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People over Processes


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My presentation at 6th Annual Conference of Bangalore Software Process Improvement Network (BSPIN) on 9 Oct. The theme was 'CraftDucing' and we had an interesting perspective on striking the balance between people centric vs. production centric view.

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People over Processes

  1. 1. “People over processes” Tathagat Varma Sr. Director Business Operations Yahoo! India R&D
  2. 2. Let’s understand the ‘craft’ first… •  Sheer joy of making things •  Pleasure of things that are useful to other people •  Fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking moving parts and watching them work in subtle cycles •  Joys of always learning, which sprints from the non-repeating nature of the task •  Delight of working in such a tractable mediumThe Mythical Man Month – Fred Brooks, 1975
  3. 3. Pace of innovation is accelerating… 2011 - •  Instagram 2000-2010 •  2010: Pinterest, SnapDeal, •  2009: Square, Quora, Sina Weibo1975-2000 •  2008: Groupon, AirBnB, GoGo• 2000: Baidu •  2007: Dropbox, Zynga, Flipkart, InMobi,• 1997: Yandex• 1994: Yahoo!, Amazon, NetScape, Hulu, Tumblr,• 1986: Pixar •  2006: Twitter, SlideShare, Badoo Spotify• 1984: Sybase •  2005: YouTube, Renren• 1983: Intuit, Borland,• 1982: Sun, Symantec, Adobe, EA •  2004: Facebook• 1980: Informix •  2003: Myspace, Skype, Rovio,• 1979: EMC Gameforge,• 1977: Oracle •  2002: LinkedIn• 1976: CA, Apple• 1975: Microsoft •  2001: StumbleUpon,
  4. 4. Sadly…None of this came from…Frameworks, Standards and Certifications
  5. 5. Agile Manifesto brought people back into the equation…
  6. 6. But…Did that solve the problem? •  “…In looking back, [Kent] Beck finds that while each segment of the Manifesto was a giant leap forward in 2001, the language no longer reflects the challenge of launching successful innovation in the marketplace of 2011.” •  Beck’s Beyond Agile Manifesto - •  Team Vision and Discipline over Individuals and Interactions •  Validated Learning over Working Software •  Customer Discovery over Customer Collaboration •  Initiating Change over Responding to Change
  7. 7. What is the most importantpart in these two machines?The Brakes…They let you go faster! And…The Man!!
  8. 8. So, what are we learning?•  Innovation is the game •  More of same is not enough!•  ‘Startups’ breed innovation •  No risk, no reward!•  Invest on smart people •  Let them break stuff !•  Don’t impose a process •  Let them self-organize!•  Don’t confuse means with ends •  It’s not about the tool!
  9. 9. It’s not about the tool! A photographer went to asocialite party in New York. Ashe entered the front door, thehost said ‘I love your pictures– they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinnerwas finished, then: ‘That wasa wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.’ – Sam Haskins