Agile for an IT Start-up – Part II

Updates

In the first part of the article, we covered the basics of Agile. In this part we will cover my way of Agile practices which is combined and modified version of Scrum & Kanban.

Let’s dive in.

Consider that you have to develop a software for a customer.

  1. Product Owner & Requirements & Backlog:
    1. One person can be assigned a role to be a product owner and he would be responsible for customer communication throughout the product life.
    2. Similar to traditional software development cycle, the very first thing would be to gather the requirements. But the difference is gather overall requirements for the product.
    3. Overall requirements will give fairly good idea about what the end product would be. Based on the requirements, discuss them with team and create list of Backlog items.
    4. One good practice would be to put detailed information of the requirements along with Acceptance Criteria.
    5. Collaborate with customers and continuously keep refining the list and details of backlog and done items.
  2. Development team:
    1. In Agile every team member is developer. The programmers, testers, designers all.
  3. Sprints & Sprint planning:
    1. Once initial backlog is created, collaborate with all team members.
    2. Priorities the features (backlog items)
    3. Timebox the sprint. i.e. depending on product size and backlog items, decide how much can be developed, tested and delivered within one single sprint.
    4. Divide each requirement into goals and team works to achieve that goal in one or two sprints.
    5. Create Epics and stories from Backlog and goals.
    6. Start assigning stories to developers based on developer and sprint’s capacity. Start with small and keep on increasing or decreasing the number of story assignments based on past sprints result.
  4. Execution:
    1. For preparing backlogs, creating Epics and Stories, Sprint planning and execution we need some tools. Most widely Agile feature used would be Agile Board.
    2. Agile board is simple visual representation of items (Stories) in different workflow states presented in swim lane fashion.
    3. Scrum:
      1. Simplest Agile board would be like TODO | In Progress | Testing | DONE.
      2. You can use a digital tool for this or just draw a board on whiteboard and use Sticky notes to represent your individual items (stories/bugs)
      3. So, when sprint is started all assigned items are put in TODO lane, each item is put in In progress when it’s being worked on, once done item is put into Testing, once Tested and delivered, item is moved to DONE.
    4. Kanban:
      1. The similar board can be configured if you wish to follow Kanban, and same board can be shared with customers to view. Once additional configuration that you can do is set to WIP (work in Progress) limit for each lane. WIP can be number of items, or Estimates or any other condition of your choice.
      2. For eg, we can keep number of items as WIP limit.
      3. WIP for TODO (10), WIP for In Progress (2), for testing (10), Done (10)
      4. As you can see that In-progress has WIP for 2, which would ensure that no developer can work on more than two items simultaneously.
      5. This would also give a clean picture of team’s capacity and availability.
    5. Daily Updates (Stand-ups):
      1. Everyday entire team should gather for 10 mins and share their updates with entire team. This is very important so do not skip on stand-ups.
      2. Updates can be what the person worked yesterday? What he’s planning to work today? What are the impediments if any?
      3. This gives entire team a daily progress; kind of a report and quick actions can be taken to resolve impediments immediately rather than at end of the sprint.
    6. Demo at sprint End:
      1. On the last day of sprint there should be a demo run with entire team (and customer if needed)
      2. Demonstrating implemented feature helps validating the implementation also it may uncover hidden things which are not planned or discussed yet.
      3. It gives opportunity to other team members to review and provide their inputs. Also product owner can get clear picture of the progress.
  5. Review, Improvise and Repeat (Iterate):
    1. At the end of each sprint collaborate with all team members and do a retrospective(review) of the sprint.
    2. First thing to check is Current work in progress and Done items. Based on the plan, ideally all items should be in Done. But if that is not the case, pending items goes to next sprint.
    3. TODO vs DONE items will give you better idea to plan next sprints.
    4. Another important thing to discuss and note: (First point of the Manifesto)
      1. What did we do well?
      2. What did not go well?
      3. What can be done better?
      4. Or simply put GOOD, SAD, MAD points.
    5. This considering above points continue doing good points, create action items for impediments and things that didn’t go well, and improvise the suggested things.
    6. Do a Sprint planning for new sprint based on above and start new sprint.
  6. Delivery:
    1. It is not necessary that you have to deliver after every sprint ends.
    2. There are many services that depend on other services which prevents the developed feature to be delivered.
    3. This is quite usual scenario and hence when we put the requirements in Backlog (Epics), we should divide the epics in stories such that working sub feature can be delivered after end of one or more sprints.
    4. After each delivery demonstrate the results to customer and get their feedback. This would help identifying and eliminating issues and changes requests. Also, customers would get a chance to decide whether any changes are required in final feature or product.

Once you start working in Agile fashion and keep improvising the execution, you’ll get great benefits.

Try to stick to the plan, keep happy and comfortable working environment which would ensure high throughput of team and happy customers.

