My first Sketchnotes on “The Sketchnote Handbook”

Ever since I got to know about “The Sketchnote Handbook“, I wanted to read it. The main reason of this curiosity is because there is a belief in me, which has been reflected in this book. The belief of communicating through the Visuals. What I mean with Visuals? It means global communication, which involves freedom to innovate, design, and being not restricted by any grammar, teacher, or a rule developed by so called over intellectuals. It is about communicating with anyone, and reflecting your understanding on the topic using icons, icons and random text.

English is a language not a measure of your intelligence

It did not take much time, may be a week, to read this book. As I relearned about how to give an importance of basic design techniques, in this book, I decided to keep a reflection of my understanding using sketch notes.

These two pictures speak about the my understanding with the topic that I studied through this book.

Page 2
Page 2

I hope you will use the same for your reference.

Please don’t think that you are not good at Drawing. If you need any motivation then please look at this picture of my daughter. Just like her, I am sure you were able to draw during your childhood.

Source of Motivation - Children

Once again, it does not matter how bad or good you are in Sketching or English, your focus should be on just sketch sketch sketch and speak your knowledge.



Summarizing AgileEncore 2014

It is all started when Deniss Alimovs pushed me to attend Agile encore 2014 event. I definitely believed that the invite was for him but he is so generous to share such opportunities with his team mates (That I call a sign of being a great leader).amit@agileencore

I thoroughly enjoyed this session and I am glad to share the following notes in my blog post.

PLEASE NOTE: I have excluded common messages that I presumed we all know. However, what you will get below is something new that I found could be beneficial to remind you.

Also keep in mind that that these are my interpretation, my observation and it may not be 100% same as speakers' said. (I am still trying to learn - how to listen over hearing.)

agileencore2014 banner

James Brett, Founder, Curiously Lenka Bednarikova, Scrum Master, Commonwealth Bank Lachlan Heasman, Agile Coach Scott Kinder, CEO, The Kinder Group Sandy Mamoli, Founder, nomad8  Dipesh Pala, Agile Capability Lead, IBM John Sullivan, Product Delivery Manager, Business Division, MYOB
To read about specific speaker, please click on their photo.

Four things we need to know about teams – Lachlan Heasman, Agile Coach


Lachlan started with the statement that there is a difference between group and team. Team is something we should emphasis on building it. You can build a great team by knowing some of the commonly known models in the market such as Tuckman and Poole. Then he took me on motivating team. He also emphasized on Outcomes over Processes and ended his four points by stating that you don’t need a title to be leader.

Let see what these four points means to me.

1. Development Model

The following productive team build development Model was discussed – Tuckman and Poole. Here is my understanding with these two:

Tuckman Model

I already knew about Tuckman model and you can read it at my previous blog post –

However, the bottom line about tuckman model is about giving you a leadership tool so that you can build a well collaborative team (it is all about communication).

Poole Model

Poole’s model put forward several tracks for the group communication and also stated the tracks can repeat or can happen at any time of the communication process. This model consists of the various tracks used for interpreting the communication styles that a group follows.


Poole's Model

2. Motivational effects

Lachlan labelled some managers’ as “Free rides” i.e .those Take the benefit of someone else work.

Another tag he had referred is “Social Loafing“. Social loafing began with rope pulling experiments by Ringelmann, who found that members of a group tended to exert less effort in pulling a rope than did individuals alone. Thus he suggest that team work is important however, each of us should put their own efforts to reach the goal.

The major motivational efforts he talks about is Kohler Effect  i.e. leaders have to set examples for others so that others can try to achieve the same. At the end, no one wants to be left behind in the team.

3. Outcome vs. Process Focus

You can focus on any process (including Agile), however the main objective is the outcome. So the message came across is thus it is good to have a process, but the process should be introduced to produce required outcome. Thus, outcome should be our main focus, and process comes along with it.

4. Leadership

The main message came cross is – You don’t need a title to be a leader, which it remind me about this book.

Managers needs to provide required tool and environment to produce leaders; thus making outcome focused team.

Unleashing the full potential of your Agile team, Dipesh Pala, IBM.

Whatever makes you happy will make your team happy. So what you want to feel, you should reflect the same.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

He asked a question – What makes you happy in life?

