Restart, Start Afresh

It’s been a decade since I wrote my first blog and when I was writing my first blog, I was determined to build a world-class content. I didn’t persist and so, I failed. I can list a thousand reasons on why I didn’t, but then – it is only a defense. Even if I defend – whom am I defending against? The fact would remain the fact – that I failed. That means, I need to first accept my failure and use the brain cycles for betterment than against finding reasons that none cares or bothers about. I accept my failure.

Ok, self-acceptance of failure – what next. I had two options – abandon the blog and pretend everything is fine or start over again and persist. I chose to start over again.

Why am I starting again?

“It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity.”                                 – George Matthew Adams

Every failure in my life has thought me lessons. Lessons on what should I do, how should I approach and more importantly, what should I not do. I consider that not being consistent in my blog is one big failure with lessons. Now, what / where I am gona use these of my lessons from failure of build a blog. I can’t go tell anyone my lessons on what I know about blogging – as I haven’t tested myself and not sure if they would lead to success. So, I have a reason to check my lessons.

On a dead bed – If I were to be asking myself what are many things that you didn’t do well and you could have done well at least starting late. I am not gona sound philosophical or sentimental. I am not even sure if I will be looking back on my life and regret in my dead bed – but if I were to imagine if I were to be asking this question – I would want a better answer and reasons. So I have yet another reason.

My mind, thoughts, thinking were shaped by many blogs, books and writings. Many great people have said letting others know what you learnt will increase your understanding, knowledge etc. I read and I want to make public what I know.

Last but not the least – this medium will bring me opportunity that otherwise will not.

So, many reasons guys. I am justifying myself and not you.

Hey – Will you succeed again?

Is there any guarantee that I will succeed starting afresh? I don’t know all that I need to build a successful blog. All I have is my failed experience and lessons. I feel that alone would not get me build a successful blog.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear” Zen Proverb

When I was searching for lessons on how to build a better blog – John Sonmez, the Founder of Simple Programmer  appeared in front of me (actually, I found him though google) He is offering a free blogging course. Man, awesome course – signup, read his blog, listen to his podcast they are awesome.

I would like to thank John Sonmez, the Founder of Simple Programmer for providing such a valuable lessons / course free. That shows his greatness. Thank you John.

I am sure John’s course will take me to success and I am determined this time – as I don’t want to write about a failure second time.

Is this making sense – I don’t know. Time has the answer.

Making a fresh start and I have a long way to go…….



Good Bye 2010 , Welcome 2011

Wish you a Happy New year 2011.

Its that time of the year again, where I get to look back with mixed feelings on what I did/didn’t do. No wonder, I have too many not done’s than the done’s.  It has to be that way, for I have something to chase after. Good or bad, chasing has become part of life.

Spent most of my 2010 away from home and that meant a lot of self reflection in solitude; which in-turn brought in many insights. Read many books & articles, met different people, went around places.  I am a far better person than I was at the start of 2010, which is kind of good, but I am not where I wanted to be.

Reflection has changed my perspective towards life, career and many other things. As such, from 50,000 foot above, my 2011 would be spent on (not in any particular order)

– Focused improvement on skills
– Building an online identity
– Learn more on Farming(I am from a farming community and I would be starting a new blog around it soon).
– Focused Financial investments
– Quality time with Family
– Travel to learn farming
– Help people grow

Some call this chasing – a rat race, survival of fittest and what not.  Like it or not, I am part of it- getting away from it means a lot, which is what I am going to work on this year.


One Year since I landed in Melbourne

It is one year passed since I landed in Melbourne.  What started as a three month trip would finally end up as a 14 month trip.  I would be returning back to India at the end of Nov.   

I thought of writing about my professional & personal experience during this past one year in Melbourne.  

A not-so interesting thought that runs on my mind is how the projects are planned or otherwise how the due dates were calculated.   When I came in, this project was already delayed by about six months and was expected to be completed in 3 months.  Hence it started as a three months trip.    As the due date approached, the optimism faded away and the due date was pushed by another couple of months, then another couple of months and  now the due date is getting puhsed by week(s). You guessed it right,  the project is not going to end in Nov. It is going to take a while, but the good news is that the project is very much under control  than it was 14 months back.

