IMTB syndrome – Administrative Bane

Agreed, everyone is busy, but “I am too Busy (IMTB)” is absolute humbug and what in general parlance can be described as Cop-out. It means two things when an issue is brought to your for a solution/ suggestion – “You are not a priority” or “I have no clue about it”. In my experience it is almost always the latter. Fear that the capability (or incapability, to be precise) gets exposed is the culprit for this IMTB syndrome.

The 'Busy' Trap Best Quotes โ€“ Fav Quotes | BestQuotes
Yes, this is the message that we need to convey to those pretenders
Pic Courtesy – Web

This is largely a reproduction of a Tweet thread that I had posted a year ago during my efforts volunteering with the Government as a Corona Warrior regarding reasons (in my humble opinion) why our famed Bengaluru Model took a beating. Our war-room and the processes were proudly presented by Mr Luv Aggarwal in his evening briefing pre June 3rd Unlock, when Karnataka and Bengaluru in particular, managed the Pandemic using technology judiciously. The technology implementation during lockdown was studied well by domain experts and the potential pitfalls were highlighted (to add – I had personally given potential numbers if certain measures were not put in place – It so happened my numbers were accurate give or take 10 – Thanks to models developed by Dr Santosh Ansumali and another by Dr Prasanna Simha).

Let me directly reproduce the tweets posted on the IMTB Syndrome

Someone (irrespective of sector) if he is too busy for everything, all the time, it means either he doesn’t know his job or doesn’t know to manage it. I come across so many who hide behind this “I am too busy” from their reportees, from their peers and superiors. If you are a manager find a balance or bosses will have to find some balanced person. In days of mobile phones, you cannot have pagers.

What went wrong with much touted Technical advantage #Bengaluru and #Karnataka has to be discussed sooner than later to save the state and #Bengaluru. #IamTooBusy or #MineIsBest adamance costed us after all the gains we made. With tonnes of experience in IT system/solution architecting, mobile app practice – Both from hands-on development experience too, not just looking over shoulders of developer) architecting was the key fact that did the damage. It cannot be a hobby project when dealing with data especially when we are dealing with Human Lives.

It is not just passion, enthusiasm, hard-working or commitment (of which we never had a dearth, it has a lot to do with Competence too, without which all the others are pointless. (Vice versa is true too. But starting point is COMPETENCE). That is when we, a bunch of enthusiasts conducted a thread bare analysis of some Apps that were used (its tremendous success earlier and its miserable failure once the numbers ramped). Sadly our penchant to investing more to dig shallow wells, instead of one deep productive well, was our bane

News | The O'Meara Lab
Too many Unproductive shallow Wells
Pic Courtesy: Web

There was this particular officer whose #MineIsBiggest adamance is what let go of a multitude of options provided to mankind, free of cost. Why Government has to spend on “Learning Curve” of Private sector was the line. Seriously? On something that is so specific to public health & pandemic & offered for free? When an IAS officer is appointed into the Government services, it is more for his administration skills and much less for any other basic domain skills. If he “was” Engineer it is just incidental and once in service your primarly role is administer, not demonstrate your Engineering skills.

This particular officer had a balloon of an Ego, thought it was passport to so called growth by creating many hobby grade apps – in IT what we commonly refer to as “Hello World” program. We clearly highlighted that the Application Architecture is too rigid and unscalable. It was ok when our numbers were low but unlock expectedly would hike the numbers, contact tracing numbers would jack up, number of cases would increase and so on. Net result, to save his image and adamance that his apps were the best, our City, the IT Capital took a beating both in terms of image and also in terms of public health – Evident in the bulletins released those days – opaque contents and numbers that has spiked. But he was shut to any idea lest his carefully built up image gets shattered – it did shatter but by then City and the State paid a huge cost.

Sincerity and strenuous efforts is no substitute for Competence, which is what this bunch of hard working officers lack. As late as today, solution is not to scale the solution up, but scale the users down. Haalooralli Ulidavane Raaja… goes an old saying in Kannada. We’re no where near haalooru yet. Is it Insecurity when not once, twice, four times you don’t turn up for a meeting to discuss (#IamBusy you know ๐Ÿ™‚ without a care for time of people, domain experts whose billable is 40 times > this officer’s. He was out to show who wears the pants in the administration. During a review by Chief Secretary, I did write a note explaining where we went wrong and the remedies there of. Then CS, accepted it and immediately allowed remedial measures and it did not take 3 weeks to get semblance of control again. (Recalling a message I received over Whatsapp – Hey Suresh, you just spiked my husbands growth. My humble reply – I rather spike career growth of one person than risk COVID Spikes)

Here I would contrast it to another officer, also an Engineer but emerged a Superstar in the War against Corona in Karnataka, simply because he just administered, facilitated multitude of domain experts to deliver. Jealous Enemies within carried out a hit job and some wise men thought dividing Bengaluru as per BBMP zones for effective management was a better approach and he was relegated to a particular zone. He performed magic for that zone again and proved, whatever the scale it is about doing a job perfectly and playing his role as required, not to demonstrate his Engineering skills. I have to name and thank this officer on behalf of the state and the City. Thank you Major Manivannan, IAS for being a Friendly Administrator who knew his job extremely well, for being a Facilitator than anything esle and harnessing strength of all available resources (which was scarce). You were the reason why many corporates and NGOs happily joined hands to work with Government. By the way, Major Manivannan was the person who conceptualised the Citizen Corona Warrior (locally called Corona Sainika Program). I was blessed to be associated with the Program as Vice Chairman of Corona Sainikas Task Force handling the state (I was tasked with entire State except BBMP areas) and thereafter as Chief Citizen Coordinator when the Home Quarantine was managed by Citizen Volunteers. But for him, I would not even think of joining this initiative, since working with the existing Public delivery system is very frustrating for someone from Corporate sector. He insulated all the bureacratic challenges from service delivery folks and left free to deliver. Respects to this model Civil Servant.

