Posted in My World View, Technology Talk

The Great Indian IT tamasha


Not very long ago, I was working on something in office that needed some simple decision making. We had to choose between Plan A and Plan B.

And, the decision wasn’t something very earth shattering like – “Should our company invest in Antarctica?” or “Is it the right time to join the post war reconstruction in Iraq?”
If you think of it – it should have taken hardly 5 minutes. Someone just had to put her foot down and say – OK, Plan B. Period.

But then, oh Boy; you should have seen the number of mails shuttling around to arrive at a decision!. Dense communications with FYIs and FYRs floating upstream, downstream, left, right, in circles, small loops, big loops. No one wanted to kick the bucket on their own, so multiple stakeholders were invited. It was a whole round-we-go-the-mulberry-bush thing!

If you’ve worked in an Indian IT services company, you can probably identify with me when I say this. The task of “decision making” here is as convoluted as the process of finding an eligible groom in the Indian arranged marriage. It is a long drawn process, with loops and hoops, coupled with mountainous processes. Too many opinions and recommendations, too much sharing of responsibilities for the decisions made.

Ok, I don’t want to criticize and say that we should make snap judgments throwing caution to the winds. But focusing too much on insignificant details just adds to the flab.
Is it that we have too much time to spend on too less stuff – “Idle brains exaggerate matters” ??

Fine. A lot of emotional rambling here – let’s cut to the chase.
Here’s what I think is wrong with the Indian IT Industry.

We don’t take risks – Isn’t that the biggest risk of all?

We think too much – Paralysis of Analysis Baby!

We care too much of what others think – Log kya kahenge??!!!

We do not want to leave our comfort zone – I’m a C++ guy, how can I talk about JAVA??

We are afraid to try out anything new – The classical its-not-done-here Syndrome

We skimp like Scrooges – And call it our “Competitive Advantage”!

Take out any book on Entrepreneurship or Creativity, and the problems I listed above would top the list of Innovation killers. Isn’t this a huge cause for concern?
Now is a time when everyone is talking about Innovation. Hailed as a game changer, innovation is destined to transform the world. Shouldn’t it be on top of our priority list?

Innovation, I agree, is not easy. Not for the faint hearted, it’s only for the risk takers who are willing to dare. Innovation, my non-vegeterian friends would say is like mutton curry. Delectable, enticing and yummy to look at; but incredibly difficult to digest!. 😉

When every company ensures to have innovation somewhere in its tagline, or have innovation splashed all over its website. My question as an insider; where is this so called innovation in Indian IT companies?

Our IT service culture breeds Innovation killers amongst us. We are afraid to stand out of the herd, we want to be innovative, but in a very non risky conventional way (what was that? ).
With Process.. Process.. Process hammered into our heads, we are genetically programmed to work like risk averse automatons the moment we enter this industry.

When the US debt is downgraded, we begin tottering like a pile of dominoes.

When will we learn to stand on our own feet?..

When will we have something new to offer to the world?..

When will we become action oriented and stop working like machines and morons?

Are we even destined to come out of this rut?

Only the Narayan Murthys, Azim Premjis and Vineet Nayars of the world can say.

Mortals like me can only pray.
Amen.

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3 thoughts on “The Great Indian IT tamasha

  1. Absolutely loved it.
    In fact I could relate to it a little more than before maybe because I finished my internship a couple of months back with a software company. Pretty ‘big’.. MNC kinds. . The longest 2 months in close to 5 yrs of my work-ex! . It was my first with a ‘big’ company. I had worked only in start ups before and was really gung-ho about learning stuff and making a mark here.
    Alas….I never knew that things work this way in such companies. People dont want to do an iota more than what is expected of them (the expectation of the company from its employees in itself is amazingly below expectation). In fact after a week or so of ‘working’ there. I was wondering how on earth these companies are surviving! It is like running a marathon with a huge monkey on your back. Neither the managers work aggressively nor they allow you to do your work aggressively. Decisions aren’t taken just like that my boy, it follows a process. Process my dear child process. Process process process.
    What is achieved in a day is probably something that can be achieved in 2 hours… I don’t deny the fact that process is important in a big organisation else chaos will reign. But come on let us not hide our inefficiency and the disinterest to do something even remotely innovative behind the so called process. Let us not fool ourselves.

    And these companies say they develop LEADERS. Managers who can only take a firm decision on one thing – The need to set up meetings to ‘discuss’. I had always believed leaders are not the same as managers. After this experience , in my mind the chasm between the two just got infinitely wider.

    9 hours of circus. Emails on trapeze. Jokers in expensive formals. Disgusting.

    I really want to crib more and vent out more. But I guess it won’t look good if the comment is longer than the post itself 😛

  2. that was truly nice….. That is because we are always followers and not leaders………our prime minister is also a follower and that is the main reason we never move forward. if everybody is following then it is a circle, we should learn to take a risk and that will come only when we respect failures…. this spirit should be imbibed from childhood…………..

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