Here is today’s episode of the “Campfire Talks with Herbie”.

TameFlow Community Member: Srinivas Garapati

Name (and Company/Affiliation if desired)

Srinivas Garapati, The Agility Mind Inc

Over 18+ years have varied experience in technology and software product development, and business organization design and development - with one patent for a software product through Xerox Corporation, experience in developing four different business units in start-up mode, and working in larger organizations in Agile, Traditional, and transformation projects. Have unique skills to bring in concepts and models from various fields such as: Agile, management models, Lean Product Development Systems, systems thinking, science of complexity, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, human nature, and several others, to drive through and helping in designing organizations agnostic to a model or framework, but uniquely tailoring to the organizations environment. Seeing organization as social systems and helping to evolve and grow with simple and common sense values, principles, problem solving tools, etc. to evolve to a state of truly learning organization

Who are you?

Srinivas Garapati Profile Picture

Srinivas Garapati is an independent consultant and Principal Agile Coach at The Agility Mind Inc and independent researcher in organizational design, social systems, and its underlying challenges. He has more than 18 years’ experience in IT, healthcare, and the technology industry at various levels, from executive to program/project management. Mr. Garapati’s work has focused on strategic planning, business unit development, IT applications, software product development, and organizational design. His unique skills allow him to take raw ideas/concepts through to product development and fully functioning business units; he has developed four different business units in startup mode. Mr. Garapati also brings to his work various concepts and models from Agile, Lean, and systems thinking, as well as from the sciences of complexity, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, human nature, and several others, to help in designing organizations agnostic to models/ frameworks and tailoring these ideas to the organization’s environment. His strengths foster the designing of a learning organization that will evolve through shared understanding, values, principles, and problem-solving tools. Mr. Garapati holds a patent for a software product through Xerox Corporation.

How did you get involved with Agile, Coaching, Organizational Performance - and in particular with TameFlow?

My journey started in an interesting way and that is also my advantage as I see world now from a different prism. I was very good in coding and software product development and been involved in developing software products and supporting Xerox clients. In that journey I also designed and developed a product for Xerox and I got patent for that. At the same time, I developed a deep curiosity to understand more about how organizations work and how they evolved into big giants. While working on technical aspects of coding and developing products, I was moon lighting and learning on my own on different concepts and models in all management models. While I was at Xerox I conceived several ideas of different products, but the way organizations were working I wasn’t able to understand and grasp all challenges. I realized that there is no way to understand the way organizations work if I continue my work in large organizations, so I resigned from my job and left Xerox in 2008. From that period, I had involved in a smaller business environment and worked in developing four different business units from scratch in the healthcare industry. I had mixed experience of success and failure, but the greatest learning I had at the time is to understand that human nature and dynamics is more important for success of teams or organizations than knowing domain specific expertise. Anyone can become an expert in a particular area of interest, but to understand and to learn and to put together all dynamics of human minds is a never ending challenge. It is like putting all frogs together in place and measuring the metric by using a balance. That journey helped me to understand and to realize the real capabilities of any organization resides in human brain, not anywhere else. One question that I was posing myself all time is how can we keep all human minds aligned together to meet the goals of organizations. Certain tools and practices help, but it is the thinking tools, mental models, and how we see reality and keep the flow of work is important. I was attracted to TameFlow for the same reason, and I don’t need to reinvent any other method.

Are you currently (or do you intend) making a living in this sector? And with TameFlow?

I not only intend to make a living through the knowledge that I was gaining everyday and also deeply committed to bring change not only to the management of organizations but also broader aspects of the society in general, the way of thinking, and how we can all help each other to make a better society for us and for the future generations.

Give us a typical day in your life!

For the last ten plus years, I have been spending two hours everyday for my personal health: walking, meditation, Pranayama. This is like paying a premium for my health insurance everyday. This actually helped to overcome a lot of challenges that I had encountered in my life. In addition, I spend a good amount of time reading and researching different management concepts, psychology, etc.

In the evening times, during summars, whenever I am home and not traveling for work, I would take my dog for a three mile walk every evening.

I usually calculate every 30 minutes and do whatever that is priority at that time and which are based on my bigger goals in my life.

What makes you happy at the end of a day?

I would be happy If I could learn something new and I do learn something new everyday. I rarely spend my time watching TV, just look at some headlines and look for patterns that are happening in our world.

What’s the most important skill or insight you’ve developed while getting involved with this industry?

One insight I can share is all structures that create value and the path through which value flows are invisible. It won’t reside in roles and responsibilities and in typical organizational structures. Tameflow that you have developed is a great start to make that invisible to visible. In addition, we might need to develop several leadership concepts and ideas to create structures that enable the flow of value.

What are the greatest challenges on your path to using/improving the techniques you favor in this sector? Where do you see TameFlow in this?

One of the greatest challenges is how to make invisible to visible. As I mentioned earlier, all structures that create value are invisible. How to make them invisible? I believe Tameflow would help to make those invisible to visible.