Would like to recollect contribution of M/s Knowledge Lens to the entire initiative, It was our loss that we could not reach out to them during lockdown (when we had to manage even bigger volunteer pool) and I am sure we would have done even better job with their support. After the unlock, Major Manivannan and me sat down to discuss actions for establishing the Citizen Quarantine Squad (later renamed to make it appear more citizen friendly as Neighbourhood Home Quarantine Watch and Care – NHWC) I still remember how I drove in to Knowledge Lens office in Electronic City and met up with Shri Sudeesh Narayan, Founder and CEO to seek support of two technical Development resources, he dismissed it saying, why two – leave it us, we will develop the entire portal and maintain it – ALL FOR FREE. He r introduced me to Shri Jayesh Sripada Rao (a friend for life now) who then helped us, hand held and in fact became one of the best volunteers himself during the entire battle. I have to admit, it was totally unexpected and Free came with a cream of High Quality Professional outputs. Knowledge Lens’s Mobile practice came in handy to address all the needs of the system. We were able to automate the entire registration process including delivery of ID cards at almost no cost. There was no looking back thereafter. We had lot of partners engaged into the program and smoother delivery inspired even more work from the volunteers in this critical phase. Once again role of Major Manivannan and his support was immense. Sadly, when the zone-wise bifurcation was done, only the zone headed by Major Manivannan used all the apps and results were there for all to see.

What inspired Corona Warriors like me and nearly 40,000 others who were out on the field with support and encouragement of Major Manivannan and then Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri BS Yediyurappa ji.

Remember when the program started – no one had a clue about what this Virus was all about. But everyone knew what should be the outcome – WE HAD TO WIN – with the App or not

Winding up with a small anecdote – A Senior Bureaucrat asked me (he was trying to understand the psychology of volunteers) “We are duty-bound and paid a salary to do this work, What is in it for you taking all these risks?” My spontaneous answer was (which I strongly believe is what every volunteer thinks and essence of volunteering):

IF NOT ME, WHO?
IF NOT NOW, WHEN
?

I was told by this officer at the time of retirement, that he had written these lines on a paper and had it below the glass top of his table.

Social Learning & Behaviour

My tweets in the past on this subject and why any Social Media study that rates their impact on actual ground issues are fake. It also spoke about some safe behaviour

https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048112271292092416
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048112473700753410
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048112982432079873
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048113426017476608
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048113819556438016
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048114672795340800
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1048117286236823552
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1359462731049410562
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1359464436239536135
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1357932198616133633

Prasnamarga and Historicity

This thread on Twitter was written when a Commie in Saffron protagonist, a newbie lawyer who with half baked knowledge of deracinated laws began seeking history of certain practices in Temples. His logic, if it is not dated to a time he cannot remember, it is not acceptable. Height was when he mocked much revered, time tested traditions of the state that feeds him (both bread for living and political affiliation that is supposed to uphold those traditions)

It began when he bluffed about an outcome of a Devaprashnam, and his advise on Sabarimala which his mentor took seriously and shot his mouth off, which was beginning of his steep downward slide. Despite changing the stance subsequently damage was done to him and there was no reversal.

(You can read about the power and accuracy of Devaprashnam, the Prasnamarga of the Jyotisha Shastra in my piece #KeralaFloods: Devaprashnam โ€“ Conversation with the Divine in Sabarimala & Warnings Ignored)

I cannot endorse nor refute the Shastra since I consider myself absolute ineligible to even talk about it leave alone judge it. Just reproduced the Facts as it were.

https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052097243669569536
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052098235228131328
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052099673014657024
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052128241341923328
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052218716174409729
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052146811031367681
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052216816066600961
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052238949043777537
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052100342622621697
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052243752172040193
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052244815457517568
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052246107294785536
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052246593066426368
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052253736720977920
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052255960151023616
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052259482259136513

When he tried to cosy up when someone jumped in to defend his contempt (see next tweet). Fact that all those supported him realised what he was and deleted their tweets in support
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052260057625313282
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052261639947350016
And he did not have any information yet dissed a time tested and much honored tradition!
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052262518251433984
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052263165738782721
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052245358267564032
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052250302768979969
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052258871463428096
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052260164391309318
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052260829868032000
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052263282185302017
https://twitter.com/mohandastg/status/1052270975318933506
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052274845587791872
https://twitter.com/eabhvee/status/1052275994793598978
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052290982451048449
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052292365937991680
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052291844929986562
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1052603915236139008

Not sure what was the argument of that tweep. But my clarification is here

Adding some related tweets on the subject

https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1054349194838843392
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019216407266054144
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019218456099606528
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019218728490291201
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019219264660819972
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019221195739287552

https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1019218728490291201
https://twitter.com/surnell/status/1051200723793383424