After a long tenure in the corporate tech sector, I felt a strong urge to explore opportunities in the social sector and make a meaningful contribution to society. I was fortunate to connect with Lobo from Tech4Dev, which marked the beginning of my journey. He shared a wealth of informative reading materials and contacts that greatly contributed to enhancing my overall understanding of the social sector. I spoke with numerous individuals within this sector to help inform my decision about making a transition to this field. I was truly inspired by the vision and mission of Tech4Dev, leading me to take the role of fractional CxO with the organization.
I consider myself fortunate to have joined the Organization just in time for their quarterly team sprint at Karjat, Mumbai. During this event, I had the privilege to interact with a majority of the team members, which provided me with invaluable insights into their distinct programs and functional areas. Moreover, I took the opportunity to establish personal connections with the team members.
First fCxO Engagement
My initial experience as an fCxO was with an NGO, an organization dedicated to Grassroot Leadership Development, Women Empowerment and other initiatives. In this role, I collaborated with my colleague Piyali, who was also concurrently supporting another NGO. Her guidance was immensely valuable in facilitating my rapid adaptation to the fCxO program and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the associated processes.
During the first month of engagement, we conducted numerous meetings with organization executives and the management team to gain a comprehensive overview of the organization and a thorough understanding of each of their programs. I was truly astonished by the impactful work being carried out by the NGO at the grassroots level. Through extensive discussions, we identified three key programs and technological requirements that needed to be prioritized within the scope of this engagement.
We devised a solid action plan for the upcoming two months to address these key technological requirements and visited the NGO to conduct a comprehensive review with the leadership team. I was filled with immense excitement during this first site visit. We actively participated in meaningful discussion with the program teams and devoted most of our time in deeper understanding of the program implementation and field challenges in the key projects. This visit played a crucial role in fostering a strong relationship and establishing a personal connection with the team. It was heartening to see the passion and dedication of the field team.
Following our visit, we embarked on addressing the key technological requirements. I closely collaborated with a vendor who had supplied a case management application to the NGO, which was experiencing issues. I reviewed the list of outstanding problems and actively engaged with the application’s functionalities. Multiple meetings were conducted with the vendor to tackle critical issues and streamline the process of issue reporting and tracking. Concurrently, we initiated in-depth discussions about their flagship program for digitization. Extensive sessions were held with the program lead and the team to craft the product requirement document. Additionally, efforts were directed towards defining the IT internal tool requirements and coordinating with tool vendors for a demo. Due to the absence of technical expertise and the program team’s heavy workload with field engagements, a significant amount of time had to be dedicated to follow-up efforts.
Impressions of Udaipur Sprint
I was privileged to attend another sprint hosted in Udaipur where all the integral partners of the ecosystem – including NGOs, funders, software vendors, designers, interns as well as finance & accounting members – converged under one roof. It was very refreshing to connect people in-person. The sprint was highly concentrated, with the five verticals of Tech4Dev (Glific, Data Platform, Fractional CxO, Avni, Finance & Management) each having their distinct agendas and schedules. We had a deep dive of the fCxO program, during which each fractional CxO shared their unique engagement experiences, emphasizing the importance of learning and building relationships with NGOs. It was a good insight on the fCxO program.
I truly commend the Tech4Dev team for their unwavering passion and dedication to the development sector. The organization functions with the agility of a startup, skilfully led by the dynamic leadership of Lobo and Erica. This journey has been truly remarkable, characterized by significant learning and insights into the development sector. My understanding of free open source software and tools has been enriched through this experience, and I have also gained valuable insights into operating effectively within constraints. I am truly inspired by the individuals in this field and the remarkable opportunities to make a positive impact.
I express my gratitude to the entire Tech4Dev team for their unwavering support, and truly thankful to Lobo for his consistent guidance, which has been immensely valuable.