Agile for Peace – Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering South Asia

South_east_asia It is a privilege to be provided with an opportunity to share with the Agile Scrum community what has been an experimental journey for the past 4 odd years applying Agile methodologies to social transformation projects in hard and occasionally hostile environments.

What started off as a micro-fail experiment by Peace Through Prosperity to ‘see if it works’ has in true Agile fashion evolved into a successful program of socioeconomic transformation with a strong emphasis on preventing radicalisation or the slide to the far right. From the get go the ambition has been to open source it and engage individual communities across the third rock to embrace the program, modify it for the nuances of their community and environment so that we can as a large collective lift many if not all of the 99% out of poverty and out of harms way (for us harm is the mass non-violent radicalisation of the populous by any far right movement religious, political or otherwise).

However Open sourcing it hasn’t been all that easy! its wasn’t the program, the methodology or the underlying ethos of Peace Through Prosperity’s work, rather the challenge has been finding willing individuals as partners to approach, embrace and take the program to their own communities. 

Agile for peace Scrum Alliance Meet up Back in January 2015 we had that breakthrough, when Raju from Chennai contacted me enquiring about how Peace Through Prosperity’s been using Agile in non-tech projects and whats the secret sauce for Boundaryless Agile – the conversation lead to exploring taking the Peace Through Prosperity model from Karachi, Pakistan to Triupati, Andra Pradesh in India. As a starter for ten Raju kindly invited me to speak at the Chennai Scrum Meetup which of course coincided with the ICC World Cup match between India and Pakistan; we dubbed it ‘Agile for Peace’ and you can watch the talk here 

The next natural step was introducing the program and approach to local Agile practitioners and aficionados and start exploring the migration process for exporting the Peace Through Prosperity program across the border. The Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering in India seemed like the most apt place to reach out to local and regional practitioners, particularly given the theme for the year ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which I am told stands for ’The World as one Family’, something that resonates very strongly with Peace Through Prosperity’s community ethos ‘for the 99% by the 99%’, and so it was decided, Raju and me submitted a session for the Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering; ‘Transforming Lives Using Agile & Scrum’ and here we are!  

The only down-er has been my inability to secure a visa to India in time to be presenting in person, I have been informed I travel a lot to countries of ‘interest’ and therefore processing a visa for me takes longer than usual! Though the lack of a visa won’t be keeping me from co-presenting (Goto Meeting Zindabad!) it will be keeping me from meeting some awesome folks from the Agile community in India that I have been in touch with over the past 3-4 months! but friends we shall right that wrong soon!

Raju and my joint presentation can be viewed below, a complete guide to tailoring and migrating the Peace Through Prosperity program will be posted up on my blog soon too and do keep pulse on how the Peace Through Prosperity program fares in Triupati, and lastly thank you to Scrum Alliance User Group in India for the opportunity to share this with the Agile Community. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam!

 

Transforming lives using agile – Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering South Asia 2015 from Kubair Shirazee

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Gifts from Arabia – facts and biases

1280_Chess_World My recent post following yet another massacre of unarmed civilians belonging to a minority in Pakistan has drawn fire from a few folks in Middle Earth. 
Folks, our facts are informed by articles, based on research we rely on others to conduct because we do not have the time, resources or expertise to do so our selves, i.e. news papers and journals.
Though all news, views and editorials are biased the ones cited by me are likely to be less so than others (my main source is the Guardian not a Murdoch publication!), should you not agree with it then feel free to google and arrive at your own conclusion; my recommendation though is that you add the following publications to your list of must reads sources of news and views (links below are contextual to this post):
Let’s look at the facts, in a world of proxies the most well funded and dangerous ones emanate from Pakistan, brainwashed fodder from marginalised and uneducated communities that is used to oppress and slaughter minorities at home (destabilising the Pakistani state and making it possible for the patrons to nurture more of the same) and abroad to extend foreign policy matters that patron state(s) can not be seen to be involved in directly, essentially nurturing others to do their dirty work. Those of you who accuse me of bias, I ask you to follow a thread…ask a simple question; who is the single largest contributor/funder of schools (Madrassas) of hate and training camps for monsters in Pakistan? Don’t take my word for it, google it and draw your own conclusions.
 
