Work from home, life in IT industry and me

Hello Friends,

Happy Sunday and welcome in my garden of words !

Work from home kills the craze of Friday otherwise Friday was happiest day of the week. There was a time when offices get empty early in Friday evening, but everyone used to reach home late in night. And I don’t want to tell where these honest and hardworking employees during this time were. If you see beer bars of the city on Friday, cards of all companies were hanged together there in evening and all inside-outside stories-gossips of corporate were discussed commonly. The main excuse given to family members for reaching home late was we were working late in office due to important project work. And family members were like its okay if you are working late but why are you eating chewing gum like teenager in midnight. Excuse me if someone use paan-masala. Now who can explain poor family members what smell they are trying to hide behind chewing gum and paan-masala.

Its not the thing that work from home kills the Friday only; it also tells some inside stories of project to family members as well. Now they also know scrum call, stand up call, team meetings and production deployments. They also know the names of all our colleagues. Now a days Indians are everywhere, even you call on-shore or off-shore, there are many Indian accents and names, and that’s why it’s easy to remember names by family members. One day I have finished my evening calls with client and my mother came and put my hand on her head and asked – tell me you are working in multinational company or it’s a local company in Bangalore. I asked why and she said because all your meeting happened with Bala, Jaspreet, Sangeeta, Virendra, Imran and Rahul (not any foreign name). I make her understand that now Indians are everywhere but seriously work from home put my respect of working in multi-national company at stake. Anyway, but its great thing for India and Indians that we are everywhere around the world. Cheers for India.

Its not only India that I love and respect, I respect USA a lot. It’s not just because we are working for their companies, off course this is the primary reason for loving USA but there is one more reason. In India, when we meet with other people, we asked them from which state they belong, what language they speak. In USA, when people meet, they ask where you are originated from, what part of earth you belong. Someone says China and it’s not some miles but some oceans away from USA. They have mini-India in them, they have mini-China in them, mini-Africa, mini-Europe – Almost every part of world we can see there. And the great thing is that they all are leaving happily and peacefully there. If some day alien plan to live in earth, I am sure they would select USA – This is place where we can live peacefully. From the bottom of my heart, I love and respect the diversity and inclusiveness culture of this country. Such a global country!

Software Industry is full of white-collar professionals who made the life easy for the people whose collar get dirty every day due to their work. Working in Software companies make you very polite, humble, and patient. Sorry and Thankyou are now our new Insha’Allah or hey God like words. In India, we must bargain everywhere, otherwise you will always be in loss. Once I was bargaining with vegetable vendor and my father said you are not here to talk about your daughter’s marriage. If you bargain like this, no-one will less single penny for you. 

You know what, these humbleness or kindnesses come from the way we are working in software Industry. Let me talk about software developer who write code to build a software. They are like cook who made food and get feedback for his own creation. He made dishes, people taste and say it is less salty. Humble developer adds some salt to it and now people pointed him its less spicy, he again goes to the kitchen with contact pressure of fixing the dish on time and add some spices to it. People again taste and say now it taste good but its not healthy. Poor developer called to his friend google, stake overflow and add some nutrition to it. He made a tasty and healthy dish now but now feedback is that we are not on-time. This is what a developer’s life.

Let me tell you one more example to feel the pain of developer. Suppose a developer is creating flush used in toilets (I know this is example from manufacturing industry but I find it very suitable). He developed flush with full of his skills and sweat. Now flush came to Quality team for testing. They reported defect that Flush is not working for them. Developer checked everything and said it is working to me. Then Quality person said its working when I press it gently with using three fingers, but It is not working when I press it with my whole fist. Poor Developer is like I did not create it for punching; are you going bathroom to practice boxing. He fixed it but then again new defect came to him that it is not working still. Developer checked with QA and he said its not working when I press it with legs. Poor developer is like are you practicing football there; bathroom singer is okay but where the hell this bathroom footballer breed came. But that’s not end; Now someone is doing user acceptance testing of it and reported that press icon is printed on wrong location; it should be at the center. Developer is again like everyone know we need to press it, who cares about icon and moreover who look at the icon while pressing it. But his life does not get easy here; one more defect raised that it is making a lot noise when water flows. Now humble developer raised his voice and said I can do everything, but I can’t play guitar melody in water flow. Jokes apart, this ups and downs are constant part of developer’s life cycle. One day he is happy that he fixes everything, next day he again gets something to fix. Believe me, this ups and downs like sine way is the real lifeline of every project; until it is running any company, or any project can breathe and survive.

It doesn’t mean that tester’s life is easy. They have their own pain. You must play a game in newspaper or magazine where there is a monkey at one corner and banana at another corner and we have to find the path by which monkey can reach to banana. All path to reach at banana were blocked at some place except one and we have to highlight that particular path. QA is always like that monkey who run through different paths in search of defects. Running one path to other and sometime same path he took multiple times just in search of defect. At the end of day if he finds banana(defect), he goes to developer and showed that path with pride. Developer says just one defect and rest everything is good. QA is like I almost died in travel one path to another entire day, and you are saying just one defect. (ek defect ki keemat tum kya janoge developer babu). Testers are always like monkeys who jump from one branch to another just to make sure that tree would always be strong and fruitful. Without QA, a project would be like a vehicle that can move from its place, but it can’t run on road.

