Solving our own problems by watching movies

The more I watch movies or read stories, the more I get impressed by the author’s perspectives and rich imagination. Such stories make me wonder about how strange life is. When I face my own life events, I can’t apply what I have learned from those stories. They can enrich my experience but I should find my own way out. Continue reading


This post represents my own reflections on Diana Larsen’s book “Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams & Projects“.

Project chartering is well established project management practice. However, the stress in agile chartering is on the collaborative and carefully designed activities to create the charter. Project chartering is part of project liftoff.

A successful project liftoff can set it on the right orbit required to arrive at its destination. It is not a guarantee of success, however, it is a proactive risk mitigation to propel the project on the right orbit. Skipping the liftoff is a recipe for failure .

Liftoff is a session which should be carefully planned for to:

  1. Estimate required time for Liftoff session, participants, agenda, logistics.
  2. Distribute materials before the liftoff session.
  3. The pre work session is a group activity that is led by the product owner/sponsor to vet project idea, arrive at project purpose, estimate the budget, identify the product owner and enforce sponsor commitment.

The liftoff session to be successful must serve to:

  1. Create strong sense of ownership among participants on its outcomes.
  2. Sponsor demonstrates his commitment to the project.
  3. The session should be based on activities but those activities should be well designed to serve real world purpose of the project.
  4. Create charter for every team involved in the project.

Liftoff session activities can include retrospective to reconcile the team by having shared understanding on what happened in previous phases of the project or in other projects.

Liftoff can be used to improve the situation of existing projects. I see real world examples of canceled projects because of not meeting anticipated benefits. Those projects were set to navigate in wrong orbit. The project community who interacts directly with such failed projects concluded that the project is taking them to no where or to a destination they did not want.

An outcome of project liftoff is  the charter which should serve to have all project team and community agree on purpose, have alignment needed to achieve the purpose, and provide shared understanding on the context and boundaries of the project.

Chartering is a collaborative endeavor that focuses on the whole system and the interdependencies among all people involved in the project. Charter undergoes continuous improvement throughout the project, therefore, our aim in chartering session is to have a Good Enough For Now (GEFN) version of  the charter.

Lean for IT/Software.. Make knowledge explicit/2

This is the second post for implementing Lean in Knowledge Work based on Harvard Business Review article here, you can read my previous post about visualising waste here. When trying to make knowledge explicit, we should appreciate the following:

  • People are non-fungible. People differentiate themselves based on their character and ethics.
  • Skills are levelled: We will continue to have people of varied degree of competency in certain skill.
  • Having knowledge explicit will never replace people and their interactions. Continue reading

Lean for Knowledge Work

Agile methods promote experimentation to discover the unknown and desired product. Please see my post here.  Not all software or IT projects require experimentation as noted in the post. Harvard Business Review article here suggested that Lean philosophies are well applied to non experimental IT/Software  projects. Such projects will benefit from Lean approach in a way that can not be obtained from applying Agile methods. Continue reading

A Concordia waterfall project

For large projects, the size can be 50+ people working for 1.5 to 3 years, which is more than 100,000  man-hours/year. If the project is about to sink, new skills will be required which are not available in the project team.

It can be surprising how such entity which can have wealth of skills and resources are not capable to save the project. In fact the ship captain and crews will step aside (either voluntarily or forced)  and leave the helm for rescue consultants till the ship becomes ready for normal operation. Continue reading

Institutional logic

This post is my own reflection after reading  Harvard Business Review article of Nov. 2011 here.  This article focuses on six perspectives or convoluted means which great organizations must have in-order to succeed in today’s globalized economy, which are:

1. Common purpose
2. Long-term focus
3. Emotional engagement
4. Partnering with the public
5. Innovation
6. Self-organization Continue reading