Wednesday, 31 May 2017

6 Steps to Scrum Adoption at an Indian Start-up

Adopting Scrum presents different challenges to different teams. There are those large IT organizations that have been long used to Waterfall, and there are mid-sized companies and start-ups that have developed their own project methodologies – usually some customized form or hybrid of existing methods. However, the Scrum framework in its official form has advantages, especially to a start-up. When the right teams/projects adopt this framework, Scrum can not only lend its inherent agility to your project but also foster a culture of innovation and continuous growth in your company
In this article, I speak about the challenges we faced as a first-time Scrum team and how we overcame those challenges. The article is a collection of excerpts based on my project experiences. 
1. Inducting your team 
The best part about how we inducted our team to the Scrum framework is that we didn’t. Well, at least not by way of day-long training sessions or PowerPoint slides. We had an experienced Scrum Master who spent about 10 minutes giving us a round-up of Scrum – the events, the roles, the culture. We relied on organic learning and adaptation once we dived into the project using Scrum. 
2. Nurturing your team’s culture 
It’s important that a team respects the Scrum values of transparency, inspection and adaptation and espouses the characteristics of cross-functionality and self-organization. We created this by first sharing all development information among all – client needs, risks, mitigation plans, monitoring data, etc. It established trust and quickly led to a sports-team kind of camaraderie. A loud and clear message that we’re all in it together! Also, we respected seniority but not bureaucracy.  
3. Autonomy for the Product Owner 
Too many cooks spoil the broth. The Scrum guide says there should only be one Product Owner (PO) for a Scrum team. Usually, the PO is a single member from your client’s company, or a business member from your own company. This person should be the one giving requirements to the team. Of course, autonomy does not mean autocracy. We identified a business member (internal) as the PO that will be in constant touch with the client, collect requirements, work with the developers and provide feedback. Our PO was also open to ideas and negotiation with both client and developers. Our team respected the PO’s decision as final when it came to requirements and releases.  
4. Collaborative sprint planning 
Unlike traditional project planning, Scrum does not rely on a project manager to create estimates and allocate tasks. Scrum encourages the entire development team to estimate the effort, break down the requirements into tasks, decide how much work will be done in a sprint, and allocate it to themselves. We noticed an interesting phenomenon here: when junior and senior developers worked together on effort estimation, it led to exchange of fresh ideas from the juniors and wisdom from the seniors. Although this was a first-time activity, it turned out to be fruitful. 
5. Getting the work done 
Scrum teams are cross-functional and self-organizing. This meant that our team got the work done without a manager/supervisor constantly hovering over them. As start-up employees, our developers were used to working on their own, but the Scrum culture further enabled them to become more responsible, accountable and cross-functional. Coders and testers, juniors and seniors – all worked hand-in-hand in one direction – ultimately reaping the benefits of Scrum adoption. 
6. Staying on track 
Having adopted the Scrum framework (or any Agile method) does not mean that anything is okay. Agility does not mean staying disorganized. The whole aim of Scrum is to avoid negative chaos. There were two situations when the “anything is okay” mindset crept in to our team – a) when a deadline couldn’t be met, and b) when client wanted more features in the middle of a sprint. We handled these situations by not allowing ourselves to extend deadlines or taking additional requirements. A balanced negotiation between development team and the client helped us stay on track. Additional requirements were always accepted; however they were not allowed to affect an ongoing sprint. 
If you’re wondering where the Scrum Master fits in all this, do not be surprised. The Scrum Master is a servant leader and an enabler. This person is not a project manager. He helps the team adopt Scrum, coaches the PO and developers on best practices, removes obstacles, and constantly carves the team’s path to success. We were fortunate to have a Scrum Master who gave us a right balance of guidance and autonomy to deliver a successful project. 
Do you have thoughts about something we could’ve done better in adopting Scrum? Please share your comments below. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

I am on Cloud Nine with my Second Book Launch

Indian Bloggers

Hola Loves, it gives me immense pleasure to share with you that my second book, 'The Fragrance of True Love’ was launched in the second season of Grand Blogchatter Ebook  Carnival a couple days back and I am so indebted to them for the same. This is my second book with them for the second consecutive second year and I value their vision and community power.

 Also, words fail me to express my gratitude to each one of you from the bottom of my heart for all your support always. I trust you would shower the same love to my maiden foray into the fiction world, a soulful novella which is the softest piece of my heart.

 This book is about a girl who is in search of herself despite of achieving all her goals. She feels compellingly jinxed under the trauma of her ugly past. She shudders, she sulks but sustains to give her mom and brother a better life.

 On the other hand there is lovable congenial lad who falls for this girl at first sight. Despite of trying hard he fails to break the walls she has created around herself. Dive into their world to read their divine enchanting love story, 'The Fragrance of True Love' available on Amazon and Blogchatter. You can also grab it's paperback version by clicking here.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Reflections AtoZChallenge : I Set A Goal And Yeah My Second Book Is Releasing Soon

Indian Bloggers

Blogging is an erratic journey and you naturally tend to get lost in the huge ocean of capable and impressive writers if you don't keep your head firm on your shoulders and keep yourself motivated to create something unique to touch the hearts of your readers as well satiate your soul. Plus it is important to have a direction where your blogging is heading and to have goals for your writings. Goals both in terms of the quality you produce and also the quantity in terms of how to maximise the reach of your posts.

