Right after my grad exams in 2005 I took a break, and it was almost a month. I was feeling frustrated sitting at home. My on-campus recruit -Huawie had given me a joining date in September. I could not just wait that long. I got a call from efi for an interview on June 25 th... It was a Saturday and the venue was the old office of efi (above globus, Kormangala).
My interview was taken by Dyllon and then a round with Krishna... It was rather a simple interview... and was confident of getting in.. so was it to be.... I landed inEFI, to accept the offer letter and join the troupe of new recruit freshers. I joined on the 27 th of June 2005 in EFI as Associate Software Enggr (I am still that.... he he [:D]).
It was Poonam Bajaj who handed over a bag... with efi stitched on it and some other stationery material... We were guided into the conference hall that was then turned into a training hall for us. This was group of 13 freshers... We went through two sessions of training... the first week was on domain related stuff... a lot ofTLs coming in and giving us fundas... clearing our fundas...[I truly don't know how much of it has remained in my head... but used to note down all those points... [;)]] I only recallRajneesh and Venkat giving us fundas.. cant recall anything greater than that now. It was in these training sessions that I got my 2 best pals.... Vikas Shayana (Progressively sleeping!!!) and Vinay Setty. After this session of Domain knowledge, we went through a session of training in C++. Thanks to N S Kumar, I got to learn C++ with its "philosophy".
After the technical coaching we had a week's time to wander about, we made a trip to Nandi Hills, and got back, a freshers party at Three-Quarter Chinese. We then were called for a "one-one" session with Poonam to take note of our interests and try allotting us into the domain that we liked the most. It was also a feedback session on the training program. After about a couple of days during which we watched a movie inPVR, we got assigned to our teams.
I was inducted to Rajneesh's team that was working on CWS wx then... due to some reason this project got scrapped. It was my first interaction with a team at efi. Arthi K, was set as my mentor by Rajneesh. The initial task that Rajneesh assigned to me was learning wxWidgets. I used to browse through the help pages, look at the sample and then start coding the samples in my own way. this continued on for about 10 days after which I was given my fist assignment byRajneesh , It was to design a message box that would take in strings of any length and then wrap the string to some set number of alphabets and then display it. It was my first assignment and thanks to the initial "Josh" I finished this very quickly.Rajneesh then was on testing this application and suggesting modifications...It was all exciting one to learn this new library... very often I would stumble across something think.. "It must be hard to do" and then look at the code... debug get the thought process right and attempt it...this helped me learn a lot quicker... just to add to it.. I would try it out... and when it works, there was nothing more exciting than it.
After a couple of weeks of this assignment, Rajneesh took me to a meeting, it was here that I learnt my first major lesson, We had discussion on some stuff that was being planned and I was to do something (cant recall what) in it. After the meeting I went toRajneesh personally and suggested something, he immediately gave me an important lesson - "Man, if u want to tell out something, do it when you are asked for and people are listening. Don't expect people to speak for you, you will have to speak for yourself." These words had a great impact on me.
It was around this time that Arthi left the company and I was the only person working directly under Rajneesh for the CWS wx version. The work load was not all that great and it was just some samples that I was working on. Then Rajneesh got involved into HotFolders. I was still on bench nothing serious that I was doing. Around a week into the project, Rajneesh gave my first assignment, to develop a testing application for Filter that would be used in the Hot Folders Application. I was supposed to develop only theUI part and not worry about the implementation. This was the first application that I has to make decisions on how and what controls I would be using.... This was a very nice and thought provoking experience.
While professionally this phase was a learning one for me... there was not much of productivity that was put up for efi. I began understanding and appreciating what Rajeesh was doing... I began to appreciate the way he handled things.. not much of tension, very frank in his speech, helping if he can else just saying it our frankly... accepting he doesn't know when he doesn't now, and most importantly not letting himself down under any situation - in short I got to see a lot of idealizing things in him.. In short he is the coolest TL I have ever had. We got to know each other better and slowly transformed from a TL and a ASE to good friends. The common thing that got us very close was our interest towards book. We both were bibliophiles... and even to this day we keep discussing on various books..
After around a month of such kidding and being paid for all the party that I had, Atul called me in, and put me into a different team. Being without work, I was eagerly waiting for work.... No better time to come ah!!! Ya I got to join theColorWise team, headed by Venkat Reddy.
It was under quite a bad state at that time.... with Venkat trying to get it past the 'ALPHA' milestone and it flopping all the time. Is was around September end that I joined this group. Shiva andRajiv were already in this group from the gang of freshers-05. It is here that I got to meet another peculiar person - Kanhayia. Slowly down the line there was one more person to be added to this list.... Pankaj Bhalla. This trio - Kanhayia, Pankaj and myself, you would find them invariably doing night outs soon... [;)]
I was asked to solve a few defects in one of the common library - Select Profile by Venkat... These were mostly some UI changes. It was fun doing these things... not major work at all... later on this helped me become what Raghu to day calls me - 'A Sizer Expert' [;)] (I am not sure about that though.). Occasionally I used to get some logic related defect, but then it was not a major one, and could be easily handled. I can still recall vividly the first review of code thatVenkat did, the first check-in. Venkat wanted to teach me in a very affectionate way, but may be I was not mature enough to know all that. I was looking stars when he made changes, to the code, then build something, compile something somewhere, and finally get theexe. Venkat was waiting to get me into the release management of Color Profiler. After about 3 weeks into Profiler I began making builds.... and this was followed by an upload to the prerel. Our release was scheduled on Friday and Tuesday. Friday was then the day most of the releases were done, we did not have a RMS like we have today so every one had to use the same available bandwidth to upload the binaries to prerel. Invariable it would take 2 to 3 hours or sometimes even more than that.
