1. I believe that the good people of the Indian Society would have formed this system for some virtuous reasons. However, over time the system has been abused. Thus, we have the state we are in now. If we try understanding the origins, I believe that we can formulate a good sustainable new system.

      Thanks Akriti for your kind patronage and your kind encouragement.


      1. No i hope not. We don’t need another caste system . We already have enough discrimination and then people wonder why is India a third world country.

        I am a Brahmin but how does that matter. I respect people with intellect, with skill, with abilities. Caste is never an issue with me. I mean it’s 2014 and we still practice untouchibility (even though its an offence).

      2. Really appreciate your point of view. The existence of the caste system is also one the reason, I believe, why many Indians converted to other religions. Other religions are by and large casteless. Though, social bifurcations exists in all societies.

  1. I had an interesting experience during one of the visits to the KFC outlet in RT Nagar. The person told me that their machine for making the Crispy Chicken was out of order. He told me that the machine was imported from USA. He further explained that the machine frequently broke down during the summer; while it functioned efficiently during the winter.

  2. A study of the different dictionaries of Indian Languages should be able to reveal the level of interaction between people living in different parts of India during the ancient times. Dictionaries generally have reference to when words were introduced in them. The words in a language from other languages should be an indicator of influence of the other language on this language.

  3. I believe in the conclusions of this experiment. I always wondered why eminent cricketers from all over the world speak stereotype, taught dialogues in between their commentary to advertise useless stuff. It is clear to me now that they are just following some Authority (I would love to believe that they do this against their liking) as the Authority promises to pay them money for doing so. These enormously rich people say these dialogues flawlessly even at the compromise of giving good expert comments. The poor viewers of the Television continue to pray these cricketers as God.

    A really sorry state of the world.

  4. Taking out a lot of venom today.

    There was an incidence during this period where I was invited for a drink by one of the Indian Project Managers. After I had 2 pegs of whisky, the Project Manager explained that we have all come to Cyprus to earn dollars. He explained that if I obeyed and stayed in the job, I could earn about Rs. 1 crore in about 2 years. Then I could return to India and relax. He did not know that I do not get drunk even after drinking 1 litre of whisky on the rocks. I never understood what I was disobeying. I was just trying to create systems and processes as was my job.

    In another incidence, my Project Manager (who was an ex-Indian Air Force Squadron Leader) told me that I was from NIIT and not from IIT. So, I needed to just stop trying to create anything. I found that people from IIT who were working for our company regularly spent more than 4 hours drinking alcohol after office hours. These guys had befriended Russian girls with whom they had sex regularly.

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  6. The question is why did the Pythagoreans have this code of secrecy in their society. It would not have been for nothing that they made this code. It must have come from some experience. If this could be determined then it is possible finding out whether the concerns of the Pythagoreans apply to the modern world. If it does, then what people do must be right. Else, people need changing their ways.

    I think this mechanism is better than just following a code blindly.

  7. Man would not have known months. I guess he would have known days as he would have seen the Sun rise and set at regular intervals. He may or may not have known about seasons as most of the places where he lived would have been covered by snow.

    1. No Madam. I am from West Bengal. My father was posted in Jodhpur for about 2 years. I studied my class 8 and part of class 7 in Jodhpur. Much later I had taken our daughters on a trip to the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur). I yearn for going on a trip by “Palace on Wheel”. I had seen the train when it was initially introduced back in the 1980s.

      1. Wow, I just looked up Palace on Wheel. It is amazing. We did travel quite a bit on Indian trains but 2nd or 3rd class, bring our own food. Hope it happens for you ! Rajasthan is amazing!

      2. Dear Madam,

        As I have been travelling by trains in India since childhood, I can tell you authority that travelling by trains in India is very enjoyable.

        I am travelling by 2nd class next weekend to be on time for my elder daughter’s birthday.

        We will await welcoming you in India.

        Thanks and Regards,

      3. Do you eat the food on the train? we were in India when the study was on the TV about poor sanitary conditions. I was very careful during the 4 months we were there and had only one night of Delhi Belly. I loved the sleeper cars, when were all together with the students. One great big sleep over party. I love to look out the windows at where I have been and where I am going.

      4. Dear Madam,

        You will definitely find hygiene conditions in Indian Railways and in general across India much improved. Also there are certain minimum guidelines to be abided by all vendors selling food. As more organised sectors have entered the business, there is reasonable accountability as well.


