March 30, 2008

Is everything okay at my workplace !!! (Part 2)

Note: This is continuation of the post titled Is everything okay at my workplace !!! (Part 1). Recommended to read it before continuing with this post.

In the mean time our departments previous director had been pulling key staff from our department into the NAIT unit. There he was in charge of setting up a new department. Though the working model for this department was pre established but there were no people as NAIT has moved it's operations in America to a cheaper location from LA. Most of the staff had chosen not to move out of LA to the new cheaper locale for personal and family reasons. He was virtually setting it up from scratch. This was another canabalism on going but I guess it was acceptable as these brilliant team workers moving to NAIT unit from our department would have left anyway after the gruelling frustrations over last 1 and 1/2 years that each and every one in the department is going thru. On top of this some other people had moved to other departments in ASIAIT as the work wise movement were certainly more comfortable and a relief for them. These people also were hell bent on taking their pound of flesh from a crumbling department as I guess they too had felt the pain in the daprtment for about a year or so after the re-org that ASIAIT had gone thru. More ever new directors[one outgoing person was replaced by two] who have been imported from NAIT unit to resurrect our department did not had the chemistry, charishma and connections to rein in the people in other departments. More ever they were also while elephants because of the expat benefits they were entitled to for having moved to ASIAIT unit in Singapore from NAIT in LA.
Mostly two kind of work gets done in the department. First is BAU work - this ensures that production line keeps running with minimum glitch. There is minimal impact to the external customers and problems if any are addressed in a timely manner. Second is new project role out - this is like putting new things on to the production line once the user test, quality test and all checks have been performed. How ever no amount of checks and test can simulate the actual production environment. As I had mentioned our department is an IT shop which works on INTERNET channel. It ensures that biz critical fucntions are available 24*7 to external customers on internet. Department's job is to upgrade and launch new function on the INTERNET channel to our customers. So in this line of biz no amount of load test and checks can simulate the actual production load and pattern. BAU is so important and vital for the entire company which is now being compromised by the new MDs/EDs and unit head. I really fail to understand how can these people be so short sighted. I can't imagine if something like what is happening to British Airways newly opened T5 at heathrow happens on internet channel of our company. Apart from monetary loss it will be severe loss in terms of good will and reputation. Our customers are with us because of the reputation that has been built over years. New customers join because of brand name that is associated with our organization. I think the financial regulators thru out the world will be so severe on the penalty and punishment for the pain/losses that customers will face when the smooth function of the system will be disrupted. Department is involved for taking care of the INTERNET channel across the globe except for North America. Anyways I think the reason for our MDs/EDs and new ASIAIT unit head not focusing on the BAU is that they don't get visibility for this. No visibility means no promotion and no good bonus. Some thing is definitely wrong in the benefits and compensation policy and correction is required. Like I had mentioned in Part-1[previous post] all new roleout go with more than 100% schedule slippage and between 200% to 300% cost over run. In spite of these over runs and slippage each and every launch is done with fanfare and celebrations. I am also part of the celebrations but still at back of my mind it keeps ticking that the department is on the brink of collapse. Process is definitely on the back seat. Thought of ensuring that newly launched product need to serviced well during BAU phase is not in anyone's mind in this team. It's BAU team's headache - why to loose sleep pondering over this.
New EDs/MDs and even quite a few of the VPs/AVPs are senile fellows. They just want to ensure that they have another place to pass about 1/5 of their life out side thier cozy home. They are content with monthly pay package and are least bothered with what is going on around them in the department and impact it will have on the company and brand name. Any thing wrong is promptly passed to their sub-ordinates. Any thing good invokes a steriotypical "Thank You TEAM" note with a wide distrubtion list. In fact in our department like other departments such a population always existed but then the problem that happened now is that they are all sitting at the hot seats and supposedly responsible for bring things back to track. This is making things worse as of now. I always think it's best to cull them during once every 2/3 year trimming that happens in the name of cost cutting in form of golden handshake[Pink slips]. Hardly 5% of the staffs are old timers[This is where entire knowledge base is] and I think most of them including me are running thin on patienece now. Mind is always cluttered with the thaught that should I start looking out and move out of the department and may be move out of the organization as well all together. Every day is fire fighting on new set of problems threatening to bring down entire production line. Work hours have been streched to 14 hrs per day for more than 9 months now. Percentage of sick leave utilization in the department has shot up sharply because of this. Our senile EDs/MDs and VP have made we 5%[old timers] as in charge of BAU as well new product role outs with BAU as main responsibility. Entire team working under us has no knowledge of the systems and processes. There is no time to think of long term view for BAU as time has to be devoted to new role out as each of these are always escalated to highest level and they keep waiting for our time. They remain quite only when they see some thing critical happening on BAU side.
In four days from now I am going for the pin hole surgery and there after it's likely that I will start looking out. Please send a prayer for me and my department.

No comments: