Message to Som Gollakota

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My Work - Where I can help
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I am a thorough IT management professional who is a generalist project/program/product/delivery manager, that can be plugged into any industry and/or technology and rest assured that I would deliver!
I managed customer engagements and offshore projects, built solutions and responded to RFPs, negotiated projects, statements of work and timelines, built teams, executed and delivered offshore projects onsite, defined offshore/ onsite project delivery processes and methodologies, helped in Birlasoft's transition from a staffing company to an Offshore Vendor, and managed some of their client relations - at a time when Outsourcing was still very young and Google was an infant learning to walk. I built PMO-style offshore delivery organizations, delivery processes and methodologies, set of tools and templates to go with the them, mentored senior managers and project managers in PMI and general project/delivery and communication management best practices, and how to engage global customers. I have been working with outsourcing and offshore companies since 1999, companies based in Ireland, China, and India. So, if someone is looking someone to manage your customer engagements, build or develop an offshore practice, or looking into outsourcing as an option, I can help.
I have managed some key Windows and Office licensing programs for Microsoft OEM partners, planned and stratagized brand transition for partner and small business applications including field adoption and operational readiness planning, negotiated stakeholder agreements, mitigated corporate-level risks to the programs I was managing, and conducted end-user training for Microsoft's OEM partners, while managing teams in various parts of the US, Ireland, India and China. So, if you are looking for someone to run global programs with heavy client/customer engagement, I can help.
I once managed a large multi-million dollar program (over $30M) for T-Mobile, with some really large number of cross-functional professionals (about 1500 people) working on it. It involved some 42 different systems, converging pre-paid and post-paid billing, IVRs/switches and touched virtually every aspect of T-Mobile's bread-and-butter business. It was their premier telecom product (service) at that time. I ran a 24x7 war room/task force for four months, to help fix approximately 450 critical to high priority production defects, and helped deliver them in about 23 production break-fix deployments and four version enhancements - all in a span of four months. I have also managed some critical programs for their Retail organization, delivering 15 high priority enhancements to retail systems, their next generation slim-line bill payment kiosks (OS build, customization, hardware build, integration, testing, deployment planning, warehouse to store floor migration, deploying to the stores, the whole nine yards) for 1800 stores nationwide. So, if you have some highly critical large programs that are severely timebound, and are looking for someone who has "been-there-done-that" to help deliver them, I can help.
I have played the game of outsourcing from both sides of demand and supply. As a part of a supplier/vendor, I have read and understood RFPs, architected solutions, created effort estimates, cost, and schedules, and responses to RFPs. We win some, we lose some. But the ones I won, I continued on as a delivery manager working with offshore teams to ensure their successful delivery. As a part of demand/customer/client, I have assessed my organizational/company needs, written effective RFPs, reviewed vendor responses, had vendor meetings to assess their stated capabilities, understand what they were not saying (reading between the lines of what they were saying - things I picked up from own vendor/ supplier days), evaluate them, and select the most suited vendor for the work. Once signing the contracts/MSAs, I also helped the vendors write Statements of Work (SOW), and lead them through delivery and organizational change management. So, if you are looking for someone who understands outsourcing from both sides, I can help.
I come from a technology background. I started my career as programmer in C/C++ on SCO Unix, Solaris and AIX. I was mostly programming in Unix Internals, Socket Communications, writing (dbase style) database management systems and spreadsheets using Unix Curses Library for windowing. I was learning and programming in C/C++ and Windows 3.1 on the side (16-bit Windows). Then, as an opportunity presented itself, I moved to IBM Mainframes, programming in COBOL, MVS, JCLs, IBM DB2, and CICS for a year and half or so. But I continued my work on Windows Programming, working on Windows 3.11, Windows NT 3.51, and the first ever release of Windows 95, looking to gain mastery on Windows Memory Management, Multi-threading, Inter-thread and Inter-Process Communications using WinSocks. As I was gaining mastery over Windows Programming, sought to change my role from a Mainframes programmer to a Windows programmer. I had architected and written server and client programs in C++ with Oracle as the backend (MS Access client, C++ client/server connector, C++ middle-tier server, and Oracle backend) for Applied Materials. I also wrote credit processing Rules Engine, Remote Process Viewer and Terminator (extending Windows Process Viewer from back in the days), Visual Basic client, and C++ middle-tier engine for a SQL Server backend for Countrywide Home Loans. I co-designed and developed a Parametric Cost Estimation Suite while running my first Offshore/Onsite engagement for PRICE Systems LLC. In my last engagement as a hands on technologist, working for GE Fanuc Automation in the manufacturing industry, I co-developed a manufacturing automation software in C++ called CIMPLICITY, and used it (and a custom BASIC-type programming language) to design an order management system, later helped productize it, and then implemented it for Ford working remotely in GE's office, and for Land Rover working onsite in Land Rover's manufacturing plant in Solihull, UK (about 100 miles North East of London and about 10 miles South of Birmingham). After coming back from the UK, I moved from New York to Washington state, and moved completely into project, program and delivery management.
So... Who am I?
  • I am a technologist, but I am not married to any single technology platform or vertical. I have worked with most of the technology platforms out there, and have been (at one point) hands on on many of them. Technology, in my opinion, is a business enabler. One never knows which technology could provide optimum, most viable solution to a sudden business need. Therefore, I analyze a business problem, do my diligence to identify the right-fit technology to provide most effective solution (given the business, environmental, and cultural needs of the organization), and then build a team to help deliver the solution. Sure, knowing a particular technology helps understand the technical team of a project better. But knowing technology does not help manage project delivery. Because a critical component of a project delivery is the business, and a critical task for a project delivery manager is communication. As one of my mentors said long time ago, hard-skills can be tought/learned in a week, soft-skills must be honed over a period of time. I'd say, over a long period of time (and I am sure that's what he meant).
  • I am a project manager, but I am not married to any single methodology or Industry. I have worked in over half-a-dozen industries, and delivered projects using three known methodologies (sometimes even concurrently), using custom (homegrown) methodologies or no methodology at all. Methodologies are created to help project managers deliver projects in a streamlined and consistent manner. I do not believe any one methodology is better than the other. It depends on the project, and the business need. However, my personal favorite is Agile/RUP, because - given current buisness condition, ever changing business needs, need for speed to market, and other factors, Agile/RUP provide more flexibility for project managers to meet the delivery needs of the business community than traditional Waterfall does. Further, PMI (being the premier organization in Project Management) advocates Industry-independent project management. And I am an ardent supporter of PMI's views in Project Management. Sure there are industry-specific nuances that a good PM must be aware of to successfully deliver a project in that industry. But can those nuances be learned and understood quickly? I believe so. Surely sooner than it would take someone to hone their soft-skills for effective and successful delivery.
So... Who am I? I am a thorough IT management professional who is a generalist, that can be plugged into any industry and/or technology and rest assured that he would deliver!