      5. Good to hear. I am just very careful because I don’t like to get sick. Things are just different in India, and I love that, but there can be tummy problems.

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  9. Dear Parthada,
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    Thanks and Regards
    Dipranjan Ganguly

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    1. Thank Sir/Madam for your kind observation and your kind patronage and your kind encouragement.

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  14. I have been getting threatening calls from people for having insulted Mr. Dennis Ritchie. I wish to clarify that I cannot insult Mr. Ritchie under any circumstances. I owe the well-being of my family and myself to Mr. Ritchie for all these 24 years in the Corporate World as all I have learnt is programming in “C” Language. Even when I write programs in PowerBuilder or Java or Ruby or anything else, everybody tell me that I am writing “C” code.

    However, people are not convinced. They checked me out and concluded that I only know the syntax of “printf”. Also, I know that I only know how to type the program “hello.c” as Mr. Ritchie had written in his book “The C Programming Language”.

    Anyway, to provide absolute proof that I mean no insult to Mr. Ritchie, I state the findings from my research.

    I understand that “printf” can not only be used to print variables, it can also be used to print constants like “Hello, World”. As such constants cannot be identified by an address, it was not possible for Mr. Ritchie to allow for “printf” to take an address as an input parameter. So, we have the enormous luxury to print any expression like “2 * 5 * 1000” or “2 * 5 * 1000 * a” using a “printf” statement in the “C” Language.

    Now, “scanf” is lot more trickier. “scanf” takes an address as an input parameter as it needs depositing the value provided as input at the address where it needs storing. However, if just variable reference was provided, it should have still been possible. The only problem was that the executable at run time would need referring to the symbol table to find the address associated to the variable and then deposit the value at the address. This also should not have been an issue. However, Mr. Ritchie made something called pointers. Now, pointers could store address. And the address stored by the pointer itself could store another address, And that address could store another address and this could go on endlessly. If “scanf” took a variable reference, the executable could run around endlessly searching for the address and this would have made the “C” Language super slow. This would have been unacceptable at that time as the need was to move from super fast assembly language to something just as fast, but much easier to write.

  15. There is a flaw in the formula. This is with respect to the variable D. The larger the value of D, the less should be the value of T. However, right now, D enhances the value of T with increase in value of D. The correction to this flaw is proposed as follows.
    1. We should define a sentinel value K.
    2. K should be determined by statistical analysis across a population such that K should be maximum acceptable value for the length of a mail chain for a given issue.
    3. D should be computed as (K – D) if D is less than or equal to K, otherwise 0.

  16. A few further cues for more effectiveness of the formula.
    1. For the Audit to be more effective, it is best to invite consultants from the Third World countries. As people in these have so many issues in their daily life, they have a very natural ability for identifying issues.
    2. It does not need any skills in selecting issues from the list created by the Consultants. It is absolutely not essential finding any relation or correlation between the issues. By ignoring this exercise, it only enhances the chance of more work being done by the staff. So, the issues could be selected in a sequence from the top to the bottom or bottom to top OR at random by throwing darts. So, learning to be experts in dart is a key skill which any manager should develop.

  17. In one of my companies, when my Executive Director asked me to analyse a troubled project, I sent a report stating what were the issues and what needs doing. What happened next was that I was transferred from Bangalore to Kolkata to try and deliver the project. Moving to Kolkata meant that I was a forced bachelor again as my wife worked in Bangalore. When I started trying solving the issues, a Governance Body of heavy weights was sent from somewhere in North India. On arrival of this team, all I had time for was to answer the Governance Body’s questions and no time to work on the solution. So, the project kept drifting. Anyway, as the customer was kind, they stopped complaining to my management on my request. At this time, as it was uncertain whether our company would keep our division, I had to look for a job. After drifting along for some time, I got a new job and quit the company.

    By the way, just 1 year prior to this, I has refused a very good and high paying job as I wanted to complete a key (though low-value) project for the same customer.

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  20. Thank you Sir/Madam for your kind patronage and kind encouragement.

    The following are the responses to your questions.
    1. I have no way to analyse the characteristics of the visitors who kindly leave messages on this blog. I do not even try such an exercise.
    2. I request your kindly clicking on the link “About” on the Blog where my addresses on the Social Media have been listed. This will also increase the number of hits on the blog by one.

