Week 2 – Excel at Both Innovation and Execution

Bruce Kasanoff: How to Excel at Both Innovation and Execution 

A good easy to understand Bottom up and Top Down Model

Dave Kerpen: The 15 Most Inspiring Videos of All Time

I kind of love the Al Pacino Video


How and Why to Teach Your Kids to Code 

Have a look at scratch. Truly Inspiring.


Steve Tappin: Chinese Wisdom: Inspiring Quotes For Global Leaders

 I kind of like this – “Others can imitate my management model, but they can never endure the hardships I have experienced, nor have my passion persistently to push forward.”


How to Quit Your Job Like Sherwood Anderson: The Best Resignation Letter Ever Written   

Amazing Letter Indeed


Week 1 – Fear your strengths

Schumpeter: Too much of a good thing | The Economist
A counter-take on your strengths . Should you be scared about your strengths ?
Vision Reinforcement
Read Point 1. What did you do till today ?
Lincoln, Mandela and Obama: Lessons for Leaders Over Three Centuries
Ten Business Lessons from the Battlefield
Google Strategy Explained
A useful paradigm for our own stories as well.

A Reading List – Management and General

I will fill in the actual author, URL’s and a note on what I like about these books shortly , but an amazon search will possibly give a more accurate review of what these books has to offer and may be excite you as well. These are in no particular order, but in my view these are pretty decent and compelling reads

Crucibles of Leadership
A lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and off the court
Man’s Search for Meaning
Emotional Intelligence
The art of possibility
Questions of Character
Leadership and Self-Deception
Become a Technical Leader
Good to Great
Business Model You
Resonant Leadership
Drucker on Leadership
Leading Quietly
The power of Habit
Reverse Innovation
Built to Last
Changing Minds
The new age of innovation
The Black Swan
The Ascent of Money
The Power of Now
The Secret
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Wings of Fire
The case of Bonsai Manager
Code Named God
To Begin Where I am
Just for Fun
Predicatably Irrational
Four steps to Epiphany
Breakout Nations
Reality Check
The back of the Napkin
Difficulty of Being Good
Surely you are joking Mr Feynmann
Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid
Will Power
Management by Drucker
Fifty Psychology Classics
Sophie’s World
A whole new mind
The Journeys of Socrates
Our Iceberg is Melting
Presetnation Patterns
Talent is Overrated
Persuasive Presentations
Emotional Design
Delivering Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Impact Equation
Employees First Customers Second
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
The Owner’s Startup Manual
Bertrand Rusell – An autobiography
Checklist Manifesto
Crucial Conversations
Made to Stick
To Engineer is Human
The Halo Effect
Moonwalking with Einstein
Make your Ideas Matter
An Inconvenient Truth
The journey of the accidental leader
The War of the Art : Winning the Inner Creative Battle
The Cluetrain Manifesto
The wealth of Nations
Meatball Sundae
The Icarus
Good Business
Confessions of a Public Speaker
Presentation Zen
Ten faces of Innovation
The Art of Innovation
The Wisdom of Crowds
The Intention Economy
Making  Ideas Happen
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
The Accidental Creative
Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership
HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself (with bonus article “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen)
Your Erroneous Zones

Hasty Snippets – Management Agility Conference


As ever, this is a hastily put across compilation of the sessions that I attended on the two day Management agility conference held at the Sheraton Bangalore on Feb 27th and Feb 28th 2013. Everything in this compilation is lifted from http://agileindia.org/ai2013/index.html and copy rights belong to the original people who presented in the conference. The speakers I attended to are listed at the end of this note. Like everything in agile, this was a well attended, well done conference with no philosophers (excluding the likes of me) and only practitioners. In other words these came from people who have made the journey from Apprentice to Master. Any mistake in this should only be attributed to me.  For any specific details regarding this, please feel free to write or talk to me and I shall be happy to share whatever I experienced.

