My Job My Experience
My Experience at Job
I was just wondering, how do I get started with this post, some of the memories of my journey with a company that I just parted with. I am not a seasonal blogger, and I never written any posts, so this content for some might be boring, but if you bare with me and read through it, you might find it interesting (I will try my best to keep it that way, but at same time it my journey and experience so I am not going to add or cook up anything). I am sharing only my experience, my views or thoughts when I look back what I did with recent 6 yrs of my career that came to planned end by mid July 2016. I am not going to take any names, but will share the experience without naming anybody, company, assignment or people I worked with. But few of my buddies who were part of this journey along with me can make it out.
I had three rounds of Interview, a Telephonic, followed by Video conference and HR round. I was existed to see the offer as I felt it really gives and recognizes the role. Off course the offer was from one of the so called Top IT companies in India. Later I realized the first and second round of interviews were more or less same with same questions being asked, however it was mandated by the company since there was some HR Goof up in that company little while ago, where people were recruited thru some backdoor channels, so some recent clean up happened in HR department. So second round has to be taken by individuals who are outside Hyderabad.
I reported to office on time given to me, initially HR greeted our team (there were around 50+ members joining on that day), after we finished the joining formalities, the boring, monotonic induction session started. Which was still ok, because it's what most companies do so no complains about it. But this session most part of it was so monotonic and boring. In some sessions HR rep. use to come over, switch on a video and leave us for 30 to 60min. Not sure if they have upgraded this process now. After the induction were got chance to visit the campus where we actually working. I called my boss he told me that he was working from home that day and can meet me the next day. But out of curiosity to check on the new working place me along with few buddies (who joined with me) decided to pay visit to the campus. It was huge campus no doubt. When we entered it, it was around 2:30pm (just past lunch time). Here I must revel something, prior to joining this, worked with a Bank, so there is air of professionalism there which I carried with me, in terms of appearance, clothing, being in business formals. What I saw in the campus, was first I mistook it for some college, yes college with pairs and love birds chitchatting on the side walk, and occupying most of the sideways. They were dressed up in all possible ways, no culture of Business formals. This was my first surprise.
As guided by my boss I came to office around 10am, and I was accompanied by one of my to be team member to the floor. Here I got my second surprise, as I told before being from Bank environment, I was use to neat and clean, and employee friendly workplace, what I meant was well list, clean desk and chairs, good computers (laptops/desktops) etc. I saw some antique computers, and chairs lying there. Every one with a phone was talking loud by putting on speaker phone. It was total mess.
Few days passed on and I got along with my team, and they were some of the best in class team members. But I found one thing awkward. This organizational structure was strictly hierarchical, and chain of command, and I am your boss culture was embedded in org culture and blood and veins of people there (who are experienced in organizations, later in this blog you will see these are best in class idiots). They would just lock them up in some separate cabins some open and closed, where none of others can occupy. Not sure they do it as they are afraid of truth, or their incompetency. To explain it clearly, we were celebrating one of the team members birthday, I suggested that we should also invite my boss. Everyone looked at me as if I did a grave crime. I was told you cannot invite your boss because he/she would not join parties with Jr. Team members. Where I come from it was flat org. structure, and it was open culture, meaning you can walk to any level up as long as your voice is heard. Here you cannot go beyond 1 level, if you do its considered as crime, or to put it other way the person in high role considers it as his pride not talking to skip levels (off course during my later days I encountered some of the good leaders who are exception to this).
After few days before month of Joining
I got to know that there are various support groups whose sole purpose is to ensure that they provide timely support to delivery teams. But soon you I found out that the so called support groups were being filled with those guys who have considerable experience in the company itself. There was a funny color coding system to demarcate people based on how long they spend in company. They (as per them) once worked in delivery roles and now part of the support team. The focus of top leaders were customer first, however for this support functions it was survival aspect as they have to keep them relevant in system. So they would create enough trouble for you, and they will claim they are needed to clear the mess that got created because of them. Its primarily because these people wanted to be relevant (even though they are already irrelevant with their outdated thoughts and process), and trying out every option to keep their Job. They do not bother about customers, they will do everything to show green will suck your blood like vampires if not done. They wanted to keep their bosses happy and it tickles upwards till Sr. level. One such group is the one which is responsible to maintain quality standards. They live in idle world, which is far from reality. They job is similar to traffic police. Each traffic unit generally will have monthly target of writing challans and fining the people. So this team from quality will come up with all absurd and out dated rules, and they will ensure that you need to get past them before delivering to customer. If you happen to be a PM for more than one project, then this problem and burden increases proportionally and sometimes exponentially. There are lot of useless internal reviews which are good for nothing. It's just to ensure this idiots keep their relevance and job in the system. There were sometimes when I spent 99% of my time and energy to get over these idiots, than working with customers. Its mare time waste
Here I have to tell one incident, regarding organization wide initiative which commenced by support from external consultant. Later we got to know that this company has paid hefty amounts to this so called consultants, but in return the actual improvement is 0, because there is not new project, there was no improvement in utilization, only the numbers were goofed up and cooked at each level to satisfy the next higher level. The aim of this initiative is so remove wastage by embedding in the work culture some levers. This was the biggest joke, and much talked about, taunted initiative I have seen. What this did was save job for some of the sr. folks, who are very far to realize what is happening at ground level. They painted green picture to top management about showing marginal improvements in what is called utilization, but basically these were gimmicks done by cooking up some numbers. For e.g. a big account of 130FTE was getting ramp-down, and the guys in that account shown that they have implemented the levers and hence 100 odd FTE can be used somewhere else. Actually the real story was the project was getting over and any ways there was need to ramp down the team. To explain this in detail I will tell one real incident which I heard from my buddies.