    Nevertheless, I provide them for you as requested.
    LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=80194011&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/partha.majumdar.5
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/partha060369
    Slideshare – http://www.slideshare.net/parthamajumdar5/edit_my_uploads


  21. There is nothing unfortunate for the scapegoat and he/she needs no sympathy for the following reasons.
    1. Management does not work on emotions.
    2. The scapegoat will learn to solve cases under the most stressed conditions and will immensely enhance his/her skills. This will lead to the scapegoat becoming more relevant to the industry with every such experience and thus will never have a situation where his/her demand will ever diminish.

    I consider these are the pillar of success built from failures.

    Further, I believe that such simplicity on the part of the scapegoat keeps his/her life uncomplicated and tunes him/her to be more and more solution oriented.

    The biggest advantage is that taking such risks has the huge possibility that the scapegoat could be actually considered for a higher level of responsibility as he/she would have definitely learnt at least a little more than what he/she is supposed to know under normal work conditions. Even with least initial knowledge, the scapegoat definitely learns about management considerations which are kept away from him/her.

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  30. Oh you really need to find a copy of a great film…1010 04 2011, IN BRUGGE staring Colin Firth. Wonderful setting…all in Brugge and great story and acting. I am sure you would enjoy it. Ever since I saw that , I have wanted to visit this wonderful city!
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      1. Partha da…. Its really enjoyable, well described travel story. It must be very tough to spend whole night in Paris in Feb without blanket and heating system. It’s quite adventurous and Chilling too 🙂

    1. Yes Sir/Madam, e-Smoke is allowed everywhere. I have even used it inside Emirates flight. However, I did not carry it along and cannot validate whether Andrew would approve of the same.

      I do pray that I pass this exam as this is my first examination on Architecture and my company pays me extra to be Acting Executive Manager for IT System Architecture.


      1. Today I got the Certificate confirming that I have passed the examination. Now, I have lined up two more courses with Certification from TM Forum.

  35. I am visiting this blog for first time. I am proud to say that I’ve become a great fan of this blog officially. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information like this one. Anyone who really wants to read a article with full of information, should read this.

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    1. Point taken. However, I am very scared to take photographs on the roads of Riyadh as this has potential for getting me in trouble. As I had a near escape on one occasion, I absolutely avoid it now.


      1. Added a second photograph of Barber Shop in India. In my village, I still go to Barber Shops similar to the one in the first photograph. As it costs maximum Rs. 15 even today, I absolutely avoid anything close to Jawed Habib where I do not know how much I have to shell out.

        The name of my village is Barbadia. It is about 5 KM from Barasat City Center. Barasat is the capital of the 24 Parganas (North) District in West Bengal in India.

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  39. partha, great!!! All the same adventure for us Jagriti House gang!! only difference was you guys used to go Chankaya for English movies and we went to Sangam for hindi movies!! you see we had a slight language problem!!

    1. Yes Manish. Most of my adventures were in Chanakya. And a few in Archana. I used to avoid Archana as the walk back was just too long. However, I smoked the first cigarette of my life while successfully getting into Archana for watching “The Officer and a Gentleman” with Lee as the movie was graded as “Adults only”. I did see one (only one) movie in Sangam and that was “Jawani” and we saw this movie one day before the board exams because there was a huge craze about a hot chic (Neelam). The only other hindi movie I saw while I was at the hostel was “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”.

    1. Right Sanjay. We were the implementors of the IVRS Client. Our team provided the Socket Server as the Billing System was ours. As all our need regarding the IVRS Client was met through Sujay Hore of your team and thus you were invisible to us.

      We later used the same Socket Server to integrate with the USSD Gateway and USSD Server provided by Praveen Gaur’s team. The Socket Server scaled up beautifully. After the initial hic-ups towards the end of 2005, it never gave us any cause for concern.

      Later when you moved to Europe, we took over the IVRS Client also.

  40. I learnt from my cousin that in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a person was caught for having murdered his Boss. The Police collected all the evidence to conclusively prove the point. So, as per the law, the person was to be executed. However, the Police (or the Court) referred to the Wife of the murdered person whether she would like considering pardoning the murderer and give him a chance to live. The Wife did not agree for considering the option. So, the murderer’s head will be chopped off in a matter of a few days as per the law.

