Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Satyam Fiasco : VPP - The positives & the negatives

Sorry again for the delayed blog update. Have been busy preparing for my higher studies since I no longer am required to go to the office. This for sure is a huge take-away from the VPP.
Yes, for a change, I am writing something positive about Satyam! Well, I am a human and after all, who doesn't wanna get paid for a 6 month holiday!

The key take-away, apart from the free time is the money that they are giving out to the employees. Although it is the basic salary, but if a person has savings, which is highly unlikely, the survival is possible. Of course, you'll have to borrow from friends and family, but whatever!

And the rosy stuff comes to an end out here.

Think about the guy who has just got married a couple of months back, and has been shown the door through VPP. There are people who had liabilities running into thousands of Rupees in EMIs. They are screwed for sure!

I can say that I am enjoying my time on this 6 month holiday that has been doled out to me. But it gets frustrating after some time. If a person is living in the hope that they would be called back for projects, that is highly unlikely to take place.
Analyze this : If they could not find a project for you when you were present in person in the office, how and why the hell would they call you back?
There are many people who are getting out of billable roles, every day. They would be the ones who would get a priority over you in terms of project allotment.

Another thing. If you had thought that your FLCL (Full Life Cycle Leader) would be working in the office to bring you back, the chances are that they themselves would have been fired or would have been asked to 'let go' of the job.

There is utter chaos in the Satyam campuses these days. This what I have come to know from my friends who are still hanging in there. The senior management structure has undergone a thorough restructuring and there are many who are on the wrong side of the line. They eventually would be jumping the ship, or a dhow, if I may call it.

The point is, no one's job is safe. I am talking about the people not on VPP. As far as my brethren and the ladies on VPP are concerned, you'll keep getting that odd mail from the management regarding more people being taken back from VPP, but somehow, you would still be reading it from home on a Wednesday afternoon.

By the way, we're on Technorati now. I said Hello! They replied by saying epyh23st58 !

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Satyam Fiasco : Raju & Sons

The Times of India has reported that Raju stashed away millions in foreign accounts even before the money could reach Indian shores. This surely doesn't come as a surprise to me!

I still remember the 7th of January, 2009 and the week following the dreaded date. There were so many 'ardent Raju worshippers' who believed what Raju had written in his hog-wash of a letter. I for one, a sworn skeptic, could not digest what was written in the letter.

The perpetrator of crime wanted to leave as a sage. And he sure did succeed in luring many of his followers in his spell.

Now the questions that I want to ask, and answers to which are pretty obvious, are :

Why has Raju and his family's property not been confiscated and frozen?
I'm sure the answer to this question would be that the matter is sub-judice and that no action can be taken till there is a verdict in the case. The question that arises is that why the Indian legal system is so incompetent so as to allow perpetrators of a crime, who have wreaked havoc on lives of thousands of innocent people, still living lives of luxury?

Why can't there be a provision in the law that prima-facie evidence should be enough to confiscate the property and assets of the perpetrators when the evidence is glaring at the reality?

Why is he in a VIP jail when lives of over 200k people have been screwed up by that shameless creature?
This one surely beats me! I mean, this cheat is languishing in a VIP jail when the very people who worked hard for building his company are now living on subsistence salaries! Many people who had faith in Satyam and who had contributed in its growth have been put into VPP. Why in the world is he not in a regular cell? I would love to see him sharing a cell with petty thieves!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Satyam Fiasco : VPP Call-back a lie

The recent media reports had suggested that 380 associates had been called back from VPP within the first week of being doled [pun intended] out to them.

The real picture is a bit different. These 380 associates include people whose Reporting Managers did not take proactive stand to ave them from VPP earlier on, and realised later on that the ship had sailed. Not a problem. They promptly assign these associates to other projects just to keep them in. They would not be doing any credible work as they would not have the know-how of the new projects. Its just that the associates had been licking the soles of these RMs for a long time and they have been 'rewarded'!

Another group that has been recalled would fall in the category of associates whose presence was demanded by the client. This shows how incompetent and blind the process was. The client had to force a recall as Satyam management had put deserving and critical employees on VPP.

The projects follow a rotating billing policy. Deserving associates were put into VPP because they were in between billing periods.

The HR department claiming that it was a fruition of their efforts that 380 associates were called back within a week is farcical and a blatant lie.

The Satyam Fiasco : Total Layoffs

The question of the hour is : How many people at Satyam are going to be put on VPP?

The answer : A total of 16,000.
In the first wave, 9,000 associates and their fate was consigned to VPP. There would be another round of VPP assignment process and would encompass another 7,000 associates.

There is another aberration that might lead to more people being accommodated in VPP.
A few of the associates who had been handed over VPP in the first wave had already been shortlisted to be absorbed into TechMahindra. There was some miscommunication on part of the management of the two entities, and thus, these people would be called back from VPP and will ake way for others to get into VPP.

The Satyam Fiasco : Layoffs for HR

So, the mess-makers become the target now. A total of around 30 HR personnel are responsible for handling 20,000 odd TechMahindra employees. Compare that to the 800 HR personnel at Satyam to manage 40,000 odd employees.
Today is the 'D-Day' for layoff/sabbatical for almost 600 HR personnel and around 300 Finance people.

These people were made to do the dirty work of putting many a deserving associates in VPP and now they are going to be a part of the same team.