In addition, TameFlow laid out paths for five disciplines that we need to build successful teams and organizations. FifthDisciple mentions five disciplines that we need to build successful learning organizations and they are as follows: 1) Systems Thinking, 2) Personal Mastery, 3) Team Learning, 4) Mental Models, and 5) Shared Vision.

The Tameflow Approach handles well to put right germs in each of the above disciplines, and it all depends on how teams and organizations would like to utilize the wisdom of using Thinking Procesess, Thinking Tools, and Mental Models to achieve a truly learning organizations.

What are the greatest rewards you’ve had (personally or professionally) or would like to receive in this industry?

Going forward, the greatest reward that I would like to receive is when all management ideas and concepts and organizational design will be in a position to help all life on this planet including people who are at lowest rung in society. As we see now the reality in the world and what is visible is wherever there is progress we see poverty.

What do you want to learn from a community of peers, like the one here TameFlow Community site?

We learn effectively when we teach, I hope I could share my insights and learn the same from several other talented people in the community.

What question(s) would you like to ask Steve, or what topics would you like him to develop ( in relation to the TameFlow Approach)?

I may focus on the following:

Whatever we do and manifest anything in the real world, it starts with our thinking; this thinking can be our intuition or a set right of processes preconceived at the outset, but those processes could be redesigned through continuous improvement process.

The following quote from Deming is also apt in this context.

“You can not achieve an aim unless you have a method.” - W. Edwards Deming

Most of us has a tendency to jump to solution; some other Agile folks hope to learn through empirical process and by Inspect and Adopt. this attitude in large organizational environment will create more problems than bringing any element of agility or improvement of any business outcomes.

How TameFlow would approach the challenges of product based teams and organizations? What Thinking processes and Thinking Tools - aka a thinking method, a flow of thinking - that TameFlow would bring to teams and organizations that could show attributes of agility?

Why limiting WIP though important, not enough to improve the throughput? What deep understanding we need to know to increase the throughput?

If other TameFlow enthusiasts want to reach out to you, where do they find you? And what is your TameFlow Community handle?

My TameFlow handle is sgarapati. You can reach me at this handle, and everyone can always reach me through Linkedin as well .

Herbie talks about… Mental Models and the Thinking Processes of the Theory of Constrainst

The following developed as answer to Srinivas’ question about thinking processes and thinking tools.

There are different tools that can be used in the TameFlow Approach. The most advanced is using Alexandrian Patterns, Pattern Languages and Pattern Languages both to describe the situation under consideration and to design new elements for it.

On an operational level, the most important thing is to develop shared Mental Models across the entire organization. This allows top management to trust that all people will make decision that are consistent in moving the organization forward towards its Goal, even when the people performing the work actually know more than the executives who bear the responsibility of leading the company.

A shortcut to achieve this is to provide to the organization a set of Proto-Patterns that appear as easy to use as following a recipe or using a “cookie-cutter approach.” In reality the proto-patterns will conduct the company along a known traversal path of a known pattern language. The effect is that huge transformations can be achieved in a stepwise, evolutionary manner. Unlike the Kanban Method, this evolutionary progression is purposefully directed towards a Goal, and not a blind random walk. The change can happen so quickly that from the outside it might appear as a “Big Bang” operation, while in reality it is not. It is a collection of many steps that just happen very quickly. That’s another aspect of high-performance.

When things are particularly complicated, though, more sophisticated tools need to be used. It is here that the value of Thinking Processes of the Theory of Constraints come to fruition.

Logic Trees

The Thinking Processes have many components. Most of them materialize in drawing Logic Trees. All the trees support the three fundamental questions initially stated by Dr. Goldratt:

  1. What to change?
  2. What to change to?
  3. How to cause the change?

The most common Logic Trees are:

  1. The Goal Tree
  2. The Current Reality Tree
  3. The Evaporating Cloud (aka Conflict Resolution Diagram)
  4. The Future Reality Tree
  5. The Prerequistes Tree
  6. The Transition Tree.

The Logic Trees can be of two types:

  • Necessity Logic Trees. They include the Goal Tree, the Evaporating Cloud and the Prerequisites Tree. In these trees the elements are connected from bottom to top with arrows. The necessity logic can be read as:

In order to (achieve the element above the arrow) We must do (the element below the arrow)

  • Sufficiency Logic Trees. They include the Current Reality Tree, the Future Reality Tree, and the Transition Tree. Even in these trees the elements are connected from bottom to top with arrows. The sufficiency logic can be read as:

If (the element below the arrow exists/is true) Then (the element above the arrow exist/is true)

How such trees are actually constructed and used, is left for some other occasion; but this is sufficient to show that there is a sophisticated range of tools to represent and evolve our thinking.

If you found the topics in the “Campfire Talks with Herbie” interesting, there is much more to learn about them in the Tame your Work Flow, How Dr. Goldratt of “The Goal” would apply the Theory of Constraints to rethink knowledge-work management book.

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