The future of things to come: Rights of the few trampled under the guise of pursuit of justice

Disclaimer : This blog post is not an effort to judge who is right or who is wrong neither is it about taking sides on appealing to religious sentiments of the readers. Here is a typical case study of how a nation can be victimised for the handiwork of the few radical hardliners and the whole world stands and watches nonplussed. 

Its nearly a forthnight since outbreak on a mini scaled war in the Gaza Strip ! The two stakeholders under contention are the Hamas and the Israelis. At one side is The Hamas which is clearly a parasite that breeds amongs the palestine community and is least bothered about the extensive damage that inspite of loss of life among the community is relentlessly pursuing its own agenda and on the other side is a country that seems to have a hell care attitude towards humanity with a single minded hard vengenance as the only agenda
 
How could we justify this ongoing collateral damage where nearly 650 civilians have been killed which include children, women and more than 1400 injured in the last 14 days. Relief supplies of food and medicines has been blocked and barred from entry into the Gaza . Missile attacks on the power supplies of the gaza strip have rendered them dysfunctional and thus event ground water is not available to people. On one hand Israel’s Gross violation of Humanitarian rights of the those few Gaza residents and the whole world is watching helplessly. UN is just a dog barring its teeth but under the strong leash of other superpowers who are keeping mum allowing this to happen  . On the othes hand is Palestine that has two parties. Fatah who are the moderates and the Hamas, who are the hardliners. Both these parties have been alternatively succeeding to power by capitalising on incumbent sentiments of the people there. Hamas assumed power since 2006 and has been actively pursuing ” intifada ”  and has been on a suicidal streak ever since head on with Israel. The recent culmination of events that have unfolded is a result of this hideous agenda of Hamas.

There is this interesting recommendation on counter terrorism measures called ” The Gills Doctrine ” put forth by KPS Gill after his extensive experience combating Khalistani Insurgency at Punjab in the 80′s. The Gills Doctrine recommmends ” When fighting terrorists armed with military-issue hardware, the definition of what constitutes ‘minimal force’ requires recalibration. If terrorism is after all a new way of warfare, then the Government must be prepared to combat it on a war-footing. At the same time, there remains an overwhelming need to insulate the local population from suffering disproportionate collateral damage. For this reason, the use of area weapons and airpower is to be avoided, even if the result is heightened casualties on one’s own side”

In his approach to combat those who weild the relegious excuse to pursue terrorism strikes down with a strong handed persuasion that no relegion in earth advocates the use of violence / warfare on women and children and for that matter even against unarmed men. People who have been misled by such false idealogies need to be dealt with severly. He states in his doctrine ” Gill offered the terrorists a stark choice: they could either die for their idea of God, or live for themselves. There was no third option. Many Khalistanis responded as per logical dictates and surrendered. Those that did not, engaged in gun battles with the Police, and frequently ended up meeting their Maker. ”   Some of his recommendations have been very much hailed by experts across the world. And is an interesting read on measures one can take to quell such insurgency.

Coming back to Attack on Gaza , On one hand it is very important for countries to intervene and talk to either of the countries to seek for a immediate cease fire to prevent further bloodshed of innocent lives. On other hand war is big business opportunity for many countries to intervene and play the big brother role . At current recession climate when countries are groping for solutions to lubricate the economy as well as to create a resource exchange this kind of mediation, peace keeping effort is an excellent excuse.  As far as the Media is concerned it has been having a hay day for all this sensationalism with higher TRP’s and feeding us crazy like the day of Operation Desert Storm

Look at the world around us today. Close to home we have the LTTE rebels fighting a loosing war where a lot of civilians are being killed as collateral damage. A little far away we have Thailand nearly in a state of disorder. Then there is Pakistan trying all its antics at our homeland. Each of these scenarios have all possibility of getting played out or escalated to a Gaza like situation if we elect the wrong decision makers to power. These are times that require us to act responsibly and exert our franchise with great thought.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Blogging about Saving money and films !

Is my blog a personal journal ? Partly yes and partly it isnt !

