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R Rajesh

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R Rajesh last won the day on November 21

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About R Rajesh

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    Rajesh Rajagopalan
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  1. R Rajesh

    BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

    Let us see what is BHAG first. Per wikipedia definition, BHAG pronounced as Bee-HAG , is a strategic business statement, which portrays an organisation wide goal which is audacious and is likely to be questionable externally but within the organisation would be regarded as impossible. The term, was first coined by James Collins and Jerry Porras in the book titled " Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies". What BHAG does ? BHAG provides - Visionary goals which are strategic and Emotionally/mentally demanding - Goals to be achieved in the Long term (period of 10-30 years) - the platform by which an organisation can transcend itself to a new level - a platform by which you can be an Industry Leader, because your organisation planning is long term and you are miles-ahead of the rest of the industry players There can be multiple BHAGs in an Organisation. Because we speak about a range of years say 10-30 , we can even have short term BHAGs and long term BHAGs. Examples of BHAG: 1. Microsoft changing the digital world by introducing Personal Computers. Every house has a PC and even offices which used to have only mainframe systems , moved to PC. EVery place is with a computer. 2. NASA's mision on Mars Exploration since 1960 3. Google organising the information all over world and make it accessible to all (eg: Courtesy wikipedia) . More often than not, we say "Google" it to find something, rather than saying, search it in Google. Thats the influence, Google has achieved , because of its audacious goal. Having talked about BHAG, let me discuss on how BHAG can be used in driving Black Belt projects. Here is my take on this. Strongly believe that in a company where Six Sigma culture is not there and if the top brass are Process-Oriented, then BHAG is a great choice. I will correlate here SMART can be applied to BHAG. Imagine now you define that you plan to have a short term BHAG(Say 10 years) for your IT company. In this 10 years, you want 300 Black Belt projects to be done (just for sake of discussion.. Anyways - does it sound Questionable for you? If yes, then that is BHAG- as you are external :-) ). Will expand SMART in BHAG's context 1. Specific: Just for instance - You can suggest how many BB projects to be completed in a year, how many to be started in a quarter, how much minimal value savings you should showcase....such quantifiable needs can be put. This is just only a sample. 2. Measurable: This talks about the measuring techniques. In this context, if we are saying 30 projects / year and across multiple verticals(read sectors) such as Health, Insurance, Banking, Retail, Manufacturing, Automobile, then say we need to take data for 5 projects to be measured across 6 verticals 3. Achievable/Attainable: The goal of 5BBs/vertical per year, should be realistic. If we look at the definition of BHAG, it is likely to be questioned by external parties and not within the organisation which implies the fact this can be achievable. May be a bit of stretching might be required due to nature of the activity, in my opinion. 4. Relevant: This will say about alignment with other business goals (Say another short term BHAG which talks about creating 100 MBBs in 10 years- just an example) 5. Time-bound: All BB projects to complete between 6-10 years and the whole goal to be completed on say, May 29th 2028. As we had seen here, even though BHAG seems to be unachievable, it could be only an external perception. A company would know the strength and weakness of its workforce and would be the best judge to decide what can be a good BHAG for itself. I portrayed two short term BHAGs that could have been a subset of one long term BHAG as well. Conclusion: Every company may not have a BHAG. But companies that successfully implement BHAG can or probably will become pioneers in their industries, though it would be emotionally demanding for the employees of those companies. For Companies, which do not have an inherent quality or Six Sigma culture and if that company is a big-sized one, then probably i feel BHAG has the potential to turn the company from a rookie to an expert process-oriented organisation and storm through the ladder and go up, in its industry. For companies which are having some BB projects, here and there , but require more BBs and MBBs, then having a short team BHAG related to Six Sigma can be driven , but the short term BHAG can be linked to a long term BHAG related to something like Business Process Modernisation.
  2. R Rajesh

    Change Management

    Hi. Interested in providing my response for this. As you know the adage, Nothing is permanent, so change will be there always and everywhere. Having said this, let me tell what change would cause. There will be always stakeholders who would be benefitted and who get adversely affected by the change. Grudge would be more if the affected parties are more and if the benefitted stakeholders are influential then thats where the issue starts. How often do we see an organisation (read mgmt) changes it's policies which do not go well with it's staffs. This is where it begins. There are other scenarios. Imagine you/your team want(s) to implement changes in your project and there are multiple stakeholders who need to approve this (through Change Approval Board) . You face strong resistance in getting the approval. Why ? It could be because some of the stakeholders afresh affected adversely by your changes either directly or indirectly. Or You did not seek their suggestion(Influential or key stakeholder (s)) prior to implementing the changes or did not provide prior intimation about the changes to them, or the other stakeholders have some ego problems with the stakeholder(s) to whom you are directly reporting(I have seen this happening as well). All these things should be properly addressed. Right business case (for justifying the changes) and stakeholder mgmt are the key for a successful change management. Then Acceptance would happen.
  3. R Rajesh

