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Arun Bala

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  • Name
    Arun Balakrishnan
  • Company
    Ernst & Young
  • Designation
    Assistant Director

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  1. Code refactoring is a technique used in DevOps software development approach. DevOps stands for development and operations – a practice which merges development, quality assurance and operations (deployments & integration) into a continuous set of processes, thus making it an extension of agile and continuous delivery model. Code refactoring involves cleaning up of existing source code without impacting its functionality. This helps in improving the efficiency and maintainability of the written codes. Potential benefits of code refactoring is to reduce technical cost, improve readability, better QA experience, and overall improved structure and functionality which helps in saving time and money. Code refactoring activity is inevitable if we need to avoid ‘code rot’ which occurs due to duplicate codes, myriad patches, bad classifications, and other discrepancies. Different developers writing codes for the same software in their own styles can also contribute to ‘code rot’. When should we consider s/w refactoring? Ideal time to refactor codes is prior to adding any updates or new features to existing code. This cleansing activity of the current code before adding in new programming will help to improve the quality of the product as well as make the life of the future developers easy for building on top of the original code. Another instance to do refactoring is immediately after we deliver a product to market. It might sound a bit weird as we have finally launched a product after working for months, maybe even years, and now we must go back to the beginning? Apparently, that would be the right time to take a stock of the code inventory, as chances are developers now have more availability to work on refactoring before moving on to the next job. Are there any methods to avoid code refactoring? To avoid refactoring there aren’t any specific methods however there some ways by which we can try minimizing code refactoring as well as the stress that activity creates. Some of them to list would be - Write perfect code the first time that not only takes care of the current requirements but future ones too. Start with a perfect code base. - Deploy developers who write perfect codes - Any changes in the requirements try not to change the codes or modify the existing one. Instead, write new codes that can perform the same functionality as the old one. If necessary, scrap the old one. - Write good unit tests so that even if there is a refactoring instance that occurs, it isn’t a painful or stressful experience. Such tests will give the freedom to change your code knowing that many of the inevitable errors and unintended consequences will be caught. In short, since we are not having the luxury of living in a ‘frozen’ world of requirements and changes, refactoring plays an important role in avoiding messy codes and tough maintenance of the software. It is a natural part of the software and not a preference.
  2. Visual management is a set of techniques for creating a work ecosystem embracing visual communication and controls. This technique is important because - Our brain responds better to colours, pictures, patterns, shapes etc - Easy to grasp and remember - Think outside the box - Easy to communicate and help others ‘get it’ - Visible information creates transparency within employees Visual management can be divided into 4 phases 1) Workplace Organisation (WPO) 2) Visual Display 3) Visual Measures & 4) Visual Control WPO – An important link to continuous improvement and is a combination of 5S and visual management tools. WPO helps in implementing lean principles like Changeover, First In First Out, Just In Time etc Visual Display – This is method by which we can communicate important information regarding safety, quality, operations, achievements, equipment details etc. Some of the benefits of such a mechanism would be - Makes work easy and a safer working environment - Communicate operations and performance related information - Makes standards visible - Creates shared knowledge base etc Visual Measures – This is an indication of the performance measurement helping the employees to know their performance levels and track work. Some of the tools commonly used to track these measures - Changeover Clock, Downtime Clock, Production Counters, Error Proof Symbols, 5S Audits, Bottleneck Symbols etc Visual Control – Any device or symbols that effectively places information at the point of use which creates a mistake-proofed environment to enable adherence to standards. Typical examples of such would be – Indicators, Labels, Meters, Scales, Lights etc Some Visual Management Tools and Benefits 1) Visual Control Boards – A colour coded physical visual control system used for monitoring on-the floor /Shop floor activities/KPI’s. Some of the benefits of using such boards are - They act as activators and data communication centres - They can be used as reference for stand-up / on-the floor meetings - To provide regular reviews and updates on operations – It gives quick visibility to the progress of each tasks to next action - Also helps in identifying the resources and activities taken care by them – helps in workflow management 2) ANDON – This word is the Japanese equivalent of ‘lantern’ – meaning a lamp showing the path. Hence these tools are nothing but a ‘system of ‘signals’ indicating the operational status of a machine or a work center. Some of the benefits using such tools would be - Helps in reducing maintenance and operational costs by identifying the problems before they explode exponentially - Helps in understanding the equipment availability by making the downtime issues more visible there by helping to become proactive in fixing those issues - By making the problem status visual, ANDON boards help in implementing JIDOKA, which is nothing but setting up processes which can deliver high quality products within minimal TAKT time. 3) Footprints – It is a method by which we mark areas within our work environment to clearly outline where each item needs to be placed. Benefit of marking footprints are as follows - To help employees retrieve or store things in an easy manner - Helps employees to avoid waste of time involved in looking for things or pondering their next move - Helps in maintain a clean and organized working environment - Helps in running the operations in a safer and more easy manner - Helps to locate the parts or equipment in an easy manner 4) Tagging – A method that involves attaching tags to objects/items to designate its status. Some of the benefits of tagging would be - Identify unnecessary items that needs to be thrown out, recycled, sold or relocated - Tagging is an effective way by which we can visually communicate the status of the objects/items on a shop floor easily to other colleagues, which can help them take effective decisions and actions accordingly. Overall, Visual management helps us in achieving - Improved safety and ergonomics - Continuous Improvement - Baselines for standard work - Low defects - Improve C-SAT - Quick change over and less down time - Create a structured workflow & - Reduce waste and increase productivity “Make your workplace into a showcase that can be understood by everyone at a glance” TAIICHI OHNO
  3. Bodystorming is an activity in which people meet in a group to suggest new ideas or techniques by enacting them, as against brainstorming where they only discuss about the same. This exercise helps them to get a feel of what exactly the new idea or technique is all about, in other words getting people to figure things out by trying things out. The different phases involved in bodystorming will give the participants a new experience from the normal ‘conference table’ based ideation activity, to taking them a step closer to developing solutions that might work in the real world – ‘Principles without pragmatism is idiotism’. Bodystorming being a semi or un-structured method is a combination of role-play and simulations in a physical environment understanding the user’s situation. This technique can be used to conduct research or test new solutions in situations where, we will put ourselves to go through physical conditions in which those solutions should operate, this in turn can lead to designing/re-designing of the solutions. In the early stages of design thinking process, it is important to be able to empathize with the end users who will be using the products or services, and bodystorming helps to empathize with the users by putting ourselves in their shoes. A simple example to showcase the capability of ‘bodystorming’ is mentioned below Imagine I am to set up a common work area where employees from different companies can come and work together under one roof getting a feeling of ‘work from office’. This idea becomes very important nowadays where majority of the employees in the IT sector is ‘working from home’ due to COVID pandemic. Let us see how bodystorming technique can be used in this scenario Level 1 - “Go Observe’ As a first step I will share this idea with few of my team members as well as 2 to 3 friends of mine working in other companies. Then I will invite them to the nearest ‘best place’ that I have decided to set this co-working place. I will request them to perform their daily operations from there, as they would do normally in an office or ‘work from home. Level 2 - “Try it Out” I will also assign some roles to my friends who are gathered there, say for example – Employee of company A, Employee of Company B etc. I will ask them to enact a typical ‘day in life of’ them while in office and home. This will help me to gather their experiences which in turn will help me to design/redesign a better co-working environment, meeting the requirements as well as empathizing with their needs. Level 3 – “Retrospection” By enacting this situation, myself and team will be able to explore new possibilities and do a ‘failure mode’ check about how this idea can work efficiently. This will help me in taking right decisions to set up the best co-working facility. Thanks Arun Balakrishnan
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