A software professional, at a social gathering, recently pronounced a dire warning for the Indian It industry. Albeit he was a few pegs down and I didn’t know him very well but what he said held some merit. He gave the industry only 10 more years thanks to ever-present need of everyone to become a boss.
Forget the fact that being boss should not mean forgetting your core competency. He was taking about coding and the lack of it and bloated middles (much like us Indians) and the need for everyone to be the boss. He mentioned a big company in particular, which every year, found new posts and departments to promote its middle management to. It was slowly leading to fewer and fewer people ‘coding’ or writing software (is how I understand it). Coding has been, incidentally, the Indian IT industry’s claim to fame.
This entire disucssion started with project managers and why were they so inept. Typically in a group of 8-10 project managers, at least 6 would be under-performing (and yes I remember Pareto’s rule). But I cannot explain how difficult it becomes when PMs make a hash of things.. it’s a mess worthy of any cleaning liquid worth its brand name. That’s how he and I got talking. Apparently PMs mismanage and under-perform everywhere. Following the trails of conversation, we got to a point where he mentioned the aformentioned company. How it has so many bosses now and fewer and fewer workers. “Top heavy” became his favourite phrase.
Is that happening to other companies too? I’ve experienced it in the media industry. Seniors become expensive and stay put (as they are unable to find jobs to hop), creating and engineering new positions (and rarely any new value) But media is a diffierent bargain… the industry rarely mentors or encourages juniors. It’s a raging turf war so I can understand. But IT companies usually have a very complicated procedure of rating, appraisals, discussions and ratification. At the end of it, what happens usually is, more queen bees are created and some more worker bees quit. In an industry supposedly driven by the people, whose talent runs the company, they are the last asset to be cared for.