    Apples to Oranges Comparison

    From what i have seen or observed , general human tendency is to do Correlation and Comparison of things. People correlate one thing to another thing and compare things(objects, persons (read attributes/characteristics)...). Why they do this ? Because the human beings are trained and taught to do so since time immemorial. Man is a social animal with plenty of knowledge!! Human tendency is to go from a 'known' entity to an 'unknown' entity, in many cases. So the comparison starts from there. What are we trying to say by "Apple to Orange" comparison. It does mean that we are trying to compare two different things(in reality it could be about some objects or about some human beings). In the case of human beings, the comparison could be about their characteristics , in a personal context; skill set, experience-level, soft- skills, etc... in a professional context. So why is this important ? Because as a human brain is naturally aligned to compare people , it does not see what/whom needs to be compared with what/whom. This is the generic behaviour which needs to be consciously be changed by every individual to stay balanced. Apple to Orange comparisons , therefore would happen in reality in several cases, though the comparison often would be unfair. Let us see some examples where 'Apple to Orange' Comparison becomes necessary 1. In an IT organisation, an experienced employee(10+ year exp.), resigned from his job. As his job was a billable position, the service providing company found a lesser experienced(1 year) professional to replace the experienced professional. The customer knew the experience of the replaced staff. But a week later, the customer is not happy with the performance of the new staff stating the team that new staff needs to be upto speed and expects the quality as he got from the experienced person. Here clear 'Apple to Orange' Comparison has happened. Both the experienced employee(resigned) and the new employee have knowledge in that technology(Advanced Java) but the knowledge gap is wide. But for the customer, this is immaterial. He needed the same quality as it was earlier. The onus will be on the service provide to bridge the gap but the point is this comparison is made because the customer is expecting the same quality. 2.In an appraisal process in an IT company, all the team members(TM) were appraised. TM1, TM2, TM3 were all experienced in that order - with 10,7,5 years of experience respectively. TM4,TM5,TM6,TM7- were experienced with 4,2,1,1 years respectively. TM5,TM6, TM7 felt that it was unfair to compare them with senior TMs (TM1, TM2). They felt that they were feeling the pressure. Even though the project mgmt team had done some criteria for each experience, still the lesser experienced TMs felt that appraising them with the seniors would not help their appraisal. This is often the case we would come across many teams in many industries. 3. While doing software estimation: a). Say you have a start up company and you have got few development projects. Suddenly you get an enhancement cum maintenance project. Since you do not have an estimation template for an Enhancement , you rely on your estimation template for Development . You compare that (only to see if you get any initial idea) and try to tailor to suit your enhancement project requirements. In reality this could be a failure. b). Say you have an estimation model for Java/J2EE technology . Now you are getting a mainframe project and you do not have an estimation model for it. Now you decide to take a leaf out of your Java/j2EE estimation model and take that as basis for your mainframe estimation. In both the cases, we are making an Apple to Orange comparison ,as we are left with no choice but go from 'known to unknown' entity (to begin with). 4. How many times we would have seen the fact that to find the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in a sport, we compare people who played the sport in different eras? Imagine how that sport would have been played in each era. Then how will you find GOAT ? Of course. various factors might be considered by the agencies (companies/relevant parties) which decide on the GOAT. Sometimes multiple Agencies who pronounce the result on GOAT, choose different players as the GOAT (they do not concur), because they may choose different factors. So to find the GOAT , we are making an Apple to Orange comparison and we try to minimise this indifferent comparison by bringing in various factors. Otherwise how can you say , who is the greatest cricketing batsman of all time, greatest tennis player of all time, greatest golfer of all time ? How difficult or easy to compare a tennis player who played lawn tennis in a wooden racquet, with a tennis player who played his tennis in synthetic hard court with a graphite racquet? Is there any technique to carry out such a comparison? Honestly am not sure if there is any technique. I could think of few things however which can give some quick guidance , in my opinion. 1. Organisational Process Assets (OPA) - Previous projects could have done like this and could have updated the organisation's repository - Documents could be like logs, Excel sheets, Lessons Learnt etc.,. Those artifacts can have data on the comparable entities and the associated data that was required for each of the comparable entity and the decisions made on the comparison. 2. SharePoint, Online database - Where Information or factors deciding the comparison can be captured; data about comparable entities Conclusion: Comparing things is a human mindset and has become a prerogative. Nothing can stop a person from comparing things . In a business context, this comparison takes importance because of cut-throat competition across the globe in every industry.Therefore , Apple-to-Orange Comparison , even though it may seem not correct, it is becoming increasing essential part of our day-to-day life.
  4. R Rajesh

    Hansei

    Nothing in this world can be perfect or 100% correct. However and whatever we do, there may be always a chance of improvement.The moment, a person feels that he/she has done enough, he/she stops to grow especially, in his/her professional career/ work. Every person has to do a self-reflection on how he/she did his/her current work. This self-reflection is what Hansei is all about. Why it is a central idea in Japanese Mgmt: By doing a self-reflection, a person is aware of his/her strengths and weakness (area of improvement). He/she can polish that missing attributes from his/her reportoire. If that person's work quality or results or work ethic is falling short of expectation, then the person ensures he does an apology to the rest of his/her colleagues/management. This is a prevailing cultural behaviour of the Japanese.This is essentially captured by Hansei. Hence this self-reflection mechanism plays a critical role. How does Hansei relate with Kaizen: As i stated earlier in my first paragraph, if nothing can be 100% perfect, then there is still scope for Improvement. Did not we hear this regularly, that a particular company operates at 'X' Sigma, another company operates at 'y' sigma. Why ? because every company wants to push itself to get the maximum results. Ideally they would want the individuals as well as team to do continuous improvements, which is what Kaizen will do. Once a kaizen is done, the team (which did the kaizen) would reflect upon what went well and what can be improved. The team will make a honest assesment of what it did and how it could have been done better - with an individual and team assessment. This is where Hansei comes into picture. Let me give an example how Kaizen and Hansei can be correlated and why Hansei is essential: In an IT organisation, one portfolio for a customer relationship(engagement with a specific customer organisation), was operating under a Managed Service model in an Agile environment, and one of the project teams improved itself from doing manual testing (unit and functional) to automated unit testing using JUnit(Unit Testing) and Selenium as a Kaizen initiative. The team was happy on the achievement, but when it did a retrospection at the end of one Sprint later than when it was implemented, to see how the automation works , it felt the test cases covered were not effectively implented. The focus on 100% test coverage and the requisite quality was missing. This made the team to again working on improving the process - in this case about writing quality test cases - . So the team decided to moved to Behaviour Driven Development approach. So after doing the self-relfection, the team decided to do an improvement activity(Kaizen). Conclusion: Self-awareness is a must for any person to grow, personally and professionally. Here we are focussing on the professional front. No one (for that matter any team) can be 100% right. Telling in lighter terms to portray this aspect alone, if you are an avid fan of the game of Cricket, you can notice the fact that the legendary Sir Donald Bradman had an average of 99.96% (he could not score 4 runs in his final innings to get the coveted 100%). Whatever you are going to do as an individual/as a team, there is always going to be scope for improvement. Improvement cannot occur unless you realize what you did, how you did and what could be done better. This self reflection with a degree of humbleness, and eagerness to improve things, will make an indvidual grow as a human being in his/her professional career and a trust-worthy leader.
  5. R Rajesh

