Category: Career


Got this in an e-mail today..read on and njoy……

Calling the boss H – Hitler, A – Arrogant, R – Rascal and I – Idiot caught everyone’s attention in Naukri’s TV commercial, would you do the same if given an opportunity? Even though it was just an advertisement, it did reflect the plight of employees in the IT industry. After receiving interesting comments on “10 reasons why people quit jobs in IT industry”, we decided to take it a step further to analyze what exactly is going wrong. We conducted a survey to find out top ten mistakes that even good managers and bosses make.

So I am listing below the top ten mistakes which are very common amongst bosses.

1 – Micro-management
Sometimes when bosses assign work to an employee they don’t completely trust that employee will be capable of completing the work. They underestimate the ability of the people they hire and end up offending the employee. “According to me, the number one mistake is, not effectively identifying the strengths of the employee, thereby micro managing or not delegating or not trusting the employee’s judgment. A good boss is one who brings out the best in the employee,” says Sharda Balaji, Founder of NovoJuris Services.

2 – Using improper mode of communication
Some bosses have this weird sense that since they are boss they should order people around and create a military kind of environment. They feel the stricter the things are the better things are organized. If an employee is late for some deadline, then the boss starts labeling the work or the employee himself.

3 – Leading through intimidation
This is one of the worst kind of mistake that bosses make. They feel that if an employee is threatened to work they will perform better. What the boss does not realize is that employee under such pressure end up losing interest in work and will meet the deadline just for the heck of it. Such employees then would only do what is asked from them and will never happily give hundred percent to do something good for the company.

4 – Lacking empathy for employee’s situation
There are sometimes when employees do make excuses to take leave or when they come late. But not every reason is an excuse. Bosses end up thinking that their employees are always making excuses and do not showing any consideration for employee’s situation

5 – Becoming inaccessible to your employees
An employee wants to contact his boss for something important but he is busy with other things and does not give any weightage to employee’s problem and hence he is scared to approach his bosss.

“I have had some experiences at one of the company I worked with, where the manager was just not approachable and accessible. I could not expect any kind of guidance from him. It would not be wrong if I say that he was too busy caught with meetings (not accessible). He was also not approachable at the same time because of bad temperament and everything depended on his mood,” said Prashant Honnavar, who is a Manager of HR at NextBiT Computing.

6 – Not providing guidance or motivating employees
An employee should always have something to look forward to. A good manager knows how to motivate employees to make them perform better but for this they have to spend some time with their team. In today’s IT work environment many of the managers have no time to spend with the team due to day long meetings. As a result they miss out on understanding a team member’s problem at work and providing the right support and solutions for the same. Failing to support and understanding a team member will lead to recipe of resignation. A manager should always have the practice of having one on one to know more about the team member, and then provide right feedback at the same time to motivate with the right attitude.

7 – Not providing a clear picture – Transparency
Many times work is assigned by bosses to employees without clearly telling them the complete picture. Boss should always maintain transparency with their employee to make them understand what exactly they are doing. “If bosses start informing their team about the correct scenarios and maintain transparency about a project, then the employees will work more willingly and meeting the deadline will no longer be a concern of the boss alone,” said Juilee Joshi, who worked as a Technical Support analyst at BMC software.

8 – Insecurity about their post
Some bosses prefer to do things alone rather than taking teams help as they are unsecure that someone will provide better solution, and thus they get a sense of insecurity about their post. “There is something unique about Indian bosses. They get this superiority complex about their position and I fail to understand why. There are many extremely capable folks who like to remain in the ‘individual contributors’ role because they do not enjoy people management,” said Balaji. “You can deal with an egoistic boss, a demanding boss, an impatient boss… but the worst kind is the one who is insecure.”

9 – Trying to be friend as well as boss or showing partiality
This is the trickiest part of the boss-employee relationship. Some of the bosses try to maintain a perfect balance between professionalism and friendship but it does not always work well for the company. Employees might become lenient in submitting at deadline or boss might start expecting too much from employees since they are good friend as well.

Another part of this equation can be showing partiality or favoring certain employees over others which create negative vibes in the team.

10 – Making fake promises
In order to motivate employees many time managers make fake promises of promotion or goodies but when the time comes they just stall it. This de-motivates an employee a great deal and might backfire badly on the company.

