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Interview with Ash Maurya – Running Lean

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

With the increase in the consumer demand and change in the market dynamics, the number of new products that are launched in our market have increased tremendously. The passion of these young entrepreneurs have inspired thousands of young minds to develop new solutions to new/existing problems. However the success of these products are largely driven by the consumer expectation and passion is only a driving force.

Ash Maurya, a serial entrepreneur is running a 2-day workshop about building successful products at Agile India 2014. In this 2-day hands-on workshop, you’ll learn a systematic methodology, developed through rigorous testing of Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Bootstrapping techniques on hundreds of products, that will show you exactly how to build what people want.

Ash Maurya

He is the founder of Spark59 and also the author of ‘Running Lean’. Currently he is working on his new book ‘The Customer Factory’.

Running Lean

We had a short chat with him to understand his views about building successful products.

1. What is one important lesson that the large enterprises should learn from startups and vice versa?

Bringing a new product to market, whether at a large enterprise or startup, is riddled with extreme uncertainty. Most products fail.

The key to raising these odds is prioritizing learning around what’s riskiest (not easiest) in the business model.

The first phase of the journey is getting to a business model that works. This can be characterized as a “search” problem where speed is key. The best mode of operation here is the startup. Enterprises that want to explore new or disruptive innovation should model themselves after startups.

The second phase of the journey is scaling that business model. This can be characterized as an “execution” problem where systems and processes become increasingly important. Here the startup needs to mature it’s practices and can learn a lot from existing enterprises.

2. How does Lean Startup help companies to deliver a customer centric product?

The job of a business model is to create, deliver, and capture customer value.

The Lean Startup embodies the customer in every part of the process. All experiments have to end in customer learning and you aren’t making progress until you can demonstrate customer value.

It is through this continuous feedback loop with customers that we break the product development silo and build more products that people want.

3. Your Lean Canvas is an excellent tool to help companies articulate their business model in a simple format. Are there any gotchas that companies should be aware when using the Lean Canvas?

The biggest pitfall with any kind of modelling is falling into the analysis/paralysis trap. I recommend time-boxing business model creation to no more than a day and then shifting all the effort to business model validation using the other tools in the Lean Stack suite.

4. India has a budding Startup culture. What would be your advice to startups?

I truly believe we are going through a global entrepreneurial renaissance which represents an incredible opportunity for all of us.

But while we are building more products than ever before, the sad reality is that the success rate of these products hasn’t changed much.

The odds are still heavily stacked against starting a new business and most of these products will unfortunately fail.

The good news is that a lot of these big bang failures can be outright avoided and instead replaced with a more systematic approach to building successful products.

The number one reason why products fail is not because we fail to build what we set out to build but because we waste needless time, money, and effort building the wrong product.

I attribute the entrepreneurs unbridled passion for their solution to be the top contributor to this failure.

The key is shifting your perspective from having more passion about just your solution to having as much (if not more passion) for your customers and their problems.

5. What is the take away from your Running Lean workshop ?

This will be hands on workshop with part lecture and part  hands-on exercises where you will work on moving your business forward using lean techniques.

The first day will be all about modelling your business into a more more manageable and testable framework. While the second day will be all about stress testing this business model through carefully designed experiments.

By the end of this 2-day workshop, you will have an actionable plan for what to do next to move your business or product idea forward.

This workshop has limited seats. Book early to avoid disappointments:

Agile Art! @ Agile India 2014

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Goals: Learn and practice Agile by doing Agile. Build community. Make art!

The concept: During three evenings, we’ll create a visual art piece together. We’ll create new connections among attendees and build and reinforce the community of Agilists in India and around the world. On the fourth day, we’ll display our art. Finally, we’ll give pieces of our art as gifts to each other to take home with us as reminders of our potential to create greatness together.

The art piece will be a large two-dimensional wall hanging. The center of the piece will be the Agile India logo. We’ll create both the central theme and smaller scale contributions that represent each of us as individual people. We’ll get help from a small team of artists and designers from McAfee in Bangalore.