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    1. Dear Karim,

      In a Telecom Operations, the ratio of personnel in Quality Assurance needs matching the people in the IT Development Section or being more than the people in the IT Development Section. This is because in a Telecom Operations, we generally deal with bought out products from the product vendors and/or solution providers. Ideally, 60-80% of the work of IT Development should be configuring the bought out products. Only then a Telecom Operator can attain the needed velocity for launching products in the market rapidly. So, the converse of the statement is that major work of an IT Department in a Telecom Operation is testing the developed products so that they do not bounce when launched in the market. So, IT Quality Assurance Role ratio is justified.

      However, the Quality Assurance roles could be conducted by the IT Development Sections also. They could either have dedicated teams or conduct these activities through peer-to-peer reviews.


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    1. Dear Sir/Madam,

      Thank you for the kind words and for your kind patronage.

      I tried to get the clip from NDTV Profit as I was told that they archive everything. I did not succeed so far. I will try nevertheless.

      This telecast was a part of a series on Siemens by NDTV Profit called “Siemens Answers” (If I remember correctly). All together 18 Siemens solutions were discussed in this series. This was the only inclusion from the Telecom Division of Siemens.


  44. Partha,

    I liked reading your writeups. You really have a photogenic memory, and can narrate all the incidents with details. after reading the Reliance incidents, I laughed a lot and can visualize those days. 🙂

  45. Software Engineering : The inhabitant enters the room and screamed first and then call the service provider (i.e. fire brigade) and abuse “Why the diesel catches fire when I am paying you…etc etc…”. A junior support staff enters the room.. blow some air from mouth..but the fire is still there and this time it is more than previous. S/He calls the senior.
    Senior : Hellooooo!!!
    JSS (junior support staff) : How to stop fire…
    Senior : Put water in it
    JSS: But there is no water
    Senior : Then u should carry it!!!!! what r u doing there without anything…
    JSS : How can I carry water ???!!!
    Senior : U should..
    JSS : Okk sorry…Now what should I do …
    In the meantime client enters the room and see the fire : “What r u doing..u inefficient fellow ..who is on the line??”
    Jss : Senior
    Give me the phone…”What r u doing there??”
    Senior : We are very close to the solution…Please give us some time
    Customer abuse and give the phone to the JSS…
    Senior : Look there is a bucket of sand
    JSS: Yes Yes..
    Senior : Put that sand on the fire
    JSS does it and the situation under control..
    JSS : Yes …solved…!!!
    Senior : Come and make a documentation on this …
    JSS : 🙁 🙁 🙁

    1. Very nice. Thanks Sovan.

      I have lost count of how many fires we must have doused in this manner. Also, how many piles of documents we must have written which nobody has bother to read. It has only cost the organisation disk space on the Configuration Management System and cost so many trees.

      The documentation would possible be as follows.
      Case: When called for a service to douse a fire.
      1. Look if there is a bucket of sand.
      1.a. If yes, spray the sand on the fire.
      1.a.1 If fire is extinguished, get sign-off and return.
      1.a.2 If fire is not extinguished, call Senior for support.
      1.b. If no, spray the water as suggested to carry by the Senior.
      1.b.1. If fire is extinguished, check if any water is remaining. Also, get sign-off.
      1.b.1.a. If water is remaining, offer a glass to the Customer. Get sign-off for the same and update stock in the inventory management system.
      1.b.1.b. If no water is remaining, do not bother.
      1.b.2. If fire is not extinguished, call Senior for support.

      What if the fire is due to short circuit and the same process is followed because this has been documented?


      1. Hahahahhahh….lol…lol…
        In case of short circuit another tree will be effected as another doc need to be prepared.. 😛 ..
        Stop_Fire_Short_Circuit_Version_0044.doc 🙁 ..

      2. I missed one very important component. When the above document is reviewed, the Quality Assurance Manager would find a flaw in the step 1.a.2. He would possible comment that in this step, step 1.b. should be applied. However, overall solution would be the same.

  46. Dear Logan,

    I am extremely regretful to have caused pain to you.