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Here is something that will help in these difficult times….

The recession is viral and it has spread like wildfire. Few businesses have escaped the effects of the ongoing economic recession. The downturn has made it difficult to manage morale and take care of employee needs. Workplace motivation has plummeted, and things are only threatening to get worse. It is important to keep your team motivated during this recession. Here are six great tips for motivating your team in the face of adversity.

Be Honest

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to motivating your team. Employees will be questioning how their jobs and lives will be impacted by the recession. Don’t sugarcoat the information that you provide. Deliver clear messages and be honest about what is going on in your business.

Stop Gossip in its Tracks

Gossip is the number one killer of workplace motivation. Rumors about layoffs, cutbacks, or pay freezes can set your employees’ minds in motion. When you hear rumors floating around the workplace, squelch them as quickly as possible. If something becomes pervasive and problematic, you might have to hold a special meeting to boost team motivation.

Get Out of the Office

Motivating your team will be much easier if you all get out of the office and relax. Organize an offsite lunch or special outing as a means of energizing your team and stirring up creativity. This type of team motivation activity may come at a high price, but the positive return will be worth the investment.

Listen

Workplace motivation during a recession will also be impacted by things that are happening in your employees’ personal lives. Practice active listening skills and be sensitive to the needs and concerns of your employees.

Don’t Let Fear Cause Paralysis

Whenever there is a crisis of any kind, fear is often times a factor that gets teams off track. With the many threats that recession poses, your employees will be extremely susceptible to fear. Don’t let fear have a negative impact on team motivation. Exercise control over the things which can actually be controlled, and dismiss worries about those which cannot.

Recognize and Reward Accomplishments

Motivating your team with recognition and rewards for accomplishments is the most effective means of keeping things moving during this recession. While there may not be money in the budget for tangible rewards, a certificate of recognition, thank you note, or pat on the back goes a long way when it comes to workplace motivation.

Implementing a combination of these strategies can enhance team motivation in your workplace. The most important thing to remember during this recession is that people and relationships need to be managed with care while it is upon us. Keep the lines of communication between you and your employees open so that you can be successful in stopping the spread of fear and encouraging teamwork. While you cannot control the economy, you can exercise some influence over workplace motivation.

(from morebusiness.com)

Last week I received an email that talks about a job interview… Thought of sharing with u..so just read on…& nJoy..

Some, rather most organizations reject his CV today because he has changed jobs frequently (10 in 14 years). My friend, the “job hopper” (referred here as Mr. JH), does not mind it. well he does not need to mind it at all. Having worked full-time with 10 employer companies in just 14 years gives Mr. JH the relaxing edge that most of the “company loyal” employees are struggling for today. Today, Mr. JH too is laid off like some other 14-15 year experienced guys  the difference being the latter have just worked in 2-3 organizations in the same number of years. Here are the excerpts of an interview with Mr. JH:


Q: Why have you changed 10 jobs in 14 years?

A: To get financially sound and stable before getting laid off the second time.

Q: So you knew you would be laid off in the year 2009?

A: Well I was laid off first in the year 2002 due to the first global economic slowdown. I had not got a full-time job before January 2003 when the economy started looking up; so I had struggled for almost a year without job and with compromises.

Q: Which number of job was that?
A: That was my third job.

Q: So from Jan 2003 to Jan 2009, in 6 years, you have changed 8 jobs to make the count as 10 jobs in 14 years?

A: I had no other option. In my first 8 years of professional life, I had worked only for 2 organizations thinking that jobs are deserved after lot of hard work and one should stay with an employer company to justify the saying employer loyalty. But I was an idiot.

Q: Why do you say so?

A: My salary in the first 8 years went up only marginally. I could not save enough and also, I had thought that I had a permanent job, so I need not worry about, what will I do if I lose my job. I could never imagine losing a job because of economic slowdown and not because of my performance. That was January 2002.

Q: Can you brief on what happened between January 2003 and 2009.

A: Well, I had learnt my lessons of being ‘company loyal and not money earning and saving loyal. But then you can save enough only when you earn enough. So I shifted my loyalty towards money making and saving – I changed 8 jobs in 6 years assuring all my interviewers about my stability.

Q: So you lied to your interviewers; you had already planned to change the job for which you were being interviewed on a particular day?

