Interview With Abrar Hashmi From Agile Brains Consulting Inc

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Abrar Hashmi

Abrar is currently the founder and chief evangelist of Agile Brains Consulting Inc., accelerating success with, of course, their brains.

Interview With Abrar Hashmi From Agile Brains Consulting Inc, United States

Interview With The 2022 TITAN Business Awards Winner – Abrar Hashmi

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself.
I am the Chief Agile evangelist and Founder of Agile Brains Consulting Inc. I have assisted in value-based delivery transformations in various Fortune 500 companies and a regular speaker at multiple Agile and Leadership conferences as well. I have had the pleasure of serving in a variety of roles from engineering to program management to process improvement director to portfolio leader in variety of industries and has trained thousands of students in over sixty cities and is focused on organizations embrace a culture of fearlessness and innovation. I hold numerous certifications (SPC, RTE, CLP, ICP-FDO, ICP-IDO, ICP-EPO, ICP-ATF, ICP-ACC, CSM, TBR) and believes in building the new generation of Lean-Agile leaders. I was listed in the Drexel 40 under 40 list for leaders to look out for in 2021. Agile Brains was listed as an INC 5000 winner for one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. I was listed by Forbes in the Next 1000 leadership list for 2021.
2What is your role in the company?
Founder & Chief Evangelist.
3Please tell us more about your organization.

Agile Brains Consulting is a niche management consulting organization which helps you deliver products and services faster with increased quality and predictability. We provide customers around the world with their choice of customized assessments, training, coaching and delivery support programs to help accelerate their success and achieve business objectives.

Our proprietary process improvement framework "ABC" starts with an assessment, followed by "Brainstorm" (identifying feasible solutions) and embedded "Coaching" with the team to assist you in your process transformation. We strongly believe that every organization is unique and any digital transformation engagement should start by understanding the current landscape. Post assessment, our team is able to brainstorm and create your personalized transformation roadmap. The last step of coaching will the client build the internal skills to be successful in their journey to an updated 2.0 process delivery framework. Our mantra is very simple: "If you are looking to minimize waste, increase efficiency and quality, and go-to-market faster, reach out to Agile Brains".

4Describe the industry your organization is specialized in, as well as its main characteristics.
Agile Brains has assisted companies in different verticals including Oil & Gas, Education, Aerospace & Defense, Chemicals, Automotive, Telecommunications, Gaming, Healthcare, Insurance and Financial Services. Our proprietary framework "Assess, Brainstorm, Coach" is industry agnostic and helps organizations identify the current gaps in delivery processes and find ways to deliver business value faster!
5Congratulations! As the winner of the TITAN Business Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
Grateful! Agile Brains is proud to be a receipt of the Titan Business Award in the Information Technology category. To be recognized as an industry leader by Titan Business is a testament to the hard-work and dedication of our team. Having won numerous accolades from INC 5000, Forbes, Financial Times and many others, this is a shiny feather in our cap. We are extremely gratified about this award. Finally, we would like to appreciate the members of the jury for choosing our organization as one of the Management Consulting firms of the year and showing great respect for us with this award.
6How has winning an international award help promote your organization?
Agile Brains Consulting is not new to awards, yet the Titan Business Awards is special. We have been blessed to have a phenomenal team who is committed to our vision - "make technology solutions as simple as ABC" with ABC and awards such as these help us attract talent. For our existing team, this is a moment of immense pride and honor - we are thrilled to have a world-class team supporting our clients and achieving this award is a moment for us to savior and celebrate.
7What are the challenges of developing / marketing your winning entry(ies)?
"Perfection is the enemy of progress." Developing and marketing these entries were no different than how we deliver projects for our customers. We strongly believe in iterative and incremental progress vs. focusing on achieving perfection. Our approach to these entries was the same. Identify the major accomplishments, prioritize the top awards we have received, share the biggest and greatest customer success stories and weave a story. Agile Brains Consulting Inc. was formed by immigrant who came to United States on a student visa; having built the company and in a short span of 4 years be listed on INC 5000 as one of the fastest growing private companies of US is nothing short of inspirational and praise-worthy.
8As a business owner, please tell us more about your ideation process.