    This could be an issue localised in India. I had recruited a person in Siemens named Amerendra Nath Pramanik. At the time of the interview, we found him having needed technical knowledge. However, the person was very shy. He was working for a very small company. When the HR asked him what salary he expected, he told that the HR could decide that. HR gave him 10% raise over his present salary and hired him. After joining, within 3 months, he took over huge amount of responsibility. We were also happy as he was very capable. There were many in the team at that point of time who were fresh graduates from the college and Amarendra had about 4 years experience. He soon realised that his salary was same as that of the fresh graduates. He did not compromise on his work. However, he discussed this concern with me. I discussed the matter with my boss and the HR and agreed that we would give him the maximum 30% increment and a grade jump that year. This was also not sufficient to bring him at par.

    It took me 3 years to bring this person at par with his skills and experience. He also helped me as his performance did not slaken during this period. Just to ensure myself that I was doing enough to not allow him to be demotivated on this ground, I awarded him merit awards for 2 years.

    Amarendra still works for Siemens. However, there were a few other cases whom I could not retain and they had the same issue.


  47. Dear Mary,

    This is just a joke and I am sure such things do not happen. However, in my work life, I have come across quite a few instances where someone has tried to follow the book according to his/her interpretation and not understanding the spirit of what has been documented.

    I will give you an example. See if I am making sense.

    We had an agreement with Reliance to supply changes to the supplied systems every month. The appointed date for the change delivery was 28th of every month. So, as a process, we had defined that we would baseline our system in the configuration management tool on 28th of every month. We would not make any changes to the system between 26th and 28th of the month. We would create the build from the configuration management tool and conduct regression testing on the same. After the regression tests were passed by the testing team, we would baseline the configuration management tool and supply the build to Reliance.

    However, during the month, we made many changes to the system for 2 purposes.
    1. For enhancement of the product for the new requirements.
    2. For fixing bugs as reported by Reliance.

    When we fixed the bugs, we created the builds and deployed at Reliance.

    Now, we had a new Quality Assurance Manager. His first objection to our process was that whenever we made a release to Reliance, we should baseline the system. This was required even if we had to do this 10 or 20 times in a month. The logic was that every release made to the customer must be baselined. As a concept, he was possibly correct. However, our understanding was that this was not practical. Moreover, we proved that there was no risk to the customer in our present practice as we had an extensive documentation regarding every change made in the system. Thus, if something did malfunction, we could rollback that bit without causing any impact on other intermediate deliveries. Also, we always conducted smoke tests before any intermediate release. There was no risk to our organisation as well we were doing precisely what we had documented as a process and thus not violating the quality process.


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  49. Had a very interesting conversation with my friend Nabeel in the Smoking Area. Nabeel told me that web masters insist on users not providing the same password because the hackers constantly try to break the passwords by brute force method using computer programs. They try to decipher the pattern of the secure hash algorithm or SHA. (There are the following variants of SHA – SHA-0, SHA-1, SHA-2 and SHA-3. SHA-1 is most widely used algorithm at the moment and SHA-3 is the latest, announced on 02Oct12). If the same password is used by the user then the possibility that the hacker can find a part of the password by reverse engineering the SHA-1 pattern exists. Although, hackers will take a few years to achieve this using very powerful computers, it is still a possibility. Thus, users need changing the passwords from time to time. By not allowing the user to use the same password, the web masters provide a service to the users to prevent them from potential fraud.

    However, users also need using this feature effectively. If the user maintains a constant part in the password and changes a minor part, then the utility of this feature is reduced. For example, if the first password set by the user is “ab1234” and the next is set as “ab5678”, the user is not doing a big favour to himself/herself.

    Now, comes a bigger challenge. Is it possible to provide this feature to the user (to force the change of password) without the need for the web site storing the historic passwords? Can the login programs be provided some form of artificial intelligence that they can remember the old passwords without actually storing them in a database? It has to store something. Could the computer only store some patterns of the old passwords and extrapolate whether the new password matches any of the older passwords? Can the computer actually behave like a human brain one day?

    1. That is nice Tridibesh. However, it was not a good option for me. As I had to go all the way to Silom or to Jatuchak to deposit the money in Bangkok Bank. Traveling by taxi was not a hassle. However, it was a big pressure on the time required due to the jams in Bangkok. And during my stay at TAC, I really had no time till the system went live. I did not even tend to wife who was carrying during that period.

      I eventually took the help of Khun Nok, who was the Manager of our Apartment, to teach me how to deposit money using the ATM.


