Monday, April 30, 2012

Over Qualified, Under Employment and Bad Work Do Not Exist

Many years back, at the beginning of my career, I was talking to my colleague, New Melchizedec. He told me that, for him, Salary matters more than the kind of work. I asked him, whether he would do a job which can be done even by a 10th class student. He said, he would definitely do it, but, not like a 10th class student, but like a computer science graduate.

It took me many years to understand what he meant. After understanding it, now, if anyone does not follow this, I won't be happy in taking that person to my team.

Many employees ask their company to provide good work. But, the company hired them to solve it's problems and not to provide good work. It is completely upto the employees to solve the problems either with good work or bad work.

Once, an acquaintance of mine called me for some small help. He wanted to download many files from a website. At that time, he could not find anyone else to do this bad work. So, he called me. He told me this, and went out and returned after few mins. Then, he told me that, he would start downloading the files from the bottom, and asked me to start downloading the files from the top. I told him, I had already written a script, and the files are getting downloaded. And we just did gossip till the download was over. He was very happy for that, because, last time, he and three more people had to spend few hours in downloading it. Now, I did not spend more than few mins.

If he gets another bad work, and if he has opportunity to call either a highly qualified person or less qualified person, I am sure, he would directly call the highly qualified person to do that bad work. The expectation is, the work would be done in very efficient way. If the highly qualified person thinks that, he is under utilized, nobody can help him.

The employer wants the problem to be solved. The employer may also give some method of solving the problem. It is upto the employee, whether to use that method or any random method to solve the problem and criticizing the employer for not giving good work, or using the most efficient method, and let others call that as good work.

Another example

I have seen an application, which is developed in a technology in which I cannot write anything other than "Hello World" program. That has just five pages with some data storage. In general, highly qualified people are not interested in doing the application with just five pages. So, it was given to a normal developer. After developing that application, the developer moved out, and I was given the control of the server which hosts that application to maintain it. That's when, the real problems started.

The application is developed in such a way that, it cannot be taken out and host it on a different server. They hard coded and assumed the OS, Path on the disk, path in the URL and everything else. The only way for me to deploy a new version of that, without touching any code is, buying a new server and installing the same OS and deploying in that. Nobody would sponsor a new server, just to deploy such a small application.

So, there is no backup. So, if there is any issue, I have to directly work on the production server and fix it. Since, it is production server, I cannot debug so easily. Since, it is production server, I cannot give control to others. So, I cannot take help from others, unless they are going to sit next to me and help me in that. There are so many issues like this.

If the same work is given to a highly qualified person, and that person develops the same application like how a highly qualified person develops rather than a less qualified person, then I would not have faced so many problems in maintaining it.

Many highly qualified people forget that, when they are given work of less complexity, the work is supposed to be done the way highly qualified people do rather than the way less qualified people do. Everybody should do the work in such a way that, no less qualified person can get the same quality. Otherwise, there is no use of hiring that person. We can hire a less qualified person with lesser pay.

I feel, the most under employed job is, taking care of children.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not Giving Control in the Name of Improving Efficiency

The following is the notice that is sent to all the heads of the business units in a company.

We are changing the process of purchasing the hardware in our company. Till now, all the business unit heads are buying the hardware for the needs of their business units. Going forward, the entire hardware would be bought by the IT department. Business Units Heads will have to raise a request through IT department. IT department analyzes the request, and buys the most efficient hardware which satisfies the business requirements and reduces the cost for us. This is to improve our efficiency and reduce the costs.

Director of one business unit wants to buy a powerful server which costs around $100,000. He has a budget of $10,000,000 to run his business operations. According to the new rule, the hardware purchase has to be approved by the IT department. For that purpose, he meets the Director of the IT department.

Director of Business Unit: I would like to purchase one powerful server that costs around $100,000 for processing of some huge data.

IT Head: Why do you need that much powerful server? Why cannot you use normal computer for the same? If you need more CPU power, then use multiple computers.

DIR: We get huge data every month, and we would like to get the analysis results as soon as possible to take better decisions sooner. The application that we have does not support parallelizing. So, we need powerful server.

IT: Then, ask the application vendor to add support for parallelization.

DIR: They may ask $500,000 to support parallelization.

IT: That is your assumption. It should not be that expensive. If they write code in a clean way, then it should be straightforward to support parallelization. Raise a Request for Proposal (RFP) and ask them, how much they are going to quote for this. Or just do it yourself.

DIR: They write very clean code. That is not the issue. Since, they are product based, their cost is very high, and we are not allowed to change their code. If we raise RFP, that also would cost us minimum $25,000.

IT: Nobody asks money for RFP.

DIR: They don't ask money explicitly. But, they would add this expense in other items that we buy from them. Even if we get the parallelizing capacity, we will have to spend more time on our side to make sure that, the application is running in all the services, and restart it, if there is any failure. It requires me to allocate few people explicitly for this.

IT: Then, automate it. You don't need to go to that expensive company for automation. There are many other companies out there, which can automate these for very less cost.

DIR: Can you take care of the automation?

IT: No. We are too busy. We don't have enough bandwidth to do those. You will easily find plenty of companies which can do it for very less cost.