Talk about time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Satyam Fiasco : The Betrayal

In the previous post, I had highlighted a few questions that need to be answered in light of the recent developments at Satyam. The questions that I had put forth were:

What does this mean for people who tried to believe what the leaders had been saying?
Well, effectively, the VPP that has been forced on to associates puts to rest any assumptions that the people had made regarding the humane factor of the whole exercise. Doling out basic salary and an Internet allowance of 250/- could be humane to some, but not to the self respecting few who have been literally kicked out.

Post January 7, 2009, we had been fed messages of standing for the organization and defending it on any forum that the issue of Satyam being tainted came up.
  • I did my bit for defending the organization as a whole when I appeared for a GD/PI interview at SIBM, Pune.
  • I considered it my duty to defend my employer when questions about the integrity of the 40,000 employees came up.
  • I defended my organization during the CSR assignments I took up at Satyam Foundation.

I did all that because I believed that with Raju behind bars and a new board in place, there would be a change in the working culture of the company. I did that because I was the 'Brand Ambassador' for brand Satyam. I stood for the management which would consider me unsuitable to continue in the organization and let me go, in a 'humane' manner.

But you know what, I was a fucking idiot to have done so. I always credited myself with a great gift of sensing the hunch. But I faltered.
I believed in change (Mr. Obama was an inspiration as well :P). I bought the shit that the so called leaders were doling out for free.

What does this mean for those who had resolved to consider all the management talk as bull, the whole of it? And they still felt that things would change.
The associates who had had a taste of the Satyam medicine right from the first day of joining, knew that the future wasn't all rosy. I was one of them. But I faltered on my way.
I am a strong believer in change. I have always believed that change is good. But here, at Satyam, it was the other way round. It is very simple to see why things have not moved for the better. You cannot expect the DNA of the organization to change if the powers that be are not replaced.
You cannot expect Satyam to to move on a path of revival if the regional bias that engulfs the organization is not tackled (yes, it is there).

I'll quote a very simple example. This friend of mine, a hard-working chap, got into VPP, in spite of working 14 hour days and meeting deadlines. He was instrumental in developing an application that could earn Satyam millions in royalty if marketed properly. He worked under an utterly incompetent Reporting Manager (the sole criteria for promotion and galore in Satyam is the years you have put in). But surprisingly, his RM was not sacked, nor was his RM. Why? Because they hail from the same state. Imagine a team discussion taking place in a regional language, where the team constitution is pan-India!

What does this do to the optimism of a young technical graduate in his first job?
This question sums it all up. This is my first job. We were trained in a technology which had no future scope in Satyam. There were 350 people already on bench, trained in the same technology, when our training started. This was the first straw. Then I realized that if you have contacts, this place can be a heaven for you. You could exploit several loopholes in the system as well. But when you are under a bond of two years and the collateral amounts 200,000, you can do little but work according to the whims and fancies of the 'higher-ups'.

I was optimistic that some project would come along one day. It has been two years, and my batch mates, including me were not put in a billable role even for a single day!

I was optimistic that things would change for good. I can assure you, had it not been for my family and my better half, I would have cracked out of frustration.
But then I learnt to utilize the loopholes in the system to at least ensure that I get the maximum out of the system.

I am still optimistic that good things would be there for me, somewhere. An eternal believer in Karma, I had not done bad to anyone in this organization, no petty politics, no regional bias, no bull shit.

But I am not optimistic about this organization. I have seen people who work like donkeys being retained, and smart workers being put into VPP.
I have seen people who find it hard to write three lines in English properly, getting the highest rating for communication in the annual appraisal, and those with excellent communication skills being shown the door.
I have seen people with awesome creativity being dumbed down because of the useless work that they had been assigned.

In my first job, I have seen an organization go down the drains and have seen valuable talent kicked out because they never got the chance to show their capability.

I have seen bright engineers with dreams in their eyes, broken and dejected with no idea about the future. The dreams have been trampled upon.

The Satyam Fiasco : Virtual Pool Program (VPP)

Finally, the time has come and Satyam's management has found a 'humane' way to 'deal' with the issue of excess resources. The solution is called : Virtual Pool Program.
The interesting fact about this VPP is that the 'excess' employees would be virtually working for the company, just like the presence of many leaders who consider themselves as messiahs of this godforsaken company.

I believe, these good for nothings should have been put into virtual mode before any of the 7000 or so associates who have been paid in such a grand manner for staying back at Satyam.

All the bull shit that was doled out in the past months about staying back and rebuilding the company, about bringing Satyam back to its glory days and 'keeping the faith' has fallen squarely on its face.

I was one of the 'Brand Ambassadors' at Satyam. My job was to pacify associates in peer-to-peer meetings and quell any rumors that might be going around. I was given the responsibility to hold discussions with my peers and answer their queries pertaining to job-losses, salary delays and the likes. I was the point of communication between the higher-ups (a word that I have learnt at Satyam, as it is used more than the word quality). I had been given specific instructions to project the views of the management in an unbiased manner, keeping my thoughts to myself.

I was pretty successful in doing the same and there were many a queries that we could answered. But here I am, writing this blog, giving a personal side of the VPP. I am in the VPP.

What does this mean for people who tried to believe what the leaders had been saying? What does this mean for those who had resolved to consider all the management talk as bull, the whole of it? And they still felt that things would change. What does this do to the optimism of a young technical graduate in his first job?

I believe these questions need to be answered in a different post altogether.

P.S.: I have been a bit occupied with my personal issues, so wasn't able to update the blog. Now that I have time, lots of it, I would try and update this place regularly.