Friday, November 4, 2005

Surviving the IT Industry

Harshad Oak points out how the work culture in Indian software industries is physically (and mentally exhausting) employees resulting in "Zero Innovation." I know from personal experience that the same applies to ITES organizations in India as well.
India being a strong democracy, freedom of expression is alive and well and Indians are free to express their opinions and voice their concerns. Yet, I say that the software industry is exploiting its employees.

IT work culture in India is totally messed up and has now started harming the work culture of the nation as a whole. Working 12+ hours a day and 6 or even 7 days a week is more the rule than the exception.

[. . .]

The reason I feel this culture has emerged, is the servile attitude of the companies. Here's a tip for any company in the west planning to outsource to India. If you feel that a project can be completed in 6 weeks by 4 people, always demand that it be completed in 2 weeks by 3 people.

Guess what, most Indian companies will agree. The project will then be hyped up as an "extremely critical" one and the 3 unfortunate souls allocated to it will get very close to meeting the almighty by the time they deliver the project in 2 weeks. Surprisingly, they will deliver in 2-3 weeks, get bashed up for any delays and the company will soon boast about how they deliver good quality in reasonable time and cost. Has anyone in India ever worked on a project that wasn't "extremely critical"?
It is a well-written article and Harshad argues his point well. It was about time that somebody wrote about the exploitation in software and related industries and one should laud Harshad for doing it.

Harshad also offers a few solutions that can tackle this problem at its roots. I am sure all of them have been discussed by the management of this industry some time or the other. I know for a fact that employees have discussed them all threadbare a number of times over.

Unfortunately, managements choose to turn a blind eye to the core problems and come up with stop-gap solutions or excuses couched in management jargon about how the "realities of the industry and business" don't allow the solutions to be implemented. Often promises are made and employees are told differences will be evident only over the long-term.

Unfortunately, the employees themselves lack the will to tackle their managements on this issue.

Read Harshad's article: IT Survivors - Staying Alive in a Software Job

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