Tag Archives: Learning curve

JNR Days

Today is my last day in JNR.I am getting release from my current assignment.I am “moving on” for making my future better and more closer to the technology that reflects my passion for Art , Creativity and Innovation ( If not for the technology ) . But whatever reason I am moving for , I am really having some mixed emotions about my release.I can’t forget the days , more than two years, spent here , since the Bench days ended.

VadapalaniVadapalani

End of Long Bench Days

I still remember my very first day at JNR after the ILP.I reported to the stern faced MATC people ,along with Jose, Vinoth , Petti , Siva , Helen , Papa , Balaji and almost the complete tamil gang who got transfered to Chennai .The aloof looking MATC people directed me to Velachery where I sat on BENCH for a month , after which I was handed over to the Shollinganallur branch MATC people who thought I will be better if a Mainframes Training is given to me.They asked me to attend the Mainframes training for a month…So I did.During the end of the training period, I somehow was transfered to JNR office again , this time to attend the Insurance basics session by some lady whose name I forgot now.I used to remembered her name for a long time because her name was occupying my phone memory for a long time, though I never called her after being allocated to LFCS project.I deleted her phone number just a few days back.I don’t see her even in the admin these days.May be she got transfered or may be switched to another company.

Enthusiastic Induction Days

I was desperate to get into system and type the code and make it work…compile…making the client happier…really very desperate to work , after made to dry on bench for nearly two and half months.So as soon as I joined the project I started asking just too many questions.I was also doing heavy workouts and morning walking during those days,so I used to very fresh even till 7 PM in the evening.We were a small group of ILP freshers…Anandavalli, Thilakavathy , Kirithika , Keerthana , Suba Karthik , Sriram , Joby Johny , Shaheen,Priya darshini.We used to sit around a round table around the corner of a quadrant in the A block from where the Printer was either moved away or never placed.We were asked to study the RSM documents which we hardly understood.Sometimes there used to be classes by some project associates who are relatively(a must word)free.After reaching home , I used to read Robin Sharma books and at night used to watch English Movies , usually War Movies , Science Fiction or some Oscar classics.The next morning used to wake up at 4:30 AM and got for a walk and work out.Such was the life.

My First Project and the very first Assignment ; First Blasting from the PL

My first project was a very prestigious and long term project in Auto Insurance for one of the major client in USA.Ofcourse I am not supposed to tell the name of the client outside TCS, so I will be using the imaginary name as LFCS for the client I worked for more than two years till today.

I joined during the end of Design phase of the project so really did not understand anything about the project though I pretended a lot about my ability to understand quickly.My first assignment was writing a code for a Risk determination Module.I wrote it so badly that Brindha gave up trying to review it.The code moved to PI ( a SCM term very common in LFCS , which looked like Greek and Latin for me in those days).When the Tech Lead , Selva Kumari reviewed the code , she blasted on me and Brindha.I couldn’t forget Nigam sir who patiently taught me how to code and all.Of course, I learnt many things on ‘What to do’ and also ‘What not to do’ during the first project.The real learning started in my next project under Surendar Panuganti and Rajnikanth.

To be frank , I never felt comfortable with the Learning and Training Strategy in the project , which struck in my mind.I was about to innovate a lot in this area during the Property Insurance assignment.

Once ‘Lunch Events’ later just reduced to ‘Lunch Time’

Yes , Lunch time used to be like arranging an event.We even waited for 1 hour or so for making sure all the members of our sangam have gathered for lunch.We used to decide for nearly 15 / 20 minutes and sometimes debate on which hotel to go for, either Bhimas, HSB(Hotel Saravana Bhavan), Annapurna or Vasantha Bhavan.Obviously if no one in our group was able to convince others we took the Canteen option.Sometimes , we felt little Carnivorous , so we went to Ponnusamy or Pandyas.

At Saravana BhavanSometimes the Lunch used to be too costly

As work started flowing in , arranging huge Lunch Events became a time costly affair.So we started going to lunch with whoever was available.I used to go with Sriram most of the time, who later started bringing lunch box.Due to his decision to bring lunch box , I have to go to canteen and have lunch.But when I wanted a more tastier food , I went with Srini or Jimin or sometimes alone.

The last part of the JNR days when I was in Property Insurance project, which was the only project left in JNR whereas all the other projects including the Auto Insurance projects where all my Fresher day’s friends were working were moved to Siruseri.So I have to go alone for lunch, occasionally with I used to go with Ashutosh , Swamy and sometimes with Niloy.I really missed the days when I used to have lunch with Sriram , Srini , Shaheen and Jimin.

Favourite Hotel: Bhimas was my favourite hotel of them all

Favourite Dish: Butter Naan with Annachi (pine-apple) gravy

Tea Time Memories

Sriram and JobyThirupathi Samy - the Code Mover

Thiru will never forget the dog(bitch) that used to always look at him, but never used to eat the food that he gives to eat.