We’ll use Scrum to execute the piece during the first 3 evenings of the conference. We’ll work in 1-hour sprints to create the piece in three-hour-long sessions. Richard Kasperowski will play Product Owner, Nagendra Kumar will play Scrum Master, and the attendees will be the Development Team. Every hour, we’ll plan our sprint, do the work, hold a review, and retrospect to improve our creativity and velocity toward our goal-to complete the piece and hang it on the wall by the end of the third day.

Here is a small video, which demonstrates a similar art event:

On the morning of the fourth day, we’ll unveil the piece, and it will be available for attendees to enjoy. During the afternoon of the fourth day, we’ll dismantle the project by offering pieces of it as gifts to each other to take home. Thus the piece will be both ephemeral and permanent. The unified piece will exist for only a short time, the fourth day of the conference, before we dismantle it. Small individual pieces of art will live on permanently in the homes and offices of the people who take them home with them, as reminders of the community, and as symbols of the power of art and Agile to create greatness together.

Interested to join us? Apply Here!

Agile India 2014 Conference Schedule

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

World’s First Agile Job Fair at Agile India 2014 Conference

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Come, join the very FIRST Agile Job Fair in the World!

A platform dedicated for the Agile practitioners to meet their potential Agile employers.

Agile India Job Fair is being organised by Agile Software Community of India, a registered non-profit society. We have been running conference and other events in India since 2004. This job fair is on the very next day, after our international conference – Agile India 2014, which attracts about 1000 international participants.

Why a job fair?

Agile methods have become mainstream and they are here to stay. In India, many companies are having a hard time finding needles in the haystack .i.e. finding really good Agile practitioners from a whole lot of posers.

The few, really good practitioners out there, have a similar problem. Every company wants to hire Agile people, but are they ready? Do they really believe in Agile culture and even have an agile mindset?

Many practitioners want to talk to real people from the company to really understand the culture of the organisation and the nature of the work.

Browsing the classifieds or surfing the Internet or talking to headhunters (recruiting companies) can only get you so far.

To solve this problem, we are creating a first-of-its-kind, unique opportunity where job-seekers can meet several top Agile employers face-to-face under one roof, clarify their doubts, interview with potential companies and also socialise with other candidates.

Walk-In to explore a gamut of Agile career opportunities with the best Agile employers in India.

What kind of candidates would this event attract?

We have a database of 56,512 software professionals from top companies in India. We will market this event to all these folks. However, who will attend will largely depend on the kind of companies that will be participating to hire candidates. We would filter the companies, to make sure only top companies are part of this event and hence ensure that we would be able to attract really good practitioners.

What can a participating Company (Employer) do to attract participants?

Seeing is believing! So we would strongly suggest you give participants a glimpse of your work culture. May be setup a pair-programming station and project the programming session on a large screen. May be you can setup a story card wall. Showcase some the nature of problems your company is solving. Run a slideshow of pictures from your office. And may more. Just get creative!

What is the cost to participate?

This is a non-profit event. There are 2 major costs, the hall rental and the cost of setting up stalls. We would pass the actual cost to the companies. Our estimate is 35,000-50,000 INR per company. And we are planning to keep it free for Job Seekers (Agile Practitioners) to attend.

Exclusive Event: Get FREE agile career counseling and coaching from Naresh Jain, the founder of the Agile movement in India.

Sounds interesting? Fill the form to participate…Agile Job Fair

Agile India 2014 Confirmed Invited Speakers as of Sep 5th 2013

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Online Registratrions open for all 3 Agile India Conferences

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Register for the three existing conferences coming up in India:

1. Agile Goa 2013 – Our 6th Annual Conference in Goa
We’ve a superb speaker lineup. Check out the program
Limited seats available, register today at:

2. Agile Kerala 2013 – FIRST ever Agile and Lean Conference in Kerala. Check out our Planned Program
Take advantage of the Early-Bird pricing, register today at:

3. Agile India 2014 – Asia’s Premier and Largest conference on Agile and Lean Methods. Get an opportunity to meet Martin Fowler, Dave Thomas, Dave Snowden, Ash Maurya and many other thought leaders…

We launched the online registration on Sep 2nd at 10:00 AM. In a matter of 40 mins, the entire Super Early Bird Registration Slab of 100 tickets was completely SOLD OUT. This is the best response we’ve got in the last 9 years of organizing these conferences.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to grab a conference ticket at these special, limited-time, attractive prices –

Agile India: 4 New Exciting Conferences Coming Up…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Agile Software Community of India is happy to announce 4 new exciting conferences.


