Wipro factory ?

I have always made fun of the large software houses like Wipro, TCS, Infosys in Bangalore (in good jest). I have nothing against them. They are giving more than their fair share to the GDP of the nation, and I admire that. But I always make fun of them, by calling them code factories, where thousands of engineers write code-after-code, for offshore clients. I have heard inhumane conditions of work — not physically, but conditions of work, where creativity is stymied, and routine work is admired, and gains you a promotion etc. In these factories, there are all but a few people who decide the specs, and what goes where, and the others code, code, and code … Readers who work there, please do not take offense. I am not saying these are menial jobs. It requires expertise and good software engineering skills.

Anyways, coming to the point of the post, yesterday, in one of the Wipro buses, I found this slogan. I may be missing a few words here and there, but the gist went like this:

Wipro — Innovation at its best … etc etc … We follow the factory model, resulting in 30% lesser defects and higher quality software products.

I was floored. Wow. They really follow some factory model ! Very interesting. And I went and looked up on wikipedia to see what the factory model is, and sure enough, there is something called the software factory.

And guess what, I even found the following paper in IEEE through google.

A Software Factory Model Based on ISO9000 and CMM for Chinese Small Organizations

Very interesting.

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2 Responses to Wipro factory ?

  1. Guru says:

    For me who has been a software engineer-a practitioner and an academic for over 35 years the term produces a scaneario where sofware libaries like for example automobile parts can be bought and fitted to the main
    software system being developed. That has been a standard practce in the software development process (CMM providing the best practice) for nealy 25 years. In software factories, there is a main in house software development process born out of innovation is involved, and this is certainly not seen in these so called code factories as all they do is to do the outsourced coding work for a software brand company in the West.

    Hence what is being done is more like work done in clothing sweat houses ( more often child labour is involved), preparing clothes for a branded company. It is a kind of coolie work, and hence I would call it software sweat shop, conjuring up Dickensian image. The only difference is that these sweat shops pay the workers a going rate more than their counterpart elsewhere, but still a coolie wage nevertheless compared what is paid in the West.

    I have had the privilege of teaching some of the best students in my former life in India, a few of them I am glad to say have been the pioneering IT entrepreneurs. But having said that there is the danger that these IT sweat shops would remain as such and do not graduate to become centres of software innovation and excellence. Indeed, by attracting the best talents and converting them to mundane coders, they have the effect of undermining other areas in sciences, like molecular biology which is the area of importance in the next 100 years. The education in India is thus already skewed which the country will surely regret some time in the future.

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