    Yokoten

    In Japanese, it is called "Across Every where". What does it mean in this context ? Sharing best practices horizontally across an organisation. It also talks about the learning of failures across organisation. The objective is to share the learnings/continuous improvement ideas. For instance, staffs in one department might be asked to see and observe the improvements made in another department. Let us see some examples from various sectors: IT Sector: In an IT organisation, one project team used a Continuous Integration server and displayed reports on Code Coverage and Coding Standards compliance, on a giant monitor. It was transparent for the entire team and management. Developers were quick to spot their mistakes and made corrections. This improved the quality of the system with minimal defects resulting in a satisfied customer. This was highlighted as a major success in that project's portfolio and the Group Leader of the particular customer unit/relationship (where the project belongs to) , requested other teams to see and observe the changes made so that it could be replicated across the rest of the customer unit/relationship. The Other teams observed the changes and replicated this successfully. Manufacturing Sector: In a manufacturing company, a team(let us call it T1) did a Six Sigma DMAIC project to reduce cycle time for the processing of its product. Another team from different department saw the success stories of T1 through a circulated success story presentation and met T1 manager and SMEs, in person, to understand more about the improvements made in T1's processes. Retail Sector: A major Retailer had three outlets in a big city. Outlet in one location (Location A) was having its products sold routinely and growing in size everyday and the other two outlets (in different locations) were not doing business that well. Managers of Location A decided to share the knowhow about improving the business with the managers of the other 2 outlets.The managers in these 2 outlets were also keen to know how location A outlet is doing well. With Effective feedback and suggestions (as a survey), obtained from social media, mobile phones, customers's interests/tastes were captured by the outlet (in location A). What damage can be done due to lack of yokoten in an Organisation? In my opinion, following could be some of the key points: 1. Innovative Ideas/improvements will cease to flow through the organisation. 2. Lessons learnt from failures will not be passed across the organisation. 3. Process cycle time reduction, Productivity Efficiency, Quality Efficiency may not be achieved across the organisation as per its expected standards, thereby resulting in either not meeting customer standards or not able to achieve the benchmark standards(if the organisation is especially a leader in a given sector). 4. Potential loss of business due to unsatisfied customers, in some cases. Let us see how lack of Yokoten is restricting Continuous Improvement in many companies: 1. A retailer had few outlets in a city. One outlet had always so much crowd and it had all kinds of products. But still waiting time for paying the products was quick. The queuing system to Point of Sale(POS) was quick with multiple layers and classified/ categorised in terms of senior citizens/ Rest.Parents with Toddlers were given preferential treatment. These kind of queuing did wonders to the delivery speed in that outlet. But unfortunately the other outlets did not follow suit of this as mgmt failed to stress this importance to the other outlets as they could not bring the shift in cultural mindset among the staffs of the outlets as they had been operating in a different way. 2. In an IT company, an Agile Scrum team had developed a software product using Test Driven Development (TDD) (In TDD, Test cases are written first, before code is developed. This ensures every unit of functionality is addressed. Normal approach is to code first and then test.There is a chance that we may miss some functionalities to be unit tested in this approach. So TDD is better than this approach, in this aspect.). The team also did Unit Testing automation. The team was able to successfully deliver a quality product, of incremental value[every agile sprint , you are bound to deliver some stories(requirements) - which keeps updating your product features/functionalities]. But this team was working on a Non-disclosure agreement based project. So the team had its own reservations in sharing the know-how on the processes done. The team should have been worried about the data and not on the processes which are industry standards. But that was not the case. The team members themselves had done this for the first time. Therefore, they could not share how they did the processes without the actual data. The portfolio leads were skeptic about the sharing of processes (inspite of having people who can showcase to the other teams). This deprived some teams who projects got transformed to Agile, as their customers were moving towards Agile. Those teams wanted badly to see how TDD and Automation (Unit Testing) were done. But the opportunity did not happen. Conclusion: Bringing positive change is a cultural mindset. Effectiveness of solution is product(read combination) of Quality of the solution and Acceptance of the solution. Its the acceptance factor that decides the fate of the solution(in this context innovations/improvement ideas/learning the lessons as what not to be done). Whichever companies(employees in those companies) refute to get changed/adhere to the solution provided/suggested (within their companies) fail to grow as an organisation. This will be the case for any industry. As i stated above in one of the earlier paragraphs, you can see what effect(damage), lack of yokoten can bring to Organisation. Therefore, i feel, that yokoten should be part and parcel of an organisation's culture.
  6. R Rajesh

    Gemba

    Let us see the two approaches of Floor walking by management teams. Gemba : It is a Japanese word meaning "Real Place". Gemba Walk: Imagine, everyday you do our job routinely and life goes on. One day , you are doing your work and to your surprise, you find your project manager, portfolio manager or department head, SMEs come to your place and understand more about the work from you as how you go about doing it. This is what Gemba walk is all about. Here a focused effort is made on the part of the management team to understand how work is actually happening, from the operators/team members's perspective. What are the challenges that are there and what are the opportunities for improvement. MBWA: This is another approach of floor walking by management team. Here the focus is not specific to a particular activity or process or type of work, unlike Gemba walk. But it focuses on managers checking with employees on the fly, about the work they do and provide more often than not , some suggestions and do not indulge much in probing questions/queries. This often may not produce the necessary result. There are some differences between these 2 approaches. Examples of Gemba Walk: Imagine in an IT company, you are working in your desk. Your Technical architect, Solution Architect, Portfolio Manager, GL walks through the floor and have a discussion with you. You are explaining your application and convey the fact that multiple vendors are working on that project and you dont have control over the performance of the application as that part is not owned by your organisation. You say that Performance of few features is time consuming (and you are consuming those features for proceeding with your work). This is hampering your functionalities or work. Now you have given your observation, the management team(and other stakeholders) will take cognisance of this and will come up with some action plan. Examples of MBWA: Imagine you are in an IT company. The mgmt team along with other relevant stakeholders does a walk of the floor. They come to your place (hop over to your desk) and ask about how things are moving. You tell shift constraint (afternoon shift) as an issue due to lack of machine in the team. They suggest your lead to change your shift to day time (suggestions are made rather than with probing questions that can go address the root cause). The caravan goes and the next person is being asked for issues . Conclusion: Looking at both the approaches and their benefits , one can conveniently say that Gemba Walk is superior. There is something called Gemba Kaizen , which does help in continuous improvement as well.
  7. R Rajesh

    WIFM

    Let us see key roles involved in a typical Six sigma project . - Team Member(s) (who belongs to the Six Sigma Project) - Six Sigma Green Belt(GB) - Six Sigma Black Belt(BB) - Champion (Some companies might not have this may be- this person will be involved in Tollgate reviews(along with Black belt), removes barriers for the team . Some organisations have champions as sponsors) - Six Sigma Project Sponsor I have arranged the roles purposefully from a bottom up approach. Note : There is another role - Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB). However it is not relevant to any specific project, but all six sigma projects will come under this umbrella. Let us dissect for which of those aforementioned roles, a person can ask the WIFM question and why . 1. Champions/Sponsors: Six Sigma costs energy, time and effort. People playing these roles would expect either a tangible benefit such as ROI outweighing this cost or an intangible benefit of customer satisfaction doing a six sigma project, which potentially results in getting a new business opportunity, in the nearby future. 2. Black Belt(BB): BB are defined roles in that, persons playing this role are expected to do certain activities and they are bound to abide by that. Unless they feel that there is a strong reason for not executing a six sigma project which they can justify, they are supposed to execute. Therefore, in my opinion, BB shall not indulge in asking WIFM 3. Green Belt: In my opinion, a Green Belt certified person should not ask WIFM. Because he is already aware (or supposed to be) of the impact Six Sigma can make when pursued in the right way as it should be. He/she may not be fully aware of the tools/techniques in Six Sigma much like the BB. That can be his/her only shortcomings. The GB has to understand the fact, that this role may not be 100% of his/her work. Six Sigma activity will be an additional work , apart from his/her regular project work. This extra effort spent in six sigma is compensated by the fact that the GB learns additional tools/techniques with constant interaction with the BB , which can be used in some of his/her day-to-day project activities. 4. Team Member: I feel a person playing this role, has the absolute legitimate right to ask the WIFM question. Because he/she will need to know the factors which can motivate him/her to work and put that extra effort. Without knowing about something, who would be interested to touch anything ? The team member is the one who will gather the data for measurement and he/she will do have to some other basic activities. Gathering data is a cumbersome and tedious activity in general. It can be boring at times. There has to be quite a few awareness sessions to the team members which talks about the importance of Six Sigma and what benefits it can give to the team and organisation and crucially to the customer(internal or external). It is the benefit to the team , that team members would be interested in. Not everyone be interested to go with a career ambition towards Six Sigma. How will we motivate those team members? If we are able to do that, then you get succeed in your objective, with respect to the work assigned to the team members. Remember the fact this is primarily a volunteer role , unlike say a BB role (which is a designated role). Conclusion: My take is that Persons playing either one of the two roles - Sponsor, Team member have the legitimate need or requipment to ask WIFM question though the need or reasonfor them to ask that question may differ. Person playing the sponsor role will ask because of what benefits the six sigma project can bring to the organisation. Person playing the team member can ask that question to know what kind of growth it can bring to him- whether career growth, promotional benefits, monetary reward, visibility etc.,.
  8. R Rajesh