* Agile Coach Camp is an unconference for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Agile Trainers, Leaders, Change Agents and Mentors. (Last coach camp in June was completely sold out 2 weeks in advance. Since we had a waiting list of 43 coaches, we’ve organized another coach camp in July. Last few seats left – register today –


* Agile Goa 2013 conference is our 6th Agile Conference in Goa. It will be held at Taleigao Community Centre, Panaji.
Interested in presenting at the conference? Submit your speaker proposals before July 31st. More details:
We are also looking for program reviewers, if interested find details at


* Agile Kerala 2013 conference is the FIRST ever Agile and Lean Software Development Conference in Kerala. It will be held at Park Centre, Technopark Campus, Trivandrum.
Interested in presenting at the conference? Submit your speaker proposals before August 31st. More details:
We are also looking for program reviewers, if interested find details at


* Agile India 2014 conference is Asia’s largest & premier international conference on Agile and Lean Software Development methods. Unlike previous years, next year, each day has a specific theme. Also each day is a stand-alone event and participants can register for 1 or more days. We’ll limit the participants to max 500 on each day to ensure higher collaboration.
Based on consistent feedback, in 2014, we’ll focus on have more practitioners sharing their Case Studies and Experience Report.

** Day 1 – Scaling Agile Adoption
** Day 2 – Offshore/Distributed Agile
** Day 3 – Agile Lifecycle
** Day 4 – Beyond Agile

Currently we are forming the program team. You can apply before June 30th to be a reviewer.

Conference overview presentation: slideshare or PDF

Stay tuned for more…

Agile Coach Camp Bangalore 2013

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Agile Coach Camp Bangalore

What: Unconference for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Agile Trainers, Leaders, Change Agents and Mentors.
When: 7th-8th June 2013
WhereHotel Ramada, Bangalore
Theme: True Essence of Coaching

Role of a Coach?
Many of us have embraced an agile coach’s role, but do we really understand what coaching is all about? How coaching is different from mentoring?
To help us learn about the true essence of coaching, during this Coach Camp, we’ve dedicated one full day to work with Judy van Zon, who is

Other Popular Topics for Day 1
  • Agile Estimation Techniques
  • Part-time vs. Full-time Coaching
  • Getting team buy-in
  • Enterprise Agility
  • Coaching == Leading by Example
  • Agile Fixed-bid Projects
  • TDD on Large, Legacy Code
  • Agile Adoption Patterns
  • Code Quality Metric
  • Performance Evaluation in Agile
  • Product Discovery & Story Mapping
  • Agile and Audits- Oxymoron?
  • Slicing User Stories
  • Agile Portfolio Management

Register online at

Add Attendees Info Later: Agile India 2013 Registration System New Feature

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In my experience, people/companies would like to register for the conference early-on, to take advantage of the early-bird discounts. However they might not be sure who (which employee) will be available and can attend the conference. So most end up waiting till the end to book their seats.

This feels broken! It’s not good for the participants nor for the conference organizers.

To avoid this problem, we’ve introduced a new feature in the Agile India 2013 Registration System, which lets you register for the conference by just specifying the number of seats. You can defer adding the exact attendees’ details till 1 month before the conference.

Add Attendees Info Later

Also you can always edit the attendees info, up-till 1 month before the conference.

(We need 1 month’s lead time to get the conference t-shirts, badges and other logistics in place.)

