Nuc Venture - A Perfect Venture - Part 1
This is a piece I wrote when I was working in an organization called Nucleus Software, India as part of the Six Sigma department. We had these annual outings which were called Nuc Ventures. Our editor in chief wanted me to write something for our annual magazine on our ventures, but ultimately did not like the piece for obvious reasons.
"Rational People Adapt Themselves To The Imperfect World. Irrational People Try To Make The World Perfect. Therefore, All The Progress Of The World Depends On The Irrational People."
Quality, Six Sigma, CMM, ISO - whatever we call it, it ultimately boils to one thing - Aiming for Perfection. In fact, the word ‘perfect' is so often used in our day to day life that it has become redundant and lost the real essence. Even with a couple of errors, a person / process gets away termed as ‘perfect'. Even the renowned methodology of Six Sigma has a leeway of 3.4 defects per million opportunities. (For those of you who don't know, I am in the Six Sigma IBU). I sincerely believe that there is nothing like being ‘almost perfect' or ‘99% perfect'. It is either that we are perfect or not. Period. Perfection is the dream of many, tried by few and attained by one. We, being the proud employees of a CMM level 5 and a successful Six Sigma implementation company should continue to strive to be the privileged ones. Perfection in our processes, perfection in the execution of perfection in whatever we do. In this light, do we not need to aim for perfection even in our annual tour called Nuc Venture - perfection in terms of being without any untoward, unpleasant incident? Here, I make a humble attempt to point out a few incidents during our venture without which the entire exercise could have been termed as perfect - ‘The Perfect Venture'.
This would serve two purposes. One, improvising the present process and making it more pleasant and enjoyable the next year. Two, this should definitely make a good reading. I may be insane or a pessimist googling for greyer shades on a rosy canvas as you might probably be thinking now, but like I have said before, the irrationals have always brought and will continue to bring all the progress in the world.
A March Thursday at 9:45 PM in the Nuc campus. There are around 100 people assembled, some chattering, some busy heaving heir luggage into the bus and some smoking (I was in this elite group) and everybody excited - damn excited! It was precisely at this time that some female (why is it always a female) walked to one of the organizers and said that there was no sitting space in any of the buses. A natural Sherlock Holmes, the organizer set out to investigate. After much checking, cross checking and re-cross checking, he let the cat out of the bag. People had reserved seats for their friends and their friends' friends without bothering to check whether they have already settled down somewhere else blissfully unaware of the chaos they have created. There was one hot punk called Hrithik (name changed to protect anonymity) who had five seats reserved for him while he was cozily settled in somewhere else. There were a lot of changes and dislocations before everybody could be comfortable. A few bright minds put forth an that probably the organizers should have allotted seats to each and every voyager in the same way as they had divided Nucleus into five batches. That would have been more interesting and a smart piece of management. That might also have got a few unfortunate people like me a more interesting seat mate rather than a boring and snoring roomie.
In the bus
The fun started at sharp 2200 hrs IST as scheduled and there was a huge collective roar from everybody. Adreline was pumping high, heartbeat was above average for the most and the aimless shouting was soon succeeded by singing. The chartbusters came first, old item numbers came next and the junk in the last. People began to seek the assistance of a secondary device rather than the human throats. Mobile phones did not have the required decibel strength when suddenly Hrithik realized that he had remembered to pack a few CDs, just in case required. ‘Thank God', ‘Sexy', ‘Lovely', everybody was relieved and happy. Then came the jolt, the harshest one of the entire trip. Dadaji (our bus driver who looked as if he was 500 years old) turned back, adjusted his cowboy hat and said ‘This bus has got no stereo'. ‘Oh No', ‘My God', ‘Jesus', confusion coupled with disappointment mixed with helplessness (have you got a name for this abstract noun?) was writ large on everybody's face. People started getting restless and boisterous. I had a ghoulish time with my drooping room mate who would occasionally get up, wipe his mouth and ask - ‘where are we?' Did he expect something like 24 11' 3" North East on NH 26, 143 km North East to Noida? If only the bus had a stereo, if only we were intimated earlier to arrange for our own audio devices, if only we were more prepared, the reminder of the journey would have been much more pleasant.