Author: Shiv Sivaguru

CHOW #29– A Question of ROI

Dinesh was confused. As a project manager, he was not sure how to respond to the question from the finance team on a proposal to buy a new tool for this project. The suggestion for the tool had come from his team. A tool that would reduce the efforts being spent today to manage multiple versions of files and help automate builds. That would effectively save between 20 minutes to 45 minutes per team member on a daily basis, when they would otherwise have been just waiting for builds to be scheduled. The question from the finance team was: What is the ROI? Please provide that number. The project was scheduled to be completed in 3 months and the team size was 8, including 2 testers, 3 developers, 1 tech lead and a scrum master. Can you help Dinesh put together a response to the finance team to get his proposal approved?   Suggested solution: This is a tough question! More because some of the benefits due to automation are not immediately quantifiable, though it may be done, with a structured approach. In this case, Dinesh should take the help of his manager and explain to the finance team how the benefits can justify the investments – that are more than just the tool...

Read More

Role of Metrics in Organizational Excellence

Teams and organizations like things to be deterministic. Start with a plan – a projection – and make sure you achieve the goals. Based on oft quoted phrase ‘you cannot manage what you cannot measure’, the next step is to make everything measurable. The goals in terms of quantity, timeline — and of course quality. As one gets into more details of execution, the number of parameters one may need to watch could become much more than higher level goals. In such a scenario, while the goals of a business unit head may be just revenue [more topline focus],...

Read More

DevOps and the software lifecycle

The most commonly accepted definition of DevOps is that it is a movement. There are many discussions around the approaches that would work best to adopt DevOps in a specific context. Most of these threads talk about the need for culture, automation, lean thinking etc, and those that get into a little more details in terms of the engineering practices talk about Continuous Integration or Deployment, automation of infrastructure related activities etc. This post is about how you can easily map on the underlying principles of DevOps on various activities across the Software Lifecycle. I call it the software...

Read More

CHOW #13– Getting the best from and individual contributor in a Scrum team

Judy, the newest member in the team that you are the Scrum Master for, walks up to you to discuss a challenge she has been facing. After her first week of self study of project artefacts, and understanding the coding standards, the source file structures in the repository as well as the commit, build etc guidelines,  she felt ready to jump in and contribute. In yesterday’s standup, when she shared this, the team identified a work-in-progress story and asked if she could contribute. Judy was very excited and said yes, right away. In order to make sure that she does not get under too much pressure – as there was only 1 week left in this sprint, it was decided that she pairs up with Rajesh, the architect for the team. That would surely help Judy, the newest member of team – but with prior experience of about 2 years on another project – to learn from the seniormost member of the team and a person well respected for his technical skills. So, as you were wondering what could be the issue Judy faces in just a day of working, Rajesh walks by and asks Judy if she had completed the testing. Judy calmly replies that she just got in and she hopes to be done by lunch time and would start work on that after a brief discussion...

Read More

CHOW #2– What should be the plan for Knowledge transfer?

You are transitioning support and maintenance of a legacy application from the customer to an onsite/offshore team. The customer has asked you to provide a plan for the Knowledge Transfer (KT) phase comprising: – Number of people onsite (assume New York City), duration and their activities – Number of people offshore (assume Bangalore), duration and their activities – Resources that you need at customer site during KT (hardware, software, time from current staff etc.) – Milestones during KT – Acceptance criteria for the completion of KT – Start date for the KT phase onsite and offshore – Total cost...

Read More