Yes because i write mostly about my passion and about my personal initiatives in serving my time at earth. That involves in writing a lot about group initiatives of TKF and event updates on Momo, howtocamp, proto, blogcamp. wikicamp so on. This has created a lot of readership audience who look for updates on all these front from us here. Thanks to vijay that PROTO has a mouthpeice and separate platform where updates can be followed but for other events we are yet to create a separate site where we can aggregate all that data and provide our enthusiasts.

At the same time to bore such readers about my other passion like investments and other pursuits in the same space dilutes the seriousness of the blog. So here are two separate blogs that will be exclusively on that front.     

Paisa Bachao !

This blog will explore smart investment strategies and how to survive incurrent financial times. This blog would also explore realty trends in chennai market with assessment about Stocks, mutual funds, bullion market, and related industry news. To ensure that there is freshness in the blog I would care to avoid installation of pipes thus making it one more content aggregation destination Instead we would like to throw open new ideas that have succeeded in other markets that can be followed. I would be interested to invite Experts with their opinions and views to join in coauthoring this blog

Bollynews

Bollynews blog will be about popular movies as well as rare movie reviews , Industry news and tidbits. We welcome bloggers who are interested to coauthor this blog on the category about Kollywood in this space .

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Celebrating an Affair of a lifetime

Its a Sunday morning and i am sitting at home after all the regular chores fantasizing about the best that can happen to me right now. You take a hapless bird, skin it, sprinkle it with some of the hotest spices and leave it overnight. Hold on,  I am not talking about the devil and his histrionics in hell for the sinners. I am talking about heaven on a platter. Ok Continuing what i was saying the next day we take the marinated bird and put it on a fiery cauldron at 600 degrees C. that we Indians called the Tandoor. You leave it there for 20 minutes and then take it out and serve it alongwith its companion in the tandoor the Naan aaaaaand Viola ! …. you get the heavenly food – Tandoori Chicken. Its been a long drawn love affair for me with Tandoori Chicken across borders and cultures. This is one dish that goes well as any meal of the day and is my all time favorite.It is a Pan Asian dish that you can find in any non veg restaurant in Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.

The Wikipeadia has an interesting account of the roots of Tandoori that food lovers can check out here. The dish is crisp at the outer and succulent at the inner. The meat is evenly engorged with the juices of spices and to have that with naan is a taste that will linger in your tastebuds forever. Tandoori Chicken is a food you will find in any non vegetarian hotel across India. This one mughlai dish where you can be certain that the fat content is relatively very low. Online research shows that 1 leg piece of Tandoori Chicken has 273 Calories. Check out the tandoori chicken at its very best at The Bukhara at Maurya Sheraton Delhi, An experience that will linger in my memory for a very long time.

Certain Facts:

This is a National dish of UK and is 2 Billion pound business in Britian.

Even SARS doesnt dimish our loyalty to this dish.

This is a dish that is favored by most of my overseas friends and loved.

And for those who feel the longing to have one here is a recipe that fits for the one cooking at home. In Chennai catch the tandoori at Dhaba Restaurant and GRT’s Radisson Hotel. If you are the one ready to try the kebab shops at Peters road, Triplicane will offer you a great treat.  

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Cool Gadgets for Geocaching !

Garmin Colorado for the professional GPS tracker

Garmin Fore runner for the sports enthusiasts

Here are two interesting devices that I am contemplating to buy for a project initiative related to GPS. India today lacks a proper valid data when it come to maps that are geocoded. We infact have no goecoded maps that can be made available to public for use. GIS has major implications across industry and domain where information can be put to use in varied forms. Many organizations who would like to have such information to launch a market feasibility study, or consumer research stop short due to lack of available data . And to start an initiative of this kind by itself is a project on its own. Why shouldnt  we as citizens of our neighborhood do this work from scratch. What i am planning is to acquire these devices and starting mapping my neighborhood and once i am done with that i am ready to lend it to whoever is interested to map his/ her neighborhood (and of course returnable) and slowly we take this initiative across to all our known circles to plot pockets of information about the entire city of chennai over a period of next 6 months.Whoever is interested to join this initiative pls leave a comment on this blogpost with your mail id and we will be in touch with you.