Our ideation process is built on the Lean-startup model. We start by identifying the problem - in our case, the major gap which we saw in the information technology industry was "transactional selling". If a customer wanted training, the vendor would sell them a course - quick and easy to complete a transaction. When Agile Brains Consulting was launched, our approach was to distinguish ourselves as a technology advisor focused on long-term relationship vs. transactional selling. Even for a relatively short training engagement, we have pre-calls with the customer to understand their needs and assess their current state and their expected outcomes. That initial assessment allows us to understand the customer better and tailor our delivery to meet and exceed their expectations!

During the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges we faced were customers not being certain of the technology landscape - we launched the "Micro-consulting" framework where we partnered with organizations for short-term consulting engagements ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months helping them solve wicked problems.

9What is your own definition of a successful team / organization / business?
A successful organization is one which is trusted by customers. Our first customers are the internal employees; the teams behind the scenes making sure our products and services operate in the highest quality. The second customer set are the organizations whom we support; who are using the product and services our teams build. A successful organization is able to satisfy both internal and external customers. Agile Brains heavily values customers and embraces the "Customer-first" mindset. Finally, a successful organization which is ready to pivot and innovate. From launching short virtual bootcamps to increasing our technology service offerings, Agile Brains is always ready to take customer feedback and iterate. Our products and services have grown exponentially in the last 12 months and we strongly believe "Innovation is our secret sauce" to delight customers.
10What led you / your organization to become successful within the industry you are currently in?

Apart from project delivery, coaching, consulting and assessments, our team of "brains" is able to help you increase teams increase their technical skills as well. Our training solutions include Agile, DevOps, CI-CD, SRE, technical tools, cloud virtualization, big-data analytics, business intelligence, Process delivery systems, communications skills, leadership development, business analysis, project and program management, IT service management and process improvement. We use the same "ABC" framework to meet your training needs - start with a brief 1 hour assessment of expectations and outcomes, brainstorm ideal course delivery format, outline and content and finally deliver it your teams. Gone are the days of "off-the-shelf" training and to gain maximum value, we need to customize all services to meet your specific needs. We continue to innovate, create new courses and in the pandemic launched our "Leading Virtual Teams" half day bootcamp which helped customers embrace the challenges of virtual teams. The bootcamp was awarded the Dot Comm platinum award for community outreach and innovation in 2020.

Our value proposition is no different than hiring a personal trainer to work out with; while there is value in reading about how to work out, or trying exercises after watching a video, the impact of having a personal trainer is totally different. Having someone do an assessment on your abilities, assist you identify your goals and help you achieve is what Agile Brains offers. We understand that every organization is unique, their strengths and objectives are different so why not create a roadmap for them which accounts for their current state and has the highest ROI.

Agile Brains has 4 primary capabilities - Assessments, Training, Project Delivery Consulting and Coaching.

Our assessments can range from 1 week to up-to 6 weeks depending on the size of the organization and expected transformation goals. The assessment consists of interviews with the different functional roles within the organization, observing the teams in action and reviewing the current tools and technology in place to baseline the current landscape. The result of our assessment is a current-state health radar, observation summary, SWOT analysis of the current structure and process framework. We also provide a recommended continuous improvement roadmap on how to iterate the process to be more value-centric and increase efficiency.

Training is a huge part of our business delivery framework. We strongly believe the true strength of any organization is their team - the people building the systems, services and product to delight customers. We offer over 200 training courses in key areas such as Agile, DevOps, Lean, Enterprise Assessment, Cloud, Cyber Security and Big Data, Data Analytics and Science, Digital Transformation, IOT, Micro-consulting, Fit/Gap Analysis, Business Analysts, Project and Program Management, Design Thinking, Artificial Intelligence which we have delivered to thousands of students globally. By investing in people, organizations are able to up-skill teams and increase their knowledge in cutting edge tools and process frameworks. During the pandemic, our training business has thrived and we are no longer restricted by geographical boundaries to train teams and individuals. A New York City based technical instructor training Microservices Architecture and Kubernetes to a financial institution in Accra, Ghana over 6100 miles away is only made possible by the relentless pursuit of success and flexibility by our team at Agile Brains.

