Image for post
Image for post
<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/photos/money">Money photo created by freepik — www.freepik.com</a>

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

We tend to learn and work under disciplined systems of knowledge. Personally, at school, I was encouraged to learn through 45 minute compartments for instruction of knowledge (called classes). At work, I was coached and advised to work only within the industry and domain I initially got an opportunity in, to gain depth.

At school, I was a little too naïve to observe and understand the problem with this and I was too scared to challenge an age-old learning system. However, I did challenge that learning model and changed it for myself later in life. I started reading for fun, not in the traditional, compartmentalized way. But in my own way of jumping to something else when I found the book I was reading a little too dry to move forward, or to have delivered its essence already. I’d start reading a book, move to the next one, and then to the next one; I’d come back and pick up the first one where I left off much later. At work, I started looking for opportunities to do something new as opposed to doing what I could already do best, after finishing each project. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source

“Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations” — Conway’s Law

“You don’t design your customers, you understand them (or not)” — Alexander Osterwalder

These resonate with me on a daily basis as I work with my product teams and SMEs to guide work definition. In the interest of making these real from pure logical thoughts, I am going to try and explain them in context. …


“Plans fail because of what we have called ‘tunneling’: the neglect of sources of uncertainty outside the plan itself.” — Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker

Lately, in every industry, there has been a trend of big players embarking on multi-year journeys to achieve grand visions. These initiatives are mainly focused on digital enablement of their technology footprints or complete overhaul, in some cases. While it is perfectly okay to have these grand visions, trying to achieve them using the traditional big bang approach is not feasible anymore considering the rapid market shifts due to new digital disruptors. That said, the foremost question posed by most executives, senior and front-line leaders today is: “how can we achieve our grand visions incrementally, in a nimble way, allowing ourselves to pivot along the journey based on market trends?” This question is pertinent not only from the standpoint of providing better customer experience, thereby driving greater customer satisfaction and retention, but also to remain relevant in an extremely competitive marketplace with new digital entrants trying to gain market share every day. While IT leaders are trying to solve this problem by uplift of tooling and technology, there is a definite, impending need for business leaders to change their mindset with regards to how they have been used to perceiving business value and tailoring operational processes as needed to consume technology capabilities delivered incrementally; of course with consideration for the most important question: “ does the increment enable better customer outcome(s), potentially in conjunction with some legacy systemic and/or manual processes, until the full scope is delivered?”


Image for post
Image for post

Features are not vertical groupings of user stories. They must be designed so they either serve internal functions or drive customer experiences; they must be outcome focused.

Short feedback loop can prove its real use when based on the point where actual customer value is created.

“Let’s not do agile, let’s be agile”, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. I have heard these so many times from so many agile coaches and thought of them as agile community cliches. Honestly, I struggle with understanding such cliches when they are not put in context. So I have always wondered what they actually meant by these. Then I had a moment of epiphany that made me derive my own meaning of the aforesaid. That moment occurred a couple of years ago (2017). I was on one of the largest and most complex agile transformations in my career thus far, involving several product teams, thousands of people across business and tech. I was tasked to lead the definition of an agile operating model for a half a billion dollar multi-year legacy modernization program that had been running for months. The program had delivered tons of requirements and design documentation. However, no visible, consumable business value (working software) had been demonstrated or delivered. There was tremendous pressure from the business to showcase value. The challenge at hand was to get the teams to deliver demonstrable functionality at the end of every sprint to gain stakeholder confidence. “What a noble goal!”, I thought. The moment I heard about this challenge, I decided to be all over it. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source

“We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our character, from those who are around us” — John Locke

Let’s briefly examine this interesting quote about human behavior by John Locke. I believe he meant that we humans, more often than not, are victims of the herd mentality. This can be extrapolated to organizational behavior, given that organizations are made up of people and their thinking and decision making shapes the course of organizations after all. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source

Generally, human condition is to naturally and effortlessly act based on emotions and morality. While this condition distinctly distinguishes us from our cohabitants of the planet and gives us a unique identity based on this essence we call “humanity”, we may also be inhibited for growth and further evolution as a society by these very emotions, mostly extreme morality and the sense of pride that “we are the most evolved” at play, overshadowing our stoic abilities. I’m reminded of Nietzsche’s übermensch in this context. Think of humans with emotions enough to absorb happiness and morality enough to let live. We would essentially be high functioning bio-robots, equipped to lead lives filled with efficiency; we would have time and energy to derive pleasure out of everything that matters to us. I wonder how Epicurean our lives would be! …

About

Krishna Kandala

agile, digital transformer. product, service designer. ai aficionado. foodie, traveler, reader, complexity thinker, philosopher, photographer. views are my own!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store