    Robotic Process Automation

    Definitions: Intelligence: Per English Dictionary, it is the ability to learn, understand and think in a logical way about things. In general human beings shows that intelligence predominantly and distinctly, when compared with the rest of the species in the Earth. Then What is Artificial Intelligence? A very simplistic definition : If the same intelligence is being shown by a machine, or a computer, then it is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Therefore, AI essentially simulates the human intelligence. What is Robotic Process Automation(RPA)? Simple Definition : As a software robot, it apes or mimics the human actions. RPA is all about the habit of doing automation of your day-to-day business processes by a s/w robot as automatic tasks. Let us compare and Contrast RPA and AI. In my opinion, i feel the points described here , are some of the key differences. 1. RPA needs structured inputs and/or well defined rule-based human processes whereas AI can handle even unstructured inputs/data(like email, audio, video files,...),semi-structured inputs/data (XML,Java Script Object Notation(JSON,....) 2. RPA cannot take decisions on its owns and aligns with what is programmed whereas AI has the potential intelligence to take decisions, depending on the needs. 3. RPA is 'dumb' in that it does what it is supposed/programmed to do, while AI is 'Self-learning' and can adapt itself as per the situation. 4. RPA does not possess cognitive skills (refer #3 for the reason) whereas AI has that Cognitive skills. 5. RPA has some limitations in its design as shown by aforementioned points whereas AI does not possess any specific limitations. 6. RPA 'does' things whereas AI focuses on 'thinking' 7. RPA is relatively less complex when compared with AI since AI has many branches/fields (like Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, so on...) 8. RPA might be relatively less steeper to learn when compared with AI, primarily because of #7. Benefits of RPA: 1. Good in doing routine/repetitive tasks. 2. Eliminates manual errors(human induced) and unnecessary rework/delays and therefore increases the productivity. 3. Ensures 'Lower Turnaround time'. 4. Cost Efficient 5. Provides Better ROI 6. Helps the Stakeholders in focusing solely on strategical aspects alone (thats the very purpose of RPA . Is it not ? - to alleviate the workers from doing routine tasks). Benefits of AI: 1. Maturity of the AI software can make the decision making easy to stakeholders/mgmt. 2. Helps in providing accurate and precise information to the organisation 3. Identifies patterns/trends based on past data(historical). 4. Provides data on things which otherwise is difficult to get by human beings. Let us see some examples for RPA And AI and portray their Capabilities. RPA examples: 1. Imagine few processes such as cheque handling process and cash transaction process in a bank. You want to ensure that all manual operations/transactions/movement involved in this to be automated by RPA. This will be a good candidate for RPA. 2. Another specific example: Imagine a Money counting machine. In old days, the cashier used to count the money and used to give us the amount that we had specified (say using a withdrawal slip). The same task is done by the money counting machine and given to us. This is a typical RPA stuff. AI Examples: 1. Alexa , SIRI , Ok Google (Google Assistant) are popular AI products from Amazon. Apple, Google respectively. 2. Imagine you have some photos of yours in your mobile. You want to show your kids all the photos that you are in. Now you choose one photo of yours and when you click the details of that photo, it will show the rest of your photos in your mobile. This is nothing but a facial recognition of your photo which is an AI aspect. 3. IBM's Watson is an example of Cognitive Computing of AI. It is used across industries and very useful for health industry. 4. Take the game of chess. Remember 'Deep Blue'. The famous chess computer had a pitched-battle with the then World Champion , Garry Kasparov. The AI machine might say take account of algorithms like depth-first or breadth first as required. Professional players practice a lot with such AI chess systems to gain more insights into the nuances of the game and thereby in the process, fine-tuning their specific needs. 5. Shop sweeping bots 6. Drones can be controlled by AIs , which can collect critical information in war affected zones. Now we have seen benefits , examples, charactersitics of both RPA and AI. Let us see what can happen if both can be put into use together. Before doing that let us do a mimicking of these two aspects , with some imagnition. Since RPA is dumb,i will equate it to 'animals'. Since AI is having the ability to Self-learn, i will equate it to 'Human Beings'(only for this article :-) ). Now imagine Animals vs Human Beings. Can you tell who is powerful ? Think Elephant, Lion, Tiger, Cow, Dog..as animals. Can you handle them 1-1 without any weapons(if you face any of these 1-1, when if any one of them tries to attack you). Just for your support, imagine there is an elephant trap nearby and you are too close to that. You know if you run near that , the Elephant (if it is planning to attack you) can fall into that trap. You have 'thinking' ability has your biggest weapon here.Now imagine you have a physical weapon and you are holding a wood with a fire in it(Tranqulisers are not for you unless you are a forest official!!) to drive away the animals. What do you understand from this ? Both Animals and Human beings have their powers. You therefore , definitely want to harness both their powers. How many times,you would have seen 'Tarzan' movie, where Tarzan and his animals work in tandem and succeed with great and right results efficiently !! Now imagine replacing that 'Animals' and 'Human Beings' with the actual powers - RPA and AI. Don't you want to get this power. Well RPA and AI does this , when combined together. Let us some examples where RPA and AI systems can work in tandem (the answer could be theoretically almost in all spheres - but though depending on an Organisation's needs) 1. AI comes into picture where RPA falls short. Imagine cheque clearing, cash dispensing processes. Any routine tasks which are repetitive in nature, can be done using RPA, doing Optical Character recognition is part of AI. This is just a very basic example of combined usage of RPA and AI. 2. Similarly this can be the case on invoicing systems or any other systems where the need is there. 3. On systems where decision making is needed for the data obtained, post the business automation. Now to the question of achieving the highest automation without the two working in tandem, is that possible? The answer may not be 'yes'. We have seen above, both the imaginary and the practical examples. But there may be some scenarios where RPA alone might be suffice which may not need AI presence. It could be because the amount of investment(in terms of energy, effort) made for having that AI aspect may not be worth considering the information that you get it for that specified entity for which you do RPA and AI. If ROI is not enough for a given activity, the organisation may not think it worth. In that case, the organisation could be comforted with RPA alone. For the record, to bring about a change in the productivity,quick turn around time,some teams/organisations use the approach of implementing RPA first and see the ROI drastically changed. Then they go with AI combined with RPA. But nevertheless i feel, bringing both the aspects to the party will produce the maximum result. Conclusion: RPA and AI are two seperate aspects which however mostly can coexist in today's growing business needs. Both are at different points of the automation phenomenon. RPA has its own characteristics and AI has its own flavour. AI is very deep in its branches . Both RPA and AI have a history . RPA had its initial origin which was called Screen Scrapping and AI has been there for quite some time. Both have evolved. While RPA helps in doing effective automation on repetitive tasks, AI steps in where RPA is lacking - cognitive learning,self-adaptiveness, taking independent decisions (ability to deduce information and act upon) and so on,... Caution has to be put in place, to ensure that right data is captured by AI for processing information, for safety and security reasons. The language of use for RPA and AI can be decided based on the organisational needs or the team comfortness. It can be Java, LISP, C/C++, Python or any other AI or RPA based languages. Most of the organisations see rapid change in their Productivity, turn over time and have a great ROI and excellent customer satisfaction , by using RPA and AI. Imagine the superior performance of the Money counting machine and the way how you get response from Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri. Are we not happy with these things ? How about the Unmanned cars driven on the road ? Welcome to the world of RPA and AI!!
  9. R Rajesh

