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Tathagat Varma


Founder & CEO, Thought Leadership

Location: Bangalore, India


- Strategic thinker and result-oriented do-er with interests in People Excellence, Process Effectiveness, Project Management, Product Innovation and Business Leadership.

- Over two decades of software product development expertize with Defense Research (DRDO), and leading MNCs Siemens, Philips, Huawei, McAfee, NetScout and Yahoo! in 3G Softswitch, Core Routing and Gigabit Switch Router, Digital Video Broadcast (DVB), Consumer Internet, Network Management and Workflow Management solutions in various technical, leadership and business roles.

- Currently lead Strategic Transformation Programs, Outsourced Product Development (OPD), and Business Operations at Yahoo! R&D India, which includes Business Excellence, Enterprise-wide Agile and Scrum deployment, Mid-management Engagement and IP Program.

Experience with Conventional, Incremental and Iterative Software Development

- 1997: as quality manager at Philips Healthcare, did some experiments on accommodating spiral development in a CMM environment for a healthcare project. We struggled, but learnt a lot.

- 1998: as project manager, led software development for Set-top Boxes at Philips Digital Networks in iterative (non-timeboxed) and incremental manner

- 2001-2003: as program manager/engineering lead, succesfully delivered three large development programs in datacom and telecom domains at Huawei Technologies that were essentially planned in a waterfall manner but the execution was done incrementally to mitigate risks in the program and achieve steady progress.

- 2004: as Engineering Director at Network General, defined a process to limit work in progress for a sustaining team - a very early attempt at Kanban process. The ideas were essentially inspired from Tom Gilb's EVO project management approach, and we front-ended the process by a kanban-style limit on work in progress, and back-ended the QA process with timeboxs of one week. I recently presented on it at Agile-Scrum International Summit, Bangalore. Here is my work and presentation:

- 2006: acquired PMP (from PMI, USA)

- 2008: acquired CSM (from Pete Deemer, CST) and sowed seeds for adopting it in Network General

- 2009: acquired PRINCE2 Registered Professional (from APMG, UK)

- 2010: Started the Agile and Scrum Adoption Program ("ASAP") at Yahoo! India R&D - a center-wide program to adopt agile methodologies and engineering practices across 150+ projects at Bangalore, India. I made a presentation about it in Mar 2012 at Bangalore Scrum group (presentation and presenting more about it at the key event Agile India 2013 next month. I am also part of the Agile Core Team at Yahoo! Inc. My job is to lead the center-wide strategy, advise VPs and mentor directors and coaches on improving their agile adoption through combination of learning, training, engineering, people and organiational practices and policies, and lead any such strategic program to implemented them horizontally

-2013: acquired CSPO (from Scott Dunn, CST)

My professional interests:

- I blog on all issues relating to management and leadership of software development at

- all my presentations, including classes that I have taught (on Project Management and Business Ethics) is available at

- I believe in advancing the profession, and in this regard, deliver talks at industry and companies. My work is available on my blog at

- I volunter with ALN Bangalore chapter (part of founding team), IEEE, PMI

Work experience

Yahoo!, Head of Strategic Program Management and Business Operations
November 2009 - Present, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
I head the organizational change management, strategic program management and business operations for Yahoo! India R&D

