Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review : That's I.T

Here's my book review of  a recent eBook, "That's I.T" by Ramesh Revuru

The book and narrative are easy to read. The author holds a mirror to readers – primarily those who have worked with offshoring IT service providers – drawing on his own experiences and empirical observations of the sourcing industry segment.

Those of us who have spent time in the trenches of offshoring can instantly relate to the anecdotes. I love the author’s chutzpah: trying to make a point about Indian English Vinglish with a hit-below-the-belt observation of Infosys former CEO’s “thick Kerala accent in his spoken English.” Ramesh goes on to narrate how Kris, the “CEO in his less than 30 minute speech used the words “(and) things like that” as many as 72 times. His body language and posturing too were showing how uncomfortable he was”

Ramesh uses humor to mask serious topics and observations on practical challenges faced by those working for offshoring service providers: he explores the topic of loyalty (chapter 9) with a moving anecdote of a software trainee from Pune. While trying to address the issue, Ramesh was frustrated that he was not empowered to request additional time at the company guest house for a deserving employee.

I guess the underlying message in the anecdote is the lack of maturity of HR processes. HR managers seek to manage with a process driven template, delegating much of the face-to-face interactions to line managers without actually empowering them. Line managers like Ramesh have a lot more operational issues on their plate than they can handle. Picking up an internal battle with HR on behalf of an employee is perhaps least of their priorities. In this case, Ramesh had to travel onsite the day after he discussed the issue with his direct report. Many readers who have worked with offshoring firms are sure to have similar anecdotes to narrate. Years ago, I fought an uphill battle when I found myself at the receiving end (ref: eBook : a Child lost in flight)

A highly readable narrative and writing style though at times the use of “we” left me wondering if there was a co-author or just the author’s use of English Vinglish (or perhaps it was a royal “we”?) Example “..intentionally, we have left out the below from this discussion. We decided not to consider Ads posted in newspapers for…” (chapter 4. Rocket Singh).  Note: The author later stopped by the blog with his explanation of this usage (comments)

Recommendation: Five stars for research and aggregation of topics. Four stars overall.  (Also cross-posted the review on Amazon)