Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Learn, Unlearn and Relearn.

I had created this presentation a few years ago about the various aspects of learn, unlearn and relearn. Hope you find this useful.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Future of Quality

Image Courtesy - www.pixabay.com

The Future of Quality

  • A lot of methods based on business needs
  • Too many tools available for every problem statement
  • Difficult to choose the best method
  • Method changes as per the experts
  • All of them treat humans as machines
  • Expectation is to become predictable like machines
  • Business is no more about people and service – but on profit and competition 
  • A lot of oligarchy/timocracy and kleptocracy
  • A lot of experts in a lot of areas
  • Quality an explicit part of many services
  • Quality – the unofficial policeman of the organization
  • Quality is ruthless and is always about data

  • Human centric tools and processes
  • Emotional Intelligence will prevail
  • Quality is part of the system
  • Business is about individual needs and service
  • Equality is the driving factor
  • Competition is to coexist
  • Moving from oligarchy to coexisting democracy
  • No more Quality Teams

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Training, Coaching, Mentoring

I had created this PDF a few years ago to assist me in sharing this during my consulting.
Hope you find this useful. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Process Scalability and its Importance

It is often seen that a process that works well for a small organization suddenly seems to fail as the organization grows. The failure is usually attributed to the new systems and the splurge of new people in the organization who do not ‘understand’ the intent and the need of the original process.

The fact however remains that the failure cannot be attributed to the people or the systems, but to the process itself. It is important that when a process is defined, it has to factor scalability. Scalability is defined as the “ability to scale” or the “potential to adapt” itself to new dimensions.

The dimension aspect here is the growth of the organization. A well designed process should be able to factor changes to the organization automatically. Here are some of the typical symptoms where the process is not designed for scalability:
  1. When you find in your QMS any policy or a process that has not been revisited (reviewed, modified, appended etc) for more than 8 months.
  2. When the quality department of the organization is only talking of one thing – “we need to be compliant to CMMI” or “we need to be compliant to ISO” instead of – “we need to see how CMMI can be used to make life easier and business cheaper” or “how can we make process simple”
  3. When only a few are talking about data and metrics while the rest of the organization is fighting on late work hours and poor quality or when there is a lot of blame game that is happening.
  4. Management never questions the integrity of data or how the baselines are arrived at
  5. Organization appoints “fixed” people to do all their process design and most of the times; these people are invisible and get active just before a compliance check etc.
On the other hand, these are the symptoms that indicate a scalable process:
  1. All employees talk about business with the perspective of quality and metrics (data points)
  2. There are employees on rotation to design processes and there is data to prove that the rotation works
  3. The major crib factor is about lack of business or so much of business than about lack of tools, overtime, redundant process etc
  4. All policies and process documents indicate a revision every 8 months (minimum)
  5. Quality team has a strong say and visibility to improve business and there are visible plans months ahead to indicate all checks (internal and external) meetings, internal and external drives etc – across all the departments.
The time period of 8 months is crucial as the efficiency of a designed process can be determined only after a proper gestation period. In an organization where there are capable and scalable systems, there is a check that happens every 6 months to re-visit the past and re-plan the future and the changes to the plan, policies and processes is usually completed after the half yearly inputs from various stakeholders across the organization – within a fixed time after the half yearly inputs and it typically takes about two months time to make those changes.

Anything beyond that is an indication of a process scalability failure.

Process scalability is very important as it helps the not just the growth in the business but also to ensure that the organization is adept in meeting the ‘present’ situation.
There is an interesting quote that says “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is mystery, but Today is a gift, that is why it is called Present!”.
The processes that are designed should be scalable to be used today; now! If designed properly, it will automatically provide the required data and inputs to be scalable for tomorrow so that it will become less of a mystery.
The most important aspect of having scalability is that the business is not impacted in any way as the organization scales and there are not double and triple efforts that the organization puts to be compliant to a standard, framework or a model or any internal needs of an organization.

Three tips to make the processes scalable:
  1. Have a mechanism where both SQA and SEPG members are rotational within an organization
  2. Make plans visible and managed– ensure that all process related plans are published, communicated and referred to at every given opportunity and that it is monitored for changes regularly
  3. 24X7 Communication – ensure that there are multiple modes of communication throughout the year on the intent and the principles of the various interlinked systems within the organization
It is not enough if only a few people talk about this. ALL should talk the same language and ALL should understand the intent and its importance for this to work.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Transcending from Process Definition to Process Design

It is now becoming very clear that the need for process definition is slowly moving away from defining for software/systems lifecycles and operations, to entire supply chain & business processes. The need is also moving towards ‘design’ instead of ‘define’.

