Avoiding the Twenty20 Syndrome

DQI Bureau
New Update

The recently concluded gladiator sport that passed off as

cricket has been lapped up by millions of young folk in their quest for instant

gratification in front of their television screens, but shunned by the true

cricket connoisseurs who balk at the prospect of bowlers and fielders being

relegated to looking up the skies to watch the trajectory of the ball on its way

into the stands. The paradox of thrills versus incredulity could never have been

more pronounced than in the charade of an ill conceived "shootout"

which saw part-time bowlers hitting undefended stumps as "India beat

Pakistan Three Nil", a bemused captain Dhoni pronounced after the game.


Whats the message for the readers of this column in Indias

premier IT magazine? The fact is that if there are declining quality standards

in our industry, as Mckinsey has been repeatedly pointing out in their

360-degree studies, the search for shortcuts to success has a large portion of

the blame to shoulder. Singer Elton John in his memorable song "Candle in

the wind", written for Marilyn Monroe and later adapted for Princess Diana,

used the phrase "set you on a treadmill" which is what has happened to

many firms, employees, and even aspirants to the IT and BPO industry. The

treadmill for the firms has been the need to succeed and post better results

every quarter while employees bear the brunt of unrealistic deadlines for

projects, and students suffer from peer pressure.

There are

declining quality standards in our industry, as Mckinsey has been

repeatedly pointing out in their 360-degree studies, the search for

shortcuts to success has a large portion of the blame to shoulder

Nothing wrong in all that if you are on the Dhoni and Uthappa

side of cricket where ungainly paddle shots, slashes over slips and heaves over

the mid-wicket fence are the innovations that are required to succeed rather

than the powerful cover drives and late cuts with the ball rarely skimming more

than two inches above the ground. The artisan professor whose lectures on

philosophy and engineering made him the academician of the nineties may well

have to stand back when the young academic teaches the new students tricks of

the latest version number of a new software package. Or when a certified quality

analyst grimaces in dismay as a project is pushed through the gate in spite of

inelegant design and weak architecture as a patchwork of spaghetti code to meet

the deadlines of the client.


So is this column only going to rant and rave, or are there

systemic solutions we can find to the rot that is beginning to set in. It has to

start with a revamping of the education process in all well meaning academic

institutions in the country. Management education globally is seeing successful

partnerships. A well designed finishing school program in India aimed at

producing thoughtful business and technology analysts can enable partnerships to

evolve and flourish between Indian IT and BPO firms, and their clients.

In the context of the firm itself, investments in architecture

and design skills all over the world and the development of a technology-based

platform, where these skilled professionals can participate in IT development

and migration projects, business process optimizations and offshore transitions

can ensure that the SEI CMM journey is a reward rather than a punishment.

A long-term view can and should be taken without succumbing to

inordinate pressures of stock market analysts. If one looks at the goals set by

Nasscom and the industry for this decade, we are already well above the asking

rate with a 30% plus growth in the first six years, having relieved the pressure

of later years in the bid to reach a $60 bn export target. The time may have

come to pause for breath and ensure that the next wave of industry growth is

built on much stronger foundations of quality people, processes and purpose!

The author is deputy chairman

& MD of Zensar Technologies and an Executive Council member of NASSCOM for


He can be reached at