Thursday, 14 July 2011

We love Unhappiness? Do we? Really?

One thing I have learnt in my 32 year life is that humans are most insecure, dissatisfied and whining fellows. We just don't know how to be Happy or rather we just don't want to be Happy. I mean a few days ago I was playing the Age of empire, a strategic game. You build farms, food, infrastructure, you build your empire, make friends, allies and what not. Eventually after I spent around 8 days building a good set of empire, I started feeling uneasy, I decided to build an army, I wanted to grow my power, money and designation in the game. I was unhappy about them and I wanted to do more... In turn I made a few allies, attacked others. Huh? Tension grows.. wars, battlefields, blood... Darn it, even in a game? One can just not stay happy.

No??? tell me one game you have played that where you are happy and you keep playing? Lets take caveman.. once he is reaching his destination after playing all those difficult levels.. the Game ends... For that matter even the movies... it starts all good, romantic then some blunders and unhappiness, sadness and then the moment you get to be Happy the movie ends. Huh?

I think we humans are trained to become unhappy :). OK OK.. I am not teaching you about happiness here. Last when I wrote about Happiness quotient I emphasized on this part. In fact when I asked the question If I am happy years ago, I learnt I tried to be one. Well we spent most of our times at work, and hence work plays an important role in our happiness.

A few years ago the place I worked got me the experience of happy and unhappy people. I still remember the lessons and I have to say I am happy I learnt them. A few days ago I overheard someone whining to others about morning, traffic, day, office, parking, work, salary, job, role and I don't know what not, it made me feel he/she was not Happy. Since I wrote in my previous post about it, I asked the person what is it that is keeping him blocked? Why is he/she not able to enjoy work, be a part of the momentum or create one? I guess the answer I would say as for all whining lords was missing.

Unhappiness is an attitude, that gets more and more deeper into you. The more time you stay unhappy, the more your attitude turns ugly. It reaches a level where you have no turning back. I think over period I have realised that several companies spend their energies not in making their workforce happy... they spend there effort on working to not have them unhappy. The later is disastrous. I have experienced it, the more you try the more it grows, because the one's that are unhappy will always be unhappy. But don't get disappointed some psychology experts have figured out that Love can help improvise the situation.


Ask yourself, your teams, people who surround you to answer the following questions and actions:

1. Do you love the people you work with? If not what will make you love them?
2. Do you think the people you work with love you? If not what is it you think can make them love you?
3. Do you love what you do? If not what do you love to do? and can you tell the people you love on what you want to do?
4. Do you enjoy what you do?
5. Do you tell what you are unhappy about others?
6. Do you tell yourself what you are unhappy about?
7. Do you like to admit your mistakes? Do you like to improvise?
8. Do you think love can make a difference?
9. Do you love to be happy? If not unhappy? insecure?
10. Do you enjoy love and being loved?

Ask these and a few more, confront, talk, speak, learn and yes Love. Happiness at the place you spend most of your time is as important as oxygen. If you cant be happy and you have not made any efforts to be happy, you maybe on the path to be a whiner or a looser. Lets change path. Lets find ways to be Happy with people you are surrounded with.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Are bugs hurting your backlog?

I ended up in a discussion with the team last week on how bugs cause a unmanageable link to the Technical debt. The debate was how should bugs be treated. my argument laid with bugs that hurt the current development and the future backlog. As a agile team a product backlog is key driver in defining what we do for in every release, the known unknown here is the bugs that are generated out of the current development. Let's say your product backlog is 200. If your team of 10 is burning say 100 user stories in a release of 10 days we can say that the velocity is around 10. But if in the same situation your team is burning 100 user stories in 10 days and creating 20 bugs that take 5 days to fix, your velocity is dropped to less than 7 + on the release day your backlog increased from 100 to 110 say a 20% increase.

Gauge the effect bugs can have in your system. Now go a bit deeper, assume you can only only resolve 10 of the 20 bugs in 5 days. The other 10 bugs go sit in your product backlog. When you cant get them in the current release and put them up for the next they take 20 days to resolve (Due to the time spent in between it no longer is hands on) your velocity rate with the bugs regards is then 100 user stories in 25 days (Just around 4?) Now if these 10 bugs are mapped for a future unknown release???? The technical debt it had created can be high, very high and would lead to say 10 more bugs getting created [causing you 8 days or maybe 10] your velocity with regards has now gone to ?????? less than 3 and forget about the qa and discussion cycles, customer unhappiness, quality quotient. Your product backlog spanned to 120 which is 20% more than what you expected to burn.

So next time when your release user story is generating a bug, go shout on your developer and tell him/her that the bug is a part of requirement and when you go live you want the feature to be done, not debted.

Obviously for those "Think Realistic" atheists this wont sound good. But remember your product backlog is piling up with the bugs, your velocity decreasing, your debt increasing and your cycles of qa increasing... in other words nothing in favour of better product.

What do you do to bugs that get created from your development bug and found during the release?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Art of un-informing

Yesterday my day started on a bad note, heard news of passing off of my father's aunt (grand mother) and had several production issues that were waiting for me. During the funeral I realised that I had missed to inform at work, and by the time I did it was probably too late. Bunch of calls and last minute meeting cancellations. I can imagine the frustration it caused others.

I couldn't stop thinking of it and hence about writing on it as I know it hurts not just you but everyone else. Over the last few years of my managerial experience I have learnt people fall into 3 broad categories :
1. Who intend to not inform
2. Who misinform
3. Who inform.

You would always love the 3rd type, You worry about the second and you hate the first. Today I write what hurts us Managers the most...The first lotte

"I couldn't come to work yesterday, Were trying for a baby and the doc said yesterday was the best chance."

Well I am sure this doesn't sound that unfamiliar? You may have not heard something like this but the types that intend to not inform are the types that make such excuses. The "I don't want to inform" types intentionally leave the information out for various reasons as follows:

1. Fear : Fear of leave getting rejected. Someone who makes an excuse is still better in this regards as he/she doesn't leave you in jeopardy. Fear of facing a rejection of request, makes such people do this. Some times it is also the fear of what the Boss would say (About lot of leave, Performance etc).

2. Ignorance : Sometimes this is just done out of ignorance. I remembered a friend of mine who worked on a collection counter for a government office collecting last minute penalties on property taxes, never realised that people have to face a extra buck if she is not on her seat.

3. Get Away attitude : A lot of them think that if no one remembers they can easily get away. This is the most hurtful of it.

The big issue with this type of people is that it brings you into a big crisis at times, and they never realise the importance of informing because they get away one way or the other out of the crisis issue. How do we fix them?

Well honestly there are several ways... lets put this in a funnier way

1. Make them feel what they just lost: I remember once I had a team mate who was really fond of some specific type of food. After noticing that he deliberately not informs the team about his absence we a couple of times had indoor lunch / dinner on the day he would go missing.

2. Add the surprise : Once a friend of mine who is a manager bought printed old passes of the person who would go uninformed with passes to a rock concert followed by an invitation for dinner with the popstar. Of course it was a fake one, but it kept the person pinching for his life time.

3. On a serious note : First time itself it should be informed. If they get away once they would make it a habit.

4. Punish sweetly : A little embarrassment can do.

I am sure you might have faced this and handled it.. what are your ways? Do share....