Our product is an integrated product, that consists of a few applications that come from US. We used to get these binaries, then integrate it with our local applications that we develop and then copy these binaries after our testing (noQA then, it was just the developer verifying). We would fix the defect so locally that we would just test the fix for its working, not actually going through the complete flow to analyse the side effect... invariably we would find a defect at the last minute... andKanhayia would run back to his desk to fix it.. finally he would make some alterations and fix it (am not sure what exactly would be his fix in such a short time....[;)]) He was used to working under such pressure that he used to say - "it is only under such pressure that my Brain works properly man!!!"
It was a real pressure cooker sort of situation.. Venkat Reddy was under immense pressure... he had the art of getting extra time under any circumstance. I have not seen the similar art in Raghu... well you can't expect everyone to have everything, right? Kanhayia, myself and later on Pankaj all got into the similar situation... all a pressure cooker.. no one was better... occasionally we used to get some half an hour break in our work.. and then the work would get on. My friends used to say - "earlier u would return home at 6:00pm sharp... now even if the world break u stay atefi!!!" Well that was the state our work was in...
Around Feb the project that I was working moved from Venkat to Raghu.... and around a fortnight later i got my first feature development... Thanks to the expert guidance from Kanhayia and Raghu, I could finish this implementation quickly and it was a big confidence boost for me.
May be it was only Raghu who could get the process straight, not many identified there was a flaw in the sytem... slowly the process had to improve... what was more necessary was develping confidence between the two teams... the spec and related documents had to be worked out in a right way... we needed a local QA who could be quick enough in identifying the defects if any first hand... A lot of processes needed to be changed...
What the most striking realization was... there was not a proper structure for the module... This became our starting point. Raghu sat back and got the design diagrams for the project. At this juncture, Pankaj decided to leave our group and move on to another company... that was followed by Janaki Madam, and Sudheer's arrival into the team.... Once the design was ready it was a matter of setting the design right... but the problem was you cant correct it over night... it has to be done in a smooth manner...
In the mean time, Kanhayia decided to quit... we shifted to the new office. The process improved but the father of PrinterProfiler - KK was not there to watch it past all the marks to go to the market. I was the only fortunate one to have seen all the three phases. All through the initial phase of theQA we had Bhaskar, giving us company in all the late night shows.... he he [:D]
After the QA process got added we had to finish off the release of the project a bit early, and then both the QA and engineering got a bit more time to test the binaries.... Slowly the things started falling in place... That is what happens - when a right decision is taken, you make more better decisions and slowly bail yourself out of problem.
From Raghu, I learnt the art of withstanding the storm and taking the boat to the shore... it takes a lot of time and effort to rescue a sinking ship... I learnt a lot of things from him.
Now the Fun part:
There are a couple fun memories associated with my stay at efi....
1. The EFI cricket tournament -
I remember this was the first match of the tournament for our team... I was on a Saturday that we chose to play this match... And we had to make the Friday release.... [:)]...KK had left home early, Bhaskar and I were the only two members in the group who where present.... Bhaskar began his testing at 10:00pm... I decided to have a nap while he tested the product on 3 platforms.... he would inevitably take 4 hours to complete the whole process.. I began my nap on the floor at 11 and he was busy measuring.. at 1 he woke me up asking me to upload the binaries... the process got completed at 2 am and we reached home in the company cab.
Next day we had a match at 7:30am.... I landed in at the right time.. and we were to bat first... I don't know what was in my head but I made a quickfire 36 that helped us win the match.... [:)]
2. The Diwali celebrations at the new office.
I vividly remember this, we were all engrossed in our own work, Raghu got back from his native after a vacation. He called up a meeting of all his team members... and told we have this event here.... we want to get the first price in this. We began doing the planning that day and decided to give an attempt for the first price... The whole team went about doing things with missionary zeal, all of us contributing our bit to the preparations. We made a nigh out till 4 am in the morning, then got home... had a small nap changed our attire and got back.
This event gave me a lot of realization and self reflection thought... thank to the pot painting that I did. i began to question myself!!! The refection of this helped me realise a lot of thing about myself. It was then that I began preparing for CAT....
Now I stand here on the verge of quitting efi, its been one huge learning experience for me.. one who joined as a fresher.. I have been able to manage my day the way I want, that has been the best part of the life here.
I have only made a mention of those people whom I interacted a lot... this is not a detailed story so don't blame me, I have not added many experiences..