Teaching Scrum and raising money for Cancer Research

You will never know what it is like to live with cancer, until it strikes.? Most of us are lucky to never know what it is like to live with, or to lose someone due to cancer.? Please help the American Cancer Society find cures and treatments for all types of cancer.

In 2018, Rick discovered he was living with Stage 3 Colon Cancer.? Later that year, while undergoing chemotherapy, his wife was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer.

In 2018, Anil?s nephew was diagnosed with terminal Brain Cancer DIPG (Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma).? An avid marathoner, he was not able to win the race against cancer, and passed on at a very young age 0f 30 years.

Anil and Rick have collaborated to deliver life changing scrum classes but never like this. ? ? ?

Between September 30th and October 3rd 2019, Anil and Rick taught two Certified ScrumMaster? (CSM) classes in Jersey City, and raised $5300 for the American Cancer Society in the process. The two classes were delivered with drawings and interactivity that energized the participants. ?The enthusiasm and the energy the participants put in to become members of the world-wide Scrum Community, as well as help to transform the world of work, showed in everything they did in the class!

More than fifty (53 to be exact) new members to the Scrum Alliance? community will be able to knowledgeably?use Scrum in their daily lives (at work as well as at home), and know that their efforts in becoming part of that community will continue to help others for a long time.?

Brain Science was used effectively to design the class so that the participants could share their unique perspectives and experience with everyone else. The visuals created by both trainers on flip charts provided a strong metaphor that will live with the participants beyond the certification.

The trainers used an unique combination of techniques from Innovation Games, Training from the BACK of the Room and Liberating Structures to bring the CSM learning objectives to life. The trainers did not use any powerpoint but instead focused on their drawing skills to share powerful visuals.

Sharing some of the wonderful moments we captured during the class in the video. If you are interested in pursuing your Certified Scrum Master certification reach out to Rick Waters at Wisecrum

Agile, Business

Presenting technical debt and the value of engineering practices to business executives in 5 minutes

On December 19th 2019, I had the privilege and opportunity to pair present with Dana Pylayeva?in the NYC Scrum User Group?where I shared my design of presenting to executives using Sharon Bowman’s Training from the Back of the Room

A key aspect in the Training from the Back of the Room is the 4 Cs design.

  1. Connections – What does the learner already know about the topic?
  2. Concepts – What does the learner need to know?
  3. Concrete Practice – Can you learner do it or teach it to someone else?
  4. Conclusion – How does the learner plan to use it?

This might be true for training design, but all applies to presentations and public speaking. Consider presenting to executives where you usually have 5 minutes to deliver your pitch.

As a torch bearer of better adoption of engineering practices and building a DevOps culture, I had an opportunity to present technical debt to business executives so that they encourage product owners to better prioritize engineering practices within their backlog. I only had 5 minutes and I need to make an impression so that the takeaway is not lost among other presentations and messages that were communicated to them during that day.

I used the 4Cs to design my presentation

I had handouts for each executive with information about their product portfolio, list of bugs, production issues, functional and non-function improvements made during the year and? a list of practices that will help improve the overall quality of their product.

  1. Connection – I started by connecting them with the information on their handout and asked them to take a minute to read the information on the handout and vote by using their thumbs if they thought the quality of the products in their portfolio needed to improve
  2. Concept:??I shared the concept from technical debt quadrant shared by Martin Fowler in his blog at?

Technical debt is akin to financial debt, Reckless racking up of expenses on a credit card can get you bankrupt while sometimes you have to make a decision to ship and deal with consequence similar to a mortgage as long as you prioritize paying the debt on a regular basis. This metaphor along with the connection of bugs and production issues helped cement the need for better engineering practices in their mind

3. Concrete practice: At this point, I asked them to choose from the listed engineering practices and the benefits to their product, pick one or two practices they would adopt, discuss and share with a partner on their table.

4. Conclusion: The executives communicated back the improvements they would take back to their product owners.

This presentation helped them make a quick connection to the current state of their products, taught them a concept using a metaphor, helped them make a decision on one or two improvements and make a decision on communicating them with their team.

