Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I wrote this article after getting inspired by the success of team India in the recent Videocon Cricket Cup. Do go through it and post your views.

5 Lessons an IT Engineer can learn from the Indian Cricket Team

The Indian Cricket team has brought in lots of happiness, hope and cheer to Indian cricket fans. Just a month ago, Indian cricket was in turmoil. There were conflicts between the coach and the captain, the Indians had lost a series against the Lankans. The star performer Sachin's future was not clear. The team as a unit was not clicking. But with a new captain, disciplined team and a change in attitude, a miracle happened. A 6-1 series win over the Lankans proved that all this was not fluke. The new team India is a improved one.
As an IT professional,one who is also an ardent follower of cricket, I realized that there are a few lessons that our community of young IT engineers can learn from the new Team India. So, presenting before you 5 lessons a young IT Engineer can learn from Team India :

Lesson 1: Discover yourself when on Bench
Tendulkar was out of action from International cricket for 6 months. When he resumed international cricket this month, he lacked match practice.For this period, he wasn't contributing to the Indian team. This might have been very frustrating for him. There were some who said that his stint at international cricket was over. But I believe, Sachin used this time to reflect on his past, identify his weak spots and prepared himself for the new innings. The result: A blazing 93 on return to International cricket.
Compare Sachin's absence with someone from the IT industry. If an IT Engineer was not being productive or billable for a project, he would be labeled as some one on "Bench". Bench time is associated with a sense of failure among professionals in the IT industry due to lack of productivity. So, is there a lesson for us from Sachin? Of course yes! When you are in bench, make use of that time. Reflect on your past. Identify the weakness. Attend that soft skill training that you have always wanted to. Take up that IT certification that will boost your career. Sharpen your tech skills.
So, the lesson from Sachin for IT professionals: Bench time can be utilized effectively to improve the competence of an employee.

Lesson 2: Be Flexible
Mahendra Dhoni, on certain days, was asked to accelerate the scoring rate in the early stages of the game.On other days, he came lower down the batting order to provide stability. Irfan Pathan is a bowler who can bat. Gambhir scored a century and was yet made to sit out in one of the matches. A key factor in the success of the new team India was Flexibility. The cricketers have been brought out of their "comfort zone" and have been asked to be flexible in their mindset. The instructions are given at a short notice and one is expected to complete the task. The result: The team was winning and the young players looked more confident and assured of their place in the squad.
Shouldn't this too be the case with the young IT engineers? Your first project could involve stimulating, challenging work involved in a development project .However your next assignment could be to work in a maintenance project. If the work involves doing Quality reviews etc, we see many cross faces. Asked to be a project that involves testing, there are many reluctant faces. Here is where we need to take a lesson from Team India. We must understand that being flexible and working in different projects will provide one exposure to the software development life cycle (SDLC). And this is something that you want in your resume and is also good for our career. So, the lesson from Dhoni and Pathan for IT professionals: Be flexible and have an open mind to work on any project. Early days are for you to learn, explore and innovate.

Lesson 3: Work on the weakness else you'll be replaced:
Saurav Ganguly is an outstanding leader. But his form as a batsmen had not been great. He knew his weakness. Yet, there was no improvement happening.
Runs were not coming through. There was a rift in the team. Fitness was low.
The result: A man, who a lot of us thought was irreplaceable, was kept out of the team and yet the team did well.
IT Engineers might have strong technical skills. You might be an asset to the team but if there are specific areas that you need to work, do address them.
The technology in the IT industry is always changing. One should always be open to learning new technology and be ready working on one's weakness. Else, you'll be left out.
Lessons for IT professional: It is great to have some skills that are your strengths, but don't assume that you could just survive through them. Work on your weakness too.

Lesson 4: The Coach/ Leader has a vision:
Was Greg Chappel experimenting? Perhaps he had a strategy for team India .
Did he know what he was doing? Perhaps, he had a vision in his mind.
He had the required credentials. He knew the rules, he knew the game.
The Indians were asked to have faith in the new coach. And he is delivering what was expected out of him.
Consider the IT industry. Often the projects in the Indian IT industry have time and budget constraints. The command is given to the Project Manager and the Project Leader. A new team is set up and the leader makes a few quick decisions which we might not understand or like. But, we should realize that here is one man who has a plan in mind and will chalk the path for us to execute.
Lessons for IT professional: A leader is chosen by the management based on his experiences, abilities and potential. Have faith in him.

Lesson 5:Team Works:
When a TV Channel asked Greg Chappel what he thought was the reason for the success of new team India , he said that "everybody shared the work load". And this team India once again proved us how much one can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit..A good team is worth more than the sum of the individuals. We had t the same bunch of players, but there was a BIG difference in the results this time. The concept of team work has been constantly repeated to us. The IT industry comprises of ordinary people delivering world class software. Team work holds the key to success.
The biggest lesson that the new team Indian has taught: There is no "I" in "TEAMWORK" and Together Everyone Achieves More.


At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Mridula said...

Would you write another one if Indian cricket team loses to South Africa titled something "let us keep our heads on our shoulders if we win once?"

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Indian Blogger said...

Mridula, I was expecting this question to come after watching the Indian's loose to the South African's. Well, the way Bhaji and Yuvraj played,Agarkar took the wickets, therez a lesson for us.Isn't there? Well, the lesson could be NOT to rest on our laurels and focus on achieving consistency.What say?

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Mridula said...

I did not see the match nor do I follow cricket very closely anymore but yes, what you say has logic, I agree, consistency is missing.

At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a mail from our batting coach, Sridhar Raju, (TTSL) with the exact content of your post. Do you know him? I liked the article very much.

And more importantly, losing a match or two after winning continuously is acceptable.

At 6:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blog on Indian Cricket Team and IT professional was too good.Hope everyone(IT professionals) reads and puts himself in that position and laughs at it.

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