My days in consulting are numbered. I have 9 working days to go, including today. I can’t call it a very happy experience, else I wouldn’t have quit so quickly. However, I must say I’ve learnt a lot. Seen the insides of one of India’s largest organizations. Seen a bhai-bhai jhagda from the inside. Studied a number of other companies and businesses. Got to work with one of my firm’s most famous strategies – which is nothing but common sense with a grand title – “the my firm n-step integrated blahblah strategy”.

One thing that consulting has taught me which I’ll probably use forever. Actually I’m not sure if it was my short consulting stint that taught me this, or whether I always used to follow it but am cognizant of it only now. It is rather more likely that I learnt it as part of Design and Analysis of Algorithms way back in 2002. Or maybe even further back at the Math Olympiad Training Camp in 1999.

I am talking about the “art” of breaking down a problem into a number of sub-problems. When you look at the big picture and break it down into a series of small pictures and set myself internal timelines for each of the small pictures. And then do a deep dive into each of the small pictures one by one, and try to complete it without ever looking at the big picture. The trick lies in dividing the big picture into components so well that once you’ve completed the smaller ones, everything just fits in.

Long ago, when i first started programming, i used to generally split my task into a number of components. Do the components individually. And then spend aeons trying to put everything together. The trick, i think is to do the split in a better and more logical manner. Spend time right at the beginning to come up with a really good split. Saves a lot of time later.

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