Unsolicited advice for Mr. Narayana Murthy

6 06 2013

Change Ahead

When the news of Mr. Narayana Murthy and his team that included Mr. Rohan Murthy being back at Infosys at an executive position


broke out, it took the media, shareholders, stock exchange and critics by surprise who welcomed the decision. But for the loyal employees of Infy, the ex-employees for whom Infy was their first love and those who still idealises Mr. Murthy, this did not come as a surprise since they knew for a long time that this was the final and only possible hope for Infosys to gain back its long lost glory.

Only a few media and critics came out with their opinions on what Infosys should do next which mostly included strategic suggestions like renewed focus on sales, client relations, using cash reserve etc. Here I have put down a few quick fixes from a  and smaller tactical points which focuses on human resource, the real work horses of Infy. These are the thirteen points that has built over the years through interactions with ex-colleagues at all levels within Infy in no order of priority.

  1. Do something drastically different very soon.
    There are millions who have become highly impatient expecting things to improve when the management changed repeatedly over time. Your being back at Infosys is a hope for these millions that things would start improving. A quick decision at this point will not only help build up confidence, but also prove that Infosys as a company is not afraid to change.
  2. Bring in transparency in employee communications
    Make sure that employees get to hear the news first before it’s released to media. One small step in building up trust between employees and management.
  3. Question HR hiring.
    Let’s face the truth. When talented and experienced employees left in thousands due to bad HR policies like iRace and post era, hiring was in progress aggressively so that attrition rate is at its minimal in the annual report. This process gave birth to Infy jokes like “Trespasses will be hired!”. Some of these bad hires not only had poor English communication, but also did not possess even basic excel skills. These lateral hires were paid more than expats for years until their rating came out and were eventually expelled from the company. Facing the true attrition rate and a high level investigation into bad hiring will eventually increase the quality of new hires.
  4. Provide a stage to question rating feedback.
    Provide a stage for the employee to question his performance rating and make sure that his/her opinions are taken seriously and corrected if necessary. This will not only ensure that ratings are not given based on manager’s personal relations, but also this would bring in more transparency during future rating and feedback cycle.
  5. Cut down operational cost.
    Way back when the employee strength was only 10k, a 20% bench strength meant that only about 2k employees were idle. But when the company has grown to 150k employees and with bench strength increasing to over 40%, maintaining such a vast resource pool only eats into profits. Those currently on bench may not be the ideal candidate for this exercise, but those who has a constant poor record of not delivering should fit this category. Eventually increase revenue per employee.
  6. Scrap iRace & bring in meritocracy based promotions
    The current promotion criteria based on iRace policy clearly states how many years an employee should work in a particular position until he gets promoted. A mere average performance and seniority guarantees promotion. Scrap the policy, bring in meritocracy and demote if necessary.
  7. Compensate loyal employees appropriately
    Spend money in compensating existing employees based on loyalty and performance. It’s better to hold on to current top employees who knows the culture well than bringing in new laterals at a higher rate.
  8. Infosys is not a government company
    The company has lost its image of being a honeypot of talent for young engineers and its seen more as a government organization where decisions take time and change is never heard of. Take quick and drastic decisions when necessary and maintain transparency within employees and shareholders.
  9. Remove 9.15hrs per day criteria
    Cutting leaves of employees who don’t stay within campus for at least 9.15hrs only helps in heating the chairs and increasing electricity bills. Make it clear that doing quality work on time is more important than slogging for 9.15hrs. Reward those who work faster & smarter and provide assistance to those who don’t.
  10. Change the dress code.
    Personally I always wondered why casuals were allowed on Friday’s and not on other working days. Were there no client visits on Fridays? At least relaxing the tie on Monday and Tuesdays will definitely be welcomed by the employees.
  11. Trust the employees
    Overtime when Infosys is left with the truly loyal and talented employees, take minor steps to increase trust. Stopping checking of baggage everytime employees enter and exit the campus would be a good place to start.
  12. Create a culture of entrepreneurship
    Create and promote the culture for talented engineers to get together and work on personal projects when on bench. Provide courses on new technologies for employees on bench to nurture talent and prepare them for future challenges.
  13. Finally, its perfectly ok to go back on statements
    A part of the press is busy pointing out that you have gone back on your own policies of retirement age and family business. H. M. Warne of Warner Brothers in 1927 said “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Imagine where they would be today if they had clinched on to the statement. In today’s rapidly changing environment, it’s perfectly ok for predictions to go wrong. It’s more important to adapt to current needs even if that required going back on past statements. In a firefighting situation, almost everyone works best with a team they already know; hence there is no harm in bringing in Mr. Rohan Murthy and team who has excellent credentials and whom you are comfortable with. The need of the hour required someone as capable as you to come out of retirement and like there cannot be another Steve Jobs, there is no other NR Narayana Murthy.