With the advent of technology and the change in the global scenario in terms of better communication and the availability of better opportunities to obtain something when compared to 20 years ago has changed the game of process improvements.

It is no more looking at how a typical SDLC (Software/Systems Development Life Cycle) should be defined, but about covering the end to end scope of the present and future business of a company. Many of the complex tasks of time management, effort, productivity, defect etc have been converted into tool based solutions that aid in better, faster and easier project management. The revolution of ‘tooling’ all SDLC activities has enabled good project managers to be better informed and have reduced their work load to a great extent. This tooling revolution has also triggered the thought on the need of a role of a project manager whose work now can be done via a set of intelligent tools. All it requires now is for a technical person to double up as a project manager and manage the team and thus reducing the overhead of the role of a project manager.

This aspect is also applicable to various roles in Quality or that of Human Resources, where these roles would ultimately be part of the tooling revolution and be part of the day-today activities of the employees of the organization – apart from doing the development tasks.

This emphasises the need of ‘designing’ processes to fit this future mode of operation so as to enable businesses and people in a much better and an efficient manner. The word ‘define’ will soon loose its significance as the word is more about being concise and limited to the entity that needs definition, while ‘design’ is a more creative word. This would; I believe be the new lexicon when it comes to Processes.

Transcending from 'define' to 'design' would also require people with special skills and creative talent. The new “Quality Designers” should understand the human and business behaviour and should be able to apply concepts of Cognitive Psychology, Anthropology, Behavioural Economics, and Interactive Design and also be able to move around with present and futuristic technologies – to be able to transform the existing paradigm to a new and usable personal processes that are designed to fit the business need of the company.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Future of India and Quality

I was going through an interesting piece of writing on the future predictions of NASSCOM. The presentation talks about some of the points in detail. You can find more here:

A word of caution – my personal view:
This report projects a wonderful scenario of the future where India can be a great place to be in with the projected global growth and the opportunities within the country up for improvements. According to the report, there would be a surge in the healthcare, education and the finance domains within the country where the need of providing health, education and bank accounts to the remotest part of the country is expected to become a certainty.

As with these reports, which say that there is a nice growth, I would also urge you to look at the statement issued by the World Bank:

“The strategy envisages total proposed lending of US$14 billion for 2009 - 2012. As private financing dries up in the wake of the global financial crisis, the Bank has agreed to provide an additional US$ 3 billion as part of the total financing envelope of US$ 14 billion.”

This statement contradicts what NASSCOM is trying to say. You can find more if you visit the world bank site here: http://go.worldbank.org/OQ25M3AW80

Our job in the Quality World – my personal view:
We in the area of quality professes to have the required ‘stuff’ to be able to ensure implementation of any standard/framework/model. Our focus should shift from the current scenario where we are focusing just on the aspect of a typical SDLC to a more robust area of Business Process Engineering/Re-Engineering in such a way that the overall goal, apart from achieving the need of the business should also be to ensure that our debts to these ‘world banks’ are also reduced.

I would also like to interest you in a book called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins. In this book, John explains how economies of various countries can be changed by just a few positive projections, which in-turn projects high return of investment and urges countries to take up loans. But as the false projections fall, the country is pushed more and more into the debts of the banks that offer these loans, in effect making the people who control these banks as the “Invisible Kings”. This is also the reason why the Rich get richer and the Poor become poorer. Do read this interesting book for arriving at your own conclusions.

In a nutshell – my personal view:
We can still make it great provided we move away from the process of converting information to knowledge and start looking at information to knowledge and from knowledge to wisdom.
Do let all know your thoughts and do quiz me for any further information.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Insight into Knowledge Transfer

Here is an interesting presentation on Knowledge Transfer. The author segregates people involved (roles/population) into five different categories:
  1. Innovators (2.5%)
  2. Early Adopters (13.5%)
  3. Early Majority (34%)
  4. Late Majority (34%)
  5. Laggards (16%)

Though this presentation is not from a typical Software Background, it does provide a good insight into how these aspects affect even the Software Industry.

Hope this presentation provokes you to identify the people with whom you interact on a regular basis, into the 5 categories, and aid you in adapting better way of instigating the project folks to get into the rut of proper Knowledge Transfer.