Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lean concepts for the operations management - part 2 – Why not scrum..?


Our first preference was to make a management tasks execution model based on Scrum... But definitely we have the following concerns when it comes to Scrum;

  • 1. Time boxing and sprints doesn’t work

We cannot commit to a specific time box and deliver only the committed tasks. HR department is getting requests all the time, IT dept is getting work all the time.. There is no way they can say … wait for 10 days.. We have to finish the current sprint before we book your air ticket.. So we know time boxing cannot help much when it comes to operations tasks.

  • 2. We need to deliver all the time

Services of operational functions needed all time deliveries.. not any scheduled releases in every 10 days or 3o days

  • 3. Story point estimation doesn’t make much sense

Estimating the story of recruitment of a Software Engineer as point 20 or 2nd story of addressing a leave issue as point 100 doesn’t make much sense.. relative estimation will be difficult as stories carry functions in different context

  • 4. No finishing and re-starting.

In a sprint we burn all the tasks to 0 and then we commit to a different set of story points in the next sprint.. Simply it’s impossible in operational activities. Activities flow every day every moment..

  • 5. Many teams getting involved in the flow.

We have many teams sometimes working on the same user story.. As an example when the recruitment happens.. we have engineering teams involved, HR, IT and many other ..

So then what should we do.. How about KANBAN..which is more lean…?

Next :
Lean concepts for the operations management - part 3 – Looking at KANBAN..

Lean concepts for the operations management - part 4 – How did we implement it ?

Previous :
Lean concepts for the operations management - part 1 – How did it start?

Lean concepts for the operations management - part 1


Right now we have managed to go agile with all our projects. When it comes to agile, we are quite keen on SCRUM as disciplines scrum brings to the project teams as well as to the customers help a lot in our offshore project context. In our organization, some teams pushing it to the extreme while others take the process bit relaxed..We believe that if something works right that’s the way to do it!

Ok.. This is the story… 3 weeks back, while having a discussion with my CEO over lunch.. we came up this idea of getting our management in to agile.. It started with a simple conversation … “Let’s think loud….Why can’t we have a backlog for our management and work as a management team across our departments to be more solution focused...” :-)

Great idea …but hell will be really challenging to do that.. There are challenges when implementing such concepts with the management in an organization.. how far we can use the transparency..can we have all management tasks on the wall…? how about layers within the management ? (Of course we don’t have huge hierarchy), is it only the management concepts of lean we need to add up..? …lot to think about….. I will discuss them later..

One thing I love working at Exilesoft (may be most SME level software companies) is that, no matter who that is, if anyone got any good ideas we can execute them in no time..( One of the recent examples is our recent job advertisement campaign which was quite successful. Few engineers came up with this new idea for a recruitment campaign and we changed our standard recruitment campaign over night. it worked!)

Ok..Coming back to the story.. We need our management to go agile.. But how do we do that.. ? Its challenging than implementing agile in a software development team.

First we had to convince ourselves why we need our management to go lean.. Of-course there were quite good reasons;

  • 1. We have a challenge.. Our CEO spend time in Sri Lanka and Norway.. so most the time its challenging to have that transparency of the management activities while he is in Norway. Simple rule.. Status reports doesn’t work.. we all know that…

  • 2. Some of the team members in the management team also travel frequently, so again how do we have that same transparency of work just like when we were collocated?

  • 3. There are certain tasks in the HR dept, IT dept, which are always dragging due to other commitments (Which are not marked as “Critical” )such as Employee handbook, some New backup process etc. which needs to be finished at some point , instead more tasks are adding in to the list and sometimes we lose track of time of these long term tasks.

  • 4. Management needs to be cross functional too to deliver the best and help each other.

  • 5. Maximize the time utilization, if someone has got some time he or she should be able to pick a task or help another to get a task going..

  • 6. We are a start-up.., so I don’t have to tell you the challenge.. we need to deliver more with less.

Ok we had enough reasons to go lean..go agile.. But then..Which agile would it be ..?


Lean concepts for the operations management - part 2 – Why not scrum..?

Lean concepts for the operations management - part 3 – Looking at KANBAN..

Lean concepts for the operations management - part 4 – How did we implement it ?

Friday, October 08, 2010

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