Recent publications

As a team at Emertxe we are contributing into Electronics For You (EFY) and Open Source For You (OSFY) magazines quite regularly. This is to ensure share our knowledge with broader electronics / open source community that consist of students, enthusiasts and professionals. I have been contributing to this initiative as well, here are couple of my recent publications:

  • Open Source software engineering: The open source phenomenon is not only about getting free source code, it is also providing excellent tools to manage it. We are running this as a series by giving details about individual open source tools. Here is the link to my article titled ‘Open source software engineering’ which I called how these tools are helping to build effective and quality software.
  • Industry report on educational kits: While there are tons of hardware available today in the market, an average Indian student finds is difficult to use these boards / kits. Lack of documentation, distributed resources and lesser access to technical support are the barriers that is preventing larger chunk of community to use these kits and build cool products. EFY folks ran a detailed article where inputs from multiple people are compiled and published. Here is the link to the report titled ‘Educational Products and Services – Sector Needs Focus’.

Have a look into them and let me know what you think.

Electronics Rocks – 2014

erocks_logoBeen thinking of writing about Electronics Rocks 2014 (eRocks), finally able to pen-down few things. For people who don’t know what eRocks, here is a brief – it is one of the most popular electronics conference organized by EFY media. Last year I attended as a participant found some interesting things in the conference. This year, after joining Emertxe we got opportunity to be a community partner of the event and offer a presentation on the Internet-Of-Things (IoT) design challenges. The event happened during October 10th and 11th at NIMHANS convention center, Bangalore that attracted 3000+ participants for the event. For my session about IoT which was the key focus for the conference attracted 200+ participants. Post presentation we have received very positive feedback from the community.

While there are many things about the conference, here are my top-3 learnings from the conference:

  • Not only Open software: The field of electronics has become more interesting in the recent years mainly because of open source software and easily available/affordable hardware. While devices like Raspberry-Pi, Arduino has already become very popular, I found some of the new devices like UDOO which are becoming very powerful around which many cool things can be built. Going forward I see many companies flocking into this space which is yet to be tapped to its full potential.
  • Product design: While the previous point gives opportunity to build around so many ideas, there seems to be very large gap when it comes to product design knowledge. While student level knowledge is enough to build a prototype (ex: Agriculture automation) making it as a complete product required a different set of knowledge. During my discussions with many enthusiasts I found there is a severe lack of knowledge about Productization using real hardware.
  • IoT is not new: While there is a lot of opportunity around the IoT space, in my opinion it is not something very new. Connecting devices to network (say LAN) is been existing for a long time, which has taken a upgraded as IoT thanks to multiple advancements happening in embedded & web application development. During my talk also I mainly stressed about this aspect, where fundamentals needs to be taken care to build products in the IoT space.

Here is the Slideshare link to my presentation, comments are welcome. Couldn’t spend much time across various tracks due to my time constraints hopefully next year I will be able to do better by listening into multiple tracks (ex: Jugaad innovation).

CV Raman nagar : A green running route

Bagmane Lake There are many interesting running routes in and around Bangalore city, some of them still remain unexplored. CV Raman Nagar DRDO are is one such running route, which will always remain very close to my heart for many reasons. First I have been living in the same area for years together now, used to go for long walks in the same route much before I started training for long distance running with Runners High. Second, this serene and green router is well maintained, one of the most beautiful landscapes that I am aware of.  It also gives a great opportunity to listen to self while running.

For people who don’t know, DRDO Township is located in CV Raman Nagar, about 2 KM from Indira Nagar. This access restricted Township has some timing limitations where pedestrians and vehicles are not allowed to pass through between 8 PM to 8 AM. Also none of the private vehicles are allowed into the township during any part of the day, which relates the traffic to a larger extent. Well maintained roads, restricted access combined with excellent greenery offers a very good opportunity to use this route as a walking or running track.

The route starting from CV Raman statue -> Bagmane Tech park entrance -> DRDO Township -> DRDO shopping complexDRDO_entrance (1024x768) covers good 2 KM stretch, which is ideal for anybody to start running. This stretch has good combination of flat, uphill and downhill surfaces that gives a good experience for a runner. Since the whole stretch consist of well laid out roads, possibility of skidding or falling is almost ruled out. With ample parking facilities (both inside and outside the complex), a good ‘out-and-back’ of the above mentioned stretch will give a 4 KM distance. As a part of our running program with RH, I have been using this route as per the weekly plan. Also when I miss my weekend runs, this route serves as an alternative option thereby getting rid of guilt feeling that comes as a bonus for missing the routine.

From timing point of view evenings (especially between 5 PM – 8 PM) serves as an ideal slot to go for a run as there will be a lot of regular walkers and runners. Couple of vivid incidents always comes to my mind when I think of this route. The first one being spotting a dead snake on the route, which not only scared people who were walking or running, it created a bad stink in the entire area for more than a week. It was stinking so badly that it even after a week I couldn’t run in the route. The second one being picking up smaller fights with security authorities for stopping me by asking some vague questions, irrespective me mentioned that I came to run in that area. Every other day security personnel keep changing each of them have their own set of rules for pedestrians and timings. It would be better if they come up with some proper mechanism for handling this.

If you are looking for Running_route_3 (1024x768)a good running route well within the city, especially in the Bangalore east area I would strongly recommend DRDO. The ‘darshini’ located inside the complex serves crispy plain-dosa, combining it with a cup of hot tea will complete your run in a high note for sure. Now it’s time to tie your laces!

Building self-organizing team: Five key learnings

self_organizing_teamsThe 11th principle of Agile framework reads as ‘The best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams’. Now the question comes what is a self-organizing team and how to build one? In simple words self-organization is about a team that self regulates, prioritizes and executes the work by keeping customer as the center of everything. Team members are supposed to be ‘responsible’ so that bottom-up culture is built instead of top-down ‘authoritative’ management approach. Based on my experience in working with multiple SCRUM teams, building self-organizing teams creates wonders for individuals, managers and customers. Here are my top-5 learnings.

  1. It takes time: Building self-organizing teams take a lot of time. Since it demands high technical capability and high behavioral skills, it’s hard to find individuals with mix of these two and still able to work together as a team. Personally I have spent significant amount of time to figure out right combination for the SCRUM team that has got potential to become self-organized.
  2. It demands maturity: Self organizing teams require very high self-regulation with the ability to ‘take-up’ higher set of responsibilities. On the other hand the manager / supervisor should be able to ‘give-up’ the control and feel comfortable with the team driving themselves. This requires very high amount of maturity from both the sides by giving up by feeling completely secure. It is easier said than done.
  3. Managing individual velocity: Agile talks about team velocity, which is about the ability of the team to churn out work volume. It is equally important to see that each member in the team is having similar velocity, failing which it will affect rhythm of the team. Regulating this requires a lot of focus and effort.
  4. Customer alignment: Ultimately the customer should be able to see the benefit of self-organizing teams, which requires customer alignment of the whole team. This means they should be able to understand the customer priorities, constantly deliver and build a strong relationship with them.
  5. Continuous improvement: Agile, at its core talks about having right mindset. During the journey of becoming a self-organized, tons of things that might go wrong. In such situations each member in the team should exhibit continuous improvement mindset. They should be able to critically retrospect and take focused action to keep improving. Ability to take feedback, being open and honest, keeping team and customer interest over individual interest are some of the attributes that team members should have in order to become truly self-organized.

In summary I see building self-organizing teams is the true testimony of leadership as it eventually makes the leader redundant for team functioning by demonstrating high amount of responsibility. After all who don’t want the team which drives itself without any external ‘push-pull’ from the manager 🙂