27 August 2009

Jobs? This is my job?

So believe it or not, for the one and a half years I've had this blog I've also been paid to work with a pretty impressive group of NGOs on four different continents. I've been setting up a shared IT help desk for four of the NGOs, starting with the initial analysis in BsAs then the design in Nairobi then the actual development back in Denver and finally the long term support here in India. Working with our outsourcing group, we've identified a group of five people, trained them in what we have created, shown them how to do further development and worked out the processes by which they will support these NGOs. In the last weeks they have started to take over the project which has been pretty personally satisfying but also comes at a great time as a fifth NGO is joining and the existing clients are looking to expand beyond the original design. We also just wrapped up two days of clients visiting us in Bangalore which was a good (if exhausting) chance to show them what we have setup and the huge range of other things we could provide (and get some good dinners / t-shirts in the process).

When I heard I was coming out here, one of the things I was looking forward to was seeing what it is like to work in India. In some ways it is very familiar, there are some very bright people and we all speak the same consultanteese: leverage, methodology, SLA, metrics, engagement, etc. There are the same Cisco IP phones and the same system for reserving conference rooms, but the break rooms have a tomato soup dispenser and the women are wearing saris. There are 10,000 people that work on 7 floors in 3 towers in just one of our 6 locations in Bangalore, the scale of the offices is incredible. Rhere obviously are a lot of qualified people, but there is nowhere near the vast ocean of IT experts I was expecting (probably less than 1% of India's population is involved in IT), generally they don't talk so good English (even at some of the higher levels) and hiring people is still a pain. Perhaps the most surprising difference was the unhelpfulness of support staff and general mentality of following the rules (or "process") rather than actually getting things done. Case in point (after I was chased off the lawn by a whistle totting security guard):

The Lawn

So like everything else in India, work has been an experience. I'm very happy with team we have set up here and think they will be able to do a great job, but man I really wanted to have lunch on that lawn.

-Mr. Steve

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