    1. Dear Sukamal,

      As far as I can remember, I did not say anything possibly. I must have definitely thanked him as I usually do so. I was just too stunned. I remember that I divided the amount in smaller sets and stuffed them in different parts of the garments. In those days, my shirts and trousers used to have a “Chor Pocket”, which was supposed to be an insurance against potential pick-pockets.


  50. You have added one more feather in ur crown . Please tell us the exact number of crown u have till now because the number of feathers u earned can not be put in a single crown. So it must be high in number.
    Many many heartiest congratulations for the new achievement and best of luck for the upcoming one.

    1. Thanks Sovan. However, there is no crown. There never was and never will be. I read in my childhood that “Uneasy is the head that wears a crown” and thus avoid it religiously.

      In any case, I do not like to wear any ornaments as I do not like any bindings. The only piece of ornament or any kind of binding on my body is a ring on the middle finger of the right hand that Deepshree requested me to adorn as she believes that it will help me stay healthy as it has the hair of an Elephant.


  51. Partha Da,

    I was the winner of that quality quiz held at 12th floor by Kaustuv da in QA team. Subhendu da was visiting our office that day and QA team (along with you) announced that the winner will get a prize and we decided that we will do a party with that prize. Alas !!!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 … I did not get the prize 🙁 🙁 and we missed the party 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 …. But I got one thing that day.. Your full appreciation … That was more precious whereas we missed the delicious Prize 😛 …

    With regards,

  52. Hi Partha,..that was a trip down memory lane…how we had worked on the CIMCO project in the NIIT Royd Street office…all of us holed up in one room…and Sudipto’s “jhod jhod nabiye daao”….and i still remember Riya’s birth and the dinner treat you had thrown at Peerless…and Devdutt’s wedding…some of the fun time outside office that we had ….working on the project was one heck of an experience…long hours, stretched targets….the camaraderie amongst all the team members…and you were in thailand and we used to send the codes to you…your observation that someone was writing part as ‘party’ in the code… 🙂 it was a great way to start my career at NIIT…

  53. What is your overall reaction on what Raju did? As per you, was he innocent? I still didn’t understand why a statement made you change your mind completely!! Must be something more that you cannot write here – perhaps :-).

    1. No. Yesterday, it was conclusively proved that Raju is not innocent.

      I do not like to sack anyone. That is the fact. I firmly believe that everybody has something good and it is a Manager’s failure if he or she cannot see these elements. I believe that if a team member fails to perform, it is the Manager’s fault and not the Employee’s failure.

      I also tend to think in case of behavioural disfunction, the person should be given a second chance unless it is an extreme act. What Raju had done deserved the sack. However, I thought that I could have corrected that by keeping him with me.

    2. Having said this, I recently took an extreme decision in case of one Team Member. However, I took the decision to rectify a person’s thought process. The consequences are not dire. Now, I have to wait to see the results.

  54. Unfortunate situation, seems like the HRM made all the decisions while you watched. When I saw the headline, I thought you will write about your sacking situation in MIT but it was about somebody else’s. Hope some day you will write the truth about the HRM.

    1. Your observation is correct. However, the fact is also that I cannot yet take decisive positions regarding anything other than if it is a matter of coding and designing. If it comes to anything else like architecture or bid or strategy, I purposefully choose to just proposing as I am never sure if I have covered all aspects in my thoughts. In Human Resource Matters, I am naive. I am still trying to learn and hope one day I will be there.

      I could not quite understand your statement “Write about your sacking situation in MIT”.

      1. Don’t you think Partha that when you write a story where you yourself are involved, you tend to get biased towards yourself? Be honest :). No intentions of de-meaning you, but you are TOO GOOD MAN..

      2. Yes Praveen. In all these stories, I am absolutely writing what my knowledge and emotions are. I would love having other perspectives – technical or managerial or others.

    2. The situation in MIT was not sacking for me for the first time. I am one of the few people in this world who has got “STUPID” written all over his body. It took NIIT 2 years before they realised that I could do something other than just write programs in Sybase. For 4 years, Siemens thought they had the wrong guy for the position as I was writing programs. I would have never left Siemens and would have loved to have retired from Siemens. However, the sale of the Telecom Division did not allow that to happen.

  55. Thanks Rosa. The SEO has got good results in the first 2 days. Though it has been sluggish for the last 2 days, I hope it will pick up. Meanwhile, trying to build good contents and trying to build the page to be technically more solid.


