April - 2006 - issue > Manager You Need to Know
Priya Pradeep
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Talk about combining chalk and cheese and ensuring it tastes fine! Suresh Kumar Ramaswamy (RSK), Program Manager at Wipro Technologies did just that and more. As an infrastructure specialist he was handpicked by Wipro’s management and given a 56-week infrastructure project mandate in October 2004 to build the next generation managed service delivery center. The team comprised of two vastly different groups–infrastructure specialists and software developers–and he combined them superbly.
The one dialogue that RSK would chant to the team members at every project review meeting was: “We have been handpicked by the company to be a part of a project - the kind which comes once in six years. Let us give our best mettle to it!” He needed to do that because infrastructure projects were mostly in quarterly time periods. Compared to that, this project he had to handle was more than a year long!

This infrastructure project in which more than $1 million had to be invested had to manage the infrastructure of Wipro’s clients spread across geographies remotely from India. The project was completed on schedule and with significant cost savings (greater than 30 percent) as most of the modules were developed in-house.

Initially it was perceived that this project would be more of system integration type as are the projects in the infrastructure space. However it was realized that there were no off-the-shelf products in the market providing features required for the project. This required a software development team to be constituted under RSK. It required him to understand the software development lifecycle.

Infrastructure development does not typically have structured approaches like SEI CMM like within software development. Hence general project management rules had to be applied. RSK braced himself to the challenge by obtaining a project management certification from Project Management Institute (PMI).

Being an infrastructure specialist problem solving is a natural extension of his work processes. “I think I would score better than if a software developer were to head this project in terms of the end application rather than execution because of the domain knowledge that I had in remote infrastructure management,” points out RSK. Having a team of talented people who again were handpicked helped to achieve the project objectives to the satisfaction of the stakeholders.

All the efforts in running the project were acknowledged as the project won the Nasscom Innovation award in 2006. The project also bagged the best project award in Wipro for Q3 2005 and most innovative product in Wipro in 2005. RSK was also awarded the ‘Thanks a Zillion Manager’ award. RSK has hence not minded giving away his secret sauce for the chalk and cheese combo either.
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