Let me roast some support people as well. Developers get time in hours to accomplish his job, testers get in minutes and support guy get in seconds. The first thing they do when any mail came to them for any work is sending a mail that work in progress. After sending WIP (work in progress) mail, they can have coffee or even go for walk. Even while sleeping if mobile message tone rang, they send work in progress email, then happily sleep for one hour and then start work on it. Their situation is like that doctor whose duty is in ICU, every patient is critical and urgent for him. Thank God, software engineering practices make them humble; otherwise, if any team would pressure them then they would like I will let you know when you request for an urgent deployment just before production release. Believe me, support team is like spine of every project, they build infrastructure-environment and keep the project standing always.

I am sorry I don’t have medals, but its just a small step from my side to recognize the colleagues around me. At the end tip of the day – fun and smile are like try and catch block, if we try fun in life I am sure we would catch smile and happiness. So please surround your life with try-catch block of fun and smile always.

Thank you very much for bearing me in this article. Happy reading !

How easy is to find washroom in IT COMPANY?

Software engineers are always known for their intelligence. They always tend to find the simpler solution of critical problems. This is the other thing that their simple solution contains complex algorithms and programs. As a software engineer, I must agree on the fact that  software engineers use their brain more than other species in the planet. But my point is not to begin the debate by comparing the intelligence level of IT and non-IT professionals. My question is how IT professionals develop such extra-ordinary skills to do critical task in ordinary way? You must be thinking that their engineering degree program is responsible for this. But believe me; they never implement anything they learned in university courses. The real source of such wisdom is there inside the software company itself. An IT company is like a factory that produce (or rather develop) such intelligent brains.

Here is the practical demo of how IT professionals get trained. No…no…no …I am not going to write anything in C++, java or complex binary languages in the demo; It’s in simple English. Also, I am not giving the demo for any rocket science problem. My problem is very simple in the demo ‘How to find washroom in the software company.’

I must say you would be lucky, if you find the sign board for washroom. Because then you will find it easily without any effort. But it will not give any learning to you. To nourish your brain capabilities, you have to ask this question to someone.

If you ask the question to a person at software engineer or senior engineer levels – “Where is the washroom in company?”, then his/her reply would be – “Go straight from here, there will be lift at the end. Go to ground floor by lift and take right; there is the washroom.”  If the person is on *bench*, then he/she would defiantly assist you to reach exactly at washroom; because person on bench in IT company always looks for the way to pass the time in the office. Else, you have to manage it alone. But in any case, you would reach at the destination in 5 to 10 minutes.

But if you ask the way to reach washroom to a person at team lead or design lead level rather than engineer, then his/her reply would be like this – “behind the admin block”. Now if you again ask him to make it clearer, he will give another hint to you – “behind the admin block and beside the server room.” If you ask him again for further more clarification, he would again provide you more answer like these; as the person at team lead or design lead level always have many solution of a problem in their mind. Anyway…Now you deviate from your main goal (washroom) and put your energy to find admin block or server rooms in office premises. When you find your first goal (admin block/server room) then you start for next level search (washroom). Ultimately, when you reach at washroom, it will take 10 to 20 minutes of your time. But it will surely give you important learning about how to approach a problem, how to think about different creative ways to solve a problem, how to break your solution to simple steps…etc…Etc…

Let’s assume, you have asked the way to washroom to project manager instead of team lead, then his/her reply would be – “talk to someone in maintenance department, they are handling this module.” At first thought, you will think that he is avoiding you. But believe me, it’s a part of his job – deviate a query to correct person. So that in future also, you will directly contact to correct department/person for such queries. He will also suggest you to make a document on it, so that next time when other person asks for washroom, it will help him. Now you make your effort to find maintenance department. When you find maintenance department, you will ask someone about washroom there. Now again, if you ask to lead level person there, his reply would be like behind admin block or near server room like these. And if you ask to any entry-level person, he will guide you at the lift. But in any case, it will take almost 15 to 30 minutes to reach at washroom. Again in this case also, there are big learning’s involved. Team lead’s answer make you learn about how to approach a problem; but project manager’s reply make you learn about how to approach the problem correctly so that it always yields to result.

Now think, you have asked this question to a person at very high level like vice-president or CEO. His/her reply would be like this – “Here is the intranet link of our company; you will find details about all departments including maintenance department at this link, like email-address, location and phone number. Talk with someone in maintenance department, they will surely help you. Also, there is floor plan/maps of building in the same link, there also you can find washroom.”  At first thought, you will think that it is a big mess to explore the intranet, and it’s better to go outside and spread your dirt at empty open place. But believe me, if you do this, you will miss the big learning – ‘think bigger.’ If you follow his/her approach, you will explore the link and try to find maintenance department there. And if you are really very good fellow, you will try to understand the floor plan also. Then you contact to maintenance department via email or instant messaging or direct phone call. Again, if you talk with lead there, he will make you find admin block or server room. And if you talk with initial level person, he will lead you to the lift. But in any case, it will take almost 30 to 45 minutes to find washroom. However as I said, there is big learning of think bigger in this approach. Lead and project manager were only targeting just the problem and its solution, but VP/CEO looks it more than just a problem and solution.  They make you learn business, technology, domain, verticals (intranet access and exploration, web-based applications, CAD floor plan, Google maps, understanding company structure, communication mediums etc…Etc…)

So this was RANCHO’s short demo of a very simple problem and its solution by IT professionals at different levels. This is how people at various levels in IT Company think about a problem and solutions. And this is how your skills developed when you work with them.  At end, I would only suggest you to finish all your washroom tasks at home before visiting a software industry, unless you have strong power to hold-off and killing thirst to learn something…

*On bench* – This is the general term used in software industry for the people who don’t have any work in hand. They preserved for future upcoming projects.