You could imagine the pressure on the team, the management and the client on such a project. Sitting with Client made me realize how hard it is to get funding for a project that misses deadline. It is not easy – the business manager has to convince the IT department, accounts department, strategy department and so many people to keep the project going.   It is not that easy to convince someone after a couple of times,  you loose your trust-worthiness.  Looking back there were many things that had gone wrong.  If I were asked to pick one thing that could have bettered our chances of determining the date, I would choose “Loosing the bigger Picture”.  Most of the times, the due dates were calculated based on the burning issues that is on hand. Fix the burining issues, next set of burining issues creep up and the next and the next.  And Yes, there were many things that we didnt see it coming (performance issues,  Virtual Server enviroment issues, Network issues on  VM , issues on third party tools etc.,).   It would be a very long story to write, so, I end about this subject here.

Another dangerous thing that is happening in the industry is the way in which the agile is being adopted. Well,  I am not against Agile, but the way it is being driven for adoption is really concerning me.  The client I am working with had brought in best of the breed Agile Consultants to educate its employees, prepare them to go agile for over a year. A lot of money was spent on training and education.  When the client had an understanding on the way the agile projects are run, they wanted its service providers to do the project in Agile way too.  Most of the service providers are clueless about agile.  All they *think* is Agile methodolgy is fast catching up in market and is another resume skill..  Isnt it a big bullshit? I can seet it failing big time.  Seervice providers are trying to mass – commoditize Agile, which I think isnt going to work.  I am wondering what these people would be talking about Agile after a few years.

 A lot of professional learning on software writing and project management.   The last one year has thought me more lessons than any of the years in my career. 

Personally, my perspective towards life has changed a lot.   May be I am not able to put in on writing, but there is a lot of change in my attitude and approach towards my life.  I learnt and experienced a lot moving around Melbourne.  I went around places, learnt cooking ,  went  to Australian Grand Prix,  Austrlian Open, local Footy  and a couple of cricket matches.   A good experince all together.  I gained new interests and hobbies – photography for example.   They say, Melbourne is a live city and I would recomend anyone to spent sometime in this city.
A good year so far.

Surrounding yourself with positive friends and doers..

When I landed in Melbourne seven months ago, I  met one of my friend with whom I wasn’t in touch for last 8 years.   We went to same college, we started our career in the same company and we stayed in a same home then.   For some reasons we lost contact and we met again last September.  I was staying in his home for about two months when I landed in Melbourne.

I learnt and  still learning many things from him.  The most important of all is how to remain positive and openness to accept things and change them the way we wanted it to be.  He helped me to look into the aspects of life which I have never looked at, the aspects of work and the aspect of many a things. Being with him, I feel more energetic, more enthusiastic and much more.

It is important you should have friends whom you can wake up at middle of night to talk nonsense. Surrounding yourself with positive and good friends is very important for your health, life and work. This is not a long kept secret, but a simple thing that takes you miles.

This post is to express my thanks and gratitude.

The result of Laziness, Procrastination and the Opportunity Cost.

Opportunity Cost ,  the real cost of lost time, lost credibility, lost career, lost love, lost life which are brought into one’s life by our seeming friends – Laziness and procrastination are very high. In long run, these seeming friends bring more pain to life than pleasure.

More than any other losses, these seeming friends brought pessimism into me; against which I am fought every day.  There are many theories out there about pessimism – it feels good to read about it, but it is very hard to spend a few months / years with it.  I have been there, felt that and know what it means. Pessimism :  I call it a strange disease;  puts a filter on to your vision and the result, you see negativity in all sorts of life.  The more pain of this strange disease is- you don’t know you have it.  I thought I was more optimistic and realistic, but the reality is I had that filter on my vision without me knowing about it.

I tried many things to get out of it – To Do lists,  Not To do lists, doing three important things a day and so many other suggestions out there on web.   Nothing worked.  Thank God : I read this post of  Reg Braithwaite . The techniques in the book  –   Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life has helped me a lot in taking my pessimism out.  It took a lot of time and pain for me to come out of it,  I am now out of it.  I have re-read the book many many times.  A Great book.

Yesterday, when I logged into my blog to make my first blog of the year, my heart felt bad to learn that the last post I made was in April last year.  So many opportunities lost in last one year , but it is OK.  As the saying goes ” Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”

As with regards to my career, I have two certification goals for this year.  One is planned by end of July and the other by end of Oct-2010.  I now feel very optimistic that the opportunity cost of my decision, the choices I make now will make me better in times to come.

