Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Days...

Happy Days - I swear!

I happened to watch Happy Days a couple of days back. It reminded me of my engineering days a lot. The characters in this movie like chandu, madhu, tyson etc seem so close to reality.

Even though I don't understand the lyric of the song, I am spell bound by the melody of this track. Thanks to some off beat music by Mickey J Meyer. It is sooooo good! Truly... music has no barriers!

~IT's My Life

Digg this

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My new found stress buster!

IT industry is one such industry where the life styles of people are mostly sedentary. We spend a large chunk of our time in front of computers solving problems (and in due course creating a few for ourselves...) of our clients. This definitely causes a lot of mental and a bit of physical stress as well.

I decided to figure out a new stress buster which could not only rejuvinate me but also become a part and parcel of my lifestyle, for the rest of my life. I spoke with a couple of my friends who have a regular routine of jogging. In the begining I felt that jogging and stuff like that aren't my cup of tea. I was simply relcutant (read it as plain laziness) to get up early everyday!

But you never know where you pick up that piece of inspiration from. I fortunately picked it up one from a good friend of mine.That's when I decided to register myself at a gym close to my place. Trust me... Since then it has been an absolute fun working out 6 days a week, early in the morning! I just take one day off from my workout schedule for the simple reason that the gym is closed on sundays!! Working out gives me that much needed freshness and I remain active throughout the day. I discovered a great change in my energy levels as well.

I think it's high time we peep in to our life styles and do a bit of reality check to ensure that we give our body, the much needed physical activity. It could be anything ranging from yoga to a salsa class. It could even be an outdoor game like badminton or cricket. But do ensure that you find a way to de-stress yourself. Having said that I would surely recommend you to have variety in your workouts, just to break that unavoidable monotony!

My experience till now has been pretty good and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I hope I continue to remain hooked on to it.

Why don't you give it a try? Try breaking that inertia of yours. I am sure life definitely will start to look more beautiful!

~IT's My Life

Digg this

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It's all about the TEAM!

Ever since I joined MindTree, I have had innumerable opportunities to work with different teams on several of the initiatives. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of few exciting initiatives like MindTree Mini Marathon 2008. Every time I volunteered to be a part of any team, my sole motive was to understand the quintessence of working in teams and what it takes to play your role effectively and deliver your best. In my quest to discover that magical formula behind what defines a successful team, I happen to figure out quite a few threads that were common across several events, which I was a part of. I have made a sincere attempt to share all of them with you, in the context of MMM 2008.

MindTree Mini Marathon 2008

If the name is misleading, blame me not; for the event was definitely magnanimous in all aspects! It was after a gap of 3 years that MindTree decided to host another event of this sort. So we were all geared up to ensure that this event was a grand success. When I first received an invitation mail from Murthy R K (who himself is an avid marathon runner) to volunteer for this event, I was pretty much skeptical. My final assessments (I was in the yellow band) were due to kick start shortly and I doubted if my decision to volunteer was prudent. But nevertheless I told myself that I shall not hold myself back and let go any chance where I can contribute (in any small way) to make an event successful. The success story of MMM 2008 speaks for itself. I have made a small attempt to collate a few observations I made while working with an extremely vibrant team.

Role definition and leveraging experience:

I have always believed that the very first step towards ensuring you formulate a winning combination out of any team you work with, is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member and assign roles to him/her which would maximize their contributions to the team. I am not against experimenting with assigning people roles that they have never tried a hand at before. But when time is a constraint; go with the above mentioned thumb rule for role assignment. That’s exactly what happened with our team. Murthy had loads of experience about marathon and was undoubtedly the ideal person to guide our team. We realized what each one of us would do and chalked out plans as per the requirement. We as a team ensured that we leveraged his experience to the fullest.

