Here is today’s episode of the “Campfire Talks with Herbie”.
TameFlow Community Member: GUEST
Name (and Company/Affiliation if desired)
Who are you?
Name (and Company/Affiliation if desired)
Abrar Hashmi, Agile Brains Consulting Inc.
Who are you?
Abrar Hashmi was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and started his journey as a software engineer. Today, he is the Founder and Chief Evangelist at Agile Brains Consulting. He has been part of numerous value-based delivery transformations in various Fortune 500 companies and spoken at multiple Agile conferences as well. He has trained thousands of students in over sixty cities and is focused on organizations embrace a culture of fearlessness and innovation. Abrar holds numerous Agile certifications (SPC, RTE, CLP, ICP-FDO, ICP-IDO, ICP-EPO, ICP-ATF, ICP-ACC, CSM, TBR) and believes in building the new generation of Agile leaders.
How did you get involved with Agile, Coaching, Organizational Performance - and in particular with TameFlow?
Coming from a technical software engineering background, I was always passionate providing solutions and solving problems. I distinctly remember working as an engineer with headphones plugged in, music blasting, torn jeans and a t-shirt creating methods and classes in JAVA where I got the dreaded tap of my back from our project manager: “Abrar, did you get my email”. Our PM was a wonderful lady who had just sent an email 43 seconds ago inquiring about the state of the application I was working on. The flow was disrupted – this was the precise moment where I started researching on effective project management and process improvement techniques. In 2007, I got my first Scrum training from Jeff Sutherland and was introduced to the Agile Way of Working.
It was an opportunity to help the organization adopt Agile and Scrum and create a flow-based model for our knowledge workers. Next few years, I had the pleasure of serving multiple organizations in a variety of roles from Technology Services Manager to Development director to Scrum Master to Agile Coach to Enterprise Coach. Implementing a value-based delivery framework and helping organizations create a culture of inclusion and innovation for their employees gave birth to Agile Brains. During this journey, also got introduced to TameFlow and the importance of human centered design to solve problems was particularly exciting.
Are you currently (or do you intend) making a living in this sector? And with TameFlow?
I have been a practicing Agile Coaching and Organizational Performance Improvement consultant for over a decade now and have had the pleasure of working with small startups to mid-size organizations to Fortune 50 enterprises. One of the best compliments I ever received in an engagement was from a very quiet yet passionate solution architect, Bob. During my farewell lunch, he remarked,
“Abrar – all I thought a scrum master did was schedule meetings (the daily standup) and take notes and update JIRA; after working with you 6 months, I think Agile is more than software delivery but it’s a mindset, a way to finish work – I’m going to use it in my personal life to start a travel blog.”
In 2017, when we launched Agile Brains, our primary focus was to help organizations create a better working environment for their employees and create a culture of transparency, trust and innovation. Our proprietary framework, “ABC” – Assess, Brainstorm, Coach starts with an assessment of the current state of our client, followed by brainstorming frameworks and innovative solutions and then coaching the internal employees to be champions of digital transformation. Thanks to Almighty, we have been very successful and have numerous case-studies as well.
Give us a typical day in your life!
My typical day starts at around 7 am and starts with updating my personal Kanban board (list of items I intend to accomplish for the day). I usually like to work-out or run early in the AM. Depending on my schedule, this can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Since the pandemic, I have been able to run along the Schuylkill river, right beside the Rocky Steps and get clarity for the day. I’m a huge fan of milkshakes, smoothies and acai bowls which serves as breakfast. At 11, we have our daily standup with our internal team discussing sales, accounts, marketing and finance goals. I actively work with a couple of clients providing Enterprise Agile coaching services which takes majority of the afternoon. Around 5 pm, I like to swim for 30-45 minutes and then usually spend an hour reading. This is followed with dinner and spending quality time with my family.
What makes you happy at the end of a day?
Helping people – from assisting our sales team to working with clients and providing solutions to our customers makes it a well-spent day. One of the biggest reasons for starting Agile Brains was to create a platform for organizations to create a better work culture for knowledge workers to perform at their best. The happiness and glimpses of satisfaction on our team’s and client’s faces makes my day! If everyone focuses on others during their day-to-day work, I believe the world will be a better place for us to live in.
What’s the most important skill or insight you’ve developed while getting involved with this industry?
Listening – it is very easy to speak and provide input; however part of being an effective coach is to listen. Actively listening to their current state and understanding their problems helps us gain better perspective and find the best path forward.
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?
Putting yourselves in the shoes of the customer and client is the most important aspect of delivery; understanding where they are coming from, what they have tried and why it did not yield desired outcomes is critical. Tameflow heavily focuses on Human centered design and Design Thinking which are critical for organizations interested in improving their current processes and systems.
What are the greatest rewards you’ve had (personally or professionally) or would like to receive in this industry?
Once the pandemic hit, Agile Brains launched a boot-camp to help organizations build high performing virtual squads. In the last few months, we have helped numerous organization use the boot-camp to embrace and benefit from virtual teams. This year, I was awarded InterCon’s top 50 tech visionary award as well and it was great to see the industry recognizing the great work our teams continue to deliver. Our greatest reward is the success among our clients and customers. We focus on value-based delivery over transactional selling which has been our secret sauce.
What do you want to learn from a community of peers, like the one here TameFlow Community site?
Creative and unique ways organizations have utilized TameFlow to solve their challenges. We are life-long learners and any opportunity to learn from a community of peers is always welcome.
If other TameFlow enthusiasts want to reach out to you, where do they find you? And what is your TameFlow Community handle?
I can be found here:
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 would love our network to hear about the greatest benefits of using the TameFlow approach, how it integrates with other scaling frameworks which organizations are already using and 3-5 key benefits which an organization can gain from using TameFlow. We look forward to bringing TameFlow and the great work Steve has been doing to our customers as well – Thank you!
Herbie talks about… the greatest benefits of using the TameFlow Approach
The primary benefits of using the TameFlow Approach derive directly from the three core patterns, summarized as follows:
Inspired Leadership: The inspired leader will realize that to realize the company’s Purpose (which is distinct from the Goal) they must cater for the needs of all people playing an existential role in the company’s well-functioning. This includes: Customers, Shareholders, Employees, Suppliers and - on a broader scale - the society and the planet as a whole. The Inspired Leader will gain the insight that the key to this is moving from Cost Accounting to Throughput Accounting. Furthermore, we frame this more specifically as “Leadership”. While any company will have some prominent leaders, in the TameFlow Approach we value acts of leadership that anyone can perform. In a knowledge-work setting, we expect that those who are have the best experience in any area of expertise will step up, by being inspired, perform such acts of leadership. In other words, leadership is decentralized, according to areas of expertise.
Unity of Purpose: The adoption of Throughput Accounting will tear down many of the endemic and structural factors that create a log of internal conflicts. The conventional Budgeting processes make people fight one another; Throughput Accounting - despite being a technicality - has a huge impact on how people relate to one another. Expressing the company’s Goal in monetary terms via the lens of Throughput Accounting will create immediate alignment.
Community of Trust: When people feel that they do not need to fight against their peers, but that they are all standing behind one shared Goal, then trust rises to unprecedented levels. All that negative energy can be transformed into positive energy: instead of fighting one another (for the budget, for the entitlement, for the silo-dependent KPI, etc), people will be deeply convinced that they are truly one team who can focus all of their energy on gaining the customers’ confidence and satisfaction.
When this happens, people in the company will be more relaxed and happier at work; and the company will witness unmatch improvement in performance, in any way that performance is measured.
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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