Audience believed that the following will make them happy:

  • Achieving something,
  • Being recognised,
  • Having Hope,
  • Trust in people around us
  • Being rewarded,
  • Being loved and respected
  • Always learning
  • Making other people happy,
  • Being challenged, simulated
  • Sharing your fruits with others.

What he was emphasizing – “What will make you happy will also make your team happy”.

Understanding individuals what makes them happy will lead you to make a good agile team as well.

To make a better team it is important to understand that leaders should provide supporting environment that makes the best team, producing better outcome.

He asked a question again – what makes you think which item is the most important for them?

  • Providing Clear Goal
  • Providing Interpersonal support
  • Providing reward and incentive.
  • Providing support for making good team (it is the main)
  • Providing recognition for good work

Managers ignores “Providing Support” where as their thought is on “Recognition for Good work”. Get the small wins be celebrated within team, thus makes you a best team. This is what Managers must do i.e. Peace loving environment.

“If you cannot fly, run, if you cannot run, walk, if you can't walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving - Martin Luther King.

Leader should be inspiring small wins. Leaders must remove the control of information and let it flow within his team. Agile team works only with the trust. Project Managers should be promoting transparency thus there is a great visibility and trust is build.


To check the status of of your team, he recommended this check list for leaders.

Agile and Special Forces: Leadership that lives disruption, James Brett, Founder @ Curiously, Scott Kinder, CEO, the kind Group.

There was a great comparison of Agile Manifesto with the way Military operates. Scott comes from US Military background and with the help of James, he has did a great live comparison. Their presentation is good to see as well.

The important message was, instead of emphasizing on skill sets, like you find in any job advertisement, there should be more emphasis on finding people with the right attitude. And then train them by empowering them with the tool set.

Another key message throughout this presentation was “Disruption”, which should be seen as opportunity. So whenever, you see a change is happening consider it is for good. You will be injected with a new knowledge or an area that you might not have seen is better.

It is like you can replace “Excuse” word with “Opportunity”.


Let the right one in, Lenka Bednarikova @ Commonwealth Bank.

The cost of getting it wrong person is higher then expected. There is a financial cost however there are other costs that must be looked at.

Cultural cost – We should be finding people from company future projection of view so that the future can become reality.

Financial cost – Of course by hiring people with current culture point of view, you might end up spending lots of time on teaching them your future and there is a great possibility that they will leave your organisation.

Traditional Hiring Vs. Agile Hiring

The bottom line is instead of selecting people with Buzz words, let people comes in for face to face conversation and select those people that can bring right passion. Please don’t select people because they are awesome in .NET and passion means – people will do the right thing rather doing something.

Most importantly, your organisation should be prepared for the passionate conversations.

Another interesting thing that I found Lanka said is to hire freshers. The reason is because they are bringing a fresh air, with no assumptions and new views. They create an environment that people need. Potential over Experience is something has been emphasized.

Portfolio Kanban: Seeing the bigger Picture – Sandy mamoli, Founder, nomad8

Doing too many things at once can slow an entire organisation down. Every successful organisation will have more great ideas than they have capacity to build, and it is tempting to start too many of them at the same time.

The more we add the more we become unstable.

The moving parts for any organisation is:

  • Work
  • People

Thus, you must fix work by showing an entire Portfolio.


Guerilla Re-transformation John Sullivan, Product Delivery Manager, MYOB


  • Don’t focus on Agile Manifesto, instead focus on key principles.
  • He transformed MYOB team by bringing right people and change happens at managerial level.
  • He also suggest that to hire permanent employees over temporary employees.


Lastly, after knowing Lisa Frazier @ CBA, I am proud to feel that leaders @ CBA understand the value of human resource, and it makes me feel that I am as important as others.

This is my outcome of yesterday’s session, what is your?


Click on this link for original presentations

Note to a Software Developer – Sigma 3: Personal Growth

This article is the part of a series - Note to a Software Developer Six Sigma. Before you read this article, I highly recommend you to read my introduction note.

This is my second article, Sigma 3, of my series “Note to a Software Developer”.


I’ve come across many developers, who are proactive in the beginning of their job, then they loose their interest and go blank; thus they are waiting for Employer to offer some training or a kick from their Managers’.