  56. i really liked Raju and was about to take an extreme action to govern the BRM upgrade, however i was asked by the Ag GM not to complicate the situation and promised the utmost support, which i got eventually.

    Yet to say the truth, till date i do suspect the whole situation ..

    1. Dear Ubaid,

      That meeting reminded of the incidence for sure. It has come earlier than it was planned.

      Thanks to your message that I have this blog today. However, it is just some contents. It is not technically sound. Need to learn more about SEO and WordPress.


  57. There was a very good reason why ITC used the Tally System (which was even less known in 1995) for Financial Accounting. ITC followed a 4-entry accounting system instead of the conventional double-entry accounting system. This customisation could be forced into Tally because it was an upcoming company.

  58. One friend points out that there is missing link in the story. He points out that by seeing the Mediation Team code I could have known what to program. However, how did I get the resources from eServ to program it.

    The fact is that we were programming the eServ – SmartPay interface and Indranil was programming the IN Ticket Processor. So, we had all the details of the eServ libraries and PI interface with us. I just used them at that moment. It was possibly my foolishness that I did not use it earlier. Actually, I did not bother because the Mediation Team was anyway responsible for that and I had enough on my plate as it is.

  59. Yes Praveen. This was true for the IVRS and USSD. The remaining components were on UNIX. The main component of eServ to SmartPay connection was on a huge Solaris Box. Later, we made it redundant by adding one extra box.

  60. I believe that the physical challenges was easily overcome and never mattered because there were huge learning from this project. 3 significant learning which helped me enormously through these year are as follows.

    1. When we were analysing the system, possibly due to the fact that we were always discussing the requirements with the middle level managers of Woodlands, we did not get a picture of what we actually needed to achieve from this computerization. In the initial stages, it seemed to me that we were merely replacing the data capture mechanism of the hospital from paper documents to electronic media. This was because we were designing the system around what was recorded in the registers of the different departments of the hospital to be recorded using a computer and stored in databases. So, we were replacing papers with magnetic disks. All of this underwent a paradigm change when Mr. Dipesh Barua, who was on the board of Woodlands and was the Financial Controller of ITC, came to inspect the progress. When we explained the progress, he closed the meeting after 10 minutes and told us that we were absolute nonsense. He gave us 2 days and gave us 4 objectives – 1) The system should enable a patient reach his/her bed in the hospital on arrival at the hospital gate within 10 minutes, 2) 90% of the hospital beds should be occupied at any point of time, 3) Any party in the hospital, internal or external, should be able to track the status of any of his/her request within 5 minutes, 4) The patient party should be able to complete all formalities during the discharge process and leave the hospital in 30 minutes. We worked over the next 2 days and reworked all the workflows. Sagar decided that as I had the best English speaking ability among us, I should moderate the meeting. Mr. Dipesh Barua gave us 30 minutes time and arrived sharp at 9:00 AM. I started to explain our solution and this meeting carried on till 11 PM in the night. This was a turning point as now we actually started to engineer a solution for the hospital and stopped working like carpenters.

    2. Sagar anticipated that we would be joined by members in the team whose skills level in Sybase would not be up to his expectation. This would lead to all kinds of code which would result in lots of testing effort and rework. So, he told me to develop a code generator for Sybase APT to which we could specify nature of the code required, like whether it was for Menu processing, or Pre-Entry Trigger of a field, and so on. The this tool would create the basic structure of the needed code. All the programmer should need doing was to fill in the essential SQL statements at the appropriate points marked by the code generator. I developed this tool using Curses library. This became very useful as it reduced the development time drastically and the code across the system was very standardized. This was my first exposure to creating Rapid Development Tools. This was sort of standardized across NIIT for all subsequent projects where Sybase was sold.

