The simple and quick answer is NO. There is no thing as “random”.
It is all destiny and it is very much pre-defined. Let me explain this.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines "random" as
"Having no definite aim or purpose;
not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc.,
without method or conscious choice; haphazard." This concept of
randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or
steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.
This very definition above explains that there is no such
thing as “something happening at random”. End result of every act is pre-defined.
Let us take a simple example of a die being thrown. A die can take any of the 6
possibilities. However, the possibility of outcome is very much defined at the beginning
itself. For simplicity sake, we can consider it to be when the person throwing
the die picks it to throw. The force with which he throws, the way he holds it,
actually defines the final outcome. If we can simulate the exact scenario, we
must be able to replicate the results again and again, which proves the point
that nothing is random. Only reason, why we feel the outcome is random is, we
human beings do not have the capability to foresee it. It is as simple as that.
Let me take another example of a person winning a lottery.
Here again, the number being picked up is pre-defined. One aspect we need
to realize here, is that the possibility
of picking a specific number is one among the total present. However, the way by
which the lot is shuffled, the way it is being picked up etc clearly defines
the final outcome. Here as well, we can predict its final outcome.
Why are we not able to predict the final outcome?
It is just our incapability. We human beings are not tuned to be able predict the final outcome. Or may be it is too much effort for us to predict.
And, this is obvious reason; a computer cannot really
generate a true random number (in case you are not aware). We always try to
fool the system by changing the seed value.
Having explained the topic, the most important question that I have would be, "What is our destiny or what is the purpose of our life?". I tend to believe, each living being is born with a purpose. Many of us realize it, many think they have realized it, many think they will realize it some day and the remaining are not aware of such a thing and leaves it to destiny (Did I get into an infinite loop here...).
Let me jot down my views on being empathetic Vs being analytical.
Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person,
to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or
emotional state. Or in simple words what they say as “to be in other persons
Analytical (or critical thinking as it may be referred to
sometimes) means paying attention to detail and involves evaluating, comparing,
contrasting, critiquing, judging, explaining why, and examining.
What matters the most? Being empathetic or being
analytical. This is an interesting point to ponder on. Here is my view on this.
We are living in a world where we deal more with people who
actually “think” for a living (otherwise known as “knowledge workers”). When we
deal with people, we are always dealing with emotions. Being analytic is a
total contrast to being emotional. Both never go hand in hand. I happened to
see this article some time back which gives an insight on why it is so.
So now, the question is, which one should we go with? Agreed,
we cannot be both empathetic and analytic at the same time. But, there is
always a better way of approaching this.
I suggest going ahead with analytical part first. This helps
us to look at various possibilities and various outcomes, which gives a good
view on what we need to do. Stop, do not jump into conclusions. We do not have
the answers, yet. Next action is to approach this from an emotional point of
view and evaluate various possibilities. The surprising fact is that we
sometimes realize what we thought was the best solution may now look, not
very attractive after attaching a little emotion to it. We may now prefer a
different alternative available. This is exactly the biggest advantage of using
the two pronged approach.
Taking an example at work, when a colleague indicates
something will be done in a particular way, in many cases, my analytical side knows
this may not happen. In such situation, I always prefer not to conclude on what
my analytical brain tells me. The reason is, I also evaluate the emotional part
of it. Sometimes, it is better to make the other person comfortable, for
whatever reasons be it. In case, it works out the way the other person
mentioned, it is great.
The obvious advantages of two pronged approach are:
We are aware of various outcomes and can be prepared
for any of these outcomes
We give other persons concerns, a thought (by
We make the other person feel more comfortable
When the end result is different from what we aspired for, at least we are fine since we were aware of this one, and not totally surprised
So the net outcome, though may not really be an encouraging one, we were prepared and knew this was on its way, anyhow. This is why, I like to call it as agile thinking :)
In animal world, if you want to survive 'today', it is just
enough to outrun the slowest in the herd. This will keep any animal alive for
that day. For survival, the challenge is to identify slowest
and run faster than this "lesser fortunate one" to ensure you are alive. The interesting fact is, though this will help you live
for another day(s), but not longer. There will be a day, when no one else is
left and it will be your turn.
To ascertain you never get caught by any wild beast, is to
secure yourself by running faster than your predator. When you run faster, you
become invincible (may be that is a little exaggeration). At least it will guarantee
that your predator is never able to catch and kill you.