I would love to get your comments, suggestions and ideas on your executive presentation techniques

Agile, Continuous Delivery

Why do DevOps?


According to the Puppet’s 2016 State of DevOps Report?DevOps?is no longer a mere fad or buzz word but an understood set of practices and cultural patterns.

DevOps was originally coined by Patrick Debois and Andrew Shafer in 2008. The velocity conference??community made DevOps a known term with the famous 10+ deploys per day: Dev and Ops cooperation at Flickr?in 2009.

What is DevOps?:

Daniel Greene?in techcrunch?defines DevOps as a set of practices, tool and policies that lead to improved quality and automated delivery. But I really like Gene Kim’s definition in his book the phoenix project?where he refers to DevOps as the outcome of applying Lean principles to the IT value stream. These principles are age old but are now used to accelerate flow of work?in software development?through product management, development, test, operations and Information Security. ?Adapting lean principles and shift left, Toyota’s mantra is to stop and fix quality issues before they manifest at the end and also deliver just in time parts and support.


Source:?Toyota website

Imagine applying these principles to a software development lifecycle and while coding and running automated testing, checking for known vulnerabilities, testing for security, continuously integrating code and deploying several times a day in various environments including production. This is shifting left the activities that were performed at the very end, which caused problems to be discovered late and teams could never build in quality. This lead to developers spending less time reworking their code while Ops spending time in late nights and weekends to deploy code into production. In fact according to the phoenix project, DevOps has benefited from an astounding convergence of philosophical movements such as Lean Startup, Innovation Culture, Toyota Kata, Rugged Computing and the Velocity community.

What do the development and operations typically see?:

What Operations sees? What development sees?
Fragile applications are prone to failure More urgent, date-driven projects put into the queue
Long time required to figure out ?which bit got flipped? Even more fragile code put into production
Detective control is a salesperson More releases have increasingly ?turbulent installs?
Too much time required to restore service Release cycles lengthen to amortize ?cost of deployments?
Too much firefighting and unplanned work Failing bigger deployments more difficult to diagnose
Planned project work cannot complete ?Most senior and constrained IT ops resources have less time to fix underlying process problems
?Frustrated customers leave ?Ever increasing backlog of infrastructure projects that could fix root cause and reduce costs
?Market share goes down ?Ever increasing amount of tension between IT Ops and Development


Source:?2011 06 15 velocity conf from visible ops to dev ops final

The above leads to a mindset that eventually breeds mistrust and a not so healthy competition between these teams.

Lets see how DevOps changes this:

Looking at some statistics of companies showed high performers delivered on faster time to market, increased customer satisfaction and market share, team and employee productivity and happiness as well as allowing organizations to win in the marketplace.

Amazon in 2011 deployed code every 11.6 seconds, Netflix several times a day and Google several time a week. ?Gary Gruver’s description of their transformation of HP’s laserjet division where?400 people distributed across 300 continents is able to integrate around 150 changes or 100,000 lines of code ?into the trunk on their 10m lines of code base every day.


We know our quality within 24 hours of any fix going into the system and we can broadly test for even last minute fixes to ensure that a bug fix does not cause unexpected failures

Check out Guy Gruver’s talk?in 2013?on how they did it.


DevOps transformation at scale is hard and needs changes in both organization and technology bringing together teams that have been in the past operated separately and introduces innovation?that automates end to end software development pipeline.

Agile, Continuous Delivery

Developer activity metrics Part 1: Gitinspector

Measuring developer productivity is one topic destined to be a cause of heated discussions. Leaving all sentiments aside, here’s a short list of tools with ambition to provide analytical analysis to the developer activity.

