The Specialists

Over the years I have been involved with many a hiring selection for ______ specialists at all levels, and I can share an observation that I believe will surprise nobody.There is an abundance of ______ job candidates with impressive resumes who do not possess even the minimum basic ______ skills. Resume inflation is only partially to blame.The bigger problem is that for the most part these candidates sincerely and earnestly believe that that two-day “advanced ______” course really gave them the advanced knowledge and understanding of the system in question.

No, the ______ does not have what most of you might think considering it is from me but the alarming and a very saddening thing is the ______ can be filled up with almost anything and it would be still true. Perhaps a bit more in mid level IT related jobs….

The interested can see where I quoted the passage from http://www.directionsmag.com/editorials.php?article_id=1972&trv=1

Making Work Fun!:

# Employees need to know they are working on worthwhile things
# Employees need to know they are appreciated
# Employees need to receive compliments on their work
# Employees need to know their input and opinion is valued
# Employees need to know their work makes a difference
# Employees need to have work which is interesting and challenging
# Employees need to feel they are learning and growing
# Employees need to feel they are making progress in their career
# Employees need to be fairly remunerated for their work
# Employees need timeout – treasure hunt anyone?

The title may not be very great but each of the above points are very important in a work place

Moved

Wanted to write something witty like – we moved the cheese for our programmers or something but Swati has already done it at http://www.sanisoft.com/blog/2007/06/01/sanisoft-moves-to-new-premises/ So instead I will write a word about the blog which we have set up at SANIsoft site

For long I have rarely written anything elaborately  related to technical stuff in my Livejournal and I feel rightly so – this is my personal ‘journal’. Yeah! personal and journal is a bit of an oxymoron but yes that describes it well. At the SANIsoft blog I hope to write about things which are more technical (wow! you would have never guessed that one), at time pertaining to  solutions to tech problems which vexed me, about CakePHP my current favorite toy and some more. More importantly the blog will have more authors from the SANIsoft team each writing their own techie things.

The blog is a standard WordPress install, so syndication can be fairly granular (per author, comments only etc etc) – however I am looking for some thing online which will allow me to mash my LJ and WP feeds and I do not want to use Yahoo! pipes – Suggestions anyone?

31st March – “All smile” day!

31st March is the day when Swati gives incremented salaries to all our employees. This year the average raise has been 53% the highest is 75% – this is in line with what we have been doing for past 6 years, the %ages have varied but there never has been a year with 0 raise. Amongst other things since several of my boys and girls are getting married this year we have implemented a policy of wedding gift. This is equivalent of 2 month current salary and a 3 week holiday – provided he or she has been with us for more than a year.

Of Course! apart from these are the *additional salaries* which Swati distributes to her whims, they are equivalent to a month salary usually given out about 3 to 4 times a year.

And before any of you pop the question! no there are no vacancies as yet but there will be soon – keep watching this space.

Reflect…

How so ever hard I may long for the days when programmers were opinionated and they wrote code for software which “just worked” I know it is not happening fast, at least for me. So the option is to reverse the paradigm and have the code based on “opinionated software” and somehow make programmers “just work” with a set of guidelines. Yes, this is dangerously close to “de-skilling” the programmers but I do hope to pull through this and create a better team.

On a somewhat related note – “Do as I say and not as I do” – with whatever riders attached is hypocrisy.

Busy again

Looks like life is going to be very very busy… Two significant things happened last week.

#1 We finally got a good bunch of trainee programmers
#2 SANIsoft purchased a commercial property and the sale-deed was signed.

Some who knew about commercial property had asked why purchase? Why not rent? We had considered that but several factors made us decided in favour of outright purchase. SANIsoft is right now in an asset building mode – so a commercial premise makes a nice asset which will appreciate over a period of time.

The rent being asked was at 1.25% a month – that would have made it equivalent to giving 15% per annum, no safe investment is giving that kind of returns on this date so there was no point in holding on to cash and paying rent.

Lastly outright purchase allows us hold on to the property and not invest in it further till the current home/office is completed, This would be without any further loss…

So all considered I would say it was a wise decision.

On a more personal front I got my self a wrist watch – I had a budget of 25K+ but settled for the simple BL6005-01E Citizen eco-drive costing less than 1/5th of my budget. It does exactly what I want it to – tells time 🙂

Random Rules

17 Pithy Insights for Startup Employees:

If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong place.

I can tolerate anything in my organisation except rabble-rousing and back stabbing. She agrees as well

The “Mere paas Maa hai!” factor

I had been struggling since some time to give a name or a phrase to the set of conditions which drives a person to work and continue working in a small setup. While this is very easy to define within a start-up – the “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” factor, a maturing but still small enterprise is long past such delusions.

Thanks to my recent illness and the cable-guys blacking out anything but Bollywood – I was enlightened with the “Mere paas Maa hai!” factor.

So what is this factor?

Well it is at least in part intangible yet the love and pride for *it* is so powerful that it can override many of the tangible and materialistic benefits which a person might derive if he were to be assimilated in a bigger enterprise.

Something which goads you and guides you at the same time to do what is right. Something which makes your sleep a satisfied one at the end of the day. Something which makes you want to reach back to what you were doing the next morning. Something which sets you free. and yet something which binds you…

It is a very tough task to cultivate this in a work place and a tougher task to inculcate this into your co-workers – but if you do listen to what your business is trying to tell you, if you do have your hand on the pulse of your employees you will know what to do and when, on second thoughts if you are already aware of the above then most probably you have chosen people who will value the above to work with you…

If you are working in a small setup and are happy – I would like to hear about *your* “Mere paas Maa hai” factor.


P.S. The phrase “Mere paas Maa hai” literally translated means “I have (my) Mother with me” refers to a reply given by Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) to his older brother Vijay (Amitabh Bacchan) in the 1975 Bollywood super hit Deewar

The second rung re-visited

Some time ago I had boasted about how I had successfully nurtured a second line of command in the office and how well it was working. Since experience has taught us not to get complacent about any aspect of our business if we are to succeed and also since I was on look out for new mentors for the newbies who would come in from next week or so I decided to re-evaluate how well the things had percolated.

Things on commercial front were perfect everyone does/is doing their job and providing the much needed billing hours…. however much to my dismay people were stagnating and getting bored!! The job had become a dull chore for many.

What had gone wrong?

My fiercely loyal lieutenants had failed to teach the others “How to learn?” specially about self learning. Maybe I am at fault somewhere because I have taught them, the second rung, not so much by direct instruction as by example. Also I found them to be too impatient with their juniors, giving up too easily or worse labeling them not fit for anything but mundane things.

On talking to them, the baseline was “they, the juniors, don’t learn” – my answer was “before asking them what did they learn have you ever questioned yourself? What did you try to teach them today?”

SANIsoft has till now retained people because it is exciting to work here, there is a sense of openness (as in Open Source) in the working environment, daily there is something new to learn, you get ample time to work on your own open source projects, open code you work on here goes under *your* name. I want all this and more to be instilled in to every newcomer who joins… With SANIsoft poised to triple, perhaps quadruple, its team size in next 12 months – it will be imperative that this continues as we want it to.

I, among other things, am back to doing what I once did very well – Teach – I am now teaching “How to teach”