In this month (September, 2014) I have reached a major milestone in my professional life. After being with my current employer for 14 years I made the decision to accept a new job offer. It is going to be a big transition from the comfort zone of the current job to the new uncertain challenges. As I prepare this writing all those memories since the early years in USA started pouring in my mind. Those initial four years in Louisville, Kentucky, learning and adapting to the life in USA, the six months of transit in Troy, Michigan, and then the long ten years in Bloomington, Illinois; life was eventful in the past 14 years.
Arrived in USA in 2000, the first year was spent in exploring and verifying whether all those facts and hypes about US was real or not. In the first interaction, my client manager queried whether I am single or married. After conveying my single status, the next question was ‘do you have kids?’. This was an initial experience of the culture shock. Due to the conservative background, such a follow-up question would not generally be asked in India especially if you are single. There were lots of firsts for me in that year; the first car, the first mobile phone, driving the first U-Haul, the first snow, and so on. The Information Technology (IT) department at the Louisville client was very small. Each team member had to perform multiple roles such as of a designer, developer, tester, and trainer in the software application development projects. Even though the concept and terms of Agile/Scrum was not widely known at that time, later I realized that it was one of the best collaborative environments I have involved with. The average duration of an IT project was much shorter although the quality of the final product got compromised at times.
The short stint at Troy as an offsite team member for the next client polished the qualities of integrity, responsibility, and timeliness as the client is not directly watching you. The only limitation I found at that time was the lack of instant access to onsite resources. After moving to onsite at the client site in Bloomington, I began to be a part of role-specific assignments. In this highly organized environment, each IT role has its own tasks and you are authorized or expected to perform those tasks only. You can become an expert in that specific job function. It provides the avenue for sharpening specific job skills and helps improve the overall product quality; but negatively affects the average duration of projects. The Agile methodology worked extremely well in certain stand-alone projects to improve productivity and to achieve faster time-to-market; but could not be effectively applied in larger enterprise-wide initiatives.
Achieving the right balance of project duration and the product quality should be of upmost importance to the IT departments to make sure that the product is delivered faster than the competitors and the most current needs of the customers are fulfilled. I leave my company and the client with much gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities and the stability it has provided over the years. Thanks to my loving family, wonderful friends and amazing colleagues for your support and encouragement. Best wishes for a better tomorrow and always hope for the best!
Note: The opinions expressed in this post are solely of mine and do not represent the opinions of my employer.