Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Employer Appraisal

It's been quite a long gap since I blogged last. I notice that my posts have become sporadic. In fact, a lot of things have been keeping me engaged and hence there is no time to blog. But now on, I would make a serious attempt to revive it from defunctness.

Quite an eventful gap it has been, the job shift and a new bike being the highlights.
Coincidently, it's been a month since I joined this place. Professional life, after a long period of inactivity, void, frustration and confusion is back on track. The work content at this place is not as refreshing and exciting as it was at my previous place of employment, but it is far more challenging. And, I enjoy being occupied trying to solve issues.

The job shift has brought a few new revelations, which have made me respect my previous employer a bit more.

To begin with, I find the pace of work in a product company way too sluggish for my appetite. I am not sure, if this is how it is in all product companies, but I am sure, be it any place, it would not match the vibrancy of a services company. The fact, that we are our own masters and aren't answerable financially to any one outside is the foundation of the sluggish pace. And to add to that reason, the roots of sluggishness and lethargy are strengthened here, particularly because of it's European origin. The whole outlook towards getting things done is totally laid back here, and no matter how important things are, there is a complete lack of urgency in approach towards things.

I wonder what the people sitting higher in the ranks do! I mean, if a relatively fresh guy like me, having a very limited view of the industry can clearly feel the lethargy in the culture, then there must be something seriously wrong. I suppose people out here must understand the importance of accountability.

There is a complete lack of process when it comes to development cycle. This is a fact that I verified with quite a few friends in other product based comapnies and barring a few rare exceptions, the situation in most of the places is almost as pathetic as here. Lack of documentation is extremely visible, the unconsistency of the document styles makes those few available document professionaly ugly and unreadable. Code rarely has comments; this I guess is an immediate result of lack of rigorous review processes. With exremely huge chunks of code, this becomes a frustrating issue which leads to reduction in efficiency.

The design of a few components makes me doubt the technical efficiency of the people involved. This does not intend any pun or humiliation to those involved, but the fact that, if I could point out such unnecessary and redundant approaches, it's an indication that things are bad. This again could possibly be because of lack of a rigrous review process. The lack of tracibilty between the few documents and the code is even more glaring. There have been instances where a documents suggests one design and the corresponding code piece implements exactly opposite.

But I guess the situation is not as bad as it appears. I happened to interact with a few different teams and saw their code and documents. And to my satisfation they all were in place, and were as competent as my previous employer. But I could not fail to notice all such teams had interactions with outsiders and they were accountable to people outside.

I suppose the solution to the problem lies in breeding accountabilty in the employees. I see that out here people are expected to work on their own. We are expected to feel the importance of the trust that's being put in us and work. The idea that this display of trust would act as a motivator is extremely noble, but I am sorry to accept, it fails miserably in our case. Or it could be that we lack direction, which I do not think is the case.

I see people here are quite settled. Most of them misuse this freedom to reduce thier efficiency. Had I been in charge, I surely would have tried looking into this persistent problem, which in my assessment is making the organization lose billions of dollars annually.

Perhaps I am a bit too judgemental and a bit too harsh, perhaps it could be the result of my extreme eagerness to work after a long inactivity. But one thing is sure, this problem exists and it needs an urgent catering.

Apart from these, it's overall a great place to be. The people are warm in general, the culture is informal, the human resources policies are employee friendly(a bit too friendly at times), the infrastructure is strong. The best practice that I noticed here is the fact that employees are treated as contributers to the company's balance sheet and are regualrly updated about it's vision roadmap. Every small decision regarding company is circulated till the lowest hierarchy.

It might sound trivial to many, but it does matter a lot. This was one of the major reasons which made me quit the last company. There we weren't treated as equals.

The work timings are flexible, and I, as always try to finish my work in the designated time frame and leave early. I hope people in general practice this. As a policy, the company strictly believes in the same. And I appreciate it. :)

Compensation package is competent, the finacial policies are very friendly, and food is edible most of the days! :)

Over a period of time, I intend trying to get people, whom I can influence, to adopt the better processes and thus help increase our productivity. And if all goes well, I see a long stay here provided my motivation does not die!

Phew!! It has turned out a very long post, but I suppose it was required to make up for the silence!


Srinivas said...

Welcome back! :)

Anonymous said...

Long....hmmmm i was bugged up of scrolling.

the lost one... said...
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the lost one... said...
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the lost one... said...

Btw gd post n was great to read you after such a long time.