The same logic is applicable for us, at work, at home, everywhere. This is one of universal truths. To live the life
that we aspire, we need to be the best. It always pays back. Each day, we need
to focus on what is that will make us better. If we do not do this, there will be a day, when the beast will outrun and kill you. The choice is ours, whether we want to live or survive. I want to conclude with a quote from William Ralph Inge, that
says, “There are no rewards or
punishments - only consequences”. Very true :).
As per Wikipedia, Continuous improvement process (abbreviated as CIP or CI), "is an
ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can
seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakthrough"
improvement all at once.”
This post talks on how the PTM triplet is important for
continuous improvement. PTM stands for practices, tools and metrics.
Agile practices as such may seem little cumbersome since it
is required to have multiple checkpoints to ensure sanctity of the product
under development. This can be made effective and efficient with tools usage.
Hence, tools become an integral part of agile WoW (Way of Working). Usage of tools
is a double edged sword. Though it helps in making job easier for team members,
not having the right tools may in turn cause an opposite effect and later
become an overhead for the team. Thus, it is important to identify and use right
tools. The practices and tools are closely coupled in Agile WoW.
Usage of right tools help team in deriving proper metrics. These
metrics helps the team with a feedback system on how the system is performing. Regular
and timely feedback is critical for any system to change. i.e. for its
Below is a high level view on PTM triplet:
grooming, daily standup, scrum of scrums, retrospectives, weekly releases,
automated builds and test runs
Tools: Visual boards, redmine for bug logging, Hudson for hourly
builds, static analyzer /code review tools, scripts for automation
Metrics: Lead time, cycle time for measuring team
effectiveness, # of build failures in an iteration, # of reopened issues
The important point is to use the right tools, measure the right metrics and change things that do not work regularly.
Most organizations claim to be at various levels of maturity
levels and certifications. These capability models and certifications do convey
the process focus these organizations aspire to achieve, which is definitely a
differentiating factor. However, these are just not enough, since there is a
basic flaw to these models. Let me explain this.
Especially for larger organizations, for evaluating its maturity
level, few projects or teams are selected and evaluated whether they comply with
defined processes. The experts evaluate these teams, and accordingly certify
the organization to be at a particular maturity level. The fun part is that the
selected set of teams/projects could account to a very small group in an
organization. And based on this evaluation, the organization is either
certified or not certified.
Customers when they look for maturity levels, look at the
organization maturity level, because that is what these certifications mean.
What they are not aware is the capability level of team that they are going to
partner with. They do not know or really not look at how good they are. They go
by the organization capability level. And this is the simple reason why these
certifications are not a good measure on team’s capability and may not work.
Instead, we need to focus on team capability. There needs to
be a means of evaluating team’s capability rather than organization’s
capability. As a customer, when I know that the team with which I will partner
is the best available, I know I am going to get the best returns on my
The capability models and certifications focus on a top down
approach; instead what is required is a bottom upapproach. If each team in the
organization consists of great people, then that makes it a great organization.
So the focus has to be at team level or rather at the individual level.
We are all familiar with cliche "work life
balance" and almost all talk about it. What I have observed is we really
don't know when we are balanced, because this is always an act where either
side goes up or down. We get confused on where to put right focus in the act of
balancing out work and life.
Recently, I attended a discussion where I saw a paradigm
shift on this view. The speaker was talking about "Work Life
Integration" rather than “work life balance". I felt this was a very powerful concept. When
we focus on balancing work and life it always becomes a compromise. It is not
win-win when we go for compromises in life, we always loose.
With Work Life Integration, we look at how we get the best
out of our everyday life, keeping both work and personal life moving smooth.
I have observed that it is practically difficult to follow a strict regimen of 9:00am
to 6:00pm working hours and then 6:00pm to 9:00am to be completely dedicated
for personal purposes. We are social beings and it is not easy to switch modes
at the tick of a clock. There are many days where we are interrupted with
personal stuffs during work hours and vice versa. When they happen, we just
cannot keep a closed eye towards them. We need to attend to these, be it
work or personal stuffs. The beauty of Work Life Integration is that we find best timings of the day that will help us focus on priorities of our life and
then actually putting it into practice. For example, in my case, I mostly start
work early and I prefer to have a silent time during mornings where I am mostly
undisturbed. This helps me putting more focus on important stuffs. Since I
prefer less distractions, being early at work helps me get more stuff done.
Above example is something that works for me. For each of
us, we need to understand what will work for us the best and accordingly organize
our day. This will help us become more productive and ensure that we achieve what we want to achieve in life.
For me, it is not “work life balance”, rather it is “Work Life Integration”. Just think over this.