People, People, People

The importance of people was re-emphasized in all talks. Simply put success of agile practices depends on people and collaboration between them. Good people make a 10X difference in quality, speed and every related aspect. The essence was captured in the following text.
Clearly the role of conventional manager is changing to more of a facilitator. Their primary responsibility can be summarized as
  • Help the team deliver
  • Stop external interruptions to the team
  • Make them better people than what they were when they got into the project


People should transition to be what can be termed as an oxymoron. They should be ‘Generalized specialists’ having both the breadth and the depth.  This can be visualized as follows and possibly said as having the ‘T’ skill.  This essentially means everyone in the team knows what it takes to get software deployed to field (from analysis to rollout)

To illustrate how a bid (real life example) was won using agile teams the following examples was shown. This is overhauling an insurance company
Company that won the bid
Project Schedule
12 months
8 months
Project Price
2 M $
1.1 M$
ROI (Return on Investment)

This is the kind of productivity improvements that a Polyskilled team can demonstrate.

Technology Radar

Technology organizations should have a Technology Advisory Board (TAB) that shall meet frequently. ThoughtWorks uses this effectively and have a weekly virtual meeting and two face to face meetings in a year. The output of the two face to face meetings is technology radar that they publish twice in a year and which portrays their view on technology and makes a case to adopt/hold/trial/assess. A sample of the recent radar can be seen from the following link.
Emphasis should be placed on creating personal technology radar once in a year as well which helps to manage the individual’s knowledge portfolio. Individual should have four quadrants as shown below and manage this on a yearly basis.


An organization quadrant shall possibly look like this and it would be a good idea to map if individual directions and company directions are in sync.
Tools and COTS (Commercial off the shelf software)

A good litmus test for choosing a particular technology can be as follows (Though it varies from organization to organization)
  • Testability
  • Integratibility
  • Narrow suitability to task
  • Adoption
The benefits of adopting technology radar for the organization and individual can be summarized as follows
  • A platform of continuous analysis
  • Unified message to non-technical but interested people
  • Excuse to get together and have impassioned conversation
  • Business view of technology
  • IT view of technology
  • Being Aware of the “Competitive blind side”
  • Manage your knowledge portfolio
  • Proactively guard your career

Engineering Fundas and Metrics

Inverting the testing pyramid

The two diagrams are self explanatory on how testing should be approached. This also provides a possible tool list on what tools could be used at what stages

Nice things re-produced

  • Agile can scale from 2 member teams to 2000 member teams co-located or distributed
  • Agile not only web applications. Have been proven in all kind and all scale of applications (From startups to giants like Ericsson, Intel)
  • Agile architects are coding architects
  • Safety isn’t success
  • Velocity isn’t value
  • Good process looks bad
  • One balanced team not client -vendor
  • Working as a team of co-makers requires mindset changes
  • Reality bites
  • System 1 Thinking
    System 2 Thinking
    Evidence, plans
    Tacit Knowledge
    Explicit Knowledge
    Auto pilot
    Manual Mode
    Overrides System 2
    Checking on System 1
    Makes most decisions
    Basically Lazy
    • Getting better is a better option than being good.
    • Worry about being resilient rather than perfection. If someone brings down Amazon can they recover in minutes or seconds? Though they design very carefully, they are not paranoid about ‘not going down’
    • Focus on telling a compelling story
    • Do not fall into the experience trap especially when in estimating

    Move from
    • Productivity to impact
    • Predictability to experimentation
    • Efficiency to Decentralization
    • Making money to making a difference
    Deming’s 14 obligations of Management (http://www.managementwisdom.com/wedde14po.html). This was mapped to agile thinking
    1. Create constancy of purpose to improve product, service, and people with the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.
    2. Adopt the new philosophy of continual improvement. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and become leaders.
    3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place.
    4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. Minimize total cost.
    5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
    6. Institute training on the job.
    7. Institute leadership
    8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. Fear paralyzes people and prevents improvement
    9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production as well as consumer difficulties. People need to understand how departments interact and affect each other.
    10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force. Only management can improve the system.
    11. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
    12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship
    13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
    14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job and management must create a vision and program to include and inspire every employee.


    Speakers (Sessions I attended and the material came from)