Saturday, January 14, 2006

Nahi Chalta Hai.

In the last few years, I have become a huge fan of processes and systems. I sure sign that I am getting old. Normally, junta cribs that all this browbeating about quality and use of metrics, standard documents, reviews, checks, audits are just a big impediment in the actual delivery and rather than used to any genuine positive effect, are employed more by companies to get highly coveted labels like the CMM, PCMM, ISO, Six Sigma and the like.

I tend to disagree. The people who claim the processes are useless, are the ones that make them useless.

Anyway, what I really wanted to discuss was in terms of quality of deliverables and processes implemented to ensure optimal delivery, a company cannot move to best level without trial by fire. That is almost a given. You have to pass through Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 to get to Level 5.

I use the word company. But really, I want to make the point to compare how government and the establishment functions in the two countries - UK and India. In UK, as pointed out through an earlier example, things run pretty much close to CMM Level 5. In India, we are very close to go past CMM Level 1.

There are a number of factors and all true (India is a large country and there are many truths). These guys have the money. But to get to CMM5 is incredibly tough. CMM Level 5 says that you not only have to be the best, but you have to constantly keep improving. UK has great politicians (watch the extremely dignified, intelligent and witty debates in the House of Commons). A not so effective opposition right now, but a vocal backbenchers MPs from the govt itself, keep the PM and cabinet in check. Then there is the media (as good as in India). But main thing is the system is full of people, out there trying to make things happen, trying to better it for their lot, constantly improving.

So, on the roads, you find thick paint stripes, for every thing - no-parking zone, cycle path (is marked by green colour patch along the road), bus way, turn signs, cobbled pathways in city center or pedestrian zones. Along the roads, there is hardly any water logging. The pavement slopes gently at each intersection so that the disabled and the old have no trouble crossing. Very minor things, but which need deliberate thought and action

In fact, the emphasis here is on integrating every possible citizen into the mainstream. He should be able to freely move around, travel and work inspite of his/her handicap or age. That is why, you see so many old people whizzing around in disability scooters. What's more the disability law mandates all the banks/utility companies to send out mails in braille or in large letters in case the person poor eyesight. There are mikes at every counter in banks/railway stations. Just think about how old or disabled people have to live a life of confinement and desolation in India. Never able to leave the house, not getting heard and generally ignored all the time.

Probably, all this will come in India in a few years time. It will come with wealth. But right now it is important to get educated, smart and dedicated people in the government, in public sectoy. People who are not satisfied with CMM Level 1. People who are not ok with Chalta Hai attitude.

Nahi Chalta Hai!!
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