Trust your TEAM:

Once you have formed a team, the first thing that a team as a whole needs to do, is to pledge that there shall be no ‘secrets’ as such. Say no to all shades of grey in your team. Everything should be in Black and White! I emphasize this fact for the simple reason that once you bring candor in to our team, you are invariably instilling tremendous faith in all your team members. Mutual trust is such an impetus to any team that it can work wonders. Once you bring it in, you shall notice that people will be all the more willing to contribute proactively and shall also volunteer to go that ‘extra mile’ to ensure that your venture is a grand success. As long as you have an environment where people feel very much a part of the team, things will never go wayward.

Appreciation is good. But please accommodate constructive criticism as well:

It is human nature to crave for appreciation when they deliver something commendable. Your team members are human beings and let’s not challenge the basic law of nature. I feel that a healthy team always has its team members back patting each other whenever they achieve something; no matter how trivial it is. As long as it doesn’t take away your focus and you don’t lose your ground, a few doses of applause and appreciation is good for your health!

Having said that only reminds me of the other extreme of the spectrum. The side effects of excessive appreciation and applause can deafen your ears and render you blind. A more long term effect of this unhealthy team culture is that your team, in the long run might in fact lose the ability to question things and be critical of other people’s work. I feel that another important trait of a healthy team is its openness to criticism. A good team always encourages its team members to criticize constructively; for it knows that the source if authentic! I feel that we as individuals should be open to criticism (don’t take them personal) and work sincerely towards setting them right. I would in fact go a step ahead and say that every team ought to have some people who blow whistles just at right moment and help circumvent any mishap.

Even the best of the plans fail. Always have a plan B:

They say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. It’s not axiom folks. It’s just a quote! Quotes aren’t infallible. You shouldn’t dare to question the veracity of my statement if you have seen the true colors of IT industry (or any industry for that matter). A few glimpses of how circumstances caught us off guard during MMM 2008 and how we managed to cope up with the sudden mutation.

  • The walkie-talkie issue:

As you might be aware, this time we had three check points; each located 3 different corners of the marathon circuit. We had rolled out a plan initially that we could borrow walkie-talkies from the security and ensure that all check points are well connected. It was crucial for us to establish this connectivity for two important reasons:

  • To keep other checkpoints updated about the positions of runners at regular intervals.
  • To reach out for immediate help, just incase of any unforeseen emergency.

But when reached the venue on the day of the event, Murthy informed us that we couldn’t get the walkie-talkies for reasons best known to the security personnel. Thanks to our commonsense. Fortunately it never let us down. All check points had a sheet that contained the contact number of every member of the organizing committee. We somehow managed to update each other through our cell phones. But it was a lesson well learnt!

  • Bib numbers ki dastaan:

If you had been around on the day of the event, you would have noticed a glaring design glitch with the bib numbers that we distributed to the participants. Boy! There were smaller than the volunteer badges we wore on the final day of Osmosis!! We were taken aback and caught off guard, when we discovered this fact. We started worrying about how we would note down the numbers when people crossed each check point. If that weren’t enough. It also had MindTree spelt incorrectly on it. That’s something that doesn’t go well with any MindTree mind! I quote what Murthy told all of us, “Look this is a classic example of what happens in the IT industry. Client asks for something, you deliver something else. He then comes back to you saying… Boss I didn’t ask for this!” But the only difference was that in our case, it was just too late to question the designers of bib numbers, about the erroneous design.

  • Behaal @ registration counter:

At the registration counter we all had a print out of an excel sheet containing the list of all the participants who had enrolled themselves for the event. But you know what? The list wasn’t sorted at all. We had initially decided to either sort them alphabetically or as per the employee ids. But we hadn’t done it! Volunteers at the registration counter had a harrowing time figuring out the names/employee ids. So we quickly decided that we would just note down the name, employee Id and their bib number for the moment and then map them on the excel sheet, offline. When time is a constraint, people often tend to overlook the obvious and might land themselves in situations completely out of the blue. Not every time does a situation offer you an option for last minute tweaking, so watch out for the obvious pitfalls!

The bottom line is even the best laid plans fail!