A: Yes, you can change jobs only when the market is up and companies are hiring. You tell me  can I get a job now because of the slowdown? No. So one should change jobs for higher salaries only when the market is up because that is the only time when companies hire and can afford the expected salaries.

Q: What have you gained by doing such things?

A: That’s the question I was waiting for. In Jan 2003, I had a fixed salary (without variables) of say Rs. X p.a. In January 2009, my salary was 8X. So assuming my salary was Rs.3 lakh p.a. in Jan 2003, my last drawn salary in Jan 2009 was Rs.24 lakh p.a. (without variable). I never bothered about variable as I had no intention to stay for 1 year and go through the appraisal process to wait for the company to give me a hike.

Q: So you decided on your own hike?

A: Yes, in 2003, I could see the slowdown coming again in future like it had happened in 2001-02. Though I was not sure by when the next slowdown would come, I was pretty sure I wanted a “debt-free” life before being laid off again. So I planned my hike targets on a yearly basis without waiting for the year to complete.

Q: So are you debt-free now?

A: Yes, I earned so much by virtue of job changes for money and spent so little that today I have a loan free 2 BR flat (1200 sq.. feet) plus a loan free big car without bothering about any EMIs. I am laid off too but I do not complain at all. If I have laid off companies for money, it is OK if a company lays me off because of lack of money.

Q: Who is complaining?

A: All those guys who are not getting a job to pay their EMIs off are complaining. They had made fun of me saying I am a job hopper and do not have any company loyalty. Now I ask them what they gained by their company loyalty; they too are laid off like me and pass comments to me why will you bother about us, you are already debt-free. They were still in the bracket of 12-14 lakh p.a. when they were laid off.

Q: What is your advice to professionals?

A: Like Narayan Murthy had said  love your job and not your company because you never know when your company will stop loving you. In the same lines, love yourself and your family needs more than the company’s needs. Companies can keep coming and going; family will always remain the same. Make money for yourself first and simultaneously make money for the company, not the other way around.

Q: What is your biggest pain point with companies?

A: When a company does well, its CEO will address the entire company saying, well done guys, it is YOUR company, keep up the hard work, I am with you.  But when the slowdown happens and the company does not do so well, the same CEO will say, It is MY company and to save the company, I have to take tough decisions including asking people to go.

So think about your financial stability first; when you get laid off, your kids will complain to you and not your boss.

Many Software Organizations face a major challenge in delivering the projects/products within committed timelines and meeting customer expectations. In making a project success in meeting the KSF of the project, the team contribution in technical, domain and process areas play a significant role. The team must be competent enough in all the 3 areas in order to deliver efficiently and effectively.

A project will pose a major risk in competency if the team has fairly fresh inexperienced staff, new technology intro, lack of required skilled staff etc., which will hamper the project deliveries.

Deployment of the competency FW/development program helps the project & test teams to build competency in defined areas and gain confidence in deliveries and customer expectations.

Test team competency plays a vital role in the projects. The competency of the team has its impact on the quality of deliveries based on the expertise knowledge & skills present in the team members. Higher the competency in the team, the higher the efficiency and effectiveness in the deliveries.

The need for competency development arises due to the following reasons:

-High expectations from customer/management on project goals

-lack of sufficient knowledge & skill in the team

-new & inexperienced members in the team

-customer feedback on the quality of deliverables

-new technology/advancement introduced in the project

-lack of sufficient domain knowledge in team

-functional knowledge is average

-process needs to be improved.

-post release defects are high

-Testers involvement late in projects


Basis for competency development(CD):

Building competency is a continuous learning process and therefore, a competency development program needs to be in place. Competency Development has following 7 step process which is based on Deming’s PDCA.

Define Vision statement for the team

Brainstorm with the team and agree on a common vision statement, which maps to organization vision so that team has a common focus.

Define Mission statement

Brainstorm with the team and agree on a common mission statement, which is in line with the teams vision statement.

Identify primary focus areas for CD

Identify key focus areas for Development that will align with the project goals.

Eg:-Technical/Functional, Domain, Continuous process improvement, Non-functional etc..,

Define team charter

Allocate teams for each of the focus areas and nominate a taskforce lead for each of the teams. Taskforce lead will define the charter based on the discussion with the team members. (Charter will have the Goal, Scope, list of activities, timelines, Risks & Mitigation, Measurements.)