    Changeover Time

    Wiki Definition: Die is a tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape a material SMED: It is a very important lean technique/method for reducing waste in a manufacturing process . It helps in a quick change over in a process from running the current product to running the next product. Let me provide some examples on SMED with focus on changeover. Examples on SMED : 1. Imagine there is a process which has two kind of bolts used - T-bolt and General. Depending on the situation, the tool bit can use either T-bolt or General bolt. How quickly the changeover from T-bolt to General bolt happens is the key 2. Imagine , there is a startup Small-sized company. There is a PaintBooth. For a product - two different colours are needed. The Spraying tool is filled with Blue. Then Green has to be filled with in that . How quick that changeover can happen. As far as with my constrained knowledge on this , i believe below are some crucial steps in SMED: Steps involved in SMED: 1. Identify the area for improvement 2. Decide on how to go about - Reflect upon/Decide the no of parts reduction in the assembly kit, if applicable - Work on the Tools Design Modification, if applicable Benefits of SMED: 1. Reduced Cost 2. Improved Process 3. Meeting Customer Demands Conclusion: SMED is very vital, especially to manufacturing industries. If the Die or tool bit is defined or better aligned to the needs, then changeover can happen seamlessly, which can eliminate the waste involved in the whole process. Classic example you can always think of is the changing of tyres under normal circumstances by a person and changing of tyres in F1 Car Races by the staffs of a Racing team.
  10. R Rajesh

    Urge To Cook - Flow Chart

    This is class. Nice way of telling some nuances of flowchart !!
  11. R Rajesh

    Internet of Things

    Internet of Things (IoT): It is a network of physical devices which communicate data amongst themselves, through the help of enablers such as Sensors, software programs etc.,. The sensors could use say WI-FI, RFID, etc.,. to communicate the data. Advantages of IoT: 1. Organisations get big(huge) volume of data (as part of data analysis) for processing , in a very short span of time. 2. Faster Response, since data is obtained and then corresponding relevant actions can be taken quickly, irrespective of the industry usage. 3. Cost Reduction or Optimised Savings for an Organization while doing a business, as information is reached quickly and relevant action is done before or on time. 4. Satisfied Customers(end-user who receives the service). i). Gets timely information from the IoT system/device and as a result receives timely service/product. ii). Saves time/effort, cost, energy depending upon the type of IoT service he/she gets. iii). Improves Operational Performance. 5. Data Communication can happen between man to machine and machine to machine seamlessly sharing useful information. 6. Its not specific to any industry. Can be used in any industry. 7. Can saves a person's life with critical information on health using IoT wearable devices and therefore acts as a potential Life-Saver. 8. Can detect potential delay in specific routes, when used in Transportation Management. 9. Any device obliged(adhering to) to the standards of Internet of things platform (designed by the manufacturing Organisation who wants to have its products/service to be tapped/consumed) , can get connected to any other devices having the same standard. This makes that the intended activities/operations can be done/achieved irrespective of the device that we use. It could be via a smart phone, wearable device, laptop, some electronic device and so on..... 10. Can greatly help in shaping/changing the Economic condition of an Organisation, even a Country. I have listed above, a basic set of common advantages that you normally associate with IoT. However, Virtually , in every sector, there are many advantages using IOT. Examples: Let us see few examples of IoT across few areas/sectors/Industries. Transportation/Traffic Management: Imagine you are in a city which has a narrow road landscape. City administration has made several roads as One-way and there is lot of traffic jams in these roads. Now with an IoT enabled transport management system, the City Administrators, can guide the public through various points(may be to dedicated traffic mgmt teams or in vantage positions across the city or any end-users of the IOT system). This is just a basic example. IoT can be harnessed very efficiently in this sector. There are many private transport management companies which uses IoT for their day-to-day activities and improving both their businesses and customer satisfaction. Transportation/Traffic management can happen anywhere in Road, Rail, Sea, or Air, depending on where IoT is implemented. Household(Home) Appliances: Imagine you are able to turn off your lights in your home, using your mobile. This could be one of the common and simplest usage of IoT. This way Smart Homes are created. Health Management: Wearable devices ensure that your health conditions to be monitored. Imagine the power of this. Assume that a person(patient) has got a high Blood Pressure and is hospitalized recently. Now he/she has been told by the Doctor that he/she has to be monitored daily atleast for a week before being discharged. The Patient now will have to be there in that hospital and some attender might also be there from his/her family. So this one week forced stay can make the patient and his/her family with undue pressure. Having a wearable device ( a IoT based device) can solve these kind of issues. With the device, monitoring can be done as the patient wears it. That would ensure that he/she can wear the device (move out from hospital, in the process) and do his/her routine affairs. The device would keep om providing constant data about the health condition of the patient. Smart Cities: Imagine a network of IoT systems constructed for various utilities and departments such as Electricity, Energy, transport, Waste Management, Water Management etc.,. Will the city itself not becoming a Smart City ? A Clean, pollution-free, less-energy consuming, structured transportation - oriented, Pure water based, Uninterrupted power supply based City would be a reality. Key Point to be taken care: With such a improved system/technology innovation , as IoT is, security becomes a critical aspect. IoT implementers need to be careful and diligently plan on securing the customer's data and make that safe. Data safety, Personal safety is a must in such a super technology innovation system. Conclusion: IoT is increasingly becoming the style of life. With the advent of IoT, Smart homes and Smart Cities have become a reality. Urban Development Planning gets improved /sophisticated. In general, Infrastructure is structured and improvised. IoT redefines the Energy sector. Transportation Management gets managed effectively and efficiently. Health Management is radically changed!! Weather Management suddenly has more ability to get accurate prediction and warnings about forthcoming dangers/issues!! Agriculture department which is very critical to a country's progress can be leveraged with right amount of data which can help farmers. Coupled with Big Data and Cloud Computing, IoT leverages its power in exponential form. A proper secured, well-thought out IoT implementation can do wonders to any industry. As we can seen, IoT can change the lives of people, change the face of a nation!!
  12. R Rajesh

