Our Monthly interview with one of the ADAPTOVATE team. Each month we ask one of our team from around the world to answer a few questions. While not in the same league as The Proust Questionnaire – we think it’s a great way to share our stories with you.
This month we sat down with Qiu Lu, who is an Associate with ADAPTOVATE in Singapore.
First up – how long have you worked with us?
I joined in 2019.
Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?
I graduated in July 2019 and this is my first full-time job. I came across the job ad during my last semester and the word “Agile” and “Consulting” caught my eyes. I’m always interested in doing consulting work and I’ve just finished my degree thesis on Agile efficiency. Thus, the job description was naturally appealing, not to mention that I would have plenty of opportunities to travel. I went on and apply for it.
Following that, each step in the interview process re-assured me that applying for this company was a good decision. I genuinely felt that every Adaptovator I have met along the interview process was sincere, engaging and knowledgeable, yet each interview did become an invaluable learning experience for me.
With that, the exciting journey has begun.
How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?
My academic background in system engineering and management has steered my interest towards operational efficiency and I believe that the concept of Agile marries process management with the human touch.
During my 3-month consulting project with a technology team in a leading global mining company, I observed how and why effectiveness of Agile transformation is limited in large organisations. My exposure to Agile and consulting in this project has shaped my vision on what to do in my career.
How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?
It really depends on how you define work-life balance. I’m fortunate enough to work around people that share similar interests. The distinction between work and life blurs out when colleagues become friends and we support each other’s personal goals and interests.
Yet I think that the key to so-call work-life balance is all about time management and self-discipline. The allocation of time and attention between work and personal life would naturally come into place once the prioritization has been done right.
With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up? Organised or chaos? Any top tips?
During my remote working period, I would say that half of the time I’m “working from a Café near home”. This has become my habit since college, where I’ve found studying in Café far more productive than in the library/ hostel. I guess it might have attributed to my constant craving for coffee and/or food and a suitable level of noise actually helps me concentrate.
When I’m working from home, my work station set-up is somewhere in between organised and chaos. I’ll always have a large cup of coffee ready. Besides, I do enjoy working at home while my cat is taking a nap on the chair next to me.
Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?
To be honest I haven’t had the opportunity to lead a workshop yet but I’ve seen my colleagues playing music at workshops!
It would take some effort to craft the playlist to fit the context as my usual music is either too soft or too heavy for workshops. Nonetheless, Charles, our MD in Singapore office has recently shared with us his list of alternative music by Arlo Parks and Clairo. The music is surprisingly AWESOME, will I’ll definitely get some inspiration from that.
How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?
I think the aspect which technology has best helped humanity is the advancement of medical science. There’re numerous examples of how technology like nanomedicine and surgical robotics help to relieve human suffering.
However, I always worry that we, as mankind are not yet equipped with adequate discipline in harnessing technologies. In the most practical aspect, our habitual reliance, or addiction to digital devices and social media platforms has resulted in repercussions such as privacy violation, cybersecurity and emerging psychological issues related to misuse and overuse of technology.
Strategic Foresight allows companies to detect changes early and ensure action is taken quickly. Which companies have you seen able to change and adapt quickly? (and hopefully using Agile methods to do so)
My favourite example would be Netflix, considering the frequency that I’ve been using the platform and the convenience it provides in streaming a huge collection of movies and TV series. Starting as a DVD-by-mail service provider, the responsiveness and adaptability in the constantly changing business and technological environment has enabled Netflix to ride on the wave of digitalisation and become the leading streaming service provider which has gained torrid growth through winning proprietary content.
What does success mean to you personally?
To be self-sufficient and have the discipline and perseverance to achieve my goals in life.
Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?
Be it happiness or suffering, whatever you are going through now or in the near future will eventually lead you to be the person you want to be.