Wednesday, April 16, 2008

nature of improvement

i was going thru a few documents highlighting how people seem to have improved their systems using available improvement methods. most of them seem to say: i was unorganised before, but i got organised now and hence am better than before. we are yet to get to saying: i was organised before, and i did xyz and am even better now.... so for guys like me in the consulting or business, things are quite easy. but when we get to a level when every one is organised, then it will be quite an uphill climb, i suspect!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

being "in the thing" while being "on top of things"

my friend karthik wrote about the impulse to stay on top of things . looking again at my workload levelling, i am finding that once i determine what i want to do in a day and allot timeslots for them, i am very relaxed, and very much "in the thing" and a lot of stuff got done.

so, we may need to be a bit of both - on top and in it...but not at the same time, that's all :)

the most difficult thing was the "planning what to do" part. afterwards, once an activity was started, it was quite easy to forget about the rest.. btw, i am finding it a bit difficult to sustain.

i know that navneet will say, even without doing any planning, spontaneously, we can get into being "in the thing" and that will also give peace.. which is true...

maybe i am just a bit too obsessed with perfection!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

work load levelling

the past few days, am doing an interesting experiment... am trying to see how it feels to work 8 hours a day!!! my workload is quite heavy these days and it would certainly be useful if i melt the backlog efficiently... (i have always thought that the reason software folks are so overworked, is because of their fundamental assumption that every one will work 8 hrs a day every day!)

but it is quite tiring.. just work, continuously, without taking any fun breaks, is very sapping..even though there is a feeling of having achieved what one sets out to do.. i need to try doing it smilingly and see whether it saps.. or maybe i have never worked hard continuously in my life :) and this sudden change finds my mind muscles very inadequate!!!

was wondering why it is reason could be that in the quest of perfection in workload leveling, i hvn't done anything at all in that area... and the stress is coming because of thinking of the backlog,certainly! let me do it imperfectly and tune it along....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Next blog, after a long time! more on work and what we want from it!

Had some thoughts today on what to blog – the issue i had was that i do get a lot of thoughts at times, but they get lost because it does not get recorded anywhere !!!! what is the solution? Found out that i somehow expect to have the computer on and handy, internet ready for me to blog.. don’t know how the rest of you solve it, but i told myself to try having some paper handy - a A4 folder twice over should be good enough.. otherwise use post-its! Better to do something inefficiently (once on paper, same thing again on the blog) rather than not do it at all!

I thought that one of the most important things we need to understand is what employees want out of work! All of them do not obviously want excellence all the time.. they are human, subject to moods.. some times they will be in a mood to satisfice – just do the minimum - clock time and get away from it as soon as possible. Sometimes they will be in a mood to create, contribute, etc. it is important to recognize that all people may not have the mood to excel, and among the people who want to excel, the mood is not there always.. otherwise what is the difference between machine and man?

I am thinking that i should collect this info from the teams i meet as well as find out what is stopping them from getting what they want from work! And how to can they get what they want from work – the classic “where do you want to be, where are you, how to get there” questions…also mentioned by goldratt as the fundamental questions for his Thinking processes… maybe a 6 thinking hat exercise on each of these questions will be a good idea!

On the same lines, i started thinking what it is that I want out of work? I thought that i will be happy to play a part in making people effective, efficient and satisfied with work! And what about for my own self? - strangely, i find i don’t have much personal desires from work, at a deep level. Of course, this is the answer at this moment, but there may be stuff that is nascent that would appear as reactions to certain stimuli.. that’s fine :-)

I did find a very nice nook at our office in electronic city to start writing this! Great ambience.. a wooden sideboard on an outside wall to sit and muse! Very nice! Lot of trees around the manmade lake.. nice cool breeze.. ducks preening themselves outside the water! Crows kaa-kaa-ing! Great early morning to do this work (meetings start only at 10.30) - and a stomach filled with poories, fruit and water!

Some of the things that i need to think about much deeply is the balance between discipline, measurement and their effect on creativity! I am also impressed by the need for awareness, meditation for us to excel in this field of software.. how to be mindful to our own thoughts, reactions and so on - so as to get to reach deep inside our own excellence…

Another thing that i need to brood about is whether the work that we do as part of software is creative ? an art? Or is it a science – meaning amenable to standardize? Not just the work of software creation, but also all the peripheral work around it… does the lean methods that we use currently, touch just the periphery or is it capable of reaching much deeper into the core of work?

More soon, and many thanks to Navneet for prodding all of us on, to think and to share! And to Karthik who avers that he shares the same problems as I do in logging or blogging :-) Strangely I found that once i started writing this page, i kept on adding new stuff and it is fairly flowing..

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

work in software??

it seems to me that most of our work in managing and monitoring software projects circles around the key value add activity - coding seems to be a binary activity (it is done or not done)

are we really examining how software is getting created? our management techniques look at code creation as a black box activity... there is no key insight into how code has been written - even though there is a cursory question: has code review been done? this is akin to toyota not asking how cars are produced, but investigating value chains in all the ancillary activities..

even alternate software development life cycles like agile seem to look at aggregates in the life cycle.... is this a key area to evaluate our work methods and look at sources of innovation? or is it so commoditised that it does not matter?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

first post

to record my ruminations on work, purpose and life..