NetScout Technologies, GM of India Development Center, Director of Engineering
October 2003 - October 2009, Karnataka, Bangalore, India
2003-2004, it was part of McAfee. I built the team from 30 to over 75 people in Development and QA. In Apr 2004, our business was acquired by TPG and Silver Lake Partners and I was chartered to lead India operations. As part of that role, I worked with investors and execs to setup India operations from scratch. Also, setup the processes to transfer products to Bangalore team and took-over sustaining products for the entire company. Sniffer business was spun-off as Network General in Oct 2004 From 2004-2007, it was known as Network General. Started the India operations / Bangalore engineering centre from scratch in Oct 2004. I worked with investors (Texas Pacific Group and Silver Lake Partners), Executive Management team of Network General and a team of experts from finance, legal, facilities, etc. to setup Indian operations. Network General got acquired by NetScout in Nov 2007. In this role, I was responsible for determining and executing on strategy for Bangalore engineering centre, high-end talent acquisition and retention, compensation and benefits, and handling all local G&A functions. I was also part of the Global Engineering Leadership team. In 2007, we were acquired by NetScout. I was responsible for managing NetScout's Bangalore engineering team from Nov 2007. This team was earlier part of Network Associates (until Sep 2004) and then Network General (from Oct 2004 until Oct 2007). I have been with this team since Oct 2003, and have played various roles in engineering and General Management through divestiture from the erstwhile Network Associates (now McAfee) in 2004 and then acquisiton by NetScout in 2007. Managed the Bangalore Engineering Centre and was responsible for product engineering (New Product Development, Sustenance, Product Testing, product innovation, process improvement) activities and product roadmapping for Sniffer® products owned at Bangalore, engineering process and productivity improvements, recruitment strategy, people management, performance management, peer relations with other R&D centers, customer interaction with Indian customers / pre-sales, etc. In addition, as part of the Global Engineering Leadership Team, I reported to SVP of Engineering (located Westford, MA). Market Analysis and Business Development for APAC / ME / India markets. As GM of India operations, additionally responsible for center budgeting, day to day operations management, overseeing of Admin, Facilities, Finance, Legal, IT and HR operations through respective function managers / executives.

Huawei Technologies, Engineering Manager, Program Manager
October 2000 - September 2003, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
As Engineering Manager and Head of Datacom Group, I built core datacom teams from scratch and developed large datacom products: Huawei’s Gigabit Switch Router NE-80 and Versatile Routing Platform (VRP). Each of these was large team effort (peak team of 120+ engineers). I also managed outsourced development with Infosys (BGP, OSPF protocols), Mphasis (Network Management modules) and Satyam (Routing Management modules). During the year 2002, I worked in China and led a 190+ strong team that created SoftX3000, an integrated Softswitch for 3G wireless and wireline solution. Made three successful deliveries of very large products in cutting-edge technologies of Core Routing, Next Generation Networks and Routing Platform of R&D Budget of US $10 million each, and product revenues in excess of $100 million each (except Routing Platform) As part of the start-up team and as a Senior Management Team member, I was heavily involved in and responsible for development of organizational processes for performance management, program management, CMM level 5 (part of Level 4 Assessment Team), compensation revision and promotion committee, etc. I was responsible to create "Program Management Process" for the company's standard software processes.

Philips Software, Project Manager, Quality Manager, Software Architect
November 1996 - October 2000, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
At Philips, I played three key roles: 1. As Software Architect in Philips Medical Systems, I was responsible for technology transfer of RIS (Radiology Information System) from our Sweden group to Bangalore. I was involved in working with team at Sweden for architecture definition, hiring the ramping up the Bangalore team, and eventually as the Project Manager for the team. 2. As Quality Manager for two product devision, Business Electronics and Medical systems, I was responsible for software process improvement, definition, deployment, audits in projects, as well as involved in organizational initiatives such as CMM Level 4/5 and other TQM measures such as ISO9000 and PDA90. 3. As Project Manager for Digital Networks, I was responsible to build competency in Bangalore in DVB (digital Video Broadcast) domain and embedded software development, and setup entire development and test infrastructure in our Bangalore office.

Siemens Communication Network (now known as Nokia Siemens Networks), Software Engineer
September 1995 - October 1996, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
I was part of the team that initially worked on CNM Gateway (Customer Network Management) for Siemens ATM switch, EWSX. We initiated a pilot project/concept-proving that was useful in validating several of the key decision decisions. My second project was desiging a highly dynamic configuration management system for Siemens' digital switch, EWSD's messages that are stored in CHILL (CCITT High Level Language) to support multi-variant, mylti-customer production releases.

Defense Research and Development Orgnization (DRDO), Computer Scientist
April 1991 - August 1995, Pune, Maharashtra, India
As a Computer Scientist, I was involved in software development for various Defense projects. During this time, I had the privilege to represent the nation at the 13th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, where I worked and stayed at the permanent Indian scientific station, Maitri, for 16 months during Nov 1993 - Mar 1995. My work involved Data Communication over HF Radio and also develop software for monitoring of gensets. The eventual aim was to link Maitri network with our intranet in Pune.


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