Aug 22, 2010

Attitude, Aptitude And Integrity

Background: This week was my first in ThoughtWorks University (TWU). It is a 6 week long program to introduce freshers to ThoughtWorks(TW) and train them for their roles. So here it goes..

I had not taken my college leaving very nicely. My college was my world and I had to leave it behind. Forever. Chapter 1 of life was over. I needed something to declare this end and mark the start of a fresh chapter.. Chapter 2. TWU turned out to be just the breakpoint I wanted.

Back home, I wasn't carrying out my duties that well. It had made me feel dull. A friend said: "Just be no-one for some time. Don't overburden yourself." At that time I wasn't sure if I'll be able to look at myself as a no-one. We all want to be hero of our own story, don't we? But here in TW; I start afresh. As a no-one. We were told during sessions that This is a proving ground. You are not on holiday. I think that's the only thing I do not connect with. I am on a rejuvenation trip here. I don't feel the desire to start with "To Prove". I simply don't want to lose any chance To Learn And Improve; both; technically and personally. Everyone here has something or the other you can learn from them. TW talks about "Best People" as one of their values. You gotta see it to believe it! I can learn so many things from other grads.. let alone the trainers!

The first few days we played a variety of games and had some outings. The games involved making our own song and singing it to 'The Song Lord', skipping, darting, wrapping a team-member with paper-rolls to make a human mummy... It all acted as ice-breaker. During a dinner party we girls had a hot-seat session.. We caught as many trainers as we could and one by one made them take the hot seat.. asked them why they looked nervous (with the intension of MAKING them nervous if they weren't).. and fired questions at them!
Many of the games/activities revealed talents, skills and interesting facts about people. Aweee! I am surrounded by unique individuals here!

We use various techniques to learn efficiently. Most of them are funny and all of them have interesting names.  Its simply impossible to explain them in one post. Here are few I thoroughly liked.. There's a Parking Lot. During sessions people ask questions. If the schedule does't permit the trainer to discuss that topic, it gets posted on what is called Parking Lot. Later, when we get spare time between sessions, topics are taken off the Parking Lot and discussed in more details. This way, current session is not interrupted and your doubt is not forgotten.
After each session you give feedback. It is divided into four quadrants: Things that didn't go that well, Things you learned and made you happy, Suggestions and Compliments to the speaker.
There is Quotations board. People write down all sorta quotes made during the day.. Funny, Embarrassing, quotes introducing a new concept and so on.
Then again every day we start with review in the morning, end with feedback, and have energieser after lunch where we usually stand in a biiiig huddle and make fun of ourselves.

Yeah.. I had thought TW means a lot of excitement which I may not find pleasant. But back then I hadn't 'experienced' the environment. Doesn't look like things are being forced on me.. I WANT to do things here. Best part is: you may not know exactly what is coming up. Instead, you can be sure that it carries the same ThoughtWorks Spirit in it! It's a collage.. mix of cultures, individuals, practices teams follow.. But everything is part of One Picture. The excitement complements the Collage. The One Picture, in turn, provides the stability that I seek.

I'm just 10 days old here. I'm sure things are still to be unfolded. But now I am hopeful that they'll be on the positive side.

So. Amazing people, good practices, clearly stated values, healthy pranks and lots of stories! The new chapter begins. Promising to be as fulfilling as the last one.


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