There was one assignment with an Big Customer. There were 130 odd people working for this assignment, but actually there was work only for 15-20 people. So this company was fooling the customer all this will by simply billing approximately 110 excess fte month of month. Everything was going on smoothly for the company, one day suddenly due to market conditional the customer got hit very badly. I guess someone in the customer end might have realized what was happening so he awarded the same amount of work, but asked the vendor to reduce the headcount drastically, actually it was the actual and real headcount needed to do the work. Now the guys who took role of improving the productivity started showcasing this as a case study as if they have found some new element on earth and started blowing drums and trumpets so loudly and started preaching everyone that it was them who could break the ice. But actual truth is the customer realized what was happening and he has corrected his contract. The leaders who are responsible for this new initiative again gave wrong picture to top management, and this initiative when implemented in some genuine accounts given negative results, and lot of bad reputation for the company.
This company has some of the worst sales team, I know of a group which manages around 380 FTE, and this group has some 30 odd very senior resources in program manager and above roles. There are too many cooks and no wonder what quality of food would be prepared.
Generally in any industry there are two ways how you can grow. Option 1 you really do some innovative thinking, do something good which saves lot of cost and earn respect. Option 2 just try very hard to show that other person (peer, or reporting employee) is not doing good and there you will get into limelight.
Basically the problem with this company is everyone is selfish people, who do not trust each other. many times I came across some managers who do not gel with each other and give conflicting inputs to reporting staff. Many of the time there is reverse pyramid structure which causes very heavy pressure to reporting employee because he ends up reporting to multiple managers who do not gel with each other. Everyone (program manager till General Manager level) are selfish people. They do not trust anyone. They play defensive game. Meaning as long as this do not affect their prospects they will not bother. Once it starts effecting them, they will pass the buck to some poor fellow (peer, reporting employee) to cover up the inability, incompetency and impotency. These are some best in class idiots who are stuck with company for more them 8yrs. They cannot survive outside their comfort zone (meaning group of people they work with since over 8yrs). They will make sure , and they spend most of their time and energy in passing the blame, instead of trusting others and working as team to solve problems in hand. Rest of the time they chit chat about everything and anything from needle to spaceship.
One last group I would like to mention is the HR group. If I had link to senior managers, I would have recommended to dismantle this group. All this team does is to send some monthly report of who is performing good. This is team of spineless, toothless, powerless people who are so useless that in my last 6 yrs I never spoke to any HR for any of my concern. They have embedded in their G&O's to meet some many team, conduct some events (monthly, quarterly) and do exit Interviews. That is all, they are like robots without any sense, human touch or feeling. They just go by instructions and checklist. Funny thing is they are always busy and I am not sure what they do all the time.
So this is reason no matter how many initiatives are bought, no matter what ambitious targets are set, unless someone shackles this courtier of people who are glued together since more than decade, this company will not be able to achieve its goal setup my leadership team. The top line is not increasing. The numbers are goofed up at all levels. The HR is very week , its spineless, bloodless, toothless waste material. The quality is comprised of stupid people who are good in goofing up numbers and always presenting green picture when actually its burning red hot at ground level. When there is crisis instead of every group coming together and try to address the issues, everyone runs away. So this company needs some real hero , and I am waiting to see who it can be.
I was part of the system, or should I say company culture, after year or some into my experience with this company, I learn the tricks of the trade and moved from one assignment to another handling multiple projects and working with best managers and also best in class idiotic managers. Here I have to share one unique experience. Over the years with this company I observed one thing. The Junior layer of this company (up to 7-10yrs) always changes. I have seen frequent changes in VP, to CEO level. But the level from Program Manager/Delivery Manager till General Manager are always untouched. No matter what initiative top leaders preach, they are unable to touch this group of roles (and off course people involved). This as per me is the biggest problem why the company is in downward spiral of not meeting market expectation. The problem is there this group of people who, not matter what stick with each other from anywhere over 5yrs. Some of them even working together from more than 15yrs. This is the lot that has to be changed, and need to send for shed, this is how company should overhaul its core engine