DIR: One of my team members assured me that, if I provide him this hardware and one day per month, he would provide me all the data that I need, in the least amount of time, without asking me anything else. If I have to go by your approach, then myself and my team members will have to spend lot of time in getting these things done.

IT: Initially yes. But, we would be saving lot of time in the long run.

Later, that director gave a contract to the original vendor, which developed the application. By that contract, the vendor would run the data analysis and give the analyzed results to this company. For this, the vendor would get $100,000 per quarter.

Inspired by a real story. There are many companies, which are surviving only because of these policies in big companies.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quote of the Day - Decision Power to Multiple People

The most easiest way to destroy a company/project is, instead of giving decision power and responsibility to a single person, ask them to take decisions by consensus and have collective responsibility.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stress in Corporate World

One surprising thing that I came to know some time back was, in one of the biggest software companies of India, every year one or two people commit suicide because of the stress. That company makes sure that, the suicide news does not come out.

Having high stress in software job is not an uncommon thing. Many software engineers are stressed out because of various reasons like pressure from manager, too much work etc. I personally know few people who met counsellors to solve their problems due to stress. Of course, not everyone goes to a counsellor or psychiatrist.

Those whoever suicided, they thought if they lose that job, there will be nothing left for them, since it is difficult to get another job due to various reasons.

One small story that I read long back,

Once a king called for a big meeting and he has shown a pond which was full of crocodiles. He announced that, if anyone can swim across the pond and come out safely, he would give either 1 crore gold coins or his daughter or half of his kingdom, depending on the interest of the person.

Suddenly one person jumps in the pond and swims across the pond at very fast speed and comes out from the other side.

The King congratulates him and asks what does he want, whether he want 1 crore gold coins or his daughter or half of his kingdom. He says, he would like to see the person who has thrown him into the pond.

Many people do not know the talent that they have. For many people, the talent would come out, only when they are in deep trouble.

Since many people are just blindly following the software and other high paid jobs, almost everyone is under-estimating other jobs. There are very good opportunities in many other areas apart from software, where one can earn more than the software field. But, the downside is, one may have to work for very less income for some time in those, and nobody is ready to take that risk.

There are many people in the software field who are very good in other areas, but, they stuck to software field for better pay. If all of them get fired from their jobs, and if they take up their interest areas, then very soon, they would reach a good position in those areas.

For those who never want to move out of the software field, and do not want to have any stress, then atleast follow two rules.

  • Have enough cash to sustain for 6 months without any job.
  • Live in such a way that, even if your salary is reduced by 15%, still, you can sustain.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We Want to be Better Than the Others

We want to be better than the others. We are ready to suffer with others, provided we suffer less than them. But, we never accept others to be better than us, even if it means, our situation is going to be better than the present.

If a poor person comes to a middle class person and proposes a business proposal, by which the middle class person becomes upper middle class, and the poor person becomes super rich, most of the time, the middle class person won't accept the proposal.

Whenever any industrialist wants to start a new business at a new place, many people try to stop it saying, the industrialist is going to exploit their land, people and many other things to become super rich. But, they forget that, they get the employment. Even if they are employed in the same company, everyday, they think that, the industrialist is exploiting them by paying peanuts.

Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy introduced fee reimbursement scheme for all the poor students. Eventhough, it was not implemented in correct manner, it was beneficial to all the poor students across all the castes and religions. Before that, the poor students had problems in studying courses like engineering.

Recently, one caste people started saying, YSR was against their caste. He did not do anything to their caste. Recently one M.P. of their caste started saying that, YSR has not done anything extra to their caste. The schemes like fee reimbursement are given to all the castes and not to their caste specifically. If YSR really worried about their caste, he should have given something "extra" to their caste.

I feel like, these people deserve to suffer. When YSR gave a lot which they were not getting before, still, they are not satisfied. They would be satisfied, only if they get something extra which others are not getting. Next time, if Chandrababu Naidu becomes CM, he would cancel all the fee reimbursement schemes, and gives 10% of the fee to this caste alone. Then, they would be very much satisfied. First one year, there would be shouting from everyone. After that, it becomes normal. This caste people think that, they are getting "extra", and would be very much satisfied. They deserve to be like that.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sharukh Khan - US Immigration

Sharukh Khan, S.M.Krishna and many others were upset because, U.S. Immigration and Customs Department detained Sharukh Khan for more than 2 hours. They were disappointed because, they are not giving enough respect to the celebrity.

Azhar Mahmood, who is a British Citizen, who was a Pakistan Citizen, was selected for IPL 2012. But, Indian Government granted Visa to visit only Delhi and Chandigarh. Why they are not allowing him to visit other cities is unknown. None of the Pakistan Citizens are allowed to play in IPL.

Is there any difference between US treatment to Indian Muslims and Indian treatment to Pakistanis? I feel, India is more harsher than US.

Pakistan Cricketers are not terrorists. They are not coming here to do just one small activity at a random place. They are coming here to play Cricket, which is going to be watched by crores of Indians. Still, Indian Government does not allow them. This is not the first time for troubling Pakistan Cricket Players. Previously also, many times, Indian Government did not give Visas on time to Pakistan Cricket Players. They gave only after many escalations.

