Tuesday, April 11, 2006

IBM - is it the best? I say YEAH!

I like IBM.
Come this july, I will be completing 2 years in IBM and one year was completely different from another. The first year, I was a senior developer in a client location which had no access to IBM network and the whole contract was confusing and my customer managers were always confused if I could be 'used'. The result- I was simply sitting, monthly getting(SSMG- enuf to say this and I will understand that you are probably in bench or in a customer location with no work to do!!). Just when the frustration levels were touching danger limit a project change happened and thank heavens for that. The second project is so good, the management, the clients and everything that it automatically qualifies as my best and most productive stint of my professional career.
In the first project, the managers were elusive, always busy to interact with the team and assessments and ratings were seen as influenced and most of my team mates werent happy. I didn't bother much as getting any rating was OK as I was simply SSMGing. In the second project, things were totally different and the best portion was management. This was a management team that rewarded performance and welcomed ideas. The result was that each and every member of the team was pushing the limits and the bars were consistently being set high.
On a personal level, doing the work of my boss became the norm and boss never bothered as he/she felt that a healthy second line is definitely his/her lifeline. Clearly things were different from my previous projects outside IBM, where no matter how many problems in process, technology you innovate and solve, there is always a chosen one who walked away with credits for your work and offcourse the route to the top level seemed perennially closed. In this project, leaders were encouraged to encourage leadership among the people who reported to them.
And to say that inexhaustible treasure cove of knowledge and experience of 100+ years of IBM was available at a couple of clicks over the intranet is amazing would be an understatement. In a couple of days , I listened to two invigorating lectures by master in Agile Project Management , Kevin Aguanno and the experience was mindblowing. How to make sense on common sense? If someone wants to learn listen to Kevin Aguanno, an IBMer belonging to IBM canada. Sometime back, I was listening to Grady Booch yapping on future of SOA. IBM has invested in storing terrabytes of these lectures, converting them into podcasts and other intuitive ways of information dissemination.
And no mention of my experience in IBM could be deemed complete if there is no mention on the "open" culture of IBM. I can speak to my manager's manager and no one would mind. I can have a loud disagreement with my manager and still that wouldn't screw up my ratings. I can talk to anyone at any level in IBM coz I am an IBMer and that is what counts. Offcourse, people used to working in other environments may find it strange initially as IBM expects people to be professional and therefore expects them to pick up their own pieces and plot their own course . If you are clear as to what you want to become and if you are willing to team up and show initiative and offcourse innovate, then IBM is the right company. If you want a fat paycheck on the day you join and for your first year pay hike to be spectacular and everything else comes second, then IBM is not the right company. However if you would like to be rated farely and your knowledge and position to grow commensurate with your effort and intelligence, then IBM is the best. Interesting to note that IBM has a manager survey where you can transparently share your views on your manager. I dont know if any other company has it.
A company where nobel laureates are working and freely available to chat with the last employee!! That is IBM for you.

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