Let me be honest here that “Personal (or Professional) development is not somebody’s responsibility”. You have been employed because of your knowledge and it is solely your responsibility  to maintain this rhythm. I am repeating here your Personal Growth is your responsibility to manage and pursue your professional (and yes, personal — they are in fact connected) goals.

In this article, I am going to talk you about three main points that you should use while building a Personal Development Process.

1. Power

List down your Powers (strengths) and most importantly keep a track of these strengths. Your strengths will be your result card to track your progress.

You don’ t need to build a list on “Weaknesses”. However, my recommendation is to build a 5 key strengths that you need improvements and categorize those as your strengths with Power meter (level).


power card

Keep it simple as much you can. And I recommend you carry this list as a hard copy so that you can view anytime, every time. This will help you to keep your mind focused on 5 strengths at a time. 

Once the power level of specific item is 100%, remove it from your strength list and add another item that you would like to improve.  Remember, you want to build strength that you don’t have and that is what this Power List is for.

Do a few things at mastery versus many things at mediocrity.

2. Planing and Correcting

As you will go to the path of self-improvement you need to understand that there is no correct path and if there is, you will find an another that is better than the current one. Of course, you need some sort of a plan that will lead your Power meter to 100%. But it is hard to find one when you don’t know what is right. That is why Planning (NOT PLAN) is required.

There is a difference between  “plans” and “planning”. Planning is an active way of discussing the goals, objectives, strategies and tasks that we need to accomplish. Plans are the documentations of planning.  Since things change, plans need to get updated on a regular basis.  Planning is a continuous process that helps us adjust course, keep on-track and make accomplishing our goals more likely.


In this planning process (Plan+Act), you’ll make mistakes, as will your team, your customers, and your board. And you’ll fix those mistakes by honestly taking stock and changing the way you do things. That is why you need Correcting.

Correcting is the path of self-improvement and it is a MUST for leaders.

 Make the work you are doing today better than the work you did yesterday.


The bottom line is, Keep planning, Keep Correcting.

3. Show and Learn

I believe learning is the part of life. Just like Business, where change is a must, we need to have a reflection of those changes.

Till now you have identified strengths and made some planning with accommodating feedbacks (correcting). Now, it is your time to show some output. The output that can be measured against the power that you are trying to achieve. This output could be in any form and you should be able to “SHOW” (measure).

The best leaders are the most dedicated learners. Read great books daily. Investing in your self-development is the best investment you will ever make.


Personal Growth

Message: You are a Leader.


In conclusion, you are the owner of your own future. You must know your powers that you want to achieve. You need to define your planning with continuous improvements. Whatever you do, the output should be measured against the power that you have act against. I will end this session with the great quote from “Swami Vivekananda”:

We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act. 

Note to a Software Developer – Series


A little bit of a background

Today software development is not same as what it used to be.  In last few years, we have come long way. Technology has changed the way we operate our life. Changing from CRT to LED, Desktop computers to handheld devices, and now we are going toward eyes that can compute for you (Google eyes). It is wise to say that Technology has touched billions of hearts.

As a developer, technology affect me first then user. Every day I hear about new tools and techniques – a new way of solving same problems. I have to keep on the top of everything and deliver the best solutions as I can. Now, the question that I have asked myself is – Can technology knowledge is the only reason that can keep us on job or there is something else that can also makes the difference?

This article is about self-realization and asking this question – What quality I should maintain that can help me in my career?

Why you may read this article?

Just like me, you must be putting all your energy in keeping up with new technologies with the belief that it will lead us to the right career path and I believe that we need to think this belief again. There are other, most critical, factors that we must adapt to be hired by next Gen Business.

This series is about giving you some insights on career progression that every Software Developer needs to know

The whole series is divided into 6 parts termed as Six Sigma.

six sigma


I prefer to give an importance on Agility first over anything else and that is why it is on the top. However, I will share my thoughts on it at last.

Please feel free to read through any section.

1. Agility (coming soon)
2. Technology Selection
3. Personal Growth
4. Representative (coming soon)
5. Brand – Branding yourself (coming soon)
6 .Interaction (coming soon)

Note to a Software Developer – Sigma 2: Technology Selection

This article is the part of a series - Note to a Software Developer Six Sigma. Before you read this article, I highly recommend you to read my introduction note.


