Dear Developer:

Recently, I was reading a blog on Echo’s site, referring to the Indian software engineers’ plight. I could identify with every aspect of it!

Indian software companies have quite a hierarchical structure – there are software engineers, senior software engineers, analysts, module leaders, project leaders, project managers, delivery managers, group delivery managers – you get the picture (The managed:manager ratio is sometimes as high as 1:1!)

Each of these people in the value chain need to feel valued, and feel obliged to contribute their share to the steaming cauldron already roasting developers in a hot pot of oil, over a slow fire.

A new proposal has been submitted, and after several victorious toasts by the marketing team, the project makes its way across the shores. A hapless set of developers are assigned to the project. A day into reading the requirements, and the optimistic developer is dreaming of how he should execute it perfectly this time…and then, he hears the timeline!

Developer To Module Leader: WHAT?! I know for certain this cannot be completed on time because of the following reasons:
(a) …..
(b) …..
(c) …..
Note: All reasons by the developer are in most cases valid!

Module Leader To Project Leader: I have spoken to the team, and it is certainly a challenge to take on this project, and commit to the timelines

Project Leader To Project Manager:
The team feels there are certain difficulties in completing this project, but I am positive we can tackle these problems, given that we have x people on the team.

Project Manager To Delivery Manager:
We have a wonderful team in place – all hard-working, bright people. So, though there may be some issues, I am sure we can deliver quality results in record time!

The Delivery Manager at this point smiles smugly (This may just be the break he was looking for in his career – a project that gets delivered ahead of schedule, if a little extra pressure is applied!)

Delivery Manager To Group Delivery Manager: We have an enthusiastic team in place, and am confident the project will be successful.

So, dear developer: Do not fret. Your conscience is clear. You have the right to voice your concerns, but management reserves the right to hear them!

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6 thoughts on “Dear Developer:”

  1. If I got one stock of MSFT or CSCO everytime I met with the similar scenario I would have been a millioniare. Hierarchy in my company was not too bad.

    I distinctly remember one instance where our manager against protest from our “senior”(1 year experienced) engineers accepted the date for “Acceptance testing”.
    And his argument was, all we need is code complete and basic things working by that date. (I am not making this up).

  2. If I got one stock of MSFT or CSCO everytime I met with the similar scenario I would have been a millioniare. Hierarchy in my company was not too bad.

    I distinctly remember one instance where our manager against protest from our “senior”(1 year experienced) engineers accepted the date for “Acceptance testing”.
    And his argument was, all we need is code complete and basic things working by that date. (I am not making this up).

  3. The more I think about it, it seems like the issue is about who is willing to lose his face. No manager, especially Indian managers that I’ve worked for, are willing to admit that there are issues in committing to a deadline. They all want to commit to things and put up a face that they are willing to take challenges and when the slippage happens, they just sneak it through and blame it on engineers. Happens all the time.

  4. The more I think about it, it seems like the issue is about who is willing to lose his face. No manager, especially Indian managers that I’ve worked for, are willing to admit that there are issues in committing to a deadline. They all want to commit to things and put up a face that they are willing to take challenges and when the slippage happens, they just sneak it through and blame it on engineers. Happens all the time.

  5. lol.

    Moving from a 23 person to a 339000 person company, I can really see what you mean :). Can’t wait for my next startup.

    anand

  6. lol.

    Moving from a 23 person to a 339000 person company, I can really see what you mean :). Can’t wait for my next startup.

    anand

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