Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rules of Thumb - 52 truths for winning at business without losing your self

Rules of Thumb (by Alan M. Webber) was my cerebral diet for the weekend. The book outlines 52 practical advices on how to win at business without losing your self. Alan's approach of putting his points across by relating to past experiences is easy to read and easier to connect.

Here are rules, I could relate easily:
#3 - Ask the last question first
#5 - Change is a math formula. Change happens when 'Cost of maintaining Status Quo is greater than the Risk of Change'
#10 - A good question beats a good answer. Asking questions can be dangerous; Not asking them can be fatal
#12 - The difference between a crisis and an opportunity is when you learn about it
#17 - Entrepreneurs choose serendipity over efficiency
#29 - Words matter
#30 - The likeliest sources of great ideas are in the most unlikely places
#32 - Content isn't the king; Context is
#35 - Loyalty is a two way street - Arnold "Red" Auerbach - Coach, The Boston Celtics
#41 - If you want to be a real leader; First get real about Leadership
#43 - Don't confuse Credential with Talent. Hire for Attitude; Train for skill
#45 - Failure isn't failing; Failure is failing to try
#51 - Take your work seriously; yourself 'Not so much'
#52 - Stay Alert! There are teachers everywhere

Recommended reading..

"Android is Apple's Burger King" - my perspective

During my weekend browsing on twitter, I came across this interesting analogy comparing Apple vs Android to McDonald vs Burger King :

In the article Rob Diana argues
- McDonalds leads innovation and consistency supported by detailed market study in selecting locations of their stores (comparable to apple's product innovation)
- In contrast, Burger King follows a simple yet effective strategy of opening their store near to existing McDonald store and differentiates offering by allowing customers to choose the ingredients of their burger (comparable to Android's strategy of following iPhone with flexible hardware platforms)

Here is my take:
1. apple is undoubtedly the leading innovator in mobile computing. They are maximizing the tight coupling of hardware and software to deliver products that are more often than not prove to be game changer

2. Android on the other hand is fast catching up, but I see following impediments to android's future growth
- lack of control on underlying hardware: OS design is likely to get more and more complex (there-by inducing potential bugs) in future
- As more and more manufacturers (without any differentiating value added services) adopt Android, it's only a logical conclusion that Android platform will be commoditized and cannibalized, their by allowing apple to strengthen it's lead

It's high time that manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, take a cue from "Burger King" model of being flexible in giving users what they want (at least in terms of innovation in service delivery, if not on technology)..

Performance evaluation in Agile teams - Part III

In this concluding part, I am sharing the retrospective findings from our new approach towards Performance evaluation in agile teams

1. Empower associates to select their own goals (albeit within an organizational framework)
2. Peer evaluation process

1. Periodic peer evaluations instead of waiting till the end of the evaluation cycle
2. Include more subjective feedback

1. None

On hindsight, we realized partial success with the new process we adopted. Further in the process we realized there is a significant opportunity for disparate agile team to share and learn from each other.