As I have explained to you in my series note that there are total six main areas for career progression.

Relevance check, sigma 2, is about to identifying, authenticating and authorizing best technology that should be used for your project. In this article I am going to emphasis three main points that can be used as your checkpoints in technology selection process.

1. Relevance Check

Every now and then there is a new technology coming into the market. It is trying to resolve one problem that another may not solve. Thus, it is always advisable to check the relevance of the technology that you would want to work on and would like to encourage in your organization.

Just because it is hot in the market does not mean it is the best, even if solves current problem. The best example from my experience is Silverlight that was just adapted because of Leader of the origination (Microsoft) felt that it is one of the best way to go; we all know that “Silverlight” is dead in technology.

 Select what is best for your project, instead of what is best for you – this thought will lead you to be an Architect.

2. Maturity Level

You don’t want to select just any technology because you know what it is. You should check its age that how mature it is to adapt, who is backing up this technology and how soon any bugs are fixed.

As an example, which Javascript framework would you select – Knockout, AngularJS, EmberJS and now Sweet.js.

You got to check the selected technology, future, and most importantly check on how your selection will make an impact on Software Maintenance.

I do agreed that today’s technology will obsolete tomorrow. However, the foundation should be irreversible. Now what I meant with the foundation that the Web services will exist but not DCOM, or Remoting.

 Technology should be backed by solid foundation.

3. Make informative decision

Do use informational rather emotional decision that you tend to make. You will affect many lives and the future of your company (feeding many families). You don’t introduce any technology just because you feel it is correct. You should be unbiased on making the most crucial decision on technology selection process.


 Come with the facts, and time-box your finding.


technology selection

Message: You are Scientist.

In conclusion, the technology you select will define the success of  your project. Most importantly, it will affect your future as well. Hence, we must define the process of selecting a right technology.

 Next Read | Sigma 3

QAI Launches PMI-ACP® Contact Training Program


Date: Delhi: November 2 – 4

» Overview:

This Program fulfils the requirement of 21 contact
hours which a PMI ACP® aspirant needs to have
before applying for the PMI ACP® Certification
examination. After taking this program, participants
will have the strong foundation needed for taking the
certification exam.
The PMI ACP® certification is a new credential
offered by PMI for people working in Agile project
management environments. Individuals obtaining this
certification can demonstrate their level of skills in
Agile practices. The process of earning this
credential involves satisfying PMI’s eligibility criterion
and passing an exam. The PMI ACP® certification
from PMI carries a high level of professional
standing and credibility as it requires a combination
of agile education, experience on Agile practices and
examination on Agile practices.
» Program Format :
The contact workshop is a mix of instructor lead and self paced
learning, designed as per the PMI and guidelines released for the
PMI ACP® (released in 2011) by the Project Management

Teacher: Ajay Kabra

Detailed Profile
• 21+ years of experience in Consulting and Training
• Active in the areas of Process Improvement, Agile -Scrum,
Systems Development and Implementation.
• Currently spearheading the Agile Practice at QAI India Ltd.
•Worked with clients in USA, UK, Russia, Japan, China, UAE and many more .

• CSM,PMP, PRINCE2 certified.

• Scrum Alliance approved Mastering Scrum Trainer.

» Course Details :

• Introduction to Agile Methodologies
• Agile Project Management Context
• Agile User Stories
• Agile Estimation, Planning, Monitoring and
• Agile Communications And Soft Skills .
• Agile – Product Quality
• Agile Risk Management
• Agile Metrics Management And Value Stream
Mapping analysts

The four Dimensions & Human Needs – Team building.

Today, I’ve got a chance to know some of the human needs and the four dimensions definition from the website of PMI. In addition, also got to know that a book called “How NASA build a team” that I’ve ordered for my own understanding…
Indeed an emotions are key ingredients.

The four Dimensions & Human Needs

Emotional – Cultivating – We all need to feel  appreciated
Intuited- Visioning – We all need hopeful futures
Logical – Including – We all need to feel that we belong
Sensed – Directing – We all need to meet expectations