    3. The Executive Information System (EIS) was the only part of the solution where we could program something spectacular which would be visually attractive as this system would be developed and deployed on machines running Windows on coloured terminals, the rest of the system being run on black & white UNIX terminals. What was needed was a complete panorama of the hospital with all essential information which could be unfolded stage by stage. I got the complete blueprint of the hospital from their Administration department and drew the complete hospital layout using Excel on the laptop of our Regional Manager that he had given to me for this project. I drew everything to scale. Then I planted all the hotspots from where transactions could be triggered. The system had so many hotspots that the experience was like sculpting each minor details of Taj Mahal. After that I programmed each hotspot for the purpose they were placed. When one opened the system, the complete hospital would be displayed. Then, when one clicked on a floor, the complete floor would be displayed with status of each room and one could drill down to more details. The incoming patient could select a room depending on their choice of location and budget and orientation and floor, etc. and book it in one click from the EIS and proceed to his/her selected room while someone in his party could complete the needed paper work. Similarly, if a patient wanted to undergo open-heart surgery, he/she could visualize the complete plan regarding where he/she would be put up initially, then which Operation Theatre he/she would be operated in, and then which bed in the ICCU he/she would be brought to, and then to which room he/she would be shifted to from where he/she would be discharged. At that time, I had no exposure to Internet and when I saw the Yahoo portal quite a few years later, I realized that what Yahoo had designed, our EIS was also something very similar and actually it was a portal from where any information relating to the hospital could be accessed besides the possibilities for conducting some transactions. Developing this EIS, I got the confidence that I could innovate and create solutions even without having the right kind of tools.

  61. A little of what was possible with IBM Story Teller is possible with Microsoft Power Point today. Apart from creating slides and animating them, it was possible to program the slide shows with complete programming constructs like branching and loops. What we see on Television today during the cricket matches or other sports was programmed by us at that time. I think it was remarkable as we had very little exposure to quality Television programs in those days as Doordarshan was the only signal we could receive and they would occasionally telecast feeds from Channel 9 and BBC when India would play against Australia and England respectively. I wonder where such tools have disappeared.

    Though I refer to the software as IBM Story Teller, it actually had 2 components – IBM Story Board and IBM Story Teller. IBM Story Board was used to develop the scripts and IBM Story Teller was used to play the stories.

  62. It was fact that every new product deployment in Reliance was met with severe issues in the initial days of the implementation. However, this needs considering in the context of Reliance from the software delivery unit’s point of view.

    The fact was Reliance used to manage 8 Circles of Operation across a large part of North India and East India using this one installation. Each Circle is an individual PLMN. For this, Reliance did not have a test bed at their site. Whatever our software delivery unit produced was tested entirely using simulators at our labs and then directly deployed in the production environment of Reliance. The UAT was conducted by Reliance with live customers using the fresh deployment. Some of the critical deployments were controlled as they would be only exposed to internal staff for a period of time prior to being exposed to the complete customer base.

    When an operator has such a set up, they have in any case calculated the risk involved. I justified this strategy of Reliance as they would have definitely calculated that the cost of this risk and found that it was less than the cost of setting up the needed additional infrastructure.

  63. Hello!!!

    In my opinion, a project is not successful if it does not meet the reliability factor among others.

    Speaking in the context of this particular project, the success factor was how long the product would survive for the purpose it was built for. This is because the revenue generated by the project execution was just about 2% of the total revenue generated by the installation of the solution through the license fees charged to the customer and from the annual maintenance contract. The AMC would be about 1% of the license fees (considering 1 year AMC. Considering that the system supported from 3 million to 12 million, we received license fees for 9 million additional licenses. AMC over 4 year for this license fees was 1% of the net license fees received).

    However, delivering the product on agreed timelines was equally vital as otherwise there be a bigger impact on the Customer in terms of loss of opportunity.

    The next enquiry could be regarding whether it was wise to risk the total redevelopment knowing the risk of overshooting the schedule. The fact was that if we decided to modify the existing ASP code, my judgement was that time required would be equal or more time (as anyway expertise did not exist and also the tool was more cumbersome to develop with compared to ASP.Net). Also, even if we developed on the ASP, it was a horrendous task to extend the solution beyond that point. Our main earning from the software for the Delivery Unit was from the change requests as the license fees is the earning of the Marketing Department.

    So, in this context, delivering a solution which was known to be less reliable at the point of time of delivery, was still prudent as long as we were sincere that we would improve the reliability within a reasonable period of time. In my evaluation, this was the best solution in that situation for the Customer and for our organisation.

    I could say, it worked that way as well, as definitely the Customer earned huge revenue from the different products and services launched (which is evident as the customer base grew more than 300%). Also, we used to earn an EBIT of around 45% from the different changes and new additions for the solution and the earning from the license was a total bonus.

  64. Already addicted to your FB postings… Now this site is adding another dimension to it… Please keep sharing your experiences so that I can learn something….