    Important VS Urgent

    A typical English dictionary meaning: Urgent - requires immediate action or attention. Importance - Having high/great significance or value. Now let us take the problem statement where a person is looking onto Urgent tasks all the times and he/she is unable to focus on the important ones. Let me provide my ideas/views as how the person can deal with Urgent and Important ones, based on my experience. Taking the Bull by the Horns: When something is deemed as Urgent or important, you need to know how much Urgent it is and how important it is, especially when there are multiple tasks/activities? Are that Urgent activities/tasks need to be done in minutes, hours, days ? How important are those activities/tasks? Very important or Less important. If you have these information, it makes easy to prioritize things. Prioritization is the key aspect here, more so if you are dealing with multiple urgent and important activities/tasks. Let me split Urgent activities/tasks into two categories as 'Very Urgent' and 'Urgent'. Very Urgent activities could be, say ,it should be done in seconds/minutes. Urgent activities could be say can be done in few hours/ in 1 or 2 day's time (some cases in a week's time, may be). This is an arbitrary classification for example purpose. In reality, this may vary from team to team. Similarly let us classify Important activities as 'Very Important' and 'Important'. Now, having a matrix of which of these Urgent and Important activities to be taken, will give the right prioritization. The matrix can be as follows Based on the matrix, activities/tasks that fall in these respective quadrants, can be prioritised accordingly. The next question will be how to decide which activities/tasks can come into each of these categories. [Note: Having some sort of such a matrix helps you to provide more clarity and ease of use]. The stakeholders need to provide the classification of Urgent and Important activities/tasks. Now there comes the next issue ? What if there are several activities/tasks which are in Quadrant 1(Very Urgent,Very Important). How will you prioritize all such activities/tasks? May be if the stakeholders are collocated, you can pull all folks to a meeting room quickly and get this sorted. In case, if all the stakeholders are in different places, schedule a quick call (may be send a mail invite and then share the bridge details) and get this sorted. If stakeholders are at different time zones, then accordingly schedule the call (if the activities/tasks give you that much freedom of time !!). But there is also another critical way of doing this exercise. You need to know 2 things: Which Stakeholder is powerful(read influential) in the customer's organisation (If stakeholders are also from your Organisation - you need to know that as well) and which of the stakeholder has high interest in these/activities/tasks(activities/tasks which may be relevant to him/her). Once you have that information, whichever stakeholder has high influence and high interest, accordingly you need to perform your activities/tasks, as per that order of combination of the two aforementioned factors(from high to low). Let us see that Stakeholder matrix. As we have seen above, you can define the quadrants on your own way. Content in Quadrant 2 can be in Quadrant 3 as well, for instance. Objective is that you need to take into fact that in reality, a stakeholder with high interest (on your project activities/tasks) and more influence (on the organisation be it customer or service provider/vendor) will have more say and more so if it is from customer end. Such a stakeholder involved activities/tasks will take higher precedence for getting addressed. Ultimately subsequent activities/tasks would need to get addressed. In that case, depending on your organisational situations, activities/tasks related to Quadrant 2 or Quadrant 3 might happen. Let us see some examples for 'Urgent' and ' Important' ones using the matrix that was defined earlier for Urgent and Important activities/tasks. Before seeing some examples, let us not forget the fact that the definition or the classification for 'Urgent' and 'Important' activities can be or would be given by only by the stakeholders relevant to those activities/tasks. Our interpretation of those activities/tasks could be different from the stakeholders's, but it does not matter. Only the Stakeholder definitions /classifications need to be taken care. Ex1: Healthcare Industry Let me categorize the activities/tasks, as per the 4-quadrant matrix. Very Urgent and Very Important Activity : Doctor to do a life-saving operation on a patient - This becomes very important because its about saving of a life and it requires immediate attention. In general anything related to Security and Safety of anything will normally come under Very Urgent and Very Important. Very Urgent and Important Activity : Specialist Doctors need to get updates on multiple patients's status who underwent operations on a given date. Urgent and Very Important Activity: Post the operation, after the patient had stayed in ICU, ensuring the patient has the requisite amenities in his/her allocated/dedicated room. Urgent and Important Activity: Specialist Doctor who did the operation need to be informed of patient conditions by Duty Doctors, once patient is shifted to a private room (for observation purpose- to see effect of post operation) . Note : All these classification of Urgent and Important activities/tasks, can vary from individual to Individual or from Organisation to Organisation. They are defined by the relevant stakeholders. Ex2: IT industry Very Urgent and Very Important Activity: Production Support - Critical Incident(Severity 1) closure. Very Urgent and Important Activity: Delivery of a key functionality for a key/critical end-user. Urgent and Very Important Activity: All System Integration Testing(SIT) and User Advanced Testing (UAT) defects to be closed within a week. Urgent and Important Activity: Adherence to Coding Standing standards. Conclusion: In an ever demanding world, where there is plenty of scope for business to grow exponentially, there will be many urgent and important activities, that need to be done on a routine basis. With methodlogies like Agile and with advanced technologies, these challenges are admirably met, most of the times. But these do not come without any challenges/constraints. The workforce of an Organisation do have lot of activities/tasks and quite some of them could be urgent and important ones. Most of the times, the workforce team is calibrated to the rigours of such activities/tasks. That could be part and parcel of the team's work nature. Hence some teams may not feel the heat. But there could be scenarios where the team(s) or individuals might run into new projects/new set of activities/tasks that has many urgent and/or Important requirements to be dealt with. How to deal with such scenarios? This is where you need to have Stakeholder inputs based on the matrix what we saw for Stakeholder and then have the priorities set. If you have only one Stakeholder, then you can get it from that Stakeholder. There are very good prioritization techniques such as Kano Model, MoSCoW model (for Agile specific projects) . For instance, Kano Model clearly articulates in terms of absolute necessity (Must Be) as the first priority. So put your Very Urgent and Very Important activities/instances on that front. Your sole objective is to make as what should be addressed first if there are multiple urgent and important tasks. For that whichever technique(or combination of techniques) is going to help, you can choose . But the above techniques are proven ones. In terms of specifically finding the Important ones, you can ask the stakeholder about the values (maybe in terms of ROI), a particular activity/task can bring in. Remember the customer/stakeholder might also be interested in having a MVP(minimum viable product), at the earliest. Therefore, with this kind of approach to Urgent and Important activities/tasks, the person can prioritise his/her activities/tasks.
  13. R Rajesh