Community Service can also begin on initiatives of this kind where technology can be a big enabler (Anybody can lay roads or fix potholes) but doing geo tagging and geocaching for our neighborhood is going to be pioneering and very helpful base for the emerging applications and for the general public.

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Is Virgin going to make India hot ?

Last weekend when the entire country was glue to the TV watching Filmfare awards there was another major launch happening at Mumbai, that of the launch of Virgin Mobiles. Sir Richard Branson was there to launch the same. Surprise that he was there to launch a mobile service, Seems like there is more to it than meets the eye. Virgin has tied up with Tata Teleservices for the distribution of the same. Just after the Vodafone takeover of Hutch when we all thought that all the fizz in the telecom race is going to settle down here is something interesting brewing up. Virgin announces credit points for all the incoming that the subscriber will receive in his moble. The more you talk the more credit points get accumulated. Airtel had recently announced 1 re per call, Vodafone announced 75p per call, BSNL announced 50p per call and here is Virgin annoucing that it will pay the user for each incoming call. Woah ! All these companies should think on lines of extending their services to 3 g and so forth rather than look at a pure pricing strategy. As for now once again we can see some sparks flying in the telecom space.

Just when the whole world is going Gung Ho about an Indian company (TATA) coming in to take over a Global Brand like Jaguar, everyone wants to be a part of that brand TATA. TATA had recently took a major stake of private jets fleet from an auction at Singapore last month to build a corporate jet fleet for India Inc. And now the king of the Skies of Britian comes calling to TATA. There is more to it than meets the eye. Virgin has a great network and track record of setting up domestic airlines in Australia, Britian, Europe, South America and Africa as well. Some years back TATA also had great plans for Indian Skies in Tieup with Singapore Airlines and Chennai was supposed to be the hub for that. Somehow due the political climate at that time being not to inestor friendly things didnt take off well. And is this another lease of life to those plans of TATA or is there any sort of alliance in the making from the two sky  mavericks of Airlines Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic) and Vijay Mallya (King Fisher) only time will tell.

Virgin’s presence in India will be a great plus to the Aviation Industry and the Indian Consumer bcos here is a company that thinks out of the box . Here is a company that has promised to put private space travel in the aviation map of the world for the First time and that too cheaper. What more Sir Richard Branson himself has claimed to be in the first flight to space as a kind of assurance to his dream plans (Entreprunuer to the core, daring to dream big and bold ) . As per virgin atlantic’s agenda for the space program they are supposed to go on orbital flight by the end of 2008. India is known for its strengths when it come to space exploration and cryogenics. And space research is one place where entreprunuership has not moved any boulders and we need visionaries like Richard branson to break the mindset.

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2008 Indian Financial Budget : Popular all the way to the (vote) banking system

The Budget for 2008 has finally arrived. What was supposed to have been just an event has turned out to be a good surprise for many of us. All outstanding agricultural loans until 31, Dec. 2007 will be waived . Here we are talking about something to the tune of 60,000 Crores as agricultural debts. Totally an Aam Admi budget to the core . This is a great move that needs to be lauded as it take grit and lot of visionary thinking to do this measure . A point to mention is some years back Agriculture constituted 36% of our GDP and for the last two years has taken a lot of beating partly because of failed monsoon and other factors. This much needed relief will prove to be a great booster to get the sector up and moving. The banks will be reimbursed the debt waiver over a period of 3 years

It has been a popular perception in any democracy is that the government is to feed somebody then it has to steal from some section of the society. So when there was an exemption of Agri loans discussed then perception was that the middle class will face the brunt. Exceptionally this was not the case in this budget as the FM has another great sop for the Salaried individual. On personal IT space the limit has been raised from 1.1 laks to 1.5 lakhs , and 1.8 lakhs for women and 2.25 lakhs for the senior citizen . This was a total popular measure and a great bonanza for the Middle class income group.