Back after a very long time for a single reason

6 06 2013

It’s been a while since I have blogged… quite a while. Over the past few years things have changed drastically for me. I have fulfilled my long dream of working at Microsoft, started blogging on MSDN blogs, been active on various social networks, moved around various cities, created and deleted multiple blog sites and did a whole lot more.

So why am I writing this post today? Well this post is sort of a prequel to my next post. Ever since I heard the news about Mr. Narayana Murthy (NRN) being back at Infosys (which happens to be my first love and first company) in an executive position, I have been more than excited to put down my thoughts which has accumulated over time. As an ex-employee, a mid-level developer and most importantly someone who was once passionately in love with the company just like Mr.NRN is today, these are my personal opinions on what the company could/should do to gain back its lost mojo.

Why didn’t I care to put these thoughts down in the past four years? The simple answer is that I had lost faith in the company and its management when I quit on 1st January 2010 and was sure that things were only going to get worse. At a time when the outcry of 1 lakh+ employees against iRace and other HR policies went unheeded, I was certain that my voice would never be heard. Over the years I regularly kept track of Infosys through online media and my ex-colleagues; not because I hold any stocks of Infosys or for the reason that my better half still works for Infosys, but because of the respect for Mr.Murthy which I have had even before I came to know what a computer is. I have always been inspired by the story of how Mr.Murthy and co-founders built up the billion dollar empire from a mere $250. It was truly disheartening to read about the fall of Infosys over the years and I had always wondered that if this hurts me deep down even though not closely associated with the company anymore, how much would this fall from glory of a company that has been built from sweat and blood be hurting the founders. So when the inevitable happened and Mr.Murthy returned to reclaim the glory of Infosys, I thought I should put down my thoughts in the belief that my thoughts still echoes the thoughts of those few highly capable, hardworking and loyal employees of Infosys; in the hope that one day Mr.Murthy or any of his close associates would come across my next post and find at least one point to be useful.





Microsoft–Research In Motion (RIM) Partnership

3 05 2011

Moments ago, Steve Ballmer announced a new partnership between Microsoft and RIM at the Research In Motion conference. As a part of the partnership, Bing Search and Maps will be the default on BlackBerry OS. Ballmer also said Microsoft would invest in Blackberry services.





JQuery in Ajax.Net Update Panel

27 04 2011

If you are a have a control with JQuery binding inside an Ajax.Net update panel, you will be stumped on as to why the JQuery stops working once the update panel is refreshed. The reason is that once the update panel refreshes, your Jquery binding is lost. This problem is simple to solve. Whenever an update panel refreshes, it calls javascript pageLoad() function. So all you need to do is place all your JQuery that needs rebinding inside this pageLoad function. Here is an example:

<script language=”javascript”>

function pageLoad()
{
RebindAll();
}

function RebindAll()
{
//Jquery that needs rebinding after postback
$.document.getReady(
//Some jquery stufff
);
}

</script>





ThreadAbortException in Response.Redirect

27 04 2011

If you ASP.Net application has catch all error logging, don’t be surprised if you find ThreadAbortException [Exception message: The thread was being aborted] very often. The culprit could be the following code.

try

{


//Some error thrown


throw
new
DivideByZeroException();

}


catch (Exception ex)

{


//Some logging code here


//Finally redirect user to error page

Response.Redirect(“Error.aspx”,false);

}

The reason is that Response.Redirect end the current response by calling Response_End internally. Response_End always throws a ThreadAbortException by design. To avoid this you can do either of the following

  1. Catch the ThreadAbortException and call Thread.ResetAbort to cancel the abort. Do keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the thread will ever end.
  2. Ignore it. Which means, catch the exception; but do not log it.
  3. Finally, Response.Redirect takes two paramters. The URL itself and a Boolean parameter telling whether the current response should end or not. To avoid ending the current response, pass a Boolean value of false. So we can rewrite the above code as

    Response.Redirect(“Error.aspx”,false);





Silverlight and Virtual Earth

4 11 2008

Have a look at silverlight put into use for mapping technologies. This one is cool. The images loads pretty fast!!! Check it out…

http://deepzoom.soulclients.com/VE/





TFS Groups Management Tool

19 09 2008

Finally my dream of publishing a project in codeplex has come true. :) The idea came from my current project where we have to manage 150+ TFS groups. These groups had to be added to subgroups and the default group management in team explorer was very difficult to work with. Choosing a group individually and adding it was a tedious work. On top of that the group window refreshed every time we added/deleted a group.

 

This tool makes the process of creation, deletion and grouping TFS groups a breeze. Using this we have reduced the effort up to 95%. The client wanted to know how we managed these groups easily. That’s when I decided to publish it in codeplex. This will also be recommended to Encore.

This is a basic version and will built on it to improve user experience. Feel free to have a look at the tool at:

http://www.codeplex.com/TFSGroupsTool








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