Closure

It has been a while when I went to IIT-KGP for a summer project out of my interest in GIS and Remote sensing. Don’t ask me what made me interested in those subjects. For those who are not aware, I am a mining engineer by education and ended up working for the software industry. Well, that is the case with a majority of people in India these days. The software industry is bottomless. It can accommodate without an end (or it could accommodate until the recent crisis!).  I started my education around the same time the .COM bubble burst happened and hit the software industry badly. Not a good time to begin! So I had to come up with ‘Plan B’ in case I don’t end up getting placed. And my plan B was to go for an MS from a reputed university in the US.

I’ve given all the background to ensure that people don’t think of me as one of those ‘studious’ kinds who was so serious about studies. It was a ‘forced’ decision. Anyways, when I visited the concerned professor, I came to know that he was an expert on ‘Mine Closure’ and had spent almost his entire career researching and teaching the topic. Wow! Can you imagine? I could never dream that ‘Mine Closure’ could be such an important aspect of mining. However, after spending a couple of days with him, I could understand its significance. The mine closure had to be planned even before the mining starts! And if you don’t submit satisfactory closure plans, the Government would not allow you to mine. He employed the latest technological advancements like GIS and Remote sensing to plan out and execute the ‘Mine Closure’.

So what makes me write about this today? It has been almost 6-7 years now. Someone has rightly said, ‘Whatever you learn in life, does not go waste’. After spending some time getting to know the software industry, I now realize the importance of ‘closure’.  It does not matter how many projects you ‘start’ well. What matters is how many of them get ‘closed’ successfully and in time. It takes at least 5 times the focus and effort to ‘close’ a project successfully than to start it! It takes a lot of ambition and dedication to do this. ‘Closing’ out projects not only brings in credibility, but it also liberates you of the mental blockade which could hamper other ongoing projects (if you work across multiple projects). It would heavily aid efficient resource planning.

But is everything in our control? Well almost never completely. There are multiple stake holders and it could involve the client, their end clients and so on. Human nature is such that we would like to see new features and improvements until the last moment. And that often spells disaster. Another common practice is to start off new things exactly when something is about to end. Since newer things always inspire us more than what is ongoing, almost certainly they will take precedence over the ongoing activities.

I guess the argument is valid across industries. It would have taken a little for Ratan Tata to start his dream project ‘Nano’, but we all know what it took to successfully get Nano on the roads. In fact we don’t even know what happened behind the scenes to get this through. Hats off to Ratan Tata for pulling this off!

Better said than done. But remember, we won’t be known for how many things we started well, but we would only be known for what all was ‘closed’ well.

Alright, that’s enough of fundas, now let’s get back to work 🙂

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Amit Srivastava
 

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