Treat Parties

The people who went to onsite often used to give Pizza party or if was to be grander , it used to be thrown at Hotel Vasantha Bhavan (opp. Ambiga Empire), where Prasanna (my second last Tech lead) threw his Marriage reception party.I once dreamt to throwing such a party if I go to onsite but alas it never happened.May be I will throw a party for onsite , but it won’t be at JNR swimming pool area or Hotel Vasantha Bhavan.

Another party that used to be quite famous was the ‘Release party’.People who were going for higher studies or getting released or resigning the job also threw the party.One of such kind was thrown by Selva Kumar(my first mentor).He is currently in Covansus.I remember giving him a trophy for getting Release from the Auto Insurance project which was considered the most difficult task in TCS.

Vasantha Bhavan Treats

The last of the Parties which I attended was given by Giridhar Ram sir during my Underwritting project at Hyderabadi Food Court.Ofcourse , I was not really doing any critical work at that time except the Applogs, because I was asking for Release from the project, but still I enjoyed the party.This was a strange party indeed because , Giri threw this party for coaxing the team to achieve more test cases.It was something like giving the reward before the work being started.

Trips and Stress Busting Activities

There were only two trips I went to , One was with the Auto Team for the Pulicate Lake and the other was with Swamy and Niloy to Thirupathi.

Pulicate Lake trip

Kapaleshwar and Thirupathi TripProperty Queensland Trip

I also greatly enjoyed the Entertainment hour that was used to be conducted by the HR buddy Lavanya Raghuraman during the ADM project days.ADM project was the biggest team I ever worked with.Team of 30 members.Unfortunately , I also share some of the terrible times of my career, due to the immature acceptance of Agile Process.

The Learning Curve

The Learning curve for me has been like a Hollywood Action movie.My learning curve was definitely on the rise from the day I joined TCS but something was missing until I joined Property , where I understood that “You Got to place yourself into the customer’s shoes to deliver Quality” and also “BIRD’S EYE VIEW” or rather “Proactiveness” is the key for making things happen.Thanks to Sathish (my last project manager and excelled in Micro-Management) , Hafiz (Tech. Architect) , Srinivasan Jagadeesan (My Second Last PL) and KP (My last PL in LFCS , admire him for straightforwardness )who were very approachable.For him your designation never mattered.To be frank,I was able rediscover myself and my abilities after a long period of crowd following.

Still Unsatisfied

Eventhough I was able to implement some of the innovative ideas (of course with the help of VijayMariappan and Thumati, without whom I would have done nothing) like the Yahoo Answers kind of discussion forum and Automation of the Interface modules, I was not able to make it part of day to day life of every LFCS’ians.What I missed was MARKETING.

So there is one more aspect for making innovations work apart from IMPLEMENTATION.The only positive I can take is that , the tool development helped me a lot in getting good appraisal H2.

Property Insurance Assignment

Property Insurance came as a boon to me.It was a project that started from scratch hence a lot of scope for learning and a vast reserve of opportunity for leadership.In many ways , I was supported by my supervisors and the Managers a lot, to express my ideas.I started opening up , after nearly one and half years of silence.

Forming unofficial Tribes for tool developement

Formed various unofficial teams of Freshers to develop tools for effective Knowledge management and did implemented the innovations I always had in my mind , ever since I joined TCS.The fact remains that eventhough the tools which I developed helped me a lot in getting above 4 in H2 appraisals , the tools never served the purpose it was meant to be.May be I succeeded in the Implementation part of Innovation but failed in the Marketing part of Innovation.

Leadership Lessons in Property Project

I learnt a lot of lessons while I was a team leader for the Interface Modules.I really implemented the leadership virtues I read in the Steve Waugh’s book “Out of My Comfort Zone”.I constantly made an effort not to repeat the mistakes my seniors have done in leadership and training a new recruit.I always concentrated on creating duplicates of myself and never allowed any dependency to be created around me.This was the key reason for getting me release.

Hard Work really pays; even though Smart work is Rewarding

I worked hard during my Property Insurance Assignment but I enjoyed those days too.Not to forget my love with the Knowledge Management Portal (Ultimatum-> Knowledge maximum) and Innovation in the last few days.I got so much involved with work that My Blogs started reflecting my passion for work.For the proof please click here , here , here and here.May be during the last days in this project , I felt that I have wasted two years of my career in a technology which I did not want to work in , but I learnt a lot of things apart from technology which will definitely be useful for me in the long run.