 

Q: What are different roles we should have in a team?

A: There is no ideal list of roles for any team. As Agile suggest, team should be flexible and so should the Roles.

This flexibility also gives chance to each team member to take up different roles and responsibilities so as to increase their knowledge.

Some of the roles that I think should exist in role are:

    1. Product Owner: responsible for entire product and product level decisions  

 

  • Business Analyst (BA):

 

      1. Responsible for maintaining requirements and assisting in business decisions.
      2. Ensure everything is documented: Requirement along with Acceptance Criteria, Site Maps,
      3. Ensuring that Acceptance criteria is satisfied after every sprint end demo.

 

  • Designer / UX Designer:

 

      1. Designer and UX designer are different roles which can be assigned to one or more persons.
      2. Designer is responsible for visual of the product and UX designer is responsible for User Experience (Flows, Navigations, Clicks etc).

 

  • Programmer, Tester:

 

      1. In Agile all are developers, and in general scenario, developers are responsible for sanity and Unit testing as well.
      2. For regression and end to end testing it can be advantageous to have different person to test entire application.

 

  • Agile Lead/ Scrum Master:

 

    1. To help manage the project with Agile methodologies it’s good to have individual person to handle this role.
    2. Agile Lead or Scrum Master can be of different team or projects and they may server to multiple projects.
    3. Having different person from other team helps getting unbiased opinion and executions.
    4. Also, Sprint planning, Stand-ups, Retrospectives, Synchronising with other teams (Backend, Front end teams), Identifying impediments, creating Action items for them and follow-up to get them resolved etc. All these are challenging tasks. So better done by individual person.

 

To sum up, I would say, this is what my understanding and learning is. I use both scrum for execution and Kanban board for current progress tracking with WIP limits. I often serve as Product owner along with Business analyst or Programmer, Tester as well and for some projects I serve as Agile lead.

The tools available for Agile management also provides various other features like Sprint Reports, Burn-down Charts, issue tracking etc. which are great additional features proven to be useful for software development.

 

For detailed information, you can always refer to Wikipedia and other books.

Few references:

http://agilemanifesto.org/

http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(software_development)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban_(development)

 

Thank you.

Engagement with AlreadyBuilt

Updates

In our startup journey, there have been quite a few milestone. Today is another such occasion.

Gyrix is proud to announce our engagement with AlreadyBuilt as an Implementation Partner.

          

Founded in 2016, AlreadyBuilt is a Startup from Sydney, Australia. It is a B2B marketplace to buy and sell commercially proven solutions with the moto of “Wheel reinvention prevention”.

During our journey at Gyrix, there were many instances where new clients had similar requirements as to the ones that we had already developed for some other client earlier. Due to IP and copyrights limitations, we could not pass on the benefits to the new clients and they had to invest in re-developing the same solution from scratch. We had realized a gap in the market, but could not find an immediate solution.

Soon enough, we came across Mr. Dane Eldridge’s profile on Linkedin, saw something interesting listed there and quickly scheduled a call. We both were excited to learn about each other’s profile and depth of work. There was an immediate synchronization of thoughts. Gyrix shared additional information to qualify through AlreadyBuilt’s stringent on-boarding process. After few weeks of deliberation, AlreadyBuilt confirmed Gyrix as the first ever off-shore Implementation partner.

This engagement opens up new opportunities for both the companies and provide a definite win-win. We wish AlreadyBuilt and it’s team all the Success together !

Agile for an IT Start-up

Updates

Before I start with the article, it is prudent to establish my credentials to write on this topic. I am Piyush Ramavat, CTO at Gyrix TechnoLabs. With 10 years of experience under my belt, I’ve worked with companies big and small on Services as well as Products. With 6+ years of experience in India, I have been working in Australia for last 4 years as a Senior Software Engineer.  I have used Waterfall, Agile and Hybrid Methodologies throughout my career and have expertise in driving them in a Start-up environment. That’s it about me.

Ideal Audience: This is a technical article and may not suit a beginner, it is better to have some understanding about Agile before going further.

Here are few links that may help:

http://agilemanifesto.org/

http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

So what is Agile ?

Agile management is known since 2001 and is applicable for all type of industries. Agile methodologies are very famous and quite dominant in the world of software development.

There are numerous practices like Scrum, Kanban etc. Each has their own pros and cons and here are numerous tools as well to digitally manage the projects.

 

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Individuals and interactions

Self-organization and motivation are important, as are interactions like co-location and pair programming.

Working software

Working software is more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings.

Customer collaboration

Requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the software development cycle, therefore continuous customer or stakeholder involvement is very important.

Responding to change

Agile methods are focused on quick responses to change and continuous development.

The Agile Manifesto is based on twelve principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

Statement:

Well, manifesto and principles look quite impressive and feels like if we follow them strictly we’ll be able to deliver great quality product; on continuous basis; on time.

 

Q: But how do we do that?

A: Firs thing Agile says is “being flexible”. There are many practices and methods available like Scrum and Kanban to manage and stick to above principles. So instead researching on all just use one that is already available and proven to be successful.

Q: We are a Start-up, we are inexperienced in Agile methodologies, we don’t have additional resources (Agile Lead / Scrum Master) to help drive our development. So how do we start being Agile team?

A: It’s simple, you do not need expertise in Agile practices. You just need enough knowledge about agile practices and software development.

 

Scrum: Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development. It is a flexible, holistic product development strategy where development team works as a unit to reach a common goal. The key principle of Scrum is – It allows the customers to change their requirements. Working on goals rather than entire product helps achieve this quite effectively.

This also ensures that customer gets what they want and also prevents rework or change request efforts.

 

Kanban: Kanban is a method for managing “knowledge work” that balances demands for work with the available capacity for new work. Work items are visualized to give participants a view of progress and process, from task definition to customer delivery. Team members “pull” work as capacity permits, rather than work being “pushed” into the process when requested.

In software development, Kanban provides a visual process-management system which aids decision-making about what, when and how much to produce.

In short Kanban method shows the current work in progress, team’s capacity which allows everyone including customer to see current situation. It allows better planning and also prevents over committing.

 

Familiarise yourself with few agile terms

Backlog: Product requirements that are to be developed and delivered (Features, bug fixes, non-functional requirements etc)

Epics, Stories: Product backlogs are commonly written in Epic & story format. Epic represents requirements for one entire feature and stories are smaller sub features of which are part of Epics.

Sprints, Iterations: Sprint is timeboxed effort that is restricted to a specific duration (one week, two weeks). Sprints are repetitive hence iterations are commonly referred as sprints.

Hope, you’ve brushed up your understanding of Agile today. In the next article I will go in detail about my experience of implementing Agile in Startup environment.

Freelancing Market Trends – Geography

Case studies

Understanding freelancing market trends and leveraging them is the difference between growth and stagnation for many Web Services companies like Gyrix. However due to lack of awareness, skills or inclination many companies miss to analyze the trends.

As described in the previous article, many of these offshore companies rely on Freelancing portals to fetch projects. Based on our discussions with peers in this industry, we see quite a few companies struggling to occupy their teams and utilizing the available skills. To help them do a better job, we are sharing our Data-based insights after analyzing these freelancing websites.

For any market research report it is important to state the objectives, methodology and limitations. So here we go

Objectives:

  • Identify market trends across various factors like Geography, Opportunities, Skills
  • Search for behavior pattern of clients on freelancing portals
  • Identify suitability of freelancing portals for small and mid size IT Outsourcing companies
  • Answer questions like – Are Freelancing portals suitable to achieve growth for the IT Outsourcing companies.

Methodology:

  • Sample size: 14,700 projects across freelancing portal in Web Development category
  • Duration: The data was captured across a month in 2nd half of 2016.
  • Process: Data was manually cleaned and fed to analytics tools. Standard analytic processes were used to unearth trends.

Limitation:

  • As the data was fetched only across a month, factors like holidays and seasonal periods may have some impact on it
  • Human error in the results should be assumed to be around 2 to 3 %

 

We shall divide the freelancing market trends in 3 sections:

  • Geography
  • Money
  • Skills

Today, we’ll cover the Geographical aspect of freelancing market trends:

  • Which continents and countries are leading in posting freelancing projects ?
  • What is the market share of different countries  ?
  • What is the inclination of different countries towards different project types ?
  • Which countries can a company realistically target ?
  • Clients of which country are more likely to award projects than others ?

 

Let us start with the simplest: Which continent and countries have the highest number of projects ?

Absolutely no points for guessing

Continent-wise projects

North America tops the chart with almost 50% of the projects. Europe is a distant second closely followed by Asia. Australia being the single continent-country stands at fourth position

 

Coming on to the countries.

We will take points away if you name any other country than the USA to top the chart.

Freelancing Project Across Countries 2016

Top 10 countries for Projects under Web Development Category

 

USA alone contributes to 40% of all the Web Development projects. Followed by UK as a distant second. Surprisingly India stands a very close 3rd. This might indicate that second and third level of outsourcing is pretty much in vogue here. Australia comes at 4th position, followed by Canada.

 

After this comes the division of projects in Fixed Price and TnM (Time and Material).

There is clear inclination (though not a tilt) towards Fixed Price projects across all the countries.

FP and Hourly Projects - Country wise 2016

Categorization of Project in FP and TnM for Top 10 countries

TnM projects constitute around 47% of the total projects in USA and Australia. Whereas they stand at 45% and 39% for Canada and UK respectively. For India the percentage is 29%.

