Archive for the ‘How many people report into you?’ Category

“How many people report into you?”

April 2, 2007

This is what a Project Leader asks another when they meet up at a general body meeting. It could be happening in any big software services company in Bangalore. You are measured by how many people report into you. If you have 12 people ‘under’ you, then you feel superior to another project leader who has 10 people ‘under’ him. ‘Growth’ is the increase in the number of people who report into you. A Division Head with 60 people under him feels more powerful, successful, and accomplished compared to another Division Head with 30 people under him. The number of people reporting into you is the direct indicator of your success. Soon, every Project Leader wants to ensure his team size increases. Every Project Manager wants to increase his team size. So on.

What you end up with is a mechanism which is continuously increasing the ranks of the company. Every Project Leader, Project Manager and the Division Head wants to project that he needs more people. When the mindset is to increase the team size, reasons come out plenty why you need them. Soon, you have an inflated industry, bloated companies, all perpetuating the notion that it needs more people.

A task that can be done by two people in reality is done by eight people. That’s because if you make it work with two people, there’s no reward for it. A services organization does not earn enough. However, if you make it work with eight people, then you are doing something good, because now you earn more for the company. So, in effect, you weed out those leaders who are capable of delivering the same task with less people, and promote and reward those leaders who do the same task with more people.

So, what do you end up with? Leaders, managers and heads who are adept and proficient in projecting more engineers for a task than what is actually needed.

And when this phenomenon happens in every team, every division, every company, what do you get? You get Bangalore! A city filled with thousands of software engineers who get jobs because someone up there wants to feel he/she has succeeded.