Some Other Moments from the Auto & Property Insurance Assignment

My Kalai Pasi

Trophy to Selva

After the Victory over Bank Team in the LFCS tournamentUmbrella Dance

PLEASE NOTE : None of the Process names and Procedure names used in the Project have been revealed in the above write-up.The names used are imaginary

Advertisements

Agile Developer’s confessions

I have been working in Software for two years since I left the cozy campus of College.Ever since then I have always seen a vast gap between “what is supposed to be!!”
and “what is in actual !!”

It really hurts a lot , though the world always have been working that way.If  at all the world worked the way the world is “supposed” to be it would be an ‘Utopia’ and the evangelists for a perfect world like me and those who would be participating by giving comments after reading the below blog would become legends in the History books of that ‘Utopian World’.

Agile Development techniques have been new to Software and have really affected the world of software to a great extent.I am not going to write again the “History of Agile development” and the so called “Manifesto of Agile Development”.

How I was introduced to Agile

  My Project Manager was delivering his farewell Speech when he said “Our Projects are going to follow ‘Agile Development Processes’ here onwards”. Then he proceeded with the advantages and disadvantages of Agile development but more of Advantages and covered up the Disadvantages with the “Should be” qualities in a Developer.

What he did not say (which I later discovered,by reading the internet and not by Observation) was
Agile is a state of mind.

State of Mind of …

a developer ?

NO !!!!!

It’s the state of mind of the Team.
It’s the Attitude of the Collective Brain of a Team
.

And this is possible only if Agile values are lived upon.

USE OF “A”  WORD AS HOLLOW JARGON

Irony is None of the values of Agile are neither understood nor lived upon.

AGILE is being used as a Fancy JARGON or a ‘JIG JIG matter’ word to attract the clients.

(I remember seeing a new company named “Agile Software Pvt Ltd”).
I may sound like a PROCESS NERD but there is a reason behind it.But If you see carefully it is the same kind of Revolution to Software as TQM or Assembly line production did to Manufacturing.

My experience in almost Three Agile projects(which were never Agile) for almost a year now says that there can be only two results of a “Blind” Agile project:

(a)  Quality Output at the cost of Developers
(b)  Project falling flat on it’s face with other competitors taking away your project

I have seen both of them in one year.

(a) Quality Output at the cost of Developers

 My first Agile project was only an enhancement
(but a complex one) on already existing system developed some five years ago.

The result of the project was a huge success just like any other enhancements after the
first release of the original system.The only difference the Agile made were :

  (i) Normal logging off time became 1 PM.

  (ii) Another project which was doing an enhancement on the same screen we were making went into production with 50 defects open – A Complete Failure

  (iii) My project had 45 defects open in the last day of System Testing which my Tech lead solved  overnight – Hatz off to him

  (iv) I had a spat with my Tech lead and I decided to take the Software path as a Tester after the project

  (v) I met with two Bike accidents during the system testing phase.

On the day of release , we got an appreciation mail to my team and special thanks to my “Tech Lead”
who really deserved it.

Remember, the above instances were very rare in “waterfalls/modified waterfalls” model we used to used
before Agile.

(b) Project Falling Flat due to Agile

 The second example was my second Agile(not really Agile) project.

This time it was a project from scratch , of building a new system completely by re-engineering an old Legacy system.

This time it was under gestation period of One Year when compared to five years of gestation period
of my previous System.

The success legacy of my team couldn’t be repeated and we have to see the following consequences:

  (i) Long Long and Long working hours. This time the logg off time was 5 AM in the morning. (Remember , the project is still in the gestation period)

  (ii) Quality process related documents prepared and created overnight before the Quality Audit

  (iii) Due to no SCM (Software Configuration management) lost loads of codes repetedly.Point to be noted is why was the SCM not established.The Team worked in “Panic” mode
 and was alwways doing “Fire-Fighting”

  (iv) Project was scrapped off due to the so called “Lack of Funds”

   (v) Getting struck in the same problem each time it occurs, because there was no  proper Learning Curve.

Learning Curve in Agile Project All this in just 3 months of the gestation period.I had a feeling of nurturing a pre-mature,handicapped baby in a womb after knowing the project is scrapped off.

I am definitely not Against AGILE, in fact Agile has rekindled the dream of an Utopian software developement process I used to dream off during my college days 

All the above I can think of only BROAD CATEGORY OF SOLUTIONS:

 (A) THE AGILE PROCESS ITSELF HAVE TO MATURE A LOT.DISCOVER VARIOUS OTHER PARALLELE REVOLUTIONS  LIKE ENTERPRISE 2.0 , WEB 2.0 etc AND INNOVATE TO MAKE THE AGILE PROCESS MORE MATURE SO THAT  IT’S VALUES CAN REALLY BE LIVED UPON.

 (B) second one is very simple to say but difficult to follow, UNDERSTAND WHAT IS AGILE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.

Please give your valuable comments before I come up with another blog on Agile.