Coming to the final and most important Chart.

 

Clients of which countries are likely to award projects than others

Of all the projects listed Globally under Web Development Category, only 45% projects have a realistic chance of being awarded. So the next time you find a project that is just perfect for you, that has the ideal budget or hourly rate, that has the client with best rating and feedback… pause for few seconds and consider this…

Before your company gets into competition with other awesome freelancers on the platform, 55% chances are that the proposal will be wasted because of the CLIENT. The client’s priorities / mood / inclination / preferences are the biggest threat to your project conversion matrix.

Still there are few countries who do better than others as shown here

Country wise Project Conversion chances 2016

Realistic chance of awarding Project – Globally and across Top 5 Countries

Australia tops the chart with an above par conversion chances. It indicates that clients from Australia, though lesser in number are more serious than other countries in awarding projects.

*Wink wink* You now know, more than 2/3rd clients from which country are wasting your time. Beware !

 

And that’s it for today !

We hope a better understanding of these freelancing market trends will benefit your company. Leave your comments and feedback here for any improvements in presenting the results. Share your request for specific information, we shall try our best to unearth it from the available data.

 

Next up “Freelancing Market Trends – Money”.

Stay Tuned !

 

Disclaimer:

  • The analysis was done based on the limited set of data available from freelancing websites, hence it neither claims to be 100% accurate nor is a reflection of the entire freelancing market
  • The outcomes are shared here for informational purpose only and no liability is borne by Gyrix or any of its members, for decisions made based on the analysis
  • Readers are expected to treat this as good faith information sharing only and should use their judgement before making decisions of any kind

Special thanks to Shreyas Padhye for co-authoring this article.

The IT Services Landscape of Today

The IT Services Landscape of Today

Case studies, Updates

With the emergence and growth of freelancing websites (like upwork, freelancer, guru) the IT services business has changed drastically. Smaller IT companies have mushroomed across the developing world. They cater to projects from the developed world (US, Europe, Australia) that were earlier inaccessible.

These changes have brought new challenges for everyone.

For clients:

  • Finding the right outsourcing partners
  • Developing skills to effectively manage distant teams
  • Gaining productivity despite time-zone differences
  • Assimilating members from different cultures without meeting each other

For IT companies:

  • Increased competition
  • Working on market adjusted rates
  • Team members turn into competition because of very low entry barriers in the business
  • Continuous upskilling of team members and associated costs

Along with the above challenges, there are disruptive forces at play:

  • Technological updations
  • Automation of tasks that were fetching handsome revenues till now
  • Cyber Security

So how should a typical IT services company survive amid all the chaos ?

Gyrix IT Services

With our experience of building a successful and scalable IT Services Company at Gyrix, we have gained few insights to handle these challenges. The insights are divided in three categories:

  • Client Front
  • Team Front
  • Market Front

 

 

Client Front

Client

  • Retention is preferable than Acquisition: We made genuine attempts to retain our clients for the maximum time possible. Some of our clients are continuing with us for more than 3 years now. It gives the company stability, the team members develop functional expertise, payments are never a worry and the rapport can be utilized for expanding the engagement.
  • Up-skill team members for client needs: We faced challenges in meeting all the technological needs of our long term clients. It is better to develop the new skills in-house, rather than losing the opportunity to an outside entity. It gives bandwidth to learn under protected environment (with lesser risks). Sometimes the clients are willing to bear the cost for the team member to learn new technology.
  • Deliver value while sometimes bearing the cost: Services is a test-match that never ends. An inning is always followed by another. The performances are bound to vary, some clients would be very happy, some may not. But if the goal of delivering “Value” is clear, life becomes easy. An IT services company Sometimes should be ready to bear Cost while delivering Value Always.

 

 

Team Front

Team

  • Smart is better than average: For longevity of the company, it is better to hire smart people people at higher costs rather than below-average people at lower costs.
  • Up-skilling is for the company not for the individual: Setting aside a budget to incentivize team members to do global certifications, should be considered a business cost.
  • Shuffle team at regular intervals to reduce dependency: It may be an enticing option to allow a stable team to continue working for a long term client, but making changes below the threshold of disruption is always better.
  • Test the bench capabilities: Team members not allocated to projects should be tested regularly by shadowing to live projects. It keeps the morale high and trains them free of cost.

Based on our discussions with peers in the IT world, we found many companies are following most of the above learnings.

 

 

However, the one aspect where many IT companies (especially the smaller ones) lack is the Market Front.

Market Front

They

  • Tend to make convenient assumptions
  • Work on their own strengths rather than the demand in the market
  • Allocate disproportionate resources for unnecessary technologies
  • Bet on “emerging” technologies prematurely
  • Assume that all the technologies are relevant to all the geographies. E.g. The list of technologies more in demand in Australia may not exactly match with US.