No state is free of sin in the region or beyond, that is the nature of state craft; in context to this and the previous post; be it Saudi or Iran, whilst this exchange on g+ may read as a Brit and a Saudi having it off it is far from that.
 
The despots, tyrants, mullahs,  democratically elected self serving puppets and armed forces lead by generals of fortune have for too long kept the 99% divided, have pitched communities against communities, race against race so that they can maintain the status quo and continue their plunder, continue to take what rightfully belongs to the many and divvy it up amongst themselves and their cronies.
 
They play their games at the expense of the commoners – the 99%, the play is simple in Middle Earth, from Levant to Khorasan divide, rule and plunder; its about access to markets; routes for oil and gas pipelines; empire building. The choice however is ours, let them continue, side with them, be a silent witness or stand up and demand things change. It is in fact a moral duty to help the blinkered see how they are being used and abused, what it means to be a community and how theirs is being dismembered beyond recognition and driven into an abyss of sectarianism and hatred from which there will be no roads out for generations to come.
 
My rants will cause no harm and your defence of highly questionable policies of your government no benefit, what is needed is an awakening, one that can not be bought off by one of bonuses nor quashed by force. 
My own government is not free of blame either for those despots and tyrants are an extension of our self serving energy security policies too, the difference is, in my country (Great Britain) I can call a spade a spade without fear of consequences nor do I need to be seen to be defending the indefensible, whilst in Middle Earth the many can not critique without dire consequences. What comes of protestors in the Middle Earth from the Levant to Khorasan is well documented.
 
Make no mistake neither Iran nor Saudia will benefit from the fire that they are equally responsible for having started across the region nor will Turkey or others for fanning the flames, despite their delusions of grandeur they themselves are mere pawns in a greater game that has been at play in that region for 200+ years.
 
I have no solutions or silver bullets to share but I will keep calling a spade a spade be it a Saudi, Iranian or the self serving misguided adventures of my own government, and where it leads to oppression, persecution and genocide my voice will be louder still.

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Gifts from Arabia

In April 2015 the Pakistani parliament grew a spine and dealt a blow to Saudi plans of defeating Yemen’s Houthi rebels using Pakistan’s battle hardened military, MPs voted overwhelmingly for the country to remain out of the conflict and rightfully so. On the 13th of May 2015 Saudia returned the favour through DAISH, an extension of the Saudi expansionist proxy army currently wrecking havoc from the Levant to Khorasan.

* UPDATE 22nd May 2015:

On the 15ht of May the LEAs in Karachi arrested 145 individuals from minions to handlers, On the day of the Massacre Jundallah a terrorist group associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (an even bigger terrorist group) claimed it whilst leaving behind DAISH signed leaflets. On the 22nd of May the LEAs arrested and named four suspects – Saad Aziz, Muhammad Azhar Ishrat, Haafiz Nasir, Tahir Hussain Minhas – for their alleged involvement in the 13th May Massacre in which over 45 people lost their lives. The official statement claims three of the four arrested terror suspects hold degrees from respected universities whilst the mastermind; Tahir Hussain Minhas a seasoned veteran and handler is the least educated, a high school grad. This is a sea change in the type of ‘active’ assets deployed in their theatre of operations. Lets keep following this string down the rabbit hole…

……………

The attack earlier today on a minority within a minority; Ismaili Shia’s has upped the ante, the target was HRH Prince Karim Aga Khan’s community, a man not to be trifled with. The message was resoundingly clear for Nawaz Sharif’s government, ISI and the Pakistani Military, if Pakistan is not going to look after Saudi Arabia’s strategic interests then DAISH will attack Pakistan’s strategic interests, and the massacre of 46 Ismaili Shias’ does precisely that.

Take note General Raheel Shairf the COAS of the Pakistani Army postponed his trip to Sri Lanka following the massacre today and headed to Karachi, the top brass did not react in such a manner when 60 Shias were massacred in a mosque in January in Shikarpur district of Sindh, nor was the top brass in any hurry to reach Karachi when the Bohra Shia community was attacked in March earlier this year,  there was no swift reaction either in 2013 when 113 Shias were massacred in Quetta. However within 12 hours of the attack today the security services have managed to round up 70 militants in Karachi, it is obvious the establishment knows who the monsters are, where they stay holed up when not out butchering minorities.

