Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rohit and Rekha

The movement and the reactive response I see for Rohit is missing the core point of living people facing problems and how do we resolve it? When compared to Rohit issue, I was more saddened by the self immolation of +2 girl Rekha in Nalgonda district, she kept asking her father for building toilet but he didn't bother and it was too much insulting for her that she immolated herself. Overall thing is what next and how do we resolve the problem. Not many people are really looking at the root cause of this and resolving the issues. 
We need to get rid of the caste and religion based preferential treatment at all levels. As much as one want to practice his religion, he could practice his caste too but as long as it does't trouble others. There must be strict regulation that makes necessary fear factor in the society for any crime in this category while avoiding abuse. Provide special opportunities for poor people (not based on religion or caste but just based on the economic conditions) and make everyone competitive!. 

As Rohit says, an individual is just a number, a vote and nothing more, but again when the very same individuals join together for constructive solutions (it is very easy to bunk classes and call for bandhs for few days to few weeks but the harsh reality is that we need to study, we need to get jobs and make money to feed stomach), we make hell lot of positive difference. Do you think you can get rid of religion or caste, no, not possible in the immediate future, but, it is pretty much possible that we can get rid of the influence and make everyone get equal opportunities. When there is no preferential treatment, certain issues will disappear and when the law enforcement makes sure that social life has balance and no one is superior and no one is treated inferior, then people will worry about their own life and careers. Religion should end in the temples (of all religions) and caste should end within the home. When outside all all equal. Freedom is good but too much of everything is bad, so boundaries should be defined well enough. What the students are doing now and what rohit and team earlier are wrong, but they have reasons and certainly tensions will die down sooner or later but not root causes will not be addressed, unless there is a really focussed attempt.

Interestingly, when I stopped agitative thoughts and started looking at the problems and possible solutions, it looks like things are making sense. I no longer hate KCR and family because they have their own limitations and a big quotary to feed.

Also, if we notice it, when chandra babu and KCR started dealing between themselves without feeding media, we see the note for vote scam on the back burner. I am not sure why TDP is letting Jagan to move freely when they claimed so much of corruption against Jagan. It might be because they already have a deal.

So when the political leaders are busy in solving their own problems,  It needs the common man to revolt and fight for what is needed for the society, but it should be with a goal. Where are those telangana JAC leaders now? what happened to them? Some of our universities are at the maximum shelters to the unemployed youth and nothing more. This has to change. They have to be the temples of learning and the makers of next generation leaders in true sense.

Management maintenance

I like this quote of Winston Churchil, "Responsibility is the price of greatness". It's a short sentence having lot of meaning for the managers.

The following page in the maintenance technology magazine is also applicable for managers particularly from software industry too.  It just seemed to be that it is apt for any industry for any type of management (including leaders of nations).

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thought worker

(this is a very old post was in draft state and published it latest, wanted to write lot more but now its old enough to discard editing more)

Recently I attended the recruitment process at thought works, hyderabad.

I loved the overall interaction absolutely. Many times interviewers are like spell checkers, they check how much you mugged the dictionary (terms, definitions, individual minute details of each work flow etc on the technology areas that you claim to work so far).

Thought works is  completely different, I  keep telling my teams and people I mentor the importance of learnability. The number of years that we spend into a job/career most often lead you to accustom to  certain type of culture, technology and thought process and the very same thing that seem to make you strong often becomes your weakest point too!

Adaptability and ability to unlearn and learn new things is what rules the world in any domain. Thoughtworks exactly focusses on these aspects.  I remember Bharath or vikram saying, there is nothing like a Java developer or Ruby developer, project to project it could change. Basically we grow a step ahead and feel the becoming of a technology agnostic developer/programmer while retaining the fundamentals  of solving problems by writing code. This helps us being a person who doesn't just like a particular technology because he has been working on it (and never had exposure to rest of the world).

Friday, January 22, 2016

Appraisals - the reviews that we fake

The annual rituals (at some places they do it twice an year) at companies is an interesting exercise from external world but often executed in a boring way.

Intended goals of appraisals in general are:

  • Review the progress. Success, failure and any learnings to be made. Retrospect everything
  • Set the goals for next cycle
  • Pay revision and role changes.
  • Help management to plan the finances and projects/vision for the next cycle, next set of years.