Define the list of activities with timelines

Identify the list of activities that will be performed by the task force during each quarter for all focus areas.

Review the charters

Taskforce lead will present the charters for review to the team. Once the review is complete, the task force will start working on CD plan.

Measurement on monthly basis

Taskforce lead will present to the management on monthly basis on the status of the tasks performed and the competency achieved.

Competency development tracker for all taskforce teams with the list of activities planned for that quarter is periodically tracked for closure.

Management must ensure to allocate atleast 2-3hrs/week in the weekly test estimate for the team for engaging in CD activity to reap positive results from the team.
Please let me know in case some other things can be added.

~Himanshu~

Leadership Tips..Good 1's

@1 Fix The Problem, Not The Blame.
@2 Tell People What You Want, Not How To Do It.
@3 Manage the function, not the paperwork.
@4 Don’t DO Anything.
@5 You never have to make up for a good start.
@6 Get out of your office.
@7 Lead by example.
@8 Delegate the easy stuff.
@9 Don’t get caught up in looking good.
@10 Quality is just conformance to requirements.
@11 Learn from the mistakes of others.
@12 Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
@13 Set an example.
@14 Know Your GPM (Goals, Plans, Metrics).
@15 Train Your Supervisors.
@16 You Can’t Listen With Your Mouth Open.
@17 Practice what you preach.
@18 Leaders create change.
@19 Don’t Limit Yourself.
@20 Anyone can steer the ship in calm waters.
@21 You have to make a difference.

If you have read PMBOK at some point of time then you know that Leadership Style are very well related to motivation. Here is something very well written that I would like to share with you.

Leadership style influence level of motivation. However, throughout a lifetime, man’s motivation is influenced by changing ambitions and/or leadership style he works under or socializes with. Command-and-control leadership drains off ambition while worker responsibility increases ambition.

Leadership Style versus Motivation
Leadership Style Motivation Type Motivation is Based on: Personality Type Efficiency

Limited supervision
Worker with decision making responsibility

Self motivated Creativity Leader of ideas or people.Independent Achiever Thrives on change

High

Team motivated

Mixed styles

Goal motivated Opportunity

Personality type and efficiency depends on leader’s skill and/or the work environment he’s created.

Reward motivated Materialism
Recognition motivated Social status

High level of supervision
Command-and-control

Peer motivated To be like others Status quoDependency Resist change

Low

Authority motivated Follows policy
Threat, fear motivated Reacts to force

Remember that: Self-motivated or visionaries will not accept authority controlled environments. They will find a way to escape if trapped. In a team-motivated environment, dependency types will become inspired and strive to be acceptable with independent thinking coworkers.

here are some finer points:

Self-motivated people are goal motivated. Once they conquer one goal, they establish another. Every goal is a learning process that requires all the elements in level one. Organizations that attract and keep this type of person stay on the leading edge of technology.

Recognition is important; it builds positive self-esteem. By itself, its benefits are short lived. Long-term benefits are achieved when the employee feels the job could not have been done without them. This means they were faced with a challenge, which means, they had the responsibility and authority to take action.

~Himanshu~

I’ll keep on updating this post….

This is a cry frequently heard as deadlines approach 😉 .
You can hear most of the managers screaming about this issue….
However there could be a number of answers:

1. The testers were not able to complete testing due to a new release being loaded.
2. The bug was not in an earlier release (reload that earlier release and see).
3. The bug could not be tested for earlier because some part of the release did not work and inhibited
the test’s ability to “see” the bug.
4. The bug was in some part of the system not originally planned for the release for which a test has
only just been written.
5. The bug was found while running some other test.
6. The bug was in a part of a system which was not the focus of testing.
7. The bug would have been found eventually, but the tester hadn’t run the test (which would have
found it) yet.
8. And yes, maybe if we’d been more thorough we’d have found that bug earlier.

Its always good to keep in place a corrective action in place so that the impact of the issue can be minimized and the stake holders and the client/s do not lose faith on you and your team.

Here is an artcle by Aashu Chandra my manager at Infogain (my previous company) about What to do if a bug has leaked into production?

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts on this.

Regards,

Himanshu