Mr. Abdul Kalam Sir, is some one who taught India to dream big. He is the one who taught me to take pride in India. Due to centuries of colonization and exploitation, an average Indian who has not witnessed the elite state of India before colonization was programmed to believe that everything foreign is better. And that trend continued, and still continues in the form of certifications. If a person takes pains to gain knowledge and is smart enough to translate that knowledge as superior skills at work, do we need these foreign certifications, which are overly priced. If we get certified by leveraging the brain dumps, just to impress those abroad, does it really translate to better productivity?. There was a time when the Indian I.T firms could not qualify into the vendor lists of foreign agencies, without the CMM level 5. So, we wanted to comply with it at any cost, because business was at stake. To make hay while the sun shines, the assessment bodies went to the extent of having different pricing for the several capability maturity levels. It was as stupid as someone having variable pricing for blood sugar check, based on the sugar levels. They made their money, and we were very happy to pay them because business was at stake. To make this happen we hired the quality staff from manufacturing companies, or we used those who are already non-technical. They recommended the metrics from the manufacturing (operations) to projects, ignoring the fact that each project is unique, and must be treated uniquely. The core of all the borrowed stuff from manufacturing was standardization. Companies like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL etc was driving the CMM initiative within India. When we standardize everything, what happens to Innovation?. Recently I came across a video of Mr. Narayanamurthy, co-founder of the Indian I.T giant Infosys, complaining about lack of innovation from the Indian technical community. It was a kind of a paradox.
Now another transformation is happening in the Indian I.T community. More and more teams are getting into the product space. Many are start ups, and some project based organizations. Start ups are already lean, and all they need to take care of is to remain lean consciously. The bigger challenge is for those large project based organizations, moving towards the product space. They will have to shed their traditional project based ways of working to make faster releases with quality. This time, in the product space, there is no compulsion from anyone outside to comply to something. The compulsion is from within. Just because we have been doing things in a particular way do not make it the best way. The ability to question everything non value adding without any fear, and the organizational climate without the compliance raj is the basis for innovation. We must consciously break away from the traditional stuff and embrace the new, to be the leader in the product space. Else, we will miss the bus to product leadership. The sports and apps will have to move to those locations where there are subscribers, and that is to our advantage. If Abdul Kalam Sir was bound by the compliance raj, he would not have carried the rocket on a bicycle to Sriharikotta to launch it, which marked the beginning of the space age for India. Thank you Sir for igniting our minds.