Days back I received an email from an acquaintance based in Mumbai. He informed me that he has joined as a PM in an e-learning company. To quote him verbatim, “I am having a gala time as a PM. The only thing I need to do here is to squeeze timelines so that we get the most out of these silly IDs and graphic designers.”
That didn’t surprise to me, largely because I had sensed this trend about a year back. The issue of squeezed timelines is not usually done by the outsourcing client but by the Project Managers within. The logic is simple – squeezing the timeline reduces development costs for the company and adds a feather in the PM’s cap that can be converted to a higher annual increment.
Consider the statistics (lent by a senior ID from Genpact). About 2 years back the average number of frames that IDs were required to churn out daily was 12-15. This number has now shot to 20-25 even while the salaries have not seen an increment by that rate. So even while clients throw a deadline of say 15 days, the project manager reduces this to 7 days even while the client is billed on the actual effort of 15 days, and maybe more.
Project Managers are also instructed by the management to escalate fictitious issues for IDs and GDs so that the conditions become conducive for them to leave the company. With an annual increment of an average of 25% companies discover that certain resources are a liability and their replacements can come at a lower remuneration package. However, for individuals who redefine themselves and are capable of shouldering higher responsibilities are not axed.
Even as you see those flashy growth figures of Indian e-learning companies, the underlying politics weigh far too heavily on the employee’s careers. For some rational and far-sighted ones e-learning today has come to be a makeshift arrangement, a platform, to launch their actual careers. Perhaps they see the e-learning as closely resembling the BPOs where numbers matter more than the grey matter. Is it this coldness that makes software professionals giggle at ‘e-learning?’ Who knows – the answer is best left unanswered.