What we usually do:

Manager pretends to be someone else (most often). He suddenly becomes a judge of the situation and the employee feels really hopeless because

  • Apply sandwitch model (praise him in the beginning and tell all bad things and then again praise him what he is good at to give him feel good factor).
  • Employee is told that he didn't deliver something not defined. 
  • If he has done something correctly,it is nothing great because he is supposed to do it.
  • Lot of lectures on what he should/shouldn't do.
  • His response to team/outside the team (vendors/clients) was not upto the mark, his communications need improvements.
  • Bla bla bla
What I would expect good manager to do:
  • Let the employee present his success and not successful tasks and the reasons for it.
  • Let the employee present his strengths and improvement areas.
  • Take inputs on how you(Manager) can improve. Employee's perception about certain experiences and how/why he would have wanted "you" to be.
  • Elicit the employee's professional goals from him and if he is not so sure, guide him on how he can set these goals.
  • Set realistic goals within the project/company and and how they could help employee's own goals.
  • Provide guidelines/vision and set up intermittant checkpoints to review the progress and adapt any changes in the goals 

What we are missing often is that this role play(manager pretending to be someone else) is not what may be required. I can not become someone else just in the review meeting. I as a manager need to be an example with my own deliverables and be a motivating leader for the team members to emulate or at least to take the positive spirit. 

I compare this with family relationships. If I pretend to be someone else are restrict my children, it doesn't help. I need to treat them as my friends and tell them the pros and cons of everything and take motivation from them. Many times my kids helped me to get over some bad experiences and some of their words and views changed the way I thought about a solution.

Manager is neither GOD nor priest. We don't need to be a one side judge.  For me a lead/manager is more a facilitator and help the employee realize the improvements needed and then in the regular life (after the appraisals meeting in day to day time) need to help the employee to focus on the goals and make decisions that could help him reach his goals. 

Many times employees do not know what they would need to reach their goals, unfortunately managers too do not know.  A good manager provides infrastructure, situations that would fit the employee to learn and deliver and love the work employee can long for, of course in the given context and within the limited boundaries.

Often managers becomes donkeys of doing so many mundane rituals (meetings, reports) that are highly unproductive and start wearing a different set of views resulting in immediate GAP with his/her associates.  This will continue. Most of the team members are more adaptive, because they need salary at the end of every pay period who don't adjust are found to be rebels and actions are taken.

Why an individual works so hard and becomes lead/manager and suddenly forgoes all his/her learning to do something that he was not prepared for (particularly in India your salary is linked with your designation and that drives people to crave for designations than real challenging work) is an interesting thing or for me, it is unfortunate thing.

You start becoming a  great leader when you find the goals that are worth living/dying for and you work your way to reach the goal. You help your team to help you to reach the goal so that you together with your team can reach the goal.

When you do not find the right goal, and try to leverage on the process alone to help you to take you to the place where it could (or there is no goal other than spending 8 hours doing something seemingly relevant). 

For me, it is about finding the right goal that you want to die for  and that drives everything else and  everything in the world helps you to reach your goal.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Japanese experience

It seemed really interesting to learn about Japan, this tiny country the way they tried to build their empire similar to British (they were successful but for short period of time and for some adventurous decisions). I was not sure where the pearl harbour is, though I have seen the movie couple of times, I was thinking it might be on the east coast or west coast but actually it is in Hawaii islands that belong to USA off west coast.

All the while I was thinking that Japan made stupid thing by attacking Pearl harbor, but then it was a preemptive attack so that USA doesn't stop them in south east asian colonies (KoreaPhilippines, Vietnam, Combodia, Dutch east indies etc.

Japan occupied Manchuria  part of china too (held for around 15 years or so). The primary reasons for the additional colonies for Japan, as per my understanding is:

1. Japan was the only country in Asia that had the very early development and lot of industrial growth. 
2. Their population was growing very fast. land was limited and they wanted more space for the Japanese people. Occupied Korea but that is a small piece of land, so started with China(Manchuria, the eastern part of China closure to Japan) and extended their attempts to increase towards east asian countries.
3. Resources

USA wanted to stop Japanese encroachments and I think it made certain rules to stop supplies (primarily the oil ) to Japan and that would severely impact Japanese army (air force, navy too). 

So Japan's plan was to attack the USA navy and they were actually successful in dismantling the USA navy on the west coast (looks like USA had most of its west coast navy at Pearl harbor).

Infact, Japan thought they could invade USA so that they can get oil supplies and then take over entire china too.

If not for the USA's bombs on Japan, it could probably have slightly different result or extended war and could have different results altogether.

Linking this with Subash Chandra Bose's  plans to liberate India from British rule with Indian supoys who joined in INA (Indian National Army), I think at least Indians need to be taught about the history correctly.

I don't think I learned about this in any of the history classes as a student. Given the widespread information through wikipedia and quora etc, probably the smart governments in India should invest and focus on getting the history right as it holds lot of motivation to all of us.

It is not about right or wrong, but knowing things as they happened.  Life is always about survival and when there is a conflict it was most often resulted in a physical war in the history.

