Vivek Jayaraman
8th Jun, 2020

What is perspective?

A perspective is an attitude or an approach toward how one sees or thinks. It is also about an individual's ability to look at things which is also called a point of view. Naturally, when someone looks at something, they perceive it based on their experience, beliefs, morals, values, and so on. It is an interesting study to put something on the table and let people get a perspective out of it. 

We did storytelling on Agility Thinking WhatsApp groups and asked people to get a perspective. Below is a good read on that. 


There was an old chef. He made good tasty food. Everyone in the town loved the man’s food. He has 3 sons. All of them got their culinary skills from their father. Since it was a family-run business whatever they cooked was that of their father’s recipe and taste. Everything was good as the townspeople liked their food so much.


But the sons did not know anything outside of the Oldman’s recipe. Just like any experienced businessman does, the Oldman decided to send his sons off to work outside the town and come back after 5 years. Five years were up and they all came back.


Now when they wanted to cook their father’s basic recipe, they have three different ways of cooking them now. They didn’t know what the original recipe was. The Oldman asked them to cook the recipe in their own way and present it to him. They cooked and presented it to the old man. He tasted them all and they all tasted good but it wasn’t the original recipe at all.


What is your take away from this story?

If you can change something in this story, what it could be?

If you have to finish this story, what would your ending be?


Anirudh Zala: This confirms 1 of 4 agile manifestoes; Responding to change over following a plan. Although following a plan also works, it is even better to respond to change (here change means going into different locations and adapting original recipes to meet local needs)


Poonam: Change is necessary as a routine will always have a saturation point. There are many different and creative solutions to one problem. So the key goal is to solve and not the path. If the recipe is good even if it does not follow the traditional way then it is acceptable. The benefit of accepting is restaurants can have more food items with the same resources. People will also get variety and will not saturate. So when we accept new solutions to challenges we get many different benefits in terms of ease, cost, variations, etc.


Shirish: 1. We have to adjust/ get adjusted to our tools and techniques as per the demand.

2. We have to keep on improving.

3. We have to be customer-centric.


Gazala: Take away will be customer expectations should always be met through different ways followed to implement them. The output should not change due to the implementation of different ways


Rahul Baji: The story ends well. Earlier there was only one Classic  Margarita Pizza that the old man could make. Now there's Chinese  Margarita Pizza, Indian Margarita Pizza, and American Margarita Pizza. The classic Margarita recipe is of course lost. But it's reborn in a new avatar.  That's the circle of life. Old makes way for the new. 

There are so many endings possible, here is one more. The old man gets angry at the sons. Just because you learn new recipes does not mean that you forget old recipes. Despite his advanced age, he heroically demonstrates the old recipe. So the 3 sons are now well versed in the new recipe as well as the classic one.

One more; A local reporter comes to know of this.  So he seeks permission to write an article on the old part of the recipe. Usually, the old man is secretive about the old recipe. But given that his own sons have forgotten the recipe, he decides that it is better than the world knows of the recipe and that it is just handed down to the family generations. The reporter meticulously captures the old recipe. And it's newer versions by the sons as well. The article is well received.  This most importantly opens the old recipe as an inspiration to so many upcoming chefs wanting to learn classic recipes.


Abhijit: "One size fits all" need not be the case every time.  The defined processes or procedures need customization/ may/ should undergo customization to meet different unique requirements.  This kind of Agility allows businesses to grow


Kaushik Dasgupta: My take is original is as good as it lasts. There has to be a demand and vfm associated with it if we need to exploit it commercially. In this case, the old man is a generation older and his recipe might have been a hit with his generation or the younger generation (we do not know). But his three sons have given 3 twists to his original recipe and now we have more options at hand to cater to the customers.

For me, it's a win-win situation. If they have a single restaurant they can present 4 dishes with catchy names and seek customer feedback...of course, the original stays like that and maybe marketed as such and the other three as spin-offs. Monthly sales would indicate which one is popular and they can go on perfecting those.


Just like in software development we have many approaches to a problem and we do not stick with just one - we improvise, we do continuous improvement, we retrospect, we make it better...and the cycle continues...


This is my take on the humble old chef and original recipe and how it fits perfectly with result-oriented folks/organizations!


Rizvan: I would take this as two aspects. First is the originality of that dish is lost or changed and emerges as three dishes. The second point is three new dishes might be better as its using more batter and different ingredients. We should always respect such change with originality as a base. In software also it should be upgraded with respect to the current situation and demand. I will still believe that customer satisfaction and usability should be based on and should not be altered.


Shweta Sen: What is my takeaway is an age-old fact, that change is the only constant. We shud adapt to it and the faster we adapt it's better for our emotional and mental well-being. The father had asked the sons to cook it on their own so definitely, the food won't be the same as the original recipe.

Each son's preparation brings their acquired skills over a period of 5 yrs on their own. Good or bad, they were adding their tricks of the trade to the recipe and made it different. And definitely, being diverse is an added beauty to the food line of business. So, I would say it's a win-win for both fathers and sons.

If I were to end the story, it will be on the below lines.

The father felt proud that the sons had learned their own trade secrets and appreciated on their skills. He asked them to run their specialties on different days of the week and the people of the town loved it, as this brought different tastes to their tongues.

PS: I won't want to change anything in the story.