We had realized the importance of understanding the Market Front earlier in our journey. Hence we developed skills to analyze the Freelancing market with the objective to:

  1. Carefully observe technological trends
  2. Understand market demands
  3. Unearth geographical patterns

We performed a detailed activity over several week, fetched information from some of the freelancing websites, applied analytical tools to sift through the huge amount of data and drew conclusions based on the results. When we had solid conclusions in front of us, we tweaked our sales and delivery strategy to enhance our potential of growth.

Analytics

 

Update: We’ve published the article on Freelancing Market Trends across Geographies !

How to filter Entrepreneurs from Wannapreneurs ?

How to filter Entrepreneurs from Wannapreneurs ?

Entrepreneurship

Background

As a service provider for Web and Mobile Solutions, we interact with many wannapreneurs on a daily basis. Initially it was exciting to discover/discuss new ideas but gradually we needed a way to filter the really serious ones. Below is a hack for it:

wannapreneurs vs entrepreneurs

wannapreneurs (wp): I have this great idea and want to start development immediately.

me: Sure, we might be able to help with it. Please explain the idea.

wp: I want to create an X for Y industry. Do you have any experience in it? Can you help ?

me: Yes, we have worked with multiple startups in Y industry and have successfully completed quite a few projects. Our team members have good functional understanding of the industry. This is our understanding ——-

wp: Thanks. This helps a lot. Which technology should we use ?

me: We have implemented our earlier projects using A,B and C technology. However, we also have expertise on D,E and F.  Final decision on the technology will be yours. Before we continue further discussions, we need to formalize your thoughts and have a document ready to understand the scope of work. It will help in proper estimation, planning and goal setting.

wp: Sure, i’ll get cracking on it and provide you the document by tomorrow EOD.

me: Do you require any help from my side ?

wp: Nothing for now. These inputs are sufficient for me to work on the document.

me: Sounds good. Looking forward to your email.

**2 weeks pass by – No revert**

*me thinking* What could I’ve done better to help the wannapreneur further ?

______________________________________________________________________

Conclusion

To gauge the seriousness of wannapreneurs, ask them to do the smallest of the task. If there is no revert – You’ve saved yourself from wasted efforts in fruitless discussions.

If the wannapreneurs return with a great outcome and same vigor – you have interesting potential client and the opportunity to work with genuine Entrepreneur.

Saying Goodbye to 2016 – An Entrepreneur’s take

Culture, Entrepreneurship, Updates

2016 is being widely labelled as the most disappointing year in recent memory (avoiding extreme terms for the sake of professionalism). The reasons fall heavily across the spectrum: From the geopolitical events, to corporate sluggishness, to unfortunate turn of events and the list goes on and on….

But how was the year for a typical Indian Entrepreneur like me ?

Indian Entrepreneur

Overall it was a difficult year to say the least:

  • The global uncertainties ensured that we were on our toes for the major part of the year
  • The wide fluctuations of growth prospects from extremely positive to utterly depressing gave mixed signals to everyone around us
  • The learnings, un-learnings and re-learnings were steep and didn’t provide us a minute of respite from challenging the status-quo

So what is this all about:

Like

  • We started 2016 on a very positive note backed by a 100% year on year growth for our company. The team was all set and promising new members were joining the team almost every month. We were falling short of operating space (a difficult but good problem to have), so we expanded our office space
  • The biggest coup of the year was the strategic tie-up with a company in Australia. This helped us to have a physical presence in a developed market. We were able to reach more clients and engage on interesting projects
  • This relationship grew stronger over time and we also had an offshore visit from the Australian partner. Many things were brainstormed during this visit and a mid-term roadmap was chalked out. The team was excited by the interaction with an onsite partner and the new perspectives that they received
  • The projects were pouring in and we were experimenting with new technologies. The formula that we had developed for the last 3 years was working well

What could go wrong, you’d say?

As the year progressed on, we faced some headwinds:

Dislike

 

  • Stressed projects: A couple of projects were proving to be troublesome, we focused our energies on them, took some tough decisions and ensured that the clients are happy with our delivery. After numerous long nights and weekends in office, the projects stabilized. These experiences gave us good insights on our strengths and improvement areas, which we gradually worked on
  • Few unexpected exits: We were largely dependent on the hardworking and dedicated team we had meticulously built over the last 3+ years. Some of the senior members were really showing promise of taking additional responsibilities. But at the same time, they too had to progress in their careers and hence it was with heavy heart that we had to say goodbye to Arpita, Ankur, Bhaskar. We parted ways on a positive note and are still very much in touch
  • Global uncertainties: We started facing hurdles in acquiring projects that should have been a cakewalk a year back. This lead to a sluggish period for operations, so we needed to beef up our sales team to overcome the challenges. We hired a dedicated HR and she helped us to streamline our hiring processes
  • Unprofessional prospects: The most disappointing phase was when we offered a senior sales guy a better package than his expectations, agreed to wait for his 2 months notice period – to be told a day before his joining that he has decided to continue in his current company because he got a hike over the package that we had offered. The issue here was not that he rescinded on his promise to join us, but the time and opportunities wasted in this process. This proved to be a real learning for us and we corrected our hiring process to handle such eventualities
  • Unprofessional member: Have tried to explain it here
  • Few tough decisions: “As an Entrepreneur the toughest decisions of your life, will definitely be related to the Human Resources”. Wrong hires, Engagements stretched beyond their life, Missed hires – are the decisions that you’ll always regret and pay a heavy price for