The play here is clear, the question is will the parliament, government and the military retain its new found spine and take on its frenemy head on and clean house? or will they lay the blame on RAW and deny its populous justice and itself the truth. Winter is coming, and its time to pick a side Mr Sharif, self preservation or Saudi servitude which is the most direct route to civil war in your country.

#SafooraChowrangi #Karachi #Ismaili #Shia

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The beacons of Gondor

riders_of_Rohan Following much debate at Peace Through Prosperity we agreed on the principle for launching the Peace Ambassadors Program, and it goes like this:

“We believe engaging marginalised individuals would be easier if the funding was generated from real people with a common goal of preserving and bettering global civil society as a community…. this would maintain our neutrality from any government’s policies and help us maintain a position of trust amongst our target audience.
To expand and do more, reach more and fix what is broken across the globe we need more likeminded people on board helping us spread the word through social media, helping us generate funds to keep the projects going and helping us build a better society for all the inhabitants of the third rock.”

It is built upon our belief in the spirit of the community, the community of the third rock.

Will it work? many moons in and still struggling to raise the total required funds for the Haripur project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa I am sceptical, having said that I  believe we need our independence to engage with our target audience, it is critical for developing the level of trust we need to be able to have the conversations we do. We need friends not masters to help us prevent radicalisation.

Its a huge gamble. Will individuals or groups of individuals come to the aid of a distant community that Peace Through Prosperity is engaging with? a community sieged in their stand against a great evil.

The beacons of Gondor are lit.

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Al-Qaeda’s new problem: Talent crunch!

Talent_War_Terror On July 22 Al-Qaeda in Iraq launched attacks on the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Taji, freeing as many as 800 prisoners. On July 27, an attack in Benghazi, Libya, freed more than 1,000 inmates, on July 29 more than 150 heavily armed Pakistani Taliban (affiliated to al-Qaeda) attacked the prison in Dera Ismail Khan freeing more than 250 prisoners and then drove away in a convoy in one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world.

Whether elements from within each one of these states was involved or not is not the object of this post, lets examine why Al-Qaeda has adopted a new tactic as suggested by Ahmed Rashid in the FT. Mr Rashid it is simple, it is a talent crunch that is being addressed by prison breaks! its head hunting with IEDs and AK47s!

There has been an influx of Al-Qaeda jihadists into Syria with the hope of creating an Al-Qaeda state in Middle Earth but engaging the Syrian Army backed by urban warfare specialists (Hezbollah) in a warped conventional sense has lead to unexpected heavy losses and hence a shortage of necessary talent in Syria and other theaters where Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are operating. No where else have Al-Qaeda jihadists faced such stiff opposition as they are facing in Syria from the Syrian national Army and Hezbollah (who have more experience of fighting in urban theaters than the Al-Qaeda jihadists). Al-Qaeda though suffering losses is committed to the cause, calling in re-enforcements from as far afield as Pakistan! The net effect of which has been a global talent crunch for Al-Qaeda that is being addressed by prison breaks.

Right now for Al-Qaeda recruitment and on-boarding cannot keep up with the losses in the field! and for that we have Syria’s tyrant and the Hezbollah to thank!
This is a great opportunity if our policy makers can capitalise on it – the opportunity to deal a significant long term blow to Al-Qaeda and its ability to commit and export terror!  A significant win for our camps in the Long War! At the moment our policy makers in London, DC and Brussels are guilty of the same sin as the Pakistani ISI…  looking both ways!  and there is much to be learned from the outcome of the ISI dancing with the devil!

Those of us who live in the realm of common sense know that targeting the ability of an organisation to acquire talent affects the ability of the organisation to operate effectively in the ‘now’ as well as its ability to grow in the future. Its time for soft war to take the front seat, its time to dent the ability of extremist networks to recruit and retain, time to go to war on their talent! its time to support Peace Through Prosperity; a preventive approach — intervention before individuals are radicalized and recruited.

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