Allan Pereira: Now when they wanted to cook their father’s basic recipe, they have three different ways of cooking them now. They didn't know what the original recipe was. The Oldman asked them to cook the recipe in their own way and present it to him. They cooked and presented it to the old man. He tasted them all and they all tasted good but it wasn’t the original recipe at all.

He tasted them all and they all tasted good but it wasn’t the original recipe at all. When he offered all the 3 new recipes to the customers, surprisingly all the 3 were appreciated and liked by the patrons.


Over a period of 5 years ever since the sons were away the customer base had changed. Their taste had changed and that is how all the 3 recipes were appreciated.

Seeing this the old man was very happy to know that he had taken the right decision by asking his sons to wander out of their comfort zone and look at the world from a different perspective. Had they not been away they would have not learned something new or would have lost interest out of lethargy. But because they all came with new ideas and concepts, they could sustain in the changing environment and demand from the market (community).


Where the old man's business would have died s natural death, now it can branch out into 3 different entities and expand the business. As such at some point in time, the sons would have wanted to manage something of their own and might have not wanted to stay together in the same place. So in turn, the old man was not only visionary or farsighted but was very practical. All three sons were potentially capable and got a chance to do something of their own and prove to the world that theirs was a talent not just inherited but also evolved and learned over a period of time.


Anonymous: They should have kept visiting their father periodically and should have got the original recipe reviewed by him. This would have not let them deviate from the original one, alongside learning new things.


As while learning new things, they somehow moved away from the main USP is their father's recipe.


Meenakshi: What's wrong with a different taste if it is still good? Instead of 1 original flavor of their father's, now they have three more to offer. The very reason they were able to survive for 5yrs was they were able to serve their clients. They all originally started with their dad's flavor in their new region but eventually changed based on feedback from their respective customers. We can see them as evolving from legacy systems to a more customized version based on your specific customer's feedback and suggestions. They didn't focus on what they know they focused more on what their customers wanted and improved upon that. They can now expand their business to different regions and customized it to suit that region better. Something similar to how Indian chole bhature tastes in Delhi vs in California


Raghavan Sridhar: Take away - It is a good practice to document success stories/recipes in some form for progeny. 😃


It is good to have An open mind. Even recipes that follow a completely different template might taste good and can be adapted (different tools or techniques need not necessarily Be bad or in other words, there might be multiple ways to achieve a result).....


Amithabha Sarkar: "The Oldman asked them to cook the recipe in their own way and present it to him...He tasted them all and they all tasted good but it wasn’t the original recipe at all. "


1. The old man asked them to cook in their own way. If he was expecting original taste, he should have communicated so. Experimentation (improvisation) and Replication might yield different results.


2. Intentionally, the Old man sent his sons away to learn, so they learn to adapt and improvise. The improvised recipe may or may not work in the old man's town. If it works, it is good for his business. If it does not work, he can always sell his original recipe in other towns (which can be good for business again)


3. It will be an assumption that the sons forgot the original recipe. One cannot improvise without understanding the pros and cons of the original recipe.


Rajesh Rajagopalan: My take is that - the sons took their father as their benchmark in culinary skills. Nothing wrong with having a benchmark. You should strive for excellence with a target in mind. But it does not mean that you should be restraining yourself to that level. We need to do a self-check and reassess ourselves as to how we can go. In this case, as they got clearly impressed and spellbound by their father's recipe they could not think beyond that. They could have probably tried a new recipe and asked him to taste which would have probably given them good confidence and probably got appreciation from their expert father. You want to prove your mettle first on Your own recipes before trying to know about their father's recipe


Sameer Panse: Let your team explore their own ways to accomplish the task. Don't force them to go by your way. Eventually, the target is to achieve the end goal. The way of achievement could be different. People remember their self-discovered path more than a set method.


In the story may go like this further, The old man was very happy to see that his sons learned their own way and now know more ways to cook. He helped his sons establish their own restaurants and guided them to grow their restaurant chains.


Kiran: Yes I have gone through this story... really a great for thought... and I think- When old man's son already learned about the old man's recipe and it was tested well, so when they went out and learned more they should not forget the basic test and if they add on to it more different flavors to it that would be a wonder-full end. Also, one more thing his son learned new things which helps them to attract more customers but at the same time, they lost their own customers so that needs to be corrected to retain old and +new customers with the story end. Maybe ... So yes .. team comes up with a new architecture but then the old output and latest output should be matching and should produce more results with the latest change but old results should also be retained, if they really have some meaning to it or to a sprint team and management to take a more accurate decision for any new development, someone, one think of...


Mithun Nambiar: Well...I can think of software architecture where an architect for multiple scrum team would like a team to implement his architecture for an application..but gives the option to the team to implement theirs..and the team comes up with the architecture which best suited their style and velocity.. finally, the application is the same.


Stories are a simple way to get multiple perspectives. There is no actual hidden message in this story. It’s just an experiment to see one’s ability to understand a story and get a perspective from it. Stories create a vivid imagination. The idea of this storytelling is to help people to gain perspective. Many haven’t even read the three questions below as they were already perceiving the story in the way they do and tried answering only the first question.

Some relate it to Organizational change, some perceived it as a normal story, and the rest have read it and moved on. What is interesting is to understand, there is even a way like this to look at. It is amazing. More the perspectives toward a problem, the better the ability to solve it. Do you agree?

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