Apart from these major areas of focus some of the sops announced were

  • Hospitals to get 5 yrs Tax Holiday
  • Duty on Project imports reduced by 2.5%
  • GDP growth during the period were 8.8% and will continue to maintain the same
  • FII and FDI inflows continue to be strong
  • GST to be imposed from 1 st April 2008
  • Excise has been reduced to 12 % from 16 %. That means the small cars will cost cheaper by more than 7000 – 10000 . Small cars, hatchback models like Hyundai Santro, Getz, Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet uva, and Maruti  Estilo and Wagon R will cost cheaper . This is a Corporate Friendly budget.
  • Banking Cash transaction Tax has been withdrawn
  • Anti AIDS drugs will be totally exempted from Tax.
  • Education sector gets 20% more allocations
  • Capital Gains tax has been increased to 15 %
  • Tourism sector also gets tax sop.
  • Tigers conservation to get 50 Crores.
  • Defence sector gets 10% more allocations as well
  • Govt to keep a strong check on the rising product prices.

The banking space seems to have taken the budget in a very positive note.This reflected well on the Sensex and the Nifty. Over all the budget is positive for the economy as there is no warning signals that i find and the same seems to be the way the market has responded as well. Most of us were talking about an AAm Admi buget and Mr Chidambaram ensured that it will be totally that way. This might swing the vote bank in a major way in most of the states in the months to come.

One of the disappointments from this budget for me was the lack of any kind sop to spurn entrepreneurship. I remember an interesting viewpoint from Mohandas of Infosys on the same issue . The government has to provide some sort of sop for entrepreneurs like access to technology or any resources that will help in creating a startup friendly environment. This can either be in the form of collocated offices that will access to good IT infrastructure at subsidized cost. To keep the industry alive we need to incubate new ideas and new business models. This was one are that the FM hasnt addressed in this budget. Still entrepreneurship is fed by money from friends and family. When will the govt look into this ?

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Jodha Akbar on an Oscar night !

Last evening i happened to view “Jodha Akbar ” starring Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya and directed by Ashuthosh Gowarikar. The movie evokes a desire to look back at our rich heritage, our history and to know our roots beyond the english rule. Going back to our school days Mughal History was a subject that covered until Standard 10th. and very superficially. During school history was a subject that was so elaborate and not a pleasant experience as we had so much to cover . This movie proved me wrong.

Looking at great period movies from hollywood like Troy, Alexander, Motrocycle Diaries, Flag of Fathers and epics like Cleopatra and Ben Hur stirs a lot of interest into those periods from the viewer point of view. And here is a film from bollywood that tends to take the audence in retrospective to the Mughal era. I think thats a good effort from the filmmaker. Rather than making senseless movies that have the film protagonist running behind the heroine around the trees and so on. If a few movies of such genre can evoke the audience to look at different periods of Indian history i think it will create a lot of awareness among the youth of today.

Coming back to the content of the movie, we are not here to dispute the veracity of the story but the storyline is on how the neighboring kingdoms of Amer, Ajabgarh and Rajputana who used to live in peace and then the Mughal kingdom was growing from one size to another. Then there comes the political alliance in the form of a marraige proposal between prince Jalaludeen and Jodha. Jodha is the princess of the Kingdom of Amer. This story revolves around what started as a marraige of convenience to a tumultous love affair of a lifetime in the viewpoint of relegious tolerance, women empowerment and social integration. The trend to have movies like Mangal Pandey, Parzania, Black Friday, Gandhi -My Father throw a lot of light into grey areas of our history. The government has to encourage film makers who strive to recreate those lost moments of our history for the ignorant masses.

On the other hand it was an Oscar night with Coen Brothers ” No country for Old men “, “Michael Clayton” and “Bruno” grabbing major awards. Major letdown was that a movie like ” Atonement ” wasnt recognised at least for an excellent story.

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Demo Camp and All night moviethon !

