Agile Kerala 2013


Title: Can India be truly Agile?


Joe Zachariah
Product Development Manager
Confidential Consulting Company


It's Indian Independence day today as I work on this proposal. As I read newspapers today, I understand the importance of the IT and ITES Offshore business, which has almost single handedly provided employment to millions of technically suave and English speaking folks. One question that repeatedly comes to surface is whether the Indian IT industry will be able to up its game from the servicing mentality which started the boom of IT in India. As Agile and Scrum began to become the flavour of the worldwide IT industry, many firms in India also went out on the Agile path, many of them out of pressure from their Western clients. Some of them were successful, but there are also numerous examples of failures of the Agile model and also half hearted adoptions, which have led Western businesses to believe that maybe India is not adept enough to take its game to the next level where teams can follow the Agile framework.

My talk would be driven by my experiences of following Agile in different ways in my different teams over the last 6-7 years. My forays into the Agile ways of software delivery in India have been largely successful and I cannot see a reason why Agile will not work in India.

In my talk, I would focus on the reasons on why Agile would work in India. Right from the way we approach diversity and inclusivity, to the way we approach our post election coalition party governance model, the Indian way of living is rife with finding innovative ways to quickly adapt to change, which essentially is the Agile mantra.

I plan to start with a simple example. Of the Western way of cooking & dining as compared to the Indian way of cooking & dining. A traditional Indian kitchen is a sacred space. It is decorated with auspicious signs. Sometimes, it doubles up as a puja room. In many households, you are not allowed to enter the kitchen with footwear, you are expected to bathe before lighting the kitchen fire, you are not allowed to eat unless you have taken a bath - these can be metaphorically compared with the Ceremonies that an Agile team practising Scrum follows - the daily standups, sprint planning and reviews, etc. However the core delivery is the food. And no matter what ceremonies you follow and what your menu for the day is, the food comes out daily at the same time and is served everyday with the same set of stakeholders. There aren't as many tools and supporting equipment that you might see as in a Western kitchen, but at the end of the day the practices followed in a typical Indian kitchen are very Agile at heart.

There are many other examples from Indian culture and mythology that one can refer to understand that Indians are essentially Agile at heart. Open source product groups, many of which are largely Agile, can also find a reference point in Indian culture and mythology. That which is timeless is referred to in the Indian context as Sanatan. It refers to wisdom that has no founder and is best described as collaborative and open source freeware. Every idea is accepted but only that which survives the test of time, space and situation eventually matters.

There are many myths circulating in the IT industry that Agile cannot survive in India, since Indians cannot be trusted to be self governed and always require direction. Also Indians don't know how to have fun at work. Through my presentation I seek to dispel those myths drawing from Indian mythology and culture and essentially try to make folks understand that reasons for Agile not working in India is the same as Agile not working elsewhere. What you need to make Agile work at the end of the day, is just the belief that it will work.


#agile-india-2014 #offshore-distributed-agile #20_mins #talk #beginner #working-with-culture #offshore #offshoring #india #indian-culture


30 mins

Session Type:



Still haven't prepared any slides. Will work on it once I have confirmation that this topic is being selected


Agile and Outsourcing
Culture, People and Teams


Powered by OpenConf®
Copyright ©2002-2012 Zakon Group LLC