For Pakistan, their cricket players are more important to them, than what Sharukh Khan is for Indians.

We don't respect others. But, we expect respect from others.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Education - Stress - Suicides

The movies 3 Idiots and Hope have done their best to show the stress on students in the academics. I heard that, in one of the premier educational institutes of India, till 3 years back, atleast 2 students suicide every year.

Every institute is supposed to have an incharge for the student affairs, and they are supposed to solve the students problems. I don't know how many institutes have incharge for the student affairs and how many are solving the problems of students.

I would like to give one real example of one institute.

There was one main problem for many post graduate students in that institute. In one particular batch, out of the 45 students, 15 students were stressed out for a single reason. The institute has a rule that, if any student does not maintain 6 CPI in any semester, then that student would be terminated from the program. If they want to study, they have to again write the entrance test, get rank, and join the institute and restart the program from the beginning. Almost one third of the students were stressed because of that reason.

The institute needed to do just one change. If they don't terminate the students and allow students to spend more time to finish the program, that itself would reduce the stress for most of the students. But, it has not done that, but has done many useless things.

That institute has one dean for the student affairs, and it is very difficult to find a bigger moron than him. He gets out of box ideas for all the problems.

Once one student committed suicide in that institute. The dean came to know that, the student used to spend lot of time with computer and maintained a server which is used by many students for many purposes. The dean immediately banned internet at night time in hostels, saying because of using excessive internet, the students got stressed out. It is common in that institute, where the students have to work late nights to finish the assignments or projects. With that change, the students were forced to work in the department and return to hostel at late night. Only that dean knows the link between internet at night and stress.

In that institute, few followers of ISKCON used to organize sessions on spirituality and their main theme was reducing stress. Tens of people used to attend those programs. The programs are conducted in such a way that, there is absolutely no disturbance to any student who is not participating in that session. This dean came to know about these. One day suddenly, he appeared at the place where this session was happening. He took everyone to the main office, and took separate classes to the students of different years. He warned all the student organizers, and if they repeat this activity again, he would take serious action. He took written letter from the outsiders (who were alumni of the same institute) that, they will not enter the institute again without written permission from them. He also banned all the religious activities inside the campus. However, that dean never bothered about the bad habits of the students inside hostel. The students can drink, smoke and do all sorts of things and nobody objects to that. But, if anyone follows ISKCON, then it is a big problem, and they may face trouble.

Instead of solving the root problems, if the institute spends their time and effort on useless things, then the problems will never be solved.

I strongly feel that, if anyone suicides in any educational institute and if it is not because of personal reasons, then the head of that institute is responsible for that suicide.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Lok Satta Party Alliance Conditions

In 2009 elections, Lok Satta Party said, it is ready to form alliance with any party which does not distribute liquor or money. Only united BC Front party promised that, it won't distribute Liquor or money, and it formed alliance with Lok Satta Party.

I had doubts on why it is forming alliance based on not distributing money and liquor instead of the manifesto. Others had doubts on why it formed alliance with a caste based party.

It took me a long time to clear my doubts, and many people are still unaware of Lok Satta Party's stand on politics.

Almost nobody understood, when Dr.JP said, winning is not the goal. The one and only goal is to make people realize that, their future is only in their hands, and no one else's. Once people realize that, their vote is the only thing that is going to change their life, then they would automatically vote for the best candidate among the available candidates. Once, the contestants realize that, they have to do good to win in the elections, they would do good to the society.

Let's suppose, Lok Satta Party decides to distribute liquor and money. First question would be, who is going to invest in this party? If anyone invests the money, then obviously they would expect returns. For that, one has to do unfair practices and do corruption.

Let's suppose, there are few kind hearted people who are ready to donate money without expecting anything. Let's assume that, Lok Satta Party comes to the power with that money, and does good to the society. What happens in the next elections? Are they going to invest money again? How long would they invest? Once the investment stops, they would again lose.

People may say that, by showing the development, one can come back to the power, and we don't need to invest money in the next elections. If one does real development, many times, it takes a generation time for people to understand it. Till five years back, almost nobody knew the greatness of P.V.Narasimha Rao. Only, now, people are realizing. To realize the greatness of people like Vajpayee and Chandrababu etc., it may take another decade or so. Unfortunately, in India, the real development never fetched any votes, only pseudo development fetches the votes.

If we are going to win based on distributing money and Liquor, once we stop that, we would lose. After that, if a corrupted party comes to the power, the people again would suffer.

Even if Lok Satta Party is continuously winning in every election, but after some time, if corrupted leaders take in-charge and gets power, then also people would suffer.

People should have awareness that, they should not vote for the corrupted leaders. All the political parties are aligned towards what the voter wants. Right now, the voter is asking for few hundred rupees per vote. What Lok Satta Party is aiming is, making them realize that, their life is in that vote. Once the voters have that realization, all the political parties would be forced to change accordingly.

We should not give anything for free to anyone. We should only give an opportunity to them to get that. We should not give anything which they do not deserve to receive. Otherwise, it would be misused.