IT chalta hai

“Hearing the words ‘I LOVE this…’ from a client is a magical thing”  So tweeted Graham Smith.

Now how often does “the business” say that that to IT?  Rarely I guess.  Why is that?  Why doesn’t “business” love IT?

I think the Indians have got a phrase for this: Chalta hai.

I’ve recently come back from India.  As always it was a pleasure to read the Indian newspapers and weekly news magazines.  In discussing the Commonwealth Games, several columnists in their English language columns made reference to the hindi ‘Chalta Hai‘.  There is no direct translation (hence the columnists use of Hindi) but “it’s all right” or “it’ll do” comes closest.

Chalta Hai is an attitude.  It is mediocrity.  The columnists applied Chalta Hai to service culture and getting things done (or rather the lack of it).  Whilst Chalta Hai may be an Indian affliction, India is not alone.  I’m going to suggest that corporate IT suffers from Chalta Hai.  There’s an industry mindset that success is just getting stuff delivered.  Success is  “it’ll do”.  Mediocrity is a sufficient goal.  To hell with the experience; who cares what the users think, it’s all about delivering functionality and features.  We’re happy if “it’s all right”.  No-one has the desire to hear the business say “I love this!”

Let’s bring some magic into the enterprise.  Let’s introduce a new acceptance criteria to our requirements; that the stakeholder who signs it off says “I love this”.


  1. Prashant · Friday, 12 November, 2010


    A bit of context here. Chalta hai comes out of compromises one accepts . e.g.
    ” My Dosa is not as crisp as I would have liked, but chalta hei”
    ” My online banking site is very slow but chalta hei”
    “My rickshaw meter is charging me unfairly, but chalta hei”

    The reason one makes these compromises is because there is no recourse that one has. No one to set the performance standards, no one to arbitrate and no one to dispense justice. It is also fatigue. They are disincentivized if the complain –
    “dont like the dosa – tough luck. Dont eat it”.
    ” Dont like my fare – you can get down in this torrential rain”

    What they are saying is – We dont care for your custom. We are here for ourselves and serving you is a necessary evil, not a privilege.

    Now translate this in business and IT context.

Leave a Reply