Ramblings of a Software Engineer

Sep 27, 2010

CWG 2010 - A Typical Software Project!

It is rather unfortunate that I have to start the blog with this post. But what to do, this is something that’s pestering me a lot currently!

While a common Indian might be wondering what the hell is going on with CWG, I guess its not too surprising to people like you and me in the Indian Software Industry. This kind of situation is not at all new to us, right! We would have seen many such CWG’s in our day to day work, only the scale is slightly different.

If we carefully look at it, right from the bidding process, we find so many similarities in CWG 2010 with our own Software Project that I begin to wonder if any of our IT giants are involved in this planning and execution! :-) It seems that India has won the bidding for CWG primarily based on its lucrative bid! Very typical... It has also made some extra gratis offers which are not really essential to the games! Again very much similar to our response to an RFP!

We had the first escalation from the customer (in this case CWG Federation President) more than a year before the commencement of the games! Are we not used to such customer escalations? What do we do? The higher management makes a bit of a noise and the manager will convince him that they are only "minor" slippages and can be easily corrected during the course of the project. That is it! And the project remains in the "green" state till it comes closer to the delivery date. Correct! Exactly the same thing happened with CWG. At the tail-end of the project, the status suddenly turns "red" and the team goes into a fire-fighting mode! Higher Management suddenly starts panicking and tries to do whatever is possible to deliver the application. And what happens? The quality gets hit! We get more and more escalations from the client. Then begins the blame game! Senior Manager blames the manager and he blames his lead or the recruitment department. Don't you see the same exact sequence of things happening in case of our CWG?!

If this is not enough to convince you of the similarities, here is more. Rains have greatly affected the arrangements and added to the woes. This is typical too. Its a good example for the failure of risk management. Aren't we not aware that this is a rainy season and we might have downpour in this season?

And then, we give various reasons to convince our management that the bugs are not really bugs. One of the most common reason is "Requirements mismatch" or "Standards mismatch"! A CWG official has given the same exact reason; our standards of cleanliness are different from that of the foreign countries. Are we not supposed to know what those standards are, in the first place!

And we are too familiar to the over-shooting of estimates and cost of the projects, don't we. Do you know what the cost over-shoot of CWG is? It is over 1600% (as of now). Can you believe it?!

We can always say and rest in peace that all this is a hype and false propaganda created by rest of the world to bring bad name to India. But its just like saying all the customers are irrational!

Such a ridiculously close similarity between the CWG and our own Software Projects, though a bit surprising, is very disturbing. This clearly shows that there is something going very wrong across various sections of our society. It is not the talent, in my opinion, that we lack. We have plenty of it. It’s the "professionalism" which seems to be lacking everywhere - determination to achieve something in a neat and clean way by doing it right at every step. That is what, I think, is the root cause of all this mess that we again and again encounter in our day to day work and everywhere else.

So, let us wake ourselves up. Wake up India, please!