Agile India 2012 Conference Feedback

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Things that the participants liked/worked well:


  • Diversity among the speakers was fantastic. (148 expert practitioners from 18 Countries)
  • Speakers from various parts of the world made the conference very rich and most of them were hands on people. discussions were very productive.
  • Good mix of presenters – experienced vs. practicing, Indian vs. International, etc.
  • Speakers mix (national and international both). Great variety of speakers
  • Great agile spirit presented in Naresh’ welcome speak :-)
  • None of the talks were marketing oriented.
  • Majority of the time, folks with Hands-on experience (and not academicians) were speaking
  • More participation from Agile practitioners than Agile Sellers
  • Calibre of local Bangalore speakers was excellent. I had no idea we had such high-quality speakers in India
  • High quality and moving key note session from Freeset.
  • Good setup for the review of speakers and the fact that speakers were chosen months before the conference started. It could have been better, but it was a good experience for me.
  • Mix of people from start ups and great organizations(This helps us understand the people with core knowledge and also the people who define the trend).
  • Good to interact with quality speakers from all over the world
  • Large number of non-Indian / non-US speakers that speaks about the diversity of Agile implementations.
  • Most of the speakers were fantastic. Frankly best technical conference I have attended in Bangalore.
  • International quality speakers (people invited from around the world)


  • The proper amalgamation of workshop, practice talk, introductory talk and expert talk
  • Variety of experienced topics and amount to practitioner topics where people shared real experience rather than how it should have been textbook gyaan.
  • It covered most of the Agile aspects & most of the sessions were interesting.
  • Spoiled for choice. Had a difficult time choosing which session to attend.
  • Workshops were very effective and engaging
  • No frills – No ceremonial processes such as introduction, session chair, summery etc.
  • Lightning talks gave a forum where young speakers could also get a chance to talk
  • Research Presentations and experience reports were very good
  • Conference consisting of Various tracks (Leadership, Experience..).
  • Great to hear the individual experiences(Experience report)
  • Three streams going in parallel (introductory, practicing & expert)
  • Mix of various topics from leadership to programming practices.
  • Having workshops where people could “feel” the topic and learn quickly


  • Participants across multiple cultures, countries, companies.. (750 participants from 21 countries working for 230 odd!)
  • Quality of Audience (attracted the right mix of people – hard-core techies, managers, company owners, etc)
  • Opportunity to see what is happening outside India not having to travel outside India.
  • Lots of smart people. I was learning constantly, whether I was in a session or networking outside.
  • The volume of discussions, it’s a choice within a choice. A must have going forward.
  • Excellent selection of tracks and organization by stages
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Almost all the attendees were very collaborative
  • I was blown away by the passion of the organizers and participants
  • Looking at the crowd, I could not believe this was being held for the first time
  • Wide spectrum of participants brought good cultural mix
  • Excellent and very knowledgeable and participative attendees who added value to the talks
  • The crowd – amazing global audience
  • Opportunity to meet & interact with people from different organizations
  • Good Q&A
  • The speakers to delegate ratio was fantastic.


  • Personal attention given to take care of every need of the speakers by the organizers from the beginning was something I’ve never seen in any other conferences and logistics were up to standard.
  • Great turnout – the conference is eventually known by the enthusiasm and feedback from its attendees, even more than the lineup of speakers.
  • And off-course the enthusiasm of volunteers and the punctuality was superb
  • Organizing the whole program, guess no single Talk/Session was changed, cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Attention to details – best organized conference attended so far
  • Excellent Event Management
  • Keep up the good location!! That means a lot for a conference:-)
  • Good event handling, lot’s of information everywhere. Nice location (although a little pricy for non-speakers).
  • Good website with lots of relevant information (especially the program). Good use of social media (blogs, twitter) before the conference.
  • Meticulous arrangements. Began and ended on the dot for most part.
  • Detailed Schedule Was provided to each participants, so that they could clearly schedule their time !!
  • Several tracks –so we had the chance to opt out of Non interesting sessions.
  • Thank you! I really enjoyed be part of the conference. I really appreciate: Good speakers, Friendly people around and Tasty food
  • Information flow – right from pre conference mails, to the finish. Hence, there was no confusion.
  • Simplicity of it all – the participants, the organizers, the content.
  • Choice of venue – centrally located, easy to access, spaces that were created within…be it the coffee shop, boardroom, open space etc
  • By and large, the whole event management was extremely smooth. I didn’t come across any major issues.
  • Three days was actually a good length of the conference. Agile 2011 at Salt Lake City felt long, but this was the right size. My personal opinion is to retain the format.
  • Organization – Right from the submissions till the agile program guide sent a day ahead
  • Time management – On dot start and ending of sessions.
  • Timeliness – All sessions were held as per the schedule
  • Display of Topic Info on each conference room entrance.
  • Greatly appreciate all the hard-work and passion of organizers
  • Collaboration with the vendors. The booth space could use improvement, but the ability to talk in-depth with them was helpful.