 

India’s First Webcamp another joint initiative with The Knowledge Foundation was held last saturday at the Rails Factory office.  The first session was on Openstreet maps by GK from Anna University. Mapping and Location based services is one of my most favorable topics since we have been involved in developing applications on that domain for quite sometime back. The greatest misgiving for developers in this domain is that none of the maps of India in this domain are update or accurate in terms of availability for public use. There is a similar initiative going on currently called the Free mapWorkshop conducted in parallel at leading metros in India with the GPS units used by the team are given away at very subsidized cost. For more details on this project pls check out this site http://wiki.freemap.in/moin.cgi/FreeMapIndia2008 . TKF was liasing with Jace ( KiranJonnalagadda (jace AT pobox DOT com)) of Barcamp Bangalore to get the team to visit chennai as well. But then we had asked them too late to include in the schedule so we couldnt make it . But as GK said "  you dont need a couple of white hats to tell you what is needed ! Go ahead and organise a workshop we are ready to help you "

Groovy and GRAILS was presented by Prabhu. More on the topic is available on the slides

Next there was a presentation on the topic Flex ing your web applications by vaidhy. It was a very interesting session on the capabilities of Flex for the web environment follwed by Feed back session from the event attendees to understand what the audience is looking for in future sessions of Webcamp also gave us good idea on the directions that we need to pursue to ensure that content will be a great value differentiator on further editions. Most of the audience was expecting demos and not just presentations. Webcamp should also provide a balaced mix of the business environment available 

Tim talked on Jasperforge a opensource BI tool with api’s for third party development ending the final presentation by gk again on Django and its widespread use in opensource environment. The event came to an end by 7:30 pm leaving us with little time to catch up some dinner and move to our next item in the agenda an All night Moviethon. We had actually planned a RTFF but owing to venue constraints we couldnt hold the same so the idea got reduced to an indoor event that will be a moviethon. Saturday night a couple of us got together for a all night Moviethon at one of our friends place. More about the exploits will be found at gapp, nandhu , mahen and TUD‘s blogs. Movies screened were Natural Born Killers – Oliver stone & Tarantino, Superbad and 3:10 to yuma *ring Russel Crowe. After the all nighter i returned back home by 7 in the morning exhausted to rest through the entire sunday morning before settliing down to watch Reliance power announce 3:5 bonus shares to its shareholders and then  India lose an excellent match to Australia.

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Agile Scrum meet with Sanjeev Augustine !

Last weekend was a very engaging schedule starting from Friday evening when we had a very engaging discussion with Sanjiv Augustine on Agile programming and SCRUM practice prevalent in the market. Participants in the discussion were practitioners from Wipro, Thoughtworks, EDS, Cap Gemini, Cognizant and our core team of Sid, Narain, me and Yessel. The discussion happened in our recent venue (Gandhinagar Club) which is proving to be convenient both in terms of organising and economy of scale.

"Doing the same things everyday will not deliver new results. To change the results you ar egetting , you must change the things you are doing " – Robin Sharma

The entire discussion was towards quelling fears and doubts of Project managers of traditional waterfall model towards Agile practice and SCRUM. Discussions of this kind tend to throw light on the project management practices followed in different companies here. Interesting enough to hear that lot of IT companies are adopting towards Agile practices enterprise wide with an objective to drive quality to meet global standards.

It translates into a unwritten message that all these MNC’s readiness to adaptability and change management .Change is the most dominant force in the business climate today. Technology is changing , markets are changing and even our products are becoming obsolete by the time they hit our markets because the competition is always testing something more advanced. To meet such competion our service providers need to be resilent to meet such evolving changes with great agility and speed. Related to IT projects it visibly shows the readiness of our service providers to accept client changes at any point in the project and always work towards earned value metrics.

Earned Value management is a great advantage in Agile practice because the preparation of priority list by itself is done based on the features that delived value to the product owner /customer is placed under the same order such that the features that hold higher value are placed on top of the priority list thus as each sprint progresses greated value is delived to the customer thus making earned value management a great advantage on agile processes.

The evening was made very interactive by games based on the agile process that saw some active participation from the audience.We might see more of such programs in the months to come .

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MoMo Chennai on a very positive front !