    Operational Definition

    Operational Definition: It helps in providing a clear-cut detailed definition of a metric. It provides a systematic way of transforming a conceptual definition to a kind of measurable one. When can Operational Definition be defined ? Before you collect your data ? Why ? Otherwise in reality, you may not be able to ascertain whether the collected data is right or wrong and therefore you cannot take a decision. What will happen if there is no Operational Definition ? Why is it important ? If there is no Operational definition for a metric or a characteristic which you need to know, you may not know how it should be used/addressed. In that case, an organisation can get erroneous or indifferent results. There would be no standardization of its usage/addressing. Benefits of Using an Operational Definition(for a metric/characteristic): 1. There will be a standardized way of usage across the organisation. 2. It will be easy to explain about the metric/characteristic, to new joinees as it is standardized. 3. Since, how to do and what to do part is known, making errors or doing incorrect ways of things will be avoided. 4. A Qualitative product will be achieved because of #3. Let us see quite a few examples on Operational Definition. Before we go on with some serious example, let me try to make with a simpler and easy example. Let us take the sport of Cricket(Please bear with me if you are not a keen follower of cricket). Now our matter of interest is "No-Ball" which is not a legal delivery, in Cricket. So you want to know the Operational definition of a 'No Ball'. That will tell when can a ball delivered be declared as No Ball and under what circumstances. Two teams were playing cricket in a popular, local tournament, played with international cricketing rules . Team A was batting and Team B was bowling. Team A was chasing a stiff target. The Umpires were checking consistently for 'Overstepping the bowling crease' no ball and 'waist-high' no balls. But the Umpires were not focussing on the number of fielders to be placed inside the 30-yard circle during the 'powerplay' period, when there is a 'fielder' restriction. This cost the Team A dearly and it lost the match very closely. This could not have been the case, had the batting team(Team A), knew the Operational definition of a 'No Ball'[effectively which will say how 'No Ball' can happen, which is actually not a legal delivery(an error case)]. So the 3rd way of a 'No-Ball' happening was missed out as the team did not have a clue about. Here for 'Overstepping', 'Waist-high' and 'Fielder Restriction Missing on powerplay period' can be seen by naked eye as a measurement way. Where there is an element of doubt, ball tracking mechanism can be used for the first 2 and 3rd Umpire replay can be used for the 3rd One. What is the decision to be taken for if each one of these is happening. For 'Overstepping' case, there would be an extra run and a 'Freehit' given. Similarly, for 'Fielder Restriction Missing' No-Ball case also a similar approach would be used. Because this was not known to the team, Team A suffered. Extend this approach to the Industries, we can really see how important this Operational definition is . Let us move to a real world example. In an IT maintenance project (support project which went to production), a team was trying to measure the backlog management index(BMI).A BMI is nothing but the percentage of, dividing the total no. of tickets (read issues/incidents) that got closed in a given month, by the total no.of tickets(issues) that had arrived in that given month. i.e BMI= (Total no. of closed issues in a given month/Total no. of issues arrived in that given month) * 100. The measuring characteristic here was the status of the incident ('Incident Status'). The tool where this was measured was 'Remedy'. There are many such Project related issue management tool(s) . Here the data was taken between the start date and end date of the given month(used every month of a year). All issues that were marked as closed in the tool, as of any date in the given month was considered for this measurement. All issues which had arrived in that given month, was taken for calculation for this measurement. The measurement unit was a dimensionless number. What did this BMI imply ? If BMI was greater than 100, then backlog was reduced (issues on production got reduced) , else if BMI was less than 100, then backlog was increased. This is a proven operational definition existing for a long time, in the industry. But this was not used in that portfolio as this was the first time that the team ran into a maintenance project. In the initial period, there was a confusion about how this would be defined or interpreted. It was misinterpreted by people who newly joined the team. Why ?Because there was no operational definition for BMI (because it is an industry standard and the need for a portfolio-level definition was therefore missed out). The confusion was due to the fact that new joinees thought that they should take the 'closed' status of incidents/issues only for the incidents(issues) that got opened in the given month. Ideally all incidents that got 'closed' on a given month should have been taken. So without a formal operational definition, put in place, the data collected were skewed. This portrayed a BMI which was showing lot of backlog ,when actually it was not the case. Then when the root cause was identified, then the team put a proper operational definition and ensured that the data collected was correct and the results were there to see and customers saw more than 100% BMI, for most of the months in that calendar year. In one of my friends' hotel where i had dined, i found the hotel staffs collecting Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). One of the staffs asked me about how the food was ? I told food was tastier but the quality needs bit of improvement. He was bit perplexed as he could not fathom out what i mean by this. I explained that the quality of the food that i took was not upto the mark and that some of the curries and the corresponding ingredients were not baked propery. But in general, food was tastier to the mouth!! When i found what could be the reason for him not understanding these things, i found that a proper documentation/practice of CSI is not followed and customer satisfaction has become a kind of a routine question and has been asked based on the experience of the staff. A Clear-cut operational definition of CSI was mising. Per owner of the hotel, the CSI tried to capture by that hotel was on 5 aspects - Ambience, Quality of the Food, Taste of the Food, Cost Effectiveness, Customer Care. For each of these aspects, there were certain ways of doing and measuring them. But that was not documented. All of these aspects/attributes can be meassured as Bad/Average/Good/Very Good/Excellent or a range from 1-5 (with 5 being the highest and 1 as lowest rating). They can be measured using a software app using Mobile or hand-held device or manually (depending on that hotel's capability) or any other way. Therefore with a proper operational definition, staffs can be at ease to take CSI across their customers in a consistent way. Conclusion: Having an Operational definition is very critical to the way how we see a metric or a characeteristic which we want to make use of. Without knowing how it will work, if we start collecting data, then the result can be unexpected or throw errors, that you do not want. We had seen the importance of 'Operational Definition'. Just to portray the importance of this , am correlating an important aspect in Agile Scrum called 'Definition of Done'. This talks about when a user story or a requirement is said to be 'completed' or 'Done'. The 'Definition of Done' ensures that a requirement is completed and that it can be pushed to production(ready for moving to production). The definition for this 'Definition of Done' is left to the discretion of the project team which is working on that requirement. Along with the product owner, the development team would define this. A typical 'Definition of Done' for an IT project which is Agile Scrum based could be : a User story should have - Code Completion, Unit Testing completion, Integration Testing completion, System Testing completion, No Severity 1 and Severity2 errors . Now the point here is that this 'Definition of Done' says about what constitutes a requirement's completion. But it does not necessarily tell how these things to be done. This is where 'Operational Definition' differs. It tells the 'how' part as well. Imagine what benefits would a team get if the 'Operational Definition' is defined for the metric(s) that it uses. This is why 'Operational Definition' is so important.
  14. R Rajesh

