.

Even though these metrics are important, they shouldn’t distract the stakeholders from the reality…

Read the complete article on Techwell here…. 


Read all my Articles on Techwell by clicking here image


Design Thinking - Chat ?

image Any one interested in a catch up about  Design Thinking ?     If you are in Melbourne, drop me an email and we could catch up in person and, if you are oversees we could discuss over Skype or google hang out. 

My next article “What it takes to be successful in embracing Design Thinking”  would be available on Cutter shortly.

Design Thinking could help in building innovative and usable products.  Bringing a lean perspective, it helps in building useful features and avoiding wastes.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What am I reading ? Brick by Brick


As I am learning, experimenting and playing around  Lean Startups, Design thinking and Innovation, this book Brick by Brick, How LEGO rewrote the rules of innovation and conquered the toy industry provided additional evidence to support my thinking around innovation and creativity.

I have just finished couple of chapters in this book, and I could feel the energy LEGO stakeholders have invested to make this a great company. LEGO started as a small and family owned business in a remote European town. They were happy with a set number of toys they were selling in Europe and were leading a happy go lucky life. However, one day they realized that their survival is at stake as the world is changing fast.  Sometime during 2003-4, a highly successful company was on the verge of going bankrupt. The leaders were determined to rescue it and seriously looked at enabling innovation for survival.

They religiously followed all the key principles of innovation, and one thing which made a positive difference is about the diversity.  LEGO used to be a purely European owned and confined to Europe. To enable diversity, they opened branches in several other countries in the world, and hired people from diverse backgrounds.


 Diversity key for innovation

I can’t stress enough, diversity in thinking is critical for innovation. Most companies ignore diversity, and look at purely  technical skills while hiring employees into organization. Here is how the requirement for any project looks like:

    C++ and Java expertise – minimum 5 years experience (in depth knowledge)
    Windows development expertise
    Unix (Solaris/Linux) development expertise
    Scripting languages such as Python, Perl or Shell scripts
    TCP/IP client-server development experience
    SQL commands and database knowledge
    Ability to work independently and multi task in demanding, time-critical environment
    Excellent communication skills

I have read somewhere that many innovative companies, including Google hire people with background from Mathematics, Biology, etc.  Diversity in thinking is highly essential for innovation.

Let me ask you before I end this post,  Do you have diverse thinking people in your team ?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Difference between a Great leader Vs a Good leader

image Recently came across an article which had excerpt from Steve Jobs interview.  Here is what Jobs says
At Pixar when we were making Toy Story, there came a time when we were forced to admit that the story wasn't great. It just wasn't great. We stopped production for five months.... We paid them all to twiddle their thumbs while the team perfected the story into what became Toy Story. And if they hadn't had the courage to stop, there would have never been a Toy Story the way it is, and there probably would have never been a Pixar. "We called that the 'story crisis,' and we never expected to have another one. But you know what? There's been one on every film.

There are some beautiful messages hidden in the above statement.
  • I could see the Courage to halt things when things are not going in the right direction
  • Taking a stand to make a product  perfect
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Admitting and accepting the failure
  • Embrace the financial loss
The above mentioned great qualities I guess made Steve Jobs a great leader and inspite of his temper tantrums.
How many leaders do we see around in our organizations and projects who can courageously call off projects, provide a thinking time to redesign/rework and proceed later ?  

Most of the time, the companies are so focused on delivering the product on time within budget thus sacrificing the quality and customer satisfaction.
What's your view on this ?  
Have you worked with any leader with jobs qualities ?