  1. Gitinspector – free and down-to-earth statistical tool for Git repositories
  2. Hello2morrow – builds code dependencies graphs and identifies software architecture rules violations
  3. Semmle – a commercial tool with main focus on ability to view results of static code analysis under different angles
  4. BlueOptima -Developer Efficiency Analyzer – a commercial tool that based on the company’s algorithm is able to translate number of committed lines into hours of developer effort

What we can measure with Gitinspector:

1. The size of a pull request

Historical commit information by author actually has an
interesting twist:

   (insertions + deletions) / number of commits 
                         = the size of each commit

This is an objective indicator of cries of pain you might’ve let escape your chest while facing overwhelming pull requests.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.21.14 PM

2. Efficiency of the change

Number of rows from each author that have survived and are still intact in the current revision Generate the report for a time frame of a sprint or a release development cycle, and the tool will display a number of survived lines for each author. So, if during the sprint, you add or modify 100 lines, but only 10 of them survive at the end of the sprint, it’s time to focus on quality and pertinence of
your work.
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 3.06.28 PM

3. Cadence of the change

Ignore most of the History timeline info and focus on Modified Rows for each month:

Modified Rows / Total Code Base Rows = % of monthly change
% of monthly change * Coefficient of the ave test time = 
estimated time you need to test your changes

Yes, this is the approximate metric, but given a few months on the project, you’ll be able to determine the coefficient and hence estimate the testing time

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 3.06.28 PM

4. Areas of expertise

Is mostly responsible for section can be easily called Authors’ areas of expertise – we always tend to spend more time coding what we like to code, or we end up becoming experts in what we have to code. So, file extensions indicate language preferences, and file locations show level of comfort with the code base – after all, making a change to the framework core carries more responsibility than implementing a new handler or a view.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 3.24.03 PM

Agile, Innovation

How do you Innovate?


A former colleague of mine recently asked me how I would calculate ROI for a new product/service they are planning to build and launch in their organization.

I enthusiastically?provided some measures that I had used to calculate ROI in my prior life ?after successfully building and deploying a financial services adapter at a?past employer.

It seems like my colleague’s team while working on the vision of a new product and were also asked to calculate the potential?ROI. ?A recent progress report showed that the product was still far from being viable and one of the key improvement was to conduct mini proof of concepts to let the architecture emerge.

Reading that, I was quickly reminded of the LEAN Enterprise book by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky and Barry O’Reilly and the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) vs Product Vision post by Marty Cagan.

According to Cagan, vision and MVP are related but not the same. Vision provides the roadmap (type of service and customer) and an innovative organization should be prepared to create many MVPs as we need to get to the final product.

Building MVPs allows us to focus on the right thing to build and provides valuable information on how to evolve, adapt, and pivot to meet customer needs that are discovered through experimentation.

So how do you measure?

ROI and customer churn are lagging metrics that measure output after the fact. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit suggests to use “love metrics” after every the delivery of every MVP- how much people loved the product or how often they come back and how delighted they are in the early stages. If these metrics do not indicate high activity then its time to pivot and experiment again. Agile 101?

Would love to get your thoughts and feedback…


5 agile tools that fascinate – week ending September 5th 2015

Every weekend I search the web for new agile or devops tools that fascinate and engage me. Here are the 5 agile tools I tried this week

  • Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow with Sensei:

Fun and effective retrospectives using Sensei for distributed agile teams. Sensei?guides teams through the entire retrospective and times team members to be prompt. Sensei is able to record all feedback and insights and turn them to actionable steps and follow up on prior commitments. Check out their product tour from slideshare

  • Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much with Symphonical:?Symphonical

Symphonical uses google hangouts to create virtual scrum boards, team to do lists, meeting agenda and many more templates. Check this cool collaboration tool that makes working in distributed teams across geographies seamless. The website has a nice tour?


  • If you can dream it, you can do it with Lino:

Lino is a great tool for planning with distributed teams using sticky notes. Teams can be in front of a desktop or on the go, lino enables real time planning and brainstorming. Check out their product video.



  • Dream big, start small, but most importantly start with scrumwise😕Scrumwise

This neat and intuitive tool can kickstart scrum for any organization in a matter of minutes. If your organization is starting its agile transformation and has not picked a tool of choice, scrumwise is a nice platform with built in support for backlogs, sprints, metrics and much more. Check out their instant demo at?


  • Plan for?what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small with mingle: ?mingle-logo

Mingle from thoughtworks is a great tool that guides you through scrum. It integrates with Github and the plus version has program management and planning features which is an afterthought among most tools that I have come across.