    Constraint and Bottleneck

    Definitions of Constraint and Bottleneck: Constraint : It is a limitation or a restriction forced upon on something by someone or by somebody or by something. Bottleneck : From a business context , it can be defined as one which delays or hampers the development or progress of something. When Can a bottleneck happen ? If a constraint is bound to happen for a particular activity or thing and if there is going to be an impact to that activity/thing , then it will result in a bottleneck for that activity/thing, unless there are any other alternatives to that constraint. Just to tell an interesting point on bottleneck If you had observed traditionally 'Soda' or soft drink bottles (nowadays tinned cans are the order of the day :-), the top part(neck) of the bottle would be narrow. It was designed to stem the liquid gushing to the throat(to regulate the liquid flow) and with that narrow neck, it was easy for a person to drink the fluid(be it water or any soft drinks or any liquid) slowly and ensured the person took only what he/she could drink/sipping.This regulation slows or delays the flow of the liquid. Applying this in a business context, bottleneck means a delay happening on something. Let us see some examples for constraint and bottleneck, how constraints impact bottlenecks. Eg.1: Imagine a National Highway passes through your city. The National highways department and City administration have started constructing a bridge(fly over) and hence work has commenced in a key road. Suddenly that 200 ft road is reduced to 150 ft road as digging work for the construction , has reduced the original space. This is the case for atleast 1 km of distance. The traffic becomes jammed and this stretch alone takes 30 minutes for you to pass through everyday(assume you travel by this route to your office daily) and you cross this normally in 3 min. What do we know from this ? There is a constraint here which is 'lack of road space'. This was imposed by the National Highways Department. Whats the bottleneck here ? The bottleneck is the stretch of 1 km where the road is narrowed and as a result of which the movement of vehicles are forced to go slow. This shows that the constraint causes the bottleneck to happen. Eg:2 Assume you are the team lead of an IT company. A critical project is going on. Just on the week of software delivery to the customer, your experienced human resource with relevant domain expertise(SME) is not available, whatever be the reasons. Is that not a human resource constraint? Yes it is. Will it create a bottleneck ? Yes, very much likely [unless there are other SMEs or if there is no explicit need for that SME's knowledge- but it could be still a risk ]. Why bottleneck - because it will hamper(or delay) the progress of the software delivery. So what is the constraint here ? 'Non-availability of Human Resource- Domain Expert(SME)' is the constraint and bottleneck is the unnecessary waiting time for SME to return or elapsed time/extra time (of working by other people or involvement of other SMEs) involved in this delivery process. Eg:3 We will see a similar but slightly different one than Eg.2. Imagine you manage a software project. Your team is finalizing the project design this week. Unfortunately your technical architect has not turned up to office for 2 days. Again this would be a constraint. But whether it turns out to be a bottleneck or not , depends on how it impacts the team. If the team has sufficient technical SME knowledge or take help of other technical architects from other teams who know this project's technical architecture or find some other ways to wriggle out of this issue, then it may not cause a bottleneck. Else there would be delay in finalisation of the project design with respect to the technical architecture. 'Non availability of human Resource-Technical Expertise' is the constraint. 'Delay Involved in getting technical expertise' is the bottleneck Can the impact of a constraint be prevented,eliminated,mitigated/minimised? Is that possible. In other words, can bottlenecks be avoided, eliminated, mitigated or minimised? Yes quite possible. Let us see some examples.In Film Industry, every movie has to be certified by the Film Censor Board.Censor board has to approve the movie for release and provide a rating to the movie. Unless the approval comes from the Censor Board, a.movie cannot be released. Now this is a regulatory constraint which means this is mandatory. Normally when a movie is all set to be ready, it is sent to Censor Board for screening and getting the board's feedback and approval. The point is that in case the movie does not have any objectionable scene or language used or any other action or gesture which is seen by the board as objectionable one, then it would get cleared by the board. In such a case, there would not be any more delay in the release of the movie. Therefore, the bottleneck(delay in release) is avoided here. In case, the movie is having objectionable scenes, languages, gestures, in the opinion of the board, then per board' s guidance , the film unit has to act and this can delay the movie release. As we had seen the impact of a constraint getting eliminated here, let us take another example for mitigating the impact of a constraint.Take the two examples related to the non-availability of two human resources- the SME and the Technical Architect. What if there were backups available for these 2 resources ? Imagine, the project teams survived the duration (when these key folks were not available) in a very difficult way, but managed to survive, thanks to the secondary or backup specialists (could be some experienced professionals within the team or may be pulled from some other projects within the Organisation). In this case, the effect of the constraint is mitigated. Let me give one more example for avoiding the impact of a constraint. Reconsider the road traffic example. If you know that there is a parallel alternate route to your office and that you can cover the same 1 km distance (where the bottleneck stretch is there in the national highway road) in 15 min, instead of that 30 minutes, would you not try it out? Extend this to the business world. How many times you would have come across scenarios where customers would insist certain proprietary rigid tools of theirs, alone to be used by you(as a vendor) and how many times you would have gone to use some other better tools(in whatever ways) to achieve the customer stated purpose. Note it could be other way (vendor tools not good enough) as well. [Quoting "customer" side tools, here simply because customer is the king for any business. ]. Thus, we can avoid the impact of a constraint. Conclusion: As we have seen , Constraints are limitations/restrictions placed upon on something. It can be a mandatory constraint (regulatory/legal), project needs, situational(that could be circumstances based). Outcome of a constraint can result in a bottleneck, if there is an impact to the activity or a thing on which the constraint is applied upon. Therefore, constraint and bottlenecks are two different entities or aspects and bottleneck is the effect of a constraint getting happened or applied.
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