What could be improved:


  • The star speakers with big names and titles did not offer much – they were regurgitating old stuff; whereas I found the young practitioners had more to say….
  • Time Management from some Speakers were not proper. Most of the time, because of shortage of time, the crux of the session was expedited or never discussed.
  • Some of the sessions had very open ended discussions & workshops which could be more informative & address some agile related issues.
  • Better panel discussion ( they got the right members but the discussion was not good enough)
  • Workshops conducted in the limited time were very superficial, they should be made more effective in the available time or dropped
  • There were 3-4 talks which I attended where the speaker had to rush through the slides as the initial slides took more time than anticipated.
  • Couple of speakers did not have appropriate presentation skills
  • Quality of some sessions (some sessions were particularly under-prepared, even though the topic itself could deserve more attention; pay attention to speaker quality)
  • The way some workshops were conducted. Some speakers just presented what the audience came up with suggestions without correcting those suggestions. There were totally wrong suggestions came from audience but speakers never corrected them. The bad thing about this is that rest of the audience accepted those suggestions as correct.
  • Some of the stage producers should not disturb the presenter while they are doing the presentation(this doesn’t mean that they cant share there ideas)
  • Expert speakers should talk in the beginning and in the end to hold the crowd.


  • Too many streams…it was very difficult to choose what to select.
  • Problem of Plenty ! It was not possible to attend all the interesting talks.
  • Too many good sessions in same slots..I could not be everywhere :-)
  • Number of tracks – every track was interesting and it was really hard to choose one for a specific slot
  • 7 tracks was not a good thing. At least not when the 7 tracks had kind of the same audience. If a conference has a track for .NET, one for Java, one for managers and one for testers it’s a different story.
  • Reduce number of parallel tracks
  • We had 6-7 parallel sessions. This made the choice of picking up the most relevant sessions a bit difficult for attendees. We need to re-look at how many sessions we should have in future conferences
  • Too many tracks; to be precise 7 tracks running at the same time. Ideally 4 would have been a good number.
  • 2 days of conference would be plenty – but perhaps 1 day extra for workshops/certifications?
  • Experience sharing sessions were boring
  • Scheduling interesting talks in the same time(although i agree about the value proposition)
  • Session duration should not be more that 45-60mins
  • Scheduling – Not having time to get between sessions
  • Some sessions could have more content & concrete experiences related to retro, planning, review etc
  • Would love to have more keynote sessions
  • Speakers and hence the contents should go several reviews. There were few sessions that were totally cumbersome.
  • Not much take-aways. Most of us are agile practitioners,so it did not help much when a few speakers just explained stuffs on Agile. Some best approaches with real-life results/some kind of workshops should be better. Research approach was good, but yet, it was more explaining again on Agile. Everyone knows a successful agile implementation needs Self-organized teams. These things should have been reviewed before are taken up in conference agenda.
  • Too many introductory talks, we would expect a large number of people already practicing agile and lean so we could cut down on that and focus on extended research on improvement and experiences with both.
  • The open space wasn’t well utilized
  • Lightning talks should have been more prominent
  • Some of the Sessions were repetitive (Ex: Track 7 – Using Lean practice in Agile Fixed Bid Project, Implementation of Lean Concepts….. An Industrial Case Study, they was just the same)
  • Not many hands-on development workshops, more talks.
  • Back to back sessions resulted in a few presenters getting less time ( a major problem for half hour sessions)
  • Selection of papers needs improvement. Some presentations were not engaging enough.
  • Lot of repetition. May be this is good for new comers. But someone like me who has been attending AgileIndia meets, found the same story being repeated for the past 6+ years
  • Coaches Corner and Open Space were a good idea, but were a little too free form which prevented consistent benefit from the forums


  • Maybe this is trivial. Maybe the Veg food was more to balance out the expenses uniformly. But i heard someone remark on only veggie food…people perceptions.
  • Audience was too noisy sometimes in most the sessions. (Specially when it comes to a workshop), I was wondering whether they understood the difference between a ‘discussion’ and ‘just talking’. This made me bit difficult to get the maximum of some workshops.
  • Maybe trim down the numbers to 600, so that sessions are not so crowded
  • Some folks from sponsor stall where quite reluctant to talk to people who might not look like their potential customers.
  • Movement of attendees from one room to another (shopping around syndrome!) – Were the speakers not doing good? or were the participants restless? Don’t know.
  • Some rooms are fully packed and found it difficult to follow what was happening


  • Every other room than Coronet was almost always overflowing (can we view this as tremendous success for the conference??)
  • Some sessions we had to stand and couldn’t participate as much as we would like to have.
  • A small thing was the bad internet connection on the Wi-Fi. But as you said, it was arranged in the last minute. Perhaps it should have been a focus area early on.
  • Venue had multiple floors that just made things confusing
  • Bigger conference rooms
  • There were no chairs sometime and had to stand throughout the session. Seating arrangement could have been more dynamic seeing attendees.
  • It would be good to keep the conference on weekdays, leaving weekends for family time
  • The tea coupons were not even asked for. Probably, we can save printing those
  • 3 days was bit long…..
  • First day registration (tag at one place, kit bag in another place far away…) could be improved
  • Room sizes (one of the room I was speaking ‘Utsav’ was very small. People were standing for most past)
  • Some rooms ware small to accommodate the people due to the popularity of the topic (e.g. Utsav room)
  • Share presentations from the talks sooner after the talk completes
  • Conference Material in the form of url/cd will be good to have
  • Not enough breakout sessions in between the presentations to interact with other speakers or attendees
  • 5-10 mins break between sessions would help the transition.
  • Distribution of tasks for organizing – some people were overloaded with most of the efforts
  • Book stall did not have too many books on Agile. Moreover it was not there on Day 2 and Day 3
  • No time between the sessions (it can be 5 mins at-least, had to literally run)
  • I was looking for notepad, could have given with the bag
  • There was no proper common meeting space between the talks. One room was far away from the rest of the rooms forcing people to choose between the two places
  • Registration process was not at efficient, why should I register, then collect conference bag somewhere else? Then I also had to get schedule separately. It should all be in one place. First impressions last :-)
  • I had no idea where or who the stage producers or organizers, lack of visibility
  • Found that many a sessions had a lot of people (beyond the capacity of the room), I know its quite difficult to control that, but something that we can try to improve upon.
  • More Parallelization during registration of participants
  • Some people had to stand, some interesting sessions were given smaller rooms.
  • The seating arrangements was different in different rooms – will have preferred the table with 10 seats layout across all rooms to foster better interactivity between the attendees
  • Lack of immediate feedback forms for the attendees to assess whether they got value from the session they attended
  • The signage at the conference needs to be improved and in place prior to attendees arriving.
  • I want black, strong, coffee and tea without milk.
  • Internet connectivity. Wi-Fi worked well Friday PM, Saturday AM, and again Sunday PM, but I couldn’t use it most of the remaining time.

Based on this feedback, we’ve made the following improvements to Agile India 2013.

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