We too had to take such decisions:

  • A few people were asked to pursue their careers elsewhere. We tried our best to take the most humane approach possible. We gave sufficient indications and opportunity to make corrections, when that did not work we gave all the support in terms of documentations, referrals and monetary support to help in the transition. Some took it professionally, some got emotional. We publicly apologize if anyone feels that we made the wrong decision OR if there were lacks from our side to handle the situation. We are sure, in the long term they will realize that the decision was in their own interest and ultimately helped in pursuing their careers in a more suitable company
  • A prolonged Engagement: We were having a difficult problem with 1 particular team member. Extremely talented, technically superior, good communication skills but a complete mismatch for our Culture. We tried to counsel this team member to smoothen the edges and not create disturbances in our environment. We gave him opportunity on the most sought after projects, gave him unlimited access to office resources to enhance his skills, provided enough chances but still the nagging problem of cultural misfit persisted. It was after hectic discussions and debating tough choices that we decided to ask the member to leave

All along the while, Gyrixians were working hard and partying harder. We had numerous events for Self Improvement,  Winning Documentary Contest, Supporting Social Causes, Foundation Day, Awards, Long Trips, Short Trips, Birthdays, Festive celebrations, Games, Masti etc.

With this, we have reached the climax of the year and you are wondering that I’ve not yet touched upon Brexit and Trump, but there is a particular reason to it. No one can predict how these two events will unfold.

  1. Brexit: Might be bad for the world in general but might be a blessing for Indian IT companies, if the Indian government is able to leverage the situation to our advantage.
  2. Trump: What can I say more that’s not said already? With my limited understanding of Economics and International policy, if he implements all the things he says, the world is heading towards bigger trouble in the next 4 years. For Indian IT companies there are mixed signals. He may hinder IT outsourcing and H1-B, at the same time he might be more favorable towards India vis-a-vis its competitors. So no one knows what lies in store for the Indian IT Industry.

So what is our outlook for the year 2017 ?

“Extreme uncertainty in one variable demands relative stability in others”

With the year closing on uncertain terms, it is better to adjust our plans prudently. We are hopeful that 2017 will be more cheerful and will allow us to pursue our goals without many external considerations. We have ambitious goals and new initiatives to unveil. As always, we are confident that our super dynamic team will be able to pull off any challenge we throw at them.

We thank our team, mentors, friends, well wishers, support network and family for helping us achieve our goals this year. Here’s to more Growth and Entrepreneurial dynamism in the coming Year !!!

We wish everyone a Great Year Ahead !

Happy New Year

 

Going Beyond Job Titles

Culture, Entrepreneurship, Processes

Gyrix has been a dream workplace for me.

The exposure to world-class processes and crucial responsibilities has helped me build a strong foundation for my professional career. It has given me a head start into the IT world and a chance to explore multiple verticals of my personality. The company has true startup culture embedded in the way it functions. It ensures that no matter what profile you take up – an intern or a fresher, your role will not be restricted to a desk job. It compels everyone to go beyond job titles. Gyrix will push you to be innovative in your approach and encourage you to think “outside the box”.

It will not allow you to settle and keep challenging you with newer responsibilities, so that you can witness unparalleled growth.

Shreyas Padhye

The co-founders Kunal and Rashmirathi are a perfect blend of all the characteristics that you wish of your bosses! To be a little cheesy, I’d even say “they complete each other”. They have nurtured a brilliant team and the atmosphere at work is scintillating. Employee growth is central to their agenda. That reflects in their behavior and is visible in most of the company’s policies. Joining Gyrix made me realize that working in a startup has much more to offer, compared to a typical MNC.

enjoy responsibilities beyond job titles

Excelling at Gyrix definitely demands tremendous dedication and long hours at work. But then again, if you’re enjoying responsibilities and are in love with what you do, you don’t listen to the clock ticking, do you? In a nutshell, if you’re passionate about your work and envision yourself as being the best in the business, this is your place to be!

Thank You #GYRIX
Shreyas Padhye

 

Fun Fact: Shreyas did an Entrepreneurial Internship at Gyrix during his graduation and was offered a PPO based on his performance during the Internship.

