It’s not very often that you hear the term ‘ownership’ being used in a technical environment. It’s even less so when it is used to define a methodology…a way of developing code…a way of executing a project. While we all say that we take ownership of or work, very few of us can actually compound that with our actions at work. As a project manager, I have a fair amount of experience working with different people and with different team dynamics. While in most places I have worked, I have witnessed some really good programmers do their job exceptionally well, it is only at Clarion that I have seen people ‘own’ their work.
I joined Clarion Technologies after a reasonably long stint in the MNC environment. My motivations for joining the company were quite clear – I wanted a high visibility job which had a technology focus. I did not want to be one of those programmers turned project manager who did everything but code. I always wanted to ensure that I followed a technology career path. However, in India, there are less than a handful of companies who provide you with this opportunity and Clarion is one of them.
The first thing that anyone joining Clarion notices is the freedom that is given to you. However, freedom does not mean that we go about working in whichever manner we please. Here freedom means the opportunity to do good work…great work…something that you, as an individual, can be proud of. When we start working on a project and are assigned our respective assignments, it becomes our responsibility to not just deliver our work on time but to make sure that we deliver our ‘best work’ on time. With the kind of focus that we have on quality, we make sure that every piece of code that is written is perfect and it is the developer's responsibility to ensure that this happens. Deviating slightly from the assembly line structure, here the Quality Score of a piece of code rests, not with the tester, but with the programmer. Why? Because each piece of code is a work of art and the programmer is the artist. Our CEO Ankur always says, just like when an artist is making a painting he/she is responsible for all the corrections and changes made to the painting to achieve the end result, it is the same in programming at Clarion too. If I, the programmer, am developing the code, then it is me who is responsible for making sure that the piece of code I turn out is perfect and ready to use. The ‘ownership’ of delivering perfect code rests solely with the programmer here.
Another thing that I noticed which demonstrated a high sense of ownership in this organization was the fact that each programmer working on a project was encouraged to think on behalf of the client. We have access to many technological resources and we have a very active training and development sessions in the organization. The programmers are continuously encouraged to implement what they have learned by ideating and coming up with new thoughts and ideas and adding them to the ‘Ideas Diary’. These ideas are then reviewed and presented to the client for review and then are implemented to develop some great products. The point that I am trying to make here is that programmers are given complete ownership and are hence use their talent and creativity to promote continuous thinking for the client. Now that’s what we call an ownership!
On the personal front too, I have seen programmers at Clarion being extremely invested with their clients. There was this one incident where a client’s server subscription was ending. The client, for some reason, was unavailable to make the payment. Our team tried to figure out many ways to get in touch with the client to make sure that this does not happen but was unable to reach the concerned person. Usually, one would send in a mail saying that such an incident had occurred and ended their responsibility there. However, such is the level of ownership in our company, that the developer, on his own accord, swiped his personal credit card and made the payment for the client. The subscription did not end and we ended up with a client for life! That’s ownership.
We share our personal phone numbers with our clients so that they can reach us when they need to. Our developers are willing to take on critical escalations willingly even if they are on a vacation. Our aim to become an extension of our client’s in-house team. This can only be achieved when each and every one of our developers is invested in the project and assumes complete ownership of the task assigned to them. It is because of our level of ownership that we have clients who are our loyalists and our fans.
In a place like Clarion Technologies, ownership is not something that is taught…it is in the DNA of the organization and within no time it becomes a part of your DNA too.