No.. I wasn’t busy.. I was lazy and procastinating…

I know there are few followers for my blog, but still it is my responsibility to keep it updated for very basic reason that I started it, and I dont want “it” to die with yet another blog on internet. Oh yes, I hear your voice ” Hey idiot (Azagu).. What on earth makes you believe that your blog is still alive?”.  My answer though it sounds stupid is ” Gentleman.. I am still alive and I will not let my  blog die in front of my eyes.. I will certaninly give it a new life”.

It is a shame to tell laziness, procrastination, not knowing what I want / where I want to go  and many other absurd reasons and silly things  that has kept  me away from writing blogs.  Yes, it is bull**** to say so.  I am currenlty in Melbourne, Australia for past 7 months and will be back in India in next couple of months.  A lot has happened to my life and many of them – not the way I wanted it to be.  I have been toying around with many ideas, but I feel the time is not ripe to make a decision; in otherwords, as the wise say, this guy is not ready to take risks.  One thing for sure, I have to move out of so called self proclaimed IT services companies operating out of India and become an indepedant IT consultant / entrepreneur like …. (itentionally left blank).

I have so many things on my head, I have to do a lot of things and it is still a shame for me to tell that laziness and procastination has kept me away.  But I have to start somewhere and this is a new start  for a new ending which I wanted. For those of my friends out there, I wish to tell with confidence ” I am back….. and I will come out of my laziness – comfort zone and  stretch my muscles to see the new horizon.  I am going to use this blog as revival tool – a medium to express myself. “

Chennai Agile User Group – 20th April 2009 Meet.

Today Dr. Venkat Subramaniam gave an excellent session on Fallacies of Agile Development.  He talked about many interesting Fallacies like  speed (project velocity), importance of testers & testing, involving customer and a lot other Fallacies that are commonly spread in the industry. The slides can be downloaded from here.   A great talk.

For some reasons, the Chennai agile group meeting doesn’t happen too often.  Siddhi said he is kick-starting the group meeting again and there would be at least one meeting a month from now on.  Yes, we have to meet often for the very reason that user groups are the ways and means to share and learn among ourselves.

A few months ago an incident happened in my company, which I think is in a way related to rest of my post.  One fine morning someone in my vertical got an idea out from the blue sky  that there should be technical sessions every week, so that people can share their experiences.  Good intention & a great idea . The person being a manager found a person who would give a shape to this idea and lead it from front. He also identified a backup who would lead if the other person is not available (what  a backup strategy).  The team members were appraised of this idea through email which read “ … So, we would be having  technical sessions on Friday of every week to share our experiences and learn new stuff…. I would like to hear from you on what things you would like to discuss in these meetings”.   No one responded with ideas and meetings never  happened.  The result; the idea was shelved.  Looking back on why this failed

  • The idea of meeting once a week was good, but either the leaders / team members didn’t know what to talk / discuss.
  • Team members are not interested in learning/sharing experience.  In corporate you will find those 9AM- 5PM kind of persons, who not only will put forward their ideas, but will spoil the brains of others too.

As of now, I think the above holds true for the Chennai Agile group meetings. Don’t get me wrong in this. My intention is that we should get started again , move forward and establish ourselves.  I am also the one to be blamed. I want user group meetings to happen, but I never contribute. Nor do  I have a idea of what I want out of these meetings.   I thought having an idea of what to expect from Agile group meetings would greatly help me to contribute.  The following are my expectations and I will work on contributing the same to the group.

  • Should have more hands on. I am into Microsoft tech (I know, this is not the way I wish to identify myself).   We can talk about NUnit, NHibernate, Cruise Control.Net etc
  • My thoughts on Agile are influenced by  book Object Thinking.  This is the book that says how to equip oneself before diving into Agile. This book says what should one know to get deeply involved in Agile. Watch this video : XP: After 10 years why are we still talking about it  by Robert C. Martin to know the importance of technical knowledge .  In that line I would like to hear / talk about Design patterns, Enterprise Architectural patterns etc
  • Refactoring Sessions
  • Code Kata sessions.
  • XP Games
  • Acceptance Testing
  • Should help us to become Software Craftsman.
  • etc.

I think I have set a direction. I would like to contribute. I will pick up one of the above and shall present to the group soon.  Lets see what’s in store for Chennai Agile Group meetings in 2009.