Pain of a Considerate Employer – Unprofessional employee

Culture

This is a story of how inconsiderate and unprofessional employee wreak the goodwill that well-intentioned Entrepreneurs want to build through their culture.

After working at an MNC for 2 years with financial bond, we were clear that at our company we don’t want to keep a bond. Despite the overwhelming suggestions from senior entrepreneurs with experience of the work culture and mindset of the work force in Indore, we were very sure that Gyrix will never bind an unwilling team member just for the sake of it. It is better to let the person go rather than stay without adding value to the company and himself.

The objective was to build a free and open culture with minimum obligation from the team members. Hence we have kept the employment conditions simple: Minimum employment expectation of 1 year. If the candidate leaves before 1 year, we won’t (and cannot) stop him. But we would not be giving Salary Slips, Experience letter and will not entertain reference calls. Fair enough, right ?

We had selected a fresher, let’s call him Mr. Prabhas (name changed), through our normal recruitment process and gave an offer in Oct 2015. He accepted the offer. Being a company with limited resource we did not perform background checks.

Prabhas showed promise with his technical skills. Internally, we chalked a grooming plan for him and assigned challenging projects. He delivered on many of our expectations. He lacked in following instructions and processes but we provided feedback and suggestions on how to overcome them.

As things progressed, we had to assign him to a really difficult project but on a supposedly “inferior” technology – PHP. He was unwilling to switch technology despite the functional and managerial exposure he would get on the project. We suggested, if he does justice to this project we will consider his technology change request soon.

Then the pain started !

Prabhas started working on the project with no application of thought and heart. He was taking longer to work on very simple tasks and it was baffling that a good performer suddenly had so many issues in delivery.
We still persisted with him on the project, gave him the required guidance and occasional reprimanding wherever necessary.

We were struggling to match the delivery expectations and on 21 June 2016 Prabhas informed that he is selected in a company, wants to leave before completing 1 year and will not be able to complete one-month’s notice period. He wanted release on 10th July 2016. We were fine with him leaving but needed to decide on the release date. We informed that he will get a confirmation on the resignation on 22nd June 2016.
Internally, we identified a resource for the project and decided to release Prabhas earlier i.e. by 30th June 2016 and he should purchase the remaining notice period of 20 days. The Knowledge Transfer will be managed in 8 days.

Then things started to go from bad to worse.

In the meeting on 22nd June 2016, we informed him about our decision. He asked what will be the implications if he does not come from the next day, 23rd June 216. We were shocked !
We said as a professional courtesy, you need to give bare minimum time to the company to manage project continuity. It reflects on his professional etiquette for asking to serve 20 days of notice period on one day and on the very next day decide to leave within 2 days.

We tried to enquire the reasons for such sudden changes and below were the factors:

  • The package in the new company was much higher. Joining that company early means getting an extra week of salary with higher package
  • Supposedly, the company has promised him to give the experience letter of 10 extra months, for the period when he worked with Gyrix
  • Supposedly, the company has also promised to purchase the notice period

To be clear, we are completely fine with the tactics of the company. These are common practices and there are no objections to it.

What was revealing to us is the blatant misuse of our open policies by Prabhas. A professional with good ethics and courtesy would have negotiated on the notice period and agreed to a compromise.

Furthermore, it was Prabhas’s arrogance that striked us. He enquired about the possible actions that Gyrix will take in case he discontinues from 23rd June. We listed salary, legal and public declarations of his actions as possible options. Then it started getting interesting !

He informed that he has already broken a bond with the second biggest Indian IT company and no action was taken on him. So what will Gyrix, a 20+ strength company, do.
Before joining Gyrix, he had a offer from another MNC because did not join them also because they had a bond. He joined Gyrix because we have no bond and he is joining the next company also because they have no bond.

“Then it started dawning on us – the problem is much bigger than the symptoms we were seeing”

We were experiencing the pain behind the suggestions given by the senior entrepreneurs. If they are reading this, they will have a smug grin on their faces saying “I told you so !”

However, introducing bond to captivate the team member still does not appeal to our vision. It will be like beating the stick after the snake has crawled away.

So what are the options in front of us.

  • Pursue him legally and set an example for the current and future team members of not being so arrogant about the opportunities they have
  • Hold off the salary – a materialistic step but significant to a person who is chasing money while compromising on Ethics
  • Public declaration of his actions that might impact his future employment

We have decided to do all the above and more in this particular case.

To be sure, Prabhas is not the only person in history to do this and will certainly not be the last. His actions may not be the worst case scenario to happen between an employer and employee. So why are we pursuing this so much ?
The answer lies in our vision of creating an open and fair company which treats the team members with respect, but also expects and deserves the same level of respect from them.