Back to the present, the way USA negotiated terms with Arab countries and made US Dollar as the defacto standard of the world (It was gold earlier) giving an undue advantage to USA to print as much currency as it wished and it could trigger all troubles outside of USA so that world is busy trying to sort out their own issues leaving USA a safer country, it looks a great game plan by USA. They outsourced every damn thing to the rest of the world and we see that China is struggling with pollution already.  They don't cut their forest, but mexico and brazil does  to feed the USA.

The USA's value is in its currency, people forgot savings concept and enjoying life by spending all the money and USA government is getting richer with taxes and by selling their arms to countries (that it actually triggered wars).

Even the so called terrorism source is USA, it fostered all the bad guys for its own advantage to rein in USSR/Russia etc and then that has become a bigger than USA issue and every other country is paying for it.

If not it's patronizing the taliban, Afghan could have been a better place, if not for Iraq attack, ISIS could never have born.

The world needs better balancing act, USA can not rule the world like this. Indians need to learn lessons from past and the present and plan for a stronger and better world that coexists with all countries. 

It could be to start with Pakistan to help it get an identity, Pakistan never had an identity and it primarily has been living with "hate india" campaign. I think it was slightly better until 90s in terms of quality of living but then eventually it started lagging behind a lot.

India need to build peace with its neighbours and reduce the help it needs from developed nations. Probably we need to train people and export them to the places where it needed. It could mean that invading the world in a different format, but I think we have to do that. Fill the world with Indians who are disciplined and focussed and highly learned. If not if we just go after industrialization, then we will face many problems that the developed nations (say Korea etc) are facing. There will be big fight between the youth and the old for jobs. I heard from my korean colleague that government forces seniors over 50 to quit jobs by decreasing salaries (60 is their retirement age), so after 50 or 55 their salaries start getting reduced instead of increasing. And their concern is that they have more responsibilities at this age to support their children who need to study college that cost big money etc.

So overall, the focus should be on learning from the past, and from the current issues from developed nations so that we don't hit exactly same set of problems after 20 years or so when we are a developed nation.

Friday, January 01, 2016

2015 An year of surprises

The year 2015 has been full of surprises for me both good and bad. Interestingly I continued the same Job through out the year and worked with a good team that I could mentor and we delivered really good through out the year.  That is on the professional front.

Planned gkey (Key to Government) project but couldn't deliver, that makes me another failing entrepreneur, I still feel I can deliver something good and all my efforts should be towards the same.

My mother's health was a matter of concern, but could spend better time in the village. Needed to fight with agencies causing trouble to my mother. It still pains me how the government employees are a big failure in terms of treating people properly.  We are living in a highly corrupted society (including all of us), I did complain to the CM asking his apologies. It is not just about  my mother but every other aged person who is making rounds to government offices for person or loan waiver or what ever govt schemes are.  It took more than 3 months for me earlier to get legal heir certificate from MRO office. But there is still good. The system works even now. Mostly on escalations, either you bribe good money or escalate it to higher authorities (Like I did by writing to District Collector and a memo to MRO office did the trick. It felect like an achievement but these guys can grow. Our so called leaders who want to make "Singapore" or "Dubai" need to have an education about the the current system and what we have in place.

Oops, I can not write my annual summary without cribbing about the system, I almost stopped worrying about the system but then system started troubling me to keep me active against it. We are in a hurry to build a system of something else, while there are some positives in the western world, we are highly discounting the negativities.

It looks like I should jump into politics, i might do some time in my life. We need "true leaders" who do not want to "grow their family wealth", it is time generate new set of leaders.

Back to life, kids are growing fast, I simply love them for what ever they are growing into. Abhi the beyond the age technical guy who can understand most of the machines that he has access to. He knows how to use skype, whatsapp, scanning etc. Adith is too. Kids are now into 3rd and 1st standard.  It looks like we are able find ourselves as a better family.

Well, accidentally I happened to make it into USA which I never wanted or thought I will opt for. The client I started working with wanted me here and then made 3 trips to USA (3rd one being on work VISA). Surprises and surprises, from a leading tech manager/architect to angular developer which sounds awkward. Spending weeks of time with high unproductive hours sounds awkward to me.

TMAD has been part of me, we have been helping many people, personally I am more interested with poor talented students who are not getting required visibility. I and TMAD can provide interest free loan without any guarantee needed but with trust. If you are reading this and know someone disparate  and talented. But please note I am not Chandra babu or KCR to run political freebies program, so we are not having "free money" to distribute but just to help people so as they get benefit and then we keep helping other people. 

I might bring family to USA or might go back to India, but 2016 is going to different for me. Need to work on training modules on the latest technologies while still continuing the employment. Lately I don't enjoy much of living for someone else dream.

Happy new year and god bless all.