MoMo Chennai’s first edition for 2008 took off with a great event at Adayar Gandhi Nagar Club .This edition had a very balanced mix of content from the business areas and the technical aspects as well in a very positive note. Looking at the event on a retrospective i find the business climate of both the corporates and the user abd developer community are priming for a very interesting growth period. On one hand there are major handset providers like Nokia who acknowledge and spurn growth of the developer community in India and look at Indian developer to contribute widely towards development of interesting applications on the OVI framework. Nokia forum is all geared to create a very conducive ecosystem with extending opportunities for startups to garner support from Nokia in terms of resources like emulators and lab support . Nokia is also open to endorse financial support to potential startups provided they are able to bring discrenible value to users. Initiatives of this kind from corporates will be a great boost to Startups and entreprunuership as well. India is arriving to interesting times. Forum Nokia and Mosh was presented by Nokia, Followed by OVI framework and Widsets for Nokia phones. Mobisite Galore presented by Prashanth and David. MobisiteGalore.com is a site where you can build a wap/mobile compliant site for mobile users from your normal websites. The entire site can be built using a combination of tools available on the site that is WYSIWYG editor, a site optimizer for optimising images and a Style sheet similar program. The entire site can be built from scatch to WAP ready mode in minutes and hands on on the site. And guess what the entire tools is available for free with no strings attached. There is a newer version that will support RSS kind of support that will be helpful for bloggs to be built for Mobile compliance. This was again a very interesting presentation MoMo point of view to provide some hands on to audience in terms of knowledge.There was Iphone related programming presented by Prabhu which was all about the hacks available for iphone and the development possibilities related to that Nokia was a major sponsor of this edition of MoMo and there was a brief introduction on MOSH to the audience. MOSH serves and an exchange platform where users can exchange ideas , builds and code related to developments for the OVI framework. The OVI Framework also supports java and flash lite based programs.Currently a lot of widsets are available for this framework that can be downloaded here.

Post Event Networking saw us through to request from Senthil from TKF to endorse WebCamp due to happen on 23rd Feb at RailsFactory. More details on the same will be posted soon. Another interesting development was that after a colorful stint at Atangudi, Sagaro came in to organise the first edition of RTFF for 2008 on 23rd Night and we plan to rope in Nandhu and TUD for this (Sid is off to Ahmedabad with his colorful frisbee team for some match) . This is one event i will be eagerly looking forward to as its been nearly more than 6 months since the last RTFF edition. This time it will be a Quentin Tarantino weekend with planned screening of atleast 5 of his best movies with some analysis and discussions going throughout the night. Many of our friends have commented on how we expend our energy in doing stuff like this, most of us derive sheer pleasure from seeing how our presence can make a difference in the larger canvas of things. I found a relevant youtube video that resonates the larger sentiment from the group.

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Fixed Bid Projects and Iron Triangle on Agile

Fixed Bid Projects:

Fixed bid projects are invariably governmental in nature and where the project is bid on a wider platform with given set of parameters and features that are unchanging to a major extent. The advantage of Agile is that it allows room for fixed bid projects as well.

The following steps need to be followed while pursuing a Fixed Bid Project using Agile methods

  1. Always be clear to break down the features into understandable units and get the confirmation from the customer. Involve the customer in the process. Running through the Priority List with the customer on a Agile process is one of the best experiences to understand the level of involvement of the customer in the process and also a step towards proofing the requirements. Most of our Customers are offshore and we schedule a common time when we conduct this meeting of going through the Priority list. This will also be a step towards understanding why a feature is considered of top priority to another in the list. Once such a list has been generated you will find tha pareto principle in effect that 20 % of the items in list contribute to 80% of the project in terms of deliverables.
  2. Never underbid on Fixed price projects . Trying to cut corners in a effort to outbid competitors will be very risky when it comes to fixed bid projects even though you allow room for slack it will be gradually absorbed in the system
  3. Keep room for minor changes but at the same time ensure that change process itself is elaborate and requires the customer intervention when it comes to Fixed Bid projects.At this point i would like to metion that in reality even though we start with projects on a fixed bid as you involve the customer across the various sprints and as he lives through the project the customer tends to effect change and that in turn leads to changes in the three vertices of the Iron Triangle of Project management.
  4. When you are on Fixed bid project mode the following needs to be take care. Ensure that you are working with your existing team whose capabilities are known to you. Work in known domain and known technology where it becomes easy for you to time box the feature list.