Prabhas is not willing to respect his obligations towards the company and we are not the ones to take punches lying down. We are going to retaliate and retaliate hard !

Postscript: After another team member started working on Prabhas’s project, we found out all the intentional issues created by Prabhas while working on it. Fortunately, due to the processes set at our company, we have avoided any impact on the client and are able to continue working on it properly. But the malicious intent is clearly visible from his actions. We are taking additional efforts to identify other such issues induced by him to safeguard ourselves and our clients.

 

Shubham Akodiya

10 reasons why employees join companies but leave bosses!!!

10 reasons why employees join companies but leave bosses!!!

Entrepreneurship

Corporate Maze

Corporate life is said to be a labyrinth, loaded with lots of systems and processes, most of which are never understood by anyone. On the flip side, it is as amazing as any of the entertainment channel, with lots of gossips and food for thought. Then why the corporate are witnessing an ever increasing attrition rate? Companies like Walt Disney and Google even after providing every single amenity required for an employee, like better work environment and amazing salary packages, are having attrition rate. Of the many factors that came out as a result of a survey, one of the major reasons why an employee quit a job is the senior authority.  Some bosses are demanding, while others are too intense, some are motivators and real team players, while others are strategic thinkers etc..etc..

Major reason behind a surprising survey result is that bosses play a vital role in the job span of an employee.  As per the research, 34% of employees point their managers as one of the reason of their resignation. Of this 31%, 13% said that their supervisors lacked in respect/ support, 9% said that their boss lacked in leadership skills, 4% said that supervisor had poor employee relation, 4% said that their supervisor displayed favoritism and 4% said that they were not recognized for their contributions.

A boss has an invisible impact on the life of each and every employee working in his  organization.

There are various things bosses do, that ruin the organization and make people quit:

  1. No challenging responsibility:Most employees dream of moving up and doing something more meaningful and challenging. Managers who never provide their team members with opportunities to take on complex assignments or learn new skills are sure to build resentment and prevent team members from reaching their potential.
  2. Believing authority flows from a title:Employees may give new managers the benefit of doubt, but any real authority a leader has over his subordinates evaporates quickly unless he earns his team members’ respect. Managers who bark orders and expect blind obedience are sure to drive away their best employees.
  3. Not providing feedback: Adequate material compensation is critical to employee satisfaction, but so is giving employees a sense of professional accomplishment and growth. Effective managers achieve this by providing ongoing feedback and expressing their gratitude for quality work. Ineffective managers leave their employees steeped in frustration, confusion and doubt.
  4. Avoiding dirty work:Employees have a phrase for bosses who consistently foist undesirable work on subordinates. It’s called power-tripping. The most respected managers are willing to chip in and occasionally help out with the most dreaded tasks.
  5. Being unapproachable:Perhaps managers are intimidating, aloof, too quick to criticize or unable to hold confidence. Whatever the cause, those who are unapproachable typically lack a clear understanding of their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, share little about themselves and don’t know how their team members feel about important issues.
  6. Misuse their power: Boss uses power and authority to dominate staff, ostensibly to get the job done. They also use covert tactics to meet his or her objectives, demonstrated in how he handles information, motivates others and ensures compliance. When bosses abuse their power they bring down morale, create turnover, incur grievances and cost the company money in lost productivity.
  7. Monetary valuation of employee’s sentiments: A manager thinks that an employee gets motivated only by perks and compensation as appreciation. Due to which they don’t give proper feedback to them and for good work and to motivate them, they, rather than providing them their time try to motivate them by offering perks and incentives.
  8. Micro Management: Manager breathes down his employees’ neck by paying extreme attention to small details. It gives an impression that the employees are not capable enough to perform the tasks, as such, he tends to make his own decisions without allowing them to take. He does not seem to place confidence in his employees or in their good qualities. When the qualities, like, fairness, truth, honor or ability are not recognized, employees begin to lose their passion and hopes for the future. And this loss of hope is exacerbated by the state in which they are micromanaged constantly.
  9. Overly critical nature: While praise doesn’t necessarily boost performance, it is an important antidote to counteract the negative effects of criticism. And that negative effect is substantial.Research shows, for example, that having a boss who berates them is one of the reasons 66 percent of employees say their work performance declined and 78 percent report that their commitment to the company declined.
  10. Emotional instability/ Flipping nature: Flipping nature of boss causes lot of problems. Their emotional instability causes problems and due to this, an employee is never able to understand them, at one point they are happy and at the other point they are shouting like hell on employees and blaming them for everything happening over there. Their flipping nature makes sure that the employee is as sad as they are.

So next time, you decide to leave a company just because of your nasty boss, think twice, talk to your boss, share with him your issues, there is lot that gets solved with proper communication. Try your best if you really want to work, but still if the things does not work out, there are better companies and of course better people.

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