Give due credit to every soul that worked for your team’s success:

If there is one thing that really turns off team members, it would undoubtedly be their efforts going unnoticed. When your team is in the spot light for any achievement, it becomes the duty of the team to ensure that people do get their due credits. A moment shared in spotlight might go a long way in motivating your team mates to deliver better results in future as well. Over and above, it gives everyone in the team a true sense of gratification and an unwritten acknowledgement saying, “Boys! You are on track!” A nice way to cherish the feeling of accomplishment would be to go out for a team lunch or a dinner. That’s exactly what we did. Murthy treated the entire team of MMM 2008, and trust me we had a ball.

I feel TEAM stands for the following:

T Tenacity

E - Enthusiasm.

A Attitude


I firmly believe that if your team symbolizes these traits then it is undoubtedly a healthy and high performance team.

~IT's My Life

Digg this

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Main aisa kyu hoon?

I am confused!

It has been almost 4 months since I moved to Bangalore. I am gradually adapting to this kind of life style. But trust me I am yet to digest the fact that; gone are those days when we friends would plan for the first show of a movie and the strength of a cricket team could be expected at the ticket counters of a cinema hall in no time. But come to think of it now, the whole idea of meeting up at one point, in large numbers seems close to an impossibility. This new life at Bangalore has definitely taken a toll of my personal time, patience and not to mention complicated my agenda for weekends.

It wasn’t long ago when I could spill out my schedule for an entire month, without any difficulty. But now I find myself caught off guard when someone asks me to meet them over a weekend, because I just am unable to commit to anyone for any sort of engagements. I just can’t predict what’s going to be the agenda for the weekend, even a day before. Such has been the nature of my life on personal and professional front. A subtle feeling of guilt haunts me every time I commit to a friend of mine and am unable to make it.

Today is a weekend and I was supposed to be at V’s place to meet his mother and his brother. It’s been over 3 months since I have been to their house. One might ask me why I didn’t call them up at regular intervals, if I was so desperate to meet them and speak to them. Well that exactly is the problem with me. I get engrossed in to something I do that I completely forget everything. I mean everything! It almost becomes like I wouldn’t have spoken to the best of my friends for months together. I don’t know if it’s a terrible habit that I have cultivated over a period of time. But having said all that, I would clarify one thing that my concern or affection towards people who care for me wouldn’t have changed at all. I am absolutely comfortable if a close friend of mine wouldn’t call me up regularly or send me a good morning or good night sms if he is really busy. I am unable to understand this whole thought as to why people jump to conclusions and engage in to the act of shaking violently, the very roots of your friendship, which had been built over mutual trust, when you happen to stay out of touch for while from them? Does distance really matter to the strength of a friendship? Does calling your friend every now and then, even though you don’t have anything significant to share, reinforce the credibility of your friendship? I definitely don’t think so!

See that’s Suresh for you folks! He might not send you a sms nor give you a call over a weekend but would still be caring about you. I don’t know how to describe this behavior of mine. Ever since I have been here, I have struggled like hell to meet my friends who stay in various corners of Bangalore. Like others, I also get only 2 days in a week to do things other than the office work. Sometimes even those days are mercilessly gobbled up by some work at office. I know that you would hit me hard saying, “Dude you got to get used to this life style. You got to manage your time well. Otherwise your personal relations are going to go for sixes.” It’s not that I haven’t made an attempt to plan my weekends. But all my attempts have failed every time I have tried that. I have kind of given up planning my weekends!

I don’t know if this has happened to you as well. Sometimes situations are such that you feel staying silent is the best reaction to it. Your relationship with someone is resting on such a delicate thread that you are utterly confused about the way you need to handle it. I am currently facing that with a few of my friends. It’s like, if I speak, what should it be about? And if I don’t, will it convey to them that I no more care about them, and I have begun to kind of show attitude. The fact is folks, I simply don’t know. But I care about them. I feel I just don’t know how to express my concern and care!

My state on the personal front as of now, is one of utter confusion. If anyone of you have been through the similar situations kindly share your experiences with me. May be I can take cue out of your experience. I am badly in need of help! Life just seems to be so confusing and relationships, even more complex!!!

~IT's My Life

Digg this