Always remember that end of the day our job is about “delivering what the customer needs and is not just about perfect requirements gathering, specifying or planning “

Iron Triangle

Project management will always be subject to a said tenets of Cost, Time and Scope . The overall quality of the project gets severely compromised if one tries to change just one of the tenets and keeping the other two parameters constant. Each vertex of the triangle form a key element in terms of the project deliverable and the success of the project. The three different vertices’s of the triangle manage

1.Features and Functionality

2. Schedule and time

3. Resources and budget

The reasoning goes something like this given a said resources are available under cost and if the scope of the project is subject to change then it will also impact the other two tenets as well. This is what we call the Iron Triangle. If we try to reduce the cost of the project either by downsizing resources or by cutting the budget then we need to compromise on the scope of the project as well as on the time for delivery need to be extended. Overall this will also affect the quality of the project. Due to this nature of inflexibility it is thus called the Iron Triangle.

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Enterprising Entrepreneurs at Martin Fowler Meet !

Last Evening most of the members at TKF convened together for the Agile Discussion by Martin Fowler , Chief Architect – Thoughtworks. The event at the outset was a terrible disaster but saved to an extent by Arun, Siddhi and couple of Friends from the Agile Forum.  The forum totally misfired on the wrong foot after Martin turned up for the event with a severe case of Viral Flu. He was in such a bad shape that he couldn’t even talk. I was in a similar shape with terrible Wheezing too owing to severe cold temperature at the venue.

Once the chief speaker was down, the floor was opened to discussion about Agile and SCRUM per se. Thats when disaster struck as here was a crowd that had come to listen on Agile practices and part of us were Agile practitioners who were trying to drive across the benefits of Agile and Scrum to practitioners of Traditional methodology.The debate was being pulled in different directions and people who were unaware of SCRUM or Priority list or product backlog or sprint were raising so many questions about the process. So the questions could neither get technical nor process centric.

The greatest strength of Agile Process is the readiness to change as per evolving needs of the customer thus making it agile. Change is by itself a greatest strength of the project. Secondly here is an option for the customer to participate in the evolving prioirity list to pull the items according to his priority for further sprints based on value created. Another major factor is frequent sprints producing workable code and build are also strengths of Agile and Scrum. The sessions could have been better aligned if we have changed the direction as to discussing the aspects of Agile and Scrum process. At least it wouldnt have been as bad a few blind men trying to feel different parts of the Elephant. .

The best part of the entire fiasco was the clarification provided by Arun on the Documentation process, and its objectives in relation to SCRUM. One clear message came out of this event is that there are still a lot Project managers that were adopting traditional methods for their global delivery of services. For SCRUM and Agile users like me it was a terrible dissappointment that we could hear Martin and for others they could neither get a sense of grasp on the entire topic. Interestingly there was a major discussion of SCRUM application on Fixed bid projects and i will take up this topic in a separate blogpost. Finally it was good to hear about the Thoughtworks project that spanned across 5 countries and 250 members. Yahoo India had done a similar scrum spanning across 3 countries and 200 crafts people for their standard view.

This event was totally organized by Narain, Yessel and Sid from our end. PROTO and Thoughtworks gave away a lot of Freebies for this event. Interestingly I met Senthil from RailsFactory in the networking session who had left the PHP domain and have started work on ROR (Ruby on Rails). It reminded me of the early days when we broke free from conventional mould to start someting on my own. Interestingly sometime back i happened to view a video on the entrepreneurship from Steve Jobs story which is so invigorating.

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34 years of serving Earth !

Today I step into my 35th. year "Serving my time at Earth " . This is accompanied by New plans , new responsibilities, and newer resolutions. I have completed 3 years with Fuente and 8 years with Mecosoft and nearly 2 years with The Knowledge Foundation (ever since BarCamp Chennai in Feb 2006) . The journey so far has been very exciting and challenging too.