Project Execution Delivery and Support is used by our customers when they are interested in bringing our team to deliver a specific project. From migrating multiple applications to the cloud to helping them set up an Agile Transition Office to serving as system integrators for a large application rollout, our technical acumen is next to none. If you are facing challenges in delivering projects on time or your projects are constantly over-run, our team is here to assist you.

11How has the country, you are based in, helped move your industry forward?
Agile Brains Consulting is headquartered in Philadelphia, United States and we have been lucky to be in country which is tech-savvy. Customers understand the importance of technology and how it helps drive business and growth. We have been privileged to train and coach employees all over the world in cutting edge technologies and move towards a digital native landscape.
12What have you found to be a hindering factor, for your business, during the entire course of the pandemic, and how did you overcome that hinderance?

Hiring and retaining talent. "If you keep your employees happy, they will in-turn keep your clients happy" - Abrar Hashmi states. The biggest differentiator any employer has are their employees. From providing training opportunities to our employees on cutting edge technologies and having them achieve industry certifications, Agile Brains has always believed in investing in their employees.

The other greatest surprise has been the ability to constantly innovate. Being in the technology industry, working virtually was not new for the Agile Brains team. Once the pandemic hit, everyone was forced to work remotely and Agile Brains launched their half day bootcamp "Leading virtual squads" - a session focused for teams to operate in the virtual world. Abrar routinely states "if you are not going to embrace change, you will not survive."

The final challenge has been hiring new team members virtually. Gone are the days of dinners and lunches with new employees and sharing cultural values with remote team members has been a challenge. From having weekly Zoom sessions with new employees and creating an open-door policy has been instrumental in our growth. As a leader, Abrar has always believed in having his cell number available to all employees to help build trust amongst the team and creating psychological safety that the CEO of the organization is one phone-call away. Amazing work culture indeed.

13What are the current trends in the business industry that you are most excited about?
Web3.0, Blockchain, Metaverse, NFTs, Alternative investments, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence - there are too many to choose from. My advice to fellow entrepreneurs is keep the hunger to learn more! Knowledge is the greatest competitive advantage anyone can have.
14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their business prospects and organizational success?
Leading an organization is hard - improving your business is a journey, not a destination. The sooner you can understand that this is marathon and not a sprint, you will breathe easy. It's about building sustainable processes, creating a culture of inclusion and innovation. My greatest advise to someone early on would be "don't hesitate to get help - there are experts in variety of areas from planning to marketing to sales to finance to delivery; reach out in your network to get help." The smartest entrepreneurs are those who know their knowledge is finite and are not scared to ask for help! Keep the fire and desire burning and continue your own individual journey.
15Where do you see the evolution of the overall business industry in the next 5-10 years?
We are living in the greatest technological era - with the advent of Web3 and decentralized blockchain, our universe and the business industry will become even smaller. In this data-driven world, our lives will be integrated with technology more than ever! We will only succeed and thrive if we are able to continuously embrace new technologies and use them to make the world a better place for our future generations.
16Who inspired you in your life, and why?
My greatest inspiration is my mother, Naila Hashmi. Someone who I have always looked up to. Someone who has taught me to smile during adversity, be grateful during success and be resilient during challenging times. The values she instilled in me as a child (trust, honesty, care and well-being) are the same values I utilized to build Agile Brains. She is an amazing woman who taught me to "follow my dreams and never give-up till I make these dreams a reality." So special thanks for my mother for being there as part of this amazing journey and I would not be here without you!
17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Relentless pursuit of excellence! I often get asked, who is your competition? and I always say, "ourselves" We are competing with ourself - we are constantly trying to come up with innovative ways to deliver products and services faster. We are on this relentless pursuit of achieving greatness!

Winning Entry

Your trusted Technology Transformation Advisor | 2022

Interview With Abrar Hashmi From Agile Brains Consulting Inc

Agile brains Consulting Inc. is a leading technology management training consulting practice and your "one-stop-shop" for your technology needs. We believe in quality…
(Read more at TITAN Business Awards)


Abrar Hashmi

Abrar is currently the founder and chief evangelist of Agile Brains Consulting Inc., accelerating success with, of course, their brains.

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