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A software professional with a passion for people excellence, process efficiency and product innovation. I like to learn ideas from other fields and blend them to see how they can benefit software development. Tathagat is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 13 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Joys of Designing Agile Solutions for New-Age Problems

04.03.2013
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Pune is hosting India’s very first Scrum Gathering this year in July with the theme of “Scrum – Kal, Aaj aur Kal“, meaning the past, present and future of Scrum. I appreciate all efforts by Madhur Khaturia and his team in making it happen. I hope and believe it will be yet another milestone in India’s journey towards agility, and will stimulate a whole lot of new ideas and conversations thus ultimately leading to increased awareness, higher adoption and more breakthrough products from India.
Scrum Gathering India Regional 2013

Scrum Gathering India Regional 2013

I got a confirmation mail yesterday that my workshop on “The Joys of Designing Agile Solutions for New-Age Problems” has been accepted for Scrum Star Trek, which is the track for discussing The future of Agile Philosophy and Scrum Framework. This would focus on new techniques, methods , innovations and concepts being used by practitioners. This would have workshops, concept presentations and round-tables on future of Scrum. The other two tracks are Scrum From the Trenches and Scrum Accomplished.

I am really looking forward to this workshop. Here are a few details about it. 

Agile methods, and scrum in particular, help organize the work by prioritizing items could be done and delivered in a small timebox. While its simplicity and effectiveness is based on timeless experiences that make it an effective approach for a certain class of problems where a product backlog exists in some shape or form, and there is some basis (scientific, data-driven or otherwise) for the product owner to prioritize features, it doesn’t really offer any clear guidance for a newer class of problems where, for example, the work is so radically new that there might not be a product backlog. For that matter, there might not even be a market, a customer or a product to begin with. Think of you specifying and designing ‘something’ when no such product ever existed – not just in the minds of customer but even in the dreams of its designers! How can one have a ‘product owner’ or a product backlog when there is even no source of such information? All we have is a loose set of ‘ideas’ which might or not work. Distilling such innovative ideas in a product or a sprint backlog might be too premature. We clearly need a different approach than a thoroughbred Scrum. 

In the last few years, the work on Customer Development and Lean Startup by Steve Blank and Eric Ries has led to putting a framework in place for solving such class of “VUCA = Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous” problems in a more systematic and result-oriented manner. These have greatly helped startups and entrepreneurs where failure rates tend to be extremely high traditionally. In this half-day workshop, we will experience to joys of creating a product starting with Design Thinking and apply principles of Customer Development and Lean Startup and explore the nuances of designing agile solutions for such new-age problems.

Do you have experiences to share in this class of new-age problems? How do you design effective solutions that allow you to thrive on ambiguity, deal with unknowns and keep moving at lightning speeds despite maintaining a holistic sense of agility? Share back your ideas and experiences…

Published at DZone with permission of Tathagat Varma, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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