On a personal front at Mecosoft I have been involved in starting branch offices in foreign countries at least thrice which involves right from setting up offices and the Incorporation procedures to forging alliances with foreign counterparts and getting the entire office operational on a warpath. To challenge and execute such work on a foriegn soil brings about a greater confidence and needs survival skills of bootstrapping. Greater challenges were that we worked on interesting times across borders that were afflicted by SARS and getting in and out of Quarantined zones through air land or sea. Since most of our operations was between Hong kong, malaysia, brunei and Thailand (which were the major SARS afflicted zones in 2002 onwards) there was a constant thrill in operating there. In retrospective it was all adventurous and fun.

Eversince Fuente happened and we found the trend of global need to view India as a best outsourcing destination our exploits to foreign lands has been restricted and I have focussed greatly on back office work, project management and customer interaction. This was the time that TKF happened and I was able to channelise a lot of unbundled energy into that initiative. With the support of stronger minds like Kiruba, Sukumar, Ganesh, Sid, Raga1, Vijay, Sudhir, Ravi, Nandhu, Sagaro, Narain, Aswin and kausik today TKF is a much bigger body than any single individual per se. And i feel it high time to let it float forward as an independent body. Also there is a constant misgiving back at office that i devote more of my quality time on TKF rather than business. This year will also be a step towards taking a lesser role in day today activities of the Foundation. But this was a great opportunity for us to give back something to the society in a unique manner. Today TKF is a formidable force and a respected body in the National arena. Eventhough it is obscure in presence it is well known for the events that we conduct. And i take great pride to have been a part of such humble begining.

This year i might possibly think of stepping into US and Europe as our business interest in both places seem to get more day by day. And a sticter diet regime to tone down and play low on the equity market (Aggression doest seem to pay off under current US recession). 

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Blog Camp 2008 in the making !

Blog Camp 2008 is at the horizon and we are planning an usual 2 day event but with added scope of content and audience from regional language bloggers in tamil, hindi also to converge in this event. Mainstream media today has a great recognition for citizen journalism and blogging. For such bloggers we aim to create a networking opportunity to mingle with the techies to know better ways to commercialise their blogs and manage analytics and related areas.  On personal space mobile blogging has arrived in India with availability of cheaper bandwidth and mobile gadgets that facilitate blogging easily. These are some of the added features and scope of content that will be discussed apart from the regular blogging and blog related content during blog Camp 2008. So Gear up folks Blog Camp 2008 will be here and the venue will be Tidel Park and the dates will be confirmed very soon.

There might be a surprise 3 rd day in Blog camp which might be a new formula that we plan to test in Indian ethos. The contents of that day will sure be a blockbuster and a first of its kind in India and provided that we are able to pull it off well then this by itself will evolve as a separate event. We will get into the specifics of this as soon as we finalise on dates and budgets for BlogCamp 2008. Currently The knowledge foundation lends the support of past volunteers of Blog Camp 2006 to pitch in and also welcomes spirited young people to volunteer and make this event a greater success than Blog Camp 2006. Mail us at blogcamp@googlegroups.com for participation. Good day !

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Remembering a passionate entrepruneur with a cause : Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin has been one of those conservationists who redefined the way we need to look at animals and other living creatures.  One of the few australians who have crossed the regional barrier to be recognised and a global citizen in the work that they were pursuing. Watching this person in action was like " Are you out of your *####*** mind ? " But then your slowly realise that this is not a gimmick or stunt that a showman is trying to pull , there is in fact a deep rooted passion for animals that is driving him to work on preserving them. Its a year since we lost Steve but the passion seems to be carried forward by Bindi and Bob with same vigor. Australian Zoo at Queensland eventhough has lost its first citizen it seems to be banking on the passion and inspiration that he has passed on to his kids. His trade mark of khakhi shorts and chirpy tone with tons of energy is something hard to forget. May the spirit and passion of " Crikey " pass to all you entrepruneurs in making for all that you are striving for.

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