No matter how much gyaan you assimilate from your friends you get the real gauge of the situation when you dip in it and either learn to swim or drown and fade away.

Last year as I embraced the coveted #AtoZChallenge I set my first sincere goal of bringing forth 26 true tales of Indian Women evoking an era of change. They were widely appreciated and took the form of an  Kindle ebook which still sells steady on Amazon. Though I had won more than a dozen blogging contests before it, my real recognition came from these twenty six heartfelt renditions talking of women empowerment and liberation which helped in shaping my identity in the blogosphere.

The A to Z Challenge gave me the dedication to fulfil my dreams of being the voice of Indian Women and also gave me the global reach and if you are wondering why I am talking of last year, here's the reason why. Last year's success, blew away layers of dust from my long cherished parallel desire of attempting an eternal Love saga in the form of a novella for I had a strong belief in my story telling capabilities though so far I had mostly played in the non-fiction genre. And yes eleven months ago, I made up my mind to penning a serialised fiction for my #AtoZChallenge in 2017.

Fast forward to the last day of March this year, pressing circumstances forced me to initially think of abandoning the opportunity. I saw my blogger friends theme reveals and rejoiced in their planning with scheduling the posts well in advance....and then suddenly on 1st April I wrote my first introductory post of my novella with absolutely no drafts at all but with the characters only built strong in my head and nowhere else.

An unknown force kicked me out of my slumber and then there was no looking back from there. I wrote every morn at sharp 9 a.m. unfailingly for the characters played havoc in my mind until I brought them to paper. The urge was so strong that despite I met with a serious accident with my face and right hand burnt badly right in the first week of April, I didn't give up. The reason probably was was the appreciation I received for the narration and the story line right at the start. Also, since I knew my goals well in advance and I always love inching close to them despite of the circumstances, without a doubt I sailed ahead.
I wrote close to a thousand words each day and just went with the flow, though I admit I would have spent more time editing but I rather preferred reading my wonderful co-Bloggers who were also participating in the challenge. It felt like family with them and with my loyal readers who accepted my maiden serialised fiction attempt with great love. The month was amazing which also gave some wonderful friends of a lifetime.

Thanks to this awesome challenge and the constant support of team Blogchatter, on 1st May I had the manuscript of my first novella in my hands and as I thoroughly revisited it many times, I admit it was a crude first draft albeit of a beautiful eternal love story. I spent the coming two weeks editing and shaping it into a profound book after uncountable rounds of edits and it shall be available in print as well as ebook versions very soon.

This is an earnest note of gratitude to all of you from Truly Yours Roma, straight from the heart and I wish you will embrace my book with open arms too and shower it with buckets of your love like always.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

My Gaurdian Angel From The Heavens Above

Just a thought of my mom touches and soothes the deepest corners of my heart. Her selfless love and the light of her wisdom caresses my soul on the darkest of nights though today I am far far away from her. Yes, she now lives with God but connects with me every single day from the heavens above. The fragrance of our beautiful relationship still mesmerises my soul and I and my actions are nothing but her reflections. All the words of the universe will fail me to express my gratitude to her for all she has done for us and this is the reason why me and my younger brother always called her 'Mother India'. Yes, she resembles Nargis of Mother India not only in her ethereal beauty but also in the way Nargis had fought all odds in the Bollywood Flick to rear her children.
The journey wasn't easy at all with life's vicious circumstances always creating stumbles but she ensured that we got proper education and made a flourishing career for ourselves. No doubt we have inherited the strength of character and extreme dedication and will power from her. Her beautiful smile never gave away the fact that she had hidden abundant pain in her heart but was still proud of her children's achievement and we in turn are so proud of hers.
Tears well up in my eyes when 11 years after she is gone, still her students write to us about how grateful they are to her for what they have become in life as well how they still remember her generous loving nature. Only yesterday one of her students who had succumbed to Polio early on in life but mom's vehement support and guidance made her fulfil her dreams despite of the inability, wrote to me on Facebook remembering her. Such was our mom who lives forever in our hearts. Whenever, I am my little brother meet we still hum the song we sang with our #MotherIndia, "Dukh bhare din beete re bhaiya, ab sukh aayo re....".
And did I mention her impeccable sense of humour she was well known for. She was gifted in terms of making the toughest situations light with her flawless banter and was loved by everyone on the family alike for staying with them in thick and thin. I try to imitate her in most of the things and a fairly new mom that I am, I admit I am still learning. Whenever I am stuck in something #BigSmall, I look up at her, my guiding angel in Heavens above and she sends me subtle hints to aid me. Such is a mother whose unconditional love is unfathomable and is beyond the ties of life and death. She is my superstar and the strongest rock of my life.
Though for me everyday is a Mother's Day, I appreciate how we dedicate second Sunday of May every year to the most precious person of our life as 'Mother's Day' and urge everyone to shower unconditional love on her that day and always. How about ordering her a unique gift from and surprising the most beautiful woman in your life. She indeed deserves much more.
I bow my head to all the Mother's of the world who are divine angels sent by God himself to make this world the most beautiful place with their true boundless pristine love...This is Truly Yours Roma wishing you a very very Happy